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Cebu local news (daily update)

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    78-year-old Australian caught with 4 "*** slaves"

    CEBU, Philippines - A 78-year-old Australian national was arrested past 10 p.m. Wednesday in his rented house where he allegedly kept four minors as “*** slaves” in barangay Inayagan, City of Naga.

    Angelo Farina, said to be of Italian descent, was arrested by the Naga police armed with a search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 8 Presiding Judge Macaundas Hadjirasul.

    The four girls - two 14-year-olds and two 15-year-olds, were rescued by the Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB) which is set to file today three separate charges against Farina. Aside from the pending case for qualified human trafficking which was filed last April, the Australian will also be facing more charges for qualified human trafficking, harboring minors for purposes of sexual exploitation, and child abuse.

    PCInsp. Timmar Alam, chief of the City of Naga Police Station, said they were preparing the charges to be slapped against Farina, who refused to issue statements to the police from his detention cell.

    The foreigner, who has been living in the country for 16 years now, threw his own urine to media people who tried to take pictures or interview him.

    Alam admitted that the children and their parents are not cooperative with the police. But he vows charges will be filed despite this.

    The police chief revealed that during the raid, the four minors resisted. The girls told the police they would not leave the Australian’s home despite being made *** slaves.

    “Nasuko na ang mga bata nganung gikuha kuno sila nga maayo man kuno ilang kahimtang didto,” said Alam. (The kids were angry, saying they were comfortable in his house.)

    Alam added that one of the victims complained about being taken to the Department of the Social Welfare and Development, saying they were in good hands.

    The police chief said that Farina sends the children to school and gives them and their parents some money in exchange for ***.

    The police was supposed to raid Farina’s house earlier yet. It has been under surveillance since early June. But the children’s parents, who had agreed to help the police, backed out after reportedly receiving money from the Australian.

    Last June 12, Farina went to Australia so the raid was shelved. The four girls were left in the care of Farina’s househelp, who was not seen during last Wednesday’s raid, while he was away.

    The Australian arrived back in Naga last July 17.

    Alam said the four minors were reportedly not the only ones Farina used for “personal consumption.” There were others in the past and he reportedly sired a child with one of them.

    The Australian has reportedly been in Naga for over a year already. The police chief said they received reports that he recently acquired a property in Carcar City and was about to move there with the girls.

    Mayor Valdemar Chiong commended the police and the CLB for

    the arrest of Farina.

    “This is a product of continuous effort of our lawmen. And I’d like to congratulate the group (the PNP and the CLB),” said Chiong in an interview.

    Chiong hopes this case is the only one in his city. But he urges authorities to continue its monitoring activities especially on crimes against children.

    Lawyer Noemi Truya-Abarientos, program coordinator for Laban Bata of the CLB, told The FREEMAN that they are now seriously looking into the liabilities of the parents and to those who benefited from the exploitation.

    Last April, a 15-year-old victim informed the police that she and six others were taken from their homes and promised education but it turned out that they were paying the foreigner a ‘service’.

    One of the victims, Abarientos said, claimed they were treated as *** slaves and had to serve the foreigner anytime he wants to. Abarientos added Farina blamed the parents for not providing the needs of their children.

    “Ang parents sad intawn nga feeling guilty nisugot na lang pud sa offer sa foreigner nga himuong katabang ilang anak in exchange for an education,” she said. (The parents felt guilty for not being able to send their children to school so they agreed to send their children as Farina’s helpers.) — Liv G. Campo and Ria Mae Y. Booc/JPM (THE FREEMAN)

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    Joavan pleads not guilty to illegal drug possession


    CEBU, Philippines - Joavan Fernandez yesterday pleaded not guilty to the case of illegal possession of drugs he is facing before the sala of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 57 Judge Enriqueta Belarmino.

    Assisted by his lawyer, George Bragat, Joavan also faced on the same day the pre-trial of the case wherein the prosecution offered no proposal of evidence.

    The defense asked the prosecution to admit that on February 6, 2011, there was no legal basis to implement the warrant of arrest against Joavan because he already posted a bail bond two days prior to that.

    However, Assistant Cebu City Prosecutor Simaco Labata did not admit this.The prosecution is set to present three witnesses while the defense will present four witnesses, including Joavan.

    Earlier, Judge Belarmino lifted the bench warrant she issued against Joavan for his failure to attend the scheduled arraignment, considering that it was his first non-appearance.

    It was the Cebu City Police who filed the case for illegal possession of drugs against Joavan after 20 packs of shabu were recovered from his abandoned car in Barangay Carreta last February 6, 2011.

    Joavan allegedly rammed the vehicle which had Police Chief Inspector George Ylanan during a police chase to serve the arrest warrant issued by Municipal Trial Court Judge Mario Manayon

    The warrant was for the charge of malicious mischief filed by the Talisay City Police against Joavan for allegedly bumping their Toyota Innova patrol car last October 31, 2010 at the Cebu South Coastal Road. - THE FREEMAN

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    American fugitive arrested in Talisay


    CEBU, Philippines - The National Bureau of Investigation arrested an American fugitive who was wanted in the United States for failure to register as a *** offender.

    NBI-7 director Edward Villarta said Robert Dean Lunsford, 52, was arrested for being an undocumented alien in the Philippines after his passport was cancelled by the U.S. government in relation to his outstanding warrant of arrest in the State of Missouri.

    Villarta said the U.S. Embassy in Manila requested assistance from them after they received information that Lunsford is hiding in Cebu. A surveillance operation was conducted by the NBI-7 operatives led by Special Investigator Arnel Pura and special agent Shaun Gavin of the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service.

    Lunsford was found to have been married to a Filipina in Talisay City and was subsequently arrested last Wednesday.

    “Lunsford was spotted and apprehended by Pura, NBI agents and Gavin at the mall in Talisay City,” Villarta said.

    “We were able to trace the residence of Lunsford here in Cebu after an investigation was conducted and we found his residence at the back of a school in Talisay City,” Pura said.

    Ed Damitan of the Bureau of Immigration said Lunsford will be deported to the U.S. to face the charges.

    Pending the processing of the necessary documents and clearances, Lunsford will be detained at the holding facility of the Bureau of Immigration in Bicutan.

    According to the NBI, Lunsford was convicted of first degree sexual abuse involving a minor in February 26, 1990.

    At present, he is facing a complaint for possession of child pornography which is still under investigation in the US. Lunsford arrived in Cebu last Month and has since stayed in Talisay City. — THE FREEMAN

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    Retailer sued for selling fake Caltex products


    CEBU, Philippines - A former Caltex dealer is in hot water after he was found selling fake Caltex products at his Caltex station along Colon St., Cebu City.

    Worse, his dealership contract with Chevron Philippines Incorporated (CPI), the owner of Caltex, already expired in 2008 yet.

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives last July 15 acted a search and seizure order issued by a Regional Trial Court branch at the National Capital Region against John Michael Tan for various acts of fraud and misrepresentation.

    The court reportedly believes Tan committed fraud for claiming to be selling Caltex fuels although tests showed that the fuels sold at the station are from undetermined sources.

    The court found clear reason to believe that there is a continued violation of the law against unfair competition and false representation.

    “Tan has continued to hold himself out as an authorized Caltex dealer even though his dealership contract with CPI expired way back in 2008,” said CPI Manager for Policy, Government & Public Affairs Raissa Bautista.

    CPI is the sole and exclusive Philippine marketer and distributor of the brand of Caltex fuels, lubricants, and other petroleum products.

    “What is worse,” Bautista added, “is that Tan over the past three years has been fraudulently presenting himself to motorists and the public as selling Caltex branded Gold with Techron, Silver with Techron and Diesel with Techron at Colon station when in fact products being sold there are ofunknown origin.”

    Over the past three years, CPI exerted all efforts to end Tan’s illegal activities, but to no avail. This caused CPI to ask assistance from the NBI.

    Bautista thanked the NBI for its assistance in putting a stop to Tan’s illegal activities.

    “CPI is most thankful to the NBI for its continuing efforts to put a stop to all types of fraud being perpetrated against the consuming public and such actions mirror our own commitment to ensure our customers of quality fuels each and every time they gas up at a Caltex station,” said Bautista.

    The FREEMAN tried to contact Tan, but he could not be located. — THE FREEMAN

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    Tomas gives aid to fire victims

    CEBU, Philippines - Families who lost their homes during the fire in Barangay Punta Princesa, Cebu City received cash assistance from South District Rep. Tomas Osmeņa yesterday afternoon.

    Using his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the former Cebu City mayor personally distributed the cash aid alongside his wife, Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeņa at the basketball court of sitio Manggahan.

    The congressman gave P10,000 to each of the 185 homeowners whose houses were destroyed while 10 families received P5,000 each to help them repair their damaged houses.

    Some 73 individuals who were renting in the affected houses and 38 sharers and lodgers received P1,000 each.

    Last July 13, the fire from the house of the Bakon family easily spread to other dwellings made of light materials.

    Osmeņa explained that the reason his financial assistance was delayed because this needs proper documentation. The aid was coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development. — Garry B. Lao and Rene U. Borromeo/JPM (THE FREEMAN)

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    Rama gives out cash loans to poor residents


    CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday distributed cash loans to 27 private individuals from Barangay Bulacao to start their own livelihood.

    The beneficiaries went to the City Hall to receive the livelihood assistance from the mayor raging from P3,000 to P5,000 depending on the type ofbusiness that the beneficiary would want to start with.

    Department of Social Welfare and Services chief Catherine Yso said the cash loans is without interest and will be paid within six months.

    “Walay tubo sa kwarta nga gipahuwam kanila kay tabang ra man kini sa City Hall nga makakita sila’g ginagmay nga panginabuhian,” Yso told The FREEMAN.

    Some beneficiaries said they want to engage in hog raising, tailoring or dressmaking and sari-sari store.

    To ensure that they can pay their loan, the City Government has organized them and the organization’s president is tasked to collect a daily amortization from them for a period of six months.

    The daily collection will be kept by the president of the organization and will be collected by the City Government only after six months.

    According to Yso, the City Government had allocated P300,000 to the DSWS for the purpose.

    Yso said those who wish to avail of the cash loans from her office may submit their applications. She however said that not all applications may be approved as the applicants are required to give their ideas on how to manage their business. — THE FREEMAN

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    City Hall to auction impounded vehicles

    CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City Government will auction next week 267 units of impounded motor vehicles that are left unclaimed by the owners for several years now.

    General Services Office chief Roland Ardosa said 46 unserviceable city-owned vehicles will be included in the public auction.

    Ardosa said the City Government has decided to dispose these vehicles because they are just left to rot in the impounding area of the City Traffic Operations and Management at the North Reclamation Area for almost five years already.

    Ardosa said the city-owned vehicles which will be included in the public auction were no longer in use for the past few years.

    “Di na man gyud magamit,” Ardosa said.

    Auctioning them off would lessen the cars rusting in the already crowded impounding area, he added.

    Ardosa said 228 units of the 267 Citom-impounded vehicles due for auction are junk cars while 39 units are junk motorcycles.

    Under the Land Transportation Office administrative order, Local Government Units can dispose impounded vehicles if they remained unclaimed after six months. Under the City Ordinance 801, however, impounded vehicles can already be sold in auction if not claimed after 60 days.

    Under Section 2 of the said ordinance, funds derived from the auction “shall be used to defray the expenses of such auction and any other expenses incurred in taking into custody or keeping of such vehicles.”

    Ardosa said that the CITOM has already published notices for redemption thrice but the owners failed to redeem their vehicles.

    The 30-day redemption period has already lapsed without a single owner responding to redeem the listed vehicles, he said. — THE FREEMAN

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    Pagpanindot sa sidewalks gisangon kang Faelnar

    CEBU, Philippines - Gitahasan ni Mayor Michael Rama si kanhi kapitan sa Barangay Guadalupe nga si Eugenio “Jingjing Faelnar” nga mangulo alang sa plano niya nga sidewalk restoration sa maong barangay ug kini ubos sa Public Private Partnership (PPP).

    Nagkanayon ang mayor nga panahon nang mahatagan og maayong sidewalk ang nagkadaiyang kadalanan sa maong dapit ilabi na nga mao kini ang labing dako nga barangay sa siyudad.

    Nasayran nga dunay pipila ka dalan sa Guadalupe ang wala na maklaro ang sidewalk sama sa M. Velez, V. Rama ug uban pa.

    Matud pa niya nga dako og matabang ang pribadong sector sanglit duna sila’y mga maayong resources alang sa maong katuyoan.

    Nagkanayon si Rama nga pipila ka mga programa sa siyudad ang gisuportahan sa pribadong sector diin pipila niini naglangkob sa pagpalambo sa mga police station, beautification project alang sa uptown area, ug mga kahimanan sa Cebu City Medical Center.

    Sumala pa sa mayor nga tulin ang pagkab-ot sa mga maayong programa alang sa katawhan kung magtinabangay ang gobiyerno ug ang pribadong sector. - BANAT NEWS

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    Nasunogan sa Tejero makabalik gyud

    CEBU, Philippines - Gipahibalo kagahapon sa hepe sa Department for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) nga si Atty. Collin Rosell nga malakip tanan sa re-blocking ang 211 ka mga pamilya nga naapektohan sa sunog sa barangay Tejero sa miaging semana.

    Matud pa ni Rosell nga makabalik gyud sa ilang mga luna ang mga biktima sa sunog subay sa bag-o niya nga pagtuon sanglit duna pa’y dakong lugar nga kabutangan kanila.

    Kahinumduman nga naproblema sa miaging adlaw si Kapitan Jessielou Cadungog human niya masayri ang resulta sa unang pagtuon nga 106 ka pamilya lang ang masulod sa re-blocking gikan sa 211 ka pamilya nga maoy orihinal nga gidaghanon nga biktima sa sunog.

    “Makabalik man gyud ang tanan busa dili sila angay mabalaka, ilabi na nga patas na gyud ang gidak-on sa yuta ang madawat nila,” nagkanayon si Rosell kinsa mitataw nga bisan kadtong lumulupyo sa una nga miukopar og magamay man o madakong luna makadawat og patas nga sukod sa yuta.

    Sa laing bahin, giklaro ni Rosell nga ang gibuhat nila karon nga road widening sa Tejero matawag og “road restoration.” Kahinumduman nga supak ang mga opisyales sa barangay sa himoong 10 meters ang pagpalapad sa dalan nga gimando ni Mayor Michael Rama.

    Ang mga opisyales sa Tejero mipadayag nga dako ra kaayo ang 10 meters ug daghan usab nga mga balay ang maapektohan niini.

    “Actually road restoration mana atong gibuhat karon, kay ang original gyud nga sukod ana kay 10 meters man gyud. Apan ang nahitabo karon kay nigamay na ang dalan kay gitukoran man og mga balay,” matud pa ni Rosell.

    Samtang si Rama hugot sa iyang desisyon nga 10 meters gyud ang pagpalapad sa dalan sa Tejero gumikan kay dili gusto masubli ang nahitabo sa maong dapit diin maglisod og agi ang sakyanan kung dunay emerhensya nga mahitabo sama sa sunog. - BANAT NEWS

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    Gipainom og sleeping pills gilugos


    CEBU, Philippines - Usa ka 24-anyos nga babaye mabdos og dul-an sa upat ka buwan human siya gi-among-amongan sa iyang silingan didto sa usa sa mga barangay sa lungsod sa Samboan.

    Si Mila (tinuod pangalan gipugngan sa Banat News) giubanan sa iyang iyaan niadtong Miyerkules ug mi-report sa buhatan sa kapulisan sa naasoy’ng lungsod.

    Ang biktima mitug-an nga niadtong Marso 25 niining tuiga gilugos siya sa iyang silingan nga usa ka minyo (pangalan gipugngan sanglit wa pa mapasakai og kaso).

    Misaysay siya nga gihatagan siya og softdrinks sa suspek niadtong higayona apan pagkahuman niini nakatulog siya, nagduda siyang gibutangan og pangpakatulog ang maong ilimnon.

    Human niini nakamata nalang siya sa usa ka kalibunan ug nabantayan niyang gilugos siya. Human sa tulo ka buwan diha nalang niya namatikdang namabdos siya hinungdan sa iyang pagdangop sa mga kabanay.

    Tungod niini ang kapulisan mi-schedule sa biktima nga dad-on siya sa Pink Room sa Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) aron matino kun nahilabtan ba gyud sa suspek ang biktima. - BANAT NEWS

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