Items filtered by date: Monday, 14 August 2017

Lawyer of Reyes brothers dies after gun attack in Palawan

Puerto Princesa, Palawan map from en.wikipedia.org


MANILA, Philippines – A lawyer based in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan died after he was attacked by a motorcycle-riding gunman on Tuesday, August 15.

The victim, Hermie S. Aban, used to be the lawyer of former Palawan governor Mario Joel Reyes and former Coron mayor Mario Reyes, principal suspects in the January 24, 2011 murder of broadcaster-environmental activist Gerry Ortega.

Aban was on a motorcycle and went out to buy food when he was gunned down by the still unidentified perpetrator at 8:30 a.m. on Abueg Road, Barangay Bancao-Bancao, dzBB radio said, quoting a report from Senior Police Officer 2 Eustaquio Ferrer of the city’s Mendoza Police Station.

The assailant chased Aban and shot him four times until the lawyer fell unconscious on a grassy portion of the road.

The report said Aban was rushed to the MMG-PPC Cooperative Hospital corner Burgos and Mabini Streets, but was later on pronounced dead.

Authorities recovered two empty shells of a .45-caliber pistol from the crime scene.

In September 2012, Ortega’s family filed a disbarment case against Aban for allegedly aiding in the escape of the Reyes brothers.

The brothers, along with Aban, left for left for Vietnam via a Cebu Pacific flight on March 18 of the same year, according to government records.

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Kenneth Dong, godson of senators and alleged middleman in shabu shipment, arrested in Senate over rape allegation

File photo of Kenneth Dong from Facebook account of FB account of A-Linx Events International Inc


MANILA, Philippines – Businessman Kenneth Dong, the alleged middleman in the shipment of P6.4-billion worth of shabu, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after he was accused of committing rape in Cebu.

Dong, a known patron of politicians and godson of senators, was taken into custody by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents after he participated in the Senate’s inquiry into the big-time smuggling of shabu that was able to enter the country via the Bureau of Customs’ express lane.

The arrest warrant, dated July 21, 2016, was issued by Judge Aida Estrella Macapagal of the Parañaque Regional Trial Court-Branch 915.

Authorities did not handcuff Dong while he was at the Senate building in Pasay City. He was escorted out of the establishment and was read his Miranda rights before he was brought to the NBI headquarters in Manila for booking procedures.

Senators Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Joel Villanueva, and Ralph Recto became Dong’s godparents in his November 9, 2013 wedding with Lovell Tee at the Shrine of Jesus followed by a reception at Hotel Sofitel, both located in Pasay.

Hontiveros, Pangilinan, Zubiri, and Villanueva admitted knowing Dong but not as someone allegedly linked to narcotics. They confirmed that he is their godson, whom they knew as a businessman, a benefactor, or a poll campaign donor.

Recto was also among Dong’s ninongs but said that he had failed to attend the nuptial.

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Leni breezes through House hearing on OVP budget

VP Leni Robredo, seen here in file photo, has a reason to smile: approval of her OVP budget didn't take more than 5 minutes.


MANILA – Adhering to tradition, the House committee on appropriations swiftly approved the proposed 2018 budget of the Office of the Vice President in Tuesday’s budget briefing.

Vice President Leni Robredo had not been seated for more than five minutes when the motion of Albay Representative Edcel Lagman to approve the budget was seconded by the members of the panel.

Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles, the appropriations committee chairperson, said the budget proposals of the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President are traditionally given the go-ahead without scrutiny at the committee level. He also said that Robredo was their colleague during the 16th Congress.

After the briefing, guests and House employees took turns in taking their photograph with Robredo.

Robredo said the budget of her office was “just small,” at P443.9 million. For the current year, the OVP was given P428.6 million. CLICK HERE FOR THE DBM-PROPOSED BUDGET.

The main programs of the office are on “enhanced strategic partnership and advocacy on good governance and good governance engagements and social service projects.”

Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was among those who sat down at the budget briefing, but left right away after its approval.

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Elvis’ spirit lives on 40 years after death

This Aug. 16, 2002 file photo shows an image of Elvis Presley singing as his band plays below at the start of the Elvis Presley 25th Anniversary Concert in Memphis, Tenn. The red Elvis sign is from the 1968 Elvis ‘comeback tour.” Friends and fans of late singer and actor Elvis Presley are descending on Memphis, Tennessee, for Elvis Week, the annual celebration of his life and career. It coincides with the 40th anniversary of the passing of Presley, who died on Aug. 16, 1977. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)


MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Pilgrims come all day every day, filing past in silence, fighting back tears as they place mementos at Elvis Presley’s gravesite, pausing to reflect, take pictures or say a prayer.
More than 600,000 fans visit each year, paying tribute to the icon of popular culture, the once rebellious sex symbol turned family entertainer of whom John Lennon said “before Elvis there was nothing.”
Forty years after his tragic death in 1977 at age 42, floral tributes from around the world still line the Meditation Garden, where the king of rock ’n’ roll is buried at his Graceland home in Memphis.
On Tuesday, thousands, if not tens of thousands, are expected to attend this year’s candlelight vigil to mark the anniversary of Elvis’ death.
Lisa Bseiso will be one of them. She had what she calls a “very spiritual, deep encounter” with Presley’s spirit when she first visited Graceland with her husband in August 2014.

“He was sitting in a chair,” remembers the 36-year-old daughter of a Palestinian father and Colombian mother, born and raised in Qatar.
“He had tears coming down his eyes and he said, ‘Don’t forget me, spread my legacy in your part of the world,’” she recalls.
So she went home and set up The Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Qatar, which she now plans to expand to Dubai, Bahrain and Kuwait.
“He’s a gift from God to all of us,” she tells Agence France-Presse (AFP) at Graceland, where she is visiting with her Palestinian-Jordanian husband, Colombian mother and friends. “God took him back home, but he’s still here.”
‘Quasi-messianic’
A lifelong fan, listening to his music helped her recover from a car accident in 1999 that left her in a coma for two weeks, she says.
The idea that Presley’s spirit lives on is central to his fans of all ages, from all countries, who find his music soothing in times of trouble and are moved by his rags-to-riches story and legendary generosity.
Presley is far more than just another poster child for the American dream or even a man whose looks matched the Greek definition of classical beauty, says British author Ted Harrison.
“The Elvis known today is not the real Elvis, but a mythological figure millions can relate to in their own way,” says the author of “The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley.”
“For some fans he also now fills a spiritual and religious vacuum in modern secular society. He is given a semidivine, quasi-messianic status and mystical stories are told about his life,” he says.
Thousands have shrines to Presley in their homes, consider visits to Graceland a pilgrimage, write prayers on the wall outside and some even go so far as to confuse him with Jesus, Harrison says.
Bseiso does not elevate Presley to the status of prophet or biblical figure, but has found in him a higher calling as she seeks to spread his music and challenge stereotypes about Arabs or the Middle East.
‘God stamped him’
“I think when he was born God stamped him to be able to influence people and touch people,” she says. “His music talks to you … it has a spiritual meaning in his words.”
A 10-minute drive from Graceland, the guide at Sun Studio tells fans they are on “sacred and hallowed” ground in the basement studio where Presley recorded his first song, “That’s All Right,” in 1954.
Ecstatic fans jostle to stand on the exact spot where he stood, and cradle and croon into the microphone he used, manically snapping photographs and tingling with delight.
“It’s heaven!” sighs Daniela Soto-Cuadra, a 42-year-old lawyer and mother of two from Chile, getting married at Graceland on Monday to a man she’s been dating only a month.
“I actually have goose bumps,” says Tessa Bruns, 40, an anesthetist from Wisconsin bursting with happiness under her baseball cap.
“Being a somewhat religious person and a Catholic,” she says, “I would say Elvis is a religion, the blues, the rhythm, his legacy.”
So what would she have told Presley had she ever met him?
“I would say I think I worship the ground you walk on,” she says.

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‘Deadpool 2’ stunt driver dies while filming in Vancouver

A police officer photographs a motorcycle after a female stunt driver working on the movie ‘Deadpool 2’ died after a crash on set, in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, on Monday Aug. 14, 2017. Vancouver police say the driver was on a motorcycle when the crash occurred on the movie set on Monday morning. AP


VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada — “Deadpool 2” star Ryan Reynolds is mourning the death of a motorcycle stunt driver killed during production Monday.
Reynolds released a statement on Twitter a few hours after the accident near the waterfront in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.
“Today, we tragically lost a member of our crew while filming Deadpool,” the actor wrote. “We’re heartbroken, shocked and devastated… but recognize nothing can compare to the grief and inexplicable pain her family and loved ones must feel in this moment.”
Reynolds said his heart “pours out to them — along with each and every person she touched in this world.”
The motorcycle crash happened near the Shaw Tower office building, where a crumpled motorcycle was seen lying on its side and a window was smashed.

Nathan Kramchynski, who works on the seventh floor of Shaw Tower, said he watched rehearsals of the stunt outside the Vancouver Convention Centre. The stunt woman had been riding the motorcycle down a set of stairs from the center and stopped when she reached the street, he said.
But when the accident happened, the driver appeared to pick up speed, crossed the street and swerved to avoid pedestrians before disappearing from his view, Kramchynski said.
“She lost control really quickly. It happened in a split second,” he said. “She was going full throttle and then there’s a building there.”
Another witness, Sharmina Kermalli, said she had just walked into a Starbucks next door to where the accident happened when she heard a loud crash. She ran outside and saw glass still falling on the body of the motorcycle driver.
The name of the stunt woman was not immediately released.
Police said officers were at the scene and investigators for WorkSafeBC, the provincial workplace safety agency, were also looking into the crash.

Reynolds, a native of Vancouver, plays the title role of Deadpool, who is a Marvel Comics superhero.
“We are deeply saddened by the accident that occurred on the set of ‘Deadpool 2’ this morning. Our hearts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of our crew member during this difficult time,” said a spokesman for 20th Century Fox.
A stuntman was fatally injured last month in Georgia during production of “The Walking Dead.” He fell head-first onto concrete about 22 feet (7 meters) below after appearing to try to grab a railing to stop his fall. CBB

 

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Merck and Under Armour CEOs resign from Trump council over Charlottesville

Flowers and a photo of car ramming victim Heather Heyer lie at a makeshift memorial in Charlottesville, Virginia. (photo by Justin Ide, Reuters)
The chief executives of Merck & Co. Inc. and Under Armour Inc. resigned from U.S. President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council on Monday, following Trump’s initially tepid response to weekend violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Kenneth Fraizer, the chief executive of drugmaker Merck and an African-American, said he left the advisory council because of the president’s reaction after the violence between white supremacists and counter protesters. Frazier cited the need to “take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

The AFL-CIO, a federation of labor unions that represent 12.5 million workers, said it was considering pulling its representative on the committee.

After the white nationalist rally turned deadly on Saturday, Trump initially said that many sides were to blame. On Monday, in a statement, Trump denounced neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan as criminals and thugs, bowing to mounting political pressure as critics assailed him for not singling out white supremacists.

The CEO of Under Armour, Kevin Plank, announced his resignation from the council in a Twitter posting. “We remain resolute in our potential and ability to improve American manufacturing,” said Plank. “However, Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”

Plank was criticized last winter by some of Under Armour’s biggest stars over his support of Trump, comments that basketball star Stephen Curry echoed.

The demonstration in Charlottesville by hundreds of white nationalists took a deadly turn on Saturday when a car plowed into a group of counter protesters and killed one person.

“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental views by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Frazier said in a statement announcing his resignation.

“As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism,” he said.

Trump responded shortly later in a tweet, saying, “Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

Trump doubled down on his attack later in the day, tweeting that Merck “is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!”

The son of a janitor, Frazier joined Merck as general counsel of one of the drugmaker’s subsidiaries in 1992, working his way up to CEO of the company in 2011.

He made his name as the company’s top lawyer, steering it through daunting litigation over Vioxx, its widely used painkiller that was withdrawn in 2004 after being linked to heart attacks.

Many observers thought Merck would eventually have to shell out $10 billion or more to thousands of plaintiffs over the drug’s withdrawal. But Frazier’s legal strategy led to a $4.85 billion settlement in 2007, allowing Merck to refocus on its pipeline of experimental medicines.

Merck shares closed up 0.5 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, roughly in line with the wider market.

Frazier frequently made political contributions during the 2016 election, donating to both Republican and Democratic members of Congress but making no donations to a presidential candidate during the year.

The political PAC maintained by Merck and funded through donations from Merck employees made over $1.1 million in candidate contributions during the 2016 campaign — but did not contribute to Trump or his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, according to documents filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents the pharmaceutical industry and lobbies on its behalf in Congress, declined to offer a statement of support for Frazier or to comment on Trump’s reaction.

The industry’s silence comes as Trump is finalizing an executive order on drug prices that would relax industry regulation and contains measures that, some say, would protect existing drug prices or even increase them.

Individually, at least one CEO, John Maraganore of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, tweeted his support, saying he was “proud to stand with leaders like Ken Frazier.”

Other top business leaders also spoke out in response to the violence in Charlottesville.

“I support Ken Frazier’s decision. I’m thankful we have business leaders such as Ken to remind America of its better angels,” said Hewlett Packard Enterprises CEO Meg Whitman, who ran for governor of California as a Republican in 2010.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tweeted: “Lincoln: ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ Isolate those who try to separate us. No equivalence w/ those who bring us together.”

Richard Trumka, president of the largest federation of U.S. labor unions, the AFL-CIO, questioned the council’s effectiveness and said the group was mulling leaving.

“The AFL-CIO has unequivocally denounced the actions of bigoted domestic terrorists in Charlottesville and called on the president to do the same,” Trumka said in a statement.

Several executives from top U.S. companies have previously stepped down from a number of presidential advisory councils in protest to Trump policies.

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk and Walt Disney Co CEO Robert Iger left the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, a business advisory group, in June, after Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. Musk also left the manufacturing council.

Former Uber Technologies Inc CEO Travis Kalanick quit the business advisory council in February amid pressure from activists and employees who opposed the administration’s immigration policies.

The White House said Sunday that Trump’s remarks condemning violence at a white nationalist rally were meant to include the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups.

Democrats and Republicans criticized Trump for waiting too long to address the violence — his first major domestic crisis as president — and for failing when he did speak out to explicitly condemn white-supremacist marchers who ignited the melee.

Trump on Saturday initially denounced what he called “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”

On Sunday, however, the White House added: “The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred, and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi, and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”

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Are Duterte’s son, bizman linked to P6.4-B shabu shipment into fishy deals? Then file cases against them, Palace says

File photos of Davao Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte (from his Facebook account) and businessman Kenneth Dong (from FB account of A-Linx Events International Inc)


MANILA, Philippines – Are Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and businessmen Kenneth Dong engaged in something fishy?

If accusers have the evidence, then they should go to court and file cases against the son of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Cebu-based businessman, who is allegedly the middleman in the shipment of P6.4-billion worth of shabu from China. Otherwise, allegations against their alleged link will remain baseless and malicious.

This was the response of Malacañang on Monday to insinuations that the younger Duterte and Dong had questionable dealings as the two were seen together in a photo, which is now being spread via social media.

“On the whole, kung talagang (if there’s) anything serious, then whoever is…in this matter then (they) should raise up the issue in the proper venue,” said presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella during a press briefing.

“Hindi lang ‘yong paikut-ikot. Kasi, siyempre [Not just go the rounds. Because, of course], at the end of the day, what does it become? It becomes a trial by publicity,” added Abella.

He said documentary evidence and not mere hearsay should be used as basis in hurling allegations against the vice mayor and Dong.

“Ang mahalaga [What is important is the] documented evidence, hindi lang sabi-sabi [not just hearsay]. ‘Yon ay kung kasama siya sa isang listahan o tipong may mga gano’n, ‘yong [Like if he is included in a list, something like that], actual documented evidence,” said Abella.

“Otherwise, these things will just speculation, propaganda which will be used or misused,” he added.

President to step down if there’s proof children are corrupt

Earlier, President Duterte said he would step down if it would be proven that Paolo and his other children are corrupt.

“Sinuman ‘yong [Whoever is the] official who entertained, with the intervention of any of my sons and daughters, that is enough for me. I will fire you and I will press charges against you, my relative, whoever he is and you’ll have the luxury of seeing me go down. Hindi ko na kailangan itong trabaho na ito [I no longer need this job],” said the chief executive.

The President issued the statement days after customs broker Mark Taguba said during an inquiry by the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs that the President’s eldest child was allegedly being “name-dropped” by those at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) whom Taguba claimed to have received tara or grease money from him, namely “Tita Nani,” “Jake,” and “Small.”

Paolo dismissed Taguba’s allegation.

“Taguba admitted that his testimony against me was based entirely on rumors. Why would we entertain or believe a hearsay? One does not dignify lies with a response,” the vice mayor said in a statement sent to reporters.

He also challenged his accusers to a file case against him.

It wasn’t the first time that Paolo’s name was dragged into the alleged smuggling activities at the BOC.

In April 2016, Perfecto Tagalog of the Coalition of Filipino Consumers alleged that “Davao City is a smugglers’ haven because it’s (then) Mayor Duterte’s son himself who is the lord of the smugglers.”

According to Tagalog, a 2007 report by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) indicated that Paolo was allegedly involved in smuggling activities.

“Intelligence information…[indicated] that a certain Glen Escandor, son of Col. [Emilio D.] Escandor and owner of Mandaya Hotel, and Paolo Duterte aka Polong, son of Mayor Duterte of Davao City, are business partners in smuggling activities and are responsible in the proliferation of smuggled Sub-Urban Vehicles and high-end cars in the area,” the Dec. 7, 2007 PSG report signed by Rosauro Bautista, PASG team leader 2, stated.

“These activities are being undertaken without any arrest or apprehension by concerned government agencies due to the alleged power and influence of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the father of Paolo,” the report added.

Peter Lavina, then Mayor Duterte’s media bureau chief, dismissed Tagalog’s allegation as black propaganda against the city chief, who joined the presidential race.

“They should have filed cases long ago. Why raise the issue now?” Lavina said.

In September 2016, confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato testified before the Senate Committee on justice and Human Rights also linked Paolo to alleged smuggling operations in Davao City, claiming he had once delivered P3 million in payola for customs officers for the vice mayor at the Sasa Wharf in 2013 – an allegation that was also denied by Paolo.

“[President Duterte] is angry at smugglers but he doesn’t know that his son handles smuggling rice and oil in Davao City,” said Matobato.

In March 2017, during an inquiry by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, retired Davao police officer Arturo Lascañas also claimed that Paolo was allegedly involved in smuggling activities.

Lascañas testified that either in 2012 or 2013, Paolo asked him to help in fast-tracking the shipment of a 40-foot container from China after its transport to Davao was delayed for some months.

Inside the container were supposedly furniture items for Paolo’s residence.

According to Lascañas, a certain Davao-based trader Charlie Tan, whom Paolo allegedly met in China, asked that Paolo’s container be inserted with “souvenirs.” He said Paolo suspected that shabu had been placed in the cargo.

Paolo then allegedly asked Lascañas to escort the container van until it arrives at the covered court in Barangay Catalunan, Davao City.

The supposed plan was to open the van upon arrival and for Lascañas and other authorities to immediately arrest Tan, who according to Lascañas owned a karaoke bar in Ecoland, Davao City and was known in the city to have links to the narcotics trade.

However, when the delivery arrived, Lascañas alleged that Paolo called him up and told him that he would arbor Tan, which meant that he would take responsibility for the businessman.

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AFP pleads for patience in resolving Marawi standoff

Soldiers stand guard along the main street of Mapandi in Marawi City. (photo by Romeo Ranoco, Reuters)


MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) begged for patience from the people in finishing off the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City, reiterating that the military was not facing an ordinary enemy.

“How long? We can’t say. Konting patience lang po (Some patience please). It would be over,” AFP chief of staff Eduardo Año said at the briefing for the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of National Defense at the House of Representatives.

Asked by ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro on the whereabouts of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, Año said, “Based on our monitoring, he’s still in Marawi City. Based on our information, he’s still alive.”

The fighting in Marawi City still rages, close to three months since the Maute group, which is seeking affiliation with the international Islamic State terrorist organization, violently repulsed a law enforcement mission to arrest Hapilon, which prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in the entire Mindanao on May 23.

From the initial prescribed 60-day cap, Congress extended martial law until December 31, 2017.

Of the estimated 600 Maute members that infiltrated Marawi, Año said over 500 have been killed, but he pointed out that the battle was not easy.

“Madaling magsabi na madali (Easy to say it’s like a walk in the park), but the enemy does not play by the rules, they used humans as shields,” he said.

“If there are no hostages … it’s very easy to finish this fight,” he added.

Año said government troops are being “careful and deliberate” in its movement “to prevent loss of innocent lives.”

Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana reported that the battle has cost the government between P2.5 billion and P3 billion.

On questioning by Castro, Año said every bomb dropped on enemy positions costs P323,000. However, he did not respond when asked about the number of bombs the military has used, so far, in its air strikes, saying divulging the information has security implications.

For 2018, the DND has proposed P144.67 billion in new appropriations.

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MILF-BIFF clashes in Maguindanao claim 25 lives – military

MILF fighters (Reuters file)
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — Clashes between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Maguindanao province have claimed 25 lives thus far since hostilities broke out August 7 in Datu Salibo town, the military said.

Colonel Gerry Besana, civil military operations officer of the 6th Infantry Division said 20 of the dead were BIFF gunmen and followers of the Jamaatul Mujajideen Wal Ansar, a group that has reported pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, which is led by Esmail Abdulmalik, alias Abu Torayme.

Five fighters of the MILF’s 108th Base Command have also died and 10 others injured. Three MILF fighters in critical condition are being treated at an Army hospital.

Besana said their casualty count was based on a report from GPH-MILF ceasefire monitoring units in Maguindanao.

The fighting was triggered by the BIFF’s entry into an MILF-identified area in Barangay Tee in Datu Salibo.

The Army has been providing artillery support to the MILF.

The violence has sent civilians evacuating in Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, and Datu Piang towns.

Two other factions of the BIFF have issued separate appeals for a ceasefire.

Abu Misri Mama, speaking for one of the BIFF factions, called the fighting “nonsense.”

“It is not correct when Muslim mujahideen (freedom fighters) fight each other,” he said.

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Gordon suspends shabu smuggling hearing as Faeldon refuses to answer Trillanes

Sen. Richard Gordon (back to camera) speaks to Customs Commissioner Nicano Faeldon. (Mae Anne Los Banos, News5)


MANILA, Philippines — Blue Ribbon committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon briefly suspended the hearing into the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of crystal meth or “shabu” Tuesday morning to try and convince Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to respond to questioning by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

It was Faeldon’s first appearance at the inquiry after missing the last hearing when he was hospitalized for heart issues.

After Gordon’s opening statement, Trillanes asked Faeldon if there is corruption in the Bureau of Customs.

When Faeldon asked for 30 seconds to reply without interruption, Trillanes cut him off saying the question could be answered with a “Yes” or “No.”

Faeldon then clammed up, saying it would be “pointless for me to answer” questions from Trillanes, who he accused of spreading “baseless” accusations and judging him in media.

Gordon appealed to Faeldon several times and then called a recess to speak to him privately when the Customs chief said he would answer questions from other senators except Trillanes.

The hearing resumed when Faeldon agreed to respond to Trillanes.

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