Thursday, March 13, 2014

Arrested ex-Ecija vice mayor in rape case ordered detained in San Jose City jail

SAN JOSE CITY, Nueva Ecija – A former vice mayor in Nueva Ecija who was arrested last week inside a gambling casino in Manila has been detained in this city.

Former Pantabangan vice mayor Romeo Borja Jr., 37, of Block 2, East Poblacion, Pantabangan has been transferred to the city jail here by virtue of a commitment order signed by San Jose City Regional Trial Court Branch 38 Judge Loreto Alog Jr.

 Borja Jr. Was arrested on March 5 by a joint team from the Manila Police District, the National Capital Region intelligence unit and the Pantabangan police at the Pavillion Casino along UN Avenue, Manila.

 The arresting team, led by Pantabangan station commander Senior Inspector Casilla and Senior Inspector Christian Burgos, were armed with warrants issued by Alog for 22 counts of rape after the Department of Justice found probable cause and recommended the filing of charges.

Earlier, his father and namesake Romeo Sr., who is also facing rape charges filed by a beauty contestant, was also arrested while attending a mass in Pangasinan.

Romeo Sr. and Romeo Jr. lost in their reelection bids to incumbent Mayor Romeo Uera and Vice Mayor Ruben Huerta in the May 2013 polls.

Last March 6, Casilla turned over the former vice mayor to the provincial public safety company detention cell. He was returned to thew custody of the Pantabangan police last March 10.

          The complainant in the rape cases, identified only as a certain Mina,  accused Borja Jr. of repeatedly raping her from October 2009 to April 2010.

          Another complainant claimed the mayor and vice mayor raped her from May 2011 to November 2012. Her mother filed separate complaints against the Borjas for violating Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012 and RA 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law in relation to RA 7610, the Anti-Child Abuse Law.

          The victim’s mother also filed complaints against two of her nieces who allegedly acted as the Borjas’ accomplices.

          Romeo Sr. said the charges against them have long been dismissed by the DOJ and the supposed dates where the complainant was raped were erroneous.  “The complaint of Mina was dismissed by the DOJ because it was full of errors and inconsistencies,” he said.

          In the latest complaint filed by a 17-year-old victim who represented the town in the Miss Teen Tourism pageant of Nueva Ecija in 2011, she claimed the two Borjas raped her on several occasions in 2011 to 2012.

          The victim claimed Romeo Sr. first raped here on April 15,2011 inside a room at the Century Hotel in Angeles City where a woman brought her supposedly for a pre-pageant dress rehearsal.

          She said Romeo Sr. threatened her with harm if she reported the incident but promised to provide for her if she would keep silent. The incident was repeated on April 27, 2011 in another room of the same hotel.

          This was repeated at the mayor’s office, in a hotel in San Jose City on May 14,2011, in February 2012 and on November 13,2012 inside the Heritage Hotel in Pasay City where Romeo Sr. was playing casino.

          Romeo Jr., the complainant said, first raped her inside a motel in Cabanatuan City on May 17, 2011 and in a restaurant bar on July 27, 2011.         

          Romeo Sr. laughed off the allegations, saying these were mere fabrications intended to harass him and his son. (Manny Galvez)

Legarda Calls for Greater Support to Female Entrepreneurs, Indigenous Women

MANILA-In celebration of the National Women’s Month in March, Senator Loren Legarda today placed the spotlight on indigenous women and female micro entrepreneurs.

Legarda said that women, especially housewives, explore opportunities for additional income for their families. “We need to provide viable income alternatives to women and we have laws to support women micro entrepreneurs.”

“If we want more women participating in livelihood and other economic activities, we have the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the Barangay Kabuhayan Law. These two laws complement each other since recipients of the livelihood and skills training programs in the centers established under the Barangay Kabuhayan Law may well avail of the funding and technical support that are now available under the MSMEs Act. These laws can help us in our goal to empower women to participate in economic activities,” she said.

The Magna Carta for MSMEs (R.A. 9501), which Legarda authored, provides more assistance to MSMEs through increased loan allocation for micro and small businesses, access to new technologies, and regular entrepreneurship training programs for workers as well as a comprehensive development plan that would ensure the viability and growth of MSMEs in the country.

Meanwhile, the Barangay Kabuhayan Law (R.A. 9509), which she also authored, mandates the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) to provide support to all 4th, 5th and 6th class municipalities in formulating and conducting livelihood programs for their poor constituents.

Since her first term in the Senate, Legarda has been supporting women entrepreneurs. She supported the TESDA Women Center Alumni Association (TWCAA), which trains women in entrepreneurship and livelihood skills.

She also supported Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs), particularly of the Ata-Talaingod, the Mandaya, the B’laan, and the Bagobo Tagabawa communities, to promote their traditional arts, crafts, music and indigenous practices.

“In supporting SLTs, we do not only support our women weavers and the livelihood of our entrepreneurs among indigenous communities, but we also boost tourism, strengthen trade and promote culture,” she said.

In 2012, Legarda launched the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines, which opened doors of opportunity to weaving communities and SLTs to showcase their indigenous products and weaving traditions. SLTs that participated were those of the Ivatans, Iraya Mangyans, Hanunuo Mangyans, Maguindanaons, Gaddangs, Panay Bukidnons, B’laans, Ata Manobos, Subanens, and T'bolis.


MANILA-Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada advised this year’s batch of new graduates as well as working students to not do a Cunanan as they go job hunting and to abstain from inventing personal academic credentials and engineering dubious educational background.
In his privilege speech entitled “The Tale of Two Incredible Witnesses” last Wednesday, Sen. Estrada slammed Dennis Cunanan, head of the Technology Resource Center, for lying brazenly about his educational background.
In his blog site and many online articles about him, Cunanan made it appear that he graduated from the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) in University of the Philippines – Diliman.
“Just to set the educational record of Dennis Cunanan straight, he is not a graduate of the University of the Philippines per the letter of the National College of Public Administration and Governance of UP Diliman in response to our query regarding the academic standing of Mr. Cunanan.  He graduated in 2005 (Commerce) in Lacson College,” Jinggoy said in his speech.
This false educational attainment may have led to his employment in various high positions in the government. He was appointed as Executive Director of the National Youth Commission on 2000, as Head Executive Assistant in the Office of the Speaker at the House of Representatives from 2004 to 2004, and as Presidential Assistant for Youth Affairs.
“Palagay ko po, kung nalaman na hindi college graduate si Cunanan ay hindi siya malalagay sa mga posisyong ito,” the lawmaker remarked.
“Bago napunta ng TRC si Dennis, nahirang muna siyang Executive Director ng Commission on Higher Education ng isang buwan at tinanggal dahil walang college degree at hindi nga qualified. Nguni’t sadyang malakas ang backer ni Dennis dahil na-appoint naman siya kaagad bilang TLRC/TRC deputy director general noong December 2004. At taong 2010 naman siya naging TRC director general,” Jinggoy added.
“The career of Mr. Cunanan from his days in college to his days in public office, and reaching up to his testimony in the Blue Ribbon Committee has been founded and grounded on falsehoods and misrepresentation!” Jinggoy said in his speech.
Sen. Estrada thus tells the graduates and young workers to be truthful as they draft their resumes and not make false claims about their educational achievements and capacities, like what Cunanan did. He also warned against misrepresentation and mere reliance on backers and patrons in applying for work, as he underscored that continued self-enhancement, further studies, skills upgrading and integrity as potent factors to make one competitive and desirable in the job market.


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