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Archive for May 16th, 2007

Body dug up in Bataan not Burgos’ — police

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 07:44pm (Mla time) 05/16/2007

MANILA, Philippines — It was a false alarm.

Human remains dug up in Abucay town, Bataan province were not those of missing activist Jonas Burgos, after a check with dental records failed to match, a police official said.

Burgos’ family, officials of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and the police Task Force Usig trooped there on Tuesday to see the remains, which initially fit the activist’s description, said Police Director Geary Barias, chief of the police Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM).

“The dental records did not match,” Barias told reporters in Camp Crame.

Asked if there were indications that Burgos was still alive, Barias said: ‘I could not forward any guess on that.”

Burgos, a consultant for the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) went missing last April 28. He was reportedly abducted at a Quezon City mall.

Leftwing militants claimed Army troops abducted Burgos. Military officials denied this.

Barias said Task Force Usig has questioned two Army personnel from the 56th Infantry Battalion, which was linked to the abduction after the plate number of the alleged kidnap vehicle was traced to a seized vehicle impounded at the said battalion’s headquarters in Norzagaray town, Bulacan province.

The Army said the license plate could have been stolen from the camp. Nonetheless, the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Melquaides Feliciano, was relieved to give way to a “speedy and impartial” investigation.

Barias said Task Force Usig questioned Private First Class Jose Villena and Corporal Castro Bugallon, who signed an Army logbook when the environment department vehicle was impounded.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-05-16T13:42:55+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Wed, 16 May 2007 13:42:55 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm05

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153 of 380 election period incidents ‘political’ — PNP

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Joel Guinto
First posted 18:41:06 (Mla time) May 16, 2007

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has so far validated 153 “politically motivated” violent incidents of the 380 recorded over the election period while 103 more incidents are being validated.

PNP Director General Oscar Calderon has formed a special task force to investigate election-related violent incidents (ERVIs) and come up with results “ASAP” (as soon as possible), appointing Director Geary Barias, chief of the PNP’s Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM), to head the group.

Quoting DIDM statistics, Barias said there have been 380 violent incidents since the election period started on January 14, of which 153 were “politically motivated,” 124 were “not politically motivated,” and 103 tagged “for validation.”

Of the 153 politically-motivated incidents, 55 were cases of “harassment” that did not case injury or death, 57 resulted in injuries, while 41 incidents were fatal, Barias said.

Of the 124 cases that did not involve politics, 27 were cases of harassment, 41 led to injuries, 49 were fatal, and seven cases were abductions, he added.

Of the 103 cases being validated, 48 are harassment cases, 28 caused injuries, 21 were killings and six were abductions.

“I’ve strengthened my investigation team to be headed by General Barias…They will thresh out which cases are really election-related, which are not related [to the elections], which are [cases of] terrorism, and which are NPA [New People’s Army] activities,” Calderon said.

The PNP chief said the alert in Metro Manila has been lowered to the second-lowest level, or heightened, while that in the rest of the country remains at full, the highest level.

“The time frame is ASAP,” Barias said when asked if Calderon set a deadline to finish the investigation. “We are shifting to investigation mode, as ordered by the Chief, PNP.”

Barias said Calderon ordered him to investigate first the burning of a school building used as a polling precinct in Taysan town, Batangas province, in which two teachers died.

He said there were “strong indications” that the NPA had been hired by local candidates to carry out the attack.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-05-16T11:01:18+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Wed, 16 May 2007 11:01:18 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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Indonesian terror suspect still in Sulu — military

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By Joel Guinto
First posted 18:40:32 (Mla time) May 16, 2007

MANILA, Philippines — Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) explosives bomb expert Dulmatin is still in Sulu, a military spokesman said, as he belied reports the Indonesian terror suspect has escaped to nearby Tawi-Tawi island.

A check with Major General Ruben Rafael, the chief of the
anti-terrorism Task Force Comet, confirmed that Dulmatin remains in the southern Philippine province with other al Qaeda-linked leaders, said Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, Armed Forces public information officer.

“I have talked with General Rafael just this [Wednesday] morning,” Bacarro told reporters. “Dulmatin is still in the area.”

Bacarro also confirmed recent sightings of Dulmatin in Sulu, where some 8,000 troops are running after the so-called “high value targets” and a Naval blockade has sealed off the island.

Reports circulated that Dulmatin had slipped to Tawi-Tawi after his four children were taken into custody by government officials following a raid on a suspected terrorist lair on Simunul Island Friday.

Dulmatin, and another JI bomb expert, Umar Patek, are reportedly seeking refuge in Sulu with the Abu Sayyaf. The two are suspects in the 2002 bomb attacks in Bali, Indonesia that killed over 200 people.

“We do believe that the high-value targets are still in the island,” Bacarro said.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-05-16T11:00:10+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Wed, 16 May 2007 11:00:10 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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2 Lakas bets killed in shootout with solon’s aide

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By Eldie Aguirre, Orlando Dinoy, Joel Guinto
Last updated 05:44pm (Mla time) 05/16/2007

DIGOS CITY, Philippines – (UPDATE) A father and his son, who ran for different positions in the province of Davao del Sur, were killed during a shootout with security escorts of Representative Claude Bautista around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Initial police reports said Danny Sarmiento, a candidate for provincial board member under the administration Lakas party, tried to shoot Bautista for still unclear reasons.

Bautista’s escorts fired back, hitting Sarmiento.

His father, former board member Isidro Sarmiento, who ran under Lakas in the Malita town’s mayoral race, was also killed in the process.

Bautista was unharmed but his escort, identified as Tito Alipaopao, was injured.

But Senior Superintendent Anselmo Pinili said that at around 3 p.m., a staffer of Sarmiento was walking outside the municipal hall in the poblacion district, carrying some documents, which supporters of Bautista thought were election materials.

This sparked an argument, prompting Sarmiento and his son to emerge from the canvassing site. Father and son were supporters of Bautista’s rival, Davao del Sur Representative Douglas Cagas, Pinili said.

Father and son were armed with .45-caliber pistols. Pinili said it was not immediately clear who fired the first shot.

“They went out with their guns, and the shootout began,” Pinili said in a phone interview.

Sarmiento died on the spot while his son was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.

Once civilian, a supporter of Bautista, was injured and brought to the hospital for treatment.

“Sarmiento was losing in the count but he was there to guard [Cagas] votes,” Pinili said.

Originally posted at 04:48 pm

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-05-16T10:13:56+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Wed, 16 May 2007 10:13:56 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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Army Lieutenant, 6 others killed in NPA ambush in Abra

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 04:00pm (Mla time) 05/16/2007

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) An Army lieutenant and six of his men were killed and three others were wounded after they were ambushed by suspected communist rebels in the northern province of Abra at dawn on Wednesday, a military spokesman said.

Troops from the 41st Infantry Battalion were on patrol in Baoyan village at around 5:45 a.m. when they were attacked by an estimated 40
New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, who had set up a road blockade, said Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro.

Bacarro said the rebels were planning to intercept a delivery of ballot boxes, after having been paid by a local candidate, whom he refused to identify, for a “permit to win” fee.

“The group of NPAs was planning to snatch ballot boxes coming from
Manaba town,” Bacarro said, adding that the ambush triggered an hour-long encounter.

The identities of victims were not immediately available. The six other fatalities, aside from the lieutenant, include five enlisted men and a militiaman, Bacarro said.

Originally posted at 01:20 pm

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-05-16T10:13:05+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Wed, 16 May 2007 10:13:05 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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5 dead, 19 hurt in bus collision in Lucena City

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 12:26pm (Mla time) 05/16/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Five people were killed and 19 others wounded when two passenger buses collided in Lucena City, Quezon province late Tuesday evening, a police official said.

At around 11:15 p.m., a Manila-bound JAC Liner bus (plate number CVB-508) was cruising along Diversion road in Gulang-Gulang village when a Lucena-bound JAM Transit bus (TYG-422) on the opposite lane swerved into its path and hit head-on, said Inspector Romeo Uy, chief of the Lucena police’s investigation division.

Three passengers on the JAC Liner bus and two on the JAM Transit bus were killed, Uy said in a phone interview.

The nineteen wounded included the JAC Liner driver, Jaime Magtoto, and the JAM Transit driver, Reynante Carabido, Uy said.

Uy said the cause of the accident had not been determined. He said investigators will question the two drivers when they are well enough.

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Written by joelguinto

Wed+00:002007-05-16T10:12:09+00:00+00:0005b+00:00Wed, 16 May 2007 10:12:09 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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