Peace Corps Teacher: ‘Bludgeoned to death’ in Philippines

19 04 2007

A grim picture is developing in the death or alleged killing of a US peace crops volunteer in the Philippines.

[]…Julia Campbell, the US Peace Corps volunteer who was found dead in a grave in Banaue, Ifugao, was bludgeoned by her assailant, ABS-CBN’s “Bandila” reported Thursday….”[] ABS-CBNNews

Police are searching for the husband of a woman who is last person to have been seen alive with Julia Campbell – who police believe is the man who was seen on two occasions and in US police terms would be described as a ‘person of interest’.

One: He was alleged to have been seen leaving the area hurriedly near the dry creek bed where her body was ‘intentionally buried’. – The same man being sought by police- was identified by three separate media reports as the husband of Grace Duntogan – who owns a small store in the area.

The same man it is alleged was reportedly seen carrying her backpack and hurriedly leaving the scene of a shallow grave where she was later discovered by Police, Army, and, civilian search teams.

Media reports from wire agencies and GMA.tv, ABS-CBNnews.com, and the Inquirer.net if put into context all point to one man – as at least having been the last person seen with her alive and also later seen hurriedly leaving her make-shift grave. all 734 news articles »

  1. Senior Supt. Raul Gonzales, Cordillera Administrative Region police chief, said that it appeared that Campbell was intentionally buried in the area where her body was found at a dry creek. “There was soil, sand and grass, so the burial was intentional,” Gonzales said.
  2. Police are seeking the husband of Grace Duntogan, 24, who recalled Campbell came to her store at around 3 p.m. on April 8 – she sold her a soft drink. Her husband was seen near her grave prior to it being discovered by a 13 yr boy now in police custody. Mr. Duntagum is nowhere to be found according to police Senior Supt. Pedro Ganir, police chief of Ifugao province,
  3. Campbell’s (’Julia’) was intentionally buried in the area where her body was found at a dry creek. “There was soil, sand and grass, so the burial was intentional,”- Senior Supt. Raul Gonzales, Cordillera Administrative Region police chief
  4. Police are attempting to locate a man who was reportedly seen carrying Julia Campbell’s backpack before the US Peace Corps volunteer disappeared on Easter Sunday.

In hindsight – considering locals statements in the area who claim tourism is a major source of income for them. Most do not believe either robbery or any other reason could be seen as the possible motive for Julia Campbell being killed.

A theory being raised is Campbell slipped and fell while being led by ‘a guide’. That fearing repercussions locals or a local buried her – hoping to hide the body until a time when search teams left the area. Knowing that they would be blamed by locals or fearing perhaps possible criminal problems.

Only a medico legal examination can truly tell – but- Diplomatic officials meddling is what should purely be criminal investigation – per local police in the area who are causing the delay in the reporting of actual scientific findings and ending speculation was at the insistence of US officials at the American embassy that a pathologist chosen from japan by the state department over advice of both US law enforcement officials based in the region and Philippine counterparts. There are FBI and Scotalnd Yard trained forensic exmainers avialble here.

Privately – many forces are at play worried that results of any investigation may affect local tourism in the area also international tourists who do bring in a lot of income to the local community.

Having grown up in a tourist town myself – I know the feeling whenever a crime or accident occurs involving a tourist.

it affects the entire local economy.

The longer the investigation results take and medical findings are released and results are given.

The entire village of Batad – not just one reisident is affected- the Banue community an entire region – not just an individual from there- stand accused of a ‘alleged crime’ and they too deserver the right to know what happened.

As well as the victims family and friends – this makes this tragedy a tougher issue for all parties and to the victim and her memory and good deeds of the past two years she did serving people in under-developed communities like the small village she tragically died in.

Entry Filed under: Arroyo, Giuliani, Bicol, filipino-american, ifugao, Julia Campbell, peace corps killed, philippines peace corps, philippine peace corps volunteer kiiled, fil-am, Makati, Filipino, philippines, Politics, News and politics, freedom of speech, ASEAN, free speech, peace corps, Manila, news

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Warden Notice: Warning issued vs. Terror plot in Central Midanao

19 04 2007

 

US State Department issues ‘warden notice’ or a terror plot warning for central mindanao in the Philippines.

This alert comes on the heels of a a earlier bomb blast last night in Coatabato City in central mindanao an area of known al qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiah activity.

the threat also comes as increased combat action is taking place between elements of the Philippine military and rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front rebels in southern Mindanao’s Sulu Province.

Philippines: 2 dead in IED blast – victims suspected bombers

Reports from Cotabato City in the southern Philippines indicates two would be bombers were killed police say when the IED they were transporting detonated prematurely on the motorcycle they were riding.

WARDEN NOTICE

Need for Caution in Central Mindanao

April 19, 2007

THE EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES IS TRANSMITTING THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION THROUGH THE EMBASSY WARDEN SYSTEM AS A PUBLIC SERVICE TO AMERICAN CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES. PLEASE DISSEMINATE THIS MESSAGE TO ALL U.S. CITIZENS IN YOUR ORGANIZATION OR NEIGHBORHOOD. THANK YOU.

———————————————————————–

The Embassy has information that a terrorist group may be planning to carry out bombing attacks in central Mindanao over the next several days. Although the information does not specify a particular location, U.S. citizens should carefully consider plans to visit central Mindanao.

U.S. citizens living and working in central Mindanao are urged to reassess their personal security and to keep a low profile, and should avoid public gathering places, including high-profile events, such as the “Palarong Pambansa” Games, which will take place in Koronadal City from April 22 – 28, 2007.

For additional information, Americans should refer to the Travel Warning for the Philippines, issued June 16, 2006, as well as the Consular Information Sheet for the Philippines dated June 19, 2006.

American citizens with questions or concerns may telephone the Embassy at (63)(2) 528-6300. In case of an emergency outside business hours, American citizens may reach the Embassy duty officer through the Embassy operator at (63)(2) 528-6300. The U.S. Embassy is located at: 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines. The Consular American Citizen Services (ACS) section’s fax number is (63)(2) 522-3242 and the ACS web page is at http://philippines.usembassy.gov/wwwh3004.html.

Entry Filed under: Makati, abu sayyaf, The Philippines, al qaeda, Manila, fil-am, filipino-american, Abu Sayyaf leaders, Virgina Tech massacre, ASEAN counter terrorism, Manila Warden Notice, World War 3, ASEAN, Filipino, Politics, USA, Indonesia, News and politics, news, asia, war on terror, Afghanistan, philippines, war, terrorism, Uncategorized





“too early to determine if foul play was involved.”: Investigators “Missing Peace Corps volunteer dead”

18 04 2007

“Too early to determine if foul play was involved.” – but other reports say that the body which is believed to be of missing Julia Cambell, who is from Fairfax, Virgina and is in the Philippines as one of 137 peace corps volunteers in the country.

News reports coming from the scene say the body appears to have been buried – or covered in debris from a fall. but investigators are still investigating.

Meanwhile. Colonel Victor Felix, commander of the Army’s 502nd Infantry Brigade- describe the place the body was found as a ‘grave’ beside a creek. Col. Felix, said in a radio interview that his team had found the site at around 10:30 am local time.

Philippine National Police and the US Embassy RSO personnel in Manila have set forensic tests to confirm that the remains were indeed Campbell’s.

Cambell’s death is one of the first involving tourists in the area which is very popular with backpackers, hikers, and naturalists.

Accidents however are not uncommon and tourism officials in a published guide book recommend that travelers hire local guides or at least travel in groups for safer enjoyment of the area.





Search on for Missing Peace Corps member Julia Campbell in Ifugao, Philippines

15 04 2007

The search for a missing peace corps volunteer is ongoing in Northern Luzon – reports say the woman – Julia Campbell, 40, of Fairfax, Va., was last seen on April 8 in the town of Banaue in Ifugao province,- who has been missing for more than five days as of this writing failed to meet scheduled appointments – news agency reports say…

“Embassy security officials and Peace Corps security and local authorities are in that region right now looking for her or finding people who may know where she is,” Embassy spokesman Matt  said. Regional police commander Chief Superintendent Raul Gonzales said at least four teams from the provincial police office have been mobilized for the search, after the U.S. Embassy told them Campbell was missing. He said the directive to conduct the search came from the national police headquarters in Manila.

There has been little information on the major philippine news websites  which seem content to cover things more profitable and politcal at this time of year.

The area is reported to be ‘rebel active’ but in truth is best known as the hassish and marijuana capitol of the Philippines – drug syndicates and locals have long used the remote areas to produce what the US DEA and Philippine PDEA calls a major production area for narcotics  A US embassy press release and information on this insident is below:

Information and Assistance Sought Regarding Missing US Peace Corps Volunteer – Reward Offered

Information and Assistance Sought Regarding Missing US Peace Corps Volunteer - Reward Offered

The United States Embassy in the Philippines is seeking information on the welfare and whereabouts of Ms. Julia Campbell, a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer missing since April 8, 2007. Full story





Philippine overseas voting begins

14 04 2007

 Voting for overseas filipnios has begun per reports specific and general information below those needing more information may go to comelec’s website here  

[]”… Filipinos working abroad will begin voting in the Congressional elections at 88 posts set up abroad from today, a foreign affairs department spokesman said. They may vote till May 14 and the posts will be open through weekends and holidays, said Generoso Calonge, vice chairman of the secretariat for Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV). …”[]

The following are disqualified from registering as overseas absentee voters:

    1. Those who have lost their Philippine citizenship in accordance with Philippine laws;
    2. Those who have expressly renounced their Philippine citizenship and who have pledged allegiance to a foreign country;
    3. Those who have been convicted by final judgment of a court or tribunal of an offense punishable by imprisonment of not less than one (1) year, unless such disability has been removed by plenary pardon or amnesty;
    4. Those who have been found guilty by final judgment of Disloyalty as defined under Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code, unless such disability has been removed by plenary pardon or amnesty;
    5. An immigrant or a permanent resident who is recognized as such in the host country, unless he/she executes upon filing of an application for registration as overseas absentee voter an affidavit declaring that: (i) he/she shall resume actual physical permanent residence in the Philippines not later than three (3) years from approval of his/her registration, and (ii) he/she has not applied for citizenship in another country;
    6. Any citizen of the Philippines abroad previously declared insane or incompetent by competent authority in the Philippines or abroad, as verified by the Philippine embassy, consulate or foreign service establishment concerned, unless such competent authority subsequently certifies that such person is no longer insane or incompetent.

However, those disqualified under paragraphs (c) and (d) hereof who have not been granted plenary pardon or amnesty shall automatically acquire or reacquire the right to vote as an overseas absentee voter upon the expiration of five (5) years after service of sentence.





Philippines: Alerts issued as one Volcano erupts and another shows signs ‘abnornality’

8 04 2007

Reports of Two volcano’s under tight watch south of Manila – in Sorsogon province Mt. Bulusan erupted with several ash eruptions later on in the day on Easter Sunday. While just South of Manila – Taal volcano – a landmark with it’s famous lake within extinct volcano crater that has an island with another lake within the crater of a active volcano

[ “… Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum reported that in Sorsogon Province, Mt. Bulusan exploded around 5:45 a.m., and sent ash up as high as 1.5 kilometers. Solidom added that several ash explosions occurred, spewing ash up as high as four kilometers,” Solidum added volcanic earthquakes were felt prior to the eruption. It is the fourth time that Mt. Bulusan erupted this year and the 14th since 2006.

Meanwhile – Phivolcs has raised the alert level at Taal Volcano a popular day trip and vacation spot where tens of thousands of tourists on Easter Holiday were told no trips would be allowed to shore areas where steam and sulphur discharges have been noted in Batangas Province some two hours drive south of the capitol and issued warning against venturing near the area.
Solidum said Taal is showing “abnormality” in the last few days. “The crater is hot – bubbling. No one should venture near the crater area. We have received reports of tourists venturing near the area, we hope they won’t do that,” he said. …”]

Reports:

» Bicol disaster units alerted for Bulusan

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» Easter Sunday alert: Bulusan explodes; Taal acting up, too

[” .. JUBAN, Sorsogon- At least 24 barangays (villages) were blanketed in ash following yet another explosion of Mount Bulusan early morning of Easter Sunday, … ‘]





S. Philippines :Jolo firefight inside military camp leaves ten dead

8 04 2007

A lone gunman is reported to have killed ten and wounded others in a running gun battle that took place on Saturday on Jolo Island. the insident in the town of Parang seems to have been confined to the inside of mobile patrol base and ther motive for the shooting remains unclear. speculation is the gunman wnet on shooting ramapge.
Around five brigades of Philippine forces are on the island to fight against extremists of the Abu Sayyaf and chase down members of Jemaah Islamia a al qaeda cell in south east Asia that has engaged in terrorism.

It is not clear if the gunman was a solder or a local. The term ‘A-muck’ or ‘Amok’ is commonly used to describe extremely violent behavior was made by US troops wh fought pitched battles versus Moro tribal warriors who often were unleashed on US forces during the early 1900’s of the Philippine insurrection – Philippines-Americans war period – – and- common on Jolo island where blood fueds and violent incidents involving locals who sometimes go on ‘blood missions’ to kills as many people as they can in a rampage. – some reports speculate this may have been the case -but it is unlikely.

[] Rampaging gunman kills 10 in southern Philippines
Reuters – MANILA (Reuters) – An unidentified gunman killed nine soldiers and one civilian in a rampage inside a patrol base in the southern Philippines, … []

There are US and allies who have forces based on the island in a advisory traning and support role but so far no foreigners appear to be among the dead or injured.