Archive for October, 2008

OPINION: History in a hurry

Posted in AGR davao del norte, anthony rafael g. del rosario davao del norte, atty. jennifer namoc, cha music, miko's brew, miko's brew tagum, rufo peligro, sidlak news with tags , , , on October 28, 2008 by cha monforte


By Cha Monforte

oct 27

Journalism, someone said, “is history in a hurry”. The news that comes out now becomes accumulating details for summarizing history in the future. And so, at the hands of a journalist lies constantly developing stories, sans those news stories of one-shot, short shelf life. But whatever, such news might be later be a relevant part one day in history.

For this, especially in print daily, a journalist is faced everyday of beating the deadline. Always he sends his story immediately after it unfolds to his outlet on or before the deadline set by the editor as there are still series of works to do involving machines, working men and newsboys before the news gets to the hands of the readers the early morning after. Sidlak is one of these.

At the age of the Internet, there are now news outfits in the country that updates its news from time to time in a day in their websites. Just visit the good online sites of GMA TV, the Inquirer, or Philippine Star. Traditional media converging with net and cellphone technologies is today’s challenge in the country. Innovative print media or journalists in the provinces wanting to share their news and information to the world, outside the localities where their papers are in circulation, have now the free blogs to seize on. I’m doing this since June although in two days delayed to give exclusivity and justice to Sidlak which funds for my newsgathering.

Now thanks again to the web’s e-mail feature. Now, at least I have a lot or Internet cafes anywhere, in Tagum, in most of Comval towns, wherever I cover, to choose from to send my news stories since I have no laptop and purse to seize on the free WIFI like at Miko’s Brew, where coffee latte is not–of course- free. Sidlak has email address intentionally flashed daily right at its front page so readers and sources could send contributions, comments, reactions or sides from any party, aggrieved or not. This is the latest technology, and by e-mail’s speed in delivering messages in seconds, let’s avail it.

In freer Manila, journalists are better off. Besides the higher remuneration and abundant centers of news of journalists of the Big Club that come with the Imperial Manila as the center of everything and the national market and audience, most important is that they are situated in a freer milieu , in liberated zones where news sources aren’t afraid to be identified as news sources and often they are properly attributed in the news. In the provinces, there is a gulf of difference as often sources of news, which is “sensitive”, or that which may step on someone’s toes, have the tendency to beg not to be named or to speak only on the condition of anonymity to the Small Club journalists.

This is compounded by the tendency of public officials in the provinces to be mum, to tombstone or not to reply to media issues about them or reply to gut issues head on. The worst is they become onion-skinned. If this situation would have its way, then we’re left to have no public interest news at all, and PIA apologists would be happy churning out their always positive devcom news for the government. Press Sec. Jess Dureza should better be apprised on these difficulties than telling all and sundry, brimming last week on the caveat about “efforts of the press to get the side of Mr. So and So proved futile”. It’s easily said than done in countrysides newspapering- except perhaps to Cong. Anton Lagdameo, who is a stand out among the big Davnor and Comval politicians for always texting us his replies, even long, when we did ask for his statement on burning issues of the day. So he got for several times front-page treatment on the next day.

There are cases that since the information given by the source who spoke on anonymity is one issue of public interest, especially about one who occupies a public position (not private citizen), so the news of the source comes out on the news values  of immediacy and public interest, with us relying that the subject who cannot be immediately reached at a time near to the deadline can have all his reply on the next day or next immediate days.

It wasn’t Friday (daily Sidlak has no issues on Saturdays and Sundays), but Monday last week when we did run the story about AGR’s alleged frequent stay in Manila. On the next day, his reply “Not true” did see another banner headline to give fairness to him, in equal space and prominence. I made sure I could interview him at Tahanan on the day Press Sec. Dureza came as the guest of NPC-Davnor-Comval Chapter oath-taking and opening of the provincial media center. Moreover, the story was proactive to him as it was about a source supportive to him and to his  congressional bid wanting for his visibility for sure winning by 2010.

Had it been published Friday (which we would not allow), it could have been unfair, kay we know bahaw na ang AGR reply by Monday. No malice about that, sir. As we seek solace on the right of journalists to protect their sources, we also are holding sacrosanct the right to reply of subject parties in the news as we did in our Tuesday’s issue. But unfortunately, the Provincial Legal Officer Jennifer Namoc for asking for Sidlak’s fairness and objectivity in her letter that reached Sidlak office by Wednesday obviously failed to read AGR’s reply in our banner story on Tuesday or get hold of the issue. She could have sent her protest via the email and not via the snail mail, so we could immediately publish it the next day. But maybe the good lawyer was not just apprised on our Tuesday’s issue by the politically nosey provincial administrator Rufo Peligro, who is also the ed in chief of Executive Report, PGO’s weekly news bulletin, or by his many info men. Otherwise, we’ll say it’s not our duty to always give you free complimentary copies of Sidlak. A newspaper is sold, not given.

BLOGBUZZ: Heard about that when it comes to the Davnor Capitol, the local media is being looked upon with divisive stare, either you’re a suspect to be with the Panabo-based weekly publisher who is a long-time biased drum-beater for the Floirendos, or with the docile ones (di makabasag pinggan), the kongko (always soliciting) media of dubious circulation or outlets. Sidlak is neither either-or of whom… Oh my gulay! that usual and bankrupt media parameter- that you need a big ad sponsor in order to survive. Of course, we need ads to have cash, but we’re banking  more on our burgeoning subscribers’ and readership base in order to survive…. We print replies as we really need them to be fair and objective. Again, we’re just striving to be your little real press. (For online edition, visit my blog at:, for comments and reactions, e-mail:, or

NEWS: Internet cafes given til December to dismantle cubicles

Posted in councilor joey millan, edgardo silagan tagum, icat tagum, nbi head agent lorenzo tan, tagum sex scandal video with tags , , , , on October 28, 2008 by cha monforte

Aftermath of UM Tagum sex


oct 27

Internet cafes are given until December to dismantle their long, unauthorized semi-closed cubicles that authorities considered as one of the physical reasons that led to improper use of the Internet, said a report of a local Visayan paper last Friday.

But Vice Mayor Allan Rellon said in text message yesterday that while the Internet Café Advisory Board (ICAB) in its recent meeting agreed to still make the dismantling of the cubicles optional for now ICAB is enforcing to establishments wanting to put cubicles for privacy purposes to comply with the regulated height of up to four feet or face sanctions as provided by the city ordinance regulating operations of internet cafes. .

In earlier report, Councilor Joey Millan said that cubicles that are intended to protect privacy in communication have not actually led to increase of internet users that benefit internet cafes.

Reports said earlier that long cubicles have been used as a cover of the youths like high schoolers to surf pornographic sites in the web or malicious chatters to show their private parts on webcams to the ones they are chatting with.

The same report said that the victim UM Tagum student who was secretly camcorded resulting to the spread of what was dubbed as UM Tagum sex scandal video has already filed a case against suspects after NBI Tagum agents raided Oct. 15 the Aroma Internet and Computer located in Suarez Building along Sobrecarey Street.

The raided establishment is owned by Edgardo Silagan, president of the Internet Café Association of Tagum City (ICAT). His branch along Mabini St. has been closed for about two weeks.

The raiding team led by Head Agent Lorenzo Tan seized 23 computer units including webcams and other peripherals which were sent to Manila for the NBI computer experts to track on “cookies” that could leave imprints on the recording of the UM Tagum sex scandal video that shocked the city two months ago.

In an earlier interview at the height of the stunning news on Tagum sex scandal video, Silagan said that owners of internet cafes are usually entrepreneurs who did not know about technicalities of computer programs but he also admitted that there are some owners who know about it.

In that interview, he also expressed apprehension over what legal repercussions internet café owners would be culpable of if one of their attendants did something wrong without their knowing.

NBI agent Tan said that the suspected internet café will be facing a case for alleged violations to Republic Act 9208 otherwise known as Anti-Trafficking Law. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: Facing a mountain of court cases, Nabunturan Judge Clapis says “I’m no Superman”

Posted in atty. daniel campoamor, atty. rex lopoz, judge helarion clapis, judge juanito betonio, lopoz and lopoz law group, nabunturan, rtc nabunturan with tags , , on October 28, 2008 by cha monforte

oct 27

Pity the one and only Regional Trial Court judge in Compostela Valley for facing a mountain of court cases for him to decide.

The national average of cases at the salas of RTC judges is only about 800 cases but RTC Branch 3 Judge Hilarion Clapis Jr has todate over 2,700 cases clogging up in his sala at Nabunturan capital town.

For these, he conducts an average of 30 court hearings every working day and at times there are 45 cases listed for hearing in a day. Compared to the 6 RTCs in Davao del Norte, each sala could be fairly content of hearing an average of 10 cases in day, reckons the youthful Atty. Rex Lopoz of the Lopoz and Lopoz Law Group.

Each RTC sala in Davao del Norte has to contend only some 500 cases.

But the friendly judge though is apparently a trier of figures against hard realities dawning in his sala. He says: “I’m resolving cases as fast and as intelligently as I can, but I’m no Superman. The figure is too much”.

For this, Judge Clapis has no penchant of always allowing motions for postponements of hearings saying that “I like many lawyers coming over, debating in my sala everyday”.

He thanked the Integrated Bar of the Philippines- Davao del Norte-Compostela Valley Chapter chaired by Atty. Daniel Campoamor for the general membership meeting’s resolution on Friday asking the Senate and House of Representatives for the immediate creation of RTC salas in Compostela Valley.

Last Friday, in the bid of making justice accessible to the poor, the local IBP Chapter also asked the Supreme Court for two additional Public Attorney Office (PAO) lawyers for each of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley, and additional prosecutors for the latter province.

The lawyers group also asked the Supreme Court, for the immediate appointment of regular judges in the municipal circuit court for Compostela and New Bataan and the municipal trial court in Laak, which are currently served by Acting Judge Juanito Betonio (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: Lawyers to spearhead conference to stop extrajudicial killings in Tagum

Posted in atty. daniel campoamor, comval lawyers, davao del norte lawyers, ibp comval, ibp davao del norte, integrated bar of the philippines davao del norte compo, tagum city, tagum killings, tagum news with tags , , , , , on October 28, 2008 by cha monforte

“IBP Chapter views alarming incidents with deep concern”

oct 28

Lawyers belonging to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao del Norte-Compostela Valley Chapter on their general membership meeting on Friday afternoon unanimously passed a resolution for their group to spearhead the holding of an inter-agency conference and dialogue to address “alarming incidents” of extrajudicial killings and summary executions taking place in Tagum City.

In the resolution e-mailed to local media Saturday, the IBP Davao del Norte-Comval Chapter stated that “for a number of years now, there has been a series of extrajudicial killings and summary executions taking place in Tagum City”, and that “these have been unabated and the perpetrators have not been brought to the bar of justice”.

“The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Davao del Norte-Comval Chapter views these alarming incidents with deep concern as, unless steps be taken, more human rights violation shall be committed,” it said.

“The members of the legal profession were integrated and constituted into the integrated bar of the Philippines for the noble objective, among others, of promoting the rule of law.”

The lawyers group then resolved “that a conference and dialogue shall be held to be spearheaded by the chapter for the purpose of threshing out the serious problem and to come up with suggested solutions to stop these extrajudicial killings and summary executions.”

It sought that the conference and dialogue be attended by the Office of the Provincial Governor, Office of the City Mayor of Tagum, PNP Provincial Command, Tagum City Chief of Police, Diocese of Tagum, religious sectors, non-government organizations, youth sector, professional sector and press and media practitioners

The local IBP chapter has also furnished copies of the resolution to the national office of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Provincial Peace and Order Council and the Regional Peace and order Council for their information and appropriate action.

In an interview, Atty. Daniel Campoamor, the chapter president, said that they are yet to schedule the date of the conference and dialogue but “it will be held before the year ends”.

The local IBP membership meeting was also attended by judges and prosecutors from the two provinces. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

OPINION: Short draft memoirs: Joecab at his loneliest

Posted in cha music, comval, dona luz sarmiento, gregorio dujali, laak, new bataan, pantukan, rey pajarito, roger m sarmiento, sto. tomas davao del norte with tags , , , , on October 25, 2008 by cha monforte

BY Cha Monforte

It was the day after. Jose “Joecab” Caballero was finally defeated- confirmed by humiliating election results. He was then called as phenom- for slaying big political dragons- long-reigning old Davnor politician Gregorio Dujali and he became a vice gov in the then big beautiful undivided country of Davao del Norte; next the Sarmientos- then known as an institution, first the matriarch Dona Luz, then he became the first Comval gov after Comval was separated from Davnor in 1998; next the son politico-economic heir Roger “RMS” in the 2001 gubernatorial toss up, then Joecab got his second term and went straight getting his last term without a hitch knocking off a token candidate suspected to have run for a proxy war within the unified Lakas ticket in 2004.

But for the so much heck of his organized sectors including the kabirs on dispersal binge Joecab’s camp was so much enthralled and so his formidable opposition camp was also so much enthralled of his nine-year rule characterized by a patronage-driven populist programs. They both seemed put in so overblown expectations that on one hand, Joecab got the province’s District 2 for his own congressional bid and put her daughter then Boardmember Kristine for the gubernatorial bid, while on the other hand, the unified opposition ruing against him had all but made an overkill in plugging all holes in skittish electoral campaign against Joecab’s political machinery and logistics which turned out to be only made of so much hoopla and pretensions. Joecab the phenom was overwhelmingly defeated already in the night of May 14, 2007 election day when the first rush of low turn out of votes for him and Kristine started trickling in to his Dragon headquarters. I heard that in the dead of that night his headquarters was already deserted by his lawyers, loyal followers, so-called strategists, so-called planners, so-called propagandists. I was not in the inner circle of them.

In the early morning of May 15, 2007, at around 6:00 A.M. I and Rey Castardo, also an info man, visited Dragon, and there we saw a gloomy pall of light iinside. Joecab had apparently no sleep, also with Kristine and Madam Mimi. Except for Anamei’s pretty, red-eyed PGO ladies who were sipping San Mig light beer perhaps for a drowse or juices in cans, there were already no Rey Pajarito and lots of political CAOs upstairs of Dragon, that building by the church which became the base in erecting the foundations of the Comval provincial government. There were few CAOs downstairs, but reports said the CAOs failed to deliver the goods for the liners while some of them allegedly stashed it for themselves kept pestering as gripes in the rounds. Accordingly, one had already taken an early vacation, while another one had bought a brand new motorcycle. Joecab had as mouthful on dirty politics and massive vote buying.

Seeing our presence supposed meant to troop around to empathize and give our last salute to the man who recruited us in the first place, he directed me to write a PR for ABS-CBN and the Inquirer. I hurried to write a piece from his dictates. When it was made, as usual he made corrections carefully choosing words not as a politician but more as a lawyer. Almost the journalistic PR was mangled by his own legalese words. I couldn’t do otherwise but finalized it, still fine-tuning it within journalese acceptability. And the usual of him as one abante-atras PR chief dawned again on him. He kept the PR close to his chest, reflecting. He was beaten to the draw in post-election news as a sore loser.  The final PR was never faxed to news outlets. Towards the midday when Dragon was at its loneliest, I and Rey Castardo called it quits. We hit the road for home gutom. The End.

Last month at the height of the issue on ZTE deal on Diwalwal, I got a chance to see Joecab, the citizen, for the first time at his Panorama home after that gloomy day for an interview on the issue. He said he has already secured peace as plain citizen and stopped counting his political wounds. “I enjoy being a fulltime father now,” he said adding that for nine years he had been always with the people of Comval. But Joecab even berated me in dragging him to the issue, that he would be summoned (not in legalese usage) in an SP probe-inquiry, and even questioned who am I writing for now. It was just like Cong. Way Kurat last Tuesday for suspecting me to be still loyal to one-way PR conscious Joecab. But by that I got the opportunity to level off with Cong. Way K. For all and sundry, I’m back to fulltime media works after a long interregnum. Chief government propagandists who have been used and out of delicadeza and deference must also bow down to the new power holders and not cling to positions even protected by the CSC.

We were with the defunct Northern Star in the days of the cut-and-paste newspaper layouting, covering Mankilam to as far as the interior Sto. Tomas, Pantukan. Laak, New Bataan and up Diwalwal. Also, the good thing in the media now, Press Sec. Jess Dureza, is that the Internet and cellphone spell a difference in getting and sending facts and news at least expense compared to the past ever-peripatetic days. It’s different now in the media, you can now live by and with it but a story is always made for the love of writing and of the profession, said publisher Bert Gorgonio last April when rice prices skyrocketed. “Gwapo ni kay wa tay mga amo,” he added. But the blood of a writer runs deep in me just like Bert, who also had a stint working in Surigao government. Objectivity and fairness in journalism has always been our constant guide. At the end of the day, it will always be our readers who will judge and sustain us. When we err just like any human, we are humbled by your notice of correction or side as we take your right to reply as sacrosanct to a working press. We just always try and strive to be your real press. (For online edition, visit my blog at:, e-mail: or

NEWS: Dawn Zulueta will be in Tagum tomorrow

Posted in actress dawn zulueta, cong. anton lagdameo, tagum city hall with tags , on October 24, 2008 by cha monforte

oct 24
TAGUM CITY- Celebrity actress Dawn Zulueta, also the better half of District 2 Congressman Anton Lagdameo, is expected to be here tomorrow to grace an art exhibit on indigenous peoples.

Ms. Alma Uy, wife of City Mayor Rey Uy, bared in an invitation that Dawn will be the guest of honor in the opening ceremony of the 2nd Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Art Exhibit sponsored by the Kalinawa Art Foundation in cooperation with the City Government and the City of Tagum Tourism Council.

The actress is expected to give her inspirational talk at 5:00 P.M. at the Beach Volleydrome in the Rotary Park at Pioneer Avenue.
Cong. Lagdameo is also expected to accompany Dawn.
The exhibit will culminate on October 30 after the public viewing and community sale of artworks. It has for its theme, “Lumadnong Dalit- Ikaduhang Hugna (Part 2)”

Yesterday, exhibit artist participants started with the registration of artworks and the uploading of art data and biographical data of the artists to the web.
Tomorrow, after the ceremonial ribbon cutting to open the gallery of artworks to be led by Dawn, Mayor Uy and city’s first lady Alma Uy, there will be musical perfomances by local chorale groups and bands and a press conference after the dinner.

The weeklong exhibit would put into public viewing artworks themed about the indigenous peoples while there will also be arts for tourism promotions and creativity workshop. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: Olano admits: “No vacancy for me”

Posted in boardmember macario bermudez, congressman arrel olano, davao del norte news with tags on October 24, 2008 by cha monforte

In 2010 polls

oct 23

Last-termer District 1 Cong. Arrel Olano has admitted that being in the Lakas-CMD party he is facing no vacancy in running as an administration’s standard-bearer for higher posts in the city as well as in the province.

In an interview, he said that the higher posts like those of the city mayor, vice governor and governor are already “puno na (filled up)”.

Under the Lakas policy on equity of the incumbent, the posts of the city mayor, vice governor and governor are not open and are up for sure grabs of the current holders who are all reportedly seeking for their reelection.

“Partidista ni (I’m a party man),”he said, “maminaw ko sa plano sa partido (I’ll listen what’s the plan of the party”, asked on what post he would then be running for when he ends his last term by 2010.

But he then turned pious saying that considering the no-vacancy Lakas scenario, he said he would go into reflection, and “would wait what’s the next plan of God for me.”

In his district, there is only one open boardmember’s post available which last-termer Boardmember Macario “Bong” Bermudez is finishing to serve.

Earlier, Olano had told in a press conference that he was training his sight on either of the three options: city mayor, vice governor or boardmember, to which City Mayor Rey Uy countered he was ready to fight any political enemy whom he could not choose. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)