Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Pinoy Missing

Filipino sailor missing after ship sinks in Japanese waters

Agence France-Presse

TOKYO -- A Filipino sailor was missing in Japanese waters Wednesday after his cargo ship hit another vessel and sank, the coast guard said.

Fourteen other crewmembers from Cyprus-registered Asia Concerto were rescued after it crashed off the coast of western Yamaguchi prefecture at 6:00 a.m., a coast guard spokesman said.

"We are searching for a Filipino sailor who went missing in the accident," the spokesman said, adding that the Asia Concerto was leaking oil and other fuel.

The 4,458-ton ship had collided with the 4,314-ton South Korean-registered Pine Pia, whose 15 crewmen were safe and had rescued the sailors from the sunken vessel.

The Japan Coast Guard dispatched nine vessels and one helicopter to search for the missing sailor in the area, between the main Japanese island of Honshu and the smaller island of Shikoku.

The Asia Concerto was carrying about 6,000 tons of metal coils, Jiji Press reported.

The coast guard said it would investigate the cause of the accident. The sea had been relatively calm at the time, it said.

Honest Cabbie

Poor cabbie returns P150,000 to passenger

Tarra Quismundo
Inquirer News Service

LAST Sunday, part-time taxi driver Reio Lance, 28, drove back to the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay City to return some 150,000 pesos in cash to a passenger.

The passenger, Annie Joy Angana, had left her bag at the backseat of the taxi after rushing off to catch an 8:45 a.m. flight back to Cotabato in Mindanao. Angana had borrowed the money from a relative to pay for her daughter's crucial brain tumor operation.

On Wednesday, Lance's honesty was recognized by the Taguig City government.

Lance, who at times had to sell sampaguita garlands and balut (boiled duck's egg with embryo) to earn money, was offered a job at City Hall. The city government also promised to subsidize the elementary and high school education of Lance's children, Reiozel, 5; and Rhazelle, 3.

"Because life is so hard, at times our family would have dried fish and salt with rice to eat. That's why whenever I get the chance to work part-time driving a taxi, I take it," said Lance in an emotional account to city employees.

Hyatt 10 Shows Up

Ex-Cabinet execs' presence forced House suspension--solons

Maila Ager

THE SURPRISE appearance by some resigned Cabinet members could have been the reason why the committee at the House of Representatives in charge of the impeachment complaints against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo decided to hold a closed-door meeting, two lawmakers said on Wednesday.

Those who showed up at the hearing were former Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman, former presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Quintos Deles, and Imelda Nicolas, former head of the national anti-poverty alleviation.

"When they saw the Hyatt 10, they got rattled," impeachment lead prosecutor Ronaldo Zamora told reporters," referring to the 10 Cabinet secretaries who announced their resignation at the Hyatt Hotel in Manila to denounce Arroyo's alleged involvement in poll fraud.

"This is just the start and yet they are already threatened," Zamora said.

Zamora said the closed-door meeting was obviously meant to get the public out, especially the members of the "Hyatt 10."

"They just wanted to watch. This is a public hearing," he said.

"What can these people from the 'Hyatt 10' do to mess up the arrangements?" Minority Senior Deputy Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said.

But Ilocos Sur Representative Salacnib Baterina, vice-chairman of the justice committee, denied his colleagues' allegations.

"Why should we get rattled? What are they? Supermen ?" Baterina said in a telephone interview.

"We did not even see them and nobody mentioned about them here in the executive session," he said.

In an interview before the hearing, Soliman said they showed up to assure the public that their stand had not changed even after leaving the administration.

"We are here to lend support to those in search for truth," Soliman said.

House committee suspends Arroyo impeach raps deliberations

Cruz's Crusade

Cruz: I'm not an unwitting 'jueteng' foe

Yolanda Sotelo-Fuertes
Inquirer News Service

DAGUPAN CITY -- Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said he was not happy that his crusade against the illegal lottery "jueteng" was unwittingly helping the opposition's efforts to bring down the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

But Cruz said it was beyond his control if he or his crusade would be dragged into the political crisis.

He said it was not his problem if the political opposition was riding on his anti-jueteng crusade to attack the President.

"We have been against jueteng since 2001 and nobody minded us, especially the administration. Now that the jueteng issue has exploded, they say that we are destabilizers and antia-dministration, and that we are being used by the opposition," Cruz said.

"Even if the administration decides to use me, that is beyond my control. But I'm not letting myself be used. There's a difference between one who is unwittingly used and one who allows himself to be used," Cruz told the Inquirer in a telephone interview Tuesday.

He reiterated that his crusade was not meant to unseat Ms Arroyo because "whoever the President is [would be] immaterial to the crusade."

Cruz is the national chair of the Krusadang Bayan Laban sa Jueteng [People's Crusade Against Illegal Lottery].

"Only jueteng is material to us. If there is no more jueteng during the Arroyo administration, we will stop [our campaign]. Our aim is to free the country from jueteng," he said.

Not with Lacson

He said he was not working with Sen. Panfilo Lacson in looking for or handling witnesses against the illegal numbers game.

"That is impossible. I have been the one taking care of the witnesses -- housing them, looking after their safety, asking for security for them, providing them food and accommodation," Cruz said.

He said a new witness with ties to the administration would surface but he declined to identify the person.

Cruz does not believe that the illegal numbers game will stop even if Ms Arroyo steps down from office. "It has been there long before she became president," he said.

New Jueteng Witness

'Jueteng lord' gave P300M to Arroyo campaign -- Mendoza

Veronica Uy

INCUMBENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received 300 million pesos for her 2004 presidential campaign from an alleged "jueteng lord," according to a military officer at the resumption of a Senate inquiry on the illegal numbers game.

Army Captain Marlon Mendoza, assigned as chief security officer of former Commission on Elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, claimed that he heard the poll official boast in a drinking spree that Rodolfo "Bong" Pineda contributed 300 million pesos to Arroyo's campaign kitty.

"I distinctly heard Garcillano say that Bong Pineda gave 300 million pesos for the President's success in the elections," he said.

Mendoza said his former "boss" made the boast when they were together in Naga City. He said he was with Garcillano between April and June 2004.

Prefacing his testimony with a speech on how much he loved the Philippines, Mendoza proceeded to say that Garcillano regularly met with MalacaƱang officials, including one Butch Pakinggan from the Office of then executive secretary Alberto Romulo, at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

Garcillano also met with Batangas Governor Arman Sanchez, also an alleged to be a big-time "jueteng" operator, Mendoza said.

Mendoza, a witness of Senator Panfilo Lacson, attended the hearing despite a warning from his superiors who reminded him on Tuesday that he had pending charges for allegedly violating provisions in the Articles of War.

Former Isabela governor Faustino Dy Jr., who was also invited to the hearings by Senator Manuel Villar, co-chairman of the Senate inquiry on "jueteng," is not expected to attend.

Both Mendoza and Dy will supposedly corroborate the testimony of former MalacaƱang employee Michaelangelo Zuce, who had revealed initially that "jueteng" money was used to pay off election supervisors and regional directors in the President's La Vista home in Quezon City.

Senator Manuel Lapid, a co-chairman, had wanted to terminate the hearings but Villar said these would continue for as long as there were witnesses that would be endorsed by either Archbishop Oscar Cruz or any senator.