Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jeremy Lin stars anew as Knicks rebound to stop Mavs

NEW YORK – The New York Knicks rebounded from their first loss of Jeremy Lin’s magical run to defeat the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks 104-97 on Sunday.

Just two days after committing a season-high nine turnovers in a loss to New Orleans, the 23-year-old Lin bounced back in superb fashion against the mighty Mavericks.

“We are thankful for any win we can get but obviously this is a big one because they are defending champions,” Lin said.

Point guard Lin finished with at team-high 28 points, 14 assists and five steals for the Knicks who beat Dallas for the first time at Madison Square Garden in over six years.

Center Tyson Chandler finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds and shooting guard J.R. Smith had 15 points in his first start of the season for the Knicks.

Veteran Smith signed with New York Friday after a stint playing in China.

Lin said teams are trying to make it harder on him on offense by double-teaming him.

“I am being aggressive and trying to learn from my mistakes,” he said. “They are double-teaming me on the pick and roll. It is a good opportunity to distract the defense.”

The Lin era got its launch when the former part-time player was called upon with two starters missing and the Chinese-American star answered with the most points of any NBA player in his first five starts since the NBA and ABA merged in 1976.

Lin’s fairy-tale rise to fame is further enhanced because he was cut by two clubs before the season started.
Once again, Lin drained long three pointers, made precision full court passes and spun off defenders to attack the Mavericks’ basket as he carried the Knicks on his back down the stretch in the fourth quarter.

Lin shot 11-of-20 from the field in 46 minutes of playing time. He also limited his early turnovers making just one in the first half as the Knicks led 48-45 at the half. Lin finished with seven turnovers but he more than made up for it with a trio of three pointers on six attempts.

In the final minute alone, he assisted on the Knicks’ last two baskets and had a clutch steal against reigning NBA finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki of Germany.

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Lin hit a three pointer over the seven-foot Nowitzki that made it 90-81, giving New York one of their biggest leads of the game.

The 46 minutes of playing time is a season high for Lin, who says he works closely with the training staff to keep his energy level high.

“It has only been two weeks but our staff does good job to keep my legs fresh,” Lin said.

Nowitzki scored a game-high 34 points and Shawn Marion, who was given the task of guarding Lin, had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Mavericks, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

Dallas, who are 12-5 in their last 17 games, led by as much as 12 points in the third quarter but were outscored 32-22 in the fourth.

New York had its season-high seven-game win streak come to an end with Friday’s loss to the Hornets as Lin suffered his first defeat as a member of the starting squad.

Lin, who is averaging 22.5 points and 10.2 assists in his past five games, welcomed the addition of Smith.
“J.R. gave us a lift,” Lin said. “We are going to continue building this chemistry so we can move forward and continue to win games.”

The Knicks played their seventh-straight game without superstar Carmelo Anthony who is out with a groin injury.
Jeremy Lin News

Monday, February 20, 2012

Arce declares he’s ready for Donaire bout

MANILA, Philippines—Mexican ring warrior Jorge Arce stopped Venezuelan Lorenzo Parra in the fifth round of their super bantamweight nontitle bout Saturday and wasted no time in calling out Nonito Donaire to sign the contract for their much-anticipated showdown.

Arce, the 32-year-old five-division champ, punished Parra with body shots from the start and dropped the Venezuelan once in the third and twice in the fourth before finally stopping him with another knockdown in 1:02 of the fifth in Mexicali, Mexico.

Then the pride of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, who scored his 60th win and improved his card to 60-6-2 with 46 KOs, dared Donaire, the reigning WBO super bantamweight titlist, to fight him anytime, anywhere.

“I’m ready to face Nonito Donaire wherever and whenever … wherever they want to sign the contract,” Arce was quoted by boxingscene.com as saying.

Donaire, who debuted in 122 pounds with a split decision victory over Wilfredo Vazquez in San Antonio, Texas, was reportedly poised to return to the ring in June against an opponent other than Arce.

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has been quoted as saying that Arce won’t be available at least until September. Many believed though that Arum will pit Donaire with another Top Rank boxer, Guillermo Rigondeaux, first.

Donaire Arce Fight

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mark Muñoz wants to be Pacquiao of MMA

UFC Star Mark Munoz. Photo by AP
MANILA, Philippines—Every fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship has grandiose dreams of becoming the “Manny Pacquiao” of mixed martial arts.
Mark Muñoz thinks he’s not far from becoming one.

Feared for his wrestling ability and relentless ground-and-pound, Muñoz is three steps away from a world title belt in the middleweight of the UFC.

“I will challenge whoever has the belt. I want to be the best, I want to be the Manny Pacquiao of the MMA,” said Muñoz, ranked fourth in the world in his division.

But his big-time vision could take a while.

Muñoz, who won 12 of his last 14 MMA fights, six by knockouts, has had surgery to remove bone spurs in his elbow and should recover in May at the earliest.

“Lots of people counted me out in my fights but I proved them wrong. I improve my weaknesses and refine my strengths,” added the full-bloodied Pinoy whose parents lived in Pasay before migrating to the US.

Born and raised in Vallejo, California, Muñoz is in the Philippines for the first time and worked as cornerman to Raja Shippen in the PXC 29 on Saturday night.

The 34-year-old former US NCAA Division I wrestling champion (2001) is also here to visit his relatives and hold a couple of clinics for MMA enthusiasts.

Off the octagon, Muñoz belies “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” moniker.

A choir boy while growing up, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belter swears he’s consistently attending bible studies if time permits and hearing Mass on weekends.

He’s so friendly that when you meet him on the street, it would be easy to strike a conversation right away.
“It’s Filipino culture. It’s the way my parents raised me. I don’t trash talk anybody. Treat people how you wanted to be treated. I’ll give the shirt off my back if you do it for me. That’s how I am,” said Muñoz.

Mark Muñoz News

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rains, aftershocks haunt southern Philippines

MANILA, Philippines—As if earthquakes were not enough, incessant bad weather has been wreaking havoc in provinces in the Visayas, Mindanao and the Bicol region the past four days, killing two, injuring six and causing the evacuation of 569 people.

In several Negros Oriental towns, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has raised geohazard warnings amid rains and continuing aftershocks following the magnitude-6.9 earthquake that struck the province on February 6.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje urged local government units and communities to take precautions as the twin hazards could trigger more landslides.

“Rain as well as earth tremors, whether these may be light or moderate, must be taken seriously. Rain could weaken the soil, while tremors could produce slope instability, tension cracks and fractures that could enhance the vulnerability of areas to landslides,” Paje said.

The warning came a week after the magnitude-6.9 quake rocked the province, killing over 70 people, and burying towns and damaging roads. Yesterday, the weather bureau warned of widespread rains in the province due to a low pressure area in Mindanao.

Highly susceptible
Five barangays (villages) in Guihulngan City are highly susceptible to rain-induced landslides, the DENR said. These are Humayhumay, Imelda, Mabunga, Sandayao and Tacpao.  Barangay Binobohan, on the other hand, has moderate to high susceptibility.

Barangays with moderate susceptibility include Bakid, Banwaque, Calamba, Calupa-an, Linantuyan, Mabunga, Maniak, Plagatasanon, Planas, Trinidad and Villegas.

In La Libertad, another municipality hard hit by the earthquake, nine barangays were assessed to have high-landslide susceptibility.  These are Aniniaw, Aya, Biga-a, Guihob, Kansumandig, Mambutod, Managondong, Pangca and Pitogo, with Mandapaton having moderate to high susceptibility.

In Abuyog town, Leyte, nonstop rains triggered floods and in Southern Leyte landslides rendered a major highway impassable for a few hours.

The floods in 10 barangays in Abuyog rose two meters after three rivers—Bito, Tayog and Higasaan—overflowed following continuous rains, said Rodolfo Cabias, Abuyog municipal disaster operations officer.

Disaster teams
“Our disaster teams are now going to these villages to assess the situation and to find out how many families were affected,” Cabias said.

He said minor landslides occurred in barangays Taduk, Paguite, Catipunan and Tinalian, also in Abuyog. No one was reported hurt.

In Southern Leyte, a portion of the Maharlika highway in Sogod town was rendered impassable Thursday morning after a portion Mt. Panjongon was eroded by the rains.

Erosion along highway
Manolo Rojas, assistant district engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways Southern Leyte Engineering District, said the soil erosion occurred along the highway in Barangay Kahupian.
Rojas said heavy equipment were deployed to clear the road.

Another landslide occurred along the highway in Mahaplag, Leyte, near the boundary with Southern Leyte.
In Mindanao, in Lanao del Norte province, on Thursday 96 families were evacuated from their homes after incessant rains flooded five villages and overflowed a river, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported.

The families, composed of 429 individuals, were taken to three evacuation centers in Kauswagan town after downpours triggered by a low pressure area caused the Lapayan River to spill into five barangays: Kawit Oriental, Lapayan, Tugar, Tacub and Libertad, the disaster agency said.

Three houses were damaged in the town and the highway connecting Kauswagan to Bacolod City was flooded and rendered impassable on Wednesday, but the floodwaters receded at 7:30 p.m., the NDRRMC said.

In a report issued by NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos, the agency said a total of 569 persons were displaced by floods, including 120 in Jabonga town in Agusan del Norte province after the water level in Lake Mainit rose.

The NDRRMC also said floods in three barangays in Panabo City in Davao del Norte province on Feb. 14 destroyed P156,700 in crops, livestock and infrastructure.

Wall collapses
In Davao City, six persons were injured when a wall collapsed on them after rains softened its foundation.
Gerry Pedrico, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration in southern Mindanao, said a series of low pressure areas had been bringing rains to Mindanao the past several days.

On Monday alone, Pedrico said, the low pressure area dumped 63.8 millimeters of rains on parts of Mindanao. Low-lying areas of the city were flooded since Monday.
“This is above normal,” he said.

In Sta. Maria, Davao del Sur, rains caused the Buca River to breach its banks and destroy a portion of the road to several villages, according to the provincial disaster risk management council.

Roderick Milana, disaster council chief, said small landslides were reported in remote villages.

No electricity
At least five barangays have had no power for two weeks now since floods felled power lines, according to Sta. Maria Mayor Mila Cabanero.

In Bicol, in Camarines Sur, two deaths were reported as a result of the bad weather.

Provincial civil defense officials said 80-year-old Agripina Milante drowned in floods in Lagonoy town. Lea Alarcio, 18, of Buhi, was the first fatality reported in the province.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda suspended classes in all levels because of the weather. He said rains of up to 18 mm per hour were expected in Albay.

Disaster council officials reported rains of 7.5 mm per hour since Sunday.

Local disaster councils in Albay’s 15 towns and three cities were advised to go on high alert and to prepare residents of low-lying and landslide-prone areas for possible evacuation.—Kristine L. Alave, DJ Yap in Manila; Jani Arnaiz and Joey Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas; Dennis Santos, Orlando Dinoy and Ryan Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao; and Mar S. Arguelles, Inquirer Southern Luzon

Philippine Earthquake

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bradley packs wallop at 147; Pacquiao lighter on fight night

MANILA, Philippines—Contrary to perceptions, unbeaten American Tim Bradley is naturally bigger than Manny Pacquiao and will come in heavier than the Filipino ring superstar when they tangle on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Though Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) is the reigning World Boxing Organization light welterweight champion, the 28-year-old South Californian has also fought as a welterweight and went as high as 152 pounds.

Bradley has been struggling to make 140 lb and believes he’ll be stronger at 147, where Pacquiao holds court as WBO welter king.

“It’s [147] is my natural weight,” Bradley told Ryan Burton of BoxingScene.com. Sunday. “People don’t know but in the amateurs I fought at 152.

“People say I don’t have power, but it is a real struggle to get down to 140. I walk around at 160 or more. I will be a lot more comfortable and have more pop at 147.”

Bradley said he intends to enter the ring at 150 or 151 lb, “give or take a pound or two.”

By way of comparison, Pacquiao walks around at about 154 and has never reached 150 on fight night.
In his last outing as a welterweight in 2010, Bradley handed Luis Carlos Abregu of Argentina his first loss in 30 fights. Abregu now holds a 31-1 record with 25 KOs.

A certified gym rat, Bradley stands to get his biggest paycheck ever of $5 million when he battles Pacquiao (53-3-2 with 38 KOs) in a 12-round bout to be shown on HBO pay-per-view.

Bradley got $1.2 million when he beat Joel Casamayor in the main support to Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III won by majority decision by the Sarangani representative last November.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, is guaranteed at least $25 million, but is expected to receive much more with his share in PPV buys and gate receipts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

VP Binay: Target of Corona trial

Jejomar Binay Jr. is the political target of President Aquino and the Liberal Party’s imperious blitzkrieg to remove Chief Justice Renato Corona from the Supreme Court, sources close to the Vice President claimed.

“Everyone knows that the trial is a power game that has nothing to do with an anti-corruption crusade,” one source said. “If Corona is taken out and (senior Associate Justice Antonio) Carpio becomes chief justice, and with the rest of the justices terrorized, may laban si Mar maging vice president soon,” he said.

Startling as the claim may seem, the facts supporting it are unassailable.

Alleging massive cheating by Binay, vice presidential candidate Mar Roxas filed an electoral protest in July 2010 with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). Roxas alleges that Binay’s lead over him of 730,000 votes would have been wiped out and he would have won by a landslide if the optical-scan counting machines had not voided 3 million of his votes.  The PET has already secured the ballots in the areas where Roxas claims he was cheated, and its pre-hearing investigations are underway.

The PET – many have forgotten – is the Supreme Court chaired by Chief Justice Corona.

If Aquino gets to control the high court, which he will if Corona is taken out, and with the rest of the justices frightened either by the prospect of their own impeachment or media demonization, he controls the PET, which would fast-track Roxas’ protest, declare him the winner, and proclaim him the Republic’s vice president.

To prepare public opinion for this, the Ombudsman, assisted by a new member of the Commission on Audit, would hurl a flurry of graft cases against Binay to demonize him.  This is the real reason, they said, why Aquino’s forces removed Ombudsman Mereditas Gutierrez and replaced her with his favorite justice, Conchita Carpio-Morales. Morales is a cousin of Justice Carpio, and the law firm he founded, now the Villaraza Cruz Marcelo & Angangco, is Roxas’ counsel for his electoral protest.

Told that no presidential or vice presidential protest has ever been won, my source replied: “But never has an administration dared to take out a Chief Justice, and even more justices if they don’t toe its line.”

The very recent case of Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo bolsters fears that the regime can browbeat justices to submission. Despite Corona’s ongoing trial, the House of Representatives’ justice committee still rushed Del Castillo’s impeachment February 7. Two days later, the embattled Del Castillo voted with Carpio and with Aquino’s three appointees – Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Bienvenido Reyes and Estela Perlas-Bernabe – for the Senate to scrutinize Corona’s dollar accounts.

Watch the impeachment trial and it is the four Liberal Party senators who unabashedly want to prove Corona guilty, even assisting bungling prosecutors.

Check out the people in the campaign to take out Corona, and it is a Liberal Party production:  from party chairman Aquino to vice chairman Franklin Drilon who has been accused of practically being a prosecutor in the trial, to executive vice president Feliciano Belmonte, speaker of the House of Representatives that filed the complaint, to Niel Tupas Jr. head of the prosecution panel, down to the prosecutors’ belligerent spokespersons.

This is not because of the party’s servility to Aquino, but because its future depends entirely on party president Roxas becoming vice president soon, which will be his jumping board for the 2016 presidency. But already, Roxas has been marginalized, with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and his gang having blocked his bid to be a high-profile presidential chief of staff, and maneuvering him instead into the labyrinthine and corruption-ridden Department of Transportation and Communications. When transport prices soar, and they will, Roxas will be the most unpopular Cabinet member.

The Liberal Party’s golden age was, ironically, when Diosdado Macapagal, the father of Gloria Arroyo whom it has been crucifying, won the presidency in 1961. After Macapagal, it has been downhill for five decades to near-extinction, losing consistently in presidential and vice presidential elections, and winning very few seats in Congress.

It has not been able to produce political leaders with gravitas who could be presidential timber. Even the new generation of Liberals are hardly poster boys for a holier-than-thou party: P50-million-mansion-owner Tupas Jr., the obnoxious prosecution spokesman Miro Quimbo, tainted by the alleged Globe Asiatique property scam; former deputy customs chief Reynaldo Umali, caught lying with his fictitious “small-lady-informant” yarn.

Aquino is the first Liberal to win the presidency since Macapagal, but this was due neither to his personality nor to the Liberal’s political prowess, but because of mass hysteria that Cory Aquino’s spirit lives in his son’s body. A Roxas win would have ensured a new, post-Aquino golden age for the Liberal Party. But he lost, and the Liberals are now trying to move mountains to reverse his defeat, with Corona’s impeachment as the most crucial phase of that campaign.

As in all major historical events, Corona’s trial has its economic element (to get P10 billion for Hacienda Luisita) and its political dimension (to get Roxas to be vice president). There is also a personal facet to it.
Corona’s term – if he is not taken out – ends October 2018. For senior Associate Justice Carpio, who was appointed by Arroyo five months before Corona, the scenario is sheer psychological torture. He will spend seven maddening years seeing his rival preside over the Court, and when he becomes chief justice, it will be for only one year, as he retires October 2019.

E-mail: tiglao.inquirer@gmail.com.

Corona Trial

‘Fake’ bank documents snag Corona trial

MANILA, Philippines – The debate over the authenticity of the photocopy of bank records allegedly owned by Chief Justice Renato Corona at the Philippine Savings Bank (PS Bank) snagged Corona’s impeachment trial Wednesday.

Two officials from the Philippine Savings Bank reiterated that there were discrepancies between the document attached by the prosecution team to its supplemental request for subpoena for Corona’s PS Bank accounts and the original records of the bank, and both claimed that these were “fake”.

The long discussion over the alleged “fake” documents arose after Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada asked Annabelle Tiongson, PS Bank Katipunan branch manager, if the documents marked as Annex A, attached to the prosecution team’s request for subpoena were faithful reproductions of the original bank documents.

“They are not the same. It’s fake,” Tiongson said, reiterating her statement in Monday’s hearing.

Estrada then asked how the photocopies could be “fake” since PS Bank President Pascual Garcia, also speaking under oath, had confirmed the existence of the account numbers indicated in the document.

Tiongson said that the account numbers may have come from other sources like when a client would write his or her account number behind cheques or when banks tellers do so.

However, Estrada said he was not convinced and stated his belief that the document presented by the prosecution was indeed a “faithful reproduction of the original.”

Senator Franklin Drilon asked how Tiongson could say that the photocopied document was a fake. The witness said that she compared the document with the original bank copies and noticed some differences. When asked for the specific differences, Tiongson said: “There were entries in the original that were not in the photocopy and there were entries in the photocopy that were not on the original.”

She said that the alleged falsification of the document did not happen in their branch. Tiongson added that she only became the branch manager of the PS Bank in 2010. Corona’s accounts were made in 2008 and 2009.

Drilon then asked Tiongson to bring the original bank documents so that the so-called differences between the original and the photocopied document presented by the prosecution could be seen.

Tiongson said the documents were pulled out of their branch upon the order of their bank president following the subpoena issued by the Senate.

Drilon slammed Tiongson’s excuse saying that it was “lame”.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile criticized the prosecution, yet again, for presenting evidence of “questionable nature.”

“I am not accusing anybody but I feel that the requesting party knew very well that the source of the material was of questionable nature. In fact, the mere knowledge that the source was anonymous should have given the prosecution the caution to scrutinize the document before they presented it to this court as a basis for compulsory process,” Enrile told the prosecution.

“They cannot pass the bat to this honorable court because in our system of adversarial proceeding, it is the obligation, the duty of the parties seeking the assistance of this court to make sure that the request is valid in every respect and more so in the case of the prosecution when the matter under consideration of the court involves a prejudice on the liberty or right of a party,” the Senate President added.

In response, lead prosecutor Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. said: “Ms. Tiongson say it seems fake and there is a repercussion whether as a result of the authenticity or not of the documents, there are grave consequences. To us, the best evidence is the document itself and at the very least, the witness here should bring the document.”

The prosecution team’s Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali said that he received the identification and specimen signature cards of Corona’s bank accounts from a certain “small lady”.

Drilon also asked Tiongson to bring specimen signatures and identify the bank officers who approved the opening of Corona’s accounts with numbers 089121020122 and 089121021681 which were opened march 4, 2010 and September 1, 2010, respectively. The second bank account had an initial deposit of roughly P7 million.

PS Bank’s legal counsel initially refused the request saying that by bringing the documents in question, they would be violating the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court barring the impeachment court from issuing a subpoena for Corona’s five foreign currency accounts.

However, Drilon reiterated that the Senate would uphold the high court’s TRO and would not ask about the foreign accounts. He added that the witness may even cover the document if it would show details about the foreign currency deposits.

Enrile said that the original documents need to be presented so that the senator-judges may have a clear appraisal of the “differences” that Tiongson claimed to have seen with the photocopy presented by the prosecution.

Amid the confusion and debate on the authenticity of the documents, Senator Joker Arroyo asked: “A false document is a false document. If this is found to be a false document, what happens?”

Senator Enrile responded that this is to “be fair to everyone.”

He added that if the documents in question were proven to be fake, then the court would be able to determine the extent of the forgery and decide whether they would take out the document from the proceedings.

The impeachment court will also decide on whether disciplinary measures would be imposed on the prosecution if the documents would be proven to be falsified.

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero clarified the confusion with the prosecution and asked them to continue presenting evidence on the main case at hand.

“We’re not trying to pull a fast one on you. Just a reminder to the prosecution, they are your witnesses. Bear in mind that this is a matter of the impeachment court but not on the case anymore. We can perhaps proceed with the evidence of the prosecution on the main case at hand,” Escudero said.

Tiongson is expected to return to the witness stand Thursday to present the documents requested by the senator-judges.

Corona Trial

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

3 Aquino allies in Senate vow to maintain neutrality

MANILA, Philippines—Three senator- judges allied with the Aquino administration assured on Tuesday that political alliances would not influence their decision to either convict or acquit Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“We will decide on the basis of evidence on hand and on the basis of what we believe to be to the best interest of the nation and not on the basis of political alliances,” said Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III said he would maintain his neutrality, saying he was only after the truth.
Pangilinan and Guingona were among the five who have been accused by Corona of allegedly helping the prosecution team. The three others were Senate Minority Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Serge Osmeña III and Franklin Drilon.

All five voted to defy the temporary retraining order issued by the Supreme Court against the opening of dollar bank accounts allegedly owned by the Chief Justice.

“I always maintain my neutrality at ang hinahanap lang natin dito yung katotohanan. Yon lang naman ang hinahanap natin (We are just after the truth. We are just after that),” Guingona said.
Guingona said Corona’s accusation has no basis and has no bearing on how he would conduct himself during the trial.

Senator Ralph Recto, who is also allied with the administration, rejected speculations that he would go along with the administration’s thrust to oust Corona.

“Hindi ba nagsumpa kami dito to be fair and just? Kaya hindi ko maintindihan ang mga tanong n’yo,” Recto told reporters in an interview in the Senate.

“We have to be fair and just,” the senator stressed.

 Mobile News Philippines

Monday, February 13, 2012

Grace Lee denies Vera Files story

MANILA, Philippines–Korean-born TV host Grace Lee  wants journalist Ellen Tordesillas to “formally apologize to the public” for a report that quoted Lee as saying she hopes her relationship with President Benigno Aquino 1V would last ‘the full length.”

In her tweet  @gracelee899, Lee described the article “very false n vile.’ The tweet was posted around 10:30am Monday.

In an earlier tweet @gracelee899 also said the article titled “Grace Lee sees herself marrying PNoy” was a ‘lie.’

Grace Lee News

Grace Lee sees self marrying the President

The altar.

That’s where Grace Lee says her relationship with President Benigno Aquino III is headed.
In her morning show, “Good Times in the Morning,” on Wednesday, the Korean-born radio and TV personality was asked by her New York-based coanchor, Mo Twister, how long their relationship would last.
She replied, “The full length.”

Needled further on where she expected their dates would lead to, Lee answered, “The altar.” She added, “I’m praying for this.”

Mr. Aquino celebrated his birthday on Wednesday, Feb. 8, the same day Lee said they were destined for the altar.

Malacañang was mum on Lee’s latest statements. “We do not comment on the President’s private life,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Saturday.

The romance between the 29-year-old Lee and the 52-year-old Mr. Aquino has been met with skepticism by many who have become used to the President’s short-lived romances.

Among those linked to him in his almost two-year presidency were Valenzuela Councilor Shalani Soledad, who recently married Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo, stylist Liz Uy, stockbroker Len Lopez and teacher Bunny Calica.

During the program, Mo Twister predicted the relationship to last until August.
He then opened the phone lines to the question, “How long will this (Aquino-Lee) relationship last?” One listener replied, “May.”

Media interviews

The bachelor President admitted two weeks ago that he had been dating Lee.

While Mr. Aquino asked media to grant him the privacy that, he said, he was entitled to, Lee was forthcoming in media interviews. She disclosed that she and the President would talk animatedly for three to five hours.
“He’s brilliant. He is the most intelligent man I’ve met in my life,” an obviously smitten Lee enthused, even describing the President as “a walking encyclopedia.”

Lee revealed in an off-camera talk with a TV host that the President had offered to provide her security, courtesy of a team from the Presidential Security Group (PSG). This prompted presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte to say that the Palace would still have to review whether the PSG mandate could cover even persons outside the President’s official family.

Lee’s talent manager, Arnold Vegafria, said the radio and TV jockey first met the President on June 27, 2011, at the inauguration of a plant of Korea Electric Power Corp. in Barangay Colon in Naga, Cebu. Vegafria said the President was heard to have remarked that Lee was guapa (pretty), mistaking her to be a Cebuana.

Their second meeting took place during the state visit of Korean President Lee Myung-bak in November, where Lee was in Malacañang as an interpreter and host of the event.

Palace interview
Before the end of 2011, Vegafria said the President granted Lee an interview in Malacañang for her radio show. “And that’s it,” he said.

In an earlier exclusive interview with TV5’s Luchi Cruz-Valdes for the show “Journo,” Lee admitted that the 22-year age difference between them sometimes bothered her. “But the more I get to know him, the less I feel the age difference,” she said.

Asked by Cruz-Valdes if she saw the relationship “pushing through already,” Lee replied, “I don’t think we’re playing around. We’re both not at the age to be playing around.”

In her radio show, Lee said she would try to convince the President to stop smoking.

She has met with two of the President’s elder sisters, Ballsy Cruz and Pinky Abellada, but has yet to meet his movie-and-TV-star sister, Kris Aquino.

Lee denied earlier rumors linking her romantically to Kris’ former husband, basketball star James Yap. With a report from Christine O. Avendaño

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. “Vera” is Latin for true.)

 Grace Lee News

Grace Lee wants journalist to apologize for ‘I will marry Aquino’ story

MANILA, Philippines—Korean-born TV host Grace Lee  wants journalist Ellen Tordesillas to “formally apologize to the public” for a report that quoted Lee as saying she hoped her relationship with President Benigno Aquino lll would last “the full length.”

In her tweet  @gracelee899, Lee described the article “very false n vile.’ The tweet was posted around 10:30 a.m. Monday.

In an earlier tweet @gracelee899 also said the article titled “Grace Lee sees herself marrying PNoy” was a “lie.”
Later in the afternoon, Lee tagged @dziq990 in yet another tweet: “I’m deeply offended that a journalist like Ellen Tordesillas would write an article of lies to sensationalize one’s private life. I have never said anything remotely close to what her write-up says I did.”

Lee also asked Tordesillas to identify the source “who claims to have spoken to me regarding the PSG issue as this is not to be taken lightly.”

Lee would follow this with a lighthearted tweet around 3 p.m.: “Ok enough na…. can’t let this affect me the whole day.  natatalo positivity ko! let’s cook! haven’t eaten whole day.”

Grace Lee News

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Aquino spends birthday visiting quake victims in Negros

DUMAGUETE CITY—President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday distributed more than P10 million under the government’s cash-for-work program to victims of the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Negros on Monday.
The President spent his 52nd birthday with his sisters Ballsy Cruz and Pinky Abellada, and members of his Cabinet, visiting the affected families and inspecting damage to infrastructure, particularly in Guihulngan City and La Libertad town.

“We saw the real impact of the natural disaster,” he told reporters following a meeting of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council at the city’s airport.

He cited one road crack that was quite huge and aftershocks that continue to be felt and were widening the cracks. The lack of clean water was also felt in the communities he visited, he said.
“Perhaps, more than anything, we saw earlier the problem that hurts, especially for those who lost their loved ones,” Mr.  Aquino said. “On the other hand, the government now has a greater capability to bring them back as much as possible to a normal situation.”

The President said employees of the national and local governments, and those from nongovernment organizations were helping ease the suffering of the survivors.

He gave P3.3 million for the cash-for-work program in Guihulngan, P1.3 million for La Libertad, and P5.7 million for the rest of the affected local government units in the province.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said that having work would help rehabilitate people from their trauma.

Rush jobs
Mr. Aquino ordered all concerned government agencies, particularly the Department of Public Works and Highways, to “expedite” their tasks of bringing rehabilitation and relief to the more than 12,000 families affected by the earthquake.

In particular, he directed the DPWH to hasten the repair of a bridge so that La Libertad could be reached.
The President expressed concern over the “unnecessary tension” suffered by residents in Guihulngan and La Libertad over erroneous reports of an expected huge earthquake and tsunami.

He ordered the arrest and prosecution of those who were behind the disinformation, causing residents to sleep outside their homes anticipating another high-magnitude earthquake. “The next thing we know, our problem could be pneumonia,” he said.

Mass evacuation
In a meeting of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council at the Sibulan-Dumaguete airport, the President noted that the mass evacuations that turned many towns in northern Negros Oriental into virtual ghost towns, would not have happened had the public been informed by the Department of Science and Technology about the science behind earthquakes and tsunamis.

He asked the local government units to help the DOST in disseminating information to the public.
Governor Roel Degamo reported to the President that there were 26 dead and more than 50 still missing as a result of the earthquake. He placed the damage at P655 million.

Social Welfare Secretary Soliman said some 6,000 food packs had been sent to Guihulngan and La Libertad, aside from provisions for bottled water, mats, mosquito nets, laundry soap and kitchenware.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said 13 bridges on national roads were damaged.

Three must be replaced, he said, adding that temporary bridges would be installed during construction.

Damaged crops
The earthquake damaged P64 million worth of irrigation facilities, as well as hectares of rice and corn, the Department of Agriculture reported in Manila.

A total of 17 facilities in Central Visayas worth P60.3 million and five facilities in Western Visayas worth P2.72 million  must be repaired, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said.

Most of the damaged facilities were communal irrigation systems.

Initial reports showed that 800 hectares of rice land and 1,500 hectares of corn land in Negros Oriental were affected.

The agriculture department said it would be providing seeds to the affected farmers. It has prepared 1,000 bags of certified palay seeds, 100 bags of open pollinated corn seeds and 2,000 packets of assorted vegetable seeds for distribution once the damage reports are validated.
Mr. Aquino also ordered the relocation of residents from geo-hazard areas before the onset of the rainy season.

During his visit to the affected communities, he told the residents that there was no need to live in constant fear and panic while anticipating earthquakes and tsunami.

Do-it-yourself snacks
The President told reporters that he asked his staff in Malacañang to prepare snacks for themselves and members of the Presidential Security Group to mark his birthday.

“I will just wait for the kindness of my Cabinet secretaries. They might treat me to food later. But perhaps that would no longer happen as they would rest instead. They have many assignments,” he said. With reports from Alex V. Pal, Inquirer Visayas, and Leila B. Salaverria in Manila.
Mobile News Philippines

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Senate resumes Corona trial, tackles Santiago motion vs subpoena of bank records

MANILA, Philippines – Nineteen senators showed up in the Senate on Tuesday, the 13th day of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona since it started last January 16, and started by discussing the motion for reconsideration filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago concerning the Senate’s decision to subpoena Corona’s bank records.

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile banged the gavel to signal the start of proceeding at around 2:00 p.m.
As of posting time, the senators are discussing Santiago’s motion.

‘Dirty’ Tim Bradley is Manny Pacquiao’s foe

Tim Bradley gets a crack at Manny Pacquiao when they battle for the pound-for-pound king's WBO welterweight crown on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Carlos Osorio/AP

MANILA, Philippines—Tim Bradley is far from the pushover some boxing pundits are painting him to be and poses a legitimate threat to Manny Pacquiao, according to trainer Freddie Roach.
Bradley (28-0 with 12 knockouts) worries the renowned trainer because he is in his prime and brings in dirty tactics to the ring.

The Filipino eight-division world champion battles Bradley on June 9 in Las Vegas.
“He’s a dirty fighter, well, he’s a physical fighter,” Roach told Chris Robinson of examiner.com Saturday. “He uses his head, elbows, so forth.

“Manny does have some trouble with that because Manny can’t retaliate. I tell Manny that if a guy hits you low, hit him back low, but he won’t do that. It could pose a bit of a problem.”
The choice of Bradley was formally announced by Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s adviser, on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).

“Bradley is a young, undefeated fighter who deserves a chance,” Koncz told ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael.
Koncz added that the 28-year-old Bradley’s selection over two other contenders—Lamont Peterson and Juan Manuel Marquez—sits well with Pacquiao, who will be staking his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown against his light welterweight counterpart.

“Manny is excited,” said Roach. “Until we name an opponent, boxing is out of Manny’s mind. He’s busy working in (the Philippine) congress. But he gets interested in boxing again when he has an opponent and a fight.”

Though Bradley holds court in the 140-pound division, he’s fought at 147 lb and 152 lb.
Bradley’s sterling record includes a 12-round unanimous decision over Lamont Peterson in 2009 and Devon Alexander last year.

Pacquiao is expected to receive a guaranteed $20 million against Bradley.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Senate resumes Corona trial, tackles Santiago motion vs subpoena of bank records

MANILA, Philippines – Nineteen senators showed up in the Senate on Tuesday, the 13th day of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona since it started last January 16.

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile banged the gavel to signal the start of proceeding at around 2:00 p.m.
As of posting time, senators are discussing the motion for reconsideration filed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on the decision by the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, to subpoena the ban records of Corona.

Corona Trial

No rest day when Aquino turns 52

No day off when he turns 52 on Wednesday but maybe a special date on Valentine’s Day?

President Benigno Aquino III couldn’t help but smile broadly when asked what his birthday wish was.
“If you are the chief servant, your wishes are not that important, especially on a personal basis,” the bachelor President told reporters Monday. “So as not to have any frustrations, I will not make any wish anymore.”

Mr. Aquino said he would be thankful if his birthday would be quiet and marked with fewer concerns than usual, as he rattled off many issues facing the country.
“But if not, I’m still ready [to face them],” he said.

Working day
Anyway, Wednesday will still be “the same day” for him—a working day.
The President said he intended to “work fully” and spend Wednesday night “on other matters that need my attention.”

It would be the second time Mr. Aquino will be celebrating his birthday as President.
“If there will be some people who would pray for me, thank you. If there will be some people who would criticize me, that’s how it is. I have no day off on my birthday, thank you,” he said.

Asked whether he expected to have a colorful Valentine’s Day next week, the President couldn’t help but laugh, apparently because the import of the question—an allusion to his admission last week that he was dating radio-TV personality Grace Lee, a Korean—was not lost on him.

He pointed out that he always tried to prepare his answers to media questions but that this particular query put his preparations to waste.

“So can we just watch and wait whether something will happen or not instead of planning for nothing, don’t you think so? Let’s just wait OK? And Happy Valentine’s to all,” the President said. Read more on Grace Lee News.

Quake kills 52 in Negros Oriental

DUMAGUETE CITY—At least 52 people were killed when a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit Negros and Cebu provinces shortly before noon Monday, causing landslides and huge cracks on highways, and violently shaking buildings, officials said.

A three-story building collapsed, while seven bridges were rendered impassable, they said.

In Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, at least 29 people were feared dead following a landslide in Barangay (village) Planas, Mayor Ernesto Reyes said in a phone interview. He said there could be more fatalities in other barangays.

“They were buried in 30 feet (10 meters) of soil. If you had been buried from noon until now (6 p.m.), I don’t expect you to be alive,” Reyes said.

Rescuers dug with picks and shovels trying to reach dozens of people trapped under houses that collapsed, according to The Associated Press (AP).

Ten others died due to a landslide at the Guihulngan national road, Reyes said.
Governor Roel Degamo said a 9-year-old girl,  Bernadette Raidan, died when a wall collapsed in Tayasan town.

Twelve other fatalities were listed by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Eight were from Guihulngan, one each from Jimalalud and Bindoy towns, and two from Tayasan.
The earthquake, which struck at 11:49 a.m., was located 5 kilometers northwest of Tayasan town in Negros Oriental, and was tectonic in origin. It had a depth of 10 km. The US Geological Survey placed the magnitude at 6.7.

In Manila, Malacañang urged the people affected by the earthquake to remain watchful and calm, and to cooperate with the authorities “while the threat of immediate dangers appears to have passed.”

President Benigno Aquino III ordered the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to assess and collate the extent of the damage and casualties, and to provide the necessary interventions, his spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda, said in a statement.

Tsunami warning
The temblor also prompted a tsunami warning from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), alerting residents near the coastal areas of Negros and Cebu to watch for unusual waves but not requiring any evacuation.

The alert was canceled after no further reports of unusual sea level changes were received after the two-hour extended observation period.

But more aftershocks could be expected in the next few weeks in areas near the epicenter, according to Ishmael Narag, officer in charge of the Phivolcs’ seismology division. As of 1 p.m. Monday, Phivolcs had recorded 16 aftershocks.

The quake triggered another landslide in the mountain village of Solongon in La Libertad town, also in Negros Oriental. An unknown number of people were trapped, said Inspector Eric Arrol Besario, the town police chief.

“We’re now getting shovels and chainsaws to start a rescue because there were people trapped inside. Some of them were yelling for help earlier,” Besario told AP by phone. Three key bridges in the town cracked and were no longer passable, he said.

The earthquake sent shoppers scrambling under tables and workers and students rushing out of their buildings in cities of Negros and Cebu.

Classes in all public and private schools in Negros Oriental were suspended, while businesses in Dumaguete City were closed.

Building cracks
In Negros Occidental, the earthquake caused cracks in the city halls of Sagay and Cadiz, and the city hospital and gymnasium of Himamaylan.

Big waves damaged two houses and an ambulance fell on its side in Barangay Martilu, La Libertad, according to Mayor Lawrence Limkaichong. Two houses were also reported damaged in the town of Jimalalud, some 100 kilometers north of Dumaguete.

Huge waves washed out five bamboo and wooden cottages from a beach resort in La Libertad, but there were no reports of injuries, said Superintendent Ernesto Tagle. Elsewhere along the coast, people rushed out of schools, malls and offices.

Two people died in another town close to the epicenter, Tayasan, including a child when a concrete fence of a house collapsed, said Benito Ramos, head of the Office of Civil Defense.

Church wall collapse
Another child was killed in a church when a wall collapsed during a funeral in Negros Oriental’s Jimalalud town, Mayor Reynaldo Tuanda said.

Tayasan police officer Alfred Vicente Silvosa told AP by phone that aftershocks were preventing people from returning to their homes.

“We are outside, at the town plaza. We cannot inspect buildings yet because it’s dangerous,” Silvosa said. “I felt the building shaking, so I rushed out of the building. Our computers, shelves, plates, the cupboards, water dispenser all fell.”

A three-story office building also collapsed in La Libertad, but occupants escaped.

Scared cops
The Negros Oriental police chief, Edward Carranza, said police rushed out of his building when the quake struck. “All my personnel ran out fearing our building would collapse,” he said.

“Now it’s shaking again,” he said as an aftershock hit. “My keychain is dancing.”

In Negros Occidental, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia ordered the suspension of work and classes in all public and private offices and institutions. He, however, directed the city’s disaster team to be on alert and to inspect buildings for cracks.

In Iloilo City, employees and students rushed out of offices and classrooms as buildings swayed. Classes in the city and province were suspended in anticipation of aftershocks. Government employees were sent home in the afternoon.

A blackout occurred in the city, but power was normalized at 3:45 p.m.

The earthquake was slightly felt in Boracay Island and a few Mindanao and Luzon provinces.

Medical attention
Guihulngan Mayor Reyes said about 100 people were injured and brought for treatment to Guihulngan District Hospital and neighboring district hospitals.

Reyes said Guihulngan had about 100 patients who are in need of immediate medical attention. “We need to transport these patients to Bacolod, Cebu or Dumaguete but our roads and bridges are impassable,” he said.

Food and medicines were waiting in the provincial capital of Dumaguete, but the aid could not reach the villages in need because of damaged roads and bridges.

“There is a Canadian and an Indian doctor who are here for an earlier scheduled medical mission and it’s a good thing they are helping us,” Reyes said. “They have some medicines with them but that may not be enough.”

All bridges and roads leading to the north and south of the city were damaged, leaving it isolated, he said. These included the bridges of Martilo in La Libertad, Pangaluan in Jimalalud town, and Tinayonan in Guihulngan.

Many buildings were damaged, he said. “The Landbank building is leaning on one side while a portion of our public market collapsed.”

Cracks appeared along sections of the national highway and on public and private buildings, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a statement.

Series of quakes
The first earthquake occurred at 11:49 a.m. with a magnitude of 6.8 and a depth of 20 km. The epicenter was located 72 km north of Dumaguete, 74 km west-northwest of Tagbilaran City and 80 km west-southwest of Cebu.

A second tremor hit various areas in the Visayas at 12:03 p.m. at a depth of 34.8 km. The epicenter was located 62 km north of Dumaguete, 69 km west-northwest of Tagbilaran and 84 km southwest of Cebu.

Still, a third tremor was felt at 12:20 p.m. with a magnitude of 4.8 and a depth of 34.8 km. The epicenter was located 71 km south-southeast of Bacolod City, 84 km west-southwest of Cebu and 84 km north of Dumaguete City.

Bobby Cañete of the local Phivolcs station in Palo town in Leyte said that the series of earthquakes felt in the region was caused by the movement of the Philippine Sea Plate diving down under eastern Philippines along the Philippine Trench. With reports from Jhunnex Napallacan, Carla Gomez and Nestor Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas; Christine O. Avendaño and Leila B. Salaverria in Manila; and AP

Philippine Earthquake

Monday, February 6, 2012

Senate bill seeks to penalize parents for crimes of minor children

MANILA, Philippines—A bill that seeks to penalize parents or guardians “for the tortuous or criminal acts” committed by their minor children has been filed in the Senate.

Senate Bill 3102, known as an “Act penalizing the parents or guardians for torts or crimes committed by their minor children or wards,” was filed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

“Because they have the primary right to rear their children in the manner they see fit, parents should also be held responsible for malicious acts committed by their children,” Santiago said in her explanatory note in the bill.

“This bill seeks to penalize the parents or guardians for the tortuous or criminal acts committed by their minor children or wards who are exempt from criminal liability, under Republic Act No. 9344, otherwise known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006,” she added.

Under the bill, the parents or guardians would be held liable in the amount of not less than P50,000 but not more than P100,000 for the damages that are “the proximate result of anyone or a combination of the following acts of the minor child or ward:

– The malicious and willful injury to the person of another;

– The malicious and willful injury or damage to the property of another, whether the
property be real, personal or mixed;

– The willful taking, stealing and carrying away of the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession;

– The exploitation of another minor child by using him, directly or indirectly, such as for purposes of begging and other acts which are inimical to his interest and welfare; and

– The possession, handling, or carrying of a deadly weapon, regardless of its ownership.

Santiago pointed out that in the states of Idaho, Maryland, Missouri and Oklahoma in the US, parents are already required to undertake restitution payments.

A number of states, she said, have enacted or proposed laws that will automatically hold parents financially responsible for all expenses associated with a second false bomb threat or 911 call made by a child; impose a prison term of up to 18 months and order payment of restitution to any victims if the child commits a serious crime; impose a fine and/or a prison term if a child uses a gun owned by the parent to commit a crime and a fine and/or imprisonment if a child fails to attend school or skips school more than 10 times in a year.

In the Philippines minor offenders aged 15 years old and below have no criminal liability. Offenders aged 16 to 17 years old, acting without discernment, are also exempt from criminal liability.

“Consequently, the offenders are not placed in detention cells but instead referred to rehabilitation centers. The younger ones are returned to their parents or guardians, or in their absence, to the nearest relative,” Santiago said.

“Thus, since the offenders are not arrested or charged in courts, it is believed that the element of accountability is sorely lacking to the detriment of victims of such crimes,” she added.

Santiago believes that once her proposed bill is passed, parents would spend more time and effort in monitoring the activities of their children “when they are fully aware that they will be held personally accountable for their children’s actions, through the payment for damages caused by any minor child.”

Miriam santiago News

Strong quake hits Central Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has raised tsunami alert level 2 following a magnitude 6.8 earthquake which hit the provinces of Negros and Cebu in the Visayas region Monday.

The US Geological Service said that the quake hit 70 kilometers (44 miles) north of the city of Dumaguete on Negros Island at 11:49 am (0349 GMT) at a depth of 46 kilometers.

According to Phivolcs, the quake was felt at intensity V in Iloilo and intensity IV in Kalibo, Aklan; San Jose de Buenavista and Pandan, Antique; Sta.Barbara, Iloilo; Dipolog. Damage and aftershocks are expected.

People from offices and malls got out as soon as they felt the quake, and students rushed out of schoolrooms.
The Associated Press reported that a child was killed when a concrete fence of a house collapsed in Taysan town in Negros Oriental. With reports by Leila Salaverria, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and AP

Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/140493/magnitude-6-8-quake-hits-cebu-negro-usgs

Cebu Negros Earthquake

Sunday, February 5, 2012

5.9 quake shakes Samar, aftershocks continue till Sunday early morning

MANILA, Philippines—A 5.9 magnitude earthquake jolted Samar island Saturday evening with aftershocks felt until early Sunday morning, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

At 3:29 a.m., the strongest at 5.0 magnitude was registered 62 kilometers southeast of San Policarpio in Eastern Samar, according to the latest Phivolcs bulletin.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injury from the offshore quake that struck 85 kilometers northeast of San Policarpio in Eastern Samar at 9:09 p.m. Saturday at a shallow depth of 19 kilometers.

The tremor was felt at Intensity IV in Gamay, Northern Samar; Intensity III in San Policarpio and Oras, Eastern Samar; Catbalogan, Samar; Palo, Tacloban and Tolosa, Leyte; and Intensity II in Cataingan, Masbate.

The Philippines sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

Philippine Earthquake

Saturday, February 4, 2012

5.9 quake shakes Samar

MANILA, Philippines—A 5.9 magnitude earthquake jolted Samar island Saturday evening, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

There was no immediate reports of damage or injury from the offshore quake that struck 85 kilometers northeast of San Policarpio in Eastern Samar. It hit at a shallow depth of 19 kilometers.

The tremor was felt at Intensity IV in Gamay, Northern Samar; Intensity III in San Policarpio and Oras, Eastern Samar; Catbalogan, Samar; Palo, Tacloban and Tolosa, Leyte; and Intensity II in Cataingan, Masbate.

At least four aftershocks were recorded by Phivolcs with magnitudes ranging from 3.7 to 5.0.

The Philippines sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

Philippine Earthquake

Friday, February 3, 2012

HEARD: Grace Lee

Korea-born TV news co-anchor Grace Lee, interviewed on GMA 7’s “24 Oras,” on how she and P-Noy (President Benigno Aquino III) got together: “Basta nangyari ang nangyari.”

 Read more Grace Lee News here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pacquiao’s next fight most likely vs Bradley

MANILA, Philippines—There’s no official announcement yet, but recent developments point to Manny Pacquiao taking on unbeaten American Timothy Bradley in his next fight.

Bradley, the World Boxing Organization light welterweight champion, further boosted his stock for the megabuck bout with Pacquiao when Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced Wednesday (Thursday) that he’ll be going after Miguel Cotto’s World Boxing Association super welterweight (154 pounds) crown on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

In effect, Mayweather shut the door on a collision with pound-for-pound rival Pacquiao proposed for the same date.

Cotto, on the other hand, dropped his bid to exact revenge on Pacquiao, who stopped him in the 12th round in 2009.

Having an inkling that Mayweather is once again ducking him, Pacquiao announced on a television interview Wednesday night that Bradley is likely to be his next opponent.

Like Pacquiao, Bradley is also being promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank.

Two other candidates in the Pacquiao derby—Juan Manuel Marquez and Lamont Peterson—are being groomed for a July 14 fight at the Cowboys Stadium in Texas.

After being granted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission a one-fight license, Mayweather resumed his Twitter campaign against Pacquiao.

“I’m fighting Miguel Cotto on May 5th because Miss Pac Man is ducking me,” wrote Mayweather, who spoke with Pacquiao over the phone last month and offered a guaranteed $40 million to the Sarangani representative, sans a share of the pay-per-view buys.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, wanted a 50-50 split on all revenues.

Arum made a counteroffer of $45 million up front for Mayweather.

Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz, who conferred with Mayweather several times, told the LA Times that Mayweather rejected a 55-45 percent sharing, with the bigger chunk going to the winner.

Pacquiao Bradley Fight

Mayweather to fight Cotto, not Pacquiao, in May

LAS VEGAS—Unbeaten US boxing star Floyd Mayweather announced Wednesday he will fight Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto on May 5, ending hopes for a showdown with Manny Pacquiao before November.

Mayweather will step up from the welterweight ranks and fight for Cotto’s World Boxing Association super welterweight crown in Las Vegas before he begins a 90-day jail sentence on June 1 after a domestic violence conviction.

Boxing fans have long sought a matchup between Mayweather and Filipino icon Pacquiao.

Mayweather even made a Twitter challenge for the Asian star to “Step Up, Punk”, but they could not work out a deal so Mayweather went to Cotto.

“Miguel Cotto is a world class fighter who can never be taken for granted and continues to prove he is one of the best in boxing,” Mayweather said.

“It will be a challenge for me to compete with him at this weight, but this is the type of test I thrive on and gives me the motivation to train even harder. I have no doubt in my mind that my title belt collection will increase once again and Cotto’s reign as champion will come to an end on May 5.”

Mayweather, who has won titles in seven weight classes, won his only other fight at super welterweight in 2007 with a split decision over Oscar de la Hoya for the World Boxing Council title.

Cotto defended his crown last December by stopping Antonio Margarito in the 10th round.

“I am here to fight the biggest names in boxing,” Cotto said. “I’ve never ducked anyone or any challenge in front of me. I have accepted everything to give the fans what they like — great and exciting fights.
“Stay tuned because I will convincingly beat Floyd Mayweather.”

Mayweather had made a deal for a May 5 fight but Pacquiao had wanted a June date to maximize revenue for what figures to be the biggest-paying blockbuster in boxing history, if it happens, which now cannot happen until late this year.

Pacquiao is still deciding who he will face in a fight to be staged in May or June.
Cotto and Mayweather have agreed to Olympic-style drug testing for the fight. Mayweather’s insistence on such methods helped scuttle prior talks for a Pacquiao fight.

Mayweather, 41-0 with 25 knockouts, won his last fight in controversial fashion, knocking out Victor Ortiz last September when his rival was distracted by the referee having just restarted the action after a break.
Cotto, 36-2 with 29 knockouts, is 16-2 in world title fights and avenged a 2008 title loss to Margarito two months ago.

Mayweather Cotto Fight

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why Cuevas ‘forced’ to deny Inquirer story

Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas was forced to deny a Philippine Daily Inquirer report regarding his claim that a Malacañang emissary had asked him to withdraw as lead defense lawyer for Chief Justice Renato Corona after “a dressing down” from an Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) official.

An INC insider said leaders of the religious group were shocked upon reading the newspaper story in which Cuevas said that an emissary whom he described as a “Malacañang rah-rah boy” had approached him to ask that he quit as chief defense counsel in Corona’s impeachment trial.

But what peeved the INC hierarchy, the source said, was Cuevas’ disclosure that the move to get him to withdraw was tied up with the case of ousted National Bureau of Investigation Director Magtanggol Gatdula.

Cuevas said the Malacañang emissary had told him Gatdula would be spared of any criminal charge if Cuevas quit the Corona defense team.

Both Cuevas and Gatdula are members of the INC. A justice department panel has recommended the filing of criminal charges against Gatdula for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of an undocumented Japanese woman.

Inquirer story correct
“Ka Apin (a reference to Cuevas) was called to the INC headquarters in Quezon City right after the story came out in the Inquirer,” said the source, who sought anonymity for fear of punitive action from his religious group. “He was given a dressing down because he mentioned Gatdula in the interview.”

“Your story is correct,” the source added, referring to the Inquirer article.
The source also said that Cuevas, 83, would not be disciplined despite his blooper given his advanced age.

The source said the dressing down took place before Cuevas appeared at the Senate on Monday and that the INC was upset Cuevas had dragged the organization’s name in the interview with the Inquirer.

“A lay member should not talk about or make references to the INC as an institution. Only the ministers [can], and (Cuevas) is not even one,” the source said.

‘Lapse in judgment’
The source said that after Cuevas was reprimanded (pinagalitan), “Ka Apin had to do an about face at the risk of losing his credibility.”

“Had Ka Apin limited himself to the discussion of pressure from Malacañang, there wouldn’t have been any problem. But the thing was that he had to mention the quid pro quo (palit-ulo) about Gatdula.”

“The mention of Ka Tanggol’s (a reference to Gatdula) name was considered a lapse in judgment on the part of Ka Apin,” the source added. “The INC was displeased so there was extreme pressure to deny.”

Message to Palace
The INC source would not confirm whether Gatdula’s appointment as NBI top honcho had been a favor extended to the organization.

However, the source said the choice of Abraham Espejo, a prominent INC member, as Gatdula’s lawyer was supposed to “send a message to Malacañang” to take it easy with the sacked director.

Espejo is the dean of the New Era University College of Law, the source said. “Why would they send in the dean if the hierarchy is treating Gatdula’s situation as an ordinary case?” the source said.

A Malacañang official said the ball was now in Cuevas’ court following the Inquirer’s release of the transcript and audio of its interview with Cuevas, in which the latter said a Palace emissary had tried to prod him into quitting as Corona’s chief lawyer.

“At this point, it will be up to Justice Cuevas to support his (denial) and, until such time, we will defer comment,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters.

Incredulous Leila
Palace officials have denied Cuevas’ allegation and challenged him to identify the “emissary” who approached him. They also said it was not the habit of Malacañang to pressure anyone.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima rejected Cuevas’ claim that someone from Malacañang tried to pressure him into quitting the Corona defense panel.

“When the report came out, I did not believe it. I seriously doubt that it was true, that somebody (from Malacañang) was talking to him,” De Lima told reporters.
“In the case of NBI Director Gatdula, I was the only one that the President was talking to, although there were (times) that the Executive Secretary joined the discussion, so there’s no such thing,” De Lima said.

De Lima added: “Some sectors are again fabricating stories and putting all sorts of slants in the issue.”  With reports from Christine O. Avendaño and Jerome Aning

Chief Justice Impeachment Trial