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/ 12:29 AM June 04, 2011

Iglesia Ni Cristo members sue Diokno

Members of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) filed a criminal complaint against resigned New Bilibid Prison (NBP) chief Ernesto Diokno and two others for not allowing them to perform worship services. In consolidated sworn affidavits, some 2,000 INC members detained at the NBP maximum and medium security compounds said Diokno, together with Superintendent Richard Schwarzkopf and Fr. Robert Olaguer, violated Sections 3 of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) for causing undue injury to them. The complainants said respondents directed NBP prison guards not to allow the minister of INC assigned to officiate the worship services to enter the premises of the two compounds last May 1 and 5 at 12:45 p.m. and on May 7 and 8 at 9:00 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Complainants added that the jail guards informed them that that there was a memorandum/ order issued by respondents relative to the change of schedule of visiting day and visiting hours allowed for religious workers. Tetch Torres, INQUIRER.net

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Malaysian arrested

Bureau of Immigration (BI) agents, along with naval intelligence operatives, arrested a Malaysian believed to be a member of an international terrorist group operating in Mindanao. Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said Abdul Aziz Usman, also known as Aziz Bin Othman was arrested on May 28 in Barangay (village) Inawayan, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur by joint elements of the BI’s Mindanao intelligence unit and the Philippine Navy’s intelligence command in Region 11. David said Usman, 50, was nabbed together with his aide Omar Abu, also believed to be a Malaysian national. They were arrested after months of intensive surveillance by authorities on their activities. The immigration chief added that Usman is suspected to be a finance officer for a terrorist group closely associated with the Abu Sayyaf bandit group and the al-Qaida network of slain terror leader Osama Bin Laden. Usman had been meeting with various groups in the Davao provinces, according to the BI. “He could not present any travel documents, thus we will deport him for being an undocumented alien,” David said. Usman reportedly arrived from Sabah, Malaysia on May 9. Jerome Aning

Graft raps vs ex-Sulu governor

The former governor of Sulu, Benjamin Loong, will face criminal charges for graft-ridden livelihood and infrastructure projects he pushed in 2007, the Office of the Ombudsman said. Acting Ombudsman Orlando C. Casimiro ordered the filing of criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan against Loong and Konah Hajib, a private individual and chairman of Bawisan Multi-Purpose Cooperative for anomalies involving agricultural facilities and public infrastructure. Casimiro said Loong and Hajib violated several provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. BJ Construction and Material Supply, Inc. and BJ Coco Oil Mill, Inc. were also ordered charged. The case against the two men stemmed from the construction of an ice plant with cold storage and a cassava production/post harvest facility costing P8.2M and P4.2M, respectively. Loong was also accused of securing public road projects for his other company, BJ Construction and Material Supply Inc. Kristine L. Alave

New UN science body chair

Science and Technology Undersecretary Fortunato dela Pena was elected chairman of the United Nations’ Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD), according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).  Dela Peña now chairs the 15th Session of the prestigious UNCSTD at its 14th Session in Geneva. “Undersecretary Dela Peña’s election serves as international recognition of the country’s role and efforts in promoting science and technology and the use of information and communications technology for development,” the DFA said in a statement Friday. The UNCSTD is an agency tasked in promoting science and technology for development. It is mandated by the Economic and Social Council to oversee the system-wide follow-up, including the review and assessment of progress made in implementing the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It also helps promote technologies that address global challenges, the DFA added. Tina G. Santos

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TAGS: Benjamin Loong, Bureau of Immigration, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Diokno, Fortunato dela Pena, Iglesia ni Cristo, INC, New Bilibid Prison, United Nations’ Commission on Science and Technology for Development
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