LOS ANGELES • ORANGE • INLAND EMPIRE
Aga VOL. XIX, NO. 15 Since 1992 e e
Death toll hits 11, hundreds fl ee Maguindanao clash
COTABATO, April 4, 2011 (AFP) – Hundreds of residents fled a remote Philippine village after 11 men including relatives of a powerful politician died in a clash with Muslim rebels, officials said Monday. A 500-strong armored army unit deployed in the deserted vil-
lage of Tenok on Monday, a day after the clash, to keep about 150 gun-wielding clan members and 130 guerrillas apart, said local military spokesman Colonel Prudencio Asto.
“They would not want to engage our people, who are fully equipped and can even call on air support if needed,” Asto said. He said the Mangudadatu gunmen and the Moro Islamic Lib- eration Front (MILF) rebels were however digging in and taking up defensive positions. Sunday’s firefight killed 10 supporters of Esmael Mangudadatu, governor of Maguindanao province, includ- ing an uncle and four other kin, while the rebels suffered one dead and three wounded, according to an updated official toll. Maguindanao has been riven by Muslim separatist rebellion, warlordism, and deadly blood feuds for years, making it one of the poorest and most violent provinces of the Philippines. Mangudadatu’s wife and several relatives were among 57 people killed in the country’s worst political massacre in November 2009. Members of a rival Muslim clan are on trial for the murders, along with militia forces armed and trained by the government to fight the MILF. “The area of Tenok is now vacated by civilian populace,” Asto said. The rural village had about 900 residents. The insurgency has left 150,000 people dead according to some
De Lima orders BI to determine how Lacson sneaked out of the country
MANILA, April 5 (PNA) – Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima has ordered the Bureau of Im- migration (BI) to determine how Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson managed to sneak out of the Phil- ippines and evade arrest by local police as well as the International Police (Interpol).
“I will await BI report and see if a deeper probe is warranted,” De Lima said.
Lacson has been in hiding for more than a year after the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) or- dered his arrest on Feb. 5, 2010 for the death of noted publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.
The country cancelled the
passport of Lacson in August 2010 and has been placed un- der the “red notice list” of the Interpol.
Lacson surfaced on March 26,
2011 after the Court of Appeals (CA) dismissed with finality the charges against him on March 18, 2011.
The Philippine consulate in Hong Kong Special Administra- tive Region (HKSAR), Xiamen City and Macau, all in the Peo- ple’s Republic of China (PROC) have already denied issuing the travel documents to Lacson. However, Lacson vowed to take to his grave all crucial in- formation about the details of his travels, including those who helped him during the time he needed them most. ■
Balita launches ‘Visit the Philippines for Free’ raffl e drawing contest
HELLO Fil-Ams! Balita Media Inc. has just launched its “Visit the Philippines for Free” raffle drawing contest for a free travel to the Philippines for two via Philippine Airlines with a 2-night stay at a 5-star hotel in Manila.
The contest only requires an email address and for you to find the Magic Sentence “Balita Media Inc.’s website is Balita.com
” in an article that is published in today’s (April 6) edition and all other future editions until before the drawing date on Thanksgiving. After locating the Magic Sentence in the Balita article, all you need to do is to jot down the title of that article, which is needed when you fill up the Entry Form along with all the necessary infor- mation. Simply tear or cut and then mail your entry to our offices at Balita Media Inc. 520 E. Wilson Ave., Ste. 210, Glendale CA 91206. Or, just log on to our website to join, which is pretty much easier as you only need to push a button for a chance to win. But just like in the print edition, you also need to find the Magic Sentence in an article posted on our website, fill in the Entry Form and submit your entry.
Drawing will be held electronically and the winner will be in- formed through his/her email address. This “Handog Pasasalamat ng Balita” contest is in cooperation with the Phil. Department of Tourism and Philippine Airlines.
GINA GALDIANO, the wife of Allan Galdiano, one of the sixteen people taken hostage by armed men Friday, talks to her husband at a makeshift command center at a remote area in Prosperidad township, Agusan Del Sur province, southern Philippines Sunday, April 3, 2011. Gunmen have taken hostage sixteen people, including teachers and school offi cials after graduation rites at a primary school Friday, demanding the release of an indigenous leader, who is in jail for a similar hostage-taking incident in December 2009 involving 79 residents to protest alleged Government inaction on his clan’s ancestral land claim, Police said. (MNS photo)
Whistle-blower audit chief Mendoza to oversee war on graft
MANILA, April 5, 2011
(AFP) – The Philippines on Tues- day named an accountant who has lived under witness protection since exposing alleged large-scale graft in the military to oversee its battle on government corruption, officials said.
Heidi Mendoza would take over as chief of the independent Commission on Audit for the next seven years, said Ricky Caran- dang, spokesman for Philippine President Benigno Aquino, who swept to power last year on an anti-graft ticket.
“Ms. Mendoza as we’ve seen, has proven that she is very seri- ous about anti-corruption and we believe that she will continue the efforts for good governance,” Carandang told reporters. Mendoza testified at a public inquiry in parliament this year into allegations of massive graft by top generals in the armed forces.
The appointment of Mendoza, who gained huge support after testifying, is seen as a boost for Aquino.
cover alleged abnormalies during the nine-year term of predecessor and arch-rival Gloria Arroyo. The commission is tasked with examining all government spend- ing contracts.
Mendoza previously led a team of government investigators auditing military contracts that al- legedly involved the misuse and theft of military pension funds and money allotted to modernize the army.
The controversy has been cited as a potential trigger for the shoot- ing death in February of former defense minister Angelo Reyes, some of whose former subordi- nates were named by Mendoza in her depositions.
The authorities ruled that the
FORMER Commission on Audit (COA) auditor Heidi Mendoza testifies during a congressional hearing about the investigation into corruption in the military, at the House of the Representatives in Quezon city, metro Manila February 8, 2011(MNS photo)
As Commission on Audit chief, Mendoza will play a key role in Aquino’s campaign to un-
former official, who was found shot to death at his parents’ grave, had committed suicide. Corruption watchdog Trans- parency International last year ranked the Philippines at 134th
of 178 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index, equal with Bangladesh and Nigeria but just above Pakistan, Iran and Libya. ■
receives new car from Willie
APRIL 6, 2011 See STORY, page 22
Palace eyes peaceful end to hostage crisis
MANILA, April 5 (PNA) – Malacañang expects that the hostage-taking incident in Pros- peridad, Agusan del Sur would be resolved peacefully following the release of a 13-year- old boy on Monday. “Yes, the crisis would be re- solved peacefully,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang said in a press briefing on Tuesday at Malacañang.
Carandang said the release of Marvin Corvera, 13, is a welcome development that in the soonest possible time the crisis would end and the local crisis management committee would be able to save the hostages from the hands of their abductors.
Carandang assured the public that the government’s local crisis management committee members are continuously exhausting all possible means to settle the hos- tage crisis.
He noted that the safety of the hostages is the government’s primary concern, adding that the negotiators are very patient in dealing with the hostage-takers. Five armed men allegedly from the forest-dwelling Manobo tribe forcibly abducted 15 teach- ers and children on Saturday in a bid to get the government to free a jailed relative.
Of the total victims, two were released on Sunday, and another one on Monday night. ■
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