Items filtered by date: Friday, 29 December 2017

WATCH | Bangko Sentral: ‘Faceless’ P100-bills resulted from printing glitch

The recently discovered “faceless” PhP100 bills that came out of a BPI automated teller machine were not technically fake or counterfeit, but legitimate though defective money that simply suffered from a printing glitch, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) explained on Friday.

A BPI customer had called the BSP’s attention to the defective banknotes earlier this week.

In a Facebook post, Earla Anne Yehey reported that she withdrew the so-called faceless bills from an ATM in Makati City earlier this week.

Carlyn Pangilinan, Managing Director of the BSP Currency Management Sub-sector, explained that BSP had unintentionally shipped out a batch of the bills that did not bear an imprint of the face of the late president Manuel Roxas.

“There was just a glitch in the printing … As reported to us there were just 33 pieces, so it’s very minimal in comparison with the volume of banknotes that are printed everyday. so it is really an isolated case.”

Those faceless P100 peso bills that went viral online recently have become collectors’ items.

BSP said the rare misprints are still considered legal tender, and may be exchanged at the Bangko Sentral at par value.




Floods, landslides send thousands fleeing in Bicol

Rescue workers wade through a flood. (file)
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines — Heavy rains over the past several days caused floods and landslides in nine towns of Camarines Sur that sent 2,267 families, or 9,322 persons, fleeing their homes the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol said.

OCD regional director Claudia Yucot said the floods in Ragay, Lupi, Bato, Sangay, Lagonoy, Tinambac and Garchitorena, and the landslides in Bato, Caramoan and Sagnay were caused by rains brought by the tail-end of a cold front .

In her report, she said flooding as high as 1.5 meters was reported in three barangays in Lupi town, where a spillway overflowed, forcing villagers to use boats to get around.

In Albay, Governor Al Francis Bichara on Friday also ordered the evacuation of villagers in flood- and landslide-prone areas of the province’s eastern seaboard.

Melody Azur of the Legazpi City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said floodwaters from one foot to shoulder-deep inundated several low-lying villages in the city’s business district as well as in the northern district.


Cops, tanods shoot wrong van in Mandaluyong; 2 killed

The body of a slain worker is seen next to the bullet-riddled AUV on Shaw Boulevard in Barangay Old Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong City. Joven Cagande
City police chief, 10 cops suspended

MANILA, Philippines — The gunfire went on for a long time, even as two van passengers were lying on the ground and someone inside the vehicle was shouting “emergency.”

When the smoke cleared, uniformed policemen approached the bullet-riddled van that had pulled to a stop along Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City. The police opened the back door of the van and pulled out bloodied passengers.

Police, reportedly led on by barangay watchmen or tanods, had opened fire on the wrong vehicle and killed two persons late Thursday. Two others were wounded.

Responding policemen reportedly mistook the utility van that was carrying a shooting victim as the gunmen’s getaway vehicle.

Jonalyn Ambaon was shot in the head at a construction site in Addition Hills earlier. She died at the hospital while her companion, construction worker Jomar Hayawon, died on the spot.

Ambaon’s partner, Eliseo Aluad, and the driver, Danilo Santiago, are now being treated at the Mandaluyong City Medical Center.

“Niratrat para kami mga kriminal (We were shot at like criminals),” Santiago said from his hospital bed.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde relieved Mandaluyong City police chief Senior Supt. Moises Villaceran Jr. and 10 other policemen involved in the incident.

Those relieved along with Villaceran were Senior Insp. Cristina Vasquez, commander of the Police Community Precinct 1, and her men PO2 Nel Songalia and PO1s Jave Arellano, Tito Danao, Bryan Nicolas, Julius Libuyen, Mark Castillo, Alberto Buag, Kim Tinbusay and Alfred Urbe.

Albayalde ordered Eastern Police District director Chief Supt. Reynaldo Biay to personally oversee the investigation into the incident.

Villaceran claimed the barangay watchmen were the first to fire at the vehicle occupants at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Old Wack Wack Road.

He said the responding policemen merely followed the watchmen’s lead.

“The tanods thought they were the assailants, that’s why they fired at them. When the police arrived, the tanods pointed them to the vehicle,” he said.

Villaceran said the village guards were reportedly misled by a group who earlier quarreled with the victims.

“They were told that the suspects boarded a white (Mitsubishi) Adventure vehicle and escaped. The village guards did not know that these two groups were quarreling,” he said.

Biay said the incident started with the shooting of Ambaon in the head by a group led by a certain Abdurakman Alfin while she was trying to mediate a quarrel at a construction site in Barangay Addition Hills at about 10:20 p.m. Thursday.

She was shot in the head following an altercation over a parking space.

Her live-in partner Aluad and other workers loaded Ambaon onto a white Mitsubishi driven by Santiago to rush the victim to hospital. Hayawon and three other workers joined them in the vehicle.

While they were about to leave, the village watchmen arrived, but instead of helping them, opened fire at their vehicle, prompting Santiago to step on the gas.

Police who arrived at the scene were told that the suspects were in the vehicle and trying to escape. The police gave chase and cornered Santiago’s Mitsubishi at the junctions of Shaw and Old Wack Wack, then opened fire at the vehicle.

“The village watchmen thought that the suspect in Ambaon’s shooting incident was trying to escape, so they shot at the vehicle. The policemen joined them based on the report of the watchmen,” Albayalde later told a press briefing.

Two of the village watchmen of Barangay Addition Hills were taken into custody by the Mandaluyong police.

Albayalde said no firearms were recovered from the scene while the Mitsubishi van sustained a total of 36 bullet holes.

“An investigation will be conducted as to why the watchmen are armed in the first place,” Albayalde said.

He ordered all policemen involved in the incident disarmed and placed under restrictive custody.

Asked if there was a lapse on the part of the responding policemen, Albayalde said it was most likely.

“We recovered 36 spent shells at the crime scene. We’ll see. We are not discounting the fact that there was a violation of police operational procedures,” he said.

Albayalde admitted there could be an “overkill” on the part of the police but the fact that wrong information was given to them by village watchmen should not be discounted.

“They were told that the occupants of the Mitsubishi were armed, so they opened fire,” he said of the policemen.

Body of Misidentity Shootout in Mandaluyong B

Photo shows Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde with the 10 officers who were suspended for involvement in the shooting. Boy Santos

‘Why did this happen to us?’

Two of the survivors from the fusilade blamed the barangay watchmen.

“They were the ones who shot us. We don’t know why they did this to us,” Mhury Jamon said in Filipino.

Ruel Distor also gave a similar statement. He said the barangay tanods fired at them first, and the police patrol car was a few meters behind.

Jamon said they were in their quarters when they heard gunfire. When they went outside, they saw Ambaon with her head bleeding. They tried to get a tricycle but could not find one.

Santiago then volunteered to bring Ambaon to a hospital.

Jamon said another shot was fired in their direction just as they were loading Ambaon onto the vehicle.

Jamon and Distor said barangay watchmen kept on firing even after their vehicle had stopped along Shaw Boulevard. This was where Hawayon was killed.

“He was trying to open the door when he was hit in the body,” Jamon said.

Moments later, the responding policemen arrived.

“The policemen told us to get out of the vehicle or they would open fire,” Jamon said.

Jamon said the policemen and barangay watchmen continued to fire despite their pleas that they were bringing an injured woman to a hospital.

“We were shouting that we were with a patient but they did not listen,” he said.

Aluad, from his hospital bed, said that as the gunfire went on, he kept shouting at the police that they were transporting a wounded person: “May tama, may tama, emergency.”

Video footage aired by GMA 7 News bear out their narration of the events.

“We cannot understand why this happened,” Distor said.

City Mayor Menchie Abalos said the incident was “highly deplorable and unacceptable.”

Abalos directed Barangay Addition Hills chairman Kent Familial to present the watchmen involved in the incident.

Abalos said the duty of village watchmen is to patrol their respective areas of jurisdiction.

“As in those instances where their lives might be placed in peril, their duty is not to fire shots at anyone but to immediately report the incident to the police officers for the conduct of an immediate and legitimate police operation,” Abalos said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP), for its part, wants the barangay watchmen investigated for carrying firearms.

The PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) will start its investigation of the policemen involved in the incident.

IAS Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo said they would determine if the police officers involved committed lapses in police operational procedures.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the incident.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II tasked NBI Director Dante Gierran to conduct an investigation.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will also conduct a parallel investigation to determine if there were human rights violations committed by the lawmen.

“We will specifically determine if there was excessive use of force on the part of the Mandaluyong police and was there due diligence employed by them during the shooting incident or were there rules of engagement under the PNP operational procedures followed or violated,” said Diana de Leon, CHR regional director for Metro Manila. – Emmanuel Tupas, Evelyn Macairan, Janvic Mateo


EDITORIAL - Trigger-happy

This is what happens when people believe they have blanket authority to shoot to kill. In a video recorded late Thursday night, the unmistakable sound of rapid fire could be heard as a white Mitsubishi Adventure pulled to a stop along Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong. Two men stepped out of the van and lay face down on the ground, and then the gunfire resumed.

Few people could have survived that volley of gunfire. Two passengers of the van were killed, one of them a woman who was shot during a neighborhood fight in Barangay Addition Hills. Jonalyn Ambaon was being rushed to the hospital by her partner and construction workers who had volunteered to help when the shooting started. One of the workers, Jomar Hayawon, died in the van.

Her partner Eliseo Aluad kept shouting “emergency” as the shooting started, but the hail of gunfire continued. When it finally ended, the gunmen approached and pulled the passengers out of the van “like pigs,” as described by a witness. One of the survivors reportedly escaped being finished off only by pretending to be dead.

Who were the gunmen? Persons tasked to keep the public safe: policemen and barangay tanod or watchmen. They had responded to the neighborhood brawl wherein Amboan was accidentally shot and wounded. Police said the barangay watchmen had opened fire first at the van, believing it was a getaway vehicle.

Why are barangay watchmen armed? And why didn’t the police bother to verify the identities of the van passengers? The video clearly showed no gunfire coming from the van, so the excuse of resisting arrest or “nanlaban” cannot be applied to justify the overkill.

Because saving innocent lives is of paramount importance, the Philippine National Police has rules of engagement, which are supposed to be followed when pursuing suspects. It looks like the Mandaluyong cops never read the rules. Worse, they chased and shot the wrong persons.

As of yesterday afternoon, 10 of the policemen involved in the turkey shoot had been suspended together with the chief of the Mandaluyong police, for command responsibility. Those horrified by the video footage can only hope the trigger-happy cops and village watchmen will not end up with medals and a promotion. Anyone who shoots first and asks questions later, when he is clearly not facing an armed threat, must be made to face the consequences.


Opinion: Was Rizal a revolutionary?

I was taught about Jose Rizal when I was too young to appreciate what he did for his country. So it was good that I went along with my son and his children to return to the place of his execution with them.

Their parents and I took turns in telling them the story but like me when I was young it did not touch me as it does today when I am almost at the end of my life. Of the many stories about the execution I was told since then, I was struck by what they said that the onlookers were people who were taking their morning walks in the park as they would any other day. It was a time for a leisurely walk or what the Spanish call their paseo. There were Filipinos, too in the crowd but they were mostly apolitical who watched the execution merely with curiosity.

It has taken a long time for Filipinos to appreciate what happened that morning. It is time we return to Bagumbayan as it was then called with a different perspective.

Was Rizal a revolutionary or just a patriotic intellectual? The question has become more relevant today when there is a debate on revolutionary government which some people are loathed to consider. In my opinion, it is a misunderstanding of the word revolutionary.

The late Carmen Lopez Rizal, a niece of Rizal, tells her story. She is the mother of my sister-in-law Cecil Consunji. I caught her in the nick of time when her memories were beginning to dim. She said the family discussed whether they would make a show of their appearance on Rizal’s execution on Dec. 30, 1896. This was thumbed down. Each was free to decide for themselves. She was a child peeping through spaces in the crowd. In the Rizal diorama museum made by Richard Gordon, it says explicitly that it was an indifferent crowd and his execution a mere curiosity.

What is Rizal’s relevance to Filipinos today? Has he become more important now that Filipinos are more geared towards education? (Bonifacio’s supporters who want to make him the national hero vs Rizal’s supporters has sparked a debate between a revolutionary vs intellectual). Rizal is cast as the patriotic intellectual.

In her 800-page book (unfortunately, it is in French) Helene Goujat concludes that he was more than a hero. He will always be relevant not only to Filipinos but to all mankind. Rizal stood for principles that do not change – justice and freedom. I think that more than ever Rizal, as intellectual, should be the model for generations of Filipinos to come.

Education is more enduring, revolutions (as in armed rebellion) come and go. But Rizal was not a mere reformist he was also revolutionary in the sense that when he saw that nothing would come out of the advocacy for reform, he did turn to more revolutionary (radical) ideas. So the common view that he was a mere reformist is wrong according to Goujat.

It is well known that Rizal imbibed his progressive political ideas while studying in Spain. Leon Ma. Guerrero said that the Philippine Revolution was made in Spain. Spain herself was an older battlefield for the same ideas.

“It was in Spain that my perdition came,” Rizal said. Not enough has been done to bring this idea to the public mind in the Philippines. We think only of one Spain – the Spain in the Philippines captured in his books Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

Goujat researched for 12 years to write her book and uses primary documents to prove her point. It is not an either or question but the story of how Rizal changed his mind. It was a rite of passage from a reformist to a revolutionary. This line of thought is new to people like myself inured on the theory that he was a reformist and quite impatient with Filipinos, like Bonifacio et al who were calling for revolution. Goujat’s research on Rizal led her to a different conclusion.

The theme of the book will answer why more and more thoughtful Filipinos today ask if we can avoid a revolution when there is such a lack of will to reform?

In the book she examines “the integrally related questions of the future of the indigenous culture, the role of the church, specifically of ‘corporate religion,’ and the decline and eventual disappearance of colonialism.”

The book was launched in the Philippine embassy in Paris by the Knights of Rizal some years back. I wrote about it hoping it could be translated.

“I trace the origin of my interest in the Philippines to the four years that I spent in Asia, mainly in Singapore. There I discovered a continent bristling everywhere with passion, but by far the Philippines struck me the most, for its singularity, its variety and its infinite richness of culture and history,” Goujat said.

Being a French intellectual, she approaches the theme philosophically.

“The essence of his political dream, remain riddled with contradictions, and it is this overweighing impression of the grand political paradox between reform and revolution that I have tried to overcome in this book. In effect, the life work of Rizal follows a certain trajectory with all the meanderings that this term implies, and transforms eventually into the fruit of a slow, political and intellectual maturing.”

She acknowledged the help of Professor Paul Estrade, a specialist on Cuba and its national hero, José Martí. For her work, Estrade called her a ‘Philippiniste’ in the sphere of Hispanism and Latino-americanism. He names the themes she covers in her work of a unique interpretation of Rizal: The Filipino Ilustrados in the Mother Country or the Saga of Disenchantment, the History of a Long Term Rupture, the Indios become Filipinos, the nightmare of a nation in its Brevity and the Spanish language in the Philippines: A case apart.

To him Reform or Revolution is not a book of history or a literary exegesis, or even an iconoclast diatribe to discard the false images of Rizal of the 20th century. “It is an intellectual biography or even accurately an ideological biography.”

“In this obvious political paradox, resides the bases of our study, how to explain that Rizal the assimilator, the pacifier, could find himself not only executed by the Spaniards for ‘treason and inciting rebellion,’ but rejected by the separatist movement, the Katipunan which launched the rebellion against Spain in 1896?”

“José Rizal is not a hero, he is, in the definition of Voltaire, “a great man” not at all a restrictive qualification, on the contrary, as time has shown,” the French specialist on Cuba’s Marti, said.


Case vs Trillanes, CPP vs Duterte, Trump on climate change | Evening wRap


Today on Rappler: Paolo Duterte, Mans Carpio file civil case vs Trillanes. CPP 50th anniversary goal: ‘Overthrow Duterte regime.' SC orders government to answer petition vs martial law. Mandaluyong police chief, 10 cops relieved over 'mistaken identity' shooting. As cold wave sweeps North America, Trump makes light of climate change


Watch Rappler’s evening newscast with Bea Cupin :


96% of Filipino to welcome 2018 with hope – SWS

HOPE. A record-high of 96% Filipinos enter 2018 with hope, according to Social Weather Stations or SWS. Photo by Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – Around 96% of adult Filipinos – a record high – will welcome the new year 2018 with hope instead of fear, according to the latest survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The figure is the highest since the survey firm started asking the public the said survey question in 2000. The previous record high – 95% – were recorded in 2002, 2011, and 2016.

“Hope for the New Year has always been high,” said SWS, except in 2004 when it dropped to 81% from the 90% in 2003.

It saw a gradual increase until it recovered to 93% in 2010 “and has since then been at 90s levels, reaching a record-high 96% in 2017.”

Hope high across all classes

“Hopefulness for the New Year remained high across socio-economic classes,” the survey firm said.

It’s 96% among Class D, 97% among class E, and 97% among classes ABC.

“New Year hope continues to be widespread in all areas: it was highest in Balance Luzon at 97%, followed by Metro Manila at 96%, Mindanao at 95%, and Visayas at 95%,” SWS said.

In Mindanao – where there will be martial law for the entire 2018 – hope is at 95% which is also a record-high from a previous record of 94% in 2011.

Though high, hope in Mindanao has always been lower compared to Luzon and Visayas, according to SWS.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults, aged 18 years old and above nationwide. It was conducted from December 8 to 16, 2017.

The survey question was: Ang darating na taon ba ay inyong sasalubungin ng may pag-asa o may pangamba? (Will you welcome the coming year with hope or fear?) –


Bohol town ordinance penalizes trouble-making drunkards

ANTI-DRUNK LAW. Local officials of Trinidad in Bohol want less incidents caused by drunkenness in their town. Photo from

BOHOL, Philippines – Ahead of New Year's Eve festivities often marked by drinking sprees, officials of Trinidad town in this province passed an ordinance that penalizes drunkards who cause trouble to others and damage property.

The Sangguniang Bayan ordinance, approved by Trinidad Mayor Judith del Rosario-Cajes, was enacted to promote public health and to "discipline people who are habitual drunkards and who causes detrimental act to public morale and safety."

The "Anti-Drunkenness in the Municipality of Trinidad, Bohol" ordinance took effect this week.

Under the ordinance, a person could be deemed guilty of violating the local legislation "if he appears in any place manifestly under the influence of liquor, alcoholic beverage or narcotic drugs to the degree that he/she endanger himself/herself or other persons or property or annoy persons in his/her vicinity and has caused trouble."

Listed in the ordinance as alcoholic or intoxicating substances are beer, whisky, brandy, gin, rum, vodka, "other kinds of foreign wines," and homegrown drinks such as tuba (coconut wine), lambanog (Philippine coconut vodka), bahalina (aged coconut wine), basi (fermented beverage made from sugarcane), and "other intoxicating concoctions."

The local legislation lists as narcotic drugs methamphetamine (shabu), opium, morphine and heroin, which "blunt the senses" when used "constantly."

First-time violators will be slapped with a P500-fine and 5-day jail time. A second offense carries a P1,000-fine and 10 days in jail, while for 3rd and subsequent offenses, violators will be meted a P2,500-fine plus 15 days in jail.

All offenders will shoulder any damage to property due their drunken behavior, according to the ordinance authored by Trinidad Councilors Victoriano Dellosa, Antonino Cajes, Segundo Dungog, and Vidal Cajes.

The mayor, through the local police, and village chiefs of the town's 20 barangays, through their tanod or watchmen, are designated as the enforcement authorities in Trinidad town, located 94 kilometers northeast of the capital city of Tagbilaran.

The problem of drunkenness in the country has been addressed in other measures by the national government.

Republic Act No. 10586, signed by then President Benigno Aquino III on May 27, 2013, penalizes persons driving under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, and "other similar substances."

Under Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code, intoxication is considered either a mitigating or an aggravating as alternative circumstances in the commission of a crime.

In September last year, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and 10 other representatives co-authored a House bill that seeks more stringent punishment for drunk and drugged driving. –


Duterte calls on Filipinos to emulate Rizal’s patriotism

RIZAL DAY. President Rodrigo Duterte with Vice President Leni Robredo leads the wreath laying and flag raising ceremony to mark the 121st Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal at the Luneta Park in Manila on December 30, 2017. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte urged Filipinos to emulate and reflect on the patriotism of Dr Jose Rizal as the nation observed the national hero's 121st death anniversary on Saturday, December 30.

“May we take this occasion as an opportunity to recognize Rizal’s ultimate sacrifice for the sake of our country. Let us reflect on his patriotism as we strive to continue his work of building a more united, peaceful and prosperous Philippines,” the President said in his Rizal Day message.

Duterte cited the examples set by the national hero, and appealed to Filipinos to follow Rizal's lead.

“As an author and as a scholar, he denounced the corruption, greed and other social ills that up to this day continue to plague our society. Even in death, he imparted upon us his aspirations for a nation that is free from the scourge of injustice, tyranny and suffering,” Duterte said.

Duterte led the Rizal Day commemoration at the Rizal Park in Luneta. Vice President Leni Robredo stood beside the President during the flag-raising ceremony, along with former president now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

Vice President Leni Robredo joined the commemoration of the 121st Rizal Day, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, at the Rizal Park in Manila on Saturday, December 30, 2017. (Photo by OVP)
Vice President Leni Robredo joined the commemoration of the 121st Rizal Day, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, at the Rizal Park in Manila on Saturday, December 30, 2017. (Photo by OVP)

Robredo was not at the Luneta event last year. Earlier in December 2016, the Vice President was forced to resign from her post as Duterte's housing chief after she was barred from attending Cabinet meetings.

In separate messages, senators urged the people to follow the teachings and principles espoused by Rizal.

“Let us further take this opportunity not only to pay tribute to Rizal’s heroic and selfless deeds, but also to strive to emulate his sense of duty and burning passion to bring progressive and nationalistic reforms for the love of our Motherland,” said Senator Joel Villanueva."

“May we all take time to contemplate his teachings and principles, and ask ourselves what we can do to contribute in nation-building,” Villanueva added.

SenatorJuan Edgardo Angara called on Filipinos to use Rizal’s inspiration to fight the biggest social ills the Philippines is facing today.

“Today, we are in the middle of another battle – the war against poverty – and all of us are called upon to act and respond. Will we respond with all courage and willingness too? I am optimistic that we will,” Angara said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, for his part, remembered Rizal as "a farmer who soiled his hands and feet to learn the basics of agriculture, studying how to make the land he bought near Dapitan productive."

Rizal lived in exile in Dapitan from 1892 to 1896. (READ: Rizal's student in Dapitan recalls service, duty, sense of dedication)

"Ka Pepe left the haunting message that genuine independence cannot exist when Filipino farmers are still disrespected and poor. We need to measure development by how abundant their own dining tables are," he said. –

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