THE Philippines on Wednesday became the first Southeast Asian country and the 12th in the world to record a Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) case in the person of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“This OFW, a health worker, had personal contact with a confirmed Mers-CoV patient and came home for the Holy Week,” said Health Secretary Enrique Ona in a press conference.
President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday downplayed the possible effect on the peace deal of the death of four members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in an encounter with the military in Basilan last week.
“Iyong napatay na miyembro nila (MILF) ay hindi nandoon sa engkwentro bilang miyembro ng MILF kundi dahil mga kamag-anak ng mga Abu Sayyaf na hinahabol. Mas personal rather than political or ideological,” Aquino said in an interview at North Port Passenger Terminal Complex at the Manila North Harbor in Tondo, Manila.
COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Grace Padaca said it was not her intention to undermine the independence of the Sandiganbayan when she cited immunity from suit in her appeal to stop the proceedings of her graft and malversation cases.
“This is not a challenge as to the independence of any branch of government. But this is a fundamental issue, which appears to be unresolved and is still unclear. That is why we feel that the matter should be threshed out fully,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.
DEPARTMENT of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya apologized on Wednesday to the public for the poor airconditioning at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 (NAIA-1), explaining that the warm temperature is an effect of the ongoing rehabilitation works at the airport.
Abaya appealed for patience and understanding.
CLOSE to 700,000 shipping passengers have already sailed for various parts of the archipelago as the Holy Week exodus continues on Wednesday.
Philippine Coast Guard Public Affairs Commander Armando Balilo said that the number of sea travelers has risen to 656,152 since the agency placed all units on heightened alert last week.
THE Department of Justice (DOJ) will hold on April 28 its first preliminary investigation hearing on the multi-million peso tax evasion charges recently filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against businessman Cedric Lee and doctor-lawyer Leo Olarte.
Handling prosecutor Allan Stewart Mariano earlier scheduled the hearing on April 11 but Lee's camp sought for postponement.
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III is set to inspect on Wednesday various air, land and sea transport facilities in Metro Manila to ensure smooth and seamless operations during the Holy Week, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said Tuesday.
The inspection is part of the “Oplan Ligtas Biyahe: Kwaresma 2014,” said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya Jr., who will accompany the President during the visit to different terminals.
THE prosecution panel has asked the Sandiganbayan to render a guilty verdict against former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos in connection with the controversial NBN-ZTE deal in 2007.
In a 23-page memorandum submitted to the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division, Prosecution Bureau IX director Ireneo Paldeng and Assistant Special Prosecutor Jacinto dela Cruz Jr. said the government has sufficiently proven its case against Abalos to secure conviction.
MALACANANG defended Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares on Monday for reminding Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao of his tax obligation shortly after his victory over American boxer Timothy Bradley.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Henares was not trying to be a "spoiler" to Pacquiao's current happiness.
A HOUSE member recently filed a measure seeking for a congressional inquiry into the recurring environmental problems involving foreign and local mining companies in the Philippines.
Western Samar Representative Mel Sarmiento filed House Resolution 950, which urges the House Committee on Ecology to include in its probe the unabated black sand mining in Luzon.
AN OFFICIAL of the Department of Health (DOH) is expecting an improvement in the number of dengue cases reported in the country from last year based on the first quarter data culled by the National Epidemiology Center (NEC).
According to DOH-NEC head Dr. Eric Tayag, they do not see the country still matching the number of dengue cases last year.
CASES against 280 leaders and members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in relation to the aborted takeover of Zamboanga City in September last year will now be heard by Pasig City courts.
Acting on the recommendation of the Office of the Court of Administrator, the Supreme Court (SC) granted on April 1 the request of Taguig City Judges Lorifel Lacal Pahimna and Leili Cruz Suarez to transfer the trial to other courts due to security reasons.
SENATOR Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. returned to the country on Sunday after spending two weeks in Israel seeking divine intervention for the plunder case he is facing in relation to the pork barrel scam.
Revilla, along with his wife Cavite Representative Lani Mercado and three children, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City on Sunday afternoon as he delivered his promise not to escape from the charges against him.
A CATHOLIC priest sees nothing wrong with the faithful going to the beach or elsewhere this Holy Week as long as they do not forget to visit churches or chapels in places where they are spending their vacation.
"There's nothing wrong if one is on vacation. In fact, if you go to Boracay, there's a chapel there so you can still go to church. I think vacationers also include it to celebrate the Holy Week," said Fr. Marvin Mejia, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
JOINT anti-narcotics and police agents have confiscated P4.2 million worth of suspected cocaine from two male drug pushers during separate buy-bust operations in Davao City recently.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr. identified the suspects as Guillermo Badilla, alias Gile, 44, of Davao del Norte; and his younger brother, Roldan, 28, of Davao City.
A LAWMAKER is proposing for the establishment of a One-Stop-Shop system of public service for all national and local government agencies to effectively reach more people outside of urban centers where most national government agencies hold office.
Albay Representative Al Francis Bichara said House Bill 4134 seeks to help in making all transactions move faster, more transparent and more efficient. It is also consistent with the policy of the State to maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.
THE Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) is up in arms over what they believe is an effort by businessmen and the Aquino administration to move for the lowering of the minimum wage rates in the country by blaming it for the number of unemployed in the country.
In a statement, the labor group assailed the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) for coming up with a report that says the presence of the minimum wage should be blamed for the worsening unemployment rate in the country.
A BILL has been filed in the House of Representatives, which seeks to exempt from value-added tax (VAT) all donated imported goods for medical and education, humanitarian relief and similar purposes.
Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez said that House Bill 4054 will exempt donated goods from VAT and the entry and distribution of donations for the benefit of the less fortunate will be facilitated.
THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday announced the re-opening of all Satellite Offices (Sato) of firearms licensing within this month in compliance with the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court on the three provisions of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
In a media briefing, Civil Security Group (CSG) director Chief Superintendent Melito Mabilin said they have received the copy of the TRO on Friday morning barring them to implement the three provisions of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act
LAWMAKER on Friday rallied behind their colleague, Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao as they expressed confidence that the eight-division world boxing champion will win convincingly in his upcoming rematch with the undefeated American Timothy Bradley.
Cebu Representative Gwendolyn Garcia said Pacquiao's strength and perseverance are his greatest assets in his sure win against Bradley.
THE government placed agencies responsible for maintaining peace and security on heightened alert in anticipation for the influx of travelers this Holy Week.
In a media briefing, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac said around 148,000 PNP personnel were deployed nationwide to ensure the public's safety most especially in the places where large number of people are expected to flock during the Lenten season such as in parks, malls, churches and transport terminals.
NEW People's Army (NPA) rebels raided a mining firm in Maco town in Compostela Valley on Thursday afternoon and burned 21 heavy equipment, a military spokesperson said Friday.
Captain Ernest Carolina, spokesman of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, said the insurgents, numbering about 25 to 30 men, swooped down at the motor pool of the Apex Mining Company in Masara village around 2:30 p.m.
GOVERNMENT security forces have arrested two alleged "generals" of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) for possession of a firearm and ammunition in Kadingilan, Bukidnon on Thursday, police said Friday.
A report from the Bukidnon provincial police office named the suspects as Heneroso Calma and Cresildo Calayca, both members of the MNLF who hold the rank of brigadier general.
THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) denied pocketing the P1.5 million cash supposedly recovered from Communist Party of the Philippines New People's Army (CPP-NPA) leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon during their arrest in Aloguinsan, Cebu last month.
In a statement, Major General John Bonafos, commander of AFP Central Command said the Tiamzons claim is "completely false" and that they returned all recovered items properly, including the two vehicles, personal belongings, laptops, cellphones, the cats and the dogs and cash.
A LAWMAKER is calling for a congressional investigation into the reported rape incidents in evacuation centers in Leyte, Samar and Zamboanga City.
Bulacan Representative Ruth Villarica filed Resolution 788 urging the House committee on women and gender equality to review the measures undertaken by various government entities to protect women and children during disasters, calamities and other crisis situations.
EXPRESSING hope that justices will consider their ruling on the controversial reproductive health (RH) law, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago urged pro-RH groups to file a Motion for Reconsideration from the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the law but striking down eight provisions.
AROUND 25 percent of imported and locally manufactured steel products sold in the country are either mislabeled or substandard.
This was revealed by industry stakeholders during the hearing of the Senate committee on trade, commerce and entrepreneurship chaired by Senator Bam Aquino.
THE police and military have doubled their effort by deploying more troops in the possible passages of the group that abducted a Filipino and Chinese nationals at a resort in Malaysia last Thursday.
In a telephone interview, Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr., commander of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Kidnapping Task Force in Sulu, said they augmented their troops by deploying 88 policemen from the Public Safety Battalion of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm), in the towns of Indanan, Patikul and Jolo.
A TOTAL of 5,500 Filipino and American troops will participate in this year's 15-day Balikatan military exercises, a military official said.
In a media briefing, Balikatan exercises spokesperson Lieutenant Annalea Cazcarro said around 2,500 American soldiers and 3,000 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will participate in the said annual activity, which aims to enhance the ability to work together of the United States (US) and Philippine military troops.
THE parents of the three male minors found in the custody of the Italian national might also face charges following the arrest of the foreigner, police official said.
In a phone interview, Laguna police director Senior Superintendent Romulo Sapitula said they are now looking at the possibility that the parents of the three children have allowed them to go with the foreigner.