Archive for November, 2012

Army not delaying court-martial of 13 soldiers

By Anthony S. Allada

DAVAO CITY — A military official here said that there was no intention to delay the court-martial proceedings of 13 soldiers accused of the death of B’laan tribal leader Daguil Capion’s wife and two sons on October 18 in remote Kimlawis village in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.

Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, said that what they would like to happen is that they want the higher headquarters of the Philippine Army to compose the military tribunal and not the 10th ID itself to dispel suspicions of a whitewash.

“As of now our request is still pending there but we expect for the answer soonest possible time to start the court-martial,” Paniza said.

He said the 10th ID has direct supervision over the 27th Infantry Battalion, the unit to which the accused soldiers—Lt. Dante Jimenez, Sergeants Dennis Murillo and Rommel Ballenas; Corporals Robert Godio, Ayiha Namla, Brucekhan Sahali, Bashir Said, Julah Majid and Jemson Jadjuli; and Privates 1st Class Marlowe Gayamot, Joel Lopez, Darryl Tayamora and Richard Julian—belong.

“We would like the truth to come out, so we requested the higher headquarters to create the court-martial and hear their case to avoid (perceptions of) bias,” he said.

He said the venue of the trial is still at the 10th ID headquarters in Camp Manuel Yan in Mawab town in Compostela Valley.

“Once the jury is already constituted we expect it to be as speedy as other trials,” Paniza said, adding all accused are also entitled to have legal counsels of their own for fair trial.

Last week, the Board of Inquiry formed by the 10th ID said it found probable cause to charge the soldiers with violations of the Articles of War in a court-martial for the deaths of Juvy Capion and her sons, Pop, 13 and John, 8, during a military operation.

While maintaining that the deaths of Capion’s wife and sons stemmed from a legitimate encounter, the BOI said Jimenez and his men committed tactical lapses.

While 27th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Alexis Bravo was not included on the list of those to be charged, Paniza said Bravo has resigned his post “to allow other third-party groups to investigate freely and to prove that there is no cover-up in the search for truth in this incident.”

He said Bravo’s resignation took effect immediately and he was replaced by Lt. Col. Shalimar Imperial.

Bravo’s action was “laudable and an example of a true gentleman and a courageous leader who is willing to accept the consequences of his action and of his subordinates,” he said. (ASA)

 

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Autopsy report of 4 slain soldiers shows torture marks

By Anthony S. Allada

DAVAO CITY – The autopsy report of four soldiers killed by communist rebels in Paquibato district here on November 4 showed torture marks and stab and gunshot wounds, according to a military official here.

“This a clear manifestation that the victims were tortured before they were brutally killed. One of them was even stabbed in the neck, said Major Jake Obligado, commander of the Civil Military Operation (CMO) Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division.

Obligado said this revelation is to counter the denial of the New People’s Army (NPA) that the four members of the 60th Infantry Battalion’s Peace and Development Team were not massacred but were killed in a legitimate encounter.

In a statement, the NPA cited that the four were killed when they “fought it out” against the members of the 1st PBC-NPA who mounted a check point in Purok 5, Barko-Barko, Mapula, Paquibato District.

The NPA cited that one of the military troops “died several meters away from the scene, while an NPA member was wounded in the ensuing troops engagement.”

It even claimed that three .45 caliber pistols were also confiscated by the NPA from the soldiers in the incident.  These were a 7.45 limited with serial number 974502), a Colt 45 with serial number 184419, and a Norimco .45 (SN: 4234).”

But Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th ID, challenged the NPA to present the recovered firearms to make them believe that the slain soldiers were armed during the incident.

Paniza said that granting that the soldiers were armed at that time, they had still no capability to fight since they were on board motorcycles.

“We condemn to the highest degree this recent barbaric act of the notorious group New People’s Army that massacred four of our men without considering that they were non-combatant that time,” he said in a statement.

He said that the military is gaining momentum in harmonizing with the community and “that’s what the NPA is afraid of.”

“Thus, they are doing these offensive tactics to hamper our peace and development projects and to threaten the people supporting the Army’s endeavour,” he said.

Meanwhile, Obligado said that the four soldiers, who were earlier brought to the Villa Funeral Homes in Salvacion, Panabo City, were already sent to their respective homes.

They were Private First Class’ Ahian Vir Dolero, Marvin Lauronal, Noel Sigan and Private Marcelo Himaya. (ASA)

 

Digos mayor cries foul over paint splashing, tearing of tarps

By Anthony S. Allada

DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur – Mayor Joseph Peñas cried foul over the splashing of red paints on three tarpaulins his supporters installed in three different major areas in the city.

Peñas said some of the tarpaulins were also teared by sharp objects, primarily targeting his own pictures.

“This is a desperate move perpetrated by my political rivals. Election is still few months away but they already engaged in a smear drive,” he said.

Peñas, who is seeking re-election against Governor Douglas Cagas in the coming polls,  said that while his opponents have continued to attack him and his partymates in the Liberal Party, he would just take them as political flavors.

“We will just let them to attack us now. At the end of the day, we will be ready as the last minute for the election comes,” he said.

Peñas explained that there was no “politicking” in putting up tarpaulins in major places in the city and in the 27 barangays because it contains an information that the city is a recipient of the Seal of Good Housekeeping conferred by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) with a corresponding P28-million cash prize.

“So what’s wrong with that?” he asked, adding that even Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable only knew about the award upon seeing the tarpaulin.

He said it is but right for the people to know about the recognition because it is just like telling them that it was made possible through their full cooperation with the initiatives of the local government.

Peñas said that the cash prize was already appropriated mainly for the road improvement of the public market and other projects. (ASA)

 

DPWH 11 allocates P1.5-B for tourism road networks in 2013

By Anthony S. Allada

DAVAO CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 11 is appropriating P1.5-billion worth of projects geared towards developing road networks connecting the region’s various tourist destinations starting next year.

DPWH 11 regional director Mariano Alquiza said that the amount forms part of the agency’s P7.7-billion budget appropriation for its 2013 infrastructure projects.

Alquiza said Davao City gets P305-million from the bulk with P261-million of which going to the city’s third district of Rep. Isidro Ungab, Davao del Norte with P395-million, Davao del Sur with P365-million and Davao Oriental with P470-million. The province of Compostela Valley did not identify projects for tourism roads.

He said among the projects in the city to be paved are the concreting of the Lacson-Lamanan-Inayangan-Megkawayan Road and Mintal-Bago Oshiro-Bago Gallera Road, and the asphalting to concreting of Bayabas-Eden Road.

In Davao del Norte, its priorities for tourism road networks are the completion of the concreting of Island Garden City of Samal Circumferential Road and the Panabo City Coastal Road.

While in Davao del Sur, tourism roads from Barangay Cogon to Kapatagan in Digos City will be paved and also the concreting of Padada road going to Piapi, the supposed area for the developed Crocodile Park of the province.

In Davao Oriental, the roads connecting to Pusan Point in Caraga town and Mt. Hamiguitan in San Isidro will also be paved.

Alquiza said that aside from tourism road networks, the department’s main infrastructure projects are the paving of national arterial and secondary roads where the total appropriation of which for 2013 reached to more than P5-billion.

Other infrastructure projects include construction of bridges with an budget allocation of P508-million distributed to all provinces and Davao City, flood control projects amounting to P137-million, basic education facilities with a budget of P512-million. (ASA)

 

Davao officials laud Obama’s reelection

By Anthony S. Allada

DAVAO CITY – Officials here welcomed the re-election of Unites States President Barrack Obama who handidly defeated Gov. Mitt Romney in what could be a bitter and historically expensive race that was primarily fought in just a handful of battleground states.

“The re-election of US Pres. Barrack Obama augurs well for the Phil-US relations. What was started by Pres. Obama and the Pnoy administration can now proceed and further strengthen in terms of economic, diplomatic, security and scientific cooperation,” said Third District Rep. Isidro Ungab, who chairs the powerful house committee’s ways and means.

Ungab said that “as long-term partners, the successes of the Obama administration will surely trickle down to the Philippines which has lately shown its vast economic potentials as a rising economic tiger in Asia.”

First District Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles congratulated Obama for his hard-earmed victory.

“Now that the dust has settled, we hope that President Obama will lend an ear to the voices from multiple sides on the various issues that surfaced during the campaign – on the economy, healthcare and foreign policy, among others,” Nograles said.

He said that “we wish that the President will rise from this election as a unifying force for America to bring a stronger economy, a healthier citizenry and to bring peace. We also hope his administration will benefit the Filipino-American communities, our Filipinos working in the US, our veterans, and of course, the Philippines as we pursue various partnerships and collaborations for our mutual economic growth, progress and peace.”

Another official, Digos Mayor Joseph Peñas was also all praises for Obama.

“That’s expected. He deserved it. He is a great leader with a vision.” Peñas said in a text message.

Obama beat Romney after nabbing almost every one of the 12 crucial battleground states.

The Romney campaign’s last-ditch attempt to put blue-leaning Midwestern swing states in play failed as Obama’s Midwestern firewall sent the president back to the White House for four more years. Obama picked up the swing states of New Hampshire, Michigan, New Mexico, Iowa, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Ohio. Of the swing states, Romney picked up only North Carolina. Florida is still too close to call, but even if Romney wins the state, Obama still beat him in the Electoral College vote. The popular vote will most likely be narrower than the president’s decisive Electoral College victory.

In his victory speech, Obama thanked every American who voted, and vowed to work with leaders from both parties to tackle the country’s challenges.

“Our economy is recovering, a decade of war is ending, a long campaign is now over,” he told a crowd of cheering supporters in Chicago. “And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you and you have made me a better president.” Obama added he has “never been more hopeful about America. … We’re not as divided as our politics suggest. We remain more than a collection of blue states and red states.”

In his speech, he offered clues to the policy goals of his second term, which included a deficit reduction plan that combines tax increases with spending cuts, a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s federal immigration laws and tax reform. He called on Republicans to join him in achieving those goals.

Lawmen closing in on big-time wanted carnapper

By Anthony S. Allada

DAVAO CITY – The crack team composed of several law enforcement agencies here and abroad tasked to conduct manhunt operation against notorious and illusive Ryan Cain “Baktin” Yu has already a lead on his whereabouts and just waiting for the right timing to arrest him.

“We have already a lead but we cannot divulge yet the details so as not to jeopardize our on going manhunt operation,” said Sr. Supt. Greg Pimentel, regional chief of the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group 11 here.

Pimentel said that they are very extra-careful in their “operational plans” to pursue Yu, who carries a P5-million reward on his head offered by Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, while they are also still busy filing more cases against him and other suspects.

“Actually we are so busy right now. While we are the lead agency to run after Yu, we are also moving double time to act on the documents to be filed in court against the carnapping suspects,” he said.

He also appealed to owners of recovered carnapped  vehicles to be patient in claiming their vehicles since they have to undergo due process to avoid technicalities.

This came after some vehicle owners were pressuring them to immediately turn over their vehicles to them.

The PNP-HPG 11 headquarters now looks like a motorpool with more than 30 carnapped vehicles, which had been recovered two weeks, occupying the small parking area.

“We have no other area to use. So we have to bear the burden to use this as holding area of these motor vehicles,” Pimentel said. (ASA)

Peñas dares Cagas to name politicians with private armies

By Anthony S. Allada

DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur – Mayor Joseph Peñas challenged political rival Governor Douglas Cagas to name politicians allegedly employing private armies or Partisan Armed Groups (PAGs) that could be used by means of violence to win the upcoming May 13, 2013 mid-term elections.

“If he is brave enough to come out in the open, he should name names,” Peñas told the Edge Davao in an interview Tuesday morning at his residence in Estrada I here.

Peñas, who is seeking reelection against Cagas, said that only him and incumbent Vice Governor and first district congressional aspirant Arsenio Latasa are known politicians in the city that Cagas might be referring to in his earlier revelation.

During the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting last week in Davao City, Cagas asked the Police Regional Office 11 to contain the existence of PAGs in his province employed by incumbent officials, especially mentioning Digos City, Jose Abad Santos and Malita.

He described the incoming polls in the province to be the bloodiest to happen because of the presence of the so-called PAGs.

But Peñas, a lawyer and certified public accountant, said that since he has been a politician in the late 1980’s he never engaged in hiring henchmen, adding he is only in the company of his driver-bodyguard who is a policeman.

He said Cagas has been very vocal about the existence of PAGs when he himself had been even hiring bodyguards known to be involved in gun-for-hire operations.

“Look, who has been talking now?”  Peñas asked.

This was the first time that Peñas and Cagas are squaring off for the mayoral post after the latter opted not to seek reelection in the gubernatorial race but instead fielded his son, Marc Douglas Cagas IV, who is the incumbent first district congressman, against former second district Rep. Claude Bautista.

Latasa is running against third and last termer first district board member Mercedes Cagas, the governor’s wife. (ASA)

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