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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

MORE than 50 elderly persons were rushed to hospitals in Roxas City, Capiz allegedly due to bad food served during the opening of the annual Elderly Week Celebration Wednesday.

A total of 51 persons were brought to the Roxas Memorial Provincial Hospital, St. Anthony College Hospital and Capiz Emmanuel Hospital past 6pm Wednesday.

The victims, most members of the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA), suffered stomachache, loose bowel movement and vomiting.

The victims were part of the 800 participants who attended the opening of the Senior Citizens Week Celebration at the Dinggoy Roxas Civic Center.

A catering service owned by a certain Eloisa Mendoza served packed lunch to the victims consisting of rice, chopsuey, chicken and ham.

Mendoza is a Roxas City government employee assigned at the City Treasurer’s Office and a resident of Brgy. Lawaan, Roxas City.

The caterer had apologized to the victims saying she did not intend to serve bad food during their activity.

Mendoza said she has been in the food catering business for sometime as her sideline. She also promised to help the victims in whatever way.

The Department of Health has formed a fact finding team led by Dr. Elmer Bucayan and Jarvis Punzalan to determine the cause of the food poisoning.

Local officials in Roxas City and Capiz pledged to extend financial assistance to the victims.

As of this writing, 28 victims are still under treatment in the three hospitals.

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

EIGHT Philippine Navy members cheated death after their twin-engine plane went on emergency landing Panay, Capiz yesterday due to mechanical problems.

Lt. Commander Ed Linpuna said they were forced to land on Roxas City after one of the two engines of their 10-seater Norman High Wing Navy Plane stopped running some 37 nautical miles from the airport. They were forced to land on a fishpond at Brgy. Agoho, Panay, damaging the plane’s left wing.

Linpuna said they left the Ebuen Airbase in Mactan, Cebu for Sangley Point in Cavite.

The other passengers of the plane were Capt. Antonio Indab, Lt. Sr. Grade Paul Hechanova, Lt. Sr. Grade Antonio Bosch, Lt. Sr. Grade Rodiart Babera, Lt. Sr. Grade Joseph Lauron, ATC Chris Buctil and ATC Vic Santoc.

All Navy members are in safe condition except for Babera who suffered a minor injury in the upper portion of his left eye. 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Capiz Provincial Police Office (CPPO) is set to file this week murder charges against the alleged gunmen of radio broadcaster Martin Roxas of dyVR RMN-Roxas City.

Senior Supt. Josephus Angan, CPPO director and Task Force Martin Roxas commander, said they are gathering the sworn statements of eyewitnesses so they can file murder charges against suspects Christian Tan and Jonel Lastimoso.

Tan and Lastimoso, who are detained at the Roxas City police station, were caught hours after Roxas was shot Thursday last week.

Roxas was on his way home after his noontime program Targetanay Sa Udto when he was shot in the back at Bayot Drive in the said city.

According to the autopsy report, Roxas succumbed to hemorrhage after a “special bullet” pierced his heart and lungs.

Angan said they are carefully gathering all evidence and statements against the suspects so they can file an airtight case.

“The task force is also awaiting the results of the paraffin tests on the two suspects but if the results are delayed, we will just submit them supplementary evidence,” Angan said.

“We can’t afford to be hasty in this case and everything must undergo the legal process,” the CPPO director said.

Angan said no less than PNP regional director Isagani Cuevas is supervising the investigation.

Meanwhile, local government units in Capiz and Roxas City raised a P300,000 reward for witnesses who can point to the suspects, especially the mastermind of Roxas’ assassination.

Governor Victor Tanco set aside P150,000 while Mayor Vicente Bermejo will give another P150,000 to informants.

The police are looking into Roxas’ work and the exposés he carried when he was still alive in tracking the motive and brains behind his death.

The top issues Roxas discussed the past months are the alleged financial aid scandal in Roxas City and the P44-million ghost projects in Capiz.

The two issues involved former city mayor Antonio del Rosario, now congressman of Capiz first district, and incumbent Roxas City Mayor Vicente Bermejo, the former provincial governor.

The two politicians have been at odds since the May 2007 elections.

THE International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply saddened by the murder of broadcast journalist Martin Roxas, who was shot dead in a broad daylight attack in Capiz, the Philippines, on August 7.

Roxas, 32, anchorman of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) station dyVR and host of the station’s midday program “Targetanay sa Udto”, was shot by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle as he left the radio station in Barangay village at 1pm.

Colleagues reportedly informed police that Roxas, who was also auditor for the Capiz chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, had been beaten by a group of young men last week.

Roxas is the second RMN broadcaster to be targeted this week. Dennis Cuesta, program director for the dxMD program on the RMN network, is currently fighting for his life after suffering three bullet wounds to his head in an attack in General Santos City on August 4.

Roxas is the fourth journalist to be murdered this year and the 59th since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took power in 2001.

“It is with great distress that the IFJ reports that Roxas’ murder and the attack on Cuesta have seen the Philippines return to the top of the most dangerous countries in the Asia-Pacific region for journalists so far in 2008,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

“The IFJ welcomes reports that the Capiz provincial police have established a taskforce to investigate Roxas’ shooting and that two persons have been detained.”

The IFJ joins the NUJP in appealing to the RMN network and local authorities to provide extra security and protection for journalists, particularly as they travel to and from work.

“Only through public condemnation and the active pursuit of justice will authorities send a clear message that such heinous attacks will not be tolerated.”

The IFJ extends its deep sympathy to Roxas’ family and friends, to the NUJP, and to the Radio Mindanao Network for the shocking attacks on two of its journalists this week.

Motives behind radioman’s slay?

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

POLICE investigators are looking into the issues tackled by Martin Roxas, program director and anchorman of dyVR RMN-Roxas City, who was gunned down Thursday afternoon.

Probers are also grilling the alleged gunmen of Roxas who were arrested hours after the incident.

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PNP regional director, formed Task Force Martin Roxas composed of the Regional Intelligence Division, Regional Investigation and Detection Management Division, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Capiz Provincial Police Office and Roxas City Police Office (RCPO) to investigate Roxas’ assassination.

Senior Supt. Josephus Angan, Capiz provincial police director, is the overall task force commander.

Cuevas, who went to Roxas City to oversee the investigation, said they are eyeing Roxas’ work as the motive for his killing considering that he has been carrying controversial issues weeks before he was shot.

“We have ample personnel here who are handling this case so it can be resolved as soon as possible. The task force will focus on Roxas’s case so we can bring to justice those responsible for his death,” Cuevas said.

The PRO-6 chief said Roxas’s death could be related to his work and the issues he carried while still alive.

Roxas, 32, succumbed to a single gunshot wound in his back. He died at the Capiz Emmanuel Hospital 2:05pm Monday. He left behind his wife Haina and two children.

FINANCIAL AID SCAM, GHOST PROJECTS

According to Roxas’ colleagues at RMN, the slain commentator was tackling the alleged “financial assistance scam” that occurred during the last term of former Roxas City mayor Antonio del Rosario, now representative of the Capiz first congressional district.

Roxas unearthed a set of documents showing how large amounts of financial aid for sick indigents mysteriously disappeared from 2006 to 2007.

Based on the disbursement papers, the indigents were supposed to receive P30,000 to P80,000 to defray their medical expenses. But when the beneficiaries claimed the money from the City Treasurer’s Office, they only got P500 to P1,500.

The exposé emboldened more beneficiaries to come out and execute affidavits attesting that they received less than what was indicated in the disbursement papers.

Incumbent Mayor Vicente Bermejo, who is at odds with del Rosario, has ordered city social welfare and development officer Cynthia Besana, city treasurer Joselito Almodiente and city accountant Teresita Bediones to explain the alleged scam.

Roxas’s wife and colleague said the victim began receiving threatening text messages after carrying the financial aid issue. He also confided to them the presence of unidentified persons stalking their home at Brgy. Tisa, Roxas City.

Roxas also reported to the police last July 30 that three persons kicked his motorcycle at Hemingway Street. The usually unarmed victim scared the suspects by pretending to draw a pistol from his waist.

Aside from the missing financial aid issue, Roxas was also in the process of investigating the P44-million “ghost infrastructure projects” of Bermejo when he was still Capiz governor.

Apparently, del Rosario leaked the issue against Bermejo in an attempt to get back at his former political ally.

SUSPECTS ARRESTED 

Cuevas said they are extracting more information from suspects Christian Tan of Brgy. Quevedo, Maayon, Capiz and Jonel “Bong-Bong” Lastimoso of Brgy. Cagay, Roxas City.

Tan is believed to be the gunman who shot Roxas at Bayot Drive, Roxas City while Lastimoso drove the getaway motorcycle.

The duo was first accosted by the Ivisan police in a checkpoint but instead of stopping, they fled.

Tan was arrested at Ivisan while Lastimoso escaped but was captured by pursuing police hours later.

Chief Insp. Leo Batiles, Roxas City police chief, said over RMN-Iloilo that the suspects changed their clothes after shooting Roxas in an attempt to mislead witnesses and the police.

But witnesses who are now in the custody of the RCPO identified Tan as the triggerman through his blonde hair and black hand gloves.

The two suspects said they evaded the checkpoint because they have pending drug and theft cases.

Roxas City police records show that Lastimoso has two standing arrest warrants for alleged selling of shabu while Tan is a suspected thief.

The two suspects have been subjected to paraffin tests for gunpowder traces in their hands.

Roxas’ body was autopsied yesterday by PNP medico legal, Dr. Owen Lebaquin. The results show that the victim died of hemorrhage due to gunshot wound.

Lebaquin also found that a slug compatible to caliber .9mm bullet pierced Roxas spinal column, heart and lungs.

Lebaquin said a “special bullet” may have been used on the victim.

Scene of the crime operatives, however, failed to find any spent ammunition shells at the crime scene.

Cuevas said they are set to file murder charges against Tan and Lastimoso even as they dig into the mastermind’s identity.

(Visit www.thedailyguardian.com for more news)

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

A RADIO anchorman was gunned down in Roxas City, Capiz Thursday afternoon.

Martin D. Roxas, 32, program director of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN)-Roxas City, succumbed to a single gunshot wound in his back.

Doctors of the Capiz Provincial Memorial Hospital declared Roxas dead 2:05pm.

Roxas has just finished his noontime program Targetanay Sa Udto and was on his way home when a gunman shot him at Bayot Drive in the said city.

RMN-Roxas City manager Ely Abarra said Roxas was just 900 meters from their station when shot

Roxas, who leaves behind a wife and two children aged three and one, had been a radio commentator for over a decade. His program tackles local politics, and police said it was possible he could have been attacked because of his work.

Abarra said there was an apparent attempt on Roxas recently, when he was kicked from his motorcycle. Roxas dismissed the incident, but had been taking precautions.

“This week, his topics touched on an ongoing political squabble involving two politicians,” Abarra said in an Agence France-Presse report.

Roxas’ colleague Dennis Cuesta is fighting for his life in hospital after he was shot in General Santos city Monday.

The attacks come more than a month after gunmen shot and killed Bert Sison, a reporter for a community newspaper in Quezon province. Sison’s daughter, who is also a journalist, was wounded in the attack.

Roxas is the fourth journalist to be killed in the Philippines this year.

Police Regional Office-6 director Isagani Cuevas has ordered the creation of a task force that will investigate Roxas’ death.

Police are looking into the issues Roxas tackled the previous months to get a lead on the case.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists and French group Reporters Without Borders have branded the Philippines the second most dangerous place for working journalists outside Iraq.

Three journalists were killed in the Philippines last year, while 12 were killed in 2006.

(Visit www.thedailyguardian.com for more news)

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