4 of 5 ‘salvage’ victims in Batangas identified

By Marlon Ramos
Southern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 04:26pm (Mla time) 07/10/2007

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna — Police have identified four of the five alleged victims of summary executions who were dumped in separate villages in Tanauan City and Talisay, Batangas on Monday, police said Tuesday.


Senior Superintendent Prudencio Bañas, Batangas police director, also confirmed that they had actually recovered a sixth victim who was still alive when a team of local policemen arrived to check on a report that bodies had been found in Barangay (village) Balele in Tanauan City.


He identified the survivor as Winston Adrelin Torribio, a resident of Pasig City.


Superintendent Francisco Rodriguez, Tanauan police chief, said Torribio was still confined at the intensive care unit of a hospital somewhere in Batangas.


He said the victim had gunshot wounds on his head and right chest.


Rodriguez said they had placed the victim under their tight watch to ensure his safety while recuperating.


He said they have yet to talk to the victim.


“The victim is now in stable condition. He is slowly recovering. We’re certain that he could give light to what really happened to them and identify who wanted them killed,” Rodriguez said in a mobile phone interview.


The other body found near Torribio remained unidentified, Rodriguez said.

Meanwhile, Bañas said the body found from a vacant lot in Barangay Talaga, Tanauan City was that of Joseph Castro, 18, a resident of Barangay Sampiruhan, Calamba City.


The three bodies discovered along a narrow road in Barangay Aya in Talisay town were identified by their friends and relatives as Deo Celada, 18, Edison Barrientos, 22, both of Barangay Sampiruhan, and Jayvee Alvarez, 21, of Barangay Bañadero, Calamba City.


The four bodies had tattoos and piercing all over their bodies, said Bañas.


Bañas said the five apparently died from the bullet wounds on their heads.


He said while the killings of the victims who were residents of Calamba could have been the handiwork of a same group of suspects, there were no indications that the murders were related to the sly try on Torribio and the killing of the other victim.


All the six bodies were discovered at almost the same time by residents Monday dawn.


“We suspect that the dumping of the bodies of the victims from Calamba and those of the two other victims were just coincidence,” he said.


Bañas said they have yet to determine the motive in the killings.


Meanwhile, relatives of the victims from Calamba City asked Batangas police to speed up its investigation.


A cousin of Castro told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that they have no idea who could be behind the murders. He said the victims have no known enemies from their neighborhood.


He said he last saw his cousin alive on Sunday night.


He said the victim told him that they would go to Tanauan to visit a friend.


“We were alarmed when we were told by some of our neighbors that my cousin and his companions failed to show up at the house of their friend. We were then told that they were already found dead in Batangas,” the victim’s cousin told the Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.

Cops cordon off alleged shabu lab in Laguna

Cops cordon off alleged shabu lab in Laguna
By Marlon Ramos
Southern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 01:41pm (Mla time) 07/09/2007

SAN PEDRO, Laguna — Local authorities and anti-narcotics agents have cordoned off a warehouse suspected to be used by a Taiwanese drug syndicate to manufacture shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) inside a subdivision here on Monday morning, police said.


Elements of the San Pedro municipal station and personnel of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have barricaded the bungalow warehouse inside the Amante Subdivision in Barangay (village) Nueva as early as 5 a.m., said Superintendent Sergio Dimandal, town police chief.


Dimandal said they were still waiting for the release of the search warrant from the local court for them to legally enter the establishment.


He said they received information that the place was being utilized as a shabu factory by a big drug syndicate.


“We don’t want to bungle our court case against the members of the drug syndicate that’s why we’re being careful not to be cited for mere technicalities,” Dimandal told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net.


Superintendent Raul Bargamento, PDEA-Calabarzon chief, said the information about the shabu laboratory came from suspected drug lord Tony Tan Go, the Taiwanese national who supposedly ran the illegal drug factory in nearby Biñan town which was accidentally discovered by policemen last Friday.


Bargamento said Go was arrested on Sunday when he went back to the apartment he rented in Barangay San Antonio which he used to produce shabu.


“During interrogation, the Taiwanese national admitted that they also used this warehouse in their operations. But we still don’t have any idea what’s inside,” he said.


Police recovered hundreds of kilos of chemical precursor for shabu which could produce over one thousand kilos of the said illegal drugs worth over P4 billion from the apartment in Biñan.


The apartment unit is owned by an active police general assigned in Central Luzon, police said.


bossi.jpgBOSSI IN CAPTIVITY: The first photos of Fr. Giancarlo Bossi since his abduction on June 10 were sent to his best friend, Claretian priest Angel Calvo, in Zamboanga City through cell phone on Thursday. Calvo believes the photos were taken recently. Authorities also believe the photos are authentic.inquirer.net

Youth vote’ puts new graduate to town council

By Niña Catherine Calleja
Southern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 08:11am (Mla time) 06/21/2007

NAGCARLAN, Laguna — JC Lucido, 22, took an accountancy course in college and graduated with honors in March. But instead of applying for a job in a private company, he ran for councilor of Nagcarlan town in Laguna and won.


Proclaimed on May 17, Lucido placed second among the eight winning councilors.


It was the “youth vote” that swept him to victory in Nagcarlan, about 100 kilometers south of Manila. He had 7,676 votes from a voters’ turnout of 29,282 on May 14.


“The youth really moved for me,” Lucido admitted. His votes came almost equally from all the barangays.


Lucido said he knew the young people wanted to participate in the elections because during his campaigns and meetings, they were attending and listening attentively.


“It is good to feel that many people trust you,” he said.


Lucido said working for a public office was an extension of his extracurricular activities in school and in the community. It was just a wider scale of governance, he said.


Some of the incumbent councilors had asked Lucido to run in October last year.


“I had no plan to run. I told them I was graduating and I planned to work with the private sector afterwards,” he said.


But the councilors were persistent. “They told me the municipal government needed my idealism,” he said. For five years now, Lucido has been part of the council, having been elected president of the Sangguniang Kabataan.


“During those times, I (did not cling) to anyone, even to our mayor. Whenever we were in session, I (sided) with who I thought was right,” he said.


He said he was convinced to run because of his desire to serve.


Lucido headed the committee on appropriations. All budget and proposed programs of the council passed its scrutiny, he said.


“It was a difficult job. The councilors said I did it well so I knew I am capable of being a councilor,” he said.


Lucido said he spent about P50,000 for campaign materials, such as tarpaulins and banners. His strategy was to woo the votes of the youth and the women.


“Many people perceived a politician as someone who could give away money and material things,” he said.


Although some people felt bad when their request was denied, they tried hard not to shell out money.


“I still believe that the majority of the electorate is educated and discerning,” Lucido said.


In the past administration, Lucido saw a number of ordinances passed but not implemented. This may have reflected a misunderstanding between the mayor and the council members, he said.


He cited the ordinance on solid waste management that was never enforced.


One of the programs he wanted to introduce was a scholarship program for out-of-school youths in Nagcarlan.


Lucido also planned to create a youth development council in which youths, aside from the SK members, could actively participate in local governance. The council will include representatives from out-of-school youths in villages, he said.

4 inmates escape from Laguna jail; police chief sacked

ph_locator_laguna_luisiana.pngBy Marlon Ramos
Southern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 03:18pm (Mla time) 06/18/2007

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna — The chief of police of Luisiana, Laguna, and one of his personnel have been relieved following the escape of four inmates, including a suspect in a kidnapping case, from the Luisiana municipal jail on Sunday, police said Monday.


Senior Superintendent Felipe Rojas Jr., Laguna police director, said he ordered the relief of Chief Inspector Wenceslao Anore after their initial investigation showed that there were no signs that the prison cell was “forcibly opened” by the escapees.


Aside from Anore, Rojas relieved Police Officer 1 Madonna Riña who was on duty when the prisoners fled from the detention center.


“According to the result of our initial probe, there were no signs of forcible opening of the detention cell. That’s why I have ordered a deep investigation on the incident to punish those responsible for the escape of the inmates,” Rojas said in a mobile conversation with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of the INQUIRER.net.


During pursuit operation, members of the Laguna police office were able to recapture one of the four escaped inmates.


Rojas identified the recaptured inmate as Robert Añonueno, 28, who is facing charges for slight physical injuries.


He said Añonuevo was arrested from a house in Barangay (village) Panglan in Majayjay, Laguna more than seven hours after his escape.


Still at large are murder suspect Enrique Hombera, 54, of Barangay San Jose, Luisiana; robbery suspect Joven Lobiano, 19, of Aurora province; and Guillermo Huad, 28, of Sto. Tomas, Luisiana, who has been charged with kidnapping.

Rojas said Riña was on a routine check of the jail facility at around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday when she noticed that its gate was partially opened.

When Riña inspected the steel gate, she discovered four inmates were already gone from their cell.

Rojas said he ordered all officers in all jail facilities being maintained by the provincial police to tighten their security.

Biñan canvass delay keeps Laguna bets in the dark

By Niña Catherine Calleja
Southern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 07:24am (Mla time) 05/31/2007

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA—Fifteen days after the elections, the Commission on Elections has yet to proclaim the winning officials in Laguna—-the governor, vice governor, a congressman and board members—due to the delay in the canvassing of votes in Biñan town.


Dioscoro Pajutan, Comelec Laguna provincial supervisor, said they could not proclaim the winners because the results of the elections in Biñan could still change the overall results of the provincial races.


He said incumbent governor and reelectionist Teresita Lazaro was leading the race with 35,000 votes against incumbent vice governor Edwin Olivarez.


Biñan has 105,000 voters, according to Comelec records, so the number can still change, Pajutan said.


Biñan is said to be the bailiwick of Olivarez.


The Comelec has yet to issue an order whether or not to resume canvassing or to declare a failure of elections in Biñan.


The canvassing was suspended on May 18 after mayoral candidate Jose Ruben “Cookie” Yatco, son-in-law of Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos, filed a petition to declare a failure of elections in Biñan allegedly because of irregularities.


Incumbent vice mayor Marlyn Alonte, who is leading in the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) count, also filed a petition to lift the suspension of canvassing in the town.


Alonte said the delay in the canvassing was causing tension.


“We are divided here in Biñan. If the tension does not cease, more people would be threatened and would no longer get involved,” she said.


The Roman Catholic bishop of Laguna has called on candidates in Biñan to stop the “excessive bickering” and peacefully resolve the election issue.


In a letter sent to the parish of Biñan, Laguna Bishop Leo Drona said he was alarmed by the “horrendous division that has come to plague the community caused by the disagreements and accusations of various political groups.”


“Our country needs people who could stand for the truth and those who protected the sanctity of the ballot last elections deserve gratitude,” Drona said.


“Hence, I encourage all the lay faithful (and citizens) of Biñan and all those affected by the crisis to pray and discern, to dialogue with prudence and reason,” he said.


The priests in Biñan also issued an official statement which was read in all parishes last Sunday.


The statement said the current situation was caused by accusations made by both political parties.


The priests said both parties should follow due process and not resort to any form of violence.

Teachers oppose declaration of poll failure in Laguna town

By Niña Catherine Calleja
Southern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 02:20pm (Mla time) 05/31/2007

BIÑAN, Laguna — The teachers here, who took their job as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), said there was no failure of elections and that they had performed their job well.


On May 18, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) issued an order suspending the canvassing of votes in the town after a petition was filed by mayoral bet Jose Ruben Yatco saying the elections in Biñan was a failure.


Around 15 teachers with representatives of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) called on media Thursday morning to clarify what really transpired before and during the elections as they were put in a bad light.


Mirasol Isabelo, principal of Biñan Elementary School, said that if the Comelec would declare a failure of elections and order a re-election, the teachers would no longer participate.


Partial counts of the PPCRV before the canvassing was suspended by the Comelec showed incumbent Vice Mayor Marlyn Alonte with 29,781 votes against the 23,404 votes of Yatco, son-in-law of Comelec chairman Abalos.


Alonte was questioning the suspension of the canvassing saying it was a manifestation of Yatco’s connection to Abalos.


With her lawyers, Alonte filed a petition with the Comelec to lift its suspension order.


The Comelec, however, has yet to issue another decision on the elections here after ordering suspension of the canvassing. inquirer.net

2 alleged kidnappers slain in shootout with cops in Laguna

Kidnap victim rescued By Thea Alberto, Marlon Ramos
INQUIRER.net, Southern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 03:16pm (Mla time) 05/31/2007

(UPDATE 2) CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna — A suspected leader of a kidnap-for-ransom syndicate and one of his alleged henchmen were killed in a shootout with elements of the Regional Special Operations Group of the Calabarzon police just before noon Thursday, an official said.


Chief Superintendent Nicasio Radovan Jr., Calabarzon police director, identified the slain suspect as Jacinto Penaverde while the other casualty has yet to be identified.


He said the two were killed in an encounter after police raided the safehouse of Lagalag group led by Penaverde in Barangay (village) Manaol, Nagcarlan town at 11:45 a.m.


The police was able to rescue Gina Brosas, 32, of Barangay Pizamora, Majayjay town, who was forcibly taken by the kidnap gang Wednesday night between 8 and 9 p.m.


Radovan said the kidnappers demanded P5 million in ransom from the victim’s family.


Recovered from the slain suspects were a Machine UZI pistol and a .38 caliber revolver, said Radovan.


Radovan said group was operating in southern Tagalog for robbery, holdup, kidnapping, gun-for-hire and car theft.


Police are in pursuit of seven other suspects, said Radovan.

Police chief of Laguna town slain

By Marlon Ramos
Southern Luzon Bureau
Last updated 01:29am (Mla time) 05/30/2007

STA. ROSA CITY—Four men gunned down the chief of police of Cabuyao, Laguna, in front of his house inside a subdivision here at about 7 a.m. yesterday, police said.


Supt. Bernie Banalo, 54, died of bullet wounds in different parts of the body while undergoing surgery at the St. James Hospital.


Supt. Raymuno Oliquiano, city police chief, said Banalo suffered at least seven bullet wounds in the face and chest.


Police have yet to ascertain the motive behind the murder. “We really don’t have any idea who could have done this gruesome murder. But his killing could be related to his work as a police officer,” Oliquiano told the Inquirer.


He said Banalo, who was on his way to report for work, was feeding his dog in front of his house at Panorama Subdivision in Barangay Dita when at least four unidentified men approached him and shot him at close range.


Several witnesses saw the gunmen run toward the squatters’ area along a railroad near the victim’s house.


Banalo’s relatives rushed him to a nearby hospital where he died an hour later.


Police recovered bullet shells from a .45 cal. pistol at the crime scene.


Senior Supt. Prudencio Bañas, acting provincial police director, condemned the killing and vowed its immediate resolution.


Before his appointment as chief of police of Cabuyao, Banalo served as head of the police detachment assigned to Malacañang.


Earlier, the Communist Party of the Philippines claimed that government forces suffered 31 casualties, including policemen and officers who were gunned down in assassinations and ambuscades.


In a report published in its official organ, Ang Bayan, the CPP said the figures represented the gains made by the party and its military arm, the New People’s Army, in its fight to set up a socialist government in the country.


The military disputed the CPP report, saying it was just propaganda.


It said the CPP instead suffered losses in the hands of government soldiers, losing dozens of firearms in the process.


Missing pastor ‘arrested,’ detained in Cavite


The missing United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) pastor who was reported abducted in Laguna Sunday turned out to be “arrested” and is now detained in Cavite province.


QTV-11 television reported Monday night that pastor Berlin Guerrero was “arrested” over at least two warrants issued by Laguna and Cavite courts for murder and for inciting to sedition.


“He was arrested by virtue of warrants issued by the courts in Biñan (Laguna) and Bacoor (Cavite). The warrant from Biñan is for inciting to sedition, and the warrant from Bacoor is for murder,” said Cavite provincial police director Sr. Supt. Fidel Posadas.


Posadas said Guerrero would be detained in Imus town in Cavite for the moment.


But even as Posadas did not elaborate on the cases, Guerrero’s relatives insisted the cases against him were “fabricated.”


His wife Mylene said the men who abducted the pastor in Laguna late Sunday did not show him any warrant.


Guerrero once served as a secretary general of the militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan’s Southern Luzon chapter. He is also secretary general of the church group Kasimbayan. GMANews.TV


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.