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National Newsbits for January 3,2014

HOLY NAME OF JESUS FEAST

Catholics commemorate today the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, nine days after the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, in honor of the name “Jesus,” which means “God saves.” In observance of the feast, the Church encourages the faithful to offer novena prayers, to visit the Adoration Chapel, and to recite the Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Church officials said: “The Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus serves as a reminder of the countless blessings that we continue to receive from the Holy Redeemer. We should invoke the name of Jesus with confidence and always keep in mind His promise, ‘If you ask the Father anything in my name, He will give it to you’ (John 16:23).” Christina I. Hermoso)

RAIL INQUIRY

Two lawmakers have filed House Resolution 137 to inquire the financial status of the Light Rail Transit and the Metro Rail Transit which are seeking to increase fare. Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Luz Ilagan also want the House Committee on Transportation to conduct an inquiry into foreign loans secured by government to finance the commuter train systems. “We filed this resolution to protect the riding public from shouldering the real cost factors passed on by the Aquino administration, which are the accumulating loan burdens, and the overpriced rate of return set for the Build, Lease, and Transfer (BLT) agreement for the LRT line extensions and operations,” De Jesus said. (Ben R. Rosario)

GUN AMNESTY

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will provide a final chance for gun owners to have their loose firearms licensed as authorities threaten a more serious gun control campaign this year. Director General Alan Purisima, PNP chief, said the gun amnesty will run for six months starting January in compliance with what was stipulated in the gun control law signed by President Aquino last year. We want to have those loose firearms registered so we are encouraging the gun owners to take advantage of this amnesty,” said Purisima. “And we want to make it clear that this will be the final gun amnesty of the government,” he said. (Aaron B. Recuenco)

AFFIDAVIT RULE

The Supreme Court (SC) has extended for another one year, or until December 31, 2014, the Judicial Affidavit Rule (JAR) that was issued to speed up resolution of criminal cases in courts. The JAR provides that “when a party (whether plaintiff or defendant) questions his own witness, he no longer needs to place the witness on the witness stand” and, as a substitute, the party or his lawyer merely submits the written sworn statements of his witnesses in a question-and-answer format. The rule was adopted in September, 2012 to cope with congestion and delay in the resolution of criminal cases in trial courts. (Rey G. Panaligan)

BLOOD MONEY

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay yesterday called on Filipinos to help raise funds to prevent the execution of Joselito Zapanta, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) convicted of killing his Sudanese landlord, Imam Ibrahim, in 2009. “Once again, I ask everyone to help raise funds for Joselito. Let us start this year by helping save the life of a fellow Filipino and bringing joy to his family,” Binay said. Zapanta’s family needs to raise at least SAR 1.48 million (P17.5 million) to complete the SAR 2 million in blood money sought by the victim’s family in order to prevent the execution. (Roy C. Mabasa)