2006 – 2010
Lias folk hit parole of Batan’s killer
By Arthur L. Allad-Iw of Northern Dispatch
Feb. 03, 2010
BAGUIO CITY – The tribe mates and friends of a human rights worker killed in 1993 by members of the CAFGU petitioned the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) of the Department of Justice not to recommend the parole and/or executive clemency for one of the convicted killers of their tribemate.
The petitioners stated that the release through parole of convicted killer Agustin Tao-ad Agpawan, a CAFGU who was among the five killers of Christopher L. Batan, posed a threat to their lives and the witnesses and, worse, he had not shown remorse for the murder of their tribemate.
Signed by 200 tribemates and friends of Batan, the petitioners claimed that Agpawan has not really exhibited sincere and unconditional apologies for his wrongdoing, but instead continuously resorts to dirty tactics by using other people to threaten them for continuing to seek justice for Batan.
“In fact, he has not yet paid civil liabilities and indemnities imposed by the court upon him since his conviction up to the present,” read the statement which they sent January 28 to BPP Executive Director Reynaldo G. Bayang, DOJ Secretary Agnes Devanadera, and Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The petitioners also pointed out that the release of Agpawan would jeopardize the arrest of other two accused, who are still at large allegedly due to political connections.
Nordis learned that Agpawan, Bonifacio Chumacog, Panyong Rongan, Kengeb Fayno, and Mathew “Mateo” Fanao opened fire on Christopher L. Batan, Anglican Priest Eduardo Solang, and Mila Fanaang while the trio were on their way near Betwagan village, Sadanga, Mountain Province to document human rights violations in the area. The incident led to the death of Batan while the two survivors became witnesses on the case.
The Batans are members of the Lias tribe of Barlig, an eastern town of Mountain Province while the accused are members of the Betwagan tribe. The killing of Batan severed the peace pact between the two tribes.
Agpawan was arrested in 1993 while Chumacog in 2004. Both were convicted by the Regional Trial Court in this city where the case was transferred through the order of the Supreme Court, as there were threats against the Batan family and witnesses in Bontoc.
Rongan allegedly surrendered in 2007 and is being tried in the RTC of this city while Fayno and Fanao, who became Betwagan Barangay Captain and Sadanga president of the Association of Barangay Captains after the killing, remain at large.
“I oppose the parole recommended for Agpawan as he will surely jeopardize the manhunt for his other co-accused,” said Engr. Aurelio A. Falinchao, a childhood friend and a tribe mate of Batan. He pointed out that they fear acts of violence from Agpawan since a parole will not actually curtail him and could even grant him total freedom once in Betwagan.
Earlier on January 12, Batan’s brother Cirilo also sent opposition to the BPP recommendation for Agpawan’s parole. Both moves to oppose the parole were reactions to the BPP published ad on January in a national paper where the agency notify those against the recommendation to oppose it within 15 days from publication. (Written by Arthur Allad-Iw of www.nordis.net) Source Link: http://dateline.ph/?p=5897
Barlig folks get citrus seedlings form DOLE
Source: DOLE-CAR, Feb. 02, 2010
BARLIG, Mountain Province – The Department of Labor and Employment regional office has turned over a total of 1,500 ponkan orange seedlings to 100 beneficiaries from Silangan and Kanluran Lias barangays in this municipality.
For continuation please click: http://dolecar.net/viewer.php?newsID=31
Barlig town provides college educational loan for poor students
PIA Press Release, 09/ 02/ 2008
By Juliet. B. Saley
Barlig, Mt. Province (13 September) — To make education truly available to its constituents and to increase the chances of the youth of this municipality to finish college, the municipal government here has enacted an ordinance providing a College Education Loan Fund (CELF) that caters to the financial need of the students.
Qualified to avail of this program are poor but deserving students currently enrolled or intending to enroll in any colleges or universities, bonafide residents of the municipality. A certification from the Punong Barangay is required certifying that the student belongs to the 50 percent income bracket.
Under this program, each qualified student is entitled to borrow an amount of P2,500 to cover tuition and other school fees to be paid in full or installment within six months without any interest except payment of P10.00 service fee.
To ensure the success implementation of this program, an Educational Loan Committee was organized with the Municipal Mayor as the Chairman and the vice chairman is the Chairman, SB Committee on Appropriation. Members of the committee include the ABC President, Municipal Social, Welfare and Development Officer, Municipal Treasurer, Municipal Budget Officer, and the Municipal Accountant.
The committee is tasked to determine the necessary supporting documents of the loan; evaluate and approve loan application; source out additional funds; collect loan payments; and other functions as the committee may formulate. (PIA-MP)
Displaced workers press suspension of MP execs
February 26, 2008
By Dexter A. See
BONTOC, Mountain Province – A number of displaced workers in the Barlig municipal government petitioned the provincial board to issue a preventive suspension against several municipal officials to prevent acts of oppression, abuse of authority, destruction of evidence and tyranny in public office and in the interest of justice.
Barlig town mayor Magdalena K. Lupoyon, Vice-Mayor Edmundo C. Sidchayao and councilors Rockybal S. Dakillay, Fernando Y. Cablog and Ben C. Banya-ao have been charged before the provincial board for grave misconduct, abuse of authority and oppression for allegedly deliberately deleting the positions of four permanent employees appointed by the previous administration without just cause and due process.
In a rejoinder to an earlier complaint, Minda Bagano, Pablo Festiken and Remicio N. Chalway argued that the concerned municipal officials have the same thinking in upholding the acts of the mayor in protecting her reported despotic and whimsical exercise of her powers which is to the detriment of permanent employees like them.
The municipal council reportedly passed an ordinance abolishing the positions of the four employees even if the Commission on Audit and the Civil Service Commission came out with an earlier position that the municipal government could appoint them to their respective positions even without the approval of the 2007 municipal budget provided that the positions they are supposed to occupy are included in the budget.
The complainants pointed out that there is no need to presume what demeanor the officials have by perusing all the records. Certainly, the municipal budget officer did not sign the certificate of availability of funds for the salaries of the affected workers because from the very start, she allegedly intended to delete their positions from the executive budget.
Worst, the mayor allegedly constructively dismissed Bagano by assigning her to act as a midwife in one of the remote areas of the town in order for her to be unable to pursue the case.
Under the guise of streamlining the rank and file, she allegedly disallowed the Bagano to perform her duties as a sanitary inspector by not recognizing her reports.
Ironically, the mayor appointed a certain Julieva Tumayab to act as the sanitary inspector to replace Bagano, thus, the approval of sanitary permits in the town has now been prejudiced because of the refusal of the designated municipal health officer to approve Bagano’s reports due to the alleged oppressive orders of the mayor in constructively dismissing her.
Barlig has now two sanitary inspectors performing the same functions, one who is acting in a permanent capacity which happens to be Bagano and another appointed in a contractual capacity who happens to be Tumayab.
The provincial board is currently conducting an investigation on the administrative case filed against Barlig municipal officials but the complainants asserted that preventive suspension is a necessary remedy in cases where respondents have eminent and actual premeditated attempt and design to influence evidences against them.
Barlig town pushes local tourism
PIA Press Release: 2006/03/07
BARLIG, Mt. Province (7 March) — The potentials of the tourism industry for strengthened business opportunities and job generation has enticed the local leadership of this idyllic town to support tourism not only as an economic undertaking but also as a way of promoting the municipality’s rich historic and cultural heritage.
With the encouragement of the entry of tourists, the municipality is undertaking efforts to improve tourism services to protect both the interest of the tourists and the LGU. One such effort is the regulation of tourism and tourism guide service in Barlig to ensure that only the best services are offered.
Under Municipal Ordinance No. 35 enacted by the Sangguniang Bayan in November 2005 and approved by mayor Crispin Fias-ilon, a tourism guide service composed of qualified and duly licensed tourist guides will be established in the municipality.
A tourist guide must be of legal age and resident of Barlig municipality, of good moral character and in good health, and must have a sufficient knowledge of the terrain, landmarks, culture and history of Barlig, and must be duly licensed and accredited by the Municipal Tourism Council.
The guides are primarily responsible in providing guide services and assistance to tourists and guests coming to the municipality. They will also assist in promoting tourism, in preserving and protecting cultural landmarks, markers, tourism spots and other memorabilia, and in showcasing the cultural heritage practices and traditional crafts of Barlig municipality.
The guides will also be deputized as agents of the municipal government against vandalism, destruction and other undesirable practices against tourism spots and sites, landmarks and culture of the community.
A tourist guide who violates the Association’s constitution and by laws shall be fined P300 and will be meted perpetual disqualification from becoming a licensed tourist guide.
Barlig is dubbed the “Shangrila of the East” with its cool climate and thick forest cover. It is where Mount Amuyao is, the third highest peak in the country waiting to be conquered. The municipality is also known for its intricately designed ‘pasiking’ or woven bamboo backpack. (PIA)
Arrested mayor ‘admits’ extortion
June 19, 2006. Sunstar Baguio.
By Ernie N. Olson Jr
THE arrest of Mayor Crispin Arazon Fias-ilon of Barlig, Mountain Province in an entrapment operation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) last Friday may lead to the opening of a “can of worms” if a deeper investigation would be made on all local government officials nationwide.
The option for a deeper investigation was seen after Fias-ilon admitted that he committed the crime when questioned by Sun.Star on why it was only him who was arrested for receiving a commission for approving a government bid “when it is being done by other officials.”
The receipt of commissions by officials empowered to approve government contracts for goods or services is called SOP or standard operating procedure.
NBI Regional Director Ricardo Pangan Jr. said that Fias-ilon was arrested during an entrapment operation inside a restaurant at the Malcolm Square last June 16.
The arrest of the mayor for alleged robbery-extortion and a violation of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corruption Law stemmed from the complaint of Helen Dizon Ayeras, owner-manager of Blessed St. John Pharmaceutical Distribution located at the Otek Business Center, and Anthony Calabias Costes, a medical representative of the same firm.
“The complainants reported that sometime in March 2006, their firm won in the bidding for the supply of medicines and surgical supplies to Barlig, and that they delivered the items the following month,” Pangan said.
Costes said that while on his way to Barlig last June 9 to collect the payment, he met Fias-ilon who reportedly instructed him to see him in Bontoc, the capital of Mountain Province, where the mayor reportedly showed him a cheque payment of P302,748.55, but allegedly demanded for 15 percent of the amount or P45,412.28 as “commission.”
He said that Fias-ilon then decided to get his commission from them in Baguio.
But before Fias-ilon’s arrival in Baguio, Ayeras and Costes lodged a formal complaint with the NBI based in Cordillera last June 13 and requested for the mayor’s arrest.
On June 15, Fias-ilon was said to have proceeded to the pharmaceutical office. Since the complainants were not around at the time, he allegedly informed Ayeras’ husband Arnold that he will return the following day.
The following day, Costes informed the assigned agents – Andrew Bacayan and lawyer Darwin Lising – that “Fias-ilon was insistently demanding for his commission and that he has to collect it this day.”
Pangan then mobilized a team to conduct the entrapment with four P500 marked bills to be used for the operation.
Over an hour later, Fias-ilon reportedly went back to the complainants’ office and allegedly instructed Costes to meet him in Sunshine Restaurant near the People’s Park.
With the information, the NBI agents, posing as customers, positioned themselves strategically inside and outside the restaurant and waited for the mayor to personally receive the marked money placed inside an envelope.
After Fias-ilon received and was about to count the money, the entrapment team swooped down on him and effected the arrest.
It was when he was brought to the NBI-CAR later that an ultraviolet examination was conducted on his hands where it was confirmed that he had flourescent specks and smudges on both palms.
2000 – 2005
Convict Names Three Other Killers
For HR worker’s slay 12 years ago
Baguio court issues arrest warrants for 3 CAFGUs
Typical of how the pace of justice grinds slowly, the case of the killing of a human rights worker in this province 12 years ago remains unsolved. A woman judge whose court has taken over the case has an order that human rights watchdogs hope should seal the case once and for all.
By Arthur L. Allad-Iw
BONTOC, Mountain Province – Typical of how the pace of justice grinds slowly, the case of the killing of a human rights worker in this province 12 years ago remains unsolved. A woman judge whose court has taken over the case has an order that human rights watchdogs hope should seal the case once and for all.
Judge Iluminada Cabato-Cortes of Branch 59 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Baguio City issued a second warrant of arrest Aug. 18 on three members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in connection with the killing Christopher Batan, a volunteer of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), in 1993.
The first warrant of arrest was issued July 5 but no arrests were made.
The arrest warrants named Mateo Fanao, Kengeb Fayno, and Panyong Rongan, who sources said are active CAFGU members in Betwagan town and have been freely roaming since the killing. The three belong to the Betwagan tribe of Sadanga town in Mountain Province.
Two of their co-accused are in jail.
Copies of Judge Cabato-Cortes’ arrest order were sent to the Philippine National Police (PNP) station commander of Sadanga town, the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Northern Dispatch sources say that the three accused are under the command of 1st Lt. Julio Sakupaso, commander of the Alpha Company, 77th IB based in the capital town of this province.
Since the arrest of the three was not carried out based on the first warrant, the second warrant issued on Aug. 18 directed 1st Lt. Sakupaso to immediately arrest the three.
Documents obtained by NORDIS show that the three had remained unidentified when the murder case was filed against the CAFGU perpetrators. It was only when a second culprit was arrested and jailed that the three were identified.
Court documents show that on Feb. 23, 1993, a CAFGU team fired at Batan, Anglican priest Eduardo Solang, and Mila Fanaang, who were on their way to Betwagan after crossing the Chico River. Batan was hit first on the hip but a second close-range shot caused his instant death.
Batan’s companions who were unhurt ran for safety and later called for help to bring Batan’s body home.
The three were in the area to document for a class suit human rights violations committed during the Marcos period.
A case was later filed in Bontoc against the two identified perpetrators and the three John Does. Due to the severance of the relationship of Batan’s Lias tribe of Barlig and the Betwagan, the Batan family petitioned the Supreme Court, through their lawyers, that the case be transferred to Baguio City so as not to frustrate justice. The high court granted the petition.
Agustin Agpawan was the first accused to be arrested. He was convicted by the court as among the principals for the conspiracy to murder Batan. He appealed to the higher court, which affirmed the decision of Branch 59.
Ten years after the murder, another accused Bonifacio Chumacog was arrested and on June 29, 2004, pleaded guilty to the murder charge. The court sentenced him with reclusion perpetua or life sentence.
Trio identities revealed
A month after his conviction, Chumacog revealed the identities of his three companions.
“I am not yet at peace with myself and God in as much as the deceased Batan has not been given full justice since three of my companions who are as guilty as I am remain at large,” he said in his notarized affidavit.
In his affidavit, Chumacog narrated that at about 3 p.m. on Feb. 23, 1993, Agpawan approached Fayno and Rongan in the “ator” (socio-political institution). Agpawan asked them to bring their firearms as they were going to meet a group of persons.
With their firearms, they waited for Batan’s group in the area. He alleged that Agpawan separated from the group and positioned himself about 25 meters from the approaching group. Agpawan hit Batan’s hip and Fanao commanded him to go closer and shoot Batan with his M 14. His companions served as lookouts. They later fled and left Batan’s body, Chumacog said.
NORDIS sources said that Fanao was even elected barangay captain (village chief) of Betwagan after his alleged involvement in the murder.
Meanwhile, human rights groups and advocates in the region have urged the authorities to immediately arrest the three accused. They decried why one of the accused could have run for public office. NORDIS / Posted by Bulatlat. 2005.
Source Link: http://www.bulatlat.com/news/5-32/5-32-baguio.htm
Barlig ex-councilor kidnapped by NPAs?
March 26, 2003 SUNSTAR Baguio
CAMP DANGWA — Authorities are looking into the possibility that an engineer from Barlig, Mt. Province, who was reportedly missing since last month, has been kidnapped by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.
Reports said that Rudy Fokno, 45, a one-time councilor of Barlig town, but who has since migrated to Flora in Apayao, has been the subject of a search by his village mates since last month.
Earlier reports said that Fokno’s neighbor, Pablo Biten, a native of Fedilisan, Sagada, was earlier found dead in a river in Barangay Kamalulug, Flora, Apayao.
The cause of his death was not conclusive, but a source reported that the body was in a state of decomposition upon discovery.
Reports revealed that on February 23, natives of Barlig who reside in Tabuk, Kalinga, were reported to have proceeded to Barangay Kamalulug where Fokno had bought five hectares of agricultural land and where his house was built three years ago, to look for him.
His house was found to be in order except that his kitchen seemed untouched and food was spoiled on the table. His service vehicle was recovered at the residence of an Isneg native from whom Fokno bought the farmland, which is where Fokno usually parks his vehicle before trekking for an hour to his farm.
No witness has emerged to narrate the circumstances of his disappearance indicating that the feared natives may have caused his disappearance.
It was learned that Mt. Province Police Director, Supt. William Aspilan, has dispatched a team of police personnel from Barlig to help in the search, which turned out with negative results. HP