The latest news stories from the major news organizations in Cebu and Manila in the Philippines, the US and other countries.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 14, 2010 Major News Stories

Untransmitted ERs could still affect ranking of bets—PPCRV

MANILA, Philippines The election returns (ERs) of regions that have yet to be transmitted could still affect the present ranking of the candidates, an official of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the citizen arm accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said on Thursday.

As of 4:35 p.m., the PPCRV said it was awaiting 10.3% of the precinct results from the May 10 automated elections.

The group, however, said that some of the results could have been transmitted to the Comelec servers, but have yet to reach the PPCRV servers.

The results that have yet to come in could still affect the current ranking. . . . Its crucial to guard the remaining votes, Clifford Sorita, PPCRV secretary general said.

Asked if the remaining election returns could tilt the balance in the hotly-contested vice presidential race between Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and Senator Manuel Roxas II, he said, The votes are still there, there are still numbers to be counted.

As of PPCRVs latest tally at 5:30 p.m. covering 68,601 precincts out of the total 76,475 precincts, Binay still leads Roxas by 786,441 votes 13,429,660 votes to 12,643,219.

Senator Benigno Aquino III continues to pull away in the presidential race with 13,789,161 votes.

Of the regions, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) still has to transmit 29.42% of its total election returns.

Region 7, the Central Visayas region comprised of the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor and the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue, still has to transmit 17% of its election returns.

The following shows the regional breakdown of precinct results that have not been transmitted to the PPCRV server as of 4:35 p.m.

NCR (National Capital Region) 2.15%
CARAGA 10.02%
Region 1 (Ilocos region) 12.5%
Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) 8.04%
Region 3 (Central Luzon) 9.12%
Region 4A (Calabarzon) 8%
Region 4B (MIMAROPA) 10.95%
Region 5 (Bicol) 9.63%
Region 6 (Western Visayas) 10.22%
Region 7 (Central Visayas) 17%
Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) 13.09 %
Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) 11%
Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) 11.53%
Region 11 (Davao) 6.12%
Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN) 5.16%
ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) 29.42%
CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) 14.73%

PCOS may not be transmitting to other servers, poll execs say

Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines may be transmitting to computer servers of the Commission on Elections but not to others, causing a slowdown in the flow of data received by the computer server of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, poll officials said on Thursday.

According to the Comelec's tally early Wednesday, 96 percent of the precincts have already transmitted their ERs, while only 89.7 percent have been recorded by the PPCRV as of 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

"The PCOS might be able to send to the Comelec server but unable to send to PPCRV's," Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said.

On the other hand, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the PPCRV server might have bogged down, although he did not confirm it."[A]nyway they have their own technicians to [solve the problem]," Jimenez said.

In a phone interview with GMANews.TV, however, PPCRV's Anna De Villa-Singson denied that their servers have bogged down, saying it might just be taking time to download the transmitted data.

"The data coming in might not have been downloaded by the server yet but [our servers] are not bogging down. We are just communicating the data as they come to us we do not dictate the pace," Singson said.

The poll body also earlier said that malfunctioning compact flash (CF) cardswhich contain instructions on how the PCOS machines read ballots and transmit resultswere also causing delays in the transmission of election data. (See: Malfunctioning CF cards may delay proclamation of winners)

Election results transmitted electronically to the different servers come from the PCOS machines and are the sources of the partial and unofficial tallies produced by the Comelec, PPCRV, and others who have been given access such as GMA Network and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).

NAMFREL: Some PCOS machines failed accuracy test

MANILA, Philippines - It may have been high-speed, but was it accurate? A report to be released by the poll watchdog National Citizen's Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) showed that some Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines failed the accuracy test.

It may have no bearing on the national races, particularly the presidential race, but the questionable accuracy may have had an impact in hotly-contested races in the local front, and in the some cases, neck-and-neck races in the last spots for the Senate.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has specified that the minimum accuracy rate for the China-made PCOS machine should be 99.995% or a maximum error rate of .005%. PCOS machines that failed to meet this standard should have been replaced as stated in the contract.

The poll body is 

supposed to test the accuracy of the PCOS in the final sealing and testing a few days before the elections. But the mess caused by the wrong configuration in the memory cards a week before the polls has sidelined any honest-to-goodness monitoring whether the accuracy of the PCOS was followed in the final test run.

As the Comelec has not released any report on the final testing and sealing, there is also no way of knowing how many machines that failed the accuracy test were actually used in the May 10 polls.

For the May 10 polls, the Comelec leased 82,200 PCOS from supplier Smartmatic-Total Information Management for the 76,000 clustered precincts nationwide. The rest of the PCOS machines were intended to be used as back-up.

Accuracy issues

NAMFREL executive committee member Damaso Magbual told that the group will present its initial findings this Friday on their observations as to the accuracy of the PCOS.

The report will indicate that there were accuracy issues on the PCOS.

For instance, in Precinct 1212 at  the UP Integrated School in Quezon City, the PCOS counted 602 ballots. But the random audit showed that there were 612 ballots cast.

"This is more than the maximum margin or error of .005%," Magbual observed.

In that precinct, the PCOS also failed in the accuracy test in the counting of the votes cast. Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Sonny Belmonte, who is seeking a congressional post in the 2nd district, got 501 votes in the PCOS count, but the election return showed that he got 498.

Another congressional candidate, Don Emil de Castro, got 95 votes in the PCOS count. But the ER showed he actually got 102 votes.

In one precinct in San Juan City, the PCOS counted 616 ballots but the manual audit showed only 614 ballots were cast.

Still, in another precinct, the PCOS counted 607 ballots, but the manual audit showed there were 613 ballots cast.

'Not alarming'

Magbual said the discrepancies in the PCOS count "may not be alarming," but "this does not mean you should sacrifice accuracy."

Asked if there was a pattern of inaccuracies on how the PCOS machines functioned, he clarified that "we are not yet seeing a pattern."

Namfrel is conducting its own manual audit using ERs shared with other groups. The group sought accreditation to conduct the random manual audit but was blocked by its erstwhile ally, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV)

Namfrel had wanted to expand coverage of the random manual audit from 1 precinct for every legislative district to 5 precincts. As Comelec denied Namfrel's accreditation, the poll body passed that responsibility to the PPCRV.

The PPCRV is not expected to release the report of its random manual audit anytime soon.

38-M voter turnout highest since 1978

by By Cai Ordinario, Business Mirror
1 person liked this - leo lastimosa
MANILA, Philippines - The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said the 38-million voter turnout in Monday's elections was the highest actual voter participation in more than 30 years.

Roxas: 'Let's not hasten the process'

MANILA, Philippines Breaking his silence, Senator Manuel Mar Roxas called on authorities Thursday not to hasten the process of canvassing the votes for the vice presidential race as he expected to overtake Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, who leads him by over 700,000 votes.

"Huwag po nating madaliin ang prosesong ito...[Let's not hasten this process]," Roxas said in a press conference aired live on television.

"Hanggat hind pa natatapos ang bilangan, tuluy-tuloy ang laban [Until the counting is over, the fight continues]," he said.

Roxas, who is celelebrating his 53rd birthday this Thursday, claimed to have about a 1.5 million-vote lead over Binay from his bailiwick in the Visayas in Cebu and Negros Occidental.

"Hanggang mabilang ang pinakahuling boto, hangang madinig ang pinakahuling boses ng tao, andyan pa rin si Mar Roxas [Until the last vote is counted, until the last voice of the peole are heard, Mar Roxas will still be there]," Roxas said.

Roxas began the media briefing by congratulating Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who is leading the presidential race.

He addressed Aquino as "chief" but said this might be the last time that he would call him by that name.

He said the next time they would meet, he would address Aquino as "Mr. President.

Aquino, Binay still ahead in PPCRV tally

MANILA, Philippines(UPDATE 3) Partial, unofficial tally of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Votings (PPCRV) from 68,507 out of 76,475 precincts or 89.58 percent as of 12:58 p.m. Thursday:


Aquino, Benigno III: 13,769,197
Estrada Ejercito Joseph: 8,706,129
Villar, Manuel: 4,981,090
Teodoro, Gilberto Jr.: 3,658,994
Villanueva, Eduardo: 1,021,193
Gordon, Richard: 465,809
Perlas, Jesus Nicanor: 48,711
Madrigal, Jamby: 41,978
De Los Reyes, John Carlos: 39,881

Vice President

Binay, Jejomar: 13,410,262
Roxas, Manuel: 12,626,135
Legarda, Loren: 3,778,381
Fernando, Bayani: 932,798
Manzano, Eduardo: 703,054
Yasay, Perfecto: 329,492
Sonza, Jose: 57,443
Chipeco, Dominador: 47,168

VP race between Binay, Roxas still too close to call -- PPCRV

MANILA, Philippines -- The vice presidential race is still a toss-up between Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and Sen. Manuel Roxas II because some five million votes from more than 8,000 precinctsthe largest of which are in the presumed bailiwicks of Binay and Roxas, have yet to be counted.

As small increments of votes slowly raised the tallies, Binay got 13,429,660 votes (40.77 percent of the votes counted so far), giving him a lead of 776,441 votes over Roxas as of the 5:30 p.m. count on Thursday, by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV). Roxas received 12,643,219 votes (38.38 percent).

The figures represent the consolidated results from 68,601 precincts, or 89.70 percent of the 76,475 precincts nationwide.

The close fight has fueled an exchange of charges between the two candidates, with Binay accusing Roxas camp of planning to rig results and Roxas contending that the fight has yet to be won.

In the presidential race, Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno Aquino III was still enjoying a comfortable lead of more than 5 million over nearest rival former President Joseph Estrada.

Aquino got 13,789,161 votes, or 40.77 of total votes counted so far, while Estrada garnered 8,718,704.

Manuel Villar, the first presidential candidate to concede to Aquino, received 4,989,136 votes while administration candidate Gilbert Teodoro Jr. got 3,662,620 votes.

Aquino and Roxas continued to lead the count from votes cast by overseas Filipinos in 28 embassies and consulates general.

At a press conference, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, who called Aquino our next president, said he did so because the senator was leading the count by a wide margin over his closest rival, Estrada, in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) tally.

Based on the 11:09 a.m. update of the PPCRV, ballots from 995 precincts in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) had yet to be counted.

Perennially problematic ARMM, where Binay was leading, recorded the largest number of precincts that have yet to transmit election returns to the PPCRV server at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila.

In Basilan, 41 precincts have yet to transmit returns; Lanao del Sur, 488; Maguindanao, 190; Sulu, 195 and Tawi-Tawi, 81representing 29.45 percent of all the precincts in the region.

Let me just qualify that when we say still to transmit it doesnt mean that these precincts have not transmitted at all, said Ana de Villa-Singson, PPCRV media and communications director in an interview with reporters.

It is possible that election returns have been transmitted to the Comelec server but have not yet been downloaded into the Pius server that were all dependent on, Singson added.

Updates on the tallies came in trickles on Thursday as the files being transmitted to the PPCRV, the citizens arm of the Comelec, were getting as big as 90 million lines. Thats why its getting very difficult to download, Singson said.

The bulk of votes coming from Central Visayaswhich early on had been labeled as a Roxas country for giving him the largest votes over Binayhave not been included in the latest tallies in the presidential, vice presidential and senatorial races.

Central Visayas accounted for 949 precincts or 17 percent of the total precincts in the region, where votes have yet to be tallied: Bohol, 213; Negros Oriental, 213; Siquijor, 12.

The largest number of poll precincts (511) whose election returns have yet to be tallied was traced to vote-rich Cebu, which also gave most of the votes to Aquino.

Votes from 746 precincts or 8.01 percent of the precincts in Southern Tagalog, where Binay was leading, have yet to be counted, too.

The PPCRV was also still waiting for the transmission of election returns from 263 precincts in the Cordillera Autonomous Region; 215 from Caraga; 596 from Ilocos; 251 from Cagayan Valley; 701 from Central Luzon and 257 from Mimaropa.

Votes from 314 precincts in the Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) have yet to be included in the latest count, according to the Comelecs citizens arm.

Election returns from Bicol, which was split in terms of delivering votes to Binay and Roxas, have also yet to be counted.

Only ballots from nine precincts in Metro Manila have yet to be processed. These precincts were in Taguig-Pateros, noted Singson.

Analyst: Vice-presidential race too close to call

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to canvass or transmit results in some provinces known to be bailiwicks of Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II.

Who should administer oath to Noynoy Aquino?

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who looks set to become the 15th Philippine president, is mulling whether he will take his oath before the country's incoming chief justice, Renato Corona.

Comelec to declare winning senators, party-lists Saturday

Winners in the senatorial and party list races will be proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) this Saturday instead of Friday as earlier planned, a poll body official said.

The commission, as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), will proclaim the winners, Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said.

The NBOC would base its proclamation on the certificates of canvass (COC) sent by the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) which got the COCs from the city and municipal board of canvassers.

The city and municipal board of canvassers creates COCs based on results in the clustered precincts.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Comelec has received only 21.89 percent of the COCs from the PBOC. Larrazabal, however, told GMANews.TV that only 2 to 3 percent of the election results have yet to be transmitted from 76,347 clustered precincts nationwide.

He could not immediately identify which areas have not yet transmitted election results to the commission.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the commission will identify those areas late Thursday.

According to the latest official tally of the poll body, the candidates most likely to snag a senatorial seat are:

Bong Revilla, Ramon (Lakas-Kampi) - 11,053,981 
Estrada, Jose Jinggoy" (PMP) - 10,631,692 
Defensor-Santiago, Miriam (PRP) 10,042,067
Drilon, Franklin (LP) 9,306,469 
Enrile, Juan Ponce (PMP) 9,021,396 
Cayetano, Pilar Juliana (NP) 8,060,063
Marcos, Ferdinand Jr. (NP) 7,385,117
Recto, Ralph (LP) 7,382,064
Osmeña, Sergio III (Independent) 7,186,573
Sotto, Vicente III (NPC) 6,957,836
Guingona, Teofisto III (LP) 6,313,522
Lapid, Manuel (Lakas-Kampi) 6,175,905

Meanwhile, a joint session of the outgoing Congress will serve as the canvassing board for the position of president and vice president. [See: Eleksyon 2010 Dashboard for the latest tally] They are set to convene on May 31, almost three weeks after the senators and party-list representatives have already supposedly been declared.

PPCRV tally: senatorial race

MANILA, Philippines(UPDATE) Partial, unofficial tally from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting as of 5:30 p.m. Thursday:

1. Bong Revilla, Ramon, Jr.: 17,761,836
2. Estrada, Jinggoy: 17,353,302
3. Defensor Santiago, Miriam: 15,879,223
4. Drilon, Franklin: 14,534,330 
5. Enrile, Juan Ponce: 14,355,995
6. Cayetano, Pilar Juliana: 12,570,881
7. Marcos, Ferdinand Jr.: 12,110,202
8. Recto, Ralph: 11,362,508
9. Sotto, Vicente III: 10,916,678
10. Osmena, Sergio: 10,668,464
11. Lapid, Manuel: 10,026,726
12. Guingona, Teofisto III: 9,446,498
13. Hontiveros-Baraquel, Ana Theresia: 8,393,174
14. Biazon, Rozzano Rufino: 7,931,045
15. De Venecia Jose III: 7,681,635

Ako Bicol partylist dislodged from top spot

MANILA, Philippines The Ako Bicol Partylist group was dislodged from the top spot Thursday by the Buhay Hayaan Yumabong, according to the partial and official tally of the Commission on Elections, as of 4:18 p.m.

The Comelec has canvassed 60 out of 274 certificates of canvass (CoCs).

The top 20 partylist groups are:

1. Buhay Hayaan Yumabong 794,670

2. Ako Bicol Partylist 787,336

3. Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens Philippines Inc. 738,323

4. Akbayan 679,678

5. Gabriela Women's Party 663,423

6. Cooperative NATCCO Network Party 598,141

7. 1st Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy 489,039

8. Bayan Muna 471,247

9. Citizen's Battle Against Corruption 444,453

10. Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines Inc. 436,877

11. Advocacy for Teachers' Empowerment 373,724

12. Butil Farmers Party 319,183

13. Abante Mindanao Inc. 315,460

14. Alliance for Barangay Concern's Party 297,837

15. Anakpawis 265,622

16. Kabataan Partylist 261,873

17. Kasangga sa Kaunlaran, Inc 232,376

18. Ang Galing Pinoy 225,647

19. ACT Teachers 225,054

20. ABONO 223,751

Erroneous transmission of voting results reported—Comelec

MANILA, Philippines Erroneous transmission of results from PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machines have been reported in several areas across the country, the Commission on Elections disclosed Thursday, but officials said these would not affect the outcome of both national and local elections.

In a press briefing, Comelec spokesman Director James Jimenez said that human error led to some areas transmitting the results of the final testing and sealing (FTS) process instead of the actual election results.

Jimenez said that in some areas, the back-up memory cards containing the results of the FTS were used to replace faulty memory cards. As a result, instead of the actual election results, the results of the FTS were transmitted.

The results from the final testing and sealing were saved on back-up memory cards and in some cases where the BEIs [board of election inspectors] have to resort to contingency measures, they took out the wrong cards for delivery, Jimenez said.

In the FTS process, only 10 ballots were fed into the PCOS machines.

Jimenez failed to disclose which areas encountered this problem, which he said affected 150,000 votes or less than one percent of the overall voting population.

This is a rather small number, Jimenez said.

But in a separate interview, Commissioner Ferdinand Rafanan told reporters that 10 precincts, or one tenth of 10 percent of the total number of precincts nationwide, reportedly transmitted results of the testing and sealing process instead of the actual election results.

Rafanan said these were precincts in the areas of Camarines Sur, Iloilo City, Mountain Province, and Nueva Ecija.

Smartmatic-TIM Asia president Cesar Flores said that problematic areas would be a manual reconciliation of the results.

This means that the actual automated results will be compared with that which has been transmitted.

Despite dismissing the error as minor, Jimenez said the incident was alarming.

Its alarming for people on the ground who did not know the context, he said.

Because of this, Comelec appealed to local candidates and their supporters who are affected by this error to remain calm.

We are calling on all political players and their partisans to please maintain your cool. The situation is well and had and as weve seen, its largely due to human error, Jimenez said.

He added that the Comelec was willing to personally talk to all the stakeholders to explain the incident.

Fate of canvass left to Congress


Should the Congress decide to call a special session for the immediate canvassing of votes for the presidential and vice presidential races, it could be considered by the Executive, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said the Congress, which is composed of Senate and the House Representatives, has the final word on whether or not a special session should be called for.

"Normally when the President calls for a special session, there would need some consultations and sometimes, even a request from Congress. If Congress would like to call a special session, then it can be considered by the Palace," he told reporters.

Lawmakers from the Lower and Upper Chambers, including Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, a senatorial candidate running under the banner of former President Joseph Estrada of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) party, and Rep. Neptali Gonzales II wanted to have an immediate canvassing of votes for president and vice president. Enrile earlier said that if there is a way, they would rather have special session to fast track the canvassing.

Congress has yet to determine a date for such canvassing. The Omnibus Election Code provides that after election day, Congress should convene within the prescribed period of 30 days to open all the certificates of canvass (CoCs) and count the votes for presidential and vice presidential posts. The 15th Congress is scheduled to resume on May 31

"They have to tell us. They have to give an indication that they want to this and they also give an indication that actually ready to start canvassing. Because they need some preparations there, it is not like a normal session of Congress," Saludo said.

He said all the parties involved should scrutinize the proposal, not only the Executive and Congress.

"You saw the last canvassing; you actually have panels from Senate and House. You have to get lawyers in there. I mean the lawyers may be looking at problems down in precincts. So I think it is something that needs some study in the part of Congress as well as the Palace and also the affected candidates and their lawyers," the Palace official stressed.

Gonzales even wished for the convening of a joint session on May 24 to begin the canvassing of votes for president and vice president which is a week earlier than the scheduled resumption of the session of Congress.

Perlas, Jamby, JC unite to question "poll irregularities"

Three laggards in the presidential race on Thursday joined forces in questioning the results of the countrys first nationwide automated elections.

The three independent candidates Nicanor Perlas and Sen. Jamby Madrigal, and Ang Kapatirans JC de los Reyes said irregularities in the elections are the reason why they have yet to concede to front-runner Sen. Benigno Noynoy" Aquino III.

We are making this stand so that Filipino people will not be rushed into thinking automated elections are a success," said Madrigal. Let us be pro-active, not for us, but for future generations."

Madrigal particularly expressed concern about the compact flash (CF) cards in the election machines that were reconfigured at the last minute on the eve of the May 10 elections.

How sure are we that the replaced CF cards have not been programmed to favor a candidate," she said, adding that she, Perlas and De los Reyes would soon present their technical findings.

As of 4:27 p.m. Thursday, GMA Networks partial and unofficial tally showed Madrigal with 41,906 votes, Perlas with 48,678, and De los Reyes with 39,853. The combined votes of the three candidates were even less than disqualified bet Vetellano Acosta's 162,842.

For his part, Perlas said he, Madrigal, and De los Reyes would come out with a website to gather proof of poll discrepancies.

Perlas and Madrigal had not conceded yet to Aquino, who has so far received more than 13 million votes. De los Reyes, on the other hand, had withdrawn his admission of defeat following what he said were reports of irregularities.

Madrigal, however, clarified that they were not claiming that they were cheated in the elections. 

Supporter of defeated solon shot, hurt in Biliran rally

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte A supporter of defeated congressman Glenn Chong was shot and wounded Wednesday night while attending a protest rally held at the Biliran provincial capitol.

Police Officer 1 Christopher Agnote of the Naval police station identified the victim as Ricky Regala, 21, a resident of Barangay (village) Rosario, Naval. Regala was among those who staged a protest rally outside the provincial capitol where the canvassing for provincial positions were held.

The protesters were supporters of Chong who was defeated in his congressional bid by outgoing Governor Rogelio Espina by a mere 361 votes.

Espina, who belongs to the Nacionalista Party, was proclaimed last Tuesday night by the members of the provincial board of canvassers with 40,010 votes. Chong got 39,649 votes.

Agnote said that based on their investigation, unidentified men on board a pickup-type vehicle shot Regala, wounding him on the upper left chest at 11:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The shooting caused a commotion among the protesters.

The victim was brought to the Biliran Provincial Hospital for medical treatment, Agnote said. "He is now doing okay," he added.

Agnote said on Thursday they were still conducting an investigation to identify the suspects.

Chong's supporters started their protest rally last Wednesday, a day after Espina was declared winner by the provincial board of canvassers.

Chong who ran under the administration Lakas-Kampi, alleged that his opponent committed massive fraud.

In an interview, Chong said that he would not accept the results and he would file his formal protest before the Commission on Elections.

"I will not concede for there is nothing to concede. I believe that I was the [actual] winner," he said, adding that it was "improbable" that he and his entire line would lose in the elections to Espina and his group.

He also said that he could not control the "emotions and outrage" of the people now holding their protest outside the provincial capitol.

Nograles fails to topple Duterte dynasty in Davao City

DAVAO CITY, Philippines Speaker Prospero Nograles' third attempt to topple Rodrigo Duterte's hold on power in the city failed anew after he lost to the mayors 31-year-old daughter, Sara.

Late Wednesday evening, Sara, currently the vice mayor, trashed Nograles by over 100,000 votes and was declared winner in the hotly contested mayoral seat.

Nograles had bragged about his connection with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and banked on the machinery of the administration when he launched his third bid at the city mayoral post.

In 1992, he lost to the elder Duterte and in 1998, lost again to a Duterte protge, Ben de Guzman.

De Guzman and Duterte had since become political enemies.

Nograles even picked De Guzman as runningmate.

Aside from connections and the machinery of the ruling Lakas-Kampi, Nograles also filed charges against the elder Duterte in a bid to derail Sara's candidacy.

These included cases from the alleged anomaly in the purchase of P200-million garbage bins.

But the Duterte magic still prevailed.

Jopriz Bueno, a professor of Sociology and Political Science at the Assumption College of Davao, said Nograles' connection with the Arroyo administration weakened his chances of winning.

"His alliance with Arroyo tainted his credibility. It sent the signal that he, too, will be like her corrupt. He is being seen as the opposite of the Dutertes, who are perceived as leaders who do not bootlick, straightforward, transparent and open to partnering with various personalities in the political spectrum and willing to commit to people's issues," Bueno said.

Lawyer Carlos Isagani Zarate, another political analyst, said Nograles' association with Arroyo was the lawmaker's heaviest baggage.

"The identification of Nograles with Arroyo was also to be blamed for his defeat. There is a natural anti-Arroyo sentiment across the country and Duterte capitalized on the relationship of Arroyo and Nograles. In his sorties, he banked on the support of Nograles for changing the Constitution," Zarate said.

But Duterte is also a friend of Ms Arroyo. In fact, when Ms Arroyo visited the city on several occasions, Duterte brought her to his favorite nightspot, the After Dark videoke bar.

But Zarate said that while Duterte maintained his friendly relationship with Ms Arroyo, "he has his way of connecting to the people."

Nograles' campaign slogan, "change we need, change we must" also failed to resonate with the people, according to Zarate.

"They did not understand what was he was trying to put across," he said.

For those who understood what Nograles was trying to say, Zarate said "for them, he was not the right person to advocate for change."

"For the people, Nograles was not the alternative leader," Zarate said.

Another factor for Nograles' defeat, Zarate said, was his association with retired general Jovito Palparan, who had accused Duterte of being a communist supporter.

"The attacks against Duterte by Palparan and Pastor Alcover [another anti-communist leader] turned off the people, even the middle class who was scared that Davao will become a battlefield," he said.

Dy scion beats Padaca in race for Isabela governor

(Updated 9:53 p.m.) Isabela is back at the hands of the Dy political clan.

This was after Faustino "Bojie" Dy III regained his family's reign over the province by defeating re-electionist Governor Grace Padaca in their neck-and-neck battle in last Monday's national and local elections.

Based on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) official tally released Thursday night, Dy (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) garnered 274,757 votes while Padaca (Liberal Party) got 271,319.

Dy, however, has yet to be proclaimed pending the go-signal from the regional election supervisor, Noli Pipo.

Provincial election supervisor Manuel Castillo explained that no proclamation can be made unless all the municipalities have transmitted their election results to the provincial canvassers.

Castilo said they are still waiting for the election results from Santiago city, an independent city that does vote for governor and vice-governor.

"Kahit na hindi sila bumoboto sa governor (Even if residents there don't vote for governor), Santiago is still part of Isabela. We will wait for a letter that would come from the regional director," he said

The camp of Padaca said she is still consulting with her lawyers before making any official announcement.


The 2010 gubernatorial election in Isabela is reminiscent of the 2001 elections when Padaca, a radio commentator critical of the Dy dynasty, first challenged Dy, who was then mayor of Cauayan town. Padaca lost in that elections.

Since then, the fight between Padaca and the Dy family has acquired dramatic color, especially in 2004 when she ended the Dy dynastys three-decade reign by beating then incumbent governor Faustino Dy Jr.

Banking on her promise to reform province's transactional political system, Padaca retained her post in the 2007 polls, defeating Benjamin Dy, brother of Bojie Dy.


In an earlier interview, Dy said he would seek reconciliation with Padaca "win or lose in the elections."

"Reconciliation ang importante sa lahat para magkaroon ng political stability sa ating probinsya. Whether we win or lose kailangan may political stability, kailangan magkaroon ng reconciliation para naman sa mamamayan sa lalawigan ng Isabela," he said.

(Political stability can only be attained through reconciliation. Whether I win or lose, there is a need for reconciliation so that this province will move forward.)

Dy further said that he is open to any of Padaca's suggestions in order to better serve the province. "Ang pulitika, 45 days lang yan (political bickering should be over after 45 days)," he said, referring the campaign period given for local election candidates.


Dy, 48, said he wants to make "a legacy in a span of three years."

Once he assumes office, Dy plans to first address the province's health care system, which he claimed to have suffered under Padaca's leadership.

He also said he would "create a master plan for Isabela" by building roads that would connect its 37 municipalities. Isabela is the second largest province in the country.

"In three years kailangan kong ma-reporma ang Isabela kasi wala na akong siguro planong tumakbo pa ulit (I should be able to reform Isabela in three years because I don't intend to seek re-election)," he said. 

Congresswoman Imelda says no compromise on Marcos wealth


LAOAG, Philippines, May 13, 2010 (AFP) - Former first lady Imelda Marcos, newly elected to the Philippine's Congress, vowed Thursday never to compromise with the government in the battle for her family's alleged ill-gotten wealth.

The widow of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos said she would be willing to discuss the wealth but would not bargain on dividing the assets.

"I don't want a compromise, a settlement or a plea bargain because it looks like there is a bit of guilt there and I am not guilty," the 80-year-old widow said as she showed journalists around a local hotel she helped develop.

"I can talk about it if it is anchored on truth, legality and what is right. I am ready to talk to everybody and show them the truth."

She was reacting to calls by a government wealth-recovery agency for a settlement with the Marcos family over the assets and money they allegedly stole from the state during the 20 years Ferdinand Marcos was in power.

While no exact figure is known, the agency has previously said it could be as much as three billion dollars.

Imelda Marcos said her husband was not guilty of corruption and had earned his money honestly.

Ferdinand Marcos ruled as a dictator after imposing martial law in 1972, throwing opponents in jail and letting his family and his allies enrich themselves through his control of the economy.

Anger at his corruption and abuse sparked a popular revolt that toppled Marcos in 1986 and installed democracy heroine Corazon Aquino in his place.

However, in Monday's national elections the Marcos family made a comeback with Imelda elected to Congress, her eldest daughter, Imee, elected as provincial governor and her only son, Ferdinand Jr., poised to join the Senate.

Ricardo Abcede, commissioner of the agency tasked with recovering Marcos wealth, urged incoming president Benigno Aquino to agree to talks for a settlement with the Marcos family.

He said the impoverished country urgently needed the money, adding that waiting for a court decision would delay any recovery for decades.

Bayan Muna calls for manual audit of party-list votes in ARMM

MANILA, PhilippinesParty-list group Bayan Muna on Thursday asked the Commission on Elections to manually audit vote results, particularly for the party-list groups, in five provinces in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

The leftwing group, through Representatives Teodoro Casio and Neri Colmenares, called for the manual audit of votes in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi, and Sulo.

The petitioners cited the inability of these provinces to submit the election results to the National Board of Canvassers in Manila.

The strange failure to transmit is compounded by public knowledge that the ARMM provinces have been historically considered as election hotspots due to widespread election fraud and election-related violence, they said in their petition.

The five provinces could bring in 531,393 votes.

Concerned that current unexplained failure to transmit may give opportunity for fraud, Bayan Muna seeks the intervention of the Honorable Commission and NBOC to ensure that the fraudulent events in the previous elections are not repeated, the petition stated.

They suggested that the NBOC could order the transfer of canvassing in ARMM to a special panel created by the NBOC.

The manual audit will also serve as an in-depth study by the Honorable Commission as well as a check-and-balance measure to the canvassing done by the NBOC, the petition added.

31 clustered precincts had 'perfect attendance' on poll day

by by Kris Danielle Suarez,
MANILA, Philippines - One hundred percent of registered voters in 31 clustered precincts, mostly from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Central Mindanao, voted last Monday, data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed.

Mangudadatu set to win Maguindanao gubernatorial race

Pormalidad na lamang ang hinihintay para sa proklamasyon ni Buluan vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu para maselyuhan ang kanyang panalo sa pagka-gobernador ng Maguindanao. 

Aquino faces uphill battle in Congress—lawmaker

MANILA, Philippines With the emerging composition of a new Congress, leading presidential candidate Benigno Noynoy Aquino III might have difficulty getting its support and prevent any impeachment attempt against him in the future, a senator warned on Thursday.

Because at this point, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Aquino and his Liberal Party did not have enough numbers to elect a new leader at the Senate.

Right now, its split in the middle. The Liberal [Party] probably will have a bloc of eight and the NP [Nacionalista Party] will have about a bloc about of 10 to 11 so there will be swing votes, Zubiri told reporters.

NP is being headed by Senator Manny Villar, who conceded last Tuesday to Aquino.

Im sure yung [the] LP will field its own on Senate President. Im sure Senator Frank Drilon will make a go for it. The group of Senator Villar will also probably try to make a go for it. So medyo magiging madugo ito [this is going to be bloody], said Zubiri.

Drilon, chairman of the LP, is consistently in the top six in the senatorial race based on the ongoing canvassing of votes.

He will become the second LP member in the Senate, along with incumbent Senators Francis Kiko Pangilinan.

Zubiri did not identify the LP bloc but Aquinos candidates winning in the senatorial race so far included former Senators Ralph Recto, Sergio Osmena, and Teofisto Guingona III.

Former Senator Vicente Tito Sotto was not part of Aquinos team but he was endorsed by Aquinos youngest sister and popular TV host, Kris Aquino.

Incumbent Senator Francis Chiz Escudero publicly endorsed the presidential bid of Aquino while another incumbent, Panfilo Ping Lacson, was also reportedly backing Aquino.

Escudero and Lacson were with Aquino in the Senate majority bloc but the two are not members of the LP.

Villars group, however, was seen to be getting more support with the impending victory of senatorial candidate Ferdinand Bong-Bong Marcos and the re-election of Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Pia Cayetano, a member of the NP.

Another NP member is incumbent Senator Alan Cayetano. Villar is also likely to keep the support of his close friend, Senator Joker Arroyo, Senator Loren Legarda, his runningmate in the last election, and detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who endorsed his presidential bid.

Zubiri though noted that he, Legarda, and Angara have formed another block along with returning Senators Lito Lapid and Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. And the group, he said, has not yet talked about the issue.

The three other votes for the Senate presidency, which have yet to be ascertained, will be coming from incumbent Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, Senators Jose Jinggoy Estrada and Gregorio Honasan.

In the House of Representatives, Zubiri disclosed that outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now newly elected representative of Pampanga, has now about 80 congressmen to support a possible bid for the Speakership.

It will be safe to say that meron siyang [she has] 80 congressmen at this point in time, the President. So whats to watch the next few weeks is the political maneuvering of the LP, said Zubiri, who belonged with Arroyos political group, Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats.

But the Majority Leader said he was informed that elected Quezon City Representative Feliciano Sonny Belmonte, who ran under Aquinos banner, has also started training his gun for the Speakership by making phone calls to a number of congressmen this early.

So Zubiri has this unsolicited advice for Aquino and that is to consolidate his forces in the House of Representatives.

That would be detrimental for him to lose the House of Representatives. He needs to be able to control the House of Representatives. Sa [In the] Senate, historically, wala talaga silang magawa [they cant do anything]. No administration can control the Senate, he said.

But in the House of Representatives, its key for the President to be able to control the House kasi diyan nanggagaling ang impeachment [thats where the impeachment is coming from]. The impeachment exercise emanates from the House of Representatives. Kung hindi ma-kontrol ang House, delikado ang magiging Pangulo sa mga impeachment complaints [If the House cant be controlled, the next President is in danger of facing a lot of impeachment complaints], Zubiri pointed out.

LP starts securing numbers for House Speaker bet

TARLAC CITY, Tarlac With the wide lead its standard-bearer, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, continues to enjoy over his rivals, the Liberal Party (LP) has started fielding its bet for House Speaker and getting enough numbers to back that bet.

You have to do your numbers now when the winners are getting clearer," said Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya said Thursday in an interview with reporters here.

Abaya said the LP would most likely field Quezon City Representative-elect Feliciano Belmonte Jr. He may be up against President Arroyo, who has just been elected congresswoman of Pampanga's second district.

Abaya said a small group" of LP congressmen had already met and agreed that there is no need to recruit colleagues from other parties, at least for now.

But when asked about the possibility of the LP forming alliances with other political groups amid the prospect of Mrs. Arroyo gunning for the Speakership, Abaya said, Probably."

Earlier this week, Mrs. Arroyos brother-in-law, Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr., said Mrs. Arroyo is likely to gun for the House Speakership.

Mrs. Arroyos critics claimed she is running for congresswoman and will have her allies push for a shift to a parliamentary form of government, under which she can run for Prime Minister.

El Niño wipes out 400,000 tons of rice, no importation yet

by Reuters
MANILA, Philippines -- Dry weather due to El Niño wiped out 400,000 tons  of unmilled rice in the Philippines, but the world's biggest buyer of the grain has no immediate plans to import, amid ample stocks, a senior official said on Thursday.

Peso rebounds to P44 against US dollar

MANILA, Philippines -- The peso strengthened back to the 44-to-a-dollar territory Thursday on the back of market relief due to perceivably peaceful elections.

After hitting an intraday high of 44.8 against the greenback, the local currency closed at 44.805, gaining 25 centavos from the previous days finish of 45.055.

Trading was brisk and rose substantially to $1.66 billion from only $855.65 million previously.

Market players said the appreciation of the peso was brought about partly by a clear-cut win by Sen Benigno Noynoy Aquino III in the presidential race.

The other presidential candidates have already conceded and the consensus that Aquino won without a cloud of doubt helped ease earlier concerns that the elections, the first fully automated in the country and Asia, could be disorderly.

Traders also said that the general optimism for Asian economies, expected to lead global growth this year, also helped propped up the peso.

The outlook on the peso for the rest of the year is bullish. Some analysts expect the peso to strengthen towards the end of the year to as strong as 42 to a dollar.

Senate to block new taxes


The incoming Aquino administration cannot escape the adoption of new taxes but Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, a tax expert, vowed to resist it as it would only add to the financial burden of the poor.

Enrile also stressed that the government must resist from being controlled by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which wanted it to increase the valued-added tax (VAT) rate from 12 to 15 percent. "We have to decide our own fate," he added.

Although he bowed to the reality of an increased tax regime to support the government, Enrile, however, stressed that the government must answer the question on where the new taxes should be collected from.

"Will it be collected from the poorer class of the country? Or from the richer class of the country?'' he asked.

"As far as I am concerned, I will resist taxes that will increase the financial burden of the less capable members of the society. If there is anyone who must pay the cost of government, it must be those people who have the wherewithal to do it,'' he stressed.

The tax policy of this country must be based on ability to pay, not ability to consume,'' he added.

Enrile said in a jest that Sen. Benigno Simeon Aquino III, frontrunner in the May 10 presidential elections, might not agree to increase the tax on cigarettes.

It is well known that young Aquino has coughing problem arising from his cigarette smoking habit.

"Why should we be controlled by IMF?'' Enrlle replied to a query on the proposal of the IMF that the Philippine government increases the 12 percent VAT to 15 percent.

"Of course, IMF would like us to increase the VAT to 20 percent because that will be to their benefit because we can service our foreign loans. But why should be dictated upon by the IMF?'' he asked.

Enrile said his stay as Senate President in the coming 15th Congress is a decision of each senator in the 24-member Senate. He remains in the top six in the race for 12 slots in the Senate as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to complete its tally on the senatorial race.

The Senate chief, however, stressed that he would review the provisions of the Biofuels Law whose one drawback ''we are encountering is the fact that you can import ethanol from other countries because it is cheaper to bring it in than producing it here.''

"In Thailand, they put up a tariff law. I like to study that and put up a tariff also in the Philippines in order to encourage the utilization of idle lands for the growing of raw materials for alcohol to produce our own ethanol," he explained.

Political ads boost ABS-CBN Q1 earnings

MANILA, Philippines - Earnings of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., the country's largest multimedia conglomerate, grew nearly six-fold to P1.09 billion in the first quarter of 2010, boosted mainly by higher airtime revenues during the election campaign period.

One dead as violence erupts again in Bangkok

BANGKOK—Thai "Red Shirt" protesters clashed with troops in the heart of the capital Thursday, leaving one dead and eight wounded, including a renegade general allied with the demonstrators.

ASEAN vents concerns over Thai crisis

by by Ian Timberlake, Agence France-Presse
HANOI, Vietnam - Southeast Asian leaders have raised concerns about regional stability in the wake of Thailand's political crisis, in what observers say is the latest sign the ASEAN regional bloc is slowly easing its policy of non-interference in the affairs of member states.

Libya plane crash survivor stable but confused: doctor

by by Imed Lamloum, Agence France-Presse
TRIPOLI, Libya - The Dutch boy who miraculously survived a Libya plane crash that killed 103 people is stable but confused, a medic said Thursday, as members of his family headed to his bedside in a Tripoli hospital.

Malaysian sodomy trial hears of trysts across Asia

by Agence France-Presse
KUALA LUMPUR - The young man who has accused Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy said Thursday they had trysts during trips to Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok.

Pope in Fatima recalls John Paul shooting, reminds priests on vow

FATIMA, Portugal (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI traveled to the famous shrine of Fatima on Wednesday, recalling the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II and other "sufferings" of the church, which he has said included the clerical sex abuse scandal.

Benedict didn't refer directly to the crisis a day after issuing his most explicit admission of the church's own guilt. But he did remind priests and seminarians gathered at a vespers service that they must remain loyal to their vocation and help one another when "there is a certain weakening of priestly ideals."

He thanked them for their dedication — "often silent and certainly not easy" — and urged them to seek out new recruits for the priesthood.

Benedict traveled to Fatima to mark the anniversary of the date — May 13, 1917 — when three Portuguese shepherd children reported having visions of the Virgin Mary. He will celebrate a Mass here Thursday to mark the anniversary of the visions and the 10th anniversary of the beatifications of two of the shepherds.

John Paul was also shot in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981 — a coincidence that led him to believe that the Virgin's "unseen hand" had "rescued him from death in the assassination attempt," Benedict said in a prayer at the shrine.

Benedict said John Paul had wanted to give the bullet that was extracted from his abdomen to the shrine as a measure of his gratitude; the bullet today forms part of the crown of the statue of the Virgin in a chapel here where Benedict prayed.

"It is a profound consolation to know that you are crowned not only with the silver and gold of our joys and hopes but also with the 'bullet' of our anxieties and sufferings," Benedict said.

Later Wednesday, Benedict presided over a candle-lit prayer service in which he again referred to the suffering "of a wounded humanity, of the problems of the world" to tens of thousands of pilgrims whose twinkling candles lit up the night.

"In our times, in which the faith in many parts of the world risks going out like a flame that isn't fueled, the priority above all else is to make God present in our world," he said.

During John Paul's third and last visit in 2000, the Vatican revealed the so-called third secret of Fatima, the third part of the message the Virgin is said to have told the children: a description of the assassination attempt on John Paul.

Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca fired on John Paul in the Vatican's central square in 1981, gravely injuring him. While his motive remains unclear, he was convicted and served his sentence in Italy before being transferred to Turkey, where he was freed earlier this year after serving out the remainder of another sentence.

Agca had said he wanted to visit Fatima when Benedict was here; Portuguese government authorities asked him to postpone the visit, his lawyer said.

En route to Portugal on Tuesday, Benedict was asked if the suffering of John Paul contained in Fatima's third secret could be extended to encompass the suffering of the church today concerning the clerical abuse scandal.

Benedict affirmed it could, arguing that the Fatima message doesn't respond to a particular situation or time but offers a "fundamental response" to the constant need for penance and prayer.

"In terms of what we today can discover in this message, attacks against the pope or the church don't come just from outside the church," he told reporters. "The suffering of the church also comes from within the church, because sin exists in the church. This, too, has always been known, but today we see it in a really terrifying way."

Many of the pilgrims attending Wednesday's service walked for days to reach Fatima, with some making the final marble stretch of several hundred meters (yards) up to the chapel on their knees in prayer. Many said Benedict's visit gave them hope, particularly as Portugal — Western Europe's poorest country — confronts Europe's economic crisis.

"The Pope can inspire people to respect things like charity and loving thy neighbor and not being selfish," said Miguel Ferreira, a 39-year-old businessman who said he walked for days to Fatima. But he added: "The Pope can only do so much. He can't hike pay."

Dozens of shops around the shrine selling religious-themed trinkets also offer imitation body parts in wax, such as limbs, hearts and ears, which the faithful cast into flames by the Chapel of the Apparitions with a prayer asking for the healing of their ailments.

Promoters cautious on 2nd Pacquiao-Mayweather deal


When the promoters for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. take a second crack at putting their fighters together, they're hoping a calm, quiet approach will lead to the fireworks everybody craves.

Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said Wednesday he'll start talking to Mayweather's camp "sooner rather than later" about matching the world's top two welterweights for a Nov. 13 bout in either Las Vegas or Texas.

"That's the fight people want to see, and that's the fight I'm going to do my darnedest to make happen," Arum said. "My first goal is to make that fight happen, but we're not going to negotiate this thing in the press, because if we do, given the egos (involved), it's never going to happen."

Arum returned Tuesday from the Philippines, where he proudly attended Pacquiao's apparent victory in a congressional election. The former Justice Department lawyer in the Kennedy administration described the trip as a landmark event in his life, and predicted Pacquiao eventually will be his nation's president.

Yet even during the final days of Pacquiao's campaign, Arum only heard one question from hundreds of Filipino fans: When will Manny fight Money?

"People want to see it, there's no question about it," Arum said. "I have no idea whether it's going to happen or not."

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who represents Mayweather, also refuses to predict success after the camps' first negotiations fell apart over drug testing disagreements. Schaefer said no formal talks are scheduled, and Mayweather is busy spending time with his family and watching the NBA playoffs.

Schaefer, in New York promoting Amir Khan's bout with Paulie Malignaggi this weekend, echoed Arum's desire for a calm, private negotiation out of the media spotlight.

"Is it the fight everyone would like to see? Yeah, it is," Schaefer said. "But everyone would like to see as well LeBron James against Kobe Bryant in the NBA finals, or Federer against Nadal in the Wimbledon final, or now that World Cup soccer is coming up, the Brazilians against the Italians in the World Cup soccer final.

"Does it always happen? No, it doesn't. But I don't think the success of one event is really the beginning or the end of a sport."

Pacquiao's next fight definitely will be in early November, with Arum hoping to match Pacquiao against former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito if talks with Mayweather fall through. Margarito hasn't been licensed to fight in the U.S. after getting caught with a plaster-like substance in his gloves in Los Angeles in January 2009, but Arum believes he could get a license in Texas.

As for the budding congressman, who will be sworn in June 30, Arum said Pacquiao still can train for a fight while handling his new duties. Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, echoed that belief.

"He's a multitasker," Roach said. "He's been doing this such a long time, making movies, he's a singer. He likes keeping busy. Congressmen don't do much anyway."

Arum also said Pacquiao led him to believe he wants to fight three more times before retiring.

But Arum didn't indicate whether Pacquiao would be willing to budge on his objections to the stringent drug testing demanded by Mayweather, including blood tests in the weeks leading up to the fight. Mayweather and Sugar Shane Mosley went through the same tests before Mayweather's one-sided victory May 1.

Arum also isn't certain whether Pacquiao would consider dropping his defamation lawsuit against several members of Mayweather's camp after they suggested Pacquiao has used performance-enhancing drugs. Schaefer hasn't commented on the litigation as a sticking point.

"As a fight fan, I agree with all the fight fans out there: this is a fight people want to see," Schaefer said a day after HBO reported 1.4 million homes bought Mayweather-Mosley, likely meaning Mayweather made about $40 million from the fight. "If it's going to happen or not happen, I don't know. ... If it happens, great. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. It's not the end of the world."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is eager to put the megafight in Cowboys Stadium, which hosted Pacquiao's victory over Joshua Clottey in March.

"What are the rules about knocking down a congressman?" Jones cracked Wednesday during a Cowboys golf outing in Grapevine, Texas. "Is that against the law?"

"I wouldn't want to comment on what might be in store in the future for the fights," Jones said. "But boy, I'd like to have that Pacquiao back in that stadium. And of course a fight like that, there's no doubt in my mind we'd break every record of attendance that anybody has ever seen for boxing. I think it'd be a real plus for boxing to be able to expose that many people live to a great fight like that. ... I think we might approach 120,000 (fans) for that fight."

Arum appears to have softened his adamant desire to hold the fight in the Dallas area. Mayweather is thought to want the fight at the MGM Grand Garden, essentially the Las Vegas resident's home arena.

"I'm not married to Dallas," Arum said. "I'm a New York Giants fan. I'm going to advocate putting any fight of Manny's in the place where it's going to do the best and make the most sense, and that's not necessarily Dallas."  (AP)

Filipino pug seeks revenge for Gorres vs Colombian foe

MANILA, Philippines -- Michael Domingo gets his chance to vindicate fallen boxer Z Gorres when he faces the fearsome Luis Melendez of Colombia late in May in Cebu.

Gomez reaches World Pool Masters KO stage

MANILA, Philippines – Roberto "Pinoy Superman" Gomez reached the knockout phase (Round of 32) of the 2010 Party Poker World Pool Masters at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Erap jokes spread; Mar breaks silence


Former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada and Senator Mar Roxas, runners-up in the ongoing race for president and vice president, were the talk of the town Thursday with "Erap jokes" and supportive messages spreading via SMS (short message service) and Internet blogs.

While Estrada has held his tongue in the middle of the national canvassing of votes that reflect him trailing in the count to the surging numbers for Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, one joke has come out that the former president said: "I refuse to conceive!"

Estrada, who is behind Aquino with a wide difference of around 5 million votes as of Thursday noon, has kept on evading the media while locking himself up inside his home at No. 1 Polk Street North Greenhills Village in City of San Juan for three days now,

Another text joke explains the situation: "Erap refuses to concede because the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machine told him 'Congratulations!"

Erap jokes like these have also invaded Internet social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter since Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Roxas who has also been avoiding media until the vice presidential race is over, broke his silence Thursday when relatives, friends and supporters greeted him on his 53rd birthday Thursday through his Facebook and Twitter sites.

Roxas, who has holed up at his residence near the Liberal Party Headquarters in Quezon City, answered the birthday greetings through social networking website Facebook and micro-blogging service Twitter.

"So many birthday tweets! Thanks again everyone for your greetings. They're very touching," Roxas tweeted (MARoxas) while having his favorite Illonggo dish, Batchoy, during a midnight snack with his family.

Since the election and vote tallying began, Roxas purposely disappeared from the public eye and even refrained from updating his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

It was only on the eve of his birthday that he started tweeting again.

"(I) am thankful for the continued support and the advance birthday greetings too! Keep the faith! Maraming salamat po," Roxas said, hinting of his tight race with Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay for the second highest post in the land.

While Roxas holes up in his residence, his mother Judy Araneta-Roxas, wife Korina Sanchez, son Paolo, and other relatives, employees and campaign volunteers have been attending Mass every 12 noon and 6 p.m. at the Balay Expo Centro since Monday.

It was recalled that Roxas, through LP spokesperson and Quezon Rep. Erin Tanada, said that he remains hopeful that he could catch and overtake Binay in the vice presidential race.

Tanada said last Tuesday that Roxas remains "upbeat and hopeful that he could recover his lead in the race."

Last Wednesday, LP chairman and former Senate President Franklin Drilon said the unreported votes from Regions 6, 7 and 8 are enough to help Roxas recover from the race that the Makati Mayor has been consistently leading.

'Dear Noynoy:' Aquino gets advice on Facebook

MANILA, PhilippinesFilipinos have swamped a new Facebook page to offer words of advice and caution for their next president-apparent, Senator Benigno Aquino IIItelling him he should choose upright Cabinet members and also quit smoking.

Aquino's promise to wage war against rampant corruption that has plagued the Philippines has raised hopes, especially among young who made up almost half the voters in Monday's elections.

Aquino, a 50-year-old lawmaker, was headed for a landslide victory, largely campaigning on a family name and promising to follow the legacy of his parents, who are regarded as heroes in the country's democratic struggle against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

More than 26,741have visited the Facebook site, "Dear Noynoy Aquino," and indicated they "like" it. They were posting suggestions for Aquino in the 24 hours since it was set up Tuesday by Rock Ed Philippines, a volunteer group of young professionals promoting alternative education and "thoughtful suggestions" for the new president.

Writing on the page, Patricia O. Loanzon warned Aquino that Filipinos will repeat the "people power" revolts that ousted Marcos in 1986 and President Joseph Estrada in 2001 "should you renege on your promises to change/eradicate corruption in our government."

Wilfred Alipat said he still had doubts about Aquino, "but I hope you prove them wrong."

Others urged him to distribute his family's vast sugar estate to landless farmers and workers, while Anna Ylagan wrote: "Quit smoking, President Noy. We need you to be healthy."

'Kris Aquino's Despedida' Facebook page a hit

MANILA, Philippines - Two months ago, Kris Aquino-Yap said she's ready to leave the country if her brother, Liberal Party standard bearer Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, wins in the May 10 polls. Now that Aquino has a lead of about 5 million votes, he's only a few steps away from being proclaimed as the Philippines' next president. Will the popular TV host keep her word? Thousands of Facebook users are waiting.

Abunda: Kris Aquino not distributing cash to Noynoy voters

MANILA, Philippines – Contrary to a circulating text message, Kris Aquino is not giving away free cellphone load and cash to the public as her brother, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, continues to maintain his lead in the election count, her close friend said Wednesday.

Arum plans global telecast of 'Congressman Pacquiao' oath taking

MANILA, Philippines – The oath taking of Congressman-elect Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao may overshadow that of Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's, who, based on all vote-count tallies, will likely be the next Philippine president.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is planning a worldwide telecast of Pacquiao being sworn into office as the lone district representative of the southern Philippine province of Sarangani

"On June 30, Manny will be sworn into office, and we are planning to do a worldwide telecast of the swearing in," Arum told

The telecast appears to be part of Top Rank's plan to promote Pacquiao as a boxing champion-congressman, possibly a first in the world.

'Tanging Yaman' takes its final bow

MANILA, Philippines – Television series "Tanging Yaman" is now down to its last 2 weeks.

Will Willie quit Wowowee?

by FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo, The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - The answer to that banner question will depend on the outcome of a closed-door heart-to-heart talk between Wowowee host Willie Revillame and ABS-CBN chairman & CEO Gabby Lopez scheduled today.

KC Concepcion to host new show

MANILA, Philippines – Aside from her weekly hosting job on "The Buzz," young actress KC Concepcion is gearing up for her first talk show program titled "Simple at Totoo."

'Here Comes The Bride' earns P27M on 1st day

MANILA, Philippines – "Here Comes The Bride," Star Cinema's summer offering, earned more than P20 million in ticket sales on its first day, "SNN: Showbiz News Ngayon" reported.

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