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Top NPA leader captured

Oust Samar Governor movement formed

8ID weeds out misfit in own ranks

8ID wins Outstanding Literacy Award

GMA signs law establishing the 1st University in Samar

NPA, RHB bandit group clash in Samar

Mining operations start  in 4 Samar towns

Gov. Tan dares SPH employees who went on 'silent protest' to resign

NPA killed in Eastern Samar encounter

Mila Tan declares P1.09M in campaign expenditures


Javier slay convict Javellana denies plotting to kill Judge Castrojas

By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS
February 1, 2005

SAN JOSE, Antique -- Detained lawyer Avelino “Bob” Javellana said he “may have been annoyed” by the decision of Regional Trial Court Judge Rudy Castrojas convicting him in the assassination of former Antique Gov. Evelio Javier, but plotting to kill Castrojas “did not ever come up” in his mind.

He said he would rather solve his problem in court than resort to physical means.

Javellana, who is now detained at the Antique provincial jail, is being suspected as behind the alleged plot to kill Castrojas, reports said.

In December 23 last year, Eleazar Idemne, the other convict in the much-celebrated murder case, was reportedly spotted in Pototan, Iloilo “looking for a gun-for-hire.”

Castrojas himself admitted he had been informed about the murder plot against him. After rendering a verdict on the Javier case, teary-eyed Castrojas specifically called Javellana as his “good friend” and lamented Javellana’s failure to put up a good defense “despite his reputation as a seasoned lawyer.”

Javellana and Idemne, along with John Paloy, Henry Seguera, Vicente Vegafria, Ramon Hortillano, Henry Salaver, Eleazar Idemne and Rolando Bernardino, were found guilty by Castrojas in October last year in the cold-blooded killing of Javier in 1986.

Idemne, together with four men armed with M16 rifles, was reportedly seen visiting the house of Pototan councilor Fruelin “Palpal” Cordero.

Pototan Mayor Pedro Perez reportedly had confirmed Idemne went to Cordero’s house but was told Idemne only asked for a share from Cordero’s winning purse in a cockfight.

After Pototan, Idemne allegedly went to Mandurriao and in Lapuz, La Paz where he met a prominent family that would have helped him hire a triggerman to kill Castrojas.

“I’m not aware of it (murder plot against Castrojas),” Javellana told Aksyon Radyo.

Javellana said they “mind their own business” inside the jail.

“I don’t have the capability to kill him. The fight is in the court and not physical. I’m a lawyer,” Javellana said.

Javellana, however, did not hide his disappointment with Castrojas’ decision to convict him. He said aside from being a judge, Castrojas was also the accuser and fiscal in the case. But the inmate said he would prove Castrojas was wrong in his decision.

Javellana also defended Idemne saying “he could not see in the character of his fellow convict to kill somebody.”

Live out

As this developed, Antique Gov. Salvacion Perez vowed to conduct an investigation on how Idemne was able to go out from his detention cell.

She said she would summon the jail warden to explain the incident.

Perez said there was no any clearance from her office to allow Idemne to leave the jail.

Meanwhile, she said the provincial government is seeking for a budget to transport all the convicts in Javier case to the New Bilibid Prison in Metro Manila.

Last November, highly-placed sources said Seguera was seen with several jail guards inside a cockpit in San Jose, Antique.

Reports added that some of the suspects in various crimes in Antique were inmates in the Antique provincial jail.

Alarmed by the report, Senior Supt. Ronilo Quebrar, Antique police chief, asked provincial warden Berly Oteda to investigate the matter.

Quebrar said he received information that Allan Ellaga, the suspect in the killing of one Elmer Yangga in Sibalom town in October was a detainee since 2003.

Quebrar also said he received another report that an inmate was involved in a controversial quarrying in Seco Island, Tibiao town.

No surprise

Gideon, son of slain ex-governor Javier, said he was not surprised by reports that a convict in the case of his father was seen outside the detention cell.

He said he had raised the issue before but the provincial government did not take any action on the matter.

“I’m not really surprised. There is a serious problem going on for several years now,” he said.

He said his family have videotapes of Javellana shopping in a mall before the decision was handed down on Javier case.





8ID troops encounter terrorists in Leyte

January 30, 2005

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar   – 8th Infantry Division (8ID), Phil Army troops encountered a Band of Terrorists this morning in two separate encounters in Leyte Province.

In the report given to the 8ID General Officer-In-Charge, BGen Bonifacio B. Ramos by BGen Juanito P. Cabayao, Commanding General of 802nd Infantry Brigade, disclosed that elements of 19th Infantry Battalion while conducting combat operations at vicinity Sitio Kapinyahan, Barangay Damulaan, Albuera, Leyte encountered more or less 40 fully-armed Communists Terrorists (CTs) at exactly 5:00 o’clock on the morning today. The operation was hatched after the civilians in the said barangay tipped-off the location of the NPA terrorist group conducting extortion activities in the area. Moving on a rugged terrain, the soldiers arrived at the area unnoticed and encountered the CTs believed to be headed by CT Leader alias Ka BIONG, of the Wendel Dulinog Command (WDC), North East Leyte Front, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) operating in the area.

Firefight ensued for about twenty (20) minutes with running gun battle forcing the enemy to withdraw towards different directions leaving one (1) of their comrade dead identified only as alias Ka AN-AN, and two (2) wounded identified as alias Ka Sarah Decano, a resident of Poblacion, Albuera, Leyte and alias Ka Sunshine Patun-og (special report), a resident of Barangay Mabini, Ormoc City. Wounded CTs were immediately evacuated to the Ormoc Doctors Hospital for medical treatment while the killed (Ka  AN-AN) and the captured CT identified as alias Ka Mutya Sabidillas, a resident of Barangay Ipil, Ormoc City were turned-over to the Albuera Municipal Police Office for identification and proper disposition. Reportedly, there were undetermined number of wounded CTs as evidenced by the numerous bloodstains along their route of withdrawal. No one was hurt on the government side. Recovered from the scene of encounter were two (2) Caliber .38 revolvers and ammunitions, CTs’ personal belongings and voluminous subversive documents of high intelligence value.

In another development, operating elements of Charlie Company, 43rd Infantry Battalion while conducting combat operations at vicinity Sitio Naba, Kabungahan, Baybay, Leyte encountered more of less thirty (30) fully-armed CTs headed by CT Leader Glecerio Roluna alias Jay-Ar, Secretary SECOM – HIPOLITA, Southern Leyte Front, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) at about 6:00 o’clock in the morning of the same day. Firefight ensued for about fifteen (15) minutes that resulted to the death of Sgt Elmer Tualla and wounding of 2Lt Husain Esmael and Cpl Jose Mari Sulivan while undetermined casualties were reported on the enemy side. Recovered from the encounter scene were CTs’ personal belongings, voluminous subversive documents and other CT paraphernalia.

BGen Ramos on the other hand, extended his appreciation to the people of Leyte for their support and cooperation provided to the operating units of the 802nd Infantry Brigade by pointing out the exact locations of the Communist Terrorists (CTs) operating in the area. The encounter is a product of accurate intelligence information provided by the local populace who are against the CTs’ harassment and extortion activities, a clear manifestation that they desire peace and stability in their locality, Ramos added.

Operating troops are still conducting pursuit operations to locate and intercept the withdrawing terrorists





Army in control, ready for NPA attacks

January 26, 2005

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar  - Despite constant threats by the New People’s Army (NPA) of impending tactical offensives against government forces, the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army brushed aside these threats.  The 8ID led by Brig Gen. Bonifacio B. Ramos is one in the belief that the NPA terrorists may resort to desperate acts this year because they have tremendously weakened in strength.

Many rebels have surrendered since last year, many of them exposing unacceptable rules and regulations while inside the movement.  “I wasted my life inside the movement,” said Gregorio Tadeos alias Ka Amir/Karis who was recently captured by military authorities.  “Magpapakita ng maganda sa una. Sa paglaon, hindi na pantay-pantay ang trato.  Masiba ang mga lider sa pera na galing sa pangongotong sa mga naghihirap na mga mamamayan,” he added.

The NPA terrorists and their cohorts may try to stage terrorist attacks in the region in the coming days.  But the Philippine Army again belittled this and took it as a bluff by the NPA.

“They can wage war if they want to,“ said Gen Ramos.  “And we will give it to them.”  The 8ID General Officer-in-Charge said that the Army is not fazed by the intimidation and harassment of the CPP-NPA-NDF.  “We have not only good fighting men, but the overwhelming support of the masses.  This is our advantage over them.  I have ordered all unit commanders to prepare and fight to the hilt if need be, to thwart any attempt by these NPA terrorists.  They are now out rightly violating the rights of poor citizens,” added Rabonza.

The 8th Infantry Division is credited for the continued surrender of NPA members.  The fruits of their labor to reach out to communities with potential NPA influence has gained positive results.  The people now know that they should help the government and the AFP in particular to fight terrorism.  They will not allow the NPA to further destroy their future and those of their loved ones.





PHILRICE, CODA agree to test, evaluate Bt cotton

January 20, 2005

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE -- The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PHILRICE) and the Cotton Development Administration (CODA) on Wednesday, January 19, entered into a joint agreement to locally test and evaluate locally produced Bt cotton.

The memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by Executive Director Leocadio Sebastian in behalf of PHILRICE and Administrator Eugenio Orpia, Jr. of CODA opens new doors to the introduction of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton to commercial availability and viability in the local market.

Government agriculturists said Bt cotton is a variety developed through genetic engineering. It has shown highly improved production in 16 Bt cotton-growing countries like Australia, Canada, Argentina, India, Indonesia, Thailand and the United States. Bt cotton has the ability to control the dreaded bollworm.

Bt cotton is also known as an insect-damage-immune crop that contains naturally-occurring substance called Bt protein. The production of this protein directly by cotton plants has virtually revolutionized insect control.

The demand for Bt cotton increased as more and more countries have shifted to the propagation of Bt cotton. There has been a significant upswing in the export of Bt cotton.

The Philippines continues to import 95 percent of its cotton requirement from the US, Australia and Pakistan. With China entering the market as a supplier of Bt cotton, the country will likewise be dependent on Chinese Bt cotton as local grows.

Director Alice Ilaga of the Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Implementing Unit (DA-BPIU) said, nearly half of the country’s cotton imports comes from Bt-growing countries. In 2002, more than 20 percent of total cotton planted all over the world was Bt cotton, with Australia and the US among the most significant planters.

“The agreement between PHILRICE and CODA marks the start of our local testing and evaluation of the Chinese transgenic cotton hybrids,” Ilaga said. “The DA biotech program facilitated the acquisition of the technology from China and this will be the first time to test it under local growing conditions. If found safe, we will go ahead.”

Ilaga noted that the role of PHILRICE is to provide shuttle research of Bt cotton at its existing biotechnology facilities in Munoz, Nueva Ecija and other CODA research stations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

“The country will benefit from homegrown Bt cotton and save an estimated $86 million in import costs yearly,” Ilaga said. The DA, through CODA, can now introduce Bt cotton as an alternative to conventionally-bred varieties. “If this happens, farmers can increase their income from planting Bt cotton, and textile millers will have a local source for good-quality fiber.” 





Exporting firm resumes operation despite NPA threats

January 15, 2005

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – For the first time in the history of the country, a company harassed and intimidated by the Communist Terrorists, resulting to its sudden temporary closure, resumed operation due to the convergence efforts of concerned local government, government agencies and the civilian sector, who desires peace and stability in the region.

This is the story of the Eastern Visayas Seafood Corporation, a private Company exporting blue crab meat based in Barangay Luna, Ormoc City which resumed its operation on January 7, 2005, discarding the threat posed by Mt. Amandewin Command of the New People’s Army operating in the Eastern Visayas region.

The Company ceased its operation last November 12, 2004 due to the series of attempted harassment and intimidation made by the CPP/NPA through extortions letters signed by its spokesperson named Ka Dodong Maglaya dated January 5 and September 2, 2004 respectively, insisting on their so called “revolutionary tax” amounting to P1.25 million.  The closure resulted in the displacement of 201 workers, an untimely period as the yuletide season is fast approaching.

The CPP/NPA denied the real issue and pointed that mass lay-off and not revolutionary taxation was behind the closure. They attributed the closure to the alleged non-payment of Christmas benefits, poor working condition, and underpayment, among other reasons.

On December 2, 2004, a dialogue with workers was sponsored by the City Government of Ormoc, DOLE, RO8 PNP, Lakas Pinoy and the 8th Infantry Division represented by BGen. Juanito P. Cabayao Jr, Commanding General of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, at the Ormoc City Superdome. The alleged issues were strongly denied by the workers themselves as they have a good working relationship with the management of the said company. They also expressed their condemnation against the CPP/NPA’s extortion activities.

On December 17, 2004, despite its non-operation, the management made good their promise to give the 13th month pay to the displaced workers.

Finally on January 7, 2005, the Eastern Visayas Seafood Corporation re-opened and resumed its operation following the commitment given by the local government of Ormoc City, the Philippine National Police and the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, as well as the workers themselves and the civilian community, to fully support and provide security to the factory as it is the only source of income of its workers.

Following this observation, it can be gleaned that CPP/NPA extortion activities can be thwarted. Their extortions will not prosper if we will not bend to their demands.

The 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army now under the leadership of BGen. Bonifacio B. Ramos, gave his assurance to continue performing its mandate of securing the people, vital installations and other business establishments. To successfully attain this, the cooperation of the different government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations and other concerned individuals are vital for the convergence of efforts so that the root cause of the problem can be addressed outright. It is imperative to eradicate these pestering acts of the communist terrorist by all possible legal means so that we can entice tourists as well as investors both foreign and local to do business in the country which will ultimately generate employment for our countrymen.

The re-opening of the factory is a quantum leap in fighting the insurgency problem and serves as a wake-up call to all, not only to investors, but also to the local government, government agencies, contractors, businessmen, professionals and even the local populace not to give in to the caprices of the CTs, and instead they should cooperate and report any similar incident to the authorities to put an end to insurgency.





MGen. Rabonza relinquish 8ID Command

Philippine Army Chief LtGen. Generoso S. Senga handed the 8ID flag to the new Commanding General of the 8ID BGen. Bonifacio B. Ramos during a simple change of command ceremony in Camp Lukban.

January 5, 2004

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar  – Brigadier General Bonifacio B. Ramos took over as 8ID General Officer-in-Charge vice Major General Glenn J. Rabonza who will be retiring on January 12, 2005, his 56th birthday.

In a simple ceremony held at the 8ID grandstand, MGen. Rabonza relinquished his command as the Commanding General, 8th Infantry Division to BGen. Ramos with the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Lt Gen Generoso S. Senga as the Presiding Officer. MGen. Rabonza was awarded the Distinguished Service Star and the Philippine Army Command Plaque for his outstanding and exemplary service as Division Commander of 8ID from 10 February 2003 to 4 January 2005.

In his farewell speech, MGen. Rabonza acknowledged the members of the 8ID TEAM: the officers, enlisted personnel and military dependents, while expressing his sincere appreciation, for the support they have rendered during his incumbency. The outgoing commander even emphasized to the local government officials present that, “the fight against the Communist Terrorists is not just a fight of the soldiers, but a fight of every peace loving Filipino.” He further emphasized the value of teamwork, dedication to duty, and the need to have convergence efforts with all concerned agencies and NGOs. Likewise, he called for the strengthening of the Strategy of Holistic Approach in combating insurgency; and the intensification of the command relationship between the AFP and the PNP especially in the Internal Security Operations aspect.

In his acceptance speech, BGen. Ramos expressed his utmost appreciation for having been given the opportunity to serve as General Office-in-Charge of 8ID, until such time that a new Commanding General be appointed to the post. He has been the Assistant Division Commander for over a year under MGen. Rabonza. BGen. Ramos hails from Maasin City and a member of PMA Class 1975.

The Commanding General of the Philippine Army, LtGen. Senga, on his part, congratulated the out going CG, 8ID, for a “Job Well Done”, as latter takes credit for the significant transformation of the Command during his stint as 8ID chief. It is during the time of MGen. Rabonza where the 8ID was conveyed with the Hall of Fame Award for consistently garnering 2nd Place for three consecutive years (2002-2004) in the National Literacy Awards, aside from the fact that it is the only AFP unit to have qualified for the said award. This, plus the numerous reforms and projects undertaken in the Division Headquarters in Camp Lukban, paved the way for the unprecendented climate of trust, loyalty and professionalism of the men and women of the 8ID.

MGen. Rabonza is due to compulsorily retire on January 12, 2005, his 56th birthday. He is currently assigned under the Office of the Secretary of National Defense where he is entrusted with the management and supervision of the donated funds form local and foreign sources for the benefit of the recent natural disaster in Southern Luzon. (see related article)





Illegally cut lumbers seized

December 29, 2004

            SAN JORGE, Samar   -  True to his commitment to eradicate illegal activities in his municipality and in implementing PD 705, Sec. 78 as amended by EO 277 and RA 7161, San Jorge Mayor Joseph V. Grey led the apprehension of illegally cut forest products consisting of about 832 board-feet of  hardwood lumber along the river in Brgy. Guindapunan, San Jorge, Samar at 12mn of December 26, 2004 Sunday.

            The apprehending team confiscated seven (7) pcs. 1x12x16 and 45 pcs. 2x6x16 chainsawn lumber, together with the two (2) pumpboats used in the shipment. These items are now in the custody of the San Jorge PNP Station pending investigation and the filing of appropriate charges by the CENRO Catbalogan.

            The reported offenders were Alfredo Suarez, an alleged businessman, Lito ‘Lulu’ Rosales, the alleged supplier, together with Jun Cabrido, Boy Habulan, JunJun Dacles, Renato Machate, Edmon Arbo and Danilo Machate, all from Brgy. Moboob, this municipality.

            In one of the interviews, a source claimed, on condition of anonymity, that a certain politician allegedly requested from the chief executive the release of the pumpboats to its owners who were their supporters in the last elections in view of its possible effect (to them) in the next elections but said request was allegedly denied by the feisty mayor who stood firm to implement the law saying it was violated and the offenders have to be dealt with accordingly. He further emphasized that this apprehension should serve as a warning to all those who are either engaging or are yet planning to engage in any illegal activity that no one shall be spared in his municipality in the implementation of the law.

            The joint operative is composed of the following: the Mayor’s Vice Squad in the persons of Pepito Botero, Allan Nueva, Danilo Rollo, Romy Diaz, Perlito Salandino and Wilmar Sale; the San Jorge Forest Ranger Mateo R. Bentillo, and the San Jorge PNP led by its newly-assigned chief, P/Insp. Rolando B. Baula.



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