Friday, July 13, 2007

Billions of US treasury bonds unearthed in Iligan City

BILLIONS of US treasury bonds: Dr.Salvacion Legaspi-Kempe shows Thursday to the witnessing local and national media all the billions of dollars of treasury bonds and federal reserved notes that the US government has been looking for in the Philippines during press conference held at White Castle, Gospel Ministry of the Holy Spirit for Salvation in 11th St. Pala-o, Iligan City.(Photo by Gerry Gorit)

ILIGAN CITY (Ben Balce / July 13) - After the United States massive information in the past years on the so-called lost treasury bonds and federal reserved notes, a religious leader in Iligan City reported to the media she has in her possession the lost items.

In a press conference in Iligan City yesterday attended by the national media and the regional ABS-CBN television, Dr. Salvacion Legaspi-Kempe showed to the witnessing media all the billions of dollars of treasury bonds and federal reserved notes that the US government has been looking for in the Philippines .

Dr. Kempe said although she is not 100 percent sure of the authenticity of the items but she said the way she look at it and how it is being kept in black boxes so secured, it is the original items the US government wanted to redeem.

“ I cannot say it is 100 percent authentic but basing on how it is being securely kept in the black boxes including its markers and symbols, I think this is what the US government is looking for, “ she said.

Kempe, leader of a religious organization, Gospel Ministry of the Holy Spirit for Salvation (GMHSS) based in Iligan City , had several thousands of highlander members (Lumads) in Mindanao , where he got the items.

But for security reasons, she said, she would only reveal the place when the US government would visit Iligan City to redeem the lost treasury bonds.

“ There are lots of these in one of the places in Mindanao . But for now, while the US government has not yet responded to my letter on what action to take to redeem their belongings, I would not reveal where it could be located,“ she said.

She said she is willing to return to the US government all the valuable items that they lost in the past in a proper time, and with the US top leaders personally redeeming it in Iligan City .

“ In fact, all these items need to be airlifted though a plane because they are too many and too heavy, “ Kempe added.

The religious leader also said she had already sent her letter to US president George W. Bush last June 22, 2007, informing him she has the possession of the lost treasury notes of the US government.

In her letter, Kempe said, she urged the president to send a team to check the authenticity of the treasury bonds and to make a visit to Iligan City , for him to personally check the lost items for more than 75 years old already.

Cagayan de Oro Journal also witnessed the opening of one black box containing the treasury bonds of the country of Georgia and the opening of a small Yamashita black box which reportedly contains two treasure maps of the Philippines .

Meanwhile, a financial analyst who requested anonymity said all these US treasury bonds, genuine or not, were already demonetized last year and have no value at all.

“ They are already expired and therefore it has no more value at all, “ the financial expert said.

The financial expert said one chance the redemptor can get hold of some cash is only through public auction in the US . “ It’s already an antique collectors items and it may have bigger value if it can be proven to be rare items.”

But Dr Kempe said while it is already demonetized last year, there is still the redemption fund that maybe worth billions of pesos to be rewarded to those who can turn over the lost items to the US government.

In the past years, the National Bureau of Investigation in northern Mindanao arrested several persons who reportedly imprinted trillions of fake Philippine currency money and US treasury bonds.

One of those arrested by the NBI was a young computer wizard and his cohorts in Barangay Bonbon in Cagayan de Oro where they have chosen the place as their hideout and where their printing equipment were kept.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On anti-terror law: Militants hail CBCP’s call for a review anti-terror law

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - (Ben Balce / July 11)A MILITANT group yesterday welcomed the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called for a review of the Human Security Act of 2007, or the anti-terrorism law, citing apprehension among lawyers and other sectors.

The militant group and the CBCP even condemned the soon-to-be-implemented Act as “even worse than PP1017, CPR and EO464.”

“We welcome the timely objection of the CBCP to the HSA implementation on July 15,” said Karapatan regional head Beberly Musni.

The CBCP on Monday in a statement released after its 95th plenary assembly, the bishops expressed concern over the morality dimension of the law which is set for implementation on July 15.

“We hope the other faiths and sectors will follow suit,” said Musni adding people should expressed on the widest and strongest condemnation to the HSA.

Musni said, like the opposition of the multi-sectoral on Charter Change will compel the GMA regime to abandon the HSA.

“This is like impact on the peoples’ freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and in right to liberty and privacy,” she said.

Musni, a human rights lawyer-activist, said her groups Gabriela and other militant organizations are now planning to join as they are now contemplating big rally in Cagayan de Oro.

Late last year, the Supreme Court dealt President Arroyo three slaps by declaring EO464, CPR policy and PP1017 as partly unconstitutional, unconstitutional and partly unconstitutional.

“Our outrage over the attempted charter change should be again being expressed on the HSA,” said Musni.

Earlier, militants urged the CBCP to issue statements condemning the implementation of the said Anti-Terror law.

Musni even challenged Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro head Archbishop Antonio Ledesma to maintain supporting the CBCP’s statements as urging the Supreme Court to intervene on the legality of the HSA.

The bishops issued statements against the HSA, after they found out that the HSA is so controversial and considered highly sensitive issues said Musni.

The HSA is supposed to be implemented on July 15 but government is still fine-tuning its implementation. The law was signed by President Arroyo on March 15.

“The new law could be used to abuse the rights of government critics,” said Musni.

Musni claimed that it is ironic that instead of making the people feel secure, the law would most likely cause chaos and insecurity.

The Karapatan also yesterday called for the suspension of the implementation of said HSA.

"Since we, as pastors, have to look more into the morality of this law and make a pronouncement in that level,” said in a CBCP’s statement however, reiterated their pursuit for peace as well as condemnation of terrorist acts.

Yesterday, during peace summit here, National Defense secretary Norberto Gonzales maintained that the public has no reason to fear the HSA "if you are not planning anything illegal."

"The law is for the protection of human rights and not for its (human rights) violation," he said.

Cagayan de Oro Mayor Constantino Jaraula over DxIF Bombo Radio said the country needs the new law to address the threat of terrorism.

Jaraula said they would later to meet Arroyo with the Cabinet security cluster at Pryce Plaza Hotel to check on the preparations for the implementation of the new law.

The Cabinet meeting with Arroyo highlighted of the Summit, which is aimed at identifying the problems faced by stakeholders and formulating programs to improve the anti-terrorism campaign according to Gonzales.

Gonzales added that the government is now seriously considering recommending the proscription of the CPP and the NPA once the law becomes effective, noting the communist group has already been classified as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States and European Union.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cops raise alert level as anti-terror law show on

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY- Cagayan de oro City police head Senior Supt. Aurelio Trampe Jr., starting yesterday (Monday) placed the entire city on heightened security alert under the two-day consultation, dubbed the “Mindanao Peace and Order Summit” to be held at the Pryce Plaza.

“Additional personnel will be deployed in crowded places in the entire city,” said Trampe.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will meet with her Cabinet security cluster also today (Tuesday) in the city in the first leg of public consultations on the Human Security Act (HSA) which is set to take effect on July 15.

Trampe said they expect about 500 participants to attend the two-day consultation.

“We provide 2nd and 3rd layer security to President Arroyo,” said Trampe adding that including route security of the participants and security to all places of activities and billeting hotels.

Expected to attend the summit are leaders and experts in the security field from the government, business, religious and the academe, according to Trampe.

Meanwhile, protest action would also be seen today, as known Arroyo’s critics like Karapatan and other militant groups in the city and Misamis Oriental would stage protest actions during her arrival at the Cagayan de Oro Lumbia airport today.

Militants feared so-called terror suspects would immediately be arrested once the HSA took effect.

But National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales in his capacity as defense department officer in charge yesterday reassured the public the HSA had enough safeguards to prevent its abuse.

“There is nothing to fear really, we only have a few terrorists in the country. The law is there to protect the public, not to harm them,” he said, adding people must commit a terrorist act before they can be arrested.

“The terrorist act has to happen after the affectivity of the law,” he said.

Trampe said they expect militant groups to hold protest actions but this would not hinder the consultation.

He said security had been tightened at the venue and in other areas of the city.

“We are prepared with our civil disturbance management team in case of rallies,” said Trampe.

Gonzales also said the anti-terror law was all set for implementation but its organizational structure was still being finalized.“We’ve already complied with most of the requirements but I’m not sure how complete our organization is because we have to identify members of the office that would implement it,” he said.

City Mayor Constantino Jaraula who was the one welcomed the opening program yesterday said President Arroyo would be arriving at 3 pm today.

Jaraula with Gonzales led the kick-off public consultation with more than 500 participants from the different local government officials in Mindanao including different sectors from all over the region.

Gonzales, however, was mum on what changes would be adopted to fine-tune the HSA which has been heavily criticized even before it could take effect.

Gonzales said the national government is now the one initiating the information campaign on the HSA in partnership with other departments such as Justice and interior and local government in Mindanao.

“The campaign will focus not only on the provisions of the law. The public should see its contextual backdrop,” said Gonzales adding -- the existence of terror cells throughout the region and the world.

According to a government handout, the summit aims to identify problems and difficulties faced in fighting terrorists from the perspectives of the stakeholders and to agree on an action agenda to strengthen local mechanisms for counter-terrorism.