Wiki Actu en

September 12, 2010

Police may have killed some of the eight tourist victims in Philippines hostage crisis

Police may have killed some of the eight tourist victims in Philippines hostage crisis

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
 
Correction — September 15, 2010
 
This article was previously published under a misleading headline that implied that police may have killed all eight tourists who died.
 
 
Correction — December 24, 2012
 
One of the sources for this article is misidentified in the text as “Associated Free Press”; the source is from AFP, Agence France-Presse
 
Philippines
Other stories from the Philippines
…More articles here
Location of the Philippines

A map showing the location of the Philippines

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the Philippines, see the Philippines Portal
Flag of the Philippines.svg

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The bus on which the 25 people, of which 21 people were from China, were taken hostage by disgruntled former policeman Rolando Mendoza, who was fired from the police force for misconduct.

Some of the eight tourist fatalities involved in a bus hijacking in the Philippines in August may have inadvertently been shot by police during a raid on the vehicle, authorities investigating the incident have said. Philippine justice secretary Leila de Lima told Sky News that bullet trajectories and wounds received by the hostages indicate that some of the eight were killed by “friendly fire”.

She did not confirm, however, that the wounds inflicted by police bullets were the ones which led to the deaths of the hostages. “There is a big possibility that there [was] friendly fire,” she said. “We are not focusing on [the possibility], but we should never miss that. Otherwise our report will be less than thorough.” Police have insisted that all the fatal wounds were inflicted by the hostage taker’s gun. They maintain that other bullets, fired at the bus by police snipers and an assault unit, did not lead to the deaths of the tourists.

The incident occurred when a former Filipino policeman kept tourists from Hong Kong, China, hostage by hijacking their bus in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Rolando Mendoza fired his M16 rifle at the tourists, before being gunned down and killed after an eleven-hour standoff with police.

Although President Benigno Aquino III warned against people coming to conclusions regarding the operation before an investigation has been carried out, he also pledged that anyone found by the investigators to have failed in their duties would have criminal charges filed against them.

“Our government is now focused on taking the necessary steps to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again,” said Aquino during a live interview on national television. “Let me just say that this incident will not define this administration.” The report is expected to be released on September 15.

De Lima, who is heading up the inquiry, added that forensic examinations on a number of the dead tourists did not match the statement made by the bus driver, who claimed that the gunman shot them at close range. “What is crucial, occupying our minds, is if the shots were made at close range, [these] are not consistent with forensic findings,” she said. De Lima states that the entry points of the wounds did not show burn marks that would have been caused by the muzzle of a gun being shot from close range. She added that it was possible that other units deployed around the bus may have fired on it. China criticized the rescue operation, stating that the Philippine police force who carried out the raid were poorly trained and under-equipped to handle the situation.

Aquino says he makes himself personally responsible for the incident, which according to the Associated Free Press has “chilled ties with Hong Kong and damaged the Philippine tourism industry.” He added that he intends to form an elite unit to engage in a similar incident, which would consist of 200 and 400 soldiers and police officers who are capable of responding to any threats or incidents that occur in the country.

Mendoza was reportedly taking revenge for having been fired from the from the Police Force after claims of robbery and the use of drugs were made against him. His brother explained that “his problem was he was unjustly removed from service. There was no due process, no hearing, no complaint.” Both government officials and his brother had tried to negotiate with him to release the hostages.



Related news

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 24, 2010

Hong Kong tourists held hostage in the Philippines, nine killed

Hong Kong tourists held hostage in the Philippines, nine killed

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Philippines
Other stories from the Philippines
…More articles here
Location of the Philippines

A map showing the location of the Philippines

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the Philippines, see the Philippines Portal
Flag of the Philippines.svg

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The bus of 2010 Manila hostage crisis.
Image: Sakuradate.

A former Filipino policeman has kept Hong Kong tourists hostage by hijacking their bus in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Rolando Mendoza fired his M16 rifle at the tourists. Several hostages have been rescued and least six have been confirmed dead so far. Six hostages, including the children and elderly, were released early, as were the Filipino photographers. The photographers later took the place of an aged lady as she needed the lavatory. Mendoza was gunned down.

Mendoza was fired from the Police Force after robbery and drugs claims. His brother explained that ‘his problem was he was unjustly removed from service. There was no due process, no hearing, no complaint.’ Both government officials and his brother had tried to negotiate with him to release the hostages.

Mendoza stuck handwritten notes on the bus. One threatened that a ‘big deal’ would happen after 3pm; another said ‘big mistake to correct a big wrong decision’. Yet another attempted to catch the attention of the media.

Gunshots were heard inside the bus and Mendoza was shot down. The police rescued the hostages on the bus. The number of survivors totalled seven. Nine were confirmed dead.

The Hong Kong government consulted Hong Thai Travel and decided to send a plane to take the survivors back to Hong Kong. Ambrose Lee led an ad hoc group to deal with the incident. One police officer and one Immigration Department officer flew from Hong Kong to Manila to help.

Sources

Wikinews
Some information contained in this article was obtained from television, radio, or live webcast sources. Reporter’s notes and the broadcast source details are available at the collaboration page.
Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 25, 2010

Fire sweeps Manila, Philippines slum

Fire sweeps Manila, Philippines slum – Wikinews, the free news source

Fire sweeps Manila, Philippines slum

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Philippines
Other stories from the Philippines
…More articles here
Location of the Philippines

A map showing the location of the Philippines

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the Philippines, see the Philippines Portal
Flag of the Philippines.svg

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A large fire has swept suburban Manila, Philippines, destroying many houses and has left many homeless. At least two hundred fire engines have been sent to extinguish the flames.

The fire spread quickly due to strong winds and summer high temperatures. No fatalities were reported, although one resident suffered first degree burns; a Manila fire marshal told BBC News two people were reported missing as well. The fire started on Sunday afternoon and was still burning at nightfall, while people were trying to rescue some of their belongings.

“We failed to save anything except our clothes,” said resident Glen Sardon to the Associated Press. Reports say 600 homes were destroyed and at least 7,000 residents are homeless.

Slum areas in the city are exposed constantly to fires because the houses, often made from wood, are in close proximity to one another.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

March 26, 2010

Heavy earthquake hits the Philippines

Heavy earthquake hits the Philippines – Wikinews, the free news source

Heavy earthquake hits the Philippines

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Friday, March 26, 2010

Philippines
Other stories from the Philippines
…More articles here
Location of the Philippines

A map showing the location of the Philippines

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the Philippines, see the Philippines Portal
Flag of the Philippines.svg

An earthquake with a magnitude of at least 6.0 has struck the Philippines, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has reported.

The epicentre was 130 kilometres (80 miles) from the country’s capital, Manila, at a depth of eighteen kilometres (11.2 miles). The temblor started at 01:29:25 local time (05:29:25 UTC), the USGS said.

Some media reports contradicted the USGS’ reports, saying that the earthquake’s magnitude was 6.1.

No reports of damage, injuries, or casualties have been reported, although many people working in the capital’s central business district rushed out of buildings when the tremors started, according to Al Jazeera.

The chief of the Philippine seismology institute, Renato Solidum, said to the Agence France-Presse news agency that the earthquake was felt throughout the suburbs of Manila and provinces nearby. According to the Philippine News Agency, the tremors were felt in Quezon City and Lubang Island as well.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

October 3, 2009

Typhoon Parma spares Philippines capital

Typhoon Parma spares Philippines capital

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Philippines
Other stories from the Philippines
…More articles here
Location of the Philippines

A map showing the location of the Philippines

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the Philippines, see the Philippines Portal
Flag of the Philippines.svg

Typhoon Parma was threatening to strike the Philippines capital of Manila, devastated from Typhoon Ketsana just one week earlier, but has taken a more northerly path, largely sparing the city.

“It’s a big help, we weren’t ready for another catastrophe,” said Marides Fernando, mayor of the Marikina municipality. “Prayers worked; everyone was praying. We can go back to our homes.”

Forecasters say the storm changed course before striking the Cagayan province in the northern part of the country. Most of the region is expected to avoid major disaster.

However, Parma, still packing sustained 10-minute winds of 110 miles per hour, has knocked down trees and powerlines, and is forecast to drop heavy precipitation. The most significant impacts may come in the form of mudslides.

Tuguegarao Mayor Randolph Ting said, “Many houses have been destroyed and trees and electricity poles uprooted. The province hasn’t been hit this hard in 10 years. It will probably take 10 to 15 days for power to be restored”.

In advance of the storm, President Gloria Arroyo issued a “state of calamity” and tens of thousands residents were advised to leave their homes.

Trevor Taylor, a resort owner in Santa Ana, Cagayan, reported that “The town is locking down; you don’t want to be on the road at this time. We have moved everything that is loose, boarded every window and put extra material on the roof so it doesn’t get blown off. A lot of people here have homes made of flimsy material, and these are likely to suffer a lot of damage.”

All interests in the areas potentially in the path of Typhoon Parma are urged to monitor its progress over the next few days.


Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

October 1, 2009

Philippines braces for next storm

Philippines braces for next storm – Wikinews, the free news source

Philippines braces for next storm

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Philippines
Other stories from the Philippines
…More articles here
Location of the Philippines

A map showing the location of the Philippines

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the Philippines, see the Philippines Portal
Flag of the Philippines.svg

The Philippines, still reeling from the destructive Typhoon Ketsana just days before, is bracing for another strike from Typhoon Parma, which is expected to hit the region on Saturday.

Ketsana brought torrential rains to the northern Philippines on Saturday, inundating most of the capital Manila and surrounding provinces. Scores of people were killed and many are still missing. Overall, Ketsana affected nearly two million people.

Now Parma, a “super typhoon” packing winds of 150 miles per hour, is threatening to devastate the region again. The storm could be more powerful than Ketsana: “We are dealing with a very strong typhoon (and) there is a big possibility that this typhoon will gather more strength,” said Nathaniel Cruz, a forecaster in the Philippines.

Officials are preparing evacuation plans, and refugees from the prior flooding were advised to remain in shelters and avoid returning to their homes.

The thought of another disaster is unbearable for some residents. Glen Juban, who lost his 4 year-old daughter to Typhoon Ketsana, said, “I hope the typhoon will hit another place. We’ve been hit so hard. The situation now is just so difficult and I don’t know if we can take some more, another calamity.”

Elnora Avarientos, World Vision’s chief in the Philippines, was also concerned. “Families are now just starting to pick up what was left of their lives. Now, I’m afraid […] Typhoon Parma would make it a lot harder for the affected families to cope and for the relief […] agencies to respond,” Avarientos said.



Related news

  • “Typhoon Ketsana leaves over 140 dead in the Philippines after heavy flooding” — Wikinews, September 29, 2009

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

September 29, 2009

Typhoon Ketsana leaves over 140 dead in the Philippines after heavy flooding

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Disasters and accidents,Luzon,Manila,Philippines — admin @ 5:00 am

Typhoon Ketsana leaves over 140 dead in the Philippines after heavy flooding

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Philippines
Other stories from the Philippines
…More articles here
Location of the Philippines

A map showing the location of the Philippines

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the Philippines, see the Philippines Portal
Flag of the Philippines.svg

The storm’s path

The Philippines has appealed for international assistance following the worst flooding in more than 40 years. At least 140 people have been killed and another 32 are missing as a result of the heavy rains, and the death toll from the disaster continues to rise.

The Philippine government has been attempting to provide shelter, food and basic supplies for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods.

Metro Manila experienced the highest rainfall in its history.

Typhoon Ketsana brought torrential rains to the northern Philippines on Saturday, inundating most of the capital Manila and surrounding provinces. Surging water washed away buildings and cars. Scores of people were killed and many are still missing.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called the disaster an “extreme event” that has strained the government’s capabilities to the limit. She said rescue efforts will continue until all residents are accounted for.

Two days after the flooding, rescue and relief operations continue to be hampered by the lack of rubber boats and helicopters. Many victims are demanding answers from local authorities for the lack of advance warning and the slow response to the emergency. Victims said they were stranded on their rooftops for hours before help arrived.

“We are concentrating on massive relief operations. [But] the system is overwhelmed, local government units are overwhelmed,” said National Disaster Coordinating Council deputy administrator Anthony Golez to reporters Monday.

Flood waters in some areas subsided on Monday, but thousands of homes are still reported to be without power.

The government has appealed for international humanitarian assistance. Vilma Cabrera, assistant secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development of the Philippines, said Monday her agency needs donations of basic necessities.

“Right now we need mats, blankets, mosquito nets, cooking utensils. We need hygiene kits and we need flashlights and lighting equipment,” said Cabrera.

“We are appealing for international humanitarian assistance,” said the Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines, Gilberto Teodoro. “The potential for a more serious situation is there and we cannot wait for that to happen.”

The United States donated about US$100,000 to the Philippines after the disaster, as well as deploying twenty US soldiers on five rubber boats and a helicopter. China and Japan gave $140,000 and $220,000 respectively for humanitarian disaster assistance to victims. Australia provided A$1 million and Thailand is providing medical staff and supplies. The World Food Programme and the UNICEF have both donated food and other materials.

People have been warned about the danger of water-borne diseases. Philippine schools have been closed until Tuesday, and many offices remained closed .

Storms lash the Philippines every year. Typhoon Ketsana, although not one of the strongest, brought very large amounts of rain. In Manila Saturday, a month’s worth of rain fell in just 12 hours.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 21, 2009

Turbulence on Northwest Airlines flight injures 47

Turbulence on Northwest Airlines flight injures 47

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Disasters and accidents

F5 tornado Elie Manitoba 2007.jpg
Related articles
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

A Northwest Airlines Boeing 747-400, similar to the one involved in the incident

47 people were injured on Friday after a Boeing 747-400, operated by Northwest Airlines, encountered severe turbulence on the Manila-Tokyo leg of a flight bound for Los Angeles. The aircraft was carrying 408 passengers and 14 crew members.

The aeroplane was circling off the coast of Chiba, east of Japan’s capital of Tokyo, waiting to land, when turbulence forced it to make a rapid descent.

Many of the passengers who were not wearing their seat belts were thrown out of their seats. Most sustained injuries to their heads and necks by colliding with overhead lockers. None of the injuries were life-threatening, although six of the injured are expected to be hospitalised for up to three weeks.

The aircraft landed safely at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, whereupon ambulances took the injured to nearby hospitals.

“I was so scared, I thought I would die,” said an unnamed passenger, describing the incident. “My whole body was lifted into the air.”

“The person in front of me flew up to the ceiling. The person behind me collapsed and looked unconscious,” another said.

“Air turbulence is believed to be the cause. The turbulence occurred 25 to 30 minutes before landing, when the seat belt light was on,” said a spokesman for Northwest Airlines, Masashi Takahashi. “During the flight, we received a message from the pilot saying two or three people were injured. But [the pilot] probably assessed that an emergency landing was not necessary,” he said to Agence France-Presse.

Northwest Airlines has stated that the seat belt sign was turned on during the incident.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 9, 2009

US Court of Appeals reduces sentence for former Philippines officer in spy case

US Court of Appeals reduces sentence for former Philippines officer in spy case

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Philippines
Other stories from the Philippines
…More articles here
Location of the Philippines

A map showing the location of the Philippines

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the Philippines, see the Philippines Portal
Flag of the Philippines.svg

Monday, February 9, 2009

Seal of the United States District Court of New Jersey.

Michael Ray Aquino, a former Philippines National Police officer serving six years imprisonment in McRae, Georgia for espionage could now be eligible for immediate release after a United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit judge panel Friday modified a United States District Court for the District of New Jersey’s judgment, ordering a resentence of the accused under more lenient guidelines.

“I feel relieved for Michael Aquino and his family. We won the appeal. Michael will be resentenced. His new sentencing range will be 36-46 months (that is, essentially time served). Aquino has now served exactly 41 months in prison to the day on Feb. 9, 2009,” Aquino’s lawyer, Mark A. Berman, Esq. said. “The accused pleaded guilty to merely to possessing military secrets, and a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Walls erred in using harsher sentencing guideline reserved gathering or transmitting classified documents,” Berman added.

But Federal prosecutors had argued for Walls’ sentence, alleging “his guilty plea included acknowledging the stolen documents could have been used to harm the United States, making him eligible for the stiffer sentence,” Christopher J. Christie, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey submitted. “Crimes like these strike at the heart of our national security because they involve our keeping our secrets secret. These defendants will face the full weight of federal prosecution,” said US Attorney Christie.

“The arrests of Leandro Aragoncillo and Michael Ray Aquino affirm the FBI’s commitment to apprehending those who would seek to reveal classified information to foreign nationals,” explained FBI Special Agent in Charge Leslie Wiser Jr. Both accused were ordered in judicial custody without bail by United States Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz in September 2005.

“While Aragoncillo was an active participant in the offense, Aquino’s role was purely passive,” wrote Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry in a written opinion promulgated Friday, in “US v Aquino” (No. 07-3202), an appealed case originating from D.C. Crim. No. 05-cr-00719. In the judgment, federal judges Barry, Michael Chagares and Jane A Restani, Chief Judge of the United States Court of International Trade, sitting by designation, have acknowledged that Judge William H. Walls’ interpretation of the harsher sentencing guideline was understandable, but the statute is imprecise. “Accordingly, we will vacate the judgment of sentence and remand for resentencing,” the panel ruled.

“The Honorable Maryanne Barry” is a United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit judge, daughter of Mary MacLeod Trump, who hails from Tong, Western Isles. Barry is the older sister of real estate mogul Donald Trump and the mother of David Desmond, who is a neuropsychologist and the author of the satirical novel Oliver Booth.

The espionage case was the first of its kind, obliging the Court to turn to the dictionary instead as a legal tool to resolve the landmark case. Circuit Judge Barry then used the 1993 version of the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary to define the word “obtain.” The pertinent part, pages 9 to 10 of the 13-page decision provides as follows:

First, Aquino never admitted—at least in so many words—that he “obtained” the documents found in his possession. According to Webster’s, “to obtain” means “to gain or attain possession or disposal of usu[ally] by some planned action or method.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 1559 (1993). This has an active connotation. At his sentencing hearing, Aquino answered in the affirmative when asked whether he had “receiv[ed]” documents (App. 44) that Aragoncillo “was providing” (App. 45) or “transmit[ting]” (App. 46). At no point was “planned action or method” on Aquino’s part even suggested. While Aragoncillo was an active participant in the offense, Aquino’s role was purely passive. In short, there is no sound textual basis for selecting either § 2M3.2 or § 2M3.3 to address Aquino’s retention offense at Step One. Fortunately, at Step Two, the Sentencing Commission provided guidance that makes it functionally irrelevant whether we begin our analysis at § 2M3.2 or § 2M3.3. Critically, the District Court did not heed what the Commission had said.
—”USA v. Michael Ray Aquino,” Case No. 07-3202, Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry

Judge Walls sentenced Aquino to 76 months imprisonment for violation of 18 United States Code 793(e), punishable under the harsher United States Sentencing Guidelines, 2M3.2, (Gathering National Defense Information, which imposes 35 years sentence if top secret and 30 years, if not) instead of the more lenient 2M3.3 (Transmitting National Defense Information, etc.)

Because of the Barry decision which modified the original Hall’s sentence, Aquino now faces 37 to 46 months imprisonment when he is resentenced by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Since he has already served 40 months, he could be immediately released.

But since he was initially arrested in September 2005 for tourist visa rules violations, he will be delivered by the judicial authorities to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services when he leaves McRae Correctional Institution in Georgia. Aquino will be processed for deportation. McRae is a city in Telfair County, Georgia, United States.

Christopher J. Christie, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Michael Ray Aquino was a former Deputy Directory of the Philippines National Police Intelligence Group and former senior superintendent of the now-disbanded Philippines Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force under former Philippines president Joseph Estrada.

On November 24, 2000, PR man Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito were kidnapped along the corner Zobel Roxas Street in Manila and the South Super Highway by gunmen believed to be members of the PNP. Four days after, the victims’ charred remains, consisting of burnt bones, metal dental plates and a ring, were later found in Barangay Buna Lejos, Indang, Cavite. Both victims were killed by strangulation.

P/Col. Glenn Galapon Dumlao, one of the accused, named former Po/Supt. Cezar O. Mancao II and former S/Supt. Michael Ray Aquino as the brains behind the crime. Mancao and Aquino were members of Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force or PAOCTF, headed by then Gen. Panfilo Lacson. Suspects Mancao and Aquino left the country after being implicated in the heinous crime. Dumlao disappeared afterwards but later resurfaced in the US.

In 2005, murder cases were filed in Philippine courts and arrests warrants were issued against accused Dumlao, Aquino and Mancao. Dumlao, a resident of Patchogue, New York was arrested and held without bail on November 20, 2008 by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge William D. Wall. On December 10, Dumlao was ordered extradited to the Philippines by Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Long Island, New York.

The initial hearing of the extradition case of Dumlao’s co-accused, Mancao II, now detained in Florida, was held on December 3, in the US District Court in Southern Florida in Fort Lauderdale. Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez had requested the US Justice Department to extradite Mancao and Dumlao to face murder charges in the Philippines. An extradition hearing has yet to be initiated for Aquino, although, as trusted officer of then PNP chief, now senator, Panfilo Lacson, was also requested for extradition by the Philippine government to face trial for the Dacer-Corbito double murder.

“Sir, the other day Leandro ‘Lean’ Aragoncillo called me. … He wants to talk to you and give you some updates on the political situation in the country,” wrote Aquino in an e-mail of January 2005 to his former boss Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. “I find all the information that you are sending me very useful. I hope you will continue sending more,” replied Sen. Lacson in an e-mail he allegedly sent in January 2005 to Aragoncillo. “By no means would you show this information. … I will be affected severely. Again, please protect the source – Me,” said Aragoncillo in an E-mail he allegedly sent in August 2005 to former Philippines President Joseph Estrada.

In March 2005, Aquino was arrested by immigration authorities for overstaying his visa. He contacted his friend, Leandro Aragoncillo, a Philippine-born civilian FBI Intelligence Analyst, who worked in the White House (between 1999 and 2002) as “administration chief” of the security detail assigned to the Vice President (Gore and then Cheney). However, Aragoncillo’s efforts on Aquino’s behalf eventually led to Aragoncillo being investigated by the FBI. In the course of that investigation, evidence of espionage against the United States Government was uncovered.

Richard A. Clarke, a former White House adviser.

According to reports complied by Filipino intelligence professionals, there were indications of a link between Aragoncillo and the French intelligence service, Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure. Frequent visits by Aragoncillo to Manila allegedly were interspersed with clandestine meetings between identified, French operatives and several “illegals” (i.e. unregistered agents) around 2002 to 2004.

“What it means is that there is a hole in White House security. There are two kinds of people at the White House: Those that have been very well-vetted and those that have been extremely well-vetted and have access to the top secret computer network. This man had access to the top secret computer network.” said Richard A. Clarke, a former White House adviser.

“The FBI said Aragoncillo was concerned about e-mailing from his personal account so many classified documents from FBI computers, and he asked one recipient, Filipino opposition Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, whether he was a nuisance. “The reply, court records say, came back two days later in a cell phone message intercepted by the FBI: “What you are sending are never a nuisance to me. They are in fact informative and very useful,” Clark added.

In September 2005, Aragoncillo, a retired US Marine Gunnery Sergeant with 21 years service was suspended by the FBI, and arrested for violation of Title 18 of the US Code, Sections 371 and 951, admitting espionage activities from August 2000 to August 2005, and taking files while working under VP Cheney from 2001-2002, including giving information to another country.

In July 2007, Aragoncillo, age 50, a naturalized US citizen residing in Woodbury, New Jersey was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for “transferring classified information to assist in overthrow of Philippines government.” Aragoncillo, admitted passing information by cellphone text messages and e-mail messages through Hotmail and Yahoo accounts, to Aquino, former President Joseph Estrada, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and opposition politicians, who wanted to oust Mrs. Arroyo, including former House Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella, according to court documents. He will be released from Federal Correction Institute in Big Spring, Texas on May 28, 2014.

The court fined Aragoncillo $40,000. “I never intended to cause harm or injury to the United States,” Aragoncillo told the judge. In July 2007, Sen. Panfilo Lacson as well as deposed president Joseph Estrada have admitted to receiving information from Aquino, but they denied any conspiracy. “Aquino is determined not to return to the country,” said Sen. Lacson, who admitted extending financial support to Aquino and his family.

In July, 2008, Sabina and Carina Dacer, the daughters of missing public relations man Salvador “Bubby” Dacer testified at the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC), after almost eight years of self-exile in the United States. “In his exact words he said, ‘mga anak, kung may mangyari sa akin, walang ibang may kakagawan noon kundi si Ping Lacson, (my daughters, if anything happens to me, no one but Ping Lacson is responsible)” Sabina Dacer told ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. “Hindi naman kilala ng daddy ko si Michael Ray Aquino as far as we know eh. So kung hindi siya kilala ng daddy ko, sino yung kilala niya na kilala ng daddy ko? (My dad does not know Michael Ray Aquino as far as we know. So, if my dad does not know him, whom does he know that my dad knows?)” Carina Dacer said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson has vehemently denied any involvement in the Dacer-Corbito murder case. “For the Nth time, I will assert the truth that I had nothing to do with it,” said Lacson in a text message. “They can lie and make people lie even under oath and before a court of law to make me look bad and guilty in the Dacer case. In fact, right after Dacer disappeared, the family sought my help… And I responded the way I should as a law enforcement officer at that time,” Lacson explained.

On Saturday, September 10, 2005, Aquino was also arrested at Queens, New Jersey and was charged with conspiracy and acting as an agent of a foreign official in the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, presided by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls. Aquino was accused of helping Aragoncillo transmit classified United States documents regarding President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to her opponents in the Philippines, including both former President Joseph Estrada and current opposition leader, Panfilo Lacson, who had been Aquino’s superior in the police force.

Map of the geographic boundaries of the various United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts.

In an indictment of 6 Oct 2005 signed and filed by United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie, the Grand Jury sitting at Newark, New Jersey, accused Aquino with charges of – “knowingly communicating classified information by a government employee to an agent or representative of a foreign country (i.e. receiving classified information), acting as an agent of a foreign official without notification of the Attorney General, in violation of Title 18 of the US Code, Section 951, conspiracy to commit all of the above offenses in violation of Title 18 of the US Code, Section 371, and not cooperating with authorities, under Title 18 of the US Code, Section 2.

Under an eventual plea-bargain agreement, Aquino entered a plea of guilty to illegal possession of classified documents, but avoided the more serious charge of espionage which Aragoncillo received. On July 17, 2007, Aquino was sentenced to six years and four months in prison by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls. Federal prosecutors had sought the maximum 10-year term.

Aquino “did subject our nation to some peril,” ruled Judge Walls. “I am sorry for what I did. I never had the intention to harm the United States. I love this country,” said Aquino who addressed the court for three minutes before sentencing, and apologized. On November 21, 2008 his reduced sentence request was submitted to the appellate court.

Meantime, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is monitoring developments in the Aquino espionage case. “Of course we are interested in his case, but all we can do is to wait for the outcome of the case of Michael Ray in the US,” said a police official.

The Alliance for A Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines has criticized the judgment: “For the AJLPP the news of the release proves that the charade of injustice is ever present when it comes to the cabal of AFP men who served as worst human rights violator and proven puppets of the United States military like the Lacson boys,” the AJLPP said. “On the other cases of oppressed immigrants like the Baoanan case languishes in courts and not acted upon. So much for double standard of American justice system.” The AJLPP statement concluded.



Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Michael Ray Aquino, Espionage and Title 18 of the United States Code on Wikipedia.
Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 29, 2009

Philippine fireworks factory explosion kills at least 8, injures 70 more

Philippine fireworks factory explosion kills at least 8, injures 70 more

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Philippines
Other stories from the Philippines
…More articles here
Location of the Philippines

A map showing the location of the Philippines

To write, edit, start or view other articles on the Philippines, see the Philippines Portal
Flag of the Philippines.svg

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Map of Cavite showing the location of Trece Martires City, site of the explosion.

A powerful blast has razed a fireworks factory 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the Philippines capital Manila shortly before noon on Thursday, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 70 others, Cavite Governor Ayong Maliksi said.

Four of the eight fatalities have already been identified by factory officials. They are: Clodelio Iso, Rodelio Iso, Marlon Rodrin, Angelo Francisco and Gerardo Amparo. The fire was declared to be out at around 2:33 p.m. local time (UTC+8).

Most of the explosion victims were employees of the Starmaker Fireworks Factory (SFF) located in Barangay Conchu, Trece Martires City. They were rushed to the General Emilio Aguinaldo Memorial Hospital, Korean-Philippines Friendship Hospital, Treceno Medical Pavillion and Mark Jem Hospital, and are still being treated for third-degree burns and cuts from glass shards, said Ryan Lucero, acting area manager of SFF factory and the Office of the Civil Defense-Regional Disaster Coordinating Center.

Richard Rivera, SFF spokesman, said the firm meets “global security standards.” Founded in 1995, the firm pioneered synchronized music and pyrotechnics, which it also exported to other countries. SFF has promised to extend aid to the blast victims. “The company is saddened over what happened,” he said. The accidental fire sparked by the fireworks blast has spread to the nearby Yoshita corporation.

Several houses and a church near the fireworks factory were also damaged by the powerful blast which created several craters inside the factory’s compound. One crater measured at least 200 meters wide. “It was really frightening. We scampered for safety because the ground was shaking and on fire. Then, body parts started flying around together with metal and wooden debris,” said Juanito Salvatos, a gardener who was near the factory.

Some examples of consumer fireworks manufactured (by Starmaker Fireworks Factory in Conchu, Trece Martires City): Roman candles, rockets, artillery shells, rockets, artillery shell combo shot, a Roman candle-like combo shot, firecrackers, jumping jacks, nonlight-emitting effect fireworks, smoke balls, and some punks.

According to Cavite police Superintendent Reynaldo Galam, the mutilated bodies of two men and a woman were recovered outside the SFF compound near a residential area in Trece Martires city. Jonathan Seramillo, Cavite NBI medico legal officer, said a commercial area, including the Cavite Provincial Capitol, suffered damages even both are one kilometer away from the explosion site, while 2 vehicles were also damaged.

“The 10:45 a.m. explosion inside the half hectare SFF pyrotechnics compound was so loud that it was heard as far as 500 meters away from the scene of the blast,” said Galam. “The explosion was so powerful that it broke window panes even at the municipal hall more than a kilometer away,” said Mayor Melencio de Sagun Jr. The explosion has also caused part of the factory roof to land more than 1.5km (1 mile) away, and toppled concrete walls.

Sagun Jr. has cited reports that “the incident stemmed from a test of fireworks that went awry,” adding that the fireworks were to be delivered to the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. “The one who tested it violated a rule barring testing inside the compound,” he added, and explained that the factory is inside an industrial zone. The blast has also shattered the glass of two adjacent semi-conductor plants, injuring some of the employees.

“Shockwaves shattered windows and toppled concrete fences of nearby homes, knocking out electricity and raining down unexploded fireworks in the area,” said Army Col. Romeo Ucag, who assisted in putting out the blaze, adding, “he heard the explosion and saw a thick column of smoke from his post in Tanza, Cavite, six miles (10 kilometers) north of Trece Martires.”

Amid thick black smoke enveloping the fireworks factory three hours after the explosion, human body parts have scattered meters away from the fireworks factory. “There are body parts scattered outside,” said Galam, adding that “police and health officials were trying to account for the estimated 100 staff.” According to Senior Superintendent Hernando Zafra, director of the Cavite provincial police, “they could not yet determine the cause of the explosion, which was heard by people three kilometers away from the site.”

Authorities have also continued to sift through the rubble of the explosion. Zafra has said most of the victims could not be identified because their bodies have been dismembered and charred beyond recognition. Earlier, he has counted 43 people inside the factory being treated for injuries. Zafra has further noted that police arson investigators and National Bureau of Investigation officials are on the site to probe the cause of the explosion. Frederick Bragas of the OCD-RDCC 4-A said “forensic experts are now determining the identities of the fatalities.”



Related news

Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Fireworks
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Trece Martires City

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress