By Aie Balagtas See
MANILA, Philippines – Two Chinese who allegedly rented a home in Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa that was used as a shabu laboratory also stand accused in connection with the recently discovered drug laboratory in Parañaque City.
Tam Cheuk Kwan and Annie Chua were charged before the Parañaque City prosecutor’s office with violation of Section 8 of Republic Act 9165, which penalizes the manufacture of dangerous drugs, among others.
“They are also the lessees (properties in Ayala Alabang) based on witnesses’ accounts and passports we have obtained,” Chief Inspector Fergen Torred, former intelligence chief of the Parañaque police, told The STAR.
Torred was referring to the drug laboratory at 536 Country Club Drive in Ayala Alabang raided by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in January. The Muntinlupa police charge sheet obtained by The STAR show that Tam identified himself as Wong Kwa Hon while Chua identified herself as Wendy Cail-Chua.
The Parañaque drug laboratory was allegedly discovered and subsequently raided last month. It is located beside a church and is near a police precinct.
Nobody was arrested, although nearly P900 million worth of drugs and manufacturing equipment had been seized.
Charges were formally filed against Tam and Chua before the Parañaque prosecutor’s office on June 28.
The Muntinlupa Central Fire Station of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) will conduct water rescue training for its personnel and barangay volunteers in preparation for the coming rainy season in support of the Disaster Preparedness Program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
In a statement posted on the DILG website, Muntinlupa City Fire Marshal C/Insp. Rodrick Aguto said this training will be conducted in the eight flood-prone barangays of the city, except Ayala Alabang, that are located near the Laguna Lake.
“We have to undertake efforts to train our personnel as well as barangay volunteers so that they will be better prepared when calamities strike in these low-lying areas,” Aguto said.
The Muntinlupa City Fire Chief, however, did not state any definite date for the training but said that it will start anytime this month near the lake along Alabang area.
Aguto said his office will coordinate with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other concerned agencies to request them to share their knowledge, skills, and expertise in the conduct of the water rescue training program.
“Although fire personnel had already been trained on water rescue in the past, we have to constantly update our skills,” he said.
BFP’s mission is to save lives and properties and its personnel are always the first responders in major calamities and disasters such as the Guihulngan earthquake and Davao flashflood.
BFP Muntinlupa has amphibian and rubber boats that can be used in case of floods and other emergencies.
Earlier, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo called on the support of local government units and all agencies under its jurisdiction to aim for zero casualties in times of disasters. (SGDL/JCRP/DILG/RJB/JCP/PIA NCR)
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered Muntinlupa City officials led by Mayor Aldrin San Pedro and Vice Mayor Artemio Simundac to answer two graft complaints and an administrative case filed against them concerning alleged anomalies in multi-million infrastructure and supply contracts.
In orders released last June 8, Director Nellie P. Boguen-Golez of the Ombudsman’s Preliminary Investigation and Adjudication Board-D gave the respondents 10 days to address the accusations leveled against them by complainant Abel Sumabat, former head of the city’s Bids and Awards Committee secretariat.
Named respondents in a graft complaint and administrative charge for grave misconduct and dishonesty were San Pedro, city budget officer Avelino Orellana, OIC-accountant Edwin T. Suitado, former city treasurer Nelia A. Barlis, OIC-city treasurer Romeo Pucyutan and BAC Roberto M. Bunyi and members Elvira Tulay, Michael Racelis, Vicente Navarro, Peter Salonga, Rodolfo Oliquino, Marissa Guerrero and Sonia Laureta.
Also implicated were Technical Working Group chairman Roderick Espina, TWG member Eduardo Bautista and city councilors Allan Rey Camilon, Ma. Luisa Babaran Echavez, Margarita Patdu-Labios, Melchor Teves, Icasiano dela Rea, Francis Ian T. Bagatsing, Mamerto Sevilla, Robert Abas, Joselito Arevalo, Vergel Ulanday, Rey Bulay and Cesar Pagkalinawan.
Sumabat accused them of collusion to defraud the city government by a supposed rigged public bidding for the supply of 40,000 pieces of trolley school bags purchased in April 2008 from CLMP Trading that the complainant said was a dummy company owned by former city treasurer Barlis.
In the second graft complaint, Sumabat named Simundac, councilor Ermie Espeleta, BAC member Rodolfo Oliquino, TWG members Eduardo Bautista and Glenn Santos, TWG chairman Roderick Espina and BAC Secretariat members Elvira Tulay and Marissa Guerrero.
This concerns allegations of bogus public bidding in the P130-million contract for the upgrading and rehabilitation of a national road involving the concrete blocking and asphalt overlay of Muntinlupa-San Pedro Boundary going to Alabang-Las Pinas Boundary.
Sumabat said the infrastructure project was awarded to Socor Construction Corporation whose general manager Dennis Lua was also named among the respondents.
Respondent public officials have earlier said Sumabat was trying to save his own skin by filing all kinds of criminal complaints against them after a number of city contractors exposed his extortion activities with promises of lucrative contracts.
They said the complainant is facing numerous criminal charges before the Muntinlupa City Prosecutors’ Office.
Sumabar resigned his position as head of the BAC secretariat last February and sought protection under the government’s witness protection program. – Peter Tabingo
By Aie Balagatas See
MANILA, Philippines – A Muntinlupa court has ordered the arrest of the city government’s former bids and awards committee official accused of pocketing P800,000 and usurpation of authority.
Judge Restituto Mangalindan Jr. issued the warrant for the arrest of Abel Sumabat last May 28.
The case stemmed from the charges filed by Bryan San Pedro, head of the Bids and Awards Committee, who accused Sumabat of pocketing P873,000.
San Pedro said he discovered the alleged anomaly after Sunstar Security Agency went to his office last February demanding payment for their services.
Sumabat, who has filed several graft charges against Mayor Aldrin San Pedro before the Ombudsman, never appeared during the investigation of the case.
Sumabat believes the mayor retaliated against him after he charged him with P3.1 billion graft before the Office of the Ombudsman.
By Miko Morelos
Watch out for the “Men in Red.”
Starting Monday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) personnel dressed in bright red shirts will go after pedestrians who refuse to use footbridges or designated crossing lanes as the agency renews its drive against jaywalkers.
Those who are apprehended on Monday will be let off with a warning.
However, starting Tuesday, jaywalkers will be issued a citation ticket and face a fine of P200. Should they be unable to pay up, they will be given an on-the-spot lecture on disaster preparedness by MMDA personnel.
MMDA assistant general manager for operations Emerson Carlos explained that the 15-minute lecture was timely and very important as it was aimed at increasing public awareness on what to do when natural calamities strike.
It will also give the MMDA a chance to recruit volunteers for its rescue volunteer group, which the agency could tap during emergencies, he added.
“Though [people] may not join the group, the knowledge they will gain [through] the lecture will allow them to survive,” he said.
Earlier, the Metro Manila Council—the agency’s policy-making arm whose members are the mayors of the metropolis’ 16 cities and lone municipality—approved a hike in the penalty for jaywalking from P150 to P200.
This was in preparation for the deployment of the MMDA’s newly organized anti-jaywalking unit, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said in a radio interview Monday.
“The repainting of pedestrian lanes has yet to be completed but our personnel are working on it,” he added. “In the meantime, our anti-jaywalking unit will help people, especially the elderly, cross the street.”
According to Tolentino, the campaign aims to keep pedestrians out of harm’s way and restore order on the streets.
Last week, a television news program aired footage provided by MMDA Metrobase that showed a man being hit by a car as he crossed the EDSA-Shaw Boulevard intersection.
Meanwhile, minors caught jaywalking will receive just a warning since the juvenile justice law exempts children below 18 years of age from criminal liability.