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Herbal remedies for diabetes.JPG
How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
Barangay anim 4500.gif
A Barangay Clearance is NEEDED in order to get a Business License.
So why is the barangay name not in most business addresses?
Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.


Cops launch manhunt vs. grenade thrower in Maguindanao

by (PNA)


CAMP SK PENDATUN, Maguindanao, May 12 (PNA) - Police have launched a province-wide manhunt against a man who tossed a hand grenade Friday night in Sultan Kudarat town that left one person wounded. Senior Insp. Esmael Madi, Sultan Kudarat town police chief, identified the victim as Maot Solayman, 39, who sustained shrapnel injuries in his back as the explosive landed inside their home in Barangay Calzada. Madi said Solayman and his family had just finished supper at about 7 p.m. when the grenade-throwing incident took place. His wife and children were unhurt. Solayman is now in a hospital recuperating from his serious back injuries, doctors said. The motive for the grenade throwing was unknown. Police said Solayman was just an ordinary pedicab driver and has no known enemies.

Prosecutors press Zaldy Ampatuan’s arraignment

by Julie M. Aurelio

MANILA, Philippines – Government prosecutors Thursday urged a Quezon City court to set aside a decision deferring Zaldy Ampatuan’s arraignment on multiple-murder charges in connection with the Maguindanao massacre. The government panel led by state prosecutor Peter Medalle said the court admitted Ampatuan’s motion for leave to file his appeal on his arraignment despite the lack of justification for the belated filing. The prosecution was referring to Ampatuan’s April 18 pleading asking the court to reverse its April 2 order setting his arraignment for April 26. Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Regional Trial Court Branch 221 ordered Ampatuan to be arraigned after junking appeals he brought in 2010 for lack of merit. But during a hearing on April 25, Reyes granted Ampatuan’s motion for leave to file a motion for reconsideration and deferred his arraignment pending the resolution of his new appeal. In their pleading, the prosecutors said Ampatuan’s motion was a mere rehash of the arguments he offered in a petition for reinvestigation submitted to the Court of Appeals. They pointed out that the appellate court had already denied that petition.

Peace process mechanisms eyed for Maguindanao jail security

by John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines - The former chairman of the government’s ceasefire committee said local authorities should tap the security mechanisms of the peace process in securing the premises of the Maguindanao provincial jail where the notorious Datukan Samad, or “Lastikman,” is now detained.

Major Gen. Ariel Bernardo, now commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division based in Compostela Valley province, said the joint ceasefire committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government, can help monitor unusual movements of armed men sympathetic to Samad.

“There have been many security problems that were silently resolved, through proper protocols, by the joint ceasefire committee in recent years,” Bernardo told The STAR in a text message.

Security forces transferred Samad from Kidapawan City to the Maguindanao provincial jail, which is located in Cotabato City, last week.

The transfer was made after the Midsayap City Regional Trial Court cleared the suspect of a kidnapping case filed in 2007. Samad is facing a number of other criminal cases in Maguindanao.

Security forces tightened their watch on the city as Samad's followers had tried to spring him from his detention cell in Kidapawan City last February.

Samad was transferred to the provincial jail at the PC Hill in Cotabato City by three teams from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, policemen and soldiers backed by Simba combat vehicle.

The RTC in Midsayap, North Cotabato dismissedil the kidnapping charges against Samad last April.

The case stemmed from the abduction of a German national and his wife while searching for prospective treasure hunting sites in Pikit town, five years ago.

The victims and witnesses failed to appear in court hearings owing to security reasons, which caused the dismissal of the case.

Samad, who hails from Pikit, a town of mixed Muslim and Christian settlers in the first district of North Cotabato, is being prosecuted for multiple murders, highway robberies and cattle-rustling.

Some 50 followers of Samad, armed with assault rifles and B-40 anti-tank rockets, tried to rescue him from the Kidapawan City jail. Jail guards repelled the attack.

12 hurt as clan war erupts in Lanao del Sur, PNP sends peacekeepers

by (PNA)


CAMP SK PENDATUN, Maguindanao, May 9 (PNA) -- Police authorities here have deployed a peacekeeping force in the borders of Malabang and Marugong towns in Lanao del Sur to prevent the escalation of a family feud that broke out Monday, leaving at least a dozen people hurt.

Senior Supt. Romeo Magsalos, Lanao del Sur police provincial director, said about 16 heavily armed men attacked the village of Macauranding, located in the borders of Malabang and Marugong, that triggered a two-hour firefight and left 12 persons hurt, four of whom are in the hospital.

He said the local police and the Muslim religious community have sent emissaries to the warring clans to convince them to cease firing.

"So far, the conflict had died down, hopefully we will succeed in arranging a peaceful settlement of misunderstanding," Magsalos said.

The clan war stemmed from the death of one of the relatives of the Santikan family in 2008 and Monday's attack was in retaliation after both sides failed to come to an agreement on the payment of blood money.

Blood money refers to a particular amount to be paid by the family of those responsible in the death of a member of another family.

Magsalos said all municipalities in Lanao del Sur has an average of 10 families locked in rido.

Since he assumed office nine months ago, Magsalos said the provincial police have settled amicably more than 50 family feuds.

Zaldy Ampatuan asks SC to drop him from Maguindanao massacre case

by Julie M. Aurelio

MANILA, Philippines – Zaldy Ampatuan is asking the Supreme Court to drop him from the charge sheet in the Maguindanao massacre case, citing conflicting affidavits of two witnesses who both claimed seeing him at a meeting where the killings were planned – but at different times. In a petition for review, the former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao sought a reversal of the Court of Appeal’s previous rulings upholding his inclusion among the 196 accused, many of whom remain at large. Zaldy, brother of primary suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr and son of former Maguindanao kingpin Andal Ampatuan Sr, filed his appeal last Friday. A copy of the petition was forwarded to Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221, the court hearing the Maguindanao massacre case. Named respondents in the petition were the heirs of the 57 victims and former Justice Secretary Alberto Agra. In the petition, Zaldy Ampatuan, through his lawyers Philip Sigfrid Fortun and Albert Lee Angeles, asked the high court to reinstate Agra’s first resolution dated April 2010 which excluded Zaldy from the list of accused. The petition said Agra’s second resolution found probable cause to indict him for the massacre on the basis of “two conflicting sets of facts.” These were the affidavits of Kenny Dalandag in 2009 and Abdul Talusan in 2010, who both claimed seeing Zaldy at a meeting on Nov. 22, 2009 at Andal Sr’s house to plot the massacre. The petition noted that while Dalandag said the meeting started at 7 p.m. with Zaldy present, Talusan claimed that Zaldy arrived at around 11 p.m. A statement of account from Smart Communications showed that Zaldy was in Davao del Sur at 7 p.m. on that day. The petition also noted a discrepancy in the time when the meeting ended. Dalandag said it concluded at 2 a.m. of Nov. 23, 2009, but Talusan said it ended an hour earlier. “The conflicting and contradicting evidence of the public respondents’ affirms the weakness of the case,” the petition said. It added: “Where two conflicting probabilities arise from the evidence, the one compatible with the presumption of innocence will be adopted.” The petition pointed out that Talusan surfaced only after Agra’s first resolution excluding Zaldy from the cases. Aside from being a “johnny-come-lately” witness, Talusan was not present as well during the preliminary investigations at the Department of Justice, the petition said, adding that the justice secretary at the time should have been more careful in admitting Talusan’s affidavit as evidence. Likewise, the petition also cited four affidavits which do not name or point to Zaldy’s involvement. It added that in an April 25 hearing, martial law administrator Lieutenant General Raymundo Ferrer “confirmed the existence of intelligence reports which did not show Zaldy’s name or his complicity.”

ABS-CBN, 6ID offer free circumcision


Maguindanao - A total of 780 young boys from nearby communities and municipalities availed of free circumcision dubbed as "Kaya ni Juan, Kalusugan Patrol Operation Tuli" sponsored by ABS-CBN Central Mindanao and the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division at 6ID Gymnasium in Camp Siongco, Awang, DOS, Maguindanao on 28 April.

6ID Commander Maj. Gen. Rey C. Ardo offered the "Kampilan" Gymnasium as the venue and provided 20 medical personnel from Camp Siongco Station Hospital to carry out the circumcision and dozens of support personnel to ensure an orderly and safe conduct of the day-long activity. Though originally intended to serve 600 patients due to limited medical supplies, this year's "operation tuli" far exceeded last year's record in terms of the number of benefi ciaries. Parents and guardians, as well as the boys themselves, expressed thei r hear t fel t thanks and appreciation to the program, the organizers and the participating agencies. Medical personnel and staff of participating agencies and the benefi ciaries, including their parents and guardians, were welcomed by the "Kampilan" Marching Band and entertained by 6ID Combo throughout the activity. The Division also provided video presentations to keep patients amused while waiting for their turn. Other groups which participated in the activity were: Marine Battalion Landing Team-7 (MBLT-7), International Monitoring Team-7 (IMT-7), Integrated Provincial Health Office- Maguindanao, ARMM-DOH and Share, Help and Care. SHAHECA/ TENG L. DATU

Forum discusses libel in media

by (Arvee F. Saren & Roxanne Cabriana, CNU Comm Interns/with Jewel Villaflores & Pauline Mae Abaiz, STC Mass Com interns)

“IS the Philippines considered free as far as press freedom is concerned?” Pachico Seares, executive director of the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC), asked a forum celebrating the 2012 World Press Freedom Day.

The audience was silent. With the Maguindanao massacre in 2009 making the Philippines the third worst place to live for journalists in 2011, people apparently find it difficult to say if the country is free.

Various media organizations and groups held the forum yesterday entitled “Decriminalizing Libel.”

The forum was held at the Theodore Buttenbruch Hall, USC-Main, Cebu City by the CCPC, in partnership with the United States Embassy and The Peace and Conflict Journalism Network.

According to a study, the Philippines is “partly free” as far as press freedom is concerned.

During the forum, three media practitioners shared their experiences with being charged with libel.

“It’s part of the job description of a publisher and an editor-in-chief,” said Eileen Mangubat, publisher of Cebu Daily News.

Three years ago, Mangubat and three of her staff faced a libel suit.

Karlon Rama, former Sun.Star Cebu reporter, said it is part of the hazards of the job. He was charged with a libel case twice when he was still with the media.

Choy Torralba, dyRF radio program host, was charged with 23 libel cases, 18 of which reached the Supreme Court.

“Nituo man gud ko sa una nga pag wa pa ka gikiha og libelo (I used to think that if you don’t have a libel case), you haven’t arrived yet,” he said.

He said he has learned that one should be extra careful with what one says.

Through the years, several bills in both Houses of Congress were filed to decriminalize libel.

Upon consultation with the Cebu media practitioners and the Cebu Media Legal Aid, CCPC took its stand in a resolution that supports the proposal to remove the penalty of imprisonment in libel, but still consider it as a public crime.

Lead discussant Gabriel T. Ingles, court of Appeals associate justice, talked about the benefits and pitfalls of decriminalizing libel.

“Make it more difficult to prove malice so that it would be more difficult to get a conviction,” Ingles said.

He proposed that Justice Vicente Mendoza’s compromise formula on making a distinction between political and private libel be adopted.

Representatives of different media groups also discussed some issues on the proposal to decriminalize libel, including CCPC’s resolution presented by Rose Versoza, Cebu Media Legal Aid treasurer.

The resolution supports proposals to remove the jail term as main or subsidiary penalty for the crime of libel.

Also discussed in the forum was the article “Attacking Press Freedom while ‘Enhancing’ It” by the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ).

The article said FFFJ was founded to address the killing of journalists and to protect them from threats. Objections to any right of reply (ROR) law were repeatedly emphasized.

“The right of reply is in the first place already part of the professional and ethical responsibilities of the press. It is also dangerous since it would infringe on a freedom vital to the health of a democracy,” the FFFJ said in the article.

The talk, attended by the different media practitioners from different media entities and students, was concluded with an open forum.

PPI members also conducted various programs yesterday in Manila, Davao, Bulacan, Gen. Santos, Baguio, and Cagayan de Oro cities to celebrate World Press Freedom Day.

‘Maguindanao massacre victim texted: No joke, we may be next’

by Julie M. Aurelio

The lawyer friend who was the recipient of text messages from Maguindanao massacre victim Cynthia Oquendo-Ayon testified on Thursday that he received four text messages from Oquendo-Ayon about her abduction on Nov. 23, 2009. Arnold Oclarit said he called Oquendo-Ayon upon reading the second message, and was told by the victim that she was not joking when she sent the messages about being abducted along with several others. “I wanted to ask her about the text messages she sent me,” the witness told a Quezon City court on Thursday. Oquendo-Ayon and her father, Catalino Oquendo, were among the 57 people killed in the Nov. 23, 2009, Maguindanao massacre, alleged to have been masterminded by members of the Ampatuan clan. Oclarit, a General Santos City-based lawyer, said he was able to reach Oquendo-Ayon at around 10:50 a.m. on Nov. 23. “She said in a low and frightened voice, don’t call. Cell phones are not allowed here,” said Oclarit, who promptly ended the call. According to Oclarit, he saved the messages he received from Oquendo-Ayon in a folder in his cell phone, knowing their evidentiary value. However, sometime in September 2011 his phone got reformatted and the messages were deleted. Oclarit said he had already received two text messages from Oquendo-Ayon when he decided to call her. The first text message, received at 10:30 a.m., was in a mix of English, Visayan and Tagalog. “In substance, it said I with Tatay and several others have been kidnapped. Advise client of Ampatuan. We might get killed. Send to Tom [lawyer Tomas Falque],” Oclarit said. The witness said he first thought it was a joke, and sent a reply: “What’s this?” The answer: “True. Not joke.” He then called up Oquendo-Ayon and heard her frightened voice. The witness said he got another message from Oquendo-Ayon, which read: “Loc. NLF Nascom 12.” As he could not make out its meaning, Oclarit dialed Oquendo-Ayon’s number but cut the call on remembering her earlier warning not to call. Oclarit said that as instructed by Oquendo-Ayon, he called up lawyer Tomas Falque, whom he identified as the election lawyer of the Ampatuans. The witness said he told Falque about Oquendo-Ayon’s text messages to him and that “Cynthia might be in danger.” He also forwarded the victim’s text messages to Falque. The latter reportedly told him that he had been unable to contact the Ampatuans. Soon after, Oclarit received a last message from Oquendo-Ayon, which he recalled as saying: “MNLF HQ SH Aguak, Nascom 12. Many people killed. We might be next.” Oclarit identified the messages he recalled receiving from the Oquendo-Ayon in a transcript of the contents of Oquendo-Ayon’s cell phone. The defense pointed out, however, that aside from the witness’ memory and the transcript, there was no other documentation of the messages. “The best evidence would be my cell phone,” the witness said. Earlier Thursday, the mortician who found Oquendo-Ayon’s cell phone was stopped yet again from taking the stand as defense lawyers moved to appeal the judge’s decision allowing his testimony. Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes, who had already allowed the witness to take the stand at Thursday’s hearing, reversed herself and said she could not let Jonito Puton testify just yet after the defense panel said it intended to file a motion for reconsideration in 15 days. The judge also noted that lead prosecutor Peter Medalle had already removed the embalmer’s name from the list of witnesses, as pointed out by the defense. Puton, an assistant embalmer from General Santos City, is said to have discovered the cell phone in the underwear of victim Oquendo-Ayon. The phone reportedly contained messages that Oquendo-Ayon had sent to a lawyer friend shortly before she was killed. The prosecution said Puton’s testimony would prove the alleged conspiracy of all of the accused in the massacre. With a report from Daphne J. Magturo

Court stops embalmer from taking witness stand in Maguindanao massacre trial

by Philip C. Tubeza

Prosecutors in the Maguindanao massacre case on Wednesday were frustrated in their attempt to present as a witness an embalmer who was supposed to have found the cell phone of one of the victims who had sent out text messages appealing to the Ampatuans to stop the killings. Jonito Puton, 37, an assistant embalmer from General Santos City, was not able to give his testimony because of a series of misunderstandings between the prosecutor on one side and the defense panel and the judge on the other. The prosecuting team has claimed that Puton, who embalmed the body of victim Cynthia Oquendo-Ayon, had found Ayon’s cellphone on which was stored the text messages that Ayon had sent to a lawyer friend just before she was killed. Defense lawyers objected to Puton’s being presented as a witness, arguing that he was listed only in the February 14 pre-trial order which involved six accused. He was not named as a witness in the other pre-trial orders involving the other accused. When prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas told defense lawyer Sigfrid Fortun “If that is your line of argument, then you have no business here,” Fortun and some of the other defense lawyers walked out with the permission of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes. Reyes, who allowed Puton to testify, then got into an argument with Torrevillas. The prosecutor insisted that the embalmer would be testifying on the alleged conspiracy of all the accused, not just six of them, to massacre the 57 victims in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, on Nov. 23, 2009. Reyes objected, pointing out that Puton was named as a prosecution witness only in the February14 pre-trial order.

Militiaman dies in NPA ambush in Bukidnon

by (PNA)


CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, May 2 (PNA) - Communist rebels continued their attacks against paramilitary troops in villages in Bukidnon despite local efforts to establish peace and development in rural areas.

At dawn Tuesday, about seven New People's Army (NPA) guerillas planted an improvised explosive device at a road in Lantapan, Bukidnon which exploded around 3 a.m. as several militiamen on board a mini-cargo truck, were conducting patrol, according to reports reaching the Eastern Mindanao Command.

One unidentified member of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) died in the attack.

Immediately after the blast, NPAs started shooting at government troops, triggering a brief firefight that lasted for about 10 minutes.

Another militiaman and truck driver were wounded.

Despite being outnumbered, the militiamen put up a fight that forced the rebels to retreat.

The CAFGU could not say whether the NPA also suffered casualties for they normally carry their wounded or slain comrade after a firefight.

ARMM, Army lead Maguindanao tree planting on Labor Day

by (PNA)


CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, May 1 (PNA) -- Regional Governor Mujib Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Major General Ray Ardo, commander of the 6th Infantry Division here, led civil servants and military personnel in the Labor Day tree planting activity at Barangay Dimapatoy in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

Barangay Dimapatoy, located about two kilometers east of the 6ID headquarters in Barangay Awang, was the remaining watershed area in the province.

6ID Spokesman Colonel Prudencio Asto said Hataman and Ardo led about 700 Army personnel and about 100 ARMM employees in the tree planting activity across the water district impounding water system.

He said the activity was initiated in connection with the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) 110th anniversary.

The joint efforts resulted in the planting of about 2,000 assorted forest tree species, mostly mahogany.

82-year-old woman gets diploma in literacy

by Edwin Fernandez

Inquirer Mindanao

COTABATO CITY—Eighty-two-year-old Candida Alamada never thought she would be able to read and write anymore, because of her age. But Alamada, a traditional healer from Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, can now scribble sentences and pronounce English and Filipino words. Alamada is among more than 1,200 Moro women who underwent a three-month literacy class designed and implemented through the Magbassa Kita Foundation’s (MKF’s) Literacy for Peace and Development project. The project was supported by the United States Aid for International Development (USAID) and the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy. On April 26, Alamada received her diploma, along with 849 other literacy class graduates. They made up the first batch of the program’s graduates in Maguindanao. For her excellence in Math, Alamada was also named “Best in Numeracy.” Alamada was speechless for a moment when reporters sought her statement during the graduation rites at Shariff Kabungsuan Cultural Center here. Holding back her emotions, she said her being able to read and write at her age proved that age is not a requirement for learning. “It feels good to be recognized. At long last, I graduated,” Alamada said. “Words and numbers are the foundations of all learning. They are very important steps because people who cannot read and count can never reach their full potential,” Robert Burch, chief of the USAID Office of Education, said after witnessing the graduation. “Literacy, especially reading and counting, is important because it helps people to be more participative in community activities, thus, enabling them greater participation in endeavors affecting their communities,” Burch said. Former Senator Santanina Rasul, MKF founding chairperson, said 400 more women would finish the course in a few days. Illiteracy among Muslim women is a perennial problem in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, which make up the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Rasul started the program a few years back to address the problem. Beneficiaries had been using a mono-syllabic curriculum that the former senator, who was a teacher before entering politics, devised herself. ARMM Education Secretary Jamar Kulayan said Islam teaches the importance of education. “Education is obligatory to Muslim men and women, and it is never too late to seek knowledge. The Prophet Muhammad had said ‘One must seek knowledge from cradle to grave,’” he said in a message to the graduates.

Narcs seeing more families in drug trade

by DJ Yap

The trade in dangerous drugs is becoming a family business in the Philippines, often involving parent and child or brother and sister, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said Friday. On that day, PDEA reported the arrest in Maguindanao of related alleged drug pushers, a mother and her son. Dingala Bandong Salim, 50, and her son, Mike Bandong Sabdulla, 36, were arrested Tuesday after allegedly selling a sachet of shabu, or methamphetamine hydrochloride, to an undercover PDEA agent. In a statement released by the agency, PDEA Director General Jose S. Gutierrez Jr. said familial teams were becoming more common in the drug trade. “Besides the shared income, another [reason why] parents and siblings work together in the illegal drug trade is the mutual trust among family members,” Gutierrez said. “Who else can they trust and rely upon but their own? Nonetheless, this sort of trust is for the wrong reasons,” he said. Salim and Sabdulla, her son from a previous marriage, were arrested in a joint operation led by agents of the PDEA in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and troops from the 6th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Capiton, Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Maguindanao, early on Tuesday, the PDEA said. PDEA agents found two more medium-size sachets of shabu and drug paraphernalia on the suspects. They recovered the buy-bust money paid to the suspects, the agency said. The PDEA said it had received reports that Salim and Sabdulla were responsible for shabu distribution in Cotabato City. The agency filed drug charges against mother and son in the Maguindanao Provincial Prosecution Office. Salim and Sabdulla are detained at the PDEA jail on PC Hill, Cotabato City.

Back in jail

by Cory Martinez

THE grandson of former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. was discharged from a government hospital and transferred to the Quezon City Jail Annex in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan despite a pending motion asking a court to extend his hospital confinement.

This was learned after QC Jail-Annex Officer-in-Charge Senior Inspector John Conrad Basilio reported to Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the QC Regional Trial Court Branch 221 that accused Datu Anwar “Ipi” Ampatuan Jr. was brought to the Quezon City detention facility on the night of April 23.

Basilio told the court that the accused is now confined at the jail’s infirmary where he will undergo physical therapy as advised by his rehabilitation medicine attending physician, a certain Dr. Ignacio.

The jail warden added that the physical therapy will be conducted inside the jail’s infirmary.

Datu Ipi is the 96th suspect to be arrested for the Nov. 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre wherein 57 people were killed including 32 members of the media.

His grandfather and uncle, Anwar Jr., were tagged as the primary suspects in the carnage.

Mother, son nabbed in drug buy-bust operation in Maguindanao

by Jamie Elona

MANILA, Philippines — A mother-and-son team was been arrested after they allegedly tried to sell methamphetamine hydrochloride, or “shabu,” to an undercover agent in Maguindanao province, a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) official said Friday. In a belated report, PDEA Director General Undersecretary Jose Gutierrez Jr. said that 50-year-old Dingala Bandong Salim, a.k.a “Ding”, and her 36-year-old son from a previous marriage, Mike Bandong Sabdulla, were arrested by authorities in a joint operation with the military Tuesday for selling a small sachet of shabu to the agent. Along with the money used for the entrapment operation, two more medium-sized sachets containing suspected shabu, and various drug paraphernalia, were also recovered from the suspects. Further investigation revealed that mother and son were also responsible for drug trade in Cotabato City. Appropriate charges for violation of Republic Act 9165, or the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 were filed against the suspects before the Maguindanao Provincial Prosecution Office. They are presently detained at the PDEA ARMM jail facility in PC Hill, Cotabato City.

Zaldy Ampatuan arraignment reset

by Philip C. Tubeza

The judge hearing the Maguindanao massacre case on Wednesday granted a defense petition asking for the deferment of the arraignment of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, which was scheduled for Thursday. Lawyer Sigfrid Fortun had asked Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes to allow the defense to file a motion for reconsideration to appeal Reyes’ ruling which set Ampatuan’s arraignment for this morning at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan. Reyes said Ampatuan would be arraigned after she rules on the opposing arguments of the prosecution and the defense on the issue of the arraignment. Fortun argued that arraigning Ampatuan now would deprive the latter of his right to appeal to the Supreme Court a recent Court of Appeals decision junking the former ARMM governor’s petition to have the case against him dismissed for lack of probable cause. The prosecution objected, pointing out that Fortun had yet to file a petition for certiorari before the high court, hence there was no legal impediment to Ampatuan being arraigned now. Fortun, however, claimed that the defense had received a copy of the Court of Appeals ruling only on Tuesday. “It was the judge’s call. She was the one who set the arraignment and she was the one who recalled it,” said lead state prosecutor Peter Medalle. “This is just a temporary setback. Ultimately, (Ampatuan) will be arraigned,” he added. Relatives of the 57 massacre victims, some of whom flew all the way from Mindanao to attend Ampatuan’s arraignment, denounced the deferment.

Another Maguindanao massacre suspect falls


COTABATO CITY - After hiding for more than two years, one of the suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre finally fell into government hands. Zacaria Akil, a Maguindanaon and one of the henchmen of massacre suspect former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., was arrested by joint operatives of the Philippine Marines and Philippine National Police (PNP), said Marine Colonel Alex Balutan, chief of the 1st Marine Brigade. Balutan said state forces received information from a very reliable tipster that Akil will be coming to Cotabato City on board a passenger van from Maguindanao.

"Our informant was very accurate, he provided the van type, plate number, color and the expected time of arrival in the city," Balutan told reporters. Akil did not resist but denied the allegations against him saying his arrest could be a case of mistaken identity. The Marines and police special forces were armed with arrest warrants issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Reyes when they flagged down the vehicle carrying Akil around 5 p.m. Sunday.

Balutan said Akil underwent a tactical investigation at the Task Force Kutawato headquarters before he was turned over to the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

A week earlier, police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) arrested Sonny Pandi, said to be the aide of massacre primary suspect Andal "Unsay" Ampatuan Jr. in front of a hotel here after a month-long surveillance.

Balutan said the help of the civilian populace against law violators is very vital as proven in the arrest of Akil. "We expect more cooperation from the constituents," Balutan said, adding: "It would be best for massacre suspects to show up, surrender and clear themselves before the court of justice than continue hiding." Akil was the 99th suspect who fell to government hands.

Maguindanao guv seeks revalidation of 2010 population census

by (PNA)


COTABATO CITY, April 24 (PNA) - Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu is asking Malacanang and the National Statistics Office(NSO)to revalidate the 2010 population census of Maguindanao to ensure accuracy of the population data.

He said he personally brought the matter before President Aquino, who in turn, told him to put his concerns in writing so it can be acted upon accordingly.

Mangudadatu and other ARMM provincial governors, along with acting Gov. Mujib Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, met with the President on the issue of local governance.

“It was not among the topic of that meeting, I just brought it up personally to the President,” Mangudadatu said.

Last week, the NSO-Maguindanao said the 2010 census of the province was reduced by about 328,000 from its more than one million population as of 2007 census.

This stirred Mangudadatu, who said the 2010 census will affect the International Revenue Allotment of the province. Besides, he said, some of Maguindanao’s 36 municipalities have obviously lesser number of people but was bloated in the 2007 census.

He cited the towns of Datu Hofer, Datu Unsay and other newly-created towns which he said have bloated population based on the 2007 census.

And the 2010 census showed a slight increase in the number of its inhabitants.

“I want clarifications why some areas we know of to be really populated but the 2010 census showed its population had decreased,” he said, referring to Parang town.

“We are asking the NSO to revalidate the population figures of newly- created towns like Datu Unsay, Datu Hofer which have obviously few people but have bloated population,” he said.

With the population down, Mangudadatu said the province’s IRA is expected to be reduced by as much as P25 to P30 million a month.

Maguindanao has a monthly IRA of P80 million.

Razulden Mangelen, Maguindanao provincial NSO chief, said that based on the 2010 census, Maguindanao’s population has been reduced to 944,718 from 1,273,715 in 2007, or a decrease of 328,997 people.

He explained that it took them almost two years to make the census public because of counter-checking activities and a series of validation to ensure the data are accurate.

He could not provide answers why the population had ballooned in 2007.

In the 2007 census, Maguindanao was still under the leadership of Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr who, along with his sons, are now in jail in connection with the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

Based on the 2010 census, Maguindanao’s population has been reduced to 944,718 from 1,273,715 in 2007, or a decrease of 328,997 people.

“We were surprised, so we conducted validation and re-validation,” he said in an interview, adding that the census was conducted from May to June 2010.

Of Maguindanao’s 36 municipalities, Sultan Kudarat had the highest number of “decreased” population in the 2010 census. It has recorded only 82,758 people as compared to its 2007 data which has 121,234 or a difference of 38,476.

In Shariff Aguak, its 2007 population was placed at 70,340 but the 2010 census showed it has only 35,964 or a decrease of 34,376.

In Parang town, the 2010 census showed it has only 73,247 population as compared to its 2007 census which has 102,247 or a decrease of 29,000 people.

Mangelen said some local executives in the province may not be happy with the results because of its implication to the Internal Revenue Allotment, among others.

He said his office is holding dialogues and consultations with the local executives of Parang, Sultan Kudarat, and Shariff Aguak to explain why the population has decreased, instead of an increase from 2007 to 2010.

The towns of Buluan, now the capital of Maguindanao South, and North Upi and Pagalungan have registered a slight increase in population data.

Commando Pilimpinas, NSO-ARMM regional director, said the reason why the number of population of a particular area increases was in-migration and out-migration.

“There could be other reasons, like increasing the population to also increase the IRA and for election purposes and these are the things that we are validating,' he said.

"But basically, the reason of the increase and decrease of number of people in a given area was migration,” he said.

Another Maguindanao massacre suspect falls

by (PNA)


COTABATO CITY, April 23 (PNA) -- After hiding for more than two years, one of the suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre finally fell into government hands.

Zacaria Akil, a Maguindanaon and one of the henchmen of massacre suspect former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., was arrested by joint operatives of the Philippine Marines and Philippine National Police (PNP), said Marine Colonel Alex Balutan, chief of the 1st Marine Brigade.

Balutan said state forces received information from a very reliable tipster that Akil will be coming to Cotabato City on board a passenger van from Maguindanao.

"Our informant was very accurate, he provided the van type, plate number, color and the expected time of arrival in the city," Balutan told reporters.

Akil did not resist but denied the allegations against him saying his arrest could be a case of mistaken identity.

The Marines and police special forces were armed with arrest warrants issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Reyes when they flagged down the vehicle carrying Akil around 5 p.m. Sunday.

Balutan said Akil underwent a tactical investigation at the Task Force Kutawato headquarters before he was turned over to the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

A week earlier, police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) arrested Sonny Pandi, said to be the aide of massacre primary suspect Andal "Unsay" Ampatuan Jr. in front of a hotel here after a month-long surveillance.

Balutan said the help of the civilian populace against law violators is very vital as proven in the arrest of Akil.

"We expect more cooperation from the constituents," Balutan said, adding: "It would be best for massacre suspects to show up, surrender and clear themselves before the court of justice than continue hiding."

Akil was the 99th suspect who fell to government hands.

Maguindanao population down

by (PNA)


COTABATO CITY — The National Statistics Office here on Friday said that population of Maguindanao province dropped in 2010 as compared to its 2007 census data. Razulden Mangelen, said the 2007 population of Maguindanao was 1,273,715 while after the census in May-June 2010, the data showed the province has only 944,718 inhabitants. According to Mangelen, the NSO-Maguindanao provincial office had conducted a series of validation and counter-checking activities to ensure that the data were correct and accurate. Sultan Kudarat municipality has the highest number of people among Maguindanao's 36 municipalities with 121,324 in 2007. Its population, after the 2010 census, was only 82,758 or a decrease of 38,476, data from NSO Maguindanao show. Coming in second was Shariff Aguak, which had 70,340 people in the 2007 census but had only 35,964 inhabitants in the 2010 census or a decrease of 34,376. The population in Parang town in the 2007 census was 102,247 but in the 2010 data, it has only 73,247 or a decrease in population of 29,000. Mangelen could not explain to reporters why the data in some towns had been reduced but admitted a study is still being conducted on the cause of an increased population in the 2007 census. He and his staff were also scheduled to meet with the local executives of three towns to explain the process taken and its implication. Some local mayors may be angered by the 2010 census because it will affect in the amount of Internal Revenue Allotment. The province was under the leadership of Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr who, along with his sons, are now facing multiple murder charges in connection with the Maguindanao massacre in 2009 that left 57 people killed.

Lawyer wants Maguindanao poll officers cited for contempt

by Arianne Caryl N. Casas

A LAWYER for an election protest petitioner against Saudi Ampatuan III has asked the Regional Trial Court (RTC) to cite in contempt the election officers of Maguindanao for failing to deliver the May 2010 election paraphernalia.

Records from the RTC Branch 16 showed that lawyer Israelito Torreon, counsel for Kindatu U. Datucali, filed a motion to cite in contempt of court the provincial election supervisor and provincial treasurer of Maguindanao, and the municipal treasurer and municipal election officer of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town.

Datucali, mayoralty candidate during the May 2010 poll for Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, filed an election protest against Ampatuan before RTC Cotabato City for alleged cheating during the elections.

The case was transferred in Davao City after Torreon asked the Supreme Court to change the venue of case hearing for security reasons.

The request to cite the officers in contempt of court came after the officers allegedly defied the court order dated February 17, to deliver the ballot boxes, election documents, data storage devices and Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines used in the May 2010 elections.

In his motion, Torreon said the officers continue to defy "without just and valid reasons."

In view of the motion filed, lawyer Udtog M. Tago, provincial election supervisor of Maguindanao, replied that they have not yet delivered the election paraphernalia because they were also used in the election protest for Roxas vs Binay case.

Mar Roxas and Jejomar Binay were rivals for vice president post during the 2010 elections.

He said he received a copy of the court order on March 2, adding the "election director of Comelec lawyer Jose M. Tolentino Jr. made the report before the Presidential Electoral Tribune (PET) for the use of the election documents and paraphernalia related to the instant case" of Roxas vs Binay.

During Friday's hearing of the motion to cite the officials in contempt, RTC Branch 16 has given the election officers time to comment on the motion.

Another Maguindanao massacre suspect falls

by John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Police arrested yesterday another suspect in the Maguindanao massacre case.

Col. Prudencio Asto, public affairs chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Sonny Pendi, 27, a close aide of Andal Ampatuan Jr., the prime suspect in the case, was arrested as he came out of a hotel here.

“He has been under surveillance for many weeks before the arrest was carried out. The long hand of the law finally caught him,” Asto said.

Operatives of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police brought Pendi to the regional headquarters in Parang, Maguindanao.

The ARMM police said Pendi was turned over to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, which will facilitate his commitment to a court in Metro Manila that issued a warrant for his arrest.

Zaldy Ampatuan asks to defer arraignment

by Julie M. Aurelio

Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Zaldy Ampatuan has appealed anew to a Quezon City court to defer his scheduled April 26 arraignment on multiple murder charges in connection with the 2009 Maguindanao massacre. The brother of primary accused Andal Jr. sought to reverse the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221’s order fixing the date of his arraignment on 57 counts of murder. Zaldy Ampatuan filed his 15-page motion for reconsideration through lawyer Philip Sigfrid Fortun. The governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at the time of the massacre, Zaldy Ampatuan is among 196 persons charged with multiple murder for the carnage on November 23, 2009. He is the brother of primary accused Andal Ampatuan Jr. and a son of Andal Ampatuan Sr. The Maguindanao massacre, believed to have been carried out by the Ampatuans, left 57 people dead, including lawyers, women and 32 media workers. In an omnibus order dated March 29, RTC Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes junked two of Zaldy’s appeals questioning his indictment for being “moot and academic.” The Quezon City court said it did not act with grave abuse of discretion when it admitted the amended information including Zaldy among the accused. The court added that since it had jurisdiction over the cases, it had the right to issue commitment orders for the accused’s detention. In his appeal, Zaldy sought for the postponement of his arraignment until the Department of Justice’s findings of probable cause becomes final. The accused also asked the Quezon City court to conduct a judicial determination of probable cause and to “declare his continued detention as unlawful.” He pointed out that the initial basis for his detention was the rebellion case against the Ampatuans which was dismissed by Judge Vivencio Baclig of RTC Branch 77 in 2010. The accused also cited the admission of the amended information and the DOJ’s “mechanical findings” of probable cause still pending at the Court of Appeals. In asking for a judicial determination of probable cause, Zaldy said he was not able to examine the affidavit of a certain Talusan during the DOJ’s preliminary investigation. Through his lawyer, the accused pointed out that the affidavit was executed five months after the Maguindanao massacre. Zaldy Ampatuan “should have been heard on this and allowed to submit controvert evidence,” the pleading read, adding that it was the “only evidence against him.” The “procedural irregularities” in the preliminary investigation, Zaldy argued, justified the deferment of his arraignment. The Quezon City court is set to hear the motion for reconsideration on April 23.

Another Maguindanao massacre suspect nabbed


MANILA, Philippines – A former police volunteer linked to the Maguindanao massacre in 2009 has been arrested by police in Cotabato City, a military official said.

Spokesman of the Army's 6th Infantry Division Col. Prudencio Asto said the suspect, Sonny Pindi, was arrested by police at the vicinity of Sardonyx plaza in Cotabato City on Tuesday.

Circumstances of Pindi’s arrest initially raised controversy in the province because residents misconstrued the arrest as kidnapping.

Asto said the military received reports that Pindi had been a victim of kidnapping, prompting the deployment of the Army's 37th Infantry Battalion.

However, when the soldiers intercepted the van carrying Pindi along San Narcisco highway in Parang town, Asto said policemen, not kidnappers, were escorting Pindi to the police headquarters.

Asto noted that the policemen were wearing civilian clothing, which may have caused the confusion.

“The troops found out that they were members of police intelligence units. When it was verified [it was not kidnapping], they escorted the group who apprehended Sonny Pindi to the headquarters of PNP-ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao),” he said.

“This is a legitimate operation by police intelligence operatives. This is a legitimate operation so there is nothing to be alarmed about. There was just a misconception in effecting the arrest,” he added.

Asto also said the Department of Interior and Local Government had offered a P250,000 reward for Pindi’s capture for his alleged involvement in the killings of at least 57 people, mostly journalists, in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao.

Asto said police arrested the suspect by virtue of a warrant issued by Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.

From ghost voters to ghost residents; Maguindanao’s population puzzle


IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS, Manila’s newspapers have been peppered with stories of Palace officials expressing apprehension over reports that the population data and the voters list for both Maguindanao province and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) appear to be badly bloated. In the March 28 edition of BusinessWorld, the newspaper reported that the Commission on Elections was already poised to nullify the voter’s list for ARMM because of the apparent discrepancies. On that same day, GMANews.TV, the online news website of GMA Network, reported that the National Statistics Office found a discrepancy of at least a million in the population figures of ARMM between 2007 and 2010. NSO Administator Carmencita Ericta made the disclosure in a briefing she gave to President Benigno S. Aquino and his cabinet. The Sunstar reported that as a result of the findings, the President has refused to certify the release of the 2010 national census of population until the irregularities are addressed. The recent reports are interesting in that they echo the findings of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism in a story published as early as February 2010, or two years ago. On Feb. 10 2010, PCIJ fellow Roel Landingin released the story Sharp spike in Maguindanao, ARMM population a big riddle, where he reported on the findings of a study by Cornell University fellow Florio Arguillas that showed very unusual trends in the population data of both Maguindanao and ARMM. The data appeared to show that Maguindanao and ARMM’s populations were growing at an alarming rate of more than twice the national average. Too, the population spike appeared to be occuring for voting-age residents only. Interestingly, some demographers appeared hesitant to accept Arguillas’ findings of anomalies in the ARMM and Maguindanao population figures, even as NSO’s Ericta acknowledged to him in 2010 that the figures they have were problematic. At the same time Landingin’s story was released to the mainstream newspapers and online sites, the PCIJ also released a video version to the broadcast media. Unfortunately, population stories did not appear to be sexy enough for some media agencies, as the print and video stories did not get major play in mainstream media. At least, until it was already the Palace making the complaint.

Palace hands off on Zubiri issue

by Efren Montano

MALACAÑANG tossed to the Department of Justice the possible inclusion of former Sen. Miguel Zubiri in the electoral sabotage case filed against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in connection with the alleged cheating in Maguindanao in the 2007 mid-term elections.

Apart from Mrs. Arroyo, former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos and former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. were charged with the alleged poll fraud.

“Well, that is something that will have to be determined by the Department of Justice kung ano ho ‘yung circumstances that could warrant the inclusion of the former senator,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

Valte reacted to the call of Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on the DoJ to include Zubiri as respondent in the electoral sabotage case filed against Mrs. Arroyo before a Pasay City Regional Trial Court.

Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms, said the DOJ should investigate the report that the fake ballots which were used in the polls in Maguindanao were allegedly kept in a gym owned by the Zubiris in the town proper of Maramag in Bukidnon and were later transported to Cotabato City.

The young Pimentel does not want to run alongside Zubiri in the 2013 midterm polls on the UNA slate.

Zubiri, who was proclaimed by the Commission on Elections as the 12th winning senator four years ago, resigned Aug. 3 last year from the Senate amid mounting testimonies about alleged fraud during the 2007 polls.

He was replaced by Pimentel, who had filed an electoral protest against him.

Zubiri has belied accusations against him even as he asked Pimentel to forget the past and move on.

Cops kill 2 NPA rebels who executed civilian in Bukidnon

by (PNA)


CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, April 15 (PNA) - Policemen killed two communist rebels who earlier shot dead a civilian in the town of Kabanglasan, Bukidnon on Saturday, the military said.

Col. Leopoldo Galon, speaking for the Eastern Mindanao Command, said civilians alerted the police and military authorities in Kabanglasan after the rebels executed Melode Delamansi, 49, a resident of Poblacion Kabanglasan at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in front of many horrified witnesses.

Dalamansi was driving his motorbike heading toward Barangay Iba in the same town when he was flagged down by five New People's Army (NPA) rebels and shot him several times.

Upon learning of the incident, the Kabanglasan police station quickly responded by sending seven uniformed policemen backed by Army troopers.

Before reaching the crime scene in Sitio Lagonglong, Barangay Iba, five policemen decided to proceed on foot while leaving two other police officers to secure the patrol car.

To prevent and avoid car ambush or landmining by the NPAs, the policemen decided to walk toward the area where Delamansi was killed.

Sensing the arrival of the heavily armed policemen, the communist rebels maneuvered toward the parked police patrol car, triggering a firefight between the rebels and two policemen.

This forced the foot patrol policemen to return and reinforce their comrades.

The firefight lasted for about 15 minutes that resulted in the death of two rebels and the wounding of Police Officer Eliseo Flores.

Policemen recovered one automatic rifle and a hand grenade from the encounter scene. (PNA) scs/NYP/EOFCAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, April 15 (PNA) - Policemen killed two communist rebels who earlier shot dead a civilian in the town of Kabanglasan, Bukidnon on Saturday, the military said.

Col. Leopoldo Galon, speaking for the Eastern Mindanao Command, said civilians alerted the police and military authorities in Kabanglasan after the rebels executed Melode Delamansi, 49, a resident of Poblacion Kabanglasan at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in front of many horrified witnesses.

Dalamansi was driving his motorbike heading toward Barangay Iba in the same town when he was flagged down by five New People's Army (NPA) rebels and shot him several times.

Upon learning of the incident, the Kabanglasan police station quickly responded by sending seven uniformed policemen backed by Army troopers.

Before reaching the crime scene in Sitio Lagonglong, Barangay Iba, five policemen decided to proceed on foot while leaving two other police officers to secure the patrol car.

To prevent and avoid car ambush or landmining by the NPAs, the policemen decided to walk toward the area where Delamansi was killed.

Sensing the arrival of the heavily armed policemen, the communist rebels maneuvered toward the parked police patrol car, triggering a firefight between the rebels and two policemen.

This forced the foot patrol policemen to return and reinforce their comrades.

The firefight lasted for about 15 minutes that resulted in the death of two rebels and the wounding of Police Officer Eliseo Flores.

Policemen recovered one automatic rifle and a hand grenade from the encounter scene.

Freak tornado destroys 25 houses in Maguindanao

by (PNA)


CAMP SK PENDATUN, Maguindanao — A freak tornado hit a coastal communities Thursday in Parang, Maguindanao, damaging at least 25 houses and sending people running for their lives. Village official Abubakar Abdul of Barangay Polloc, Parang, Maguindanao, said the tornado hit the residential areas at about 3 p.m. as dark clouds accompanied by thunderstorm covered the northern part of Maguindanao. "We thought it was just an ordinary downpour but the very strong wind almost wipe out the whole coastal village," Abdul said. Three sitios (sub-villages) were affected and about 26 families left homeless. Their houses were made of light materials and were taken away by strong winds. Nobody was hurt since most of the family of fisher folks have ran for safety when they saw the tornado coming, according to Abdul. The affected families are now temporary housed in the village center and day care center building. The local government of Parang has sent social workers to validate the number of families affected by the calamity.

Tornado destroys 25 houses in Maguindanao


MANILA, Philippines -A tornado destroyed at least 25 houses as it swept through residential areas in a coastal village in Parang town, Maguindanao province on Thursday.

Abubakar Abdul, a village official in Barangay Polloc, said the tornado hit their area at around 3 p.m. He said that the tornado formed as dark clouds accompanied by thunderstorm covered the northern part of the province.

"We thought it was just an ordinary downpour but the very strong wind almost wiped out the whole coastal village," Abdul said in the local language.

Three hamlets were affected and about 26 families were displaced by the tornado. The damaged houses were made of light materials and were taken away by strong winds.

Local authorities, meanwhile, did not report any injuries.

Abdul said that majority of the residents were able to run to safety as the tornado was sweeping through their village.

The affected families are now temporary housed in the village's health center and day care center building.

Maguindanao guv backs mainstreaming of peace and dev’t in local governance


Davao City, Apr. 12 – Maguindanao Governor “Toto” Mangudadatu has expressed support to the government’s program, “Mainstreaming Peace and Development in Local Governance” (MPDLG), which aims to strengthen capacities of local government units (LGUs) for them to better manage conflict and implement peace projects.

Mangudadatu, along with officials from the conflict-affected municipalities of Ampatuan, Buldon, Datu Piang, Kabuntalan and Talayan, attended the recently held MPDLG workshop which intended to integrate a peace and development framework in Maguindanao province’s Annual Investment Plan (AIP) for 2012.

“We will show that in Maguindanao, there can be good governance and we can uplift the economic situation of the people,” Mangudadatu stated in his welcome message.

The MPDLG, which is a collaborative program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), is set to be implemented this year. It will be linked up with PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities), which is the government’s program and framework for peace and development in areas affected by conflict and communities covered by existing peace agreements. Maguindanao is one of the PAMANA beneficiaries.

OPAPP PAMANA Area Manager for Central Mindanao Johnnel V. Raneses said in the workshop that “the aim of the MPDLG program under PAMANA is to mainstream conflict sensitivity and peace lens in local government planning in order to address conflict and uplift the lives of the people.”

On the same note, Ampatuan Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator Jose Bañaga said that “the MPDLG program is very relevant in promoting peace and development which go hand-in-hand in advancing the socio-economic situation of our communities."

At the end of the workshop, the local officials identified priority peace and development projects for their respective communities. Following transparency and accountability mechanisms of PAMANA, their identified projects will undergo evaluation by a provincial technical working group and approval by DILG which manages funds for sub-regional projects under Pillar 3.

LGUs that are covered by the PAMANA program will be engaged in MPDLG before they could avail of the DILG-PAMANA fund for Pillar 3 projects.

Eligibility of LGUs to funding will be through the following reform interventions: (1) peace and conflict sensitive planning, budgeting and programming; (2) strengthening of Peace and Order and Development Councils at the provincial and regional levels; (3) empowering local focal persons as champions for peace and development; (4) full disclosure through transparency and accountability mechanisms; and (5) collaboration and active partnerships with civil society.

The MPDLG will be implemented in three phases. The first phase will focus on providing the needed capacities of LGUs in PAMANA areas to be able to mainstream peace and development in their planning, budgeting and programming. Second phase will involve providing selected LGUs’ access to PAMANA funds to support the implementation of peace and development projects identified in their peace sensitive Comprehensive Development Plans or AIPs. Third phase, on the other hand, will include participatory monitoring and evaluation of projects.

For this year, a total of 36 provinces in the seven PAMANA zones will be assisted.

Police: Killing of Education department exec work-related

by Malu Cadeliña Manar

KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Police in Kabacan, North Cotabato hinted that the killing on Monday of an official of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Maguindanao province was work-related.

Superintendent Joseph Semillano, chief of the Kabacan police, said they already have information as regards the identity of the hired killers and the mastermind in the killing of 52-year-old Taya Sapal Las Marias, assistant district supervisor of Deped-Maguindanao.

He, however, refused to divulge the identities of the suspects.

The victim, according to Semillano, has been receiving death threats since last year.

"In fact, she has changed address every now and then. It was just recently that she transferred to Kabacan town in North Cotabato. But it was unfortunate that those who wanted her dead were able to locate her,” Semillano said.

Las Marias did not tell the police of her situation.

The police also do not discount the possibility that the killing of the DepEd official was due to personal grudge.

Las Marias was shot thrice on her head and chest by a still unidentified gunman who immediately fled onboard a Bajaj motorcycle without a plate card outside her boarding house along USM Avenue in Poblacion, Kabacan, around 1:30 p.m. Monday.

The suspect, which the police believed was a hired killer, was seen with another male person who served as the driver of their getaway motorcycle.

Maguindanao education official shot dead while having a nap

by Edwin Fernandez

Inquirer Mindanao

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—An education official in Maguindanao was shot and killed while taking a nap outside her boarding house in Kabacan, North Cotabato, police said. Taya Sabal Las Marias, 52, had dozed off in a rocking chair in front of her boarding house on University of Southern Mindanao Avenue in Kabacan when a man arrived at 1:30 p.m. Monday on a motorcycle driven by another man and, without any provocation, repeatedly shot the woman with a .45-caliber pistol. The victim, who rented a room in Kabacan as her home was far from the town proper, worked with the Department of Education office in nearby Pagalungan town in Maguindanao. Las Marias sustained five gunshot wounds in the head and other part of the body and was declared dead on arrival at the Kabacan Doctor’s Hospital. Police investigators said they had no idea what the motive for the attack was. The DepEd regional office in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao condemned the shooting of Las Marias, and called for a speedy and impartial probe.

New military commanders announced

by Dona Pazzibugan

Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines–The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has a new commander for its Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) who will oversee all military forces involved in security operations against Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and communist rebels. Major General Jorge Segovia is the incoming Eastmincom commanding general, replacing Lieutenant General Arthur Tabaquero who will retire on April 17. A member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1980, Segovia is currently commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division based in Davao City. Prior to that, he was commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division based in Tanay, Rizal. It was under Segovia’s watch as 2ID commander when military and police operatives arrested 43 suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in a resort in Morong, Rizal, on Feb. 6, 2010. As militant groups insisted that the suspects were rural health workers, then newly installed President Aquino ordered the suspects released in December that year as a confidence building measure prior to resuming peace talks with the communists. Segovia will be replaced as 10ID commander by Brigadier General Ariel Bernardo, the current chairman of the government panel in the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Bernardo also served as deputy commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division based in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. Brigadier General Gerardo Layug has assumed command of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City in Samar. He replaced Major Geneneral Mario Chan who retired last April 8. Layug was the immediate former deputy commander of the AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) which is heavily into counter-terrorism operations against the Abu Sayyaf and other bandit groups. Meanwhile, Commodore Roberto V. Santos has assumed the helm of the Naval Forces Central based in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu. Santos, who was the AFP Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for education and training (AJ8), replaced Commodore Zyril Carlos who has recently been assigned as chief of the AFP Procurement Center. The AFP also announced the appointment of eight other senior officers to major command positions due to the retirement of the incumbent commanders. The appointments have all been formally approved by President Aquino. These are Navy Captain Franco Sebastian as the new deputy commander of the AFP Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) based in Lucena City in Quezon, replacing Commodore Rosauro Arnel Gonzales Jr. who will retire on April 29; Col Teodorico Raqueno will replace Commodore Santos as the AFP Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for education and training (AJ8); Colonel Arnulfo Marcos as the new assistant commander of the Army’s 5th Infantry Division based in Gamu, Isabela; Colonel Sanny Gadot as the new commander of the Army’s 502nd Infantry Battalion, replacing Colonel Marcos; Colonel Eusaquito Manalo as commander of the 570th Composite Tactical Wing of the Philippine Air Force (PAF); Colonel Andre Tanyag as the AFP Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (AJ3), replacing Colonel Manalo; Colonel Danilo Penafiel as commander of the PAF’s 355th Air Education and Training Wing; and Colonel Conrado Parra as the new deputy commander of the PAF’s Air Education and Training Command (AETC).

CA dismisses contempt raps vs Maguindanao murder case prosecutors

by Mark D. Merueñas /LBG, GMA News

The Court of Appeals has cleared Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and several state prosecutors of indirect contempt charges filed by detained former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., principal accused in the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

In his petition, Andal Jr. argued that the prosecution defied the court when it made arrangements to ensure that the six suspects remained separated from more than 90 other co-accused who are currently detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

The six detainees were P/Insp. Michael Macaraeg, P/Insp. Rex Diongon, PO1 Rainier Ebus, PO1 Pia Kamidon, CVO Esmael Kanapia and civilian volunteer Takpan Dilon.

Charged were De Lima, Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon, state rosecutors Juan Pedro Navera, Irwin Maraya, Amanda Felipe, Mary Jane Sytat and Karla Cabal.

The state prosecutors arranged for the continued detention of six policemen at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame despite an earlier order by the Quezon City regional trial court to detain all accused in the facility of the Bureau of Management and Penology at Camp Bagong Diwa.

In a 17-page ruling, the CA sided with Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes' November 22, 2010 ruling that junked the defense's motion to cite the state prosecutors in indirect contempt.

The prosecution had said they wanted the six suspects – currently staying inside the Custodial Center at Camp Crame in Quezon City – to be kept in a separate detention facility for safety reasons.

State prosecutors feared the lives of the six are in danger especially after the plan to make them witnesses and turn against their fellow suspects.

The defense however said the prosecution was extending "preferential treatment" to the six accused "in exchange for favorable testimony" in the multiple murder case.

The defense also accused the prosecution of keeping the six suspects' continued detention at Camp Crame a secret to Judge Solis-Reyes.

But Solis-Reyes eventually ruled in favor of the prosecution, saying the six suspects' Constitutional right to life and liberty should come before the state's right to prosecute them.

"Whenever there is an imminent threat to the life and liberty of the person in any proceeding... his right to due process of law, when demanded, must not be ignored," Solis-Reyes said.

The defense disagreed with the judge's ruling and elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals, saying Solis-Reyes "erred" in her decision.

CA ruling

But in its ruling, the CA said the prosecution's "disobedience was not willful but was for a justifiable reason."

Also, it said: “The reason for the continued detention of the six detainees at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame was to ensure their safety and security. And contrary to what petitioner is implying, RTC Branch 221 was duly informed of the action of the [prosecutors charged]."

"After a judicious review of records, we are inclined to agree with the [prosecutors charged]," the CA said.

The CA also reminded parties to the case not to use indirect contempt charges just to get back at other people.

"Contempt power... must be exercised judiciously and sparingly with utmost self-restraint with the end view of utilizing it for correction and preservation of the dignity of the court, and not for retaliation or vindication," it said.

Considered the single, worst election-related violence in the Philippines, the Maguindanao carnage left 57 people, including 32 journalists, dead and one other missing on November 23, 2009.

Prominent members of the powerful clan in Mindanao – the Ampatuans – and members of its supposed private army and some members of the local police are standing accused for 57 counts of murder.

More than two years after the case, authorities have yet to capture 100 of the 196 suspects in the killings. Principal suspects Andal Sr and son Andal Jr have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

GPH senior Army adviser urges MILF to discipline men, prevent in-fighting

by (PNA)


CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, April 7 (PNA) - Clan wars, locally known as "ridos" in Maguindanao, continue to threaten the Mindanao peace process and raised calls for the Moro rebels talking peace with Manila to discipline their troops and prevent internal armed conflict.

Brig. Gen. Leo Cresente Ferrer, government senior military adviser, has called on the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to control its men locked in family feud who prefers to settle dispute through the barrel of guns.

"We will never stop urging the MILF to control their warring forces and help settle family disputes even before they can escalate to violence," Ferrer said after two separate rido clashes erupted in Barangay Damalibi, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao and Barangay Balabac, Pikit, North Cotabato on Thursday.

About 100 families fled their homes and were assisted by by the Philipppine Army's 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion (MIB) and the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade of the Light Armor Division, currently deployed in the area to help win the peace.

Brig. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, chair of the GPH Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), said that the first encounter was between the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters,(BIFF) led by Commander Rutin, and the MILF's 118th Base Command (BC), Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), led by Commander Otok.

The clashes in Barangay Damalibi were triggered by a land dispute, which led to murder. Reports said Otok's nephew, a farmer, was killed by the group of Rutin due to land squabbles. Thursday morning's attack was believed to be Otok's retaliation for his nephew's murder.

Ferrer said the GPH-CCCH has already informed the army unit and the MILF-CCCH about the fighting.

"They have already requested the MILF-CCCH to direct the 118th Base Command to cease the fighting and leave the area once the BIFF elements have withdrawn.

BIFF is a breakaway group of the MILF, led by rogue commander Ustadz Ameril Umra Kato, while the BIAF is the official armed wing of the MILF.

To deter encroachment of reinforcing troops from both sides, Ferrer said that army troops were also requested to establish checkpoints along the highway.

Also on Thursday morning, about two hours after the first rido broke out in Shariff Aguak, another armed skirmishes were reported in Barangay Balabac, Pikit, North Cotabato.

This time it was between the group of Mando Mandalait, and a certain Commander Lugom of the MILF 108th Base Command, BIAF, with reinforcement from one Ibrahim Tan-ao under Kagui Samir of the MILF National Guard Front Command.

Personal grudge and politics and a long standing family feud triggered the armed conflict, the GPH-CCCH said.

The MILF-CCCH said in a separate statement that initiatives to resolve the feud were done by the MILF but it was not sustained due to personal grudge and political connections that has been long been rooted in murder.

Efforts to contain the armed conflict is on going.

According to Ferrer, the MILF should maintain peace on the ground as a show of sincerity to the peace process.

"We urge the MILF to work with the government in bringing peace in Mindanao. We would like to believe that the MILF is as sincere as the government when it comes to the peace negotiations," Ferrer said.

"We would like to see that sincerity reflected on the ground as well, by knowing that the MILF can control their troops from going into armed clashes again in the future," he said.

Recently, news reports surfaced that some elements of the MILF doubt the possibility of a peace pact under the Aquino administration.

"The government wants a peace agreement with the MILF, but we also want to see them prove that they can work with us in keeping the peace," Ferrer said.

Both parties are set to meet again for another round of formal exploratory talks this month in Kuala Lumpur.

CSC confers Seal of Excellence to 2 LGUs in ARMM

by (PNA)

LAP/Teofilo P. Garcia/utb

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has awarded the Seal of Excellence to two local government units (LGUs) in Maguindanao for their effective compliance with the anti-red tape campaign and efficiently catering to the needs of their respective constituents. The Municipalities of Upi and Datu Odin Sinsuat garnered an overall rating of 94.54 percent and 93.66 percent, respectively, in a client satisfaction survey conducted by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), called the Report Card Survey (RCS), in July last year to determine the compliance of LGUs with the provisions of Republic Act No. 9485 otherwise known as the “Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007” or ARTA. Each of the two towns received a Citizen’s Satisfaction Center Seal of Excellence from CSC and earned the distinction of being the first two LGUs in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to receive the award. “We are committed to sustain and maintain our zeal for good housekeeping, and to further ensure that ARTA implementation would trickle down even to the barangay level,” Upi Mayor Ramon Piang, Sr. said. The multi-awarded mayor also acknowledged the help and collective effort of the town’s local employees, who, he said, deserve equal credit for the award. A cash reward of P75,000 and a wall-mountable glass seal bearing the Seal of Excellence symbol were handed by CSC Assistant Commissioner Rogelio Limare together with other CSC-ARMM to the two municipalities in separate ceremonies held this week. CSC researchers used a questionnaire and checklist as tools to determine LGU compliance with the provisions of ARTA such as the presence of a Citizen’s Charter, anti-fixer campaign materials, and help desk; and implementation of “No Lunch Break” policy. The tools also helped evaluate clients’ satisfaction based on the quality of service mandated to promote prompt, excellent, honest and courteous front line service in the bureaucracy. Limare also handed a special citation for the municipality of Upi for garnering the second highest overall rating nationwide due to the publication of its citizens charter in the town’s official website. Meanwhile, Datu Odin Sinsuat Mayor Datu Lester Sinsuat said the award is in recognition of their dedication to public service and effective governance. “This award is not merely a token of inspiration, a testimony of hard work and sincerity, but a challenge for everyone to foster transparency and accountability in governance,” Sinsuar said. In addition to the two municipalities, another ARMM LGU--Lamitan City--was also given the same recognition by the CSC. CSC-ARMM director Resurreccion Pueyo said the award proves that LGUs in the ARMM can be capable of providing efficient, transparent and quality front line services. Pueyo said the reforms being instituted at the regional level of the ARMM can trickle down to the LGUs within the region through the collaborative efforts being enforced by the present caretaker administration of the ARMM.

Deny Ampatuans Bail, Court Asked


MANILA, Philippines — The prosecution in the 2009 “Maguindanao Massacre” case has asked a Quezon City court to deny the petition for bail from two members of the Ampatuan clan and grant its motion to proceed with their arraignment.

In a six-page opposition submitted to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221, the prosecution said Anwar and Akmad Ampatuan, because they have been positively and clearly identified by witnesses as principal participants, must be denied bail.

The two Ampatuans were among several accused with having conspired in murdering 57 people.

The prosecution said the accused’s defense of denial and alibi is weak and becomes even weaker in the face of positive testimonies.

“For the defense of alibi to prosper, the appellant must prove that he was at another place at the time of the commission of the crime, but it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene at such moment. The positive identification of accused/movant as the perpetrator of the crime when categorical, consistent, and without ill-motive on the part of the eyewitnesses testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi and denial (People vs. Parreno, 433 SCRA 591),’’ the opposition stated.

The prosecution noted in its motion that the accused’s petition for review filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the petitions for certiorari before the Court of Appeals have already been decided against them.

“Finding that there was no irregularity in the proceedings at the prosecutorial stage, there is no more reason why their arraignment will not push through more so that they have been harping on the so-called violation of their right to speedy trial,’’ the motion stated.

Community Service

by Ali Macabalang

BULUAN, Maguindanao – Pursuing its higher command’s peace-building and community service drive, the Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade staged a medical mission for villagers in five adjoining towns of this province in collaboration with local government units converged under the Southern Ligwasan Alliance of Municipalities (SLAM) recently.

Hundreds of predominantly Muslim villagers trooped to the gymnasium of nearby Paglat town and availed of free services and medicines under the first mobile medical festival organized by workforces of the brigade and SLAM chaired by host town Mayor Abdulkarim Langkuno, 601st Brigade spokesman Captain Alex Escalante said.

3 kids hurt in Maguindanao blast


COTABATO CITY, Philippines - Three children were injured in an explosion that ripped through an isolated farming village in nearby Sultan Mastura town in Maguindanao today.

The victims - one toddler, another, a six-year-old child, and the last, a 14-year old - are presently treated for shrapnel wounds at a hospital here.

Inspector Tongan Namla, chief of the Sultan Mastura municipal police, said the target of the bombing could be farmer Pacalim Mamadra, who survived an attack by gunmen two hours earlier while working at a furnace-type copra dryer near the blast scene.

“We are still investigating...this incident. We are doing our best now to determine the exact identities of the culprits and the kind of explosive used in the bombing,” Namla said.

Namla said they suspect that Mamadra is involved in a rido (clan war) with another group.

Mamadra was slightly wounded when unidentified men shot him with assault rifles before a bomb went off in the village.

Namla said the mayor of Sultan Mastura, Datu Armando Mastura, has ordered the local police to initiate traditional means of resolving the dispute between Mamadra and his adversaries to prevent a repeat of the incident.

Three missing scrap metal buyers found floating dead in North Cotabato river

by (PNA)


CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, April 1 (PNA)- The three ambulant buyers of recyclable glass bottles, who were reported missing for a week, have been found dead floating in a river in Montawal, Maguindanao province.

Elements of the 7th Infantry Battalion and Pikit police have launched a manhunt against the perpetrators.

The victims were believed to have been executed by suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerillas after they were suspected of spying for the military.

The victims were identified as John Jay Mira and his brother Ian Novert, and a companion named Aaron Carera.

Police and military authorities in Pikit, North Cotabato said they were last seen on their way to an interior village in Montawal to buy scrap metal and reusable empty bottles.

The victims' cadavers were recovered by policemen and soldiers from a river at the border of Barangays Tubak and Bualan in Pikit, North Cotabato.

Sr. Insp. Elias Dandan, Pikit police chief, said the victims were all residents of nearby Mlang, North Cotabato.

The victims’ Kawasaki motorcycle has also been missing.

Dandan said they have received information from informants that a certain Commander Bhutto of the MILF picked up the trio two days earlier then executed one after the other.

Lito Pinol, mayor of Mlang, said an informant told him that the victims were taken by the group of armed men on orders of Commander Bhutto.

He said the bodies of the victims bore torture marks and gunshot wounds.

Maguindanao Archived News

The older news reports are kept here