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Saturday, 07 November 2015 13:09

Sound Snipings

BY Jimmy Cabato

So, the individual or is it joint inspection of the Bureau of Fire Protection-Manila and City Legal Office have concluded their inspection of the area.

Guess, we’re positive, the investigation isn’t over yet, for some heads may still roll as so far only one has, though only shelved on “freezer”.

It is reported that clearing operations in the Magay area, the site of the tragic Saturday dawn fire, started Tuesday, November 3.

Personnel from the City General Services Office and Engineer’s Office were tapped to undertake the clearing operations which will include demolition of a market building and a private edifice that were damaged by the fire.

According to OIC City Administrator Elmeir Apolinario, the clearing activity will take several days, and that the 287 victim-stall holders were offered temporary spaces at the Sta. Cruz Public Market pending clearing operations.

Reports say the conflagration that struck the ukay-ukay area claimed the lives of 15 people and injured 13 others, and estimated damage to properties pegged somewhere at P8 million.

No conflagration in the past is known to have claimed the lives of such a big a number as the most recent one.

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The Philippine government maintains it will adhere to its no-ransom policy on abduction and kidnapping. This comes in the wake of a video clip released by Abu Sayyaf keepers of the four persons, including three foreigners, who were snatched from Samal Island in Davao del Norte province last September.

In the video scene the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) came out demanding a Php 4 billion ransom in exchange of the freedom of two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipino.

Accordingly, PNP Officer Wilben Mayor, speaking to media men at Camp Crime, assured the public of their continued operations to ensure the safety of the victims and work for their release.

The 9-second video clip posted in SITE Intelligence Group International, showed the victims, identified as Canadians John Ridsel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Just Ran Sekingstad and Filipina Marites Flor chillingly depicted with a bladed weapon pointed to their necks by their captors, standing behind them.

Ridsel issued an appeal to the Canadian Prime Minister and people of Canada to help them by paying off the ransom.

The militant group, in turn, threatened to kill their captives if the ransom is not paid. They did not, however, give any deadline.

Meanwhile, Army Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado separately issued a s similar statement that Philippine government upholds the no-ransom policy, also adding there would be no let-up in efforts by his troops to secure the hostages’ freedom in the safest way possible.

A militant, who did not wear a mask, pointed a knife at him and the two other captives as each of them spoke. A fourth female captive seized from Samal who has been identified by authorities as a Filipino citizen was not allowed to speak in the video.

Two black flags were displayed in the background, which were earlier described similar to those of Iran’s and Syria”s.

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Amidst the furor over the “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) incidents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), a retired Cavite Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge revealed yet another scam that may give credence to the current airport scandal that has already caught international attention.

Writing in his Facebook account, Retired Judge Manuel Mayo, currently in the United States, recounted how his Omega wristwatch mysteriously disappeared from the pocket of his backpack after the bag passed through the NAIA x-ray scanner, only to resurface under similar mysterious circumstance when he vehemently protested the loss of the expensive wristwatch.

This incident happened on September 3, 2015, while Mayo and his wife had their luggage passed through the x-ray scanner at the NAIA for their trip to New York in the US.

This is his FB post, “As is the usual and required procedure, you remove your belt, jacket, and shoes and place them in a tray. Take out the keys and coins from your pocket, the laptop from the bag and take off the wristwatch you are wearing. I did all these, except that instead of putting my watch into the tray, I placed it in the side pocket of my backpack which I could zip for security instead of being exposed in the open tray.” (M B).

He recounted, after retrieving his belongings at the other end of the scanner, he proceeded to the nearby seats, discovering there his watch, an Omega, was no longer in the side pocket of the backpack where he placed it for convenience and safety.

The former judge then immediately went to the person manning the X-ray scanner and told him of the missing wristwatch. After an exchange of heated words, and sensing that the former judge was already losing his cool, the airport scanner went to where the backpack was left and volunteered to check it.

Rifling through the contents inside the backpack, like a miracle - lo and behold - the scanning man found the watch and showed it to the judge.

The watch which had earlier vanished into thin air, had suddenly turned up in his hand!” Mayo said.

“I am willing to attest to the foregoing. If my watch could vanish in the manner it did then, it is totally possible and credible that a bullet could suddenly appear in your bag after it goes through that X-ray machine,” said Mayo

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The Senate ratified yesterday a reconciled version of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) reform bill, with a vote of 16-1-0.

The bill seeks to enhance youth participation in governance, institute a strict anti-dynasty provision, youth empowerment, and capability building anchored on strong principles for nation building.

The approval came after Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate local government committee, delivered the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the disagreeing provisions of the two bills of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Marcos had authored Senate Bill No. 2401 (SK reform bill) while its counterpart measure at the Lower Chamber, House Bill No. 6043, was sponsored by Rep. Pedro B. Acharon.

The bicameral committee report requires ratification by the Senate and the House of Representatives before it will be sent to President Aquino for his signature to become law.

The measure seeks to organize the Katipunan ng Kabataan in every barangay. The organization shall be composed of 15 to 30-year-old Filipino youth who shall elect the SK officials for a fixed three-year term of office, unless sooner removed for a cause. Those elected should be at least 18 but not more than 24 years of age.

“I changed the current 15-17 age range because they are ineligible to sign contracts. In the first place, the youth under Republic Act 8044 refers to persons whose ages range from 15 to 30 years old,” Marcos said.

Marcos said one of the highlights of the measure is the strong anti-dynasty provision under section 10. It states that officials of the SK “must not be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to any incumbent elected national official or to any incumbent elected regional, provincial, city, municipal, or barangay official, in the locality where he or she seeks to be elected.” ( With reports from MB)

* * * *

The quest to find the biological relatives of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares has shifted course. It now turns to an offer of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who expressed willingness to undergo a DNA test to help Poe find her biological relatives. Marcos’ offer is seen as an interesting twist to the pursuit which has stirred rumors that he and Poe are half-siblings.

This surfaced as two DNA tests on Poe’s probable relatives turned out negative.

The camp of Poe, however, demeaned the results of the DNA as laboratory results of three more are still being awaited.

Should the tests prove positive, this will lead to the dismissal of the cases questioning Poe’s being a Filipino citizen.

Earlier, in a weekly press forum at the Senate, Marcos was asked about rumors, Poe is his half-sister, with the two senators referring to each other as “bro” and “sis” in jest in the Senate hall. He was then asked if he is willing to submit to a DNA test.

“Sure, I can undergo DNA test, no problem” … but … “I don’t see how will that help her but if it will, why not?”, Marcos said.

And in the event the DNA test yielded positive results, Marcos said he would tell Poe: “Welcome to the family!”

On the other hand, Poe said she is happy that the senator is open to the idea of cooperating with her.

Marcos then was quick to quip, that even with that scenario in mind, he will not ask Poe who will be her choice in the vice presidential race, for running as vice-president in Poe’s line-up is Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero. Marcos is also running for the same position.. (With inputs by Rigoberto Tiglao,)