Monday, November 17, 2014
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – A 42-year-old former police sergeant who was dismissed from the service eight years ago was found dead in Guimba, Nueva Ecija over the weekend, his head riddled with a single bullet wound, the Philippine National Police said.
Senior Superintendent Crizaldo Nieves, PNP provincial director, identified the slain former lawman as Jonathan De Guzman, alias Spider, of Barangay Manacsac, Guimba.
He carried the rank of Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) when still in the service.
De Guzman’s body was found by a police team led by Senior Inspector Nestor Fabro while lying along a shoulder in an irrigation road in Sitio Dalaydalayan, Manacsac, Guimba. A single bullet wound from a calibre 45 revolver was lodged in his head.
De Guzman was a former member of the PNP’s Special Action Force who was removed from the service on February 17,2006. The reason for his dismissal was not known even to police.
Nieves said that De Guzman’s body was found by barangay tanod Richard Doro who reported the sighting to police.
PO2 Jaycee Toribio, officer-on-case of the Guimba police, said the motive for De Guzman’s killing was still unknown. (Manny Galvez)
CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac City – About 300 militants marched on from Hacienda Luisita and also staged a short rally in-front of Camp Servillano Aquino gate on Sunday of November 16, 2014 at around 2:00 pm demanding justice for the seven (7) protesters who lost their lives during the incident that happened on November 16, 2004 in Hacienda Luisita.
The protesters vandalized with paints the front walls of St. Michael’s People’s Park and destroyed the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) metal signage at the façade of the gate.
The personnel of NOLCOM exercised maximum tolerance despite the unlawful, violent and provocative behavior of the protesters.
The NOLCOM Commander, Lieutenant General Felicito Virgilio M Trinidad Jr. said, “We maintained the maximum tolerance on the rallyists to keep the safety of civilian communities living adjacent Camp Aquino and to ensure that peace and order prevail. The local police personnel as well were there to see to it that the rallyists will not go out of control to flagrantly violate the laws.”
After several years that these militant groups have been actively celebrating the Hacienda Luisita incident every November 16, it had been particularly noted that this year’s commemoration of the incident has been unruly.
“I am not against peaceful rallies because it is part of their freedom of expression, but acting violently in rallies will not resolve anything, and will cause bigger problems. They were provoking us to respond negatively but all we want is peace and order…we are imploring them to bring their concerns to due process and not in this unlawful manner. Anyway, an independent investigation is in progress and NOLCOM remains committed to the adherence to human rights and due process of law.” LtGen Trinidad explained.
MANILA-Senators today paid tribute to former Senator and Health Secretary Juan Flavier, “who was described as a giant of a man” despite his diminutive size.
“Although he was the first one to make a joke of his height, Johnny was a giant of a man. His monumental achievements made him stand out from the rest. But what made him more extraordinary was his strong compassion for those who have less in life, his sense of duty, and commitment to make a difference,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said in his eulogy.
“He will always be remembered for passionately and courageously advocating for a reproductive health law despite strong opposition from different sectors. That law was finally passed two years ago, and we dedicate it to his memory. The passage of the Reproductive Health Law is a fitting tribute to him,” Drilon added.
Senators received the remains of Flavier at 9:30 a.m. Monday, November 17, and hosted lunch for his family, relatives, senators and guests at the Recto-Laurel Rooms after the necrological services. Flavier succumbed to pneumonia last October 30 at age 79.
For her part, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said she would chat with the former health secretary when she was bored or tired. “I was confident I was sharing time with an honest man. He was the most honest senator,” she said.
“Hardly had the dust settled from the campaign, when I rose in a privilege speech to denounce pork barrel kickbacks, which in that simpler time consisted of 10 percent of the public funds involved. I denounce the system, expecting that my colleagues would leap to their feet and confirm my narrative,” Santiago said in her eulogy.
“But, foolish me, after my speech there was no interpellation and no comment from anybody. Nobody spoke. Except for one man - Sen. Juan Flavier. With an offended expression, he rose to affirm my accusation of corruption in the Senate. If Sen. Flavier did not have the courage and the purity of heart to support my story of corruption, I would have made no impact. Because of Sen. Flavier's comment, the media picked up the story,” she added.
“He had no air. His ways were simple. He was always for the common man,” Senator Serge Osmena recalled.
Senator Gregorio Honasan II said he had “lethal exposure to the viral Flavier humor,” when Flavier was in Congress.
Flavier laid the foundations for tobacco health warning and reproductive health laws, Senator Pia Cayetano added.
“He was a father to me but as a legislator, we complemented each other. We shared a common passion for healthcare, Cayetano said.
“At the start of the 13th Congress, I asked him if he would continue to chair the Committee on Health, he said, "It's your turn. I will support you. With the former secretary of health at my side, I faced the challenges with a positive outlook. I sponsored my first bill on the expanded vaccination program” she added.
Legarda recalled how Flavier mentored her when she was a neophyte senator and described him as the Senate’s quorum maker. “Siya po ang pulitiko na hindi kailangang umikot sa buong Pilipinas para manalong topnotcher,” Legarda said.
Legarda said she sought Flavier’s advice on what to do with her first privilege speech. He told to talk about something distinct, something that the rest of the Senators know nothing or very little about.
“And so I remember I spoke about the delineation of our forests and filed it as one of my first bills in 1998. Manong Johnny will always be remembered for bringing healthcare to the unempowered and to the marginalized, for being kind, for being generous, for being noble. He has touched us all and his memory shall forever be etched in our minds and in our hearts,” Legarda said.
Meanwhile, the Senate is scheduled to adopt a resolution in the afternoon expressing sympathy and condolence to Flavier’s family.
Resolution 1014, introduced by Drilon, cited Flavier’s perfect attendance in sessions during the 10th to Congresses as well as the landmark laws he authored and sponsored.
“The death of the illustrious doctor and senator is a great loss not only to his bereaved family but also to the millions of Filipinos whom he loved and served so well,” the resolution stated.
Flavier, a Tondo native who was raised in the Mountain Province, was a shoeshine boy, newspaper boy, waiter, tutor until he earned his Medicine degree from the University of the Philippines in 1960 and Master’s degree in Public Health from John Hopkins University in 1969.
He placed fifth in the 1995 senatorial elections as “people acknowledged his outstanding work as a Cabinet member.” In his re-election in 2001, he ranked second for his “excellent performance as a senator during his first term.”
Flavier served as chairman of the Senate Committees on Health and Demography, Education, Arts and Culture, Cultural Communities and was the longest serving Senate President Pro-Tempore since the 8th Congress when he was elected for the position in August 2002 (12th Congress) and in July 26, 2004 (13th Congress).
“The hardworking Senator Flavier registered a perfect attendance during the sessions and authored or co-authored landmark laws which promoted public health care and disease prevention and improved the quality of life of the people,” the resolution stated. (Apple Buenaventura)
MANILA-All indigent senior citizens will be covered by the social pension program once a Senate amendment to the 2015 national budget is signed into law.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the Senate Finance subcommittee he heads has recommended to increase next year’s funding for the “Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program” from the Malacanang-proposed P4.763 billion to P7.178 billion.
The P2.415 billion hike according to Recto will grant all indigent senior citizens – or those 60 years of age and above - a P500 monthly stipend from the government.
At present only “economically disadvantaged” seniors 77 years old and above benefit from the financial aid mandated by Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.
For next year, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) wants to lower the “availment age” to 67 years old which will would benefit 722,294 individuals and cost government P4.763 billion.
But in hearings called by Recto, “there were discussions on how to close the gap, in order to bring in all qualified seniors to the program because that specific provision of the law, due to budget constraints, remain half-implemented,” the senator said.
Recto said using the 67 years of age cut-off as proposed by the DSWD will leave some 401,551 qualified seniors "who are above 60 and below 67" out of the program.
“The consensus was to find funds so that all who are supposed to receive that pension, which comes up to P6,000 a year, will get it,“ Recto said.
The senator said that his committee raised the funds for the full implementation of the senior pension program by cutting administrative overhead and bureaucratic expenses.
Republic Act 9994 defines an “indigent senior citizen” as someone 60 years old and above who is “frail, sickly, or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his relatives to support his needs.”
“Ito yung hindi lang may edad na, may sakit pa o kapansanan, walang trabaho, walang maykayang kamag-anak na kumukupkop at walang ibang pensyong natatanggap . These are people in extremely difficult circumstances,” Recto said.
“Kung tutuusin ang P500 a month ay kulang pa nga. Kaya kung maliit na nga, bakit pa natin ipagkakait?” he said.
The DSWD has identified the beneficiaries in a series of surveys and poverty mapping drives conducted under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction.
In its census, the DSWD included other economic, social, health, housing information to better identify the indigents truly deserving of the pension.
Recto said the P7 billion annually required for the program is equivalent to what we spend for CCT for one month.“