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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Kauswagan town mayor Arnado, ousted over citizenship, steps down finally

By: Richel V. Umel

KAUSWAGAN, Lanao del Norte (31 March 2016) - Mayor Rommel Arnado has stepped down as the town's chief executive following Wednesday's serving of a writ of execution in connection with a Supreme Court decision, which unseated him with finality for his continued use of a US passport.

Arnado first ran and won as mayor in 2010, and had since been undefeated.  He had wanted to run for a final term in May until the High Court's final decision was issued in December.

When he first ran as mayor, Arnado said he had denounced his US citizenship, but his opponents belied it.  In filing a petition against Arnado, his political opponents were able to secure certifications that showed the mayor continued to use his US passport even after he was elected mayor.

Despite the earlier adverse decision on his case, Arnado initially refused to step down and filed motions to contest the ruling.

Earlier this month, a writ of execution was finally issued and was served on Wednesday by Arnel Gabe, the director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Lawyer Dean Quijano, a legal counsel of Arnado's, told reporters that the mayor has accepted his fate.

"Mayor Arnado has stepped down because it (writ of execution) was only the document we had been waiting for," Quijano said.

Based on the Supreme Court final ruling, Arnado's political rival in the 2013 elections, Florante Capitan, will now sit as the town's local chief executive.

On Wednesday, dozens of Arnado's supporters gathered in front of the town hall to prevent Capitan from taking over.

Capitan, who viewed Arnado's defeat in the Supreme Court as a long overdue victory, said he had already talked with some officials and that Arnado relayed he needed at least two days to talk to his supporters and make them understand the latest development.

"We will assess and discuss this with our lawyers - if we will grant the request," Capitan said.

He said if needed, his camp would ask the police to disperse the Arnado supporters encamped outside the town hall.

Meanwhile, Quijano said Arnado was still a candidate in this year's mayoral elections because the Supreme Court ruling only pertained to his 2013 run.

He admitted that the adverse ruling might have been arrived at because Arnado failed to attach the affidavit of renunciation of his US citizenship when he filed his certificate of candidacy in 2013.

But former Lanao del Norte board member Casan Maquiling, whom Arnado had trashed in the 2010 mayoral elections, said they also filed a disqualification case against Arnado at the Commission on Elections.

Maquiling said the same ground used for their petition at the Supreme Court was cited in the disqualification case.

"We will not give Arnado another chance to rule," he said, adding that it would be a mockery of laws if a US citizen was allowed to govern the town.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Vehicular accident in Rupagan Highway claims a life

BACOLOD, Lanao del Norte (27 March 2016) -- The slippery highway in Rupagan of the Municipality of Bacolod, province of Lanao del Norte, after a heavy downpour on Easter Sunday morning, claims the life of another motorist.

A single motorcycle driven by MANUEL JARANTILLA LAGA, JR, of Plaridel, Misamis Occidental, skidded on a wet highway, after an early morning heavy downpour on Easter Sunday, 27 March 2016, in Brgy. Rupagan, Lanao del Norte, and rammed unto an onrushing Rural Transit Bus, with plate number ACA 7276. 

The victim laid flat in the middle of the highway, stalling the traffic for some 20 minutes at around 9:35 a.m.

The Bacolod Municipal Police Station mobile car arrived to bring the victim to the nearby ANDOT HOSPITAL in Barangay Poblacion, Bacolod, Lanao del Norte.

In an interview today (28 March 2016), informant SPO1 Jose Jay Scamillan, Leader of Team B in Bacolod Municipal Police Station revealed that the attending doctors thereat declare the victim 'dead on arrival.' 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Duterte, Cayetano vow distribution of coco levy funds within a month of winning

Presidential candidate PDP-Laban standard bearer Rodrigo Duterte 
and runningmate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano
By: Ernie Reyes

MANILA, Philippines (12 March 2016) - Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and his running mate, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, vowed on Saturday to distribute the P80-billion coco levy funds to small farmers in just one month after winning the May elections.

"All it takes is political will.  The Supreme Court already decided to return the fund to the farmers.  Thus, if elected, in just the first month of our term, Alan and I will immediately give the fund back to the coconut farmers.  Failure to do so is tantamount to estafa," Duterte, the PDP-Laban standard bearer, said.

While Duterte refused to comment on claims his rival Senator Grace Poe defended business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., whose Nationalist People's Coalition adopted her, over the failure to distribute the coco levy funds, Cayetano had no such qualms.

Poe earlier denied defending Cojuangco, saying it was the fault of the Aquino administration and its allies in Congress for not ensuring the passage of a law that would ensure the funds' distribution.

But Cayetano accused Poe of not knowing enough of the issue as he pointed out that it was a petition filed by the Philippine Coconut Producers Federation, which he claimed was a Cojuangco "dummy," that was the basis for the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court against two executive orders on the funds' distribution.

Reverse privatization

Cayetano also said he and Duterte would push for "bold solutions" such as reversing the Aquino administration's plans to privatize the fund.

He said they would convert the coco levy assets into a stakeholders-shareholders-state equity partnership to guarantee the farmers' hold on the assets and create village level farm-based processing industries.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

SP defers passage of 2016 budget again

By:  Francisco E. Dosdos, Jr.

Bayani Areola
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (27 Jan 2016) - The 2016 budget virtually froze in the Sangguniang Panlungsod as the Body again deferred approval during its regular session this afternoon (26 January 2016).  

SP Committee on Finance and Appropriations Vice Chairman Councilor Bayani Areola, who will be stepping out of office on June 30 after his third term, told newsmen that the Executive Budget they were discussing was the fourth "final" version submitted to them by the Local Finance Committee for deliberation and passage.

He said that the Confidential/Peace and Order Fund has been trimmed down to P3 million, while the proposed appropriation of over half a million pesos for the Court of Appeals is still under consideration due to feared funding constraints.

Roy Lagunzad Openiano
In his report to the Body, Economic Enterprise and Development Committee Chairman Councilor Roy Lagunzad Openiano said that pursuant to the assignment given him, he held a meeting with the department and division heads of Economic Enterprise and Development Management Office (EEDMO) and the latter said they cannot given an assurance that their projected income for 2016 can be attained.

It was said that the target of the department for 2016 is higher by around P20 million than the actual income of 2015.

Dr. Usafeno F. Obial
Committee on Health Chairman Councilor Usafeno F. Obial also informed that the present OIC Head of the Gregorio T. Lluch Memorial Hospital is not optimistic that they can achieve their projected collection target.

He said that Dr. Anita Saloma who prepared the projections can no longer be asked to explain the targets because she had already retired from the service.

Dr. Anita Saloma
Areola said that if the Budget is approved based on these bloated collection targets, he fears that by the third quarter of the current year a tremendous income shortfall will occur and budgeted expense items would not be funded.

It may now take quite some time to determine which of the proposed expense items should be dropped from the Budget in order to balance the figures with the reduced income projections.

The session adjourned with a Motion to call the Local Finance Committee to further enlighten the Body on the said issues.

It may also be worthwhile noting that many accounts payable last year have been obligated for 2016 due to funding shortfalls.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Iligan City mayor works inside jail

Accused Regencia accosted by PNP escorts
during the Oct. 19, 2015 hearing at RTC Initao
By:  Richel V. Umel

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (24 Jan 2016) - Confusion is gripping the city as jailed Mayor Celso Regencia, who has been accused of masterminding the 2014 ambush of Rep. Vicente Belmonte, continues to discharge the functions of the city's chief executive.

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.

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