Thursday, January 26, 2012

Properties of Renato Corona

Some of the properties acquired by Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona and his wife, Maria Cristina Corona were divulged during the sixth day of the impeachment trial against the Chief Justice before the Senate Impeachment Court on Wednesday.

During her testimony, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares authenticated a certified true copy of a certificate authorizing registration (CAR), showing the buyer as Cristina Corona dated Sept. 16, 2005 and valid until 2006 with acquisition cost of P9,159,940 for a property in Global City, Taguig City, particularly Bellagio Condominium property.

Also presented was a certified true copy of a CAR with name of the buyer spouses Renato Corona and Cristina Corona on a 303.3 square meters (sq. m.) property in Bellagio valued at P14,510,225.00 dated Dec. 17, 2009 valid until 2010.

It was also disclosed that a property in the name of the buyer Renato Corona and Cristina Corona with acquisition cost of P2,508,000 dated Dec. 8, 2003.

Likewise, a CAR showing the seller as Cristina Corona of a property consisting of a parcel of land measuring 1,200 sq.m. costing P18 million dated Oct. 22, 2010.

Henares also authenticated a CAR showing a 260-sq.m. property sold on March 12, 2010 with selling price P8 million.

She testified on the shares of stock in the Palms and Country Club, Inc. dated Dec. 5, 2011 with selling price of P700,000, whose buyers are spouses Renato Corona and Cristina Corona.

Salary and Assets of Renato Corona

The prosecution team of the House of Representatives on Wednesday said it has proven that the salary of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona was not enough to afford his acquired properties, citing the testimony of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares.

Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, one of the prosecution’s spokesmen, in a press briefing, claimed the chief justice accumulated P200 million worth of properties "that are not supported by his compensation income."

"Malinaw na umabot ang assets (sa halagang) hindi naman kaya suportahan ng kanyang sahod... Sa kabila ng pagpapababa ng value, malaki pa rin ang disparity sa salary niya at sa assets na accumulated niya," he said.

In today's impeachment trial, Henares testified that the chief justice earned up to P657,000 during his tenure at the Supreme Court.

She also said that Corona did not file income tax returns (ITRs) from 2002 to 2010, but stated there was nothing wrong with this as the chief justice was on the "alpha list" of the Supreme Court.

Henares said that the Alpha List was being submitted to the BIR at the end of every year. It enumerates all employees of an employer and how much tax was withheld from their income.

Based on the testimony of the BIR chief and the documents submitted to the Senate impeachment court, Quimbo said the House prosecution was able to establish that the chief justice has no other means of income besides his earnings at the SC, since his assets are declared through the alpha list and not through ITRs.

He noted that under Republic Act 1379, or the Forfeiture Law, assets that are larger than one’s income are "presumed to be ill-gotten."

Corona Impeachment Explained

The defense team of embattled Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona on Wednesday said that they take exceptions to the "smoke and mirrors" trick Movement 188 alluded to in its news release launching a "grassroots campaign to explain all eight charges to their constituencies."

Defense Spokesman Atty. Ramon Esguerra objected to the allusion saying that, the defense did not know a thing on "smoke and mirrors" tricks.

Esguerra was a former Undersecretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

He said that "we are in the profession of upholding the Constitution and defending the rights of CJ Corona. We are for what is right and doing it the right way."

The defense team was not into "sidetracking the proceedings from evidence uncovered in the trial's first week already establishing the impeached magistrate's guilt," he said.

Esguerra suggested for Movement 188 "to have their eyes on the ball" because no offer of evidence has been made hence no guilt has been established.

He asked Movement 188 that as signatories of the "verified" impeachment complaint, they should explain first to the Impeachment Court and later to their constituents what Article II covers.

"How many of the 188 have personal knowledge of the charges found in the complaint? If you agreed to the charges, do you also agree that the sequence is immaterial? Were the 188 complainants able to review the evidence purported in the verified impeachment complaint and peddled by the prosecution?," Esguerra asked.

Wealth and Assets of Renato Corona

Presiding officer Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday explained the impeachment court ruling disallowing the prosecution from introducing evidence on the alleged ill-gotten wealth in the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

”Ill-gotten is a conclusion, so they have to present evidence. That’s why the factual matter that requires evidence is in paragraphs two and three,” Enrile said after the day 6 of the impeachment trial adjourned at 5:15 p.m.

During the trial, Enrile allowed the prosecution to introduce documents, through Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) commissioner Kim Henares, including certificate authorizing registration (CAR) of the properties purchased and sold by Corona and wife Cristina.

”We allowed paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3 because these are connected in the 2.4. So whether these unreported and excluded assets are ill-gotten wealth or legally-gotten wealth, they’ll have to be decided once the evidence of the assets is already evident,” Enrile said.

Under Article 2 of the impeachment complaints, the paragraph 2.2 refers to Corona’s failure to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth while 2.3 questions the respondent’s non-inclusion in his SALN some of his properties.

On the other hand, the prosecutors accused under paragraph 2.4 the respondent of having accumulated ill-gotten wealth, acquired assets of high values and keeping bank accounts with huge deposits.

”On the assets not included, they (prosecutors) have to prove it and that’s what they are doing now. Now, if it is legally-gotten, or illegally-gotten, that’s the conclusion. They have to show basis that he has bank deposits and which bank and not subpoena the bank without evidence,” Enrile further explained.

Richard Gomez Was Unfaithful to Dawn Zulueta

by Marinel Cruz, PDI

Dawn Zulueta revealed that she could have ended up with Richard Gomez if he had stayed faithful.

"We had potential," the actress said during a media gathering for "Walang Hanggan," the ABS-CBN series that reunites the former lovers on the small screen. "[Unfaithfulness] takes a toll on the girl in any relationship. She doesn't know where she stands. It's possible that the guy loves her but can't help himself. He probably doesn't have emotional attachments to the girls he dates on the side. Still, that's hard to accept. That was how I felt."

The couple were last seen in the 1991 hit drama, "Hihintayin Kita sa Langit," directed by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna.
Dawn, now married to Davao del Norte Rep. Anton Lagdameo Jr., said she was glad Richard settled down with Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez. "It takes a certain kind of a woman, like Lucy… she has so much confidence to allow her husband to work with an ex. He's so lucky," Dawn said.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Real Property Taxes in Pangasinan, Philippines

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) has extended for another six months or up to June 30, 2012 the period of condonation of interests, penalties and surcharges on unpaid realty taxes within the province of Pangasinan.

This was provided for by an ordinance proposed by Board Member Von Mark Mendoza when the one-year condonation as per Ordinance No 152-2011 approved by the SP from May last year expired last December 2011.

Board Member Mendoza said the extension was on account of the numerous appeals from taxpayers who failed to avail off the condonation when this was first offered.

Mendoza said the extension was made in order to accommodate those who failed to meet the Dec. 31, 2011 deadline.

It was Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. who asked the SP to enact Ordinance No. 152-1011 condoning interests, penalties and surcharges on unpaid real property taxes, responding to the earlier call of taxpayers for certain relief.

That ordinance was intended to help mitigate the payment of real property taxes based on another ordinance prescribing a scheme of payment of real property tax based on staggered implementation.

Records showed that when the condonation was offered from May to December last year, some landowners were not able to pay within the period.

Corollary to this, Provincial Assessor Nestor Quiambao, said that although some municipalities have not yet remitted their collection on realty taxes, tax collection in Pangasinan has registered an increase of P269 million in 2011 as a result of the implementation of the condonation on unpaid realty taxes.

Filipina Sentenced to 52 Years in Prison for a Crime

A former employee of a travel agency in Dumaguete City was sentenced to suffer a total of 52 years imprisonment after she was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for three counts of qualified theft lodged before the Regional Trial Court Branch 34 in Negros Oriental.

RTC Branch 34 Judge Rosendo Bandal, Jr. identified the accused as Cherie Mae Catan-Hipe, who was accused of pocketing more than P100,000 in cash in three different transactions of Eight Wonders Travel and Tours Inc, owned by Elsie Lee of Super Lee Plaza.

Court records show that Hipe, with grave abuse of confidence, with intent of gain and without the consent of the owner, took P31,109.00, which was paid by one Davida Manugas, a client of Eight Wonders Travel and Tours Inc. to apply for her Philippie Airlines ticket for a one-way flight from Manila to San Francisco, California in the United States of America.

A certain Geates Hay Picken also paid P51,712.50 to apply for his Qatar Airways ticket for a round trip flight from Cebu to Doha to Manchester to Doha to Cebu and the third client, Tony Casling paid P23,850.00 to apply for his Cathay Pacific Airways for a one-way flight from Cebu to Hong Kong to Auckland, New Zealand, all to the damage and prejudice of the travel agency.

In a 14-page decision, Judge Bandal imposed a total of 52 years imprisonment for Hipe, ordered her to restitute to Eight Wonders Travel and Tours Inc. the total amount of money she pocketed and to pay P20,000 in exemplary damages and another P20,000 in moral damages.

Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong for Governor in Negros Oriental

Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong of the 1st district of Negros Oriental has reiterated her intention to run for governor of Negros Oriental in the forthcoming local and national elections in 2013.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Rep. Limkaichong rated the probability of herself running for governor in 2013 at 8, which means that she is almost sure of challenging incumbent Governor Roel Degamo and former Finance Secretary Margarito Teves.

In an interview, Limkaichong confirmed that she is considering Mark Macias as her probable vice gubernatorial tandem.

The first district solon believes that Macias, son of the late Gov. Emilio Macias II, has the competence, integrity and sincerity, among other qualifications, in running the affairs of the Provincial Board.

Limkaichong said everything is running smoothly in her sorties all over the province together with Macias and that the people are very receptive of their tandem.

However, a lot of things can still happen from today up to the filing period for candidacies, adding that Macias can also run as Board Member.

In Dumaguete City, Limkaichong said she maintains good relationships with Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria, who is a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition but considered an ally of the Liberal Party to which she belongs.- PNA

Cast Away at Apo Island, Negros Oriental Philippines

A man who set out to sea in a styrofoam box last week was rescued on Monday off Apo Island in Dauin, Negros Oriental after strong ocean currents carried him away from his intended destination, the province of Cebu.

The man, who identified himself as Reynaldo Roque, 31, married, of San Isidro, Leyte, had left Sitio Canday-ong in Barangay Calindagan here likely several days after he was rescued on MOnday. He seemed to be not in his right state of mind when interviewed by police investigators, said SPO4 Joel Alcala, deputy police chief of Dauin.

Alcala said Bantay Dagat personnel in Apo Island found Roque adrift in a styrofoam box on Monday dawn and rushed him ashore. He was turned over to a police personnel assigned at Apo Island, who, in turn, brought him to the Dauin police station.

Roque was mostly incoherent during police investigation, but despite his perceived mental illness, Alcala said the man disclosed that he was wandering around Dumaguete for awhile, sleeping at parks and scrounging for food to survive. Sometimes he would go for days without food, he further claimed.

Before that, he found his way to Mabinay town, about two hours drive north of this capital, but was also made to ride a passenger bus back to Dumaguete.

The man also claimed he wanted to go to Cebu, where he has a cousin, to seek employment but that he did not have fare money.

Fire in Iloilo, Philippines Eats 190 Homes

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog here is eyeing the purchase by the city of the 1.8-hectare lot in Barangay Tanza Esperanza, site of last Sunday's big conflagration that razed down 190 houses and partially burned 10 more.

Mabilog said he is seeking to reach the lot owner, reportedly the Bedaña family to offer and purchase the lot so that the city government could start implementing site development in the area including a major roadway.

The fire in Tanza Esperanza razed to the ground some 80 percent of the houses, affecting 227 families and 1,140 persons. Neighbor barangays Tanza Timawa Zone 2 posted 27 totally burned and eight partially burned houses while Barangay Malipayon suffered 62 totally burned and four partially burned houses.

The city government is maintaining several relocation sites for the informal settlers taken out from the riverbanks and other danger zones. The bulk of relocated families are currently at the San Isidro relocation site in Jaro district, this city.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sinking Boat in Dumaguete City, Philippines

A month has passed since the cargo ship M/V Ever Transport III ran aground off the coast of Barangay Calindagan here last December 17 but it seems no effort has been made to salvage it until today.

Despite reassurances from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), public concern has surfaced anew over the possible effects on the marine environment and potential risks to mariners and the public with the vessel still not being retrieved from its current location.

The Steel Ray Salvaging Services has won the bid over another contender, the Uni-Orient Pearl Ventures, Inc., to salvage the grounded cargo ship, but its application for a permit from the PCG national headquarters has yet to be approved, Lt. Commander Agapito Bibat, chief of the PCG station in Dumaguete disclosed Wednesday.

According to Lt. Commander Bibat, the application for a permit to salvage is now sitting at the desk of the PCG Commandant at their central office for signature. Without such permit, the Steel Ray Salvaging Services cannot commence its operations to refloat and tow the M/V Ever Transport III, a cargo ship with a gross tonnage of 494.87 owned by Kheri Lines, Inc. based in Zamboanga City.

The Ever Transport III, which listed on its port side and with almost half of the ship submerged in water at high tide, has reportedly not shown signs of being dislodged from its original position since it ran aground last month due to tropical storm Sendong, as based on GPS plotting, said Bibat.

Philippine Broom - production of walis tambo

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has recently granted at least P1 million to residents involved in the production of walis tambo (reed broom) in this municipality.

DOLE provincial officer Engineer Pedro Fernando, Jr., said the grant was given to a group of broom makers in Barangay Maugat here.

This, as the broom making industry received another big boost as various agencies, including the local government unit (LGU) led by Mayor Arvin Salonga, featured walis tambo during the celebration of the 169th Feast of San Antonio Abad that culminated on Tuesday.

In a street dancing competition held here, participants wore costumes decorated by materials used in producing walis tambo such as panicles of tiger grass, bamboo sticks and strings to highlight the booming industry.

Tiger grass grows in abundance, particularly in swampy areas, in this town.

"Really, it's more fun in this part of the country where people go to the streets and witness the excellent performance of our students in street dancing," Dr. Angelita Salonga-Esquivel, co-chair of the fiesta celebration,said.

While the showdown was ongoing, several stalls that offered solely walis tambo with appropriate markings that showed they were made in this town were on display at the vicinity of the municipal gymnasium.

Gawad Kalasag Awards

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has conferred the "Gawad Kalasag" Awards to individuals and organizations, who have shown exemplary service in saving lives and properties in Region 1 during the onslaught of calamities last year.

The awardees were led by the Police Regional Office 1 (PRO1) headed by Police Chief Superintendent Franklin Jesus B. Bucayu, who received Certificates of Recognition from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council 1 (RDRRMC1).

The occasion was made during the recent Regional Awards Recognition of Excellence in Disaster Risk Management and Humanitarian Assistance held at the PRO1 Grandstand recently.

Gawad Kalasag is the recognition scheme of OCD in its search for excellence on disaster risk management and humanitarian assistance. It aims to recognize the outstanding performance of Local Disaster Coordinating Centers (LDCC's), private volunteer organizations, non-government organizations, donor agencies, and other stakeholders, in providing humanitarian response and assistance to affected communities.

The ceremony was spearheaded by the OCD Regional Office 1 under the leadership of Director Melchito M. Castro, who is also the chairperson of RDRRMC1.

"Gawad Kalinga also aims to recognize individuals, groups or institutions that have shown exemplary courage, heroism, self-sacrifice, and bravery against all odds in times of natural and human-induced emergencies and disasters," said Director Castro.

Other PRO1 personnel who were also awarded individual recognition included Police Chief Superintendent Roman A. Felix, Deputy Regional Director for Administration; Police Senior Superintendent Mansue N. Lukban, Deputy Regional Director for Operations;

Police Senior Superintendent Reynante G. Partible, chief of the Regional Police Community Relations Division (RPCRD); Police Senior Superintendent Alejandro M. Valerio, Jr., Battalion Commander of the Regional Public Safety Battalion 1 (RPSB1); Police Senior Superintendent Noel B. Amoyen; and Police Superintendent Angelito D. Dumangeng, acting chief of the Regional Operations and Plans Division (ROPD).

Bamban to Moncada Towns

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is fast tracking the improvement, widening, and concreting of the 53-kilometer road which starts from Bamban to Moncada towns.

The P790-million road project, which started October last year, is expected to be completed middle of this year.

DPWH regional director Antonio Molano said about 35 percent of the project is already completed.

To ensure the speedy completion of the project, DPWH assistant project engineer Edwin David said they are closely monitoring the construction, in close coordination with the affected local government units (LGUs) and the Traffic Management Group.

David said utility service providers such as the Tarlac Electric Cooperatives (Tarelco) 1 and II, telecom networks (PLDT, Smart, Globe) and water utilities have committed to transfer their facilities in order that the construction work will proceed without interruptions.

Motorists are also advised to take the alternate route at La Paz (SCTEX) to their destinations, he said.

The road project runs through three congressional districts of Tarlac.

In District 1, the scope of work from Paniqui to Moncada town consists of widening, bridge construction, upgrading, and asphalt overlay. The project costs P147 million.

District 2 project covers the widening and upgrading of road, the construction of canals, and asphalt overlay from Tarlac City to Gerona. Construction of the infrastructures would cost P412 million.

In barangay San Rafael, Tarlac City, one kilometer of the road is to be upgraded by at least half a meter to address the perennial problem of flooding in the area. This area had been identified as the lowest portion in the Tarlac segment of the Manila North Road (MNR).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Sinulog in Cebu, Philippines

Communications Officer
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
Tel. no. (63 32) 418 7234 loc. 504

Prayer is best way to celebrate Sinulog

The Feast of Sto. Niño on Jan. 15 is full of festive food, overflowing drinks, and street
parties. But nothing beats a solemn prayer to celebrate the day, according to two Sto. Niño

Gloria Enclonar, who has been a devotee since she was 19 years old, said that beyond
the food and the dances, people must remember prayer as still the best way to thank the Holy

"Prayer is still the best gift for Sto. Niño and the best way to celebrate. For me, I would
complete the novena masses every year even under threats of a storm," she said in Cebuano
during the Pagtuki episode last Saturday.

Pagtuki is the radio program of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), which airs every
Saturday, 10-11 a.m. at dyLA.

Enclonar said that she personally experienced the miracle of the baby Jesus when she
was 35 years old. The doctor had informed her of her difficulty to get pregnant. A believer in the
power of prayer, Enclonar asked Sto. Niño to grant them even just one child.

Now, she and her husband are raising their three biological children.

For Julia Maru, another Pagtuki guest who has been battling breast cancer for three
years, the miracle of Sto. Niño is manifested through the love and support of her family.

She continues to encourage her three sons to celebrate the Sinulog by attending the
novena masses.

"My Sinulog will be complete when I attend mass and give thanks to Sto. Niño. For me,
prayer is most important of all our Sinulog activities," she said in Cebuano.

Karl Damayo, exhibitions and museum collections officer of the Casa Gorodo Museum
of RAFI, said that Sinulog is really intended for giving thanks to Sto. Niño.

"The Vatican acknowledges the Sinulog as a prayer through a dance. There are only two
dancing prayers recognized by the Vatican. The other one is in Spain," he said.