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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ombudsman dismisses Cagayan de Oro Mayor Moreno

By:  Alwen Saliring
SunStar Cagayan de Oro

CAGAYAN DE ORO (5 Nov 2015) - The re-election bid of Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno may now be in question following an order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing Moreno from service and perpetually barring him from holding public office.

In a decision approved on October 6, 2015 and released yesterday, November 5, the Office of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales found Mayor Moreno of having committed Grave Misconduct for entering into a settlement agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines without prior authorization from the City Council, in violation of Republic Act No. 7160 (The Local Government Code).

In a statement posted at the official website of the Office of the Ombudsman, Moreno was held liable for entering into a court agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation on August 2014, which allowed the latter to pay P300,000 instead of its original local business tax deficiency of P2.9 million.

The Office of the Ombudsman ruled that 'the approval of the agreement by the court cannot, in any way, legitimize the acts of Moreno.'

Glenn Banez, officer-in-charge of the City Treasurer's Office, was also dismissed together with Moreno.

Calling the decision "a serious miscarriage of justice," Moreno said the Ombudsman failed to take into account his counter-affidavit which he filed on April 20, 2015 through his and Banez's lawyer, Atty. Jonathan Pacuribot, in response to a case filed by former Taglimao village chief William Guialani in March this year.

"They (Office of the Ombudsman) missed out on my counter-affidavit and that is serious miscarriage of justice," Moreno said in a hastily-called press conference Thursday afternoon.

Moreno said he has yet to receive a copy of the Ombudsman decision, but said he has read the decision from 'other sources' and is aware of its contents.

"Ang order nag-ingon nga I have not filed my counter-affidavit sa reklamo (but) the truth of the matter is I have filed," he said.

Moreno also questioned the Ombudsman decision which he branded as "harsh, cruel, and excessive," saying the investigation failed to take into account his answer on Guialani's March complaint.

"I have filed my counter-affidavit well on time and in my counter-affidavit, it is very clear that I had no knowledge about the alleged settlement and I have not approved it.  How could I be held liable for that," he said.

Moreno said he plans to file a motion for reconsideration as soon as he receives a copy of the Ombudsman decision and said he may ask the Court of Appeals for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent the execution of the order.

Moreno's and Banez's troubles began after the latter reclassified Ajinomoto's product from 'essential' to 'non-essential' in an effort to enhance the city's revenue collection.

Banez noted that Ajinomoto's product was wrongly classified, depriving the city from collecting a higher tax rate.

In Moreno's counter-affidavit, which Moreno said was submitted to the Ombudsman, Moreno noted that Ajinomoto had been paying taxes from 2006-2011 based on the wrong classification and the P2.9-million covers the tax payment deficiency, surcharge, and interest of the corporation for the said period which could not be otherwise retroactively collected.

With the August 2014 settlement, Moreno's counter-affidavit notes that the company has agreed to the reclassification beginning on 2014.

The Ombudsman decision, however, pointed out that the actions of both Moreno and Banez were not allowed without a corresponding resolution from the City Council.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fugitive Iligan City mayor surrenders after two months in hiding

By:  Froilan Gallardo
Manila Standard Today

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The fugitive Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia, who has been in hiding because of his alleged involvement in the ambush of Rep. Vicente Belmonte, surrendered to a Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge here on Monday morning, the National Bureau of Investigation said.

NBI regional agent-in-charge Atty. Alex Cabornay said Regencia was turned over by RTC Judge Arthur Abundiente to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) at 8:45 a.m. after his surrender, ending Regencia's hiding for almost two months, after the court issued warrants of arrest against him and 10 others.

"I commend the decision of the mayor to trust our judicial system by submitting himself to the jurisdiction of the court," Cabornay said.

Lawmaker Belmonte, who survived the ambush, welcomed the submission of Regencia to authorities.  "I am happy for that [the surrender], after all, we can put a closure of the case," Belmonte said.

The lawmaker, who will seek for the mayoral seat in Iligan City, believes that Regencia surrendered so that he can file his Certificate of Candidacy (COC).

"Because under our election rules, a fugitive cannot file his certificate of candidacy until he surrenders, so, now the status is that he is not anymore a fugitive, he can file through authorization [or] special power of attorney," Belmonte added.

The Commission on Elections has commenced Monday (October 12, 2015) its week-long schedule of Filing of Certificate of Candidacy nationwide until Friday (October 16, 2015).

The police has yet to issue an official statement regarding Regencia's surrender.  

The Iligan City mayor was in hiding since multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges were filed against him last August at the Misamis Oriental Prosecutor's Office in connection with the ambush of Belmonte and his convoy.  

The Regional Trial Court Branch 44 in Initao, Misamis Oriental issued the warrants for three counts of murder and six counts of frustrated murder against Regencia, his bodyguard Police Officer Alfeo Arnoco, Amado Baller, Rogelio Pitos Sr., Romeo Suganob, Peejay Capangpangan, Julito Oros Ansad, Dodo Silvano, and Rogelio Pitos Jr.

Arnoco went on absence without leave and also went into hiding along with the rest of the suspects.

Several gunmen ambushed the convoy of Representative Belmonte after it left the Laguindingan Airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental last December 11, 2014.

Three of Belmonte's bodyguards were killed in the ambush, while the congressman and five others were wounded.

Pursuit operations later arrested one of the gunmen identified as Dominador Tumala of Osmena town, Zamboanga del Norte who provided the court with the details of the ambush plans and Regencia's alleged participation.

Before he went into hiding, Malacanang have suspended Regencia for 60 days for abuse of authority after allegedly stripping Iligan Vice Mayor Ruderic Marzo of his authority to appoint casual employees at the Sangguniang Panlungsod. [with Moh Saaduddin, Manila Times]

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Marawi teenage girl raped and torched; residents lynch 4 suspects

Roxanne Roble Arevalo

MARAWI City (18 Aug 2015) - The furious mob of residents took turns punching the four suspects believed to have raped and torched to death a hapless teenage girl inside the victim's house in Marawi City.

Smashed all over their bodies with every possible blow from the angry residents were Jabar Macacua, Salman Sambitory, Elias Pimping, and Jalil Sani after they were caught and arrested in Marawi City during the weekend.

Kataya so mga tao a miyaka binasa ko babae tano a e Moriatao Diwan.
Posted by XeLor Lucman on Sunday, August 16, 2015
Some residents tip them off to be the rapists and who thereafter killed  a 15-year old girl named as Sittie Naifah Hadji Faisal Canapia on Friday.

The police officers believe the original intention of the suspects was just to steal the house of the victim, but then they were caught in the act by the teenage girl who came home earlier than her mother. 

The suspects took turns to rape the girl, and torched her to cover-up the crime. 

So isako mga mama na miyakwa sa geya video a di bantay sa kapkatotong o babae tanoSkanyan e tomyotongon na dipun bantay dadun a puso iyan a kaadun... Na kakwaniandun mambo so balas o galbk iyan... Pakasorgaan o Allah babae tano oto ka plangag sa Qur'an
Posted by AyMan Haytham Sabah Ud-din on Monday, August 17, 2015

This infuriated the residents.  Many of whom waited outside the police precinct to be able to lay hand on the suspects.

They demanded to punish the suspects by public hanging.

"Patayin.  Sa relihiyon naman ay patayin.  Batas ng Diyos, gusto namin ay batas ng Diyos!"   [Kill.  Our religion mandates the killing of the criminal.  God's law, we want God's law be followed.]

The news also spread over the social media that the four suspects shall be hung at the Banggolo Plaza and the Marawi City Mayor Sultan Fahad Salic shall witness.  But Salic denied this.

Firing Squad Sa Mga Rapist
Mga rapist na nakatakdang i-firing squad sa Biyernes. Kapag matuloy ang pag-firing squad sa harap mismo ng publiko, kauna-unahang pagkakataon umano itong mangyari sa Marogong, Lanao del Sur.
Posted by Filipino Community on Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Hindi ako papayag na ganito ang mangyayari.  Nandun na sa city jail ang mga suspek no.  Hindi pwedeng mangyari yun, dahil may batas tayo,"  [I cannot allow this to happen.  The suspects are already inside the City Jail.  That cannot be allowed to happen, because we have the law], Salic said.

Family and relatives demand to burn to death the rape and murder suspects

 By:  Divina Morgia Suson

MARAWI City (18 Aug 2015) - The police force this City is on full alert in securing the four (4) detained suspects accused of rape and murder of a 15-year old lass Friday.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Iligan couple wins Pag-Ibig house and lot prize

By:  Richel V. Umel
Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro

ILIGAN CITY (17 Aug 2015) - Michael Suan and Gael Balanay, both 29 years old of Fuentes, Maria Cristina village in Iligan City, were among the 4,000 couples who joined the simultaneous mass wedding on February 12, 2015 nationwide initiated by the Home Mutual Development Fund (HDMF) or Pag-Ibig Fund.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Higaunon tribe pushes for larger budget in 2016

By:  Tito Natividad Fiel
Tingog Bayug

ROGONGON, Iligan City (10 Aug 2015) - The Higaunon tribe from Bayug Iligan ancestral domain and the coastal area have pushed for a larger budget for the calendar year 2016 amounting to 3.2-million pesos, which is about 450 per cent increase compared to the 2015 budget.

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