Monthly Archives: March 2010

Mikey urged to work as security guard before running as party list nominee

By Lollipop de los Reyes and Queen Shawn Dok

MANILA, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday gave presidential son and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “ Mikey” Arroyo to work as security guard for at least 2 years before seeking running as party list nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy, a sectoral party list organization representing the “marginalized” interests of security guards all over the country.

“If Rep. Arroyo wants to become the voice of the poor and the oppressed he should undergo a major political overhaul, atone for his grave sins against the people and prove his worth as the real representative of the marginalized group he wants to represent. If he wants to acquire continuing political power and impunity by cannibalizing and bastardizing the party list system, then better forget his sinister plan and consider an early retirement from politics,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Arroyo gave up his chance to represent the second district of Pampanga in favor of his mother- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He is rumored to be running as the first nominee of Ang Galing Pinoy party list, which Pamalakaya and allied party list groups opposed because it is a party list backed by Malacanang and perceived to be one of the party list machineries to ensure seats that would catapult Mrs. Arroyo to the speakership of the 15th Congress.

“Why not work first as a security guard at least for two to three years. Mikey can work as one of the security guards guarding the Arroyo owned LTA Corp. building in Makati City in various shifts so he could directly experience the ordeals of blue guards and internalize their issues and concerns in the process. Will he accept this challenge?” Hicap asked.

The Pamalakaya leader also said the same applies to Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Angelo Reyes who is rumored to be running as the party list nominee of the transport party list group 1-UTAK, another Malacanang hatched party list.

“We also advise Secretary Reyes to leave his post and pursue a driving career as a jeepney driver in the next two to three years before joining the party list system as no.1 nominee of that highly questionable transport party list group,” added Hicap.
Pamalakaya argued that Secretary Reyes does not represent the voice of the hardworking transport worker, asserting further that the controversial energy chief is the ultimate and first rate puppet of oil cartel and transnational mining companies over the last five years.

The militant group doubted that Rep. Arroyo and Sec. Reyes would accept their challenge, saying people with cruel intentions and sinister interests will not subscribe to their proposal for political reforms and meaningful change.

“Rep. Arroyo and Sec. Reyes and the party lists they represent are part of the entire ruling syndicate in Malacanang. Their penchant for extreme greed for power and super crimes of corruption are undeniable,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group said since it is next to impossible for Rep. Arroyo and Sec. Reyes to live up to their challenge, they would join party list groups Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela and Kabataan Party in the signature campaign to disqualify alleged party list groups identified and supported by Malacanang.

Pamalakaya said the party list groups that should be exposed, opposed and disqualified to run in the party list elections in the coming May 2010 elections aside from Ang Galing Pinoy and 1-UTAK are Ang Kasangga headed by Maria Lourdes Arroyo, sister of First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel “ Mike” Arroyo, Bantay party list of Rep. Jovito Palparan, Agbiag Timpuyo Ilokano, Ahon Pinoy, Akbay Pinoy-OFW, Aangat Ating Kabuhayan-Filipinas (Anak), Babae Ka, Bigkis, Byaheng Pinoy Labor Association, Kalahi and League of Youth for Peace and Advancement (Lypad).

Pamalakaya said these groups are pseudo party lists which are backed or influenced by Malacanang and other political interests identified with President Arroyo. The militant group said there are other party lists which are believed to be funded or backed by the Office of the President which needed by to be exposed and opposed to the Filipino public. #

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Noynoy told: You can’t really sell Hacienda Luisita, it is not yours

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines-One of the groups supporting the fight of Hacienda Luisita workers expressed outrage on Tuesday over a controversial statement of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III that the family could have gained P 3.B in net profits from selling the large sugar plantation if his family did not care about the farmers and only care for their interests.

In a press statement, the leftwing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the Cojuangco-Aquino family has no right to claim ownership over the 6,453 hectare sugar plantation, and therefore has no right to dispose it to high bidders ad preferred clients of the Cojuangcos interested in acquiring the disputed land.

Aquino said the 4,500-hectare plantation could have been sold at P4.5 billion, with the real estate price of P100 per square meter. He said if his family decided to sell Hacienda Luisita, seventy percent of the proceeds will go the Cojuangco family or roughly P 3.15 billion, after payment of the company’s debts, adding at there would still be a big enough amount left in the family bank accounts.

“Noynoy and the landed aristocrats and oligarchs of the Cojuangco-Aquino landed mafia have no right to claim ownership over Hacienda Luisita. They should stop representing themselves as owners and benign proprietors of the 6,453-hectare sugar plantation. Hacienda Luisita belongs to generations of hardworking farm workers who were deprived of their rights to land by the passed on landed matriarchs and patriarchs of the exploiting Cojuangco clan,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said.

Hicap accused Sen. Aquino of misleading the Filipino public by trying to picture them as enlightened landlords in the countryside. “This presidential wannabe is a certified liar and a first-rate harbinger of lies and illusions. The farmers all over the country should reject this traditional politician and sugar-coated warlord in Central Luzon,” he said. According to Hicap, the Cojuangco-Aquino family acquired Hacienda Luisita through an endless campaign of coercion and deception on farm workers.

The Pamalakaya official said Noynoy should face the issues surrounding Hacienda Luisita fair and square and refrain from issuing statements that misrepresent or distort the real score in the 6,453-hectare sugar plantation that covers towns of Tarlac province.

Hicap stressed Hacienda Luisita should had been distributed to farmer beneficiaries in 1967 as part of the agreement between the Philippine government and the Cojuangco family in exchange for the P 7 million loan the family of former President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino obtained from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), aside from the 10-year loan acquired by the Cojuangcos from Manufacturer’s Trust Company in New York which was permitted by the Central Bank of the Philippines.

The loan obtained from New York and the GSIS loan were used by the Cojuangcos to buy the Hacienda Luisita from its former Spanish owners on the condition that the sugar estate will be awarded to farm workers in 1967 in pursuit of agrarian reform and social justice.

“Where is Noynoy’s sense of history and justice? He and his family are distorting everything to keep their unlawful and immoral control of Hacienda Luisita. Please do not vote for this political shenanigan in 2010. He poses extreme danger to the people,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said Senator Aquino and other members of the Cojuangco-Aquino family should be declared illegal occupants and bogus owners of Hacienda Luisita. “In fact Aquino and Cojuangco clan should be charged of grave fraud and exploitation for transforming Hacienda Luisita farmworkers into long-time and long-running serfs over the last four decades. That is undeniably crime against humanity,” said Hicap.

Pamalakaya said the free distribution of 6,453 hectare Hacienda Luisita to 10,000 farm workers faces zero possibility in case Aquino wins the presidency in 2010. “Aquino and the Cojuangco clan will not relinquish their illegal and immoral control of Luisita. Noynoy will even use the presidency just like what his mother did to stop the farm workers from acquiring Luisita. It is all in the feudal mindset of the Cojuangcos and the rate things are going, even Noynoy sisters will cooperate to ensure gross denials of peasant land rights for another four to five decades or even a century more,” the group added.

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International observers told: Watch AFP on partisan politics

By Pepsi La Loma and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines- The leaders of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged on Sunday asked members of the international community observing the conduct of the May 2010 elections to monitor the possible involvement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) identified with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in partisan politics.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Pamalakaya-Vice chairperson Salvador France noted the Western election observers have focused their attention on the preparations of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and have missed one vital electoral issue, which is the partisan politics and electioneering conducted by pro-Arroyo officials in the AFP against candidates critical of the Arroyo administration that includes two progressive senatorial candidates and left-leaning party lists.

The Pamalakaya officials appealed to the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) to also monitor and entertain reports and cases against AFP officials and rank-and-file personnel accused of engaging in partisan politics and electioneering.

Hicap and France asked Jamie Metzl of NDI, Thomas Barry, deputy regional director of NDI for Asia, Sam Gejdenson, former member of US Congress, Nora Owen, former justice minister of Ireland and Sue Wood, former president of the New Zealand National Party to put premium on documented reports that the military are campaigning for pro-administration bets and on the other hand are campaigning against certain candidates and party lists highly critical of the Arroyo administration.

“The pro-GMA clique in the AFP is in command of all these dirty electoral campaign against progressive candidates and party lists. It is blatantly and brazenly violating provisions of the 1987 Constitution that illegalize any kind or form of military partisan politics and electioneering. We appeal to the members of the international community to give proper attention to this militarist agenda of the pro-Arroyo faction in the AFP,” the Pamalakaya leaders said.

Pamalakaya also asked members of the Western electoral watchdog to remain until June 30 to complete their observation and make an objective preliminary assessment of the May 2010 elections. The militant group said the March 12 to March 17 schedule of NDI electoral observers was short and will not give them even a comprehensive overview on how the Arroyo government and Comelec commence the 2010 elections under its stewardship.

The militant group had pressed Comelec chairman Jose Melo to invoke the constitutional provision banning all military officials and government troops from exercising partisan politics in lieu of reports that that some members of the AFP are engaged in campaigning against Makabayan senatorial candidates—Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza and activist party lists Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Anakpawis.

‘The commissioners of Comelec headed by Chairman Melo should impose an iron hand policy against officials and members of the AFP engaged in partisan politics. The military is violating the 1987 Constitution pertaining to partisan politics and this political-military adventure sanctioned by the ruling party in Malacanang must be put to an end,” the group said.

Leaders and members of Pamalakaya in Sorsogon said the military in the province are conducting house-to-house campaign in the province calling on all voters not to vote for militant party lists like Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan Party and Act Teachers party list. The party lists formed Makabayan coalition party that includes Katribu party list, a new party list representing indigenous people and national minority groups in the country.

On Feb.23, Army Major Arnal Manjares hurt one of the campaigners of Makabayan during a house-to-house sortie, while conducting house-to-house campaign for progressive party lists and senatorial candidates Ocampo and Maza.

Based on the report reaching the headquarters of Bayan Muna in Quezon City, Manjares slapped the face of the volunteer and threatened the victim and his companions that they would be killed and harmed if they come back again and campaign for leftwing party lists and candidates in the area.

Pamalakaya said in the last May 2007 elections, cases of partisan politics specifically against Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela party lists were also documented Castilla Sorsogon, San Luis, Isabela, Nasugbu, Tanauan and Taysan in Batangas, Dasmarinas, Cavite, Cordon, and Cauayan, and San Luis Roxas, Isabela, Tuburan, Iloilo, Tubod, Lanao Del Norte, Palimbang Sultan Kudarat, Baggao, Cagayan, Burgos, Ilocos Norte, Kolambugan and Tubod Lanao del Norte, Roxas, Mindoro Oriental, Masbate, Guimba, Nueva Ecija, New Bataan, Compostela Valley.

There were also documented cases of military partisan politics against progressive party lists in Gumaca, Lucena, Sariaya, Candelaria, Lucena, Pagbilao, Gen. Luna and Macalelon, all in Quezon province, Alangalang and Tacloban in Leyte, North Cotabato, Marikina City, Makati City, any parts of Camarines Norte, Sa. Rosa, Laguna, Lavenzares, North Samar, Abuyog, Cagayan Valley, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Marawi City, many polling places in Lanao del Sur and many canvassing areas in Isabela.

Pamalakaya said the forms of military and police involvement include abductions and salvaging of progressive party list leaders and poll watchers, Illegal presence inside canvass areas or roaming around polling places and canvass areas, harassment of voters and forcing them not to vote militant party lists and instead vote for Palace backed party lists like Bantay of Rep. Jovito Palparan, transporting of ballot boxes in canvass areas, banning militant party list poll watchers inside the canvass areas and selecting only those they want to allow to enter, acting as bodyguards of candidates, presence of APC and 6×6 trucks near polling places and canvass areas, police counting the votes in precinct, the shooting and wounding of a Bayan Muna leader, the burning of school rooms, the Illegal arrest of poll watchers and the threatening Comelec official.

Pamalakaya also reiterated its call for Comelec to recall its previous decision allowing CAGGUs and other paramilitary units to carry fire arms during the election season. The militant group asserted that the long experience and track record of CAFGUs in partisan politics, acting as paid goons and private armies of powerful politicians, the poll body should have recalled its resolution and pursued the across-the-nation disbandment of special civilian armed forces.
Under Comelec resolution 8742 made effective last January 11, amending Resolution 8714, the CAFGU was exempted from gun ban along with members of the Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Optical Media Board, the treasurers and deputy treasurers and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury.
Prior to Comelec promulgation of Resolution 8714, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao opposed the disarming of CAAs because these paramilitary groups are tapped by fishing companies to secure their venture in the South. For his part, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of Western Command said as far as the military is concerned, the CAFGUs are part of the military organization and not all CAFGUs are utilized by private companies operating in far flung areas. #

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Sariaya fish freezing machine, defective, time-ticking bomb, says fishers group

by Kremlin Montenegro and Sarsi Pimentel

MANILA, Philippines-The leaders of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list on said on Saturday, the fish freezing machine installed in the Sentrong Pamilihan ng Produktong Agrikultura ng Quezon (SPPAQ) in Sariaya, Quezon province is defective and likened it to a time-ticking bomb ready to explode at any given time.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente warned end users especially vegetable farmers and fisherfolk on the extreme danger posed by the quick freezing machine to health and immediate surroundings where the unit is installed.

Reports reaching the headquarters of Pamalakaya in Quezon City revealed that the machine is not an ice-making machine, but a quick freezing machine the employs a type of highly combustible chemical alcohol and formalin to assure freezing and maintain the freshness of fish and vegetables once these are stored inside the machine.

“It is like a time-ticking bomb ready to explode at any given time because of the highly flammable substance used for quick freezing. The safety and the health of the people are sacrificed at the altar of this graft-ridden and corruption tainted machine,” Hicap and Clemente lamented.

On January 26, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Reform (BFAR) deployed the quick freezing machine, one of the 98 units acquired by the government from the Integrated Refrigeration Systems and Services Inc, (IRRS), which was bought at an overpriced cost of P 4.6 million per unit or P 455 million.

The unit was disposed along Maharlika Highway in the village of Sampaloc II in Sariaya, Quezon. Hernando Decena, inventor of the freezer machine using the new brine immersion freezing (BIF) technology, explained that unlike conventional ice-making machines, his invention can store agricultural produce like fish, meat, leafy vegetables and fruits in sealed styrofoam foam boxes for two to three days without ice.
“If these commodities are placed inside standard refrigerators or freezers after being frozen in BIF freezers, these can last from six months to one year and still preserve the quality of these goods,” Decena explained during the demonstration. It takes as little as three to 30 minutes (depending on type, size and volume of product to be processed) to freeze a product using BIF, compared to the conventional method, which takes three-four hours, the DA said during the demo activity.

The machine is capable of freezing a maximum of 500 kilograms of vegetables in one operation. But Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list leaders refuted the claims of the inventor, asserting that the same technology was banned in different countries like South Korea and the United States 30 years ago because of its devastating impact to health and environment.

Both groups also said the dangerous machine was overpriced by P 3.9 million per unit and P 2.3 million per unit as originally claimed by their groups. They said the industry players argued that the quick freezing machine bought by the government should only cost taxpayers a little over $ 15,000 USD or P 700,000 per unit and not P 4.6 million per unit.

Pamalakaya pressed Malacanang to recall the contract between National Agribusiness Council (Nabcor) and IRRS Inc. following the discovery of the overpricing and the defective status of the freezing machine. The group also said the government should immediately pullout the freezing unit in Sariaya to prevent it from causing future damages to the people.

Last January 6, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis filed a plunder complaint and other criminal and administrative charges against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Agriculture secretary Arthur Yap, officials of Nabcor and the Bid and Awards Committee of the Department of Agriculture and private officials representing IRSS in connection with the highly questionable procurement of 98 ice-making machines. #

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Critics cry direct bribe in aid of calamity declaration

By Sugar Hicap

MANILA, Philippines-The decision of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to leave to the discretion of local government officials where the funds freed by her declaration of a state of calamity in Mindanao constitutes a direct bribe for whatever sinister political purpose she has in mind less than two months before the May 2010 elections.

“It is direct bribe, a form of political investment on whatever sinister agenda she is plotting against the more than 90 million Filipinos on or before the May 2010 elections,” the rabid anti-Arroyo group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a press statement.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, President Arroyo is into wholesale buying of political patronage of local government officials to justify the possible declaration of either failure of elections in Mindanao, which could be used by the administration as a major political leverage to declare a national failure of elections in 2010.

“The war room in Malacanang says GMA should still be the president beyond June 30, 2010. In it is not written in any official memo, but it is in the mindset of President Arroyo and her political associates running the affairs of this country like an Italian or Japanese mafia,” the Pamalakaya official said.

The militant leader said the calamity funds should be spent to address the impact of El Nino phenomenon to food producers like farmers and fisherfolk, but the order of President Arroyo negates the very essence of how calamity fund should be spent.

“It is like President Arroyo telling local government officials to enjoy their calamity funds for whatever purpose they have in mind but at the same time reminding them that these calamity funds have political tag prices and strings are attached on these calamity funds in the name of Mrs. Arroyo,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya noted that President Arroyo is concentrating the mobilization of resources in Mindanao while the impact of El Nino is notoriously felt in the majority regions of Luzon Island and other parts of Western Visayas and Negros Island.
Pamalakaya said the government should instead order the local government officials in El Nino stricken areas like Isabela and Cagayan, Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija provinces to employ their calamity funds to address the devastating impact of El Nino and refrain from making scenarios in Mindanao that would justify the near future declaration of state of emergency or island wide crisis.

“Why in Mindanao? What is so special about Mindanao? What she is up to in Mindanao? Corruption is just a sideline issue here. Something big is being planned here with the administration using Mindanao as a laboratory for political purposes,” the group said.

Pamalakaya also theorized that the declaration of state of calamity in Mindanao had something to do with the P 10-billion power deal which Malacanang wants to accomplish before the May 2010 elections. The group said the situation empowers the national government and the LGUs to enter into midnight deals with power groups obsessed in conducting power business in Mindanao.

The group said while Mrs. Arroyo has yet to declare a state of power crisis in Mindanao, the declaration of state of calamity effectively granted the government powers to pursue power deals with private groups in Mindanao.

Pamalakaya said the Arroyo had instructed the National Power Corporation (Napocor) to resolve the issue of how can it get the 5.5 megawatts excess capacity of the Southern Philippines Power Corporation plant in Sarangani province.

Her order for the government to enter into contract for additional power generation within the franchise area and the resumption of the operations of the 100MW power diesel in Iligan City are concrete manifestations that Malacanang are ready to enter into midnight deals with power groups.

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Comelec told: Castigate AFP on partisan politics

By Mama Mila Liguasan and Akihira Tatchu

Manila, Philippines –

Pamalakaya took a brief respite after having their Feb.14 sortie in Baywalk, Manila Bay

The leaders of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged on Sunday the officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to castigate officials and rank-and-file members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) involved in partisan politics.

In a joint press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Vice chairperson Salvador France pressed Comelec chairman Jose Melo to invoke the constitutional provision banning all military officials and government troops from exercising partisan politics in lieu of reports that that some members of the AFP are engaged in campaigning against Makabayan senatorial candidates—Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza and activist party lists Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Anakpawis.

‘The commissioners of Comelec headed by Chairman Melo should impose an iron hand policy against officials and members of the AFP engaged in partisan politics. The military is violating the 1987 Constitution pertaining to partisan politics and this political-military adventure sanctioned by the ruling party in Malacanang must be put to an end,” the Pamalakaya leaders said.

Hicap and France who both came from Sorsogon learned that the military in the province are conducting house-to-house campaign in the province calling on all voters not to vote for militant party lists like Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan Party and Act Teachers party list. The party lists formed Makabayan coalition party that includes Katribu party list, a new party list representing indigenous people and national minority groups in the country.

On Feb.23, Army Major Arnal Manjares hurt one of the campaigners of Makabayan during a house-to-house sortie, while conducting house-to-house campaign for progressive party lists and senatorial candidates Ocampo and Maza.

Based on the report reaching the headquarters of Bayan Muna in Quezon City, Manjares slapped the face of the volunteer and threatened the victim and his companions that they would be killed and harmed if they come back again and campaign for leftwing party lists and candidates in the area.

Pamalakaya said in the last May 2007 elections, cases of partisan politics specifically against Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela party lists were also documented Castilla Sorsogon, San Luis, Isabela, Nasugbu, Tanauan and Taysan in Batangas, Dasmarinas, Cavite, Cordon, and Cauayan, and San Luis Roxas, Isabela, Tuburan, Iloilo, Tubod, Lanao Del Norte, Palimbang Sultan Kudarat, Baggao, Cagayan, Burgos, Ilocos Norte, Kolambugan and Tubod Lanao del Norte, Roxas, Mindoro Oriental, Masbate, Guimba, Nueva Ecija, New Bataan, Compostela Valley.

There were also documented cases of military partisan politics against progressive party lists in Gumaca, Lucena, Sariaya, Candelaria, Lucena, Pagbilao, Gen. Luna and Macalelon, all in Quezon province, Alangalang and Tacloban in Leyte, North Cotabato, Marikina City, Makati City, any parts of Camarines Norte, Sa. Rosa, Laguna, Lavenzares, North Samar, Abuyog, Cagayan Valley, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Marawi City, many polling places in Lanao del Sur and many canvassing areas in Isabela.

Pamalakaya said the forms of military and police involvement include abductions and salvaging of progressive party list leaders and poll watchers, Illegal presence inside canvass areas or roaming around polling places and canvass areas, harassment of voters and forcing them not to vote militant party lists and instead vote for Palace backed party lists like Bantay of Rep. Jovito Palparan, transporting of ballot boxes in canvass areas, banning militant party list poll watchers inside the canvass areas and selecting only those they want to allow to enter, acting as bodyguards of candidates, presence of APC and 6×6 trucks near polling places and canvass areas, police counting the votes in precinct, the shooting and wounding of a Bayan Muna leader, the burning of school rooms, the Illegal arrest of poll watchers and the threatening Comelec official.

Pamalakaya also reiterated its call for Comelec to recall its previous decision allowing CAGGUs and other paramilitary units to carry fire arms during the election season. The militant group asserted that the long experience and track record of CAFGUs in partisan politics, acting as paid goons and private armies of powerful politicians, the poll body should have recalled its resolution and pursued the across-the-nation disbandment of special civilian armed forces.
Under Comelec resolution 8742 made effective last January 11, amending Resolution 8714, the CAFGU was exempted from gun ban along with members of the Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Optical Media Board, the treasurers and deputy treasurers and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury.
Prior to Comelec promulgation of Resolution 8714, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao opposed the disarming of CAAs because these paramilitary groups are tapped by fishing companies to secure their venture in the South. For his part, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of Western Command said as far as the military is concerned, the CAFGUs are part of the military organization and not all CAFGUs are utilized by private companies operating in far flung areas. #

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Fishers file DQ case against Yap before Comelec

by Gerry Albert Corpuz, Billy Javier Reyes and Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines- Leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) filed on Tuesday a disqualification case against former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Fisherfolk activists gave OKs to Anakpawis party list and Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza for senate race


In their 4-page disqualification case against Yap, Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap and Vice-chairperson Salvador France said the former agriculture secretary lacks qualification to run as congressman for the third district of Bohol because he is not a resident of province 3rd district. The Pamalakaya leaders said the position for which Yap filed a certificate of candidacy requires that a candidate be a resident of the district (3rd District of Bohol) for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the May 10, 2010 elections.

Hicap and France asserted Secretary Yap failed to meet the qualification because the former agriculture secretary still live in Ortigas, Pasig City and there is no evidence or overt act that Yap abandoned his domicile of origin. Both fisherfolk leaders said their case against Yap is similar to the recently concluded case decided by the poll body against actor Richard Gomez who was barred by Comelec from running in Leyte over the question of domicile.

“More than the issue of residency is the stockpile of graft charges filed by against Secretary Yap before the Office of the Ombudsman regarding irregular and highly questionable use of taxpayers’ money by the agriculture department. This disqualification case pertaining to lack of qualification to run on the basis of residency is just part of the whole process to unearth the truth on controversies surrounding this controversial cabinet of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” the Pamalakaya leaders added.

Last January 6, Pamalakaya filed plunder and other criminal and administrative charges against Yap in connection with the P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines. Included in the charge sheet are President Arroyo and other officials of the National Agribusiness Council (Nabcor), an attached agency of DA. On top of the P 455 million ice making fund scam is the P 7.14 billion which the Commission on Audit (COA) cited in its’ 2008 report was missing, diverted or bungled.

“We filed this case not to spoil the political ambition of Sec. Yap. We filed this case because we want truth and justice to prevail over the narrow interest of new breed of traditional and corrupt politician like Sec. Yap,” the fisherfolk alliance added.

Pamalakaya maintained Sec. Yap cannot even speak the language of Boholanos. The group also said the respondent and his family continue to stay in Metro Manila and that in the concept of domicile under election laws is at Alexandra Residence in Pasig City.

“How can he live and reside in Bohol when Sec. Yap practices his profession and conducts his business in Metro Manila? He continues to be a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Makati Chapter and likewise holds office in Quezon City. He cannot even speak the language of Boholanos and the people of Central Visayas verbally and by heart. It is really impossible” the group said.

The militant group asserted that Sec. Yap is not domiciled in Barangay, Buenavista in Loboc, Bohol or anywhere within the 3rd legislative district of Bohol. It said the respondent does not have real, substantial and material ties to the locality as to qualify him a resident of the said legislative district, adding that Sec. Yap spends much more time in Metro Manila than in Bohol.

“His visits in Bohol are infrequent, short and transient,” said Pamalakaya. #

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