HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK...

BI DEPORTS GERMAN BOYFRIEND OF 'JENNIFER' 

OCT 30 --PHOTO: German national Marc Sueselbeck had intended to marry transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude before the latter was found dead in an Olongapo City motel room last October 11. Anthony Bayarong MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday morning issued a deportation order against Mark Sueselbeck, the German boyfriend of slain Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude. The bureau said in a statement that the decision was reached in a meeting of the Board of Commissioners led by Siegfred Mison after Sueselbeck was charged with "gross arrogance" and "serious disrespect to Filipino authorities." "The deportation order was issued following the Motion for Voluntary Deportation filed by Sueselbeck last Tuesday," the BI noted.

The motion was filed by Sueselbeck, accompanied by lawyer Harry Roque, who is also counsel of the Laude family in the murder case against an American Marine. "[Sueselbeck] manifests before this Honorable Office (BI) that he is seeking voluntary deportation the soonest time possible so he can attend to his only source of livelihood," Roque had said. He was charged with being an undesirable alien based on Article 2711, Section 69 of the regulations on undesirability. The charges were in connection with his behavior at Camp Aguinaldo deemed disrespectful when he forcibly entered an off-limits area and shoved a Filipino military guard. The deportation order states that the German national "agrees to have his name placed in the Black List and be barred from re-entering the country, and undertakes to secure his outbound ticket." Sueselbeck will be able to leave the country as a deportee subject to presentation of outbound ticket and an NBI clearance. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: AFP eyes complaint vs Laude lawyer  

NOV 2 ---Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin believes lawyer Harry Roque Jr. clearly crossed the line for non-observance of military rules when they entered Camp Aguinaldo’s restricted area to try to confront a US Marine accused of killing 26-year-old transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude. Roque is the counsel of Laude’s family. Roque and his clients, including Laude’s German boyfriend Marc Suselbeck, have over-exercised their rights in trying to get a glimpse of Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, he added. “Clearly there was deceit on their part and they over-exercised their rights,” he said.

Gazmin said anybody inside a military camp cannot exercise his or her full rights because of regulations that nobody could just ignore without facing disciplinary action. “If the area is declared restricted, we could not just force our way into that area,” he said. “Even members of the uniformed services have to observe camp rules as governed by military regulations.”  Roque might face disbarment for his “inappropriate actions” inside Camp Aguinaldo last week. Public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said the Armed Forces is seriously considering filing a disbarment complaint against Roque before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). * READ MORE...

ALSO: No PNoy-Obama meeting at OPEC in China 

NOV 3 --PHOTO: US PRESIDENT OBAMA ---There is no scheduled bilateral meeting yet between President Aquino and United States President Barack Obama in the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) in China, Malacañang said yesterday. Aquino and Obama are among the 21 Asia-Pacific leaders who are expected to attend the regional economic forum in Beijing, China on November 10-11. Obama Obama Aquino Aquino “Wala pong impormasyon hinggil diyan. Pansinin lang natin na ang lumalahok dito ay 21 lider ng iba’t ibang bansa at ito ay Economic Leaders’ Meeting. ‘Yung mga nagaganap na bilateral o one-on-one sa pagitan ng mga lider ng bansa ay sa sidelines lamang (There is no information about that. Let’s remember that the 21 leaders from various countries will attend the economic leaders’ meeting. Any bilateral or one-on-one between leaders are usually held on the sidelines),” Coloma said over government radio when asked about the possibility of an Aquino-Obama meeting in China.

“Kaya unawain natin na hindi naman ‘yon ang pangunahing pakay ng mga lider sa pagtungo diyan. Sa ngayon po ay wala pa, ‘yon ang sagot sa inyong katanungan (Let’s understand that it is not the primary goal of the leaders attending the forum. For now, there is no answer to your question),” he added. The upcoming APEC summit provides a window for Aquino and Obama to meet and talk about the country’s diplomatic, economic and defense relations amid the public furor over the killing of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude allegedly by a US marine. President Aquino earlier rejected speculations that Private First Class Jeffrey Scott Pemberton, currently detained at a military camp pending an investigation by authorities, was getting special treatment. Aquino said Pemberton is actually getting “special negative treatment,” even “worse treatment” compared to Filipinos facing a similar offense. President Aquino last held a bilateral meeting with his US counterpart when he visited the country last April. It was during the Obama’s visit to Manila when the Philippines and United States inked an agreement that allows greater US access to local military camps to enhance the country’s defense capabilities and humanitarian response. The two leaders attended the United Nations summit on climate change last September but had no chance to sit down and talk.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Nat'l Union of Journalists slammed Aqino anew on poor rights slate

The record of President Aquino regarding rights protection was again placed into focus after groups criticized his administration’s inaction on issues on impunity and cases of missing individuals who were believed abducted by state forces. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) yesterday lambasted Aquino’s continued tolerance for media killings and keeping the culture of impunity in the country as the first United Nations Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists was marked yesterday. The NUJP, in a statement, assailed the government’s apathy and continually feeding impunity on assaults on members of the press, which it said lead to the loss of 171 media workers since 1986. The group slammed Aquino for breaking his promise of justice to Filipinos and repeatedly attacking the press.

Relatives of the deseparacidos, or the missing, also wrote a letter to Pope Francis to intercede in seeking from Aquino action in resolving the long list of unresolved cases of Filipinos who have gone missing due to their political ideology.
Aquino was lambasted by the union over the Maguindanao massacre, tagged by international media as one of the most inhumane attacks against journalists. NUJP said Aquino’s inaction gave way to the slow pace of the court trials.
“It has not helped that President Aquino has not only broken all his promises on justice and good governance, presenting lame excuses for taking back his vow to enact the Freedom of Information Law and even bungling the number of media victims — 32 — in the single deadliest attack on the press in history,” NUJP said. “Worse, time and again, [Aquino made] the media a whipping boy even as the media fulfill their duty of informing the people of what his administration is doing or not doing,” it added. NUJP said that Aquino’s term recorded one of the worst string of media killings of any sitting president, with 30 journalists dying under his watch.

“Instead of ordering an end to the killings, he has continued to offer what amounts to a justification for the murders, hinting without providing any evidence that the victims were either not killed on the line of duty or were engaged in less than ethical undertakings,” NUJP said. “… [Benigno Aquino III] has failed to fulfill his pledge to protect our rights and freedoms and, because of this, how his hands are stained with the blood of our fallen colleagues,” it said. The Palace on its part said the case – which has been stagnant in the courts for four years - is being looked into by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima herself, to directly focus on the prosecution and improve communication between the Department of Justice (DoJ) and private prosecutors. “The President is one with our countryment in seeking service of full justice through delivering conclusion from the current litigation. On the other hand, the judiciary is a separate branch of government that’s why it has it’s own moves,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
* READ MORE...

 
ALSO: ‘Bring back the holy’ Don’t turn gravesites into picnic spots – CBCP 

NOV 3 ---As millions around the country packed into cemeteries and memorial parks yesterday to pay respects to their dead, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) appealed to Catholics to “bring back the holy” as it reminded them that praying for the dead was a “duty.” The Church appealed for a solemn and prayerful observation of the “day of the dead,” an annual tradition that combines Catholic religious rites with the country’s penchant for festivity, and urged against turning gravesites into picnic spots. As All Souls’ Day is observed today, the faithful are also reminded to live holy lives, be charitable, and be merciful as “we will be judged on how much we have helped,” according Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos. Instead of adopting Western Halloween celebrations and dressing up as vampires and monsters, Catholics should consider posing as saints, the CBCP said in a statement. MORE FESTIVE THAN SOLEMN But at the Manila North Cemetery, the mood was more festive than solemn as popular fast food chains set up carts selling roasted pig, dim sum, noodles, fried chicken, and steamed pork buns.

Police set up frisking booths at cemetery gates to confiscate alcoholic beverages, playing cards, portable karaoke machines and weapons as huge crowds, including children and the elderly, endured slow-moving queues. The annual pilgrimage to the cemeteries also triggers a mass exodus from Manila, when tens of thousands travel to interior provinces where their relatives are buried. “It is very important for Filipinos to pay respects to their dead. This is also a chance for a family reunion,” 21-year-old government worker Mary Joy Pasigan told AFP. Pasigan carried her five-year-old niece past cramped corridors of tombs to offer sunflowers and orchids to her dead grandparents. Conchita Pura, 60, brought sandwiches for her two-hour vigil at the tombs of her aunt and uncle. “We come here to light candles and offer prayers so that their sins may be forgiven,” she told AFP. “Getting here is painful, but I must endure it to observe tradition,” she said. SOULS REMEMBERED As the souls of the faithful departed are remembered today, three Requiem Masses (mass for the souls of the departed) will be offered for the holy souls in purgatory: One for the celebrant, one for the departed, and one for the Holy Father, Pope Francis in Catholic churches. According to tradition, the Office of the Dead will be recited by the clergy as well as novena prayers for all those who have passed on. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Abu Sayyaf kills 6 soldiers in Basilan – military

NOV 2 ---Members of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on Sunday killed at least six soldiers in Basilan, Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Sunday. In a text message to reporters, military spokesman, Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc disclosed that six soldiers from the 64th Infrantry Battalion died after a 45-minute firefight with the Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists. The soldiers were conducting a security patrol in Sitio Mompol of Libug village around 7:30 a.m. when they clashed with some 20 heavily armed bandits. According to Cabunoc, the slain soldiers—including two 2nd lieutenants—were deployed to secure the construction of the Basilan Circumferential Road project in the area. "I am saddened by this senseless violence against our soldiers who are helping deliver public services for the people," said Col. Rolando Bautista, the Commander of the Army's 104th Brigade.

According to Cabunoc, the military is currently conducting pursuit operations against the bandits, who are said to be led by a certain Radzmi Jannatul. "I will press criminal charges against these bandits who are harrassing the security forces that are deployed to protect the workers of the Saudi-assisted 64-kilometer road project," Bautista added. In an interview with Agence France-Presse, regional military spokesperson Captain Rowena Muyuela said there were also "most likely... undetermined casualties on the Abu Sayyaf side." The Basilan incident came after the military launched an offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu over the weekend. Government forces had been reinforced in Mindanao after the ASG threatened to behead two German hostages held captive since April. The hostages were later released. On Saturday troops battled about 60 Abu Sayyaf fighters in Jolo and even used helicopter gunships to blast their positions, the military said. No casualties have been reported. However, Muyuela could not say if the latest attack in Basilan was related to the violence in Jolo.— Rouchelle R. Dinglasan with a report from Agence France-Presse/BM, GMA News THIS IS THE FULL REPROT.

ALSO: Army troops seize 2 Abu Sayyaf camps in Sulu  

NOV 2 --PHOTO: Abu Sayyaf group. AP FILE PHOTO MANILA, Philippines — The military on Sunday seized two Abu Sayyaf camps as it continued its pursuit of the bandit group in Patikul, Sulu. Col. Allan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu, said the 32nd Infantry Battalion cleared two temporary encampments of the bandits in Patikul. He described the facilities as temporary encampments where the Abu Sayyaf might have slept during breaks from their getaway from the law. “They can sleep there, it’s not really a permanent camp with fences, but temporary ones,” the official said on Sunday.

A day before, the military engaged the Abu Sayyaf twice as it launched air strikes and ground attacks in Patikul where the bandits were believed to have holed up. The military is still verifying intelligence reports of reported enemy casualties during Saturday’s attack. Arrojado vowed no let up in their pursuit of the Abu Sayyaf and that they would hunt them down non-stop. “We are cautiously entering their lairs. They are now on the run,” he said, noting that they have not received reports of sightings of the 10 remaining hostages with the Abu Sayyaf. On Saturday, the military’s attack helicopters fired rocket rounds at an encampment in Barangay (village) Bungkaong, Patikul in Sulu where Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Adjan Sawadjaan and his men were reportedly holed up. The bandits retreated into the mountains of Mt. Sinumaan to escape the attack. Arrojado said the military has been concentrating on the area to pursue the bandits. Saturday’s offensive was the first clash between the military and the Abu Sayyaf group since the release of two German nationals held hostage by the bandits.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

BI deports German boyfriend of 'Jennifer'


German national Marc Sueselbeck had intended to marry transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude before the latter was found dead in an Olongapo City motel room last October 11. Anthony Bayarong

MANILA, NOVEMBER 3, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Camille Diola - German national Marc Sueselbeck had intended to marry transgender Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude before the latter was found dead in an Olongapo City motel room last October 11. Anthony Bayarong MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday morning issued a deportation order against Mark Sueselbeck, the German boyfriend of slain Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude.

The bureau said in a statement that the decision was reached in a meeting of the Board of Commissioners led by Siegfred Mison after Sueselbeck was charged with "gross arrogance" and "serious disrespect to Filipino authorities."

"The deportation order was issued following the Motion for Voluntary Deportation filed by Sueselbeck last Tuesday," the BI noted.

The motion was filed by Sueselbeck, accompanied by lawyer Harry Roque, who is also counsel of the Laude family in the murder case against an American Marine.

"[Sueselbeck] manifests before this Honorable Office (BI) that he is seeking voluntary deportation the soonest time possible so he can attend to his only source of livelihood," Roque had said.

He was charged with being an undesirable alien based on Article 2711, Section 69 of the regulations on undesirability.

The charges were in connection with his behavior at Camp Aguinaldo deemed disrespectful when he forcibly entered an off-limits area and shoved a Filipino military guard.

The deportation order states that the German national "agrees to have his name placed in the Black List and be barred from re-entering the country, and undertakes to secure his outbound ticket."

Sueselbeck will be able to leave the country as a deportee subject to presentation of outbound ticket and an NBI clearance.

AFP eyes complaint vs Laude lawyer By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 31, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin believes lawyer Harry Roque Jr. clearly crossed the line for non-observance of military rules when they entered Camp Aguinaldo’s restricted area to try to confront a US Marine accused of killing 26-year-old transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude.

Roque is the counsel of Laude’s family.

Roque and his clients, including Laude’s German boyfriend Marc Suselbeck, have over-exercised their rights in trying to get a glimpse of Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, he added.

“Clearly there was deceit on their part and they over-exercised their rights,” he said.

Gazmin said anybody inside a military camp cannot exercise his or her full rights because of regulations that nobody could just ignore without facing disciplinary action.

“If the area is declared restricted, we could not just force our way into that area,” he said. “Even members of the uniformed services have to observe camp rules as governed by military regulations.”

Roque might face disbarment for his “inappropriate actions” inside Camp Aguinaldo last week.

Public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said the Armed Forces is seriously considering filing a disbarment complaint against Roque before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

* Cabunoc said the basis of the possible legal action is Roque’s inappropriate actions inside Camp Aguinaldo last Oct. 22.

“We expect the IBP to take appropriate sanctions,“ he said. “We don’t want him to misbehave inside military camps and subject our soldiers to his tirades again.”

The legal action against Roque would depend on the recommendation of the Judge Advocate General’s Office, Cabunoc said.

Roque said he looks forward to answering the complaint of the Armed Forces before the IBP.

“They will hopefully stop their tirades which I consider as threat to my security,” he said.

In an a phone interview, IBP national president Vicente Joyas said the confidentiality rule on disbarment proceedings against members of the bar prevents them from commenting on the plan of the Armed Forces to file a disbarment complaint against Roque.

He did not confirm whether the complaint has already been filed. The Supreme Court has cited in contempt a lawyer who gave reporters a copy of a disbarment complaint against former lead Ampatuan lawyer Sigfrid Fortun.

Last Oct. 22, Roque, along with lawyer Virgie Suarez and slain transgender Laude’s mother and sisters and his German boyfriend Marc Suselbeck tried to enter the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) facility in Camp Aguinaldo where Pemberton is detained.

When military guards blocked them, Roque accused the soldiers of protecting American interests.– With Alexis Romero, Edu Punay

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

No PNoy-Obama meeting at OPEC in China by Genalyn Kabiling November 3, 2014 Share this:


OBAMA

There is no scheduled bilateral meeting yet between President Aquino and United States President Barack Obama in the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) in China, Malacañang said yesterday.

Aquino and Obama are among the 21 Asia-Pacific leaders who are expected to attend the regional economic forum in Beijing, China on November 10-11.

Obama Obama Aquino Aquino “Wala pong impormasyon hinggil diyan. Pansinin lang natin na ang lumalahok dito ay 21 lider ng iba’t ibang bansa at ito ay Economic Leaders’ Meeting. ‘Yung mga nagaganap na bilateral o one-on-one sa pagitan ng mga lider ng bansa ay sa sidelines lamang (There is no information about that. Let’s remember that the 21 leaders from various countries will attend the economic leaders’ meeting. Any bilateral or one-on-one between leaders are usually held on the sidelines),” Coloma said over government radio when asked about the possibility of an Aquino-Obama meeting in China.

“Kaya unawain natin na hindi naman ‘yon ang pangunahing pakay ng mga lider sa pagtungo diyan. Sa ngayon po ay wala pa, ‘yon ang sagot sa inyong katanungan (Let’s understand that it is not the primary goal of the leaders attending the forum. For now, there is no answer to your question),” he added.

The upcoming APEC summit provides a window for Aquino and Obama to meet and talk about the country’s diplomatic, economic and defense relations amid the public furor over the killing of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude allegedly by a US marine.

President Aquino earlier rejected speculations that Private First Class Jeffrey Scott Pemberton, currently detained at a military camp pending an investigation by authorities, was getting special treatment. Aquino said Pemberton is actually getting “special negative treatment,” even “worse treatment” compared to Filipinos facing a similar offense.

President Aquino last held a bilateral meeting with his US counterpart when he visited the country last April. It was during the Obama’s visit to Manila when the Philippines and United States inked an agreement that allows greater US access to local military camps to enhance the country’s defense capabilities and humanitarian response.

The two leaders attended the United Nations summit on climate change last September but had no chance to sit down and talk.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Aquino slammed anew on poor human rights slate Written by Joshua L. Labonera Monday, 03 November 2014 00:00

The record of President Aquino regarding rights protection was again placed into focus after groups criticized his administration’s inaction on issues on impunity and cases of missing individuals who were believed abducted by state forces.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) yesterday lambasted Aquino’s continued tolerance for media killings and keeping the culture of impunity in the country as the first United Nations Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists was marked yesterday.

The NUJP, in a statement, assailed the government’s apathy and continually feeding impunity on assaults on members of the press, which it said lead to the loss of 171 media workers since 1986. The group slammed Aquino for breaking his promise of justice to Filipinos and repeatedly attacking the press.

Relatives of the deseparacidos, or the missing, also wrote a letter to Pope Francis to intercede in seeking from Aquino action in resolving the long list of unresolved cases of Filipinos who have gone missing due to their political ideology.

Aquino was lambasted by the union over the Maguindanao massacre, tagged by international media as one of the most inhumane attacks against journalists. NUJP said Aquino’s inaction gave way to the slow pace of the court trials.

“It has not helped that President Aquino has not only broken all his promises on justice and good governance, presenting lame excuses for taking back his vow to enact the Freedom of Information Law and even bungling the number of media victims — 32 — in the single deadliest attack on the press in history,” NUJP said.

“Worse, time and again, [Aquino made] the media a whipping boy even as the media fulfill their duty of informing the people of what his administration is doing or not doing,” it added.

NUJP said that Aquino’s term recorded one of the worst string of media killings of any sitting president, with 30 journalists dying under his watch.

“Instead of ordering an end to the killings, he has continued to offer what amounts to a justification for the murders, hinting without providing any evidence that the victims were either not killed on the line of duty or were engaged in less than ethical undertakings,” NUJP said.

“… [Benigno Aquino III] has failed to fulfill his pledge to protect our rights and freedoms and, because of this, how his hands are stained with the blood of our fallen colleagues,” it said.

The Palace on its part said the case – which has been stagnant in the courts for four years - is being looked into by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima herself, to directly focus on the prosecution and improve communication between the Department of Justice (DoJ) and private prosecutors.

“The President is one with our countryment in seeking service of full justice through delivering conclusion from the current litigation. On the other hand, the judiciary is a separate branch of government that’s why it has it’s own moves,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

* Coloma commented on the Quezon City Regional Trial court’s act to allow 25 suspects to post bail, saying that he respects the court’s decision.

“The decision of the court is its own decision. We have no power on that. In the right moment, prosecutors will take rightful steps according to their estimate in the situation of the trial,” Coloma said.

“Your Holiness, please intercede for us in seeking justice for our disappeared loved ones,” wrote families of desaparecidos to Pope Francis as they gathered at Plaza Miranda on All Souls Day.

As a renewal of vows to seek justice, they lighted candles and offered flowers to remember those who were forcibly abducted and disappeared by state security forces since martial law up to the present.

“It has been the practice of families and relatives of victims of enforced and involuntary disappearances to gather every November 2. Beyond remembering, we come together as a reminder that our loved ones have yet to be surfaced and the state’s policy of enforced disappearances be stopped,” Desaparecidos secretary general Aya Santos said.

It has become more significant as families of desaparecidos gathered to join the nation in awaiting the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines in January 2015, according to the group.

Santos explained they have followed and listened to series of statements Pope Francis on justice and human rights. For the families, his visit is an opportune time to voice out the injustice and rights violations in the Philippines.

“Hope springs when on several occasions he made clear his firm stands to defend human rights and in seeking social justice. We turn to the Pope for support because under the current regime of Noynoy Aquino, human rights violations against the people intensify without let up. We stand as testimonies to the gross situation of human rights here,” Santos said.

Santos said there have been 21 victims of abduction under Aquino and has since added up to the number of desaparecidos since the Marcos dictatorship.

Despite the passage of the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Law, the crime of enforced disappearance continues as a state policy under Oplan Bayanihan, Aquino’s counter-insurgency program. Also, as a DAP recipient program, it uses public funds to abduct, torture and disappear persons. It also uses funds to coddle the likes of butcher Jovito Palparan who is a ‘free man’ at Fort Bonifacio.

“We pray that the good Pope will listen to our plea and stand one with us in calling to stop enforced disappearances in the Philippines. Dear Pope, please heed our call for justice. We cry out to surface all the disappeared, in the Philippines and other parts of the world, such as in Latin America and Argentina, the Pope’s homeland,” said Santos.

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis is from Argentina, a nation that also suffered the worst kind of human rights violations under a dictatorial rule in the 1970s.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

‘Bring back the holy’ Don’t turn gravesites into picnic spots – CBCP by AFP & Christina I. Hermoso November 2, 2014 (updated) Share this:

As millions around the country packed into cemeteries and memorial parks yesterday to pay respects to their dead, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) appealed to Catholics to “bring back the holy” as it reminded them that praying for the dead was a “duty.”

The Church appealed for a solemn and prayerful observation of the “day of the dead,” an annual tradition that combines Catholic religious rites with the country’s penchant for festivity, and urged against turning gravesites into picnic spots.

As All Souls’ Day is observed today, the faithful are also reminded to live holy lives, be charitable, and be merciful as “we will be judged on how much we have helped,” according Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos.

Instead of adopting Western Halloween celebrations and dressing up as vampires and monsters, Catholics should consider posing as saints, the CBCP said in a statement.

MORE FESTIVE THAN SOLEMN

But at the Manila North Cemetery, the mood was more festive than solemn as popular fast food chains set up carts selling roasted pig, dim sum, noodles, fried chicken, and steamed pork buns.

Police set up frisking booths at cemetery gates to confiscate alcoholic beverages, playing cards, portable karaoke machines and weapons as huge crowds, including children and the elderly, endured slow-moving queues.

The annual pilgrimage to the cemeteries also triggers a mass exodus from Manila, when tens of thousands travel to interior provinces where their relatives are buried.

“It is very important for Filipinos to pay respects to their dead. This is also a chance for a family reunion,” 21-year-old government worker Mary Joy Pasigan told AFP.

Pasigan carried her five-year-old niece past cramped corridors of tombs to offer sunflowers and orchids to her dead grandparents.

Conchita Pura, 60, brought sandwiches for her two-hour vigil at the tombs of her aunt and uncle.

“We come here to light candles and offer prayers so that their sins may be forgiven,” she told AFP.

“Getting here is painful, but I must endure it to observe tradition,” she said.

SOULS REMEMBERED

As the souls of the faithful departed are remembered today, three Requiem Masses (mass for the souls of the departed) will be offered for the holy souls in purgatory: One for the celebrant, one for the departed, and one for the Holy Father, Pope Francis in Catholic churches. According to tradition, the Office of the Dead will be recited by the clergy as well as novena prayers for all those who have passed on.

* The Church encourages the faithful to hear mass today and to pray the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be repeatedly six times for the intentions of the Pope in order to receive a plenary indulgence for a soul in purgatory.

Today is also known as the “Feast of All Souls” and in some countries, the “Day of the Dead” or “Memorial Day” when “the souls of the faithful which at death have not been cleansed from venial sins or have not fully atoned for mortal sins and therefore, have not attained the beatific vision in heaven, may be helped to do so by praying, alms-giving, and by the holy sacrifice of the mass.”

Church officials said that All Souls’ Day is an acknowledgment of human frailty. “It reminds the faithful to live holy lives and of the need to pray and offer masses for the eternal repose of the souls of the departed.”

All Souls’ Day was first established by St. Odilo, abbot of Cluny, France during the 11th century and began to be widely celebrated during the 13th century.

Around the country, police have been placed on the highest alert since Thursday to secure cemeteries and transport terminals.

President Aquino inspected Manila’s sea, air, and bus terminals on Friday and ordered authorities to remain vigilant, his spokeswoman, Abigail Valte, told state-run radio DZRB

“(Aquino) will spend the weekend monitoring their updates to ensure the safety of commuters who will visit the graves of their loved ones in the provinces,” Valte said.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Abu Sayyaf kills 6 soldiers in Basilan – military November 2, 2014 12:41pm 8248 47 1 8444 Tags: Basilan (Updated 3:31 p.m.)


ABU SAYYAF

Members of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on Sunday killed at least six soldiers in Basilan, Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Sunday.

In a text message to reporters, military spokesman, Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc disclosed that six soldiers from the 64th Infrantry Battalion died after a 45-minute firefight with the Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.

The soldiers were conducting a security patrol in Sitio Mompol of Libug village around 7:30 a.m. when they clashed with some 20 heavily armed bandits.

According to Cabunoc, the slain soldiers—including two 2nd lieutenants—were deployed to secure the construction of the Basilan Circumferential Road project in the area.

"I am saddened by this senseless violence against our soldiers who are helping deliver public services for the people," said Col. Rolando Bautista, the Commander of the Army's 104th Brigade.

According to Cabunoc, the military is currently conducting pursuit operations against the bandits, who are said to be led by a certain Radzmi Jannatul.

"I will press criminal charges against these bandits who are harrassing the security forces that are deployed to protect the workers of the Saudi-assisted 64-kilometer road project," Bautista added.

In an interview with Agence France-Presse, regional military spokesperson Captain Rowena Muyuela said there were also "most likely... undetermined casualties on the Abu Sayyaf side."

The Basilan incident came after the military launched an offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu over the weekend.

Government forces had been reinforced in Mindanao after the ASG threatened to behead two German hostages held captive since April. The hostages were later released.

On Saturday troops battled about 60 Abu Sayyaf fighters in Jolo and even used helicopter gunships to blast their positions, the military said. No casualties have been reported.

However, Muyuela could not say if the latest attack in Basilan was related to the violence in Jolo.— Rouchelle R. Dinglasan with a report from Agence France-Presse/BM, GMA News

FROM THE INQUIRER

Army troops seize 2 Abu Sayyaf camps in Sulu Julie M. Aurelio @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 6:20 PM | Sunday, November 2nd, 2014


Abu Sayyaf group. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The military on Sunday seized two Abu Sayyaf camps as it continued its pursuit of the bandit group in Patikul, Sulu.

Col. Allan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu, said the 32nd Infantry Battalion cleared two temporary encampments of the bandits in Patikul.

He described the facilities as temporary encampments where the Abu Sayyaf might have slept during breaks from their getaway from the law.

“They can sleep there, it’s not really a permanent camp with fences, but temporary ones,” the official said on Sunday.

A day before, the military engaged the Abu Sayyaf twice as it launched air strikes and ground attacks in Patikul where the bandits were believed to have holed up.

The military is still verifying intelligence reports of reported enemy casualties during Saturday’s attack.

Arrojado vowed no let up in their pursuit of the Abu Sayyaf and that they would hunt them down non-stop.

“We are cautiously entering their lairs. They are now on the run,” he said, noting that they have not received reports of sightings of the 10 remaining hostages with the Abu Sayyaf.

On Saturday, the military’s attack helicopters fired rocket rounds at an encampment in Barangay (village) Bungkaong, Patikul in Sulu where Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Adjan Sawadjaan and his men were reportedly holed up.

The bandits retreated into the mountains of Mt. Sinumaan to escape the attack. Arrojado said the military has been concentrating on the area to pursue the bandits.

Saturday’s offensive was the first clash between the military and the Abu Sayyaf group since the release of two German nationals held hostage by the bandits.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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