Saturday, July 22, 2006

Unproductive, says archbishop of impeachment moves

THE head of the Roman Catholic archdiocese in Cagayan de Oro on Wednesday called the moves to impeach President Arroyo ‘‘unproductive’’ and said he doubted if the ongoing campaign would lead to the truth.

Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, concurrent vice president of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippnes (CBCP), echoed a joint statement issued by organized bishops that they were not inclined on supporting the new impeachment campaign ‘‘unless the process and its rules, as well as the mindsets of all participating parties... are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good."

Ledesma said the impeachment moves would ‘‘once again serve as an unproductive political exercise.’’

Ledesma’s pronouncements during his homily last Wednesday came even as the local opposition announced it was preparing to turn over its impeachment complaint against Arroyo.

Ex-vice mayor and local Black and White Movement lead convenor Antonio Soriano said he would turn over the impeachment complaint forms to opposition Rep. Francis Escudero of Sorsogon during a meeting here on Saturday.

Soriano’s group initiated the local impeachment campaign; the ex-vice mayor’s law office has opened its doors to all those who want to sign the complaint.

The archbishop echoed the statement of the CBCP released after a three-day plenary of 98 bishops at Pope Pius Center in Manila. "This is the stand of the CBCP, the impeachment drive at this time would not really be the way to truth."

Ledesma however said he and the other bishops respect the position of those who are pursuing the impeachment campaign.

While the CBCP has ackowledged that the search for the truth over the controversies hounding the Arroyo administration must be relentlessly pursued through structures and processes under the Constitution, the impeachment process being one of them, Ledesma admitted that the bishops have not discussed alternatives to the impeachment process.

The local Black and White Movement said it was unfazed over the CBCP’s position even as it intensified its information campaign in the barangay levels.

‘‘More people are coming to listen to the ‘Stop Cha-cha (Charter change), Impeach Gloria’ campaign, and more and more people are expressing desire to sign the impeachment complaints,’’ said Soriano in a statement sent to The Gold Star Daily.

Soriano said his law office would remain open to all those who want to sign the verification and certification forms to the complaint. "That can be read at Gold Star Daily>Link

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Advincula denies P4-m mango profit

EMBATTLED Councilor Reynaldo Advincula has admitted doing business using a city hall-owned property in Barangay Indahag but he strongly denied earning millions of pesos by harvesting fruits and selling these.

‘‘I did not earn P4 million,’’ said Advincula in denying accusations made by Indahag barangay chairperson Carmelito Damo that the councilor has been harvesting fruits from the property since 1998.

Damo earlier told The Cagayan de Oro Kournal that Advincula earned at least P4 million out of the mangoes and other fruits harvested from the government-owned property.

Aside from the Indahag property, Advincula has also been accused of using his position to do business at the local government-owned Cogon public market.

While Advincula said he was aware that he did not own the fruit trees in the Indahag property,
Advincula admitted to this paper that he was among those who financed the spraying of the mango trees. He did not identify the other financiers.

The sharing scheme, according to Advincula, is this: 70 percent of the profit goes to the financier, 20 percent to the watchers and 10 percent to the owner of the property (city hall).

Although Advincula claimed that it was Mayor Vicente Emano who asked him to keep squatters away from the 15-hectare property, it is unclear if the business venture was santioned by city hall. Neither is it clear if city hall was aware that it was supposed to receive a 10-percent share.

Advincula denied he raked in profits. ‘‘Break even,’’ he told The Gold Star Daily.

Since the venture allegedly yielded no profit, Advincula said he gave the farmers the 10-percent share supposedly intended for city hall.

"No millions," maintained Advincula, adding that the financiers only received 60 percent instead of 70 percent because the price of the chemicals used in treating the mango trees soared.

He claimed he did not even recover his investment.
Advincula earlier claimed that he has been providing funds to farmers in the area so they could till the land and that all he has been asking in return is for them to give back his money.

Advincula also denied that he has been using the property to breed goats.

The 15-hectare property was acquired by city hall during the Magtajas administration; it was intended for a relocation program.

Meanwhile, Advincula lashed back at Damo for allegedly issuing certificates to non-deserving land beneficiaries in Indahag.

By doing so, Advincula claimed Damo deprived impoverished residents of Indahag the opportunity to own lands.

Advincula said he has received complaints that Damo refused to issue certificates to farmers who have been living in Indahag for years.

"Why did Damo issue certifications to (former councilor Celestino) Ocio and the family members of former mayor Pablo Magtajas? Are they supposed to be beneficiaries?" Advincula asked.

That can be read at Gold Star Daily

Out of his mind, Advincula to Ocio

IT was the city assessor who identified former city hall officials who acquired properties in Barangay Indahag, said Councilor Reynaldo Advincula as he tried to brush aside a threat of a libel suit.

Advincula said this in response to a threat of a libel suit made by ex-councilor Celestino Ocio III whose name surfaced in the city council inquiry on the distribution of government land in Indahag.

Advincula lashed back at Ocio, saying the former councilor was merely taking the issue for a ride.

"I did not name names. Ocio is out of his mind," said Advincula of the libel-case threat. "Why is Ocio reacting this way? I did not mention his name in my special report," Advincula said.

He said the names of Ocio and the daughters of ex-mayor Pablo Magtajas were mentioned by city assessor Atinodoro Asequia who was asked during a council session to identify the people who acquired public lands in Indahag.

It was Advincula who asked the council to invite Asequia and city environment and natural resources officer Ronaldo Gadut in regard to supposed complaints that deserving farmers were deprived of the opportunity to own properties in Indahag.

Before the city council last week, Advincula said former officials may have used their influence to acquire the properties.

In view of Asequia’s revelation, Advincula said Ocio and the Magtajases should explain how they were able to acquire the properties intended for the poor and under the guidelines of the environment department.

Gadut said 544 hectares in Indahag were supposed to have been given to poor farmers under the government’s agrarian reform program.

Advincula said Indahag barangay chairperson Carmelito Damo should also explain why he supposedly certified that the Magtajases and Ocio were qualified to receive land titles. (Ben Balce)
That can be read at Gold Star Daily

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

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