‘MABIBIGYAN BA TALAGA KAMI?’ | A look at coop’s claim of distributing Marcos wealth

IN SUMMARY:

  • One Social Family Credit Cooperative used to operate as Bullion Buyer, Ltd.
  • OSFCC claims they were tasked to implement a program aiming to distribute Marcos wealth
  • Bullion Buyer was already a subject of many complaints from Baguio in the north to Bacolod in the Visayas

[FIRST UPDATE: 2:19pm, September 24] People, mostly ordinary masses, were promised a million pesos. Those who were to give the money away said the funds are from the wealth of the Marcoses.

One Saturday, they converged in an unlikely place: a campus which served as one of the hotbeds of militancy, opposition, and struggle during Martial Law.

Thousands of people, almost all clad in white shirts, arrived at the UPLB campus on September 23 for what is touted to be a general assembly of the One Social Family Credit Cooperative (OSFCC). Their program was held at the grandstand of the lower Freedom Park.

An old company changing names

It was revealed during the program that the OSFCC is the new name of a former entity called Bullion Buyer, Ltd. (BBL) Bullion has been existing since 2004, as mentioned during the program.

A woman speaker explained during the program that Bullion Buyer simply handles the documents for the turn-over of the alleged wealth of the Marcoses. OSFCC was chosen as a beneficiary, and thus, was tasked to distribute the money to the people.

However, it was not clear when BBL was transformed into the OSFCC.

So, where’s the money from?

The woman speaker said that there is a Grand Advisory Council that supposedly handles the wealth of the Marcoses. She also said that there are three sources of the said wealth, as follows:

  • Ferdinand Marcos Cash Account (FMCA);
  • Marcos Foundation and Trust Fund; and
  • The Redeemers Group

UPLB Perspective was unable to verify the legitimacy and veracity of the last two groups mentioned. However, the FMCA was the subject of a case in 2014 in the District Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Reading a letter thanking these groups, she told beneficiaries during the program: “As the trusted recipient of the [Marcos] legacy, we are expressing our deepest gratitude for trusting us to implement your program to benefit the Filipino people.” She then ad-libbed, “Programa ito ni Apo Marcos, e. Ngayon lang natin ‘to nalaman.”

Apo Marcos refers to the former President Ferdinand Marcos. Apo is a term of endearment for revered people in family or in power in the Ilocano language.

The same speaker also mentioned making the Philippines a great nation again, where no Filipino will be “financially discriminated” anymore.

How will they distribute the money?

The cooperative claims to have the following workforce for the distribution of wealth to the people:

  • 2,396 coordinators in Luzon and Visayas
  • 1,024 provincial implementers (PIs) and participating leaders (PLs) in Luzon and Visayas
  • 939 coordinators in Mindanao

Each coordinator should have 300 beneficiaries before their area can become eligible for the supposed cash dole-outs, UPLB Perspective has learned.

Supposed beneficiaries were told that each family beneficiary will be given P1 million each. The money will be split in half:

  • P500,000 will be distributed to the beneficiary for four years and two months; that’s P10,000 per beneficiary per month.
  • The other P500,000 will be contributed to the cooperative as the beneficiary’s capital share.

The cooperative will open a bank account for the respective beneficiaries, where the latter’s shares of the wealth that’s supposed to be distributed will be deposited.

During the program, the beneficiaries were promised to be given P10,000 cash advance.

Being a beneficiary ain’t easy

To become a beneficiary, one has to have a booklet titled Life and Acheivements of Ferdinand E. Marcos. The booklet serves as the proof of membership to the cooperative. The booklet has to be stamped or signed as proof that the holder of the said booklet is eligible to receive the money supposedly due them.

But getting that booklet, which it seems is marketed as the key to the wealth of the Marcoses, is not as easy as it looks. The registration to become a beneficiary is done per barangay.

  • First, interested parties have to submit copies of his/her birth certificate and marriage certificate to the coordinator assigned to their barangay. They also have to accomplish a registration form. The coordinator will then put the person’s name on a list.
  • When the person is about to get a copy of the Marcos booklet, the coordinator will check his/her name on the list.
  • Once registered, they also have to attend a membership seminar.

Typically, the booklet contains the name and 2×2 ID photo of the beneficiary.

Pinili ng Diyos?

In another part of the program, one man explained that he has been a member of the former Bullion Buyer since 2012. He then said he has been waiting for five years to claim the promised wealth from the Marcoses.

He then linked the word grace to his years of waiting. Grace has five letters. Each letter represents the number of years he’s been waiting. “Naniniwala akong ang taong 2017 ang huling letra kaya matatanggap niyo ang biyaya.”

The same man said that in the National Capital Region, there are four million supposed beneficiary families. But he said during the program: “Ang nag-fillup lamang at pinili ng Diyos at ang mga hindi nagrereklamo ay 22,672 beneficiaries lang.”

“Dapat sama-sama tayong magtiis. Ayaw niyo nun? Mamaya, malalaman niyo na kayo ay malapit nang tumanggap talaga ng mga biyayang hinihintay natin,” he added.

How big can they be?

There were two noteworthy figures mentioned during the program:

  • 22,672 beneficiaries in the National Capital Region alone; and
  • 281,476 people included in the first batch of beneficiaries.

If we are to believe OSFCC’s claim about the number of beneficiaries and the supposed procedure that each beneficiary will have P500,000 in capital share, they could be easily classified as a large cooperative, with billions merely in capital.

Assuming that all 22,672 beneficiaries in the National Capital Region will give P500,000 in capital share to OSFCC, the total capital from these supposed beneficiaries is P11,336,000,000.  In comparison, ACDI Multipurpose Cooperative, the largest cooperative in the country according to the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), has P12.29 billion in assets as of December 2014. OSFCC’s figure is P954 million shy of the total assets of ACDI MPC.

Meanwhile, assuming that there are 281,476 beneficiaries who are supposed to give the same amount in capital share, the total capital would be P140,738,000,000. This figure would clearly surpass the P12.29 billion total assets of ACDI MPC.

Bullion no clean company

Bullion Buyer Ltd., as it turns out, is plagued with complaints from various supposed beneficiaries, to the extent that the Securities and Exchange Commission issued an advisory against the company.

In its advisory dated March 8, 2017, SEC describes BBL’s operations as follows: “Those recruited are asked to pay thirty pesos (PhP30.00) in exchange for receiving ten thousand pesos (PhP10,000.00) per month through their Landbank ATM accounts for four (4) years and eleven (11) months starting February 2017.  This also entitles them to a grant of five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000.00) for livelihood programs.”

SEC then said that BBL “is not registered with the Commission as a corporation or partnership.” The commission warned the public to stop investing in the company.

As early as 2013, there have already been reports about BBL’s illegitimacy. Two members of the company were recommended to face estafa charges, a Philippine Star report  published in March that year said. The same report cited that these two members, named Felicisima Cantos and Emmanuel Destura, “introduced themselves to the complainants as caretakers of the assets of the late President Ferdinand Marcos” and that they “enticed the victims to invest” in BBL. Also in 2013, columnist Tony Calvento wrote a piece detailing the modus operandi of the said company.

In June 2013, Lingayen, Pangasinan Regional Trial Court Branch 37 issued warrants of arrest against Destura and Cantos.

In February 2017, Bombo Radyo reported about the proliferation of Bullion Buyer, this time in Baguio City. Having received many complaints about the company, city mayor Mauricio Domogan had ordered an investigation into the company. At around the same time, Sun.Star published a Philippine News agency report saying two other members of BBL were also arrested in Mangaldan, Pangasinan. The modus operandi: buy a Marcos booklet for P30, and you can claim P10,000 a month.

BBL was also able to reach Visayas. The modus operandi remains similar: submit documents, pay for a booklet, and you’re eligible to get P10,000 monthly. RMN Network reports up to 100,000 people were recruited by BBL in Negros Occidental.

In Saturday’s event, OSFCC said that they used to be Bullion Buyer Ltd. In fact, the registration forms given to the supposed beneficiaries still had the name of BBL in its header, UPLB Perspective has discovered [see photo below].

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Marcos’ son: Distribution a scam

Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. denied the supposed distribution of Marcos wealth, saying in a statement that it is “a fraudulent and massive scam.”

“We have repeatedly warned the public against unscrupulous individuals who have been using our family’s last name to advance their interests. Today’s event is a classic example,” his statement reads.

Yet another case of false hope?

In the middle of an interview with some supposed beneficiaries, one of them asked the UPLB Perspective correspondent talking to them, “Mabibigyan ba talaga kami?” Before asking the question, they told the Perspective that they were promised to be given something once they attend the program, but it was only during the program that they knew about the P10,000 cash advance.

They were promised money, wealth coming from a former President who plundered the people’s money. Whatever the motivations of those who went to the UPLB campus on that Saturday morning may differ from one another, but one thing is sure: they hoped for something that will change their lives, and we’ll never know if their hopes, just like all the other hopes of a nation marred with poverty and inequality, will transpire to reality. [P]

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“Promised cash” from coop drives thousands to UPLB

[FIRST UPDATE: 5:38pm, September 23] It was an unusual start of the weekend in the University of the Philippines Los Baños this Saturday as thousands of supposed beneficiaries of a cooperative went into the campus in droves as early as 5am.

The beneficiaries – who arrived in the campus through jeepneys, vans, and buses – were told that they will be given P10,000 cash advance by the One Social Family Credit Cooperative, formerly known as Bullion Buyer Ltd. A program held at the lower Freedom Park’s grandstand was touted as a general assembly of OSFCC.

Dr. Serlie Barroga-Jamias, vice chancellor for academic affairs, said in a statement sent to reporters that the University “approved the letter of Mr. Jeffrey S. Fortuna, National Inspectorate/Cooperative Secrateriat of [OSFCC] to hold general assembly meeting at the lower field managed by the [Department] of Human Kinetics.”

The vice chancellor added that UPLB Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. had previously approved “sectoral groups in the past such as the lumads, peasants, [boy] scouts, sports events, plus others from communities to use UPLB grounds as community sharing.

All of the supposed beneficiaries that the UPLB Perspective has encountered are holding a booklet with a photo of former President Ferdinand Marcos on the cover. The booklet, titled Life and Achievements of Ferdinand E. Marcos, supposedly contains the accomplishments of the late dictator. Bullion Buyer is the publisher of the said booklet.

IMG20170923130700“Unity could not be achieved by President Marcos during his term that’s [sic] why the peace of mind of President Marcos was only attained during Martial Law followed by all the good things he achieved during his reign as President,” the booklet’s preface reads.

The beneficiaries were told that those who have a signed copy of the Marcos booklet will be given a cash advance. Furthermore, they were told that each family will be given P1 million, which will be divided equally.

“Lahat ng beneficiaries, meron kayong cash advance. How are we going to do that? Yung inyong one million each per family, i-divide natin into two. Yung P500,000 we’ll give it to you P10,000  [sic] every month for four years and two months. The remaining P500,000, yun ang magiging capital share niyo sa cooperative,” a female speaker told the crowd in a program held at the Freedom Park grandstand.

A group of security guards from Cavite that the UPLB Perspective has talked to said that while they were aware before the event that they will receive something, it was only today during the program at the grandstand that they were informed about the cash advance.

“Narinig namin mismo [doon sa programa]. Alam namin na may matatanggap nga pero ngayon lang sinabi na [ang may] booklet, tatanggap daw,” one of the guards said.

Students condemn unexpected event

For their part, the University Student Council (USC) and other organizations condemned the UPLB administration’s move to allow inside the campus, which is known for its vigilance and militancy against Marcos’ Martial Law, an event purportedly glorifying the late dictator.

“Ang pagpapangako ng pera sa mamamayang Pilipino ay hindi mapapaltan ang mga buhay na nawala noong panahon ng diktatura ni Marcos. Kinokondena natin ang ating administrasyon na hinayaang magawa dito ang ang aktibidad na ito,” the USC said during an indignation rally at Carabao Park on Saturday afternoon.

“Nakakagalit na sa mismong pamantasan na nanindigan at lumaban sa diktadura ginanap ang ganitong pagtitipon,” Samahan ng Kabataan Para sa Bayan said in the same rally.

The political alliance also questioned the University’s decision to allow delegates of Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya this year to enter the campus but with oppressive limitations. “Sa panahon na ang mamamayan ang humingi ng permit, hindi napagbigyan,” they said.

Other organizations also slammed the supposed distribution of Marcos’ wealth, saying it contributes to historical revisionism.

“Walang kahit anong pera o kayamanan ang magbibigayt-presyo sa mga buhay na kinitil ni Marcos na nagpapatuloy hanggang ngayon,” Anakbayan-UPLB said during the rally.

Complaints against Bullion Buyer

Bullion Buyer Ltd. has been a subject of an advisory of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The advisory, dated March 8, 2017, warned citizens to not invest in the said entity.

READ: MABIBIGYAN BA TALAGA KAMI?’ | A look at coop’s claim of distributing Marcos wealth

SEC describes their modus operandi as follows: “Those recruited are asked to pay thirty pesos (PhP 30.00) in exchange for receiving ten thousand pesos (PhP10,000.00) per month through their Landbank ATM accounts for four (4) years and eleven (11) months starting February 2017.”

“The public is hereby informed that Bullion Buyer Ltd. is not registered with the Commission as a corporation or partnership. There being no primary license, it is not authorized to solicit investments which require a secondary license as provided under Sec. 8.1 of the Securities Regulation Code,” the advisory reads.

A Google search of Bullion Buyer Ltd. leads to various reports of complaints against the company. Reports published by local media indicate that Bullion Buyer has been operating in Baguio City, Pangasinan, and Bacolod[P]

Police presence at LB Square on Monday an emergency response

No Tokhang operation conducted, says PNP-LB

No warrantless body searches or Oplan Tokhang operation happened at LB Square along Grove, Lopez Avenue in Brgy. Batong Malake on Monday night, UPLB Perspective has learned.

Citing unverified social media posts saying that body searches were “confirmed” to have been conducted at the Square, PO2 Raymond Malabanan, on-duty investigator of the Los Baños Municipal Police Station, told the UPLB Perspective in an interview Wednesday evening: “Kami naman dito sa Los Baños PNP, pinabubulaanan namin ang sinabing iyon.”

“Walang pangangapkap. Ni preventive search nga, wala kaming ginawa,” he added.

The local law enforcement authorities said they were there at the Square, where several restaurants and bars are located, to respond to an emergency.

According to Malabanan, the on-duty investigator on the incident, eight people had a fight at the second floor of Cubes Resto Bar in LB Square at past 11pm on Monday. Relationship dispute was seen as a motive behind the incident. Two of those involved underwent medical examinations, Malabanan said.

The owner of the resto bar had no interest in pressing charges, Malabanan said. “Wala naman siyang interes na magreklamo, pinabayaran na lang ang mga nasira, mga nabasag,” he added.

Malabanan confirmed that three emergency response vehicles were on the scene to respond to the incident.  Two of these are Los Baños PNP’s mobile vehicles which were stationed at the Junction area, while one is from Barangay Batong Malake. He said that all the members of the Los Baños PNP, including its chief, PSupt. Arvin Avelino, who were at the Junction area for Oplan Sita, a regular police operation, responded to the said incident.

The Barangay Public Safety Office (BPSO) of Barangay Batong Malake also responded to the quarrel. The incident was confirmed by Dindo Tuazon, a radio operator for Barangay Batong Malake. In a separate interview with the UPLB Perspective, he said that the incident was reported on the barangay’s blotter.

The barangay radioed the incident to the police, Malabanan said. He also mentioned that the incident was settled in the barangay level, thus, it was not recorded in the police’s blotter. “Kung dito sila magba-blotter, automatic, magkakaso sila. Eh napagdesisyunan naman nilang isantabi ang paghahabla,” the investigator said.

Eyewitness accounts

 The manager of Cubes and other eyewitnesses that the UPLB Perspective have talked to also denied the alleged warrantless searches on students and patrons of the Square. They also denied that drugs were involved in that incident.

Ace, the owner of Cubes Resto Bar, told UPLB Perspective that no customer was subjected to a body search. Policemen did not enter in other establishments, he added.

“Buong magdamag, nandito kami, wala naman kaming na-observe na nakapkapang mga estudyante o customer. Wala akong nakita kasi hanggang madaling araw kami nag-stay dito,” he said.

Two witnesses have also spoken to the UPLB Perspective, telling the same story. One of the witnesses, a waiter at Cubes, said that their cashier called the attention of policemen stationed at a public assistance desk near the Square.

When asked whether arrests were made that night, he said: “Wala naman po.”

Another witness, a waiter at another restaurant in the Square, when asked about alleged entry of policemen in other establishments, said: “Hindi po sila pumasok [sa amin].” The same witness also denied reports of students being subjected to searches.

Continuing call for vigilance

Political alliance Samahan ng Kabataan Para sa Bayan (SAKBAYAN) was the first to publish an alert on early Tuesday morning to students and the UPLB community on the incident on Monday. “We have been informed that police officers are allegedy conducting search of bags at LB Square and Tresto in connection with Oplan Tokhang,” the statement posted on their Facebook page read.

The said alert is still up as of press time, with 374 reactions and 851 shares.

However, Tresto Garden Restaurant, via its Facebook page, denied the conduct of any police operation in their establishment, saying that “part of [SAKBAYAN’s] propaganda is ‘fake news.’”

When asked about the alleged operation in Tresto, Los Baños police deferred to the restaurant’s statement.

For their part, SAKBAYAN said in a later statement issued Tuesday evening via social media that they are continuing “to affirm its call for vigilance in the whole UPLB community in light of recent threats to our civil liberties.”

“First and foremost, our concern would be the safety and security of our constituents. We must ensure that we are able to enjoy our rights,” SAKBAYAN said in a text message to the UPLB Perspective.

“Thus, we call on the UPLB community to stay vigilant given the present political climate in the country,” they added.

For the part of the UPLB University Student Council, chairperson Charmane Jay Maranan said in a separate phone interview: “Syempre, magkakaroon ng fact finding committee, ad hoc na fact finding committee or [iimbestigahan] ng EdRes (Education and Research) Committee) kung anong nangyari.” [P]

 

UPLB students assert #FreeEduc #NoTuitionCollection in the first day rage

 

With another broken glass door, history has repeated itself.

Despite the heavy rains and suspension of classes, the first day rage protest organized by the University Student Council (USC) pushed through on August 2.

Upon reaching the Main Library, the students were met with a row of the University Police Force (UPF) and the Community Support Brigade (CSB) who were already blocking the entrance to the library. Nonetheless, student protesters formed a barricade to pressure the CSB and UPF to open the doors and let them in.

A few moments later, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Portia Lapitan faced the students to say that Chancellor Fernando Sanchez has already left because he had a meeting with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). However, students stood their ground and waited until they got a dialogue from the administration.

Furthermore, after several attempts to open the doors, USC Chairperson Charm Maranan was called inside by Vice Chancellor Lapitan. The CSB and UPF were then told that the students will be invited inside.

With this, the students calmed down and waited for the doors to be opened.

However, students were outraged after receiving a text from Maranan that they will no longer be let inside. They once again tried to let themselves in which led to the glass door breaking, leaving at least 2 students injured.

Dialogue with Lapitan

After successfully entering the Main Library, the students demanded for a proper dialogue with the administration, due to Chancellor Sanchez’ absence, Vice Chancellor Lapitan faced the students.

The students registered their call for free education and no tuition collection and urged the administration to be one with them in their calls as studies show that free education in UP is possible as UP, like other SUCs in the country sit on billions of funds collected from tuition fees and other school fees.

Alongside these calls, the students also condemned the release of a new memorandum by UP President Danilo Concepcion, invalidating the previously released memorandum by the Office of the Vice Chancellor suspending the collection of tuition fees for the First Semester of Academic Year 2017-2018.

Students present at the dialogue expressed how this has burdened lots of students in the university as Student Financial Assistance (SFA) and Socialized Tuition System (STS) results were only released that day.

“Saan po naming papakuhanin ng 30,000 ang mga magulang namin para ibayad sa tuition na akala nila ay suspended ngayon sem?” one student said.

On implementation of STS

“UP has limited resources. We have to rationalize kung sino yung qualified doon sa limited resources na ito. Alangan namang random yung pag-bigay naming ng limited resources,” Vice Chancellor Lapitan explained why UPLB still uses the Socialized Tuition System (STS).

She explained further that the tuition fee paid by the students is being used to operate UPLB.

“Kung gagawing free tuition, hindi sasagutin ng government [ang pang-operate sa UPLB], hindi sapat ang magiging resources. Kaya kailangan ang national government ang magsasabi ng free tuition parasila ang sasagot ng supposed free tuition niyo,” she added.

Students asked Vice Chancellor Lapitan if she can commit to joining the students to the Office of the President in voicing out their appeals. She said no but instead promised to release a statement regarding her commitment to free education. However, she did not want to discuss what her statement would include and requested that the students wait and see how she does her work, and that she does not want to be pressured.

“My say on the matter will not in any way be significant enough to change anything. I would not want to give you false hope,” she pressed.

The dialogue with Vice Chancellor Lapitan ended with two conclusions: that she will release a statement regarding the issue on tuition fee collection; and that tomorrow, August 3, she will ask Chancellor Sanchez to schedule a dialogue with the students.

The students hoped that the dialogue happens before August 25, the last day of enrolment.

Series of memos

The first day rage protest aimed to call the UP administration’s attention towards the series of memos released this July regarding the suspension of tuition fee collection.

On July 24, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) released a memo announcing the suspension of collection of tuition fees “until further notice.” This was followed by another memo last July 31, when the Office of the President release a memo that said “ UP shall use the Socialized Tuition System for Academic Year 2017-2018 in assessing the tuition and other fees, and providing financial support to the students.”

The results of the STS were released earlier today. [P]

EXCLUSIVE: Student’s cooling off mistaken for suicide attempt

Medics did not handle her well, she tells [P]

Amid circulating rumors of a student attempting to jump off the Narra Bridge, commonly known as the “Never Ending Bridge,” on March 21, a student came forward to the UPLB Perspective, saying she might be the one who people think tried to jump from the bridge, but was prevented from doing so by medical personnel.

In an interview on Wednesday, March 22, the student, who requested anonymity for this story, clarified that she was not attempting to jump off Narra Bridge.

The student explained that at past 3pm, she went to Narra Bridge to cool off, as she was feeling angry and sad at the time. Couple of minutes later, she saw an ambulance stopping near her. Medical personnel then alighted from the ambulance and attempted to hold her by the arms.

Citing the instinct of “stranger danger,” she refused to go with them. “Na-trauma ako. I didn’t think they did their best job,” said the student after the medical personnel insisted that she go inside the ambulance.

The medical personnel later offered to bring her to her dorm. She recalled leaving them and going towards the Student Union Building where she claimed she cried to her orgmates who were there. However, she said, the ambulance still followed her up until the DL Umali Auditorium.

How the rumor spread

“Nagulat ako sa Twitter,” she said when asked what she felt after seeing the reactions on social media. The student later clarified that she declined to be brought to neither the UHS nor any other hospital.

She also came forward to the UPLB Perspective because she felt that the time frame of what happened to her coincided with the time frame of the alleged attempted suicide incident.

Reports of the alleged incident started in the afternoon of March 21, when a certain Boy Bato posted on Facebook that someone jumped off Palma Bridge. He later retracted his earlier story and said that it happened at the bridge near the Main Library, the Narra or “Never Ending” Bridge. In the comments, Boy Bato said that he personally saw it.

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Screenshot of Boy Bato’s post

“Kasi galing ako UPF [University Police Force] dahil dun sa lisensya fiasco ko. So pag[ka]tapos nung meeting, may mga tao sa labas na [yun] na nga, may tatalon daw sa bridge, So dumaan ako. Ayun, may pulis on the scene na papaunta when it happened.” Boy Bato said in the comments section of his post.

Shortly afterwards, Boy Bato deleted the said post and deactivated his account.

Since then, social media, especially Twitter, went abuzz with news of someone jumping off the Narra Bridge.

However, no report of the alleged incident was recorded in the blotter of the UPF, UPLB Perspective has learned. This was also confirmed by Security Guard (SG III) Mervin Valencia, who was the investigator on duty that night, stating that it was only hearsay.

Tecson Pua, a BS Mathematics student, asked the official Facebook page of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA) about the veracity of the alleged incident that same night. The conversation with the office was posted on his Twitter account the next morning, March 22.

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Screenshot courtesy of Tecson Pua

“The University Health Service (UHS) reported a student who tried to jump from the bridge this pm but was prevented from doing so,” OVCCA said in their reply to Pua. The OVCCA also stated that the student was “brought to the UHS safe [sic] for appropriate action.” They also cited the hiring of “a consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Palis, to… deal specifically with suicidal cases” among  the university’s students.

The consultant psychiatrist being referred to is Dr. Alexandra Jean Palis.

UHS is unable to confirm OVCCA’s claim in the latter’s reply to Pua about anyone who tried to commit suicide being brought to the medical facility that day.

OVCCA has not responded to UPLB Perspective’s messages as of press time.

“HOPE” Forum

A reply to Pua’s screen cap posted on Twitter was Office of the Chancellor (OC) Memorandum No. 042 Series of 2017, dated March 16. The memo was an invitation to “HOPE: Health Orientation to Problems from Emotional Stress,” organized by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA). The event aims to provide an orientation about problems from emotional stress. Dr. Palis serves as one of the speakers in the said event.

A scanned copy memorandum was sent via email by the OC to the university’s units and college on March 22, a day after rumors of the alleged incident circulated around campus. The College Secretary’s Office (CSO) of the College of Human Ecology (CHE) reposted the scanned memorandum on its Facebook account. The same copy of the memorandum shared by the CHE CSO was tweeted by Pua. [P]

Family, friends seek help on missing UPLB alumnus

 

University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) alumnus, Michael Kenneth Cruz

University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) alumnus, Michael Kenneth Cruz, has been missing and cannot be contacted since the morning of Thursday, March 16. A missing person report was filed at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Pasay City Government the same day by Andrea Baule, Cruz’s partner.

According to Baule’s facebook post, Cruz was on his way to his first day of work to Balayan, Batangas. He left from their apartment at Pasig City to the terminal at Metropoint Taft at around 3am. The last text update received from Cruz was at 4:39 am saying that he is already at Taft waiting for other passengers.

” We tried to look for cctv and other possible terminals in taft pero wala pa magandang sightings of Mike. We just suspect 1 or 2 person na pinakahawig sa rememblance pero we can’t verify if sumakay siya or hindi eh dahil sa mga blind spot na din ng mga lugar. So far wala pa talaga kaming information about Michael’s location,” said Baule in a facebook interview.

Baule has also scouted different CCTV camera recording around the area of Taft to see if there is any sighting of Cruz. As of writing, there is still no update from the family, and the PNP Pasay regarding Cruz’s case. [P]

MTC defers arraignment of UPLB Chancellor

WORDS | CZARINA JOY B. AREVALO

The Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Los Baños deferred the arraignment for the oral defamation case of UPLB Chancellor Fernando Sanchez Jr. on Wednesday, March 8.

Attorney Rosalio Aragon Jr., lawyer of Chancellor Sanchez, motioned for the postponement based on the ground that they filed a petition for review before the Department of Justice (DOJ) last February 9. The petition for review was raised because of the conflicting rules on the provincial and regional state prosecutor.

Attorney Rosario cited Rule 116 Section 11  of the Rule of Court which states, “upon motion by the proper party, the arraignment shall be suspended for the case of a pending petition for review of the resolution of the prosecutor at either the DOJ, or the Office of the President; provided, that the period of suspension shall not exceed sixty (60) days counted from the filing of the petition with the reviewing office.”

On the other hand, Atty. Emilio C. Capulong Jr., private prosecutor of Dr. Ruben Tanqueco, complainant, said that upon resolution of the Regional Prosecutor, the earlier resolution is considered final.

(READ:UPLB Chancellor accuses univ official of infidelity)

In an earlier report by the UPLB Perspective, Regional Prosecutor Ernesto C. Mendoza found the appeal meritorious, which granted the petition for review last January 24, 2017. The petition for review was filed by Dr. Tanqueco before the Regional Trial Court after the case was initially dismissed by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Laguna last July 16, 2016.

The arraignment is set on May 24, 2017 with or without the resolution of the DOJ, as granted by Presiding Judge Francisco Collado Jr. [P]