News Briefs: Dec. 24, 2018
Appeals court clears Arroyo in P5.4-M case
The Court of Appeals has dismissed a P5.4-million damage suit filed against Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in connection with the extrajudicial killing and torture of five members of the militant United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) when she was still President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The UCCP and the victims’ families accused military agents of killing and torturing pastors Edison Lapuz, Raul Domingo and Andy Pawican, church leader Noel Capulong and church worker Joel Baclao Jr.
Pastor Berlin Guerrero survived kidnapping and torture.
In a decision on Dec. 17, the Court of Appeals’ Special 14th Division upheld the September 2016 ruling of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 226 that dismissed the case. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Abu bandit linked to Basilan kidnap nabbed
Police have arrested in Binondo, Manila, a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group tagged in the kidnapping of 15 plantation workers in Basilan province 17 years ago.
Members of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) arrested the suspect, who identified himself as Sudais Asmad on Dec. 20.
Asmad, better known by his aliases of Sen, Abu Nas, Suhud or Jul, belongs to a faction of Abu Sayyaf led by Furuji Indama, according to Director Guillermo Eleazar, chief of NCRPO.
Eleazar said Asmad, who claimed to be a delivery boy, was wanted for the kidnapping of 15 Golden Harvest Plantation workers in Lantawan town on June 11, 2001.
“During that time, the Abu Sayyaf members used minors in committing the crime, and the arrested suspect was one of them. But he was definitely not 8 years old during that time,” he said. —Dexter Cabalza
Oil firms cut diesel, gasoline prices by P1
Seaoil, PTT and Phoenix on Saturday cut the prices of diesel and gasoline by P1 per liter, as global oil prices continued to decline despite plans by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut output in January.
With the big oil companies expected to follow suit, the latest price adjustments would mean that the price per liter of diesel would be just 25 centavos higher than in the last week of 2017, excluding the P2.80 per liter tax imposed under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act.
Gasoline is P1.20 cheaper than its end-2017 price. —Ronnel W. Domingo