MANILA (2nd update, 12:42 p.m.) -- A Pasay City court judge handling the electoral sabotage case against Benjamin Abalos Sr. ordered him to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt after he accused the former of extortion.
In a tension-filled hearing, Abalos asked Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 112 Presiding Judge Jesus Mupas to inhibit from hearing the case, claiming that emissaries from the judge, including a female lawyer whom he did not name, asked money amounting to P100 million and P30 million from his camp on separate occasions in exchange for granting his petitions.
MANILA (2nd update, 11:33 a.m.) -- State weather forecasters said Tropical Storm Sendong (international codename: Washi) may make landfall in northeastern Mindanao Friday afternoon.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather forecaster Sonny Fajarilla said Sendong may hit Davao Oriental if it will not change its course.
MANILA (Updated 11:02 a.m.) -- Pasay Regional Trial Court branch 112 Judge Jesus Mupas dismissed a motion by Bejamin Abalos Sr. for him to inhibit himself from the former poll official's electoral sabotage case.
Mupas also ordered Abalos to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt for alleging that the former attempted to extort money from the former official of the Commission on Elections prior to his arrest.
MANILA (Updated 7:25 a.m.) -- State weather forecasters said Tropical Storm Sendong (international codename: Washi) has slowed down slightly as it continues to threaten northeastern Mindanao and Eastern Visayas area.
At 4 a.m. Friday, the center of Sendong was estimated at 300 kilometers east southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
MANILA (Updated) -- State weather forecasters advised residents in southern Cebu to take extra precautions from possible landslides and flashfloods as Tropical Storm Sendong (international codename: Washi) slams into the area by Friday night.
The storm is expected to dump heavy rains of between 10 and 25 millimeters per hour within the 400-kilometer diameter.
THE Senate, acting as an impeachment court, should consider settling the case against Chief Justice Renato Corona, and with it, the rift between the Supreme Court and Malacañang, a senator said Thursday.
"As judges of the impeachment court, we are tasked not only to try the accused, but also to find a middle ground and see if we can settle the issue more amicably out of court," Senator Edgardo Angara, a veteran lawyer and lawmaker, said in a press statement.
ONLY one slot in the 11-man prosecution panel is yet to be filled up by the House of Representatives in preparation for the impeachment trial against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona. The panel will be composed of House justice committee chairman Niel Tupas Jr. (Iloilo), Deputy Speakers Lorenzo Tañada (Quezon) and Raul Daza (Northern Samar), Deputy Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte), and Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr.
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III signed into law Thursday the P1.816-trillion national budget for 2012.
The budget, which is 10.4 percent higher than this year’s budget of P1.645 trillion, was the earliest approved since democracy was restored in 1986.
AN OFFICIAL of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) believes that President Benigno Aquino III could also face the same court if it is proven that he is acting as a dictator. In a radio interview, CBCP Public Affairs Committee chairman Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said this is a possibility if Corona is able to substantiate his claim that Aquino is already moving toward dictatorship by controlling all three branches of government.
MALACAÑANG on Thursday welcomed the drop in unemployment rate in the country.
Based on the latest Labor Force Survey released by the National Statistics Office (NSO), the number of jobless Filipinos declined to 6.4 percent this October from 7.1 percent in the same period last year.
THE Southern Police District (SPD) said Thursday it will ask the camp of Benjamin Abalos Sr. to submit his medical records after the former poll official experienced difficulty in breathing Wednesday. Senior Inspector Jackilyn Honrado of the SPD Medical Division said the SPD will ask Abalos's doctors to submit the records for them to know his medical history.
MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday junked accusations of Chief Justice Renato Corona that he is bent on building a dictatorship.
Corona said on Wednesday that President Aquino is establishing a dictatorship after he rallied his allies at the House of Representatives to support the ouster plot against him.
THE Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) said Thursday that Smartmatic Corporation should not be allowed to participate in the bidding for the 2013 automated-synchronized polls. The group questioned the technology used by the service-provider in the 2010 national and local elections.
A LAWMAKER is seeking an investigation on a plane crash in Parañaque City last week that killed 14 people.
Parañaque City Representative Roilo Golez filed House Resolution 1992 directing the House committee on transportation to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation into the civil aviation incident in Barangay Don Bosco. According to the senior lawmaker, the probe will focus on the "establishment of measures that will effectively hold accountable the persons responsible and prevent similar occurrences in the future".
THE government is set to conduct free random drug testing for bus drivers plying routes to and from Metro Manila, Bacolod and Cebu as part of the overall effort of the authorities to ensure an accident-free Christmas celebrations. The free drug testing, which will be held from December 21 to 23, is part of the “Ligtas na Krismas” plan of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). Metro Manila, Bacolod and Cebu were chosen since they have the most number of commuters expected to come and where most of bus terminals are located.
A GAY organization assailed the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for opposing the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity (Sogi) in the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB). According to the And Ladlad Party and ProGAY Philippines, it is unacceptable for the CBCP to state that the Sogi should not be included in the proposed measure as this is also in need of equal protection from the law.
UNIDENTIFIED suspects shot and injured the vice mayor of Talisay town in Batangas province just outside the country's biggest shopping mall in Pasay City. Pasay City police chief Melchor Reyes said Vice Mayor Florencio Manimtim Jr. was shot in the back outside the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) around 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Reyes said Manimtim, 52, is under observation at the San Juan de Dios Hospital where he was immediately brought after the incident.
AMID the left and right Christmas parties happening around the country, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) is calling on the public to have themselves checked for possible oral cancer. In a statement, PMA president Oscar Tinio said it would be best if the public would know if they have cancer as early as possible as it increases their chances of survival. “The earlier we can identify the problem the greater the chance that we can save the lives of our patients,” said Tinio.
A KIDNAP gang leader affiliated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) died last month after being wounded in a military operation in Zamboanga Sibugay province weeks earlier, a police official said Friday.
Director Felicisimo Khu, chief of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Western Mindanao, said a Muslim religious leader certified the death of Abdulgani Abdulsalam, also known as Waning Abdusalam.
IN A bid to discourage young people from using churches as dating places during dawn masses, a Catholic bishop called Sunday on parish priests nationwide to take advantage of technologies available in discouraging them. In an interview, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)–Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) chairman Bishop Joel Baylon said it would be best if church officials would install wide screens and loud public address systems outside the church buildings.
MANILA (Updated 5:50 p.m.) -- Eleven areas were placed under public storm signal number 1 as the nineteenth cyclone that entered the country this year developed into a tropical storm Thursday afternoon.
Areas that will experience winds of between 45 and 60 kilometers per hour beginning Friday are Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Leyte provinces, Camotes Island and Bohol.
MANILA (Updated 12:03 p.m.) -- Embattled Chief Justice Renato Corona may still continue his functions and deliberate on pending cases before the Supreme Court (SC) despite an attempt to unseat him, a Court official said Thursday.
After he delivered a combatant speech against President Benigno Aquino III, Malacañang advised Corona Wednesday to take an official leave so he can concentrate in defending himself at the impeachment trial in the Senate next year.
MANILA (Updated) -- Chief Justice Renato Corona should take a leave of absence to avoid dragging members of the entire judiciary to his upcoming impeachment trial, a Malacañang official said Wednesday.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Corona is trying to involve the entire judiciary in the impeachment case against him.
MANILA -- Batangas Representative Hermilando Mandanas was removed as chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means for reportedly refusing to sign the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona.
"That was the decision made before the impeachment, bad timing lang," House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. explained in a text message, adding it was only a matter of "different perspectives".
THINGS are going to get worse before they get better, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said Wednesday, as the Senate began the trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona who was impeached by the House of Representatives just two days ago.
That same afternoon, Corona had given a speech in front of hundreds of court employees and supporters clad in black. He accused President Benigno Aquino III of orchestrating his impeachment, adding it was done to give Aquino a subservient Supreme Court.
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III led Wednesday the commissioning ceremony of the Philippine Navy's additional assets, including a refurbished ship that will patrol a territory claimed by various countries.
Among the navy assets that were commissioned Wednesday are the newly acquired Hamilton Class cutter Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Gregorio del Pilar and the new Landing Craft Utility (LCU) BRP Tagbanua.
A HOUSE leader allied with the Aquino administration is inclined to allow former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to use a cellphone and a laptop while under hospital arrest.
Allowing Arroyo to communicate with the use of a mobile phone or laptop will not "greatly affect the interest of the state," House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said.
THE House of Representatives, which impeached Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona early this week, rejected the claim of the court’s spokesperson that the country is in a constitutional crisis.
With a vote of 188, House members on Monday night transmitted to the Senate a complaint containing eight articles of impeachment against Corona. The impeachment complaint gathered the signatures just a few hours after its contents were discussed to members of the majority party.
BROADCAST giant GMA Network, Inc. (GMA) recently asked the Supreme Court to review the P100-million civil damages case lodged against ABS-CBN Corp. after the Court of Appeals (CA) upheld its ruling dismissing the same last August.
In the 19-page petition filed by the GMA legal counsel Belo Gozon Elma Parel Asuncion Lucila (BGEPAL) on December 1, the network said that “the CA committed grave reversible error in declaring void the orders of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) suspending the (said) civil case (against ABS-CBN).”
ENVIRONMENT Secretary Ramon Paje has suspended land titling activities in locations set to be declared as protected areas.
The suspension is based on Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Memorandum Order No. 2011-04, which provides the guidelines in regulating all activities, projects, and land uses in all areas proposed for inclusion in the National Integrated Protected Areas System (Nipas).