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Ax falls on Faeldon

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night dismissed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon after the latter approved the release of several heinous crime convicts.

The President fired Faeldon during a press briefing in Malacanang in response to a reporter’s question if he would terminate Faeldon’s services to the BuCor.

Duterte earlier asked the BuCor chief to resign before changing his mind in the same press briefing.

Faeldon came under fire after news surfaced that his agency had approved convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez’s release based on good conduct while in prison and was supposed to be released last August after earning enough good conduct time allowance (GCTA), which allows the early release of convicts.

But the release of Sanchez did not push through following public outrage.

To recall, Faeldon admitted he signed an order that supposedly started the processing of Sanchez’s release, but insisted he had no choice but to follow Republic Act 10592, the 2013 law which increased GCTA to cover detention time.

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Thousands crowd ‘white sand’ Manila Bay, told to keep it clean

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As hundreds of people flocked along Roxas Boulevard for a chance to view the Manila Bay’s artificial white sand, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has reminded the public to avoid littering in the area.

MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago urged Filipinos to keep Manila Bay clean since the government has spent about P389 million to rehabilitate the waterway.

“Local tourists gather at the present at the Manila Bay to witness the beauty of dolomite white sand but we would like to remind them to avoid littering there,” Pialago told DZBB in an interview.

“That portion of Manila Bay in front of the US Embassy was opened to the public so they can see this rehabilitation project but it does not mean that picnics are allowed so as to avoid garbage and trash there,” she added.

The MMDA official noted that those who would violate protocols would face sanctions, adding that government personnel and environmental marshals are roving in the area.

Pialago said the MMDA has seen a drastic decline in garbage collected at the Manila Bay.

From 30 truckloads of garbage a day, the MMDA is now collecting one to two trucks daily, she said.

On Saturday, in line with the International Coastal Cleanup Day, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources opened the controversial “white sand” at the beachfront of Manila Bay to the public — even if the government discourages Filipinos from doing non-essential things outdoors.

People were seen taking pictures, holding Zumba sessions, among others, without observing one-meter physical distancing.

Children and senior citizens — who are prohibited to go outside their homes because of their vulnerability to the coronavirus disease — also flocked to the area.

The elderly claimed that they are supporters of President Duterte, as some of them are even holding a tarpaulin with an image of the Chief Executive.

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Former Hollywood couple Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt reunite for virtual table read

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Hollywood ex-lovers Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt made hearts flutter through their virtual table reading for a racy scene from 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

The actors, both in their 50s, unfailingly delivered a youthful performance as Pitt played the role of Brad Hamilton and Aniston took a high school sex queen role.

Also participating in the table read for CORE Response coronavirus charity were Sean Penn, Henry Golding, Matthew McConaughey, John Legend, Jimmy Kimmel, Shia LaBeouf, and Morgan Freeman.

The virtual table read was for the event “Dane Cook Presents Feelin’ A-Live Fast times At Ridgemont High’ to benefit the Community Organised Relief Effort (CORE) and REFORM Alliance.

Aniston and Pitt were married from 2000 but headed to splitsville in 2005.  The actor married Angelina Jolie but the marriage was also unsuccessful and eventually led to divorce last year. Since then, Pitt and Aniston have rekindled their friendship and were seen together at the latest Screen Actors Guild Awards.

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Unstoppable BLACKPINK soon to become PUBG avatars

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BLACKPINK members Jennie, Jisoo, Rosé, and Lisa are expected to become avatars as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) announced its collaboration with the K-pop group.

In a post of PUBG Corporation’s social media accounts, it was revealed that the team-up will soon be experienced in its mobile platforms. While not so much is known of yet, BLINKs have been hyping the collab which will be a first for a KPop group.

Individual teaser posters of the girls were also recently released to give a glimpse of how they will appear on the assault mobile game.

The powerhouse girl group is indeed unstoppable as they go beyond the music charts.

Recently, their collaboration with Selena Gomez for Ice Cream has been a mainstay on Billboard Hot 100 since its release.

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Ongpin gold trader ambushed, robbed; police escort killed, 2 hurt

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A member of the Manila Police District was killed while two others were wounded when armed men ambushed a businesswoman Saturday afternoon in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

Killed was PEMS Roel Candido of MPD-Station 11, 53, and resident of 714 benita st., Gagalangin, Tondo.  He succumbed to multiple bullet wounds in the body.

Wounded victims were identified as Catherine King, 43, owner of the Jewelry store at China Town Gold Center Stalls 1 and 2 in Sta. Cruz, and her driver, Sulpicio Pisngot.

The incident happened at 5:40 pm on F. Florentino Torres St. in Sta Cruz.

CCTV footages showed two suspects were standing near a post wearing fatigue uniform and another suspect wore a black t-shirt with a mask on while a red color Mitsubishi Mirage car on hazard lights was on standby, and eventually blocked the path of an approaching white Toyota Innova car where the businesswoman and his driver were on board. Candido, who was on a motorcycle, was tailing them.

When the white car stopped, the man in fatigue shot Candido. The second suspect went to Candido and shot him, too.  He was killed on the spot.

The suspects immediately rushed to the victims’ car and opened fire at it before taking the businesswoman’s bag.

They immediately fled while onboard the red car.

King and Pisngot were rushed to the Metropolitan Hospital for treatment while police are conducting investigation.

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Palace rejects EU Parliament’s call to drop charges versus Ressa

MJ Blancaflor

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Malacañang has defended the legitimacy of criminal raps against Rappler CEO and founder Maria Ressa after European lawmakers urged the government to drop charges against the veteran journalist.

In a statement over the weekend, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the tax evasion cases, alleged anti-dummy and securities code violations, and cyber libel complaints against Ressa and Rappler are “founded on the Philippines’ jurisprudence and Constitution.”

His remarks came after the European Parliament called the administration to drop “politically motivated” charges against Ressa and ex-Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. as it sounded the alarm over “deteriorating level of press freedom” in the Philippines.

“The freedom of expression and press freedom has never been and will never be curtailed by the Duterte administration. This as we continue to promote our shared democratic ideals with the international community,” Andanar said.

“In fact, the Philippines continues to enjoy a plurality of voices, expression, opinions, and beliefs; hence, the continued operations of Rappler and Ms. Ressa’s pursuit for self-justification in response to their legal obligations,” he added.

In June, Ressa and Santos were convicted of cyber libel over the complaint filed in 2017 by Filipino-Chinese businessman Wilfredo Keng, whose daughter was appointed to a government post by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The case stemmed from a Rappler article titled “CJ Using SUVs of Controversial Businessman” written by Santos in 2012, which claimed that former Chief Justice Renato Corona was using a sports utility vehicle found to be registered to Keng.

Ressa and human rights groups believe the administration was behind the cyber libel cases as the President has repeatedly assailed Rappler in response for its critical reporting, including its coverage of the government’s anti-narcotics campaign.

Andanar, a broadcast journalist himself prior to his appointment in the Palace, said Ressa has been accusing the administration of manipulation through the government’s propaganda machines to “escape from her legal obligations.”

The Palace official added Ressa “continues to enjoy her inherent right to express her beliefs and thoughts, whether they be verified or not.”

Andanar said the government’s commitment to promoting media protection is reflected in the poll by the Social Weather Stations’ conducted last year which showed that three out of five Filipinos believe that they can speak “openly and without fear” on different issues.

He also noted that the Philippines has maintained a satisfactory position in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index at 54th rank in 2019.

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Hontiveros flags discrepancy in cost of gov’t-procured PPEs

Hananeel Bordey

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Senator Risa Hontiveros emphasized that there are more government funds that lost to overpricing as she flagged the discrepancies in the cost of government-procured personal protective equipment (PPE) sets in the Department of Budget and Management’s second-quarter report.

In a statement, Hontiveros refuted DBM-Procurement Services’ (DBM-PS) claim that the government did not lose P1 billion due to overpriced PPEs, asserting that the said figure is just a rough estimate.

“Maaring mas mahigit pa sa isang bilyon ang nakuha sa kaban ng bayan. Higit sa isang bilyon na dapat ginamit nalang para sa ayuda, sa pagtaas ng sahod, at napakarami pang iba,” she said.

“The 1 billion-peso loss is even a conservative estimate. The Department of Health (DOH) has ordered another 5.1 million PPE sets amounting to around P10.2 billion. The procurement of which is ongoing,” she added.

Hontiveros made the claim citing the DBM’s Quarter 2 report from April to May.

She compared the data from DBM with the report from Malacañang and flagged the P900-peso difference from the two reports.

“This means the DBM and DOH were procuring PPE sets for P2,000 each. However, also in May, the Palace reported that during their Inter-Agency Task Force meeting, the government procured PPE sets worth P1,100 each. There’s a huge discrepancy there,” she said.

“Where is the extra P900 going? That’s around P4 billion worth of PPE sets that is unaccounted for. Mukhang may nagsasayang ng pera ng mamamayan. Mukhang may kumikita talaga,” she added.

Last week, Hontiveros questioned DBM’s procurement of PPEs in a price ranging from P1,700 to P2000, which is above the estimated price of Philippine General Hospital (PGH) that PPEs range from P1,200 to P1,500.

The DBM-PS has denied Hontiveros’ claim that the government lost P1 billion due to the alleged overpricing, saying that they even saved about P800 million through direct procurement with manufacturers and accredited distributors.

She also reiterated her opposition to the procurement of PPEs from other countries despite the presence of local manufacturers.

“I know there is the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP), a group of Pinoy companies, and they were ready to respond to the needs of the pandemic and yet the government continued to import PPEs,” she said.

She pointed out that the DBM and the DOH should prioritize local manufacturers as these will generate more jobs in the country.

Hontiveros, citing CPMP’s statement, said that it has provided the government with PPE supplies as they can produce three million medical-grade coveralls and isolation gowns every month.

The DOH, however, never procured from them.

The opposition senator called anew for proper auditing of the Bayanihan To Heal As One fund pushing Senate Resolution 479 which she filed to call for a Senate investigation.

“We need this audit to inform our budget deliberations in the Senate. I will also have the agencies submit documents related to the aforementioned questionable procurements for our budget hearings. The public can be assured that we will hold them to account,” Hontiveros said.

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Bianca, Dottie make LPGA Portland Classic cut

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Bianca Pagdanganan (File photo)

For the second straight day, Bianca Pagdanganan and Dottie Ardina shot identical scores – even-par 72s – to safely make the cut in the LPGA Portland Classic at the Columbia Edgewater in Portland, Oregon Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).

Pagdanganan and Ardina are among the 13 players tied for 43rd spot on two-under 142 and get a chance to play together for the first time in the final round on Sunday.

Both Filipinas are paired with American Andrea Lee at 9:15 a.m.

Pagdanganan, the 22-year-old rookie making her fourth start in the LPGA, began with three bogeys in the first six holes.

“I struggled a bit with my irons but I eventually got it together,” said the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion.

Pagdanganan strung up four straight birdies from 9 to 12 until she closed with a bogey on 18.

Averaging 274 yards off the tee, she found only nine of 14 fairways and missed seven greens.

The 26-year-old Ardina, on the other hand, missed only one fairway but missed six greens.

She had a roller-coaster round of five birdies against the same number of birdies.

Both ICTSI-backed players lie 12 shots behind leader Mel Reid who fired seven birdies in a seven-under par 65 to take a two-stroke lead over defending champion Hannah Green.

England’s Reid, a six-time winner on the Ladies European Tour who is chasing a first LPGA title, heads into Sunday’s final round on 12-under par 132.

“Put myself in great position, a position that everyone wants to be in, so I’m excited for the opportunity tomorrow,” said Reid, who strung together four birdies in a row from the sixth through the ninth and rolled in her final birdie of the day at the 18th.

“Just keep doing the same thing and see where tomorrow afternoon takes us,” added Reid, who shared seventh at the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California, last week.

“I felt like I hit it really good last week, so kind of took that momentum going into this week,” said Reid, who said she benefitted from the day off on Thursday after the tournament was reduced to 54 holes because of poor air quality due to wildfires.

“I think it did me a favor having an extra day off,” she said. “I was pretty tired from last week.”

Australia’s Green, who shared the first-round lead with American Cydney Clanton, followed her opening 66 with a four-under par 68 for a 10-under total of 134.

She shook off a bogey at her opening hole, the 10th and put herself alone in second with a birdie bomb at her final hole, the ninth.

“I got off to such a great start, so it’s always hard to back up a low round,” said Green, whose two wins last year included her Portland triumph and her first major title at the Women’s PGA Championship.

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2 Commies surrender; 50 Anakpawis members withdraw rebel support

Jonas Reyes

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SAN JOSE CITY, Nueva Ecija — Two members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) voluntarily surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday along with the withdrawal of support by 50 Anakpawis members to the rebel group.

According to Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) chief PBGen Rhodel Sermonia, the surrender of the two CTGs is due to the efforts of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC).

He added that the continuous Local Peace Engagement activities of the Philippine National Police and other RTF-ELCAC members such as information dissemination made the CTG members aware of the government’s programs and the opportunity to change their lives and correct the mistakes they have committed.

The two CTGs were part of the CPP-NPA that operated in San Jose City.

Sermonia said that they are eligible to avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and will be provided with a holistic package of benefits such as livelihood, medical, education, housing, and legal assistance.

Meanwhile, 50 Anakpawis members led by their Chairman Danilo Bacnis withdrew their support to the CPP-NPA-NDF with the voluntary surrender of Bacnis’ firearm.

“I am once again urging those who are still actively fighting the government to lay down their arms and embrace other peaceful means to attain their sought-after changes. Our government has several programs to retool you so that you could all  become even more productive members of our society,”  Sermonia said.

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Duterte son cites delicadeza; refuses to get involved in House leadership row

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President’s son and Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte on Sunday refused to get involved in a leadership row at the House of Representatives triggered by the uneven distribution of funds among its members.

Duterte said he would rather keep his silence than to be dragged in a situation which will be construed, in one way or another, as having the blessing of the president.

“Anything that comes out of my actions or mouth could be construed or manipulated as having the blessing of my father. And so I would rather suffer or work in silence rather than sacrifice the supposed independence of the House from the Palace,” Duterte said in a statement sent to Daily Tribune.

“Although I am an ex officio member being a Deputy Speaker, I have respectfully and clearly told them that their concern is something that I would rather stay away from – out of delicadeza because my father is the president,” he said.

The young Duterte did not deny that many of his colleagues asked him to step into the situation following their disgruntlement over the fate of their respective allocations and budgets from the hands of the present leadership.

Over the weekend, calls to declare all seats vacant at the House of Representatives mounted as its leadership scrambled to douse a fire sparked by the uneven distribution of project funds.

This sent Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s office in a frenetic race to call the lawmakers so that he could regroup his forces as his post has suddenly become untenable.

Duterte reiterated he did not want to get involved in this move, but pointed out he wanted to help them.

“The text message that I sent to another lawmaker — and is now making the rounds — was an expression of my personal dismay upon hearing the concerns of my fellow lawmakers. It was the same message that I sent after one Congressman from the Visayas bloc dragged my name into the issue even after I have already strongly made myself clear over this issue.

“Now as Congress continues to be hounded by the issue of budget — something that finds its way up to the current House leadership, how it treats its members, how it approves allocations and budgets with fairness or lack of it — let me reiterate my position. I do not want to get involved, however, I wish to help my fellow lawmakers find answers to their questions or remedies to the budget that they proposed for their people,” the young Duterte said.

The Davao City congressman said he could only hope that the House and its member would be able to resolve the issue before everything goes out of hand.

“I leave this issue to the members of Congress as I believe that it is within their rights as elected officials to come up with a favorable solution to an issue that could badly impact the development of their districts and their people,” he said.

It’s up to the members whether they would want to keep the present leadership or come up with changes, which will ensure that programs and projects for their respective constituents are delivered fast.

“The members of Congress have the power to correct everything that they perceive as wrong happening within the Lower House or change leadership as they demand fair treatment and reforms.

“If the members of Congress will push for a change in House leadership, as a reaction to their sentiments, obviously I would be among the casualties because I am a deputy speaker. I am ready to accept the consequences,” he added.

 

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