Items filtered by date: Sunday, 17 September 2017

Cyclist Arthus Bucay nabs PH's first medal in ASEAN Paragames 2017

FIRST MEDAL. Bucay bags Philippines' first medal in the ASEAN Para Games 2017. Photo from Faceboook 

MANILA, Philippines – Veteran cyclist Arthus Bucay opens Philippines' 9th ASEAN Para Games campaign with a silver medal on Sunday, September 17 in Nilai, Malaysia. 

The 37-year old track cyclist placed second to Malaysia's Zuhairie Ahmad Tarmizi in the men’s kilometer C5 cycling track event with a time of 1:15.432. 

 

Bucay participated in the 2012 London Paralympics and the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, where he bagged a bronze medal in the men's individual 81 kilometer C4-5 road race. – Rappler.com

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Iloilo mayor Mabilog charged with graft over towing project

SICK LEAVE. Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog goes on sick leave after President Rodrigo Duterte repeats his accusation against the mayor for having drug links in the city the President calls the 'most shabulized' in the Philippines. Photo from Mayor Mabilog's Facebook page 

MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Monday, September 18, formally accused Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog for one count of graft for allegedly creating a towing company in 2015 that would get a contract with the city government.

Plaridel Nava II, who was city councilor at the time, claimed the mayor owned 3L Towing Services, which was created after the city council passed a towing ordinance. In an agreement drafted in February 2015, 3L, would provide the wheel towing clamp, and would get 70% of the fines collected. The local government would get the remaining 30% of the collection.

 

Mabilog then struck down the agreement only days after. He supposedly got a letter from Leny Garcia, dummy owner of 3L, offering to withdraw from the deal owing to “legal issues” in bidding and procurement. 

Nava alleged that Mabilog got him "to perpetuate and consummate his illegitimate, immoral, dishonest and underground acts and transactions with private groups and corporate personalities doing or intending to do business in the city of Iloilo by using his power and influence as the chief executive of the city government." 

The former councilor said he was even instructed by Mabilog to look for a trustworthy person they could use as dummy owner. Nava said that in June 2014, Mabilog gave him P500,000 in cash as his share in the endeavor. 

Counter-charge

In a counter-charge, Mabilog said it was Nava’s idea to look for a dummy owner.

“Mabilog claimed that it is Nava who has pecuniary interest in 3L because it was the latter who told him about it and its intention of bidding for the towing project, even defending the qualifications of 3L,” the Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement.

Morales indicted both Mabilog and Nava. “Simply put, there was a meeting of the minds between them to do an illegal act and thus they must both suffer its consequences,” the Ombudsman said.

Morales said there is an element of graft because a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was struck without competitive bidding.

“On the part of Nava, as revealed by Mabilog, the former’s intervention was made manifest when he sponsored the wheel clamping ordinance as a supplement to the towing ordinance. Nava also sponsored the amendments to the towing ordinance allowing a private party to enter into a MOA with the city government for a term of five years without mentioning as to how the entity should be chosen. As admitted by Nava himself, it was done so with 3L in mind,” Morales said.

They are indicted for violation of Section 3(h) of the graft law, which prohibits officials from directly or indirectly having financing or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction” in a government project.

Narcolist

Mabilog is tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the narco-politicians being targeted in his campaign against drugs. The Chief Executive initially reassigned Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City, but this was later canceled(READ: Narcopolitician or 'best' mayor? Who is Iloilo City's Jed Mabilog?)

Espenido's Iloilo assignment was opposed by some in the police force because his rank does not qualify him to head the police of a highly urbanized city like Iloilo. (READ: Duterte to Iloilo Mayor Mabilog: End drug ties now)

Duterte has ordered a lifestyle check on Mabilog, picking specifically on the latter's so-called multi-million mansion. Mabilog said his family's wealth comes from his yearsof being an entrepreneur and his wife's previous work in Canada.

Mabilog is currently on sick leave until September 1 and seeking treatment for diabetes abroad.

Other mayors who have been dragged by Duterte to narcopolitics were killed in police raids, both headed by Espenido: Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte in 2016 and Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz City in July.

Mabilog has categorically denied links to drugs. – Rappler.com

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Marawi priest Chito Soganub jokes: 'I am physically strong and handsome'

ALL SMILES. Fr Teresito 'Chito' Soganub faces the media at Camp Aguinaldo on September 18, 2017. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler 

MANILA, Philippines – After being rescued on Saturday, September 16, from Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City, priest Teresito "Chito" Soganub was presented to the media at Camp Aguinaldo on Monday, September 18.

Despite being held captive for more than a hundred days in the battle zone, Soganub was smiling and able to crack a joke to the media.

 

"I am physically strong and handsome," said the priest, eliciting laughter from those in the room.

It was a moment of relief for Soganub, who was rescued on Saturday after soldiers took control of the Bato Mosque, one of 3 defensive strongholds of the local terrorists.

According to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Año, troops tried to rescue Soganub thrice from September 13 to 15 before succeeding the 4th time on Saturday.

While Soganub said he felt well, Año said doctors and experts will still have to fully assess the priest's condition.

Soganub was not tortured while in captivity, Año added.

The rescue of the priest came as soldiers began their "final push" to end the siege in Marawi City, with terrorist strongholds falling one by one. (WATCH: The final push: Inside the Marawi battle area)

Before his rescue, Soganub was coerced to speak in a propaganda video to air the demands of the enemy. (READ: Kidnapped priest made video message 'under duress,' says bishop) – Rappler.com

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Fariñas to enforcers: Don't apprehend lawmakers for minor traffic violations

TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS. House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas cities parliamentary immunity from minor traffic violation apprehension in a House transport committee hearing on Monday, September 18. File photo 

MANILA, Philippines – House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas asked traffic enforcement agencies on Monday, September 18, to excuse lawmakers when they commit minor traffic violations on their way to work.

During a hearing of the House committee on transportation, Fariñas said getting apprehended on the streets prevent officials from performing their legislative functions. (READ: What laws help keep road users safe in the Philippines?)

 

Citing parliamentary immunity, he asked the officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTR) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to give leeway to representatives who commit minor traffic violations on their way to Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City to attend a session. (READ: WHO urges motorists: #NoMoreExcuses on road safety

"'Pag nagpakilalang congressman siya at maipakitang talagang congressman, huwag 'nyong dalhin sa presinto. Kasi 'pag dinala sa presinto, hindi na siya makakapag-perform ng kanyang functions," he said.

(If he introduces himself as a congressman, and proves he is one, don't bring him to the precinct. Because if you bring him to the precinct, he won't be able to perform his functions.)

"Halimbawa eh nakasagasa. Nasugatan 'yung tao. 'Pag nagpakilalang congressman yan, eh 'di 'tsaka na huhulihin," explained Fariñas. (For example, his car hits a person, and the person is injured. If he introduces himself as a congressman, then arrest him later.)

He said Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez may surrender the violator to authorities after the session.

"Ang aming rules po, 'pag natapos ang session, isu-surrender ni Speaker 'yung member sa inyo," he said. (Our rule here is, when the session ends, the Speaker of the House will surrender the member to you.) 

Under Article IV Section 11 of the Philippine Constitution, a senator or a member of the House of Representatives is entitled to immunity from arrest when session is ongoing: "A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than 6 years imprisonment, be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in Congress or in any committee thereof."

"Kung sasabihin niya na importante 'yung hinahabol niya sa Kongreso, makikita 'nyo naman 'yun. Asikasuhin 'nyo na para matutugunan namin ang aming trabaho," Fariñas said.

(If the representative says he has to catch an important matter in Congress, you will see that anyway. Assist him so we can accomplish our tasks.)

According to an MMDA report, Quezon City, Manila, and Makati have the most number of traffic-related incidents recorded since 2013. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Road crash incidents in the Philippines)

In 2016, the MMDA also found there were 109,322 road crash incidents in the National Capital Region. – Aika Rey/Rappler.com

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Aegis Juris, the UST frat allegedly behind latest hazing death

VICTIM. Horacio Castillo III died due to injuries allegedly sustained during hazing initiation rites by Aegis Juris fraternity. Photo of Castillo from his Facebook page 

MANILA, Philippines – The spotlight is once again on fraternities, as the practice of hazing in initiation rites led to another student's death. 

On Sunday, September 17, the body of Horacio Castillo III was found wrapped in a blanket on a pavement in Tondo, Manila. He was declared dead on arrival at the Chinese General Hospital.

 

Castillo, a first-year student at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Faculty of Civil Law, died due to injures his parents believed he sustained in fraternity hazing.Thefather said his son was recruited to the Aegis Juris Fraternity – a recognized organization based in the UST law school (READ: Aegis Juris fraternity members barred from entering UST)

‘Dynamic and active’ law fraternity

According to its profile in the law school’s website, the fraternity was established in December 1979 by “25 young, idealistic, brave founders.”

Aegis Juris, which literally means “Shield of Justice,” was described as “the most dynamic and active law fraternity” in UST. It is grounded on 5 principles: academic excellence, equality, godliness, integrity, and service.

The fraternity is one of the 8 non-academic organizations within the UST Faculty of Civil Law, and one of the 3 fraternities. Its sister sorority is Regina Legis et Juris Sorority.

“The impressive narrative of this fraternity, born out of a vision almost 3 decades ago, continues to astound and defy all expectations,” the profile reads. “It has weathered its share of gust and storm yet the Aegean knight bearing the shield and the torch with a sword of gold continues on its journey inviting believers to its cause welcoming brothers to its halls.”

As one of the oldest law fraternities in the university, Aegis Juris is said to have produced the largest number of lawyers within the UST Faculty of Civil Law.

It even earned the name “the lawyer factory” for producing many legal professionals working in various government agencies, private companies, and other law firms.

“They are living proof of the quality of lawyers the fraternity contribute to the law profession,” it says.

Its roster of members include current UST law dean Nilo Divina and former Isabela Representative Edwin Uy, both from the Divina and Uy Law Offices, and Court of Appeals Justice Gabriel Robeniol, among others.

‘Do no injustice’

NO INJUSTICE. The frat's motto can be seen in its now down official website.
     

NO INJUSTICE. The frat's motto can be seen in its now down official website. 

Aegis Juris’ motto – “Do No Injustice, Suffer No Injustice” – is splashed across the top portion of its official website, which could no longer be accessed as of Monday afternoon, September 18.

This call to prevent injustice, however, doesn’t ring true with the death of the fraternity’s latest recruit, a law freshman who, according to his father, was assured that Aegis Juris does not subscribe to hazing.

Faculty of Civil Law dean Nilo Divina, in a memorandum released on Monday, placed all members and officers of Aegis Juris under preventive suspension “to ensure unobstructed investigation" into Castillo’s death.

Divina added that they "would not be allowed to enter the campus or the Faculty of Civil Law or attend classes under further orders.”

This is not the first time he had to suspend members of Aegis Juris.

In 2016, some members were suspended following an altercation with members of the Gamma Delta Epsilon fraternity during the bar exams. The fight was attributed to frat rivalry and 7 Aegis Juris brothers were arrested by the Manila Police.

UST, in a statement regarding the death of Castillo, vowed “that the perpetrators be meted the appropriate sanctions and brought to justice.”

“We condemn in no uncertain terms hazing in any form or manner. Violence has no place in an academic institution, particularly in the University of Santo Tomas that values and promotes charity and compassion,” it said.

“We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the perpetrators be meted the appropriate sanctions and brought to justice," UST added.

Deaths despite anti-hazing law

The 22-year-old Castillo joins the long list of students killed in hazing, which has long been practiced in organizations across the Philippines despite the existence of the Anti-Hazing Law. (READ: What's happening to hazing cases in the Philippines?)

Passed in 1995, the law stemmed from the death of Ateneo law student Leonardo "Lenny" Villa in 1991.

But there is only one conviction after 22 years.

In 2015, the Supreme Court (SC) found two members of Alpha Phi Omega fraternity guilty of violating the law for the hazing and death of University of the Philippines-Los Baños student Marlon Villanueva in 2006. Rappler.com

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