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Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 15 March 2017

DOJ returns to owners 183 stolen and sold cars in ‘rent tangay’ scam

Nearly 200 of the 300 vehicles,which were illegally sold as part of the "rent tangay" or car rentalscam, have been returned to their rightful owners.

The Department of Justice (DOJ)said 183 vehicles recovered by the National Bureau of Investigation have beenreleased, six of which were turned over in brief ceremonies led by Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday afternoon at the DOJ compound in Manila.

One hundred seventeen vehiclesremain under NBI custody.

“Today we restore the vehicles to their rightful owners. However, we do not stop there," Aguirre said.

"We want to ensure that weset a good example in bringing justice to all the victims in this case by effectively prosecuting the perpetrators and putting them away so that they will do no more harm," he added.

Aguirre said the NBI would soon file complaints for large scale estafa against the perpetrators of the scam.

Suspects Rafaela Anunciacion,Eleanor "Leah" Constantino Rosales, Tychicus Historillo Nambio,Jhennelyn Berroya, Anastacia Montes Cauyan, Eliseo Cortez, Marilou Cruz and Sabina Torrea are already facing large scale estafa complaints filed by the police.

The preliminary investigation on these complaints will begin on March 20.

The syndicate allegedly carried out the scheme by giving "fraudulent promises" of rental income only to find out later that their vehicles were either mortgaged or sold to different people without their knowledge and consent.

"We assure the public that we will continue to fight this modus and prosecute the offenders, and deter similar attempts. We ask the cooperation of the public to report similar incidents to the NBI or the police," Aguirre said. —GMA News

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Elected leaders who misunderstand their roles

It would seem that a number of our elected officials have no clear understanding of the roles they have to play under a democratic government.
Foremost of these are US President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, as well as US House Speaker Paul Ryan and Philippine Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez.
Messrs. Trump and Duterte both have issues with judges who disagree with their actions. For the American leader, his ill-fated Executive Order banning nationals from seven predominantly Islamic countries from traveling to the US was quickly shot down by federal judges last month. But he is so hell-bent on his anti-Muslim campaign that he has just released another EO that continues to limit nationals from six of the original seven countries from entering the US.
In the Philippines, meanwhile, Mr. Duterte has just said that local government officials such as mayors should not be subject to audit by the Commission on Audit, whose job is to make sure that public funds are spent legally. Speaking in the vernacular this week, Mr. Duterte said something to the effect that the men and women of the CA should just take over as mayors since they seem to know better.

It has been pointed out time and again that Mr. Trump’s lack of experience in governance is one of his biggest weaknesses. He simply does not understand that his heading the executive department does not mean he also heads the legislative and judicial branches of government, or that they are subordinate to him. He feels he is more empowered because he was elected, while everyone else in the two other branches of government are either appointed or promoted.
As for Mr. Duterte, he recently admitted – an apologized for – continuing to act like a city mayor, which he was for the longest time. As president of the Republic of the Philippines, he wields tremendous power and has appeared swamped by the responsibilities of office.
As SpiderMan was reminded by his Uncle Ben, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
As President, Duterte still does not comprehend his great responsibility to the Filipino people. Consider that some of his appointees like Mocha Uson (essentially a former bold starlet) and Cesar Montano (a faded matinee star) have been committing acts that show their failure to follow the rules at the local board of censors and a marketing arm of the Tourism department, respectively.
It will get worse in the near future as Mr. Duterte has promised to give a job to publicity hound Sandra Cam (a self-styled whistleblower), who is already acting like a big shot by claiming to be close to the president.

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Whereas

Responsibility and hope
We Filipinos should not forget our values as people. Reading the news and social media postings of many, including the news that we hear from relatives, friends, and loved ones in the Philippines, it is undeniable that many have accepted the extrajudicial killings (“EJKs”) linked to Operation Tokhang and the government’s war on drugs as a “necessity” and a part of life in the Philippines.
Recently, majority of the members of the House of Representatives also voted to resurrect the death penalty.
The blame should not only be put against the incumbent president, Rodrigo R. Duterte, who during his campaign for the presidency and after he was sworn in as president vowed to “kill them”--- them referring to drug lords, drug pushers, and drug users. For almost nine months now, President Duterte continues to rally his supporters to support his drug war.
I am puzzled and perplexed by the way the Filipino people have accepted and tolerated the president’s iron-fist approach. I also wonder why many continue to believe that this approach will work and be effective in moving the nation forward. Countries like Thailand and Colombia tried the same approach before and came out unsuccessful despite the number of casualties that ended up six feet underground.
Have we forgotten the age-old Filipino proverbs “Kapag may buhay, may pag-asa” and “Hanggang buhay ang tao ay may pag-asa” which were handed to us by our ancestors many generations ago. Both of these proverbs tell us that while there is life, there will always be hope.
There is also the Filipino maxim that says “Kung buhay and inutang, buhay rin ang kabayaran” which implies that if a life was borrowed, the debt should also be paid with life.
This may sound like a good justification for the death penalty--- as in the law of retaliation during the ancient and barbaric times--- commonly referred to as “an eye for an eye.” However, if we analyze and reinterpret the maxim in this modern and civilized world, what we will see is a profound balance sheet and accountability approach.
The equivalent of accountability or responsibility in Pilipino is “pananagutan.”
Pananagutan goes deep into who we are because it is related to our “pakikipagkapwa-tao” (how we treat others).
Following the mantra of “Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko,” that popular Philippine public service television show in the 1970s hosted by Rosal Rosal and Orly Mercado, Filipino service providers and community-based agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area have adopted “Kapwa Natin, Pananagutan Natin” as their service principle and purpose statement during the 1990s.
Pakikipagkapwa-tao is one of the more important core virtues of being a Filipino. The meaning of kapwa is shared identity which on a certain level leads to shared responsibility and solidarity.
Hence, kapwa natin, pananagutan natin may mean caring for one another and in the larger context this helps promote a community of caring and responsible people.
How do we reconcile the concept of community and responsibility if we tolerate and accept EJKs as part of life in the Philippines? The same goes to accepting the death penalty if the penal punishment makes a grand return in the Philippines. Remember, the Philippines made a pact with the community of nations years ago against the imposition of the death penalty?
Let us not forget that we Filipinos are also responsible for the more than seven thousand deaths attributed to the drug war (if the Philippine government is indeed responsible for those deaths)--- because we are responsible for the lives of our “kapwa” and the families that the departed have left behind.
The Philippines cannot move forward as a nation if there is no accountability as to the more than seven thousand lives lost and the continued killings going on in the name of the war on drugs.
As long as there is life, there will always be hope. And for hope to grow and hopefully reach others in the community--- including the nation’s leaders--- there must be pananagutan first to protect and care for the lives of our fellow human beings--- our kapwa.

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.

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'Tis the Sun and Nothing More

I have a day job these days. I joined a solar company called Sunpreme. I have a day job and a deadline for this column and I’m writing this during work hours. So, I say to myself, self why not kill two birds with one stone and write about my job.

This is the first time I’ve worked for a company that makes widgets since I can remember. Almost 25 years ago, I worked for a Harley Davidson distributor, which was…cool. Before that, I must have been a teenager. It is a strong reminder of how much of our economy (and employment) is constituted of services. Most of my career has been in the financial industry with some consulting and number crunching before that. This is my first time at a real Silicon Valley firm. The headquarters are in Sunnyvale. There are solar panels installed in the parking lot, one vertical panel on the roof. No one is wearing a suit. The office is usually quiet and people don’t make small talk. There are no Game of Thrones jokes. And when I really need to get some social in during the day, I go to our Chief Scientist for a lecture on valance bands and cell architecture.

So, partly because Beting wants me to turn in my column early, I’m going to do a plug for Sunpreme. Solar is a compelling solution for the Philippines…if they only stopped installing cheap Chinese panels that delaminate upon installation. Solar is a good solution for the Philippines because the sun delivers itself. You only install the power plant once and you never have to feed it with a piece of coal, a gas supply or some petroleum distillate. You can put the power plant on the top of a mountain and walk away. That’s the simple, obvious beauty of it.

The solar industry is considered a young industry, maybe 15 years old. Nevermind that it had some fits and starts in the 1970s with technologies that were too expensive to commercialize in volume. Remember the panels President Carter installed in the White House that President Reagan had taken down? Nevermind that Thomas Edison came across this technology and said, “I hope we commercialize it some day.”

Here we are. No amount of political positioning could stop the last 15 years. The technology is well past arrival. Underline this: entire systems, panels and land and steel and everything, are being installed in the US today at $1 per watt peak . That is, depending on location, 1.2-1.8 kWh a year can be generated indefinitely for an upfront cost of $1 (or less). To put that in perspective, my highest electric rate on my PG&E bill is $0.44 per kWh. At that rate, for the cost of 2.3 kWh of electricity from PG&E, I can get 1.2-1.8 kWh per year for as long as the system will last.

  • Published in Tech
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PG&Esets record with $2.85B in 2016 diverse supplier spend

San Francisco, CA -- Pacific Gasand Electric Company (PG&E) this week announced that it spent a record$2.85 billion with diverse suppliers in 2016, accounting for 44 percent of itstotal procurement. For the fifth straight year, diverse suppliers accounted for$2 billion-plus of the company’s spend and more than 40 percent of PG&E’stotal spend for the fourth consecutive year.

In addition, PG&E eclipsed the CaliforniaPublic Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) diverse spending goal of 21.5 percent forthe 11th year in a row.

“For PG&E to effectively meet the needs of ourcustomers in today’s evolving energy landscape, more than ever we need to workwith our diverse suppliers to build a better California together. We’re all inwhen it comes to building on the 36 years of success of our supplier diversityprogram,” said Pacific Gas and Electric Company President and Chief OperatingOfficer Nick Stavropoulos.

In 2016, PG&E achieved new spending records inthe following reporting categories:

CATEGORY 2015 2016 INCREASEFROM 2015
Minority Business Enterprise(MBE) $1.591B $1.828B $237.6M/13 percent
Women Business Enterprise(WBE) $723.1M $797.7M $74.6M/9 percent
Service Disabled Veteran(DVBE) $154.6M $223.8M $69.2M/31 percent

Over the last 36 years, PG&E has been committedto supporting a diverse supply chain. The company has developed one of theleading supplier diversity programs in the energy industry.
In addition to maintaining high levels of spendwith diverse suppliers, PG&E has focused on elevating the quality of itssupplier diversity program by addressing key success factors for suppliers.

For example, PG&E has held multiple workshopsthroughout the year to educate small and diverse businesses on how to competefor utility business. PG&E’s technical assistance and capacity building initiatives havehelped businesses become more competitive.

The company has actively supported the developmentof its diverse suppliers through mentorship, scholarships, opportunityidentification and value chain analysis. In addition, PG&E’s Supplier Development Program has matched 30 diversesuppliers with PG&E senior executive mentors.

PG&E’s Supply Chain Responsibility website contains moreinformation about the program. The site also provides details on how to becomea certified diverse supplier.

In 2016, PG&E received numerous nationalaccolades for its supplier diversity efforts:
·The company received an ‘A’ for its work in 2015from the nationally-known Greenlining Institute, an organization dedicated to racial andeconomic justice.
·The enterprise was named as the Corporation of theYear by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce for itssupport and dedication to ensuring fairness and equal opportunity for LGBTsuppliers, customers and employees.
·For the third consecutive year, PG&E was namedto the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Million Dollar Club? forits spend with Hispanic-owned businesses in 2015.
·PG&E was inducted into the Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame for its support ofsupplier diversity and women’s business development.
·The company received the Gazelle Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council foraccelerating the growth of minority-owned business.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas andElectric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largestcombined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in SanFrancisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of thenation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and CentralCalifornia. For more information, visit www.pge.com/and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.

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Wells Fargo Provides Tax Time Tips and Reminders

Getting Started: A Quick Tax Guide for Everyone
https://www.wellsfargo.com/tax-center/quick-guide
April’s coming, and those same difficult questions start cropping up – How should I do my taxes this year? Should I hire somebody to do them for me? Or try to file them myself? Do I go online, or just mail them in? What forms and information should I have on-hand before I start? The answers are different for every person, but a little basic knowledge can prepare you to make the best decisions, get your taxes filed, and get on with life.
How to file taxes: choosing your filing method
As the April deadline approaches, the first decision to make is, how will you file taxes? Taxes can get done using a number of different methods, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a breakdown of the principal methods of filing, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Tax advisors
Online tax preparation services
Packaged tax software
Fillable forms
Taxes by-mail
A tax preparation checklist: forms & other materials
Once you’ve picked your method of filing, the next step is to gather the information and forms that will be relevant to your taxes. Below is a short-list of the most common materials you’ll need to have on-hand, and where to find them. If you start doing your taxes, and you need something that’s not covered on the list below, consult with a tax advisor or take a look at the IRS Forms and Publications page.
Forms
W2 for all income sources – If you worked for a company, you need a W2 form from your employer. Employers will often send you a W2 automatically. Some employers may give you instructions to retrieve it online instead of mailing it. If you don’t get your W2, contact your company’s human resources department.
SSA-1099 for social security benefits – If you collected social security during the year, you should receive this form automatically. Copies are obtainable at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/i1099/main.html.
1099-G for other government payments – You’ll receive this form from the government if you took in unemployment benefits or an income tax refund.
1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-B and/or 1099-R for all money invested – By late February, you should receive any of these various forms for interest, dividends, retirement plan distributions, etc. from banks, brokers, or fund companies where you had a bank account or money invested during the tax year.
1098 – From your lender if you have a home mortgage.
Common materials
Social Security numbers – You’ll need this for you, your spouse, your children, and any other dependents. Every taxpayer needs this. For a new or replacement social security card, visit http://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber.
Prior year adjusted gross income (AGI) – This number is requested by the IRS as a key identifying piece of information. The AGI can be found on your prior year’s 1040 forms (1040, 1040A or 1040-EZ depending on how you filed). If you don’t have your tax return from last year, you can substitute your electronic filing PIN.
Electronic Filing PIN – If you filed electronically last year, you have one of these. If you don’t remember your PIN, you can use the IRS Pin Retrieval page.
Record of income and deductions – If you have income or deductions that don’t appear in the forms listed above, gather records such as bank deposits and receipts for charitable contributions.
Your bank routing number – If you want to direct deposit a refund, you’ll need this number. If you’re depositing to a checking account, the first 9 numbers from the left at the bottom of your checks is your bank’s routing number. Learn more
Your bank account number – Check your bank or other financial institution’s website to obtain your account number. If you’re a Wells Fargo customer, you can find your account number directly to the right of the routing number on your check.
Filing status
This is the first tax-specific bit of information the IRS will want to know. They use your filing status to determine the amount of your standard deduction and the tax you owe. It also helps determine which deductions and credits you qualify for.
There are five filing statuses to choose from:
Single – Your filing status is single if, on the last day of your tax year, you are unmarried or legally separated from your spouse, and you don’t qualify as a head of household or a widow(er) with dependent child (see below). Federal tax law now recognizes same-sex marriages that were conducted in jurisdictions where such marriages are legal.
Married Filing Jointly – You can choose Married Filing Jointly if you’re married and both you and your spouse agree to file a joint return. Both of you must include all of your income, exemptions, and deductions on your joint return.
Married Filing Separately – If you’re married, you can also choose Married Filing Separately. Since this filing status has the highest tax rate, you and your spouse will generally pay more combined tax by filing separately than by filing jointly. If you live apart from your spouse, and meet certain other criteria, you may be able to lower your taxes by filing as Head of Household, even if you aren’t divorced or legally separated.
Head of Household – To file with this status:
You must be unmarried on the last day of the tax year, or qualify to be treated as unmarried by living apart from your spouse for the last six months of the year;
You must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for the year; and
You must have a qualifying person living with you in the home for more than half the year.
There are exceptions and special cases to this status; we highly recommend consulting a tax advisor before choosing it. If you qualify, your tax rate will be lower than rates for Single or Married Filing Separately.
Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child – Only applicable for two years after your spouse dies. Your tax rate will be the same as if you filed a joint return. To qualify:
You must have been eligible to file a joint return with your spouse the year he/she died;
You can’t have remarried before the end of the year;
You must be able to claim a child as an exemption; and
You must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up the main home for your child the entire year.
Once you’ve chosen your method of tax preparation, gathered all the appropriate forms together, and considered your filing status, consult the While Filing section of our Tax Center. It has detailed information on how to report some key information as you file, such as your income, deductions, investments and homeownership.

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3rd Annual AJ Strong Memorial Run

In Memory of AJ Jabonero, A Tragic Victim of Hepatitis B Induced Liver Cancer-San Francisco Hep B Free Partners With Team Cancer Sucks For The 3rd Annual AJ Strong Memorial Run

San Francisco-Team Cancer Sucks and San Francisco Hep B Free are partnering for the 3rd Annual AJ Strong Memorial Run, a 6.5k run/walk to honor AJ Jabonero, who passed away from hepatitis B induced liver cancer. This run serves as a remembrance of AJ and to raise awareness for the leading cause of liver cancer in the world, hepatitis B.

AJ Jabonero, a triathlete and Iron Man, of otherwise perfect health, who didn't drink, smoke, or eat unhealthy, was diagnosed at the age of 30, in December 2014, with stage 4 liver cancer from chronic hepatitis B infection. AJ knew he was a carrier, having suffered an episode of jaundice at the age of three; however, after years of being symptom-free and not regularly monitoring his viral load, AJ passed away, two and a half months after his diagnosis, on March 5th, 2015. Unfortunately, AJ was not the only member of the family to have suffered from chronic hepatitis B infection. AJ's aunt, father, mother, and sister were all carriers of the hepatitis B virus, his father having passed away from hepatitis B induced liver cancer in November 2005.

The 3rd Annual AJ Strong Memorial Run serves not only to remember Iron Man AJ Jabonero, but also to raise awareness for hepatitis B, where upwards of 80% of all liver cancer cases around the world are directly associated with it. As many as 1 in 12 Asian and Pacific Islanders are chronically infected with the virus, with 2 out of 3 not knowing they have it, and 1 in 4 developing liver cancer or liver disease from it.
Following the run there will be a health fair, food, and music, including free hepatitis B screenings provided by San Francisco Hep B Free.

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More than half of Filipino drivers stupid, says Sotto

More than half of Filipino drivers will fail an honest-to-goodness driver’s examination, according to Sen. Vicente Sotto III.
Why?
Because they are stupid.

“Here in the Philippines, if we [give drivers an honest-to-goodness examination like those required in other countries, especially the United States], I expect more than 50 percent of [them] will not pass,” Sotto said during a hearing on road safety called by the Senate committee on public services on Tuesday.
“Terrible. They are not only reckless but they are also stupid, that’s why they will surely fail,” he said.
“In a real examination, 50 percent of drivers in the Philippines will fail,” he said, without explaining the sudden reduction in his estimate.

Road congestion
Filipino drivers who do not follow traffic rules contribute to the worsening congestion on the country’s roads, said Sotto, who drives his own car.
He lamented the parking of cars along city streets, which aggravates the congestion, especially in Metro Manila.
“Who’s responsible for that if not stupid drivers?” he said.
“They violate the law because they did not go through scrutiny. It’s so easy to get a driver’s license here,” he said.
Sotto then urged officials of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to enforce stricter rules for the issuance and renewal of drivers’ licenses.
Assistant Transportation Secretary Edgar Galvante, the LTO chief, admitted shortcomings in the qualification process, especially in the issuance of professional drivers’ licenses.

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Acting Sol Gen NoelFrancisco described as ‘disciplined’ and an ‘outstanding musician’

NEW YORK -- If all goes well in the confirmationhearings, the next Solicitor General of the United States is a prominentFilipino American lawyer who was a clerk of the late conservative firebrand,Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Noel John Francisco of Oswego, New York, isreported to be Donald Trump’s choice to be the next Solicitor General,described by Texas Senator Ted Cruz as a “principled conservative.”

Francisco has argued that Trump’s order banningimmigration from six mostly Muslim countries is a decision only the presidentcan make, and not open to any legal challenge.

“The power to expel or exclude aliens is a fundamentalsovereign attribute, delegated by Congress to the executive branch ofgovernment and largely immune from judicial control,” he said in a widelypublished legal brief.

Filipino Americans are divided in their opinion ofFrancisco. Conservatives welcomed the appointment of a FilAm – the third so far— to the Trump administration, while liberals warned against too much rejoicingif the official will work against the interests of immigrant communities,including Filipinos.

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