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Sandigan issues HDO against JV

The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has issued a hold departure order (HDO) against Senator Jose Victor “JV” Ejercito and his co-accused over charges in the alleged anomalous purchase of firearms in San Juan City in 2008 worth P2.1 million using the city’s calamity fund. In its HDO, the Fifth Division ordered the Bureau of Immigration to place in its hold departure list Ejercito who has been charged with one count of violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and one count of illegal use of public funds or property under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Those included in the HDO are his graft co-accused, namely, San Juan city administrator Ranulfo Dacalos, city legal officer Romualdo delos Santos, former city treasurer Rosalinda Marasigan, former budget officer Lorenza …

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Bishop’s 4Ps for absentee voters

A Church leader gave overseas absentee voters a guide on whom to vote in the coming national elections. In a pastoral letter, Balanga (Bataan) Bishop Ruperto C. Santos called on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who will vote from April 9 to May 9, to follow the four-P guide in choosing their candidates. “Your choice of servant leaders must ideally possess the four Ps that will make for a good public servant,” the chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) said. The four Ps that a voter must look for in a candidate include: Programa sa trabaho (Program for employment), Pangangalaga sa buhay at sa inyong mga mahal sa buhay na naiwan (Care and concern for your welfare and that of your loved ones), Paggalang …

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PH scientist gets funding for formulating malaria vaccine

The Japan-based Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) has awarded international funding worth $419,285 (roughly P19.3 million) to an international team of researchers co-headed by a Filipino scientist for developing a promising type of vaccine designed to eradicate malaria by blocking parasite transmission. The team is co-led by Dr. Rhoel Dinglasan, who is an assistant professor of molecular biology and immunology at the Center for Global Health and Malaria Research Institute of John Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dinglasan is also the principal investigator at Dinglasan Lab. GHIT Fund is an international public-private partnership between the Japanese government, seven Japanese pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and the United Nations Development Programme. It funds scientific research and development for anti-infectives and diagnostics for diseases …

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Political Newsbits for April 5, 2016

MMDA MEN HARASSED OVER ILLEGAL POSTERS The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has filed a complaint before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) against officials and watchmen of three barangays for preventing them from removing illegal campaign materials in the metropolis. Rod Tuazon, head of the MMDA’s “Oplan Baklas,” said the village officials and watchmen whom he did not identify are from Caloocan, San Juan and Quezon City. “Some supporters are even harassing our men for removing the election campaign materials,” said Tuazon, at the agency’s radio program over DZBB. The MMDA is leaving to the Comelec on the appropriate charges to file for stopping them from removing posters and tarpaulins outside the Comelec-designated common poster areas. As of this week, the MMDA has collected 18 truckloads or about 113.47 cubic meters …

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National Newsbits for April 5, 2016

MANALO LEADS INC JERUSALEM WORSHIP Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo officiated at a special worship service of the church’s locale in Jerusalem in Israel, the birthplace of Christianity, on the 20th anniversary of the registration of the INC in Israel. “This was a historic event for us. It was like a spiritual homecoming for our Executive Minister, to be at the heart of where Christianity started and blossomed,” INC spokesman Edwil Zabala said. Manalo’s Israeli visit coincided with the ordination of ten new ministers, indicating the growing reach and influence of the church in Europe and parts of the Middle East, Zabala said. The worship service and the ordination were streamed live via video link to INC chapels in the Philippines and throughout the world. Early this …

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Pacquiao escapes near-assault in LA parking lot

Manny Pacquiao’s security staff will have to be more vigilant from now on, after a white male in his 30s tried to attack the top Filipino fighter at the parking area of a Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles, California. Pacquiao was about to board his Ferrari 458 Italia at around 3 p.m. (LA time, Sunday, April 3, 2016), after hosting a feast at the Kabuki on Vine Street in Hollywood when the man attempted to punch the eight-division titleholder. Edward Lura, Pacquiao’s Fil-Am buddy, parried the attack, prompting members of his security to gang up on the man. Even while Pacquiao’s men were holding him down, the man kept on hurling invectives at Pacquiao, who went on to drive back home to his mansion on Plymouth Boulevard, a short drive from Kabuki. “F*** you, …

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PH, US kick off Balikatan amid tensions in West PH Sea

Amid rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea, this year's PH-US Balikatan Exercise (BK16) formally kicked off Monday (April 4, 2016) with the objective of preparing both countries to respond to territorial defense issues. Approximately 9,000 American and Filipino forces are taking part in the 32nd iteration of the Balikatan exercise, which showcases the partnership between Philippines and the U.S. as well as other allied countries. BK16 will run through April 15 in different parts of Luzon and Panay in Western Visayas. "Balikatan is evolving and growing. It provides all of us with opportunities to learn from each other and to build capacity in the planning and execution of territorial defense operations," said Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan, commanding officer of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, in his opening remarks. Toolan …

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DOH conducts first-ever free dengue vaccination program in 3 regions

The Department of Health (DOH), together with the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and other health partners, led the launching on Monday (April 4, 2016) of the first-ever free-dengue vaccination program at Parang Elementary school in Marikina City. DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin herself injected a grade IV pupil who is the first to avail of the new anti-dengue vaccine called Dengvaxia. Some 600 pupils in Marikina were also given the same vaccine. The historic first dengue vaccination launching at the Marikina school marked the start of the conduct of the free vaccination in three regions where it will be administered in three doses among grade IV pupils or nine-year-old children studying in public schools. These are in Regions III (Central Luzon), IV-A (Calabarzon), and the …

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US Defense Secretary to drop by for ‘Balikatan’ exercises

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter will be coming to the Philippines to personally observe Filipino and US troops during the "Balikatan" exercises. This was confirmed by US "Balikatan" exercise director Lt. Gen. John Toolan during Monday's opening ceremonies. "The secretary is (going) to be here toward the end of the exercise and he’s (going), actually observe a couple of things, he’s very interested in, what I mentioned earlier about the high mobility rocket system and how that works and he’s also (going) spend some time out at sea with the US Navy ships that’s gonna be out there and so and I believe that really his main purpose here is to come and reaffirm that the relationship that we have with the Philippines is rock solid, and we’re side-by-side," he added. The high …

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Sarmiento forms 2 fact-finding panels to probe Kidapawan dispersal

Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen S. Sarmiento on Monday (April 4, 2016) ordered the creation of two fact-finding panels to investigate the bloody confrontation between farmers and policemen in Kidapawan, North Cotabato Friday. Sarmiento said that the first panel, which will focus on the operational aspect of the dispersal, would be headed by the National Police Commission (Napolcom) under Commissioner Job M. Mangente; and the second panel, which will focus on the local government units (LGUs), would be headed by Director Manuel Q. Gotis of the DILG's Bureau of Local Government Supervision (BLGS). He added the Napolcom’s fact-finding panel would focus on the actions made by the Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel and their commanders who were on the ground when the incident happened while the LGU panel would look …

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