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Archive for May 10th, 2007

Bayan Muna continues to lose ground — survey

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 12:03am (Mla time) 05/11/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The leftwing Bayan Muna partylist continued to lose ground among voters, but remained likely to retain three seats in the House of Representatives, according to a survey conducted in the homestretch of the campaign.

In the May 2-4 poll of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Social Weather Stations (SWS), Bayan Muna got 8.4 percent of the votes cast for partylist groups, down from 10.4 percent in the April 14-17 survey, and 27.6 percent in the March 15-18 survey.

Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party was also poised to keep its three House seats, with 8.2 percent of the votes.

A group needs two percent of the total votes cast for the partylist elections to get a seat in Congress. It is entitled to a maximum of three seats.

Fifteen other groups satisfied the two-percent rule:

1. Luzon Farmers Party or Butil (4.9 percent)

2. Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (4.2 percent)

3. Gabriela Women’s Party (3.9 percent)

4. A Teacher (3.6 percent)

5. Ahon Pinoy (3.5 percent)

6. Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption or Cibac, (3.5 percent)

7. Aangat Tayo (3.0 percent)

8. Agriculture Sector Alliance of the Philippines or Agap (2.7 percent)

9. Anakpawis (2.7 percent)

10. Ahonbahayan (2.6 percent)

11. Coop-Natco (2.3 percent)

12. Abakada Guro (2.2 percent)

13. Kabataan (2.1 percent)

14. Anak Mindanao (2.1 percent)

15. Kapatiran ng mga KUlong na Walang Sala Inc. or Kakusa (2.0 percent).

Fifteen others were below the two-percent threshold, but were “within statistical reach” of winning one seat:

1. Abanse Pinay (1.9 percent)

2. Cocofed (1.8 percent)

3. Abono (1.7 percent)

4. Asahan Mo (1.5 percent)

5. Alagad (1.5 percent)

6. Veteran’s Freedom Party or VFP (1.5 percent)

7. 1-Utak (1.5 percent)

8. Suara Bangsamoro (1.5 percent)

9. Aba-Ako (1.4 percent)

10. Almana (1.3 percent)

11. Association of Philippine Electric Cooperative or APEC (1.3 percent)

12. Anak (1.2 percent)

13. Akbay Pinoy OFW Inc. or APOI (1.1 percent)

14. Batas (1.0 percent)

15. Assalam Bangsamoro People’s Party (1.0 percent)

The nationwide poll showed that 53 percent of the 1,200 respondents chose a partylist group from the official list of groups accredited by the Commission on Elections.

The SWS said the 53 percent could translate to 23.9 million votes in the May 14 balloting.

The study had a margin of error of +/-3 percent.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer is the parent company of INQUIRER.net.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002007-05-10T16:23:07+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Thu, 10 May 2007 16:23:07 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm05

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Villanueva won’t endorse more senatorial bets

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 06:42pm (Mla time) 05/10/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Evangelist Eduardo “Brother Eddie” Villanueva has dropped his plans to endorse four more senatorial candidates after an alleged attack by Army troops on his son’s campaign headquarters in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Villanueva admitted TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) Unity candidates were among 10 candidates short-listed to round off his pick of 12 Senate bets, but he said members of the screening committee that interviews the candidates are out of town or the country.

“We are so afraid that [the interviews] for the remaining four slots will not be finished… The endorsement might not push through and the choice will be given to different groups, the right to choose their candidates,” Villanueva told reporters.

Asked if he was concerned that his move could be interpreted as getting back at government for the alleged attack on his son, Villanueva said: “There is no relation between the two. I’m for the truth. I side with the truth. There is no political color here.”

Villanueva, leader of the Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Movement, has endorsed eight candidates: Senator Francis Pangilinan, an independent, and opposition candidates Loren Legarda, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Manuel Villar, Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Panfilo Lacson.

On Wednesday, Army troops filed murder charges against Eduardo “Jonjon” Villanueva Jr., who is running for Bocaue town mayor in Bulacan province.

The charge stemmed from allegations the young Villanueva’s men fired at Army troops who were on their way back to base from a surveillance mission in Bocaue on Friday evening last week.

Villanueva’s camp claimed the soldiers strafed their campaign headquarters.

The JIL leader decried the charges as “political harassment” and said his son would file attempted murder charges against the Army men.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002007-05-10T14:19:02+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Thu, 10 May 2007 14:19:02 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm05

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Bayan Muna’s Casiño charged for obstruction of justice

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Over arrest of Leyte ‘rebel leader’

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 05:47pm (Mla time) 05/10/2007

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Bayan Muna (People First) Representative Teodoro Casiño and another civilian have been charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly attempting to prevent the arrest of a man the military claims is a rebel leader wanted on murder charges.

Reacting to the filing of the case, Casiño said: “It’s a wild and crazy charge.”

Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr., Philippine Army spokesman, said police filed the complaint before the Ormoc City, Leyte prosecutor’s office against Casiño and Teodoro Dacera, owner of the Ormoc house where troops of the 19th Infantry Battalion served a warrant of arrest against Vicente Borja Monday evening.

Casiño was meeting with supporters, including Borja, when the troops arrived.

The Bayan Muna solon questioned the arrest and accompanied Borja to an Army base, where he was briefly detained before being transferred to the Ormoc City jail.

Torres said Casiño and Dacera “obstructed” the arrest of Borja, who left-wing militants said is a member and local campaign leader of the party list group Anakpawis (Toiling Masses).

The military claims Borja is a member of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is tasked with securing financial and logistics support for guerilla fighters.

Torres said Borja is charged with two counts of murder and is also facing rebellion and attempted destruction to property charges.

But Casiño earlier said the warrants the soldiers brought were “defective” since they did not name Borja but either aliases or a “Tata” Borja. He also said the arrest was illegal since only the police, not soldiers, may serve warrants of arrest.

He reiterated this Thursday, saying the charges were “a squid tactic to hide the fact that they had a defective warrant, they violated arrest procedures, and they arrested the wrong person.”

“All I did was insist they observe Borja’s rights because they’re so used to abusing their police powers, they consider it obstruction,” he added.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002007-05-10T10:09:06+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Thu, 10 May 2007 10:09:06 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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Twin rebel ambuscades ‘show of force’ — Army

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To ‘justify extortion’

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 04:45pm (Mla time) 05/10/2007

MANILA, Philippines – The twin ambuscades in the central Philippines on Thursday that left five policemen and a soldier dead and at least eight other government security personnel wounded were a “show of force” by communist guerillas to justify their extortion activities, a spokesman for the Philippine Army said.

“This is a show of force to justify the permit to campaign and the revolutionary tax,” Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr. said in a phone interview.

“Historically, when the election nears, the NPA [New People’s Army] steps up attacks and harassment activities. This is a tactic to project [the] image that they are a threat,” Torres said.

At around 6:15 a.m., an Army soldier was killed while three others were wounded after their vehicle was fired upon by suspected NPA fighters in Pinapugasan village, Escalante City, Negros Occidental province.

Then, at around 7:30 a.m., a police convoy in San Jose town, Occidental Mindoro province was ambushed. Five policemen died and five others were wounded.

The NPA charges election candidates for permits to campaign before they can woo votes within territory where the rebels wield influence. They also charge “revolutionary taxes” from local businessmen to fund their operations.

Government forces have set a 2010 deadline to finish off the 7,100-strong NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has been waging a guerilla campaign from the countryside for nearly four decades.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002007-05-10T10:08:18+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Thu, 10 May 2007 10:08:18 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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Soldier killed, 3 others wounded in NPA ambush

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 03:32pm (Mla time) 05/10/2007

MANILA, Philippines — One Army soldier was killed and three others were wounded after they were ambushed by suspected communist rebels in Negros Occidental province on Thursday, a military spokesman said.

At around 6:15 a.m., soldiers from the 33rd Division were riding a multi-cab mini-truck in the vicinity of Pinapugasan village, Escalante City, when they were fired on by some 30 New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas, sparking a 20-minute firefight, said Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr., Army public affairs chief.

Torres said the troops had just left their company headquarters at the time of the attack.

Earlier Thursday, at around 7:30 a.m., five policemen were killed while five others were wounded in another NPA ambush in Batasan village, San Jose town, Occidental Mindoro province, the military said.

Government forces have set a 2010 deadline to finish off the 7,100-strong NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has been waging a guerilla campaign from the countryside for nearly four decades.

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002007-05-10T08:17:31+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Thu, 10 May 2007 08:17:31 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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5 cops killed in NPA ambush in Occidental Mindoro

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By Marlon Ramos
Southern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 01:05pm (Mla time) 05/10/2007

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna — Five policemen were killed and five others were wounded after they were ambushed by suspected communist rebels in the central province of Occidental Mindoro Thursday morning, military and police officials said.

Senior Superintendent Audie Arroyo, Occidental Mindoro police chief, said the policemen were on their way to secure a political campaign rally of re-electionist Governor Josephine Sato, a staunch supporter of the government’s anti-insurgency program, when some 30 members of the New People’s Army started firing after the police vehicle hit a landmine on a rural road in San Jose.

Arroyo said the five policemen were killed instantly along Sitio (sub-village) Tugtugin, Barangay (village) Batasan at around 7:30 a.m., said Arroyo and Lieutenant Colonel Rhoderick Parayno, spokesman of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command (Solcom).

Arroyo identified the fatalities as Police Officer 3 Leonardo Medilla, Police Officers 2 Nelson Barrientos, Gabriel Ordanes, Rommel Caleze, and Alberto Hilario.

Wounded were PO3 Elmer Legayada, PO1 Ronnie Rivera, PO2 Joel Viscarra, and PO3 Mario Barbosa and a certain PO2 Villaflores, Arroyo said.

All were members of the Police Provincial Mobile Group, an anti-insurgency unit, he said.

Arroyo said the slain policemen were part of a 15-man advance security detail of Governor Sato, who was scheduled to hold 10 a.m. miting de avance at the capital town.

“Some of my men were walking ahead of the vehicle. When the landmine exploded, the NPAs started shooting. They apparently used the explosion as a signal when to attack,” Arroyo said in a mobile phone interview.

The policemen shot it out with the rebels, who eventually withdrew to the mountains after a few minutes.

Arroyo said his policemen saw the rebels carrying at least two wounded comrades.

He said the police and Army soldiers were in pursuit of the rebels.

Arroyo said it was possible that the NPA unit behind the ambush was the same group that abducted re-electionist Mayor Alex Aranas of the town of Pola in Oriental Mindoro last Friday.

With reports from Joel Guinto and Thea Alberto, INQUIRER.net; Originally posted at 12:47pm

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002007-05-10T08:16:57+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Thu, 10 May 2007 08:16:57 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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Eddie Villanueva cries foul over murder raps vs son

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Accuses admin of ‘harassment’

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 03:40pm (Mla time) 05/10/2007

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Evangelist Eduardo “Brother Eddie” Villanueva, leader of the Jesus Is Lord Movement and former presidential candidate, decried the military’s filing of murder charges against one of his sons, calling it part of the alleged “political harassment” aimed at administration critics.

villanueva-couple.jpg

At a news conference, Villanueva said the case against Bocaue, Bulacan mayoralty candidate Eduardo “Jonjon” Villanueva Jr. was “concocted” and that they planned to file murder charges against Army soldiers who allegedly strafed the campaign headquarters of his son last Friday.

“I believe the attempt on the life of my son and the malicious, unwarranted charges are nothing but pure harassment directed at me,” Villanueva said. “In the name of the Lord, I appeal to the administration to stop all this political harassment and political killings.”

“My son is a mere victim, because I, his father, had been consistently a principled fiscalizer [sic] in a way of this desperate administration,” he added.

The Army claimed that the young Villanueva’s men fired at troops who were returning to base after a surveillance mission.

One soldier was killed in the incident.

But the Villanuevas claimed that the shootout was instigated by soldiers who tore down their posters.

Sought for comment, Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres Jr. said in a phone interview: “It’s not political harassment. The police and the military have sufficient basis to file charges.”

“We’re still standing by the report. We have been consistent. The troops were coming home from a surveillance mission and they were fired at. It was not an attack on Villanueva’s headquarters.”

Villanueva claimed that two nights ago, five men on board an “army-type” jeep were spotted asking around in Bocaue, looking for his son’s house.

He also cited the alleged bugging of former president Corazon Aquino’s house and the eleventh hour suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay as proof of the alleged harassment of government critics.

“In the name of the Lord, I appeal to this administration, to stop all
this political harassment and political killings, not for the sake of my family, but for the sake of our beloved country and people. Give democracy a chance,” he said.

Asked if he believed that Malacañang was behind the alleged harassment, Villanueva said: “That is a great possibility according to my friends… There could also be supporters who want to please [the Palace] that they think of this kind of wickedness.”

The JIL leader faced the media at the office of his UHF television station Zoe 11 with his wife, Dory Villanueva, his son, Cibac party-list Representative Joel Villanueva, and daughters Joni and Jovi.

Jayjay was at his “miting de avace” or final campaign rally in Bocaue, his father said.

Villanueva’s wife broke down in tears twice during the news conference.

After regaining her composure, she said: “Sila ang nanira, nang-atake, tapos ang kakasuhan pa ang anak ko? [They are the ones who did us wrong and attacked, yet they filed charges against my son].”

The Villanueva family’s lawyer, Virginia Jose, said frustrated murder charges would be filed against eleven soldiers who had been questioned by police after the shooting last week.

Originally posted at 01:47 pm

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Written by joelguinto

Thu+00:002007-05-10T08:16:18+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Thu, 10 May 2007 08:16:18 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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