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

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 4, 2010 Major News Stories



Comelec to Palace: Declare Oct. 25 village polls a holiday

MALACAÑANG IS mulling whether to declare Oct. 25 a holiday to allow people to vote in the nationwide barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK or youth council) elections, a Palace official said yesterday.

Abigail D. Valte, Palace deputy spokesman, said in an interview over state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has recommended the issuance of a proclamation to declare the polling day as a holiday.

51 candidates so far for barangay, SK polls

Fifty-one candidates in Cebu City have filed their Certificate of Candidacy before the Commission on Elections yesterday, 22 days before the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections.

Of this number, 33 candidates come from the city's north district - three for barangay captain of Kalubihan, Sirao and Apas, 20 for barangay councilmen, eight for SK councilors and two for SK chairman.

For the city's south district, 10 have filed COC's for barangay councilors, seven for SK councilors and one for SK chairman.

The filing of COC's started last October 1 and will end midnight on October 13. The campaign period will formally commence on October 14 and will run on October 23, two days before the actual elections.

According to Comelec, incumbent officials usually file their COC's on the last day because they are considered "ipso facto resigned" upon filing their nomination papers. Candidates who have filed their COC's may withdraw the same anytime before the elections on October 25.

Substitution of candidates is not allowed for those running for SK positions, but those running for positions in the barangay are allowed to be replaced by their spouse.

The Comelec also said that the substitute for a candidate who died or suffered permanent incapacity or disqualified by final judgment, may file his COC until midday on election day.

Comelec also said that if the death or permanent disability should occur between the day before the Election and midday of election day, the substitute candidate may file the certificate with any Board of Election tellers in the political subdivision where he/she is a candidate.


146 nabbed for violating poll gun ban

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – A total of 146 people have been arrested nationwide for violating the election gun ban, police said Sunday.

Poll official murdered in South: police

GUNMEN SHOT dead a government election official in Mindanao in the run-up to village-level elections later this month, the police said yesterday.

The shooting took place on the island-province of Basilan late Saturday despite tight security measures including a nationwide ban on the carrying of firearms, said regional police head Chief Superintendent Bienvenido Latag.

"Entong Musa, an election officer of Tuburan [town], Basilan, was shot to death by unidentified suspects on board a motorcycle," Mr. Latag said in a statement.

Govt divided over bets paying for voters' Philhealth

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - Government officials are divided over the issue of whether or not it is legal for candidates to cover the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) membership of voters, especially the poor.

As far as Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman is concerned, the distribution of Philhealth cards should not be used as a campaign tool.

"Kung mayroon mang gumagamit nito para sa kanilang pagkakandidatura, sinasabi ko na pong hindi tama iyan," she warned.

The government started Saturday its nationwide campaign to provide insurance coverage for Filipinos, targeting informal workers such as vendors, drivers and household helpers.

This is anchored on President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's promise during his State of the Nation Address that 500 million families will already be covered in 3 years.

For Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, however, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should be lenient on this issue.

"A good deed should be a good way to influence voters," he said.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona has earlier requested the poll body to exempt from related laws a candidate who would want to cover the insurance premium of poor residents.

In a separate interview with ANC, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said "if they do that after the filing of their [certificates of candidacy], they might be open to charges of vote-buying."

The campaign period for the candidates in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan poll is from October 14 to 23.

Comelec wants polls rid of 'illiterate' candidates

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) may ask Congress to legislate additional requirements for persons running for public posts to rid elections of "illiterate" candidates, Palace officials suggested Sunday.  The Local Government Code requires that candidates for barangay captain (village chief) are able to read and write in Filipino or any other local language.

Automatic pistol used: Cement firm executive killed in ambush

Another official of Taiheiyo Cement based in the town of San Fernando was ambushed by two men onboard a motorcycle in Mansueto Subdivision, barangay Bulacao, Talisay City late Saturday night.

Ernesto Silverio Porras, 49, assistant plant manager died after sustaining gunshot wounds on his back, right arm, right chest, right shoulder, and left shoulder.

Porras was on board his white Kia Sorrento bearing plate number YAZ-160 along with his wife Caferina Mar, their 14-year-old daughter and two helpers - Catherine Hellecenia and Diary Dumada-ug when the attack took place.

They were on their way home from the store of Porras located along N. Bacalso Avenue. His store sells softdrinks.

PO3 Edwin Albarado, duty desk of the Talisay City Police Station, told The FREEMAN that Ernesto was driving the vehicle while his wife sat on the front passenger seat.

Their daughter and two helpers were on the backseat.

Porras family was already near their residence located in Friendly Homes Subdivision when two unidentified men on board a red motorcycle appeared and fired at them.

Albarado said that the perpetrators used an automatic pistol. The gunmen rode abreast the SUV on the right side then the man riding in tandem fired.

Aside from Porras, his wife was also hit on the right side of her chest while the daughter and two helpers escaped unhurt.

Since the victims were very near their residence, neighbors rushed Porras and his wife to Chong Hua Hospital.

Porras was, however, declared dead on arrival.

His wife is now out of danger.

Police were able to recover ten empty 9 mm shells pistol from the crime scene.

The Talisay City Police would not yet issue a statement as to their theory about the incident.

Just last June 25, the marketing manager of Taiheyo Cement identified as Nestor Zamoras was also ambushed at corner Gorordo and Cardinal Rosales Ave., in Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City.

Zamoras survived the attempt on his life as his vehicle, a Ford Everest was bullet proofed.

Police were able to arrest the suspects in that ambush.

Orlando Sagnoy, 30, of barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City tagged as the gunman and Roberto Terciro, 27, of Mohon, Toledo City who was the alleged driver along with suspected mastermind Jerome Noel of barangay Banawa, Guadalupe, are now facing charges for that attempt on the life of Zamoras.

International security experts propose training for Cebu City police

Following the August 23 hostage taking crisis in Manila that put in question the reliability and dependability of the country's security, the Cebu City Government mulls the hiring of international experts to train the police and the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) on anti-terrorist attacks and emergency situations.

RTC clerk of court suspended anew

The over-all clerk of court of the Regional Trial Court in Cebu has been suspended yet again, this time, for implementing a decision of the court despite the subject case still on appeal.

In a decision promulgated on August 11, 2010, the Supreme Court found lawyer Jeoffrey Joaquino guilty of gross ignorance of the rules and dereliction of duty and ordered him suspended for six months. The SC decision was served last week.

Just last April, Joaquino and his sheriff, Arthur Cabigon, were suspended for two months for negligence of duty when a court record was lost under their custody.

Joaquino second suspension came after the Development Bank of the Philippines filed a complaint against him before the Supreme Court after he issued a writ of execution in relation to a court order involving a case between DBP and Palacio Shipping Incorporated. The order favored Palacio Shipping.

The writ of execution issued by Joaquino was served by Sheriff Constancio Alimurong, but DBP cried foul, saying Joaquino should not have issued the writ because the case is still on appeal.

Supreme Court Administrator Jose Maidas Marquez and Deputy Administrator Edwin Villasor said Joaquino show have known better.

"He is expected to know the rules of procedures particularly those roles that pertain to its function as an officer of the court," they said.

RTC Executive Judge Meinrado Paredes admitted that Joaquino made a mistake.

Palace: No bias in favor of artificial birth control methods

With President Aquino preparing to meet with more Catholic bishops to end the controversy over his position on birth control, Malacañang sought to dismiss perceptions that it favored the use of artificial contraceptives as the primary family planning method.

PNoy to meet with bishops on RH, appeals for sobriety

President Benigno Aquino III appealed for sobriety in the heated debate on reproductive health and announced that he will be meeting with bishops about the issue. But he reiterated that the State has an obligation to educate citizens about their birth control choices, adding it cannot dictate on any couple "how they should plan their families."

Catholic bishops warn of civil disobedience' over contraceptives

Last mass action invoked vs Marcos regime due to rigged 1986 snap polls
RAISING THE ante against the use of contraceptives Roman Catholic bishops yesterday warned of "civil disobedience" against the administration should President Benigno C. Aquino III fulfill a promise to hand out artificial birth control methods.

In a statement posted yesterday at the Web site of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the bishops said mass action against the government "is an option that can be considered" by the Church.

The statement quoted several bishops and priests as saying that the Church has the moral authority to teach and lead the faithful based on the religious organization's teachings.

"The Catholic Church in the Philippines can do that [civil disobedience] if it decides to do that because for one thing, civil disobedience is a moral option, one of the moral options," said Monsignor Juanito S. Figura, CBCP secretary-general.

Explaining the basis of civil disobedience, Mr. Figura said while Church principles state civil allegiance to state laws, "... if a law or a state policy is against Christian teachings, persons, Christians, Catholics are not bound by conscience to obey that."

He identified the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill and the distribution of artificial contraceptives to justify civil disobedience.

Malacañang has announced last week that it is willing to hold a dialogue with the Catholic leaders on the issue.

Mr. Figura has welcomed the dialogue but said the bishops "have not received any communication so far."

The statement noted that the Arroyo administration had a liaison officer with the CBCP secretariat, but he is not sure if the present government "would appoint somebody to the position."

For his part, Msgr. Pedro C. Quitorio III, CBCP media director, was also quoted in the statement as saying that the CBCP had only invoked civil disobedience once in its 65-year history.

"Since the CBCP was established in 1945 until today there was just a single event that called for civil disobedience and this was after the Feb. 7, 1986 snap elections," Mr. Quitorio said.

But actual civil disobedience, he added, did not take place as it was "overtaken" by events.

Results of the unscheduled polls held 24 years ago were rigged to favor then president Ferdinand E. Marcos who was challenged by opposition bet Corazon C. Aquino, the President's late mother.

Public indignation prompted by the walkout of Commission on Election tabulators who noticed electronic data discrepancies of votes led to the historic and unprecedented People Power that ousted Mr. Marcos 14 days after the elections and installed Mrs. Aquino to the presidency.

Since then, Mr. Quitorio, noted, the CBCP has not called for any mass action.

He said he is also unaware of any forthcoming meeting with Mr. Aquino and Church leaders over the controversy.

In the same statement, Pablo Virgilio S. David, San Fernando de Pampanga auxiliary bishop, said in Filipino: "Does President Aquino know that many of the artificial methods are aborti-facients which means they were designed not only to prevent conception but terminate a conceived child because once you already have a fertilized embryo you already have a human being."

He also criticized what he claimed was state preference to follow the path of highly developed countries on the issue.

"These countries have already taken a new approach to population management because they have already experienced a demographic winter," the 51-year-old prelate said, noting that developed countries may become totally dependent on migrant workers due to an ageing population.

For his part, Lingayen-Dagupan Auxiliary Bishop Renato P. Mayugba, 54, said bishops anchor their statements based on the Constitution which calls for the protection of the unborn child from the time of conception.

"If the government will pursue programs that run counter to the provisions of the Constitution, it would simply mean violating the country's Constitution," he said.

The CBCP statement further said that Lipa Archbishop Ramon V. Arguelles called on the faithful in his ecclesial province "to prepare to mobilize the laity for mass actions against the movement of the Aquino government to push for the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill and all population control measures."

In a text message from Italy, the archbishop said he supports the Catholic laity in Cebu against the planned introduction of artificial methods to families.

Mr. Aquino has said in a small town-like meeting during his working visit to the United States two weeks ago that he may consider contraceptive methods to address population growth.

Palace remains steadfast

Meanwhile, Malacañang is standing pat on its position.

Abigail D. Valte, deputy presidential spokesman, said in Filipino over state-owned dzRB Radyo ng Bayan yesterday: "The President's stand is for responsible parenthood. The administration is not advocating one method over the other. We will support all family planning methods based on the parents' free choice. It is incorrect to label the President as pro-life or anti-life."

The House of Representatives in the 14th Congress had passed the RH bill on third and final reading, but its counterpart in the Senate remained pending at the committee level.

Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman (Albay, 1st district) has re-filed the measure at the House of Representatives as House Bill 96, while Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed counterpart Senate Bill 2378.

In a related development, Senator Joker P. Arroyo yesterday appealed for sobriety on the issue pending discussions in Congress.

"The President and the Church is being pitted over an unknown, over something that is not yet clear. The principal thing here is that there is a debate here over nothing," he said in a radio interview yesterday.

"What should be done is to wait for the bill to be discussed then at the committee level the Church can participate and put forth their arguments," Mr. Arroyo said.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara said in the same radio interview, that threats of excommunication against Mr. Aquino "is the worst sign of intolerance."

"Excommunication threats are something said by people who have nothing to say so they just intimidate," Mr. Angara said.

CBCP President Nereo P. Odchimar has denied issuing a threat of excommunication on the President.

If excommunicated, Mr. Aquino, who comes from a devout Catholic family, will be prohibited from taking part in all Church rituals and traditions and ousted as member of the Church.

Senator Gregorio B. Honasan III, meanwhile, said the issue should involve an inclusive discussion from all sectors, not just the Church.

"The question also is if whether we are willing to spend to manage our population or to spend to develop a productive work force. This is not just a simple question of condom or no condom," Mr. Honasan said.

For his part, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who does not oppose the RH bill, in the same radio interview called for "an enlightened, open dispassionate discussion of a far-reaching issue... by all members of society without threats from both sides."

Justices' 'frat' throws its full support to probe of bar exams blast

An influential fraternity of lawyers and law students from the Ateneo de Manila University.

The Fraternal Order of Utopia also offered a P200,000 reward to anybody who could help authorities arrest those behind the blast outside the De La Salle University in Taft Avenue, Manila, which left close to 50 persons injured.

"This is our pledge of support to the on-going investigation being conducted by the Supreme Court and other law enforcement agencies," lawyer Antonio Bernardo, the fraternity's alumni foundation president, said in a mobile phone interview.

"We felt this might be one way to speed up the investigation and encourage those who know what happened to come out and give their testimonies," he added.

Aside from Corona, Supreme Court Associate Justices Roberto Abad and Arturo Brion are also Utopia members.

Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. and six other justices of the appellate court also belong to the Ateneo-based fraternity.

Bernardo said their group would closely coordinate with the special investigating committee created by Corona last week.

He said they had already informed the Manila Police District (MPD) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that they had put up a reward money.

"While none of our members were involved in the incident, we felt that it's our responsibility as lawyers to help the victims whose aspirations of becoming lawyers may have been affected by this," Bernardo said.

Headed by Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr., the eight-member investigating panel was given until Oct. 15 to finish their probe and submit their findings to Corona.

Jose Midas Marquez, Supreme Court Administrator and spokesman, said the committee would "harmonize" the parallel investigation being conducted by the MPD and the NBI.

Militants: Aquino's yellow fading faster

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines - As far as the militants are concerned, the honeymoon period for President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is over.

"Mr. Aquino created high expectations in relation to good governance, human rights and economic reforms. He now faces widespread disappointment for not delivering much during his first 100 days. With no meaningful changes, the luster of yellow may be fading faster than he thinks," Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr. said in a statement.

Specifically, there has not been any result in his bid to make accountable for previous injustices the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, he said.

No more need to prolong jueteng hearings, say Honasan, Enrile

The Senate is not too keen on extending its "jueteng" probe because the issue has come down to two choices for the Aquino administration—undertake an all-out war against the illegal numbers game or legalize it.

Supreme Court asked to disqualify party-list group

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – A party-list group representing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) dealers should not have been allowed to take part in the May 2010 elections, an industry association said.  The Federation of Philippines Industries, Inc. (FPI) has filed a petition before the Supreme Court, questioning the status of LPG Marketers Association, Inc. (LPGMA Inc.).

Public works chief vows zero tolerance for graft

Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson reiterated his zero tolerance for graft and corruption in his agency and warned district engineers in Eastern Visayas to clean up their acts.

Customs official jailed for corruption, estafa

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – A Bureau of Customs (BOC) official will spend at least 10 years in prison after he was found guilty of graft and corruption by the Sandiganbayan.

Lawyer Jorge Monroy, a BOC financial services director, pocketed P1.4 million from a woman who wanted to buy a car from the agency, court records show.

The Sandiganbayan 5th Division, in a 21-page decision, said Monroy violated section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code.

The BOC official was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison and was ordered to return the money he took from his victim.

A certain Juliet Lim-Co Monroy filed the case against Monroy before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Records of the case revealed that in July 2000, Monroy enticed Co to buy a vehicle confiscated by the BOC.

He claimed that since he was already a Customs director, he can buy confiscated goods at a cheaper price and sell them in the market at a higher price because he allegedly signs the contraband goods' release papers.
 
Co said she agreed to purchase a Toyota Land Cruiser that Monroy priced at P1.4 million. He then asked Co to hand over P150,000 as downpayment and her sister issued a check payable to cash upon Monroy's instruction.
 
Three days after, Monroy told her that the vehicle's papers had been processed and asked her to pay the remaining amount of P1.25 million in cash.

Co said the BOC official himself received and counted the money.

However, the vehicle was not released on the same day allegedly because its papers needed one more signatory.

So she was made to return the next Monday. The vehicle, however, was still not released.

She demanded an official receipt of the money she gave but all she got was an acknowledgment letter and a guarantee letter that if the vehicle was not released on July 27, 2000, Monroy will return the money.
 
The BOC director again failed to deliver the vehicle on the deadline. After several calls, Monroy allegedly told her, "kahit umiyak ka ng bato diyan, hindi na maibabalik ang pera mo."

He claimed that the vehicle can no longer be released because someone from his office ran off with her money.

"It was that false representation to sell the vehicle at a cheaper price coupled with Monroy's statement… that the vehicles will not be released without his signature, that more than induced Co to part with her money," the Sandibanbayan said in its ruling.

BI reviews all contracts under Arroyo administration

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) ordered the review of all contracts entered into during the previous administration, including the printing of arrival and departure (A/D) cards being distributed to international passengers.

PAF expects 4 new trainer aircraft this month

Air Force officers who have yet to take actual flying courses may have their chance soon with the expected delivery of four new aircraft to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) this month.

11 NPA camps seized in E. Samar in a month - Army

Government forces on Saturday seized a camp belonging to the communist New People's Army (NPA) insurgents in Eastern Samar - the 11th rebel lair seized by the military within a month in the region.

Daughter of Maguindanao massacre victim gets scholarship from US media group

CHICAGO - A daughter of one of the slain journalists in the infamous Maguindanao massacre has accepted a $1,000 scholarship award from the Chicago Journalists Association (CJA).
Julia Mae Reblando, 14, daughter of Alejandro "Bong" Reblando, accepted the scholarship from CJA president Allen Rafalson and charitable fund president Karen Pettite during the CJA's 71st Annual Dinner awards ceremony held last October 1 at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

"There's no doubt the death of my father, Mr. Alejandro "Bong" M. Reblando, was the reason I am here. If I have my choice, I would rather have been in the Philippines with my father seeing me grow and guide me to be responsible adult individual," Julia Mae said in her message read by her mother, Myrna Reblando.

"The absence of my father made me grow a little bit older because I am trying to find an answer why the powerful war lords and politicians would kill my father and 56 other people, including 30 journalists, who were just trying to do their job – write the biggest story of the day – the first time in our area that a politician would like to beat a well-entrenched Philippine Provincial Governor, who does not want to cede his office to anyone he does not like," she added.

Reblando was part of an electoral convoy that was brutally massacred November 23 last year. Facing multiple murder charges for the crime are members of the powerful Ampatuan clan and over a hundred other suspects associated with them.

Julia Mae, currently a junior high school student, said with the scholarship, she can now pursue her ambition to become a journalist and serve her countrymen.

"As I said in my application for this scholarship, I just want to continue the profession of journalism that my father started. But also I want to show the people how much I really care about everybody most especially my fellow countrymen, the Filipinos," she said.

Julia Mae was supposed to read her message, but she got emotional when, as she was ascending the stage, she heard the song "You'll Never Walk Alone" being sang by Filipino-American community torch singer Ellen Balmadrid.

The Reblandos arrived shortly before the event Friday afternoon in Chicago, their round-trip tickets provided by Philippine Airlines. They were met at their port of entry in Las Vegas, Nevada on the night of Thursday, Sept. 30, by Renato Avenido of the usnewslasvegas.com, the same person who met the slain Reblando when he visited Las Vegas in 2001.

Filipino, Croatian seamen freed by Nigerian

Nigerian bandits have released a Filipino seafarer and his Croatian co-worker whom they kidnapped on September 12 near the Nigeria-Cameroon border, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

$1: P43.880

$1: P43.880

Euro 1: P59.9170

DOE mulls buying of non-operating power plants

The Department of Energy (DOE) is eyeing the acquisition and subsequent rehabilitation of currently non-operating power generation units to boost the electricity production capacity of Mindanao.

Further technical studies set for SRP development

The Asian Development Bank-Cities Development Initiative for Asia (ADB-CDIA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency both approved to fund and undertake the follow-up assistance for the further development of the South Road Properties.


Thai queen leaves hospital after heart problem – Palace

BANGKOK – Thailand's 78-year-old queen was Sunday discharged from the Bangkok hospital where she had been admitted with a heart problem this week, the palace said.

Pope holds mass in Mafia heartland Sicily

PALERMO – Pope Benedict XVI held an open-air mass in front of tens of thousands of people in Italy's Mafia heartland Sicily on Sunday, where he denounced the "shame of evil".

6 dead in China coal mine accident

BEIJING – A gas leak at a coal mine in southwest China killed six people Sunday and injured 12 others, state media reported.

Afghan violence kills 13 civilians

Thirteen Afghan civilians were killed in separate incidents across Afghanistan over the weekend as a result of Taliban insurgent attacks and NATO action, officials said Sunday.

Roach wants a closed-door training session for Pacquiao

BAGUIO CITY - Trainer Freddie Roach had enough. With boxing champion Manny Pacquiao's training camp fast becoming a circus, the celebrated trainer is finally putting his foot down. He is determined to enforce strict rules when the Filipino southpaw resumes his preparation this week for his Nov. 13 title fight with Antonio Margarito of Mexico.

Pacquiao headlines Armed Forces family day

Congressman Manny Pacquaio pansamantalang tumigil sa training sa Baguio para makisaya sa family day ng Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Meralco debuts by beating Ginebra in PBA

Ryan Gregorio had talked about being competitive right on Day 1, and his Meralco Bolts made sure that it would happen.

And Mac Cardona, the man Gregorio picked as his go-to guy, played the part, as envisioned by his coach.

Cardona knocked down the marginal basket with 32.9 seconds left before the Bolts played tough defense to hold off crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra, 73-72, at the start of the PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

Kobe Bryant says he would beat LeBron James in one-on-one

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant delivered the answer in a matter-of-fact tone, with his answer sparking heavy laughs. He sounded diplomatic when he said it, but the general public may find it biting. And even though his answer wasn't personal in nature, Bryant's comments will likely be interpreted as a bite toward LeBron James.

Bryant recently appeared in London to help launch the London School of Basketball, which Hoops Fix said was "a network of coaches committed to delivering coordinated basketball across London while increasing sustainable participation in the sport." And his answer to a question about playing James one on one likely will be replayed leading up to the Lakers' Christmas Day game against Miami.

"I'd win, I'd win," Bryant said matter-of-factly. "That's what I do. One on one ... that's easy for me, you know. Playing one on one is how I grew up playing; it's like my thing. LeBron is more like a Magic Johnson; he's a great passer and plays an all-around game. At the core of me, I'm a one-on-one player. I'd do that in my sleep."

Interestingly, Bryant has been largely supportive of James, mentioning numerous times in public that he is glad James has made a decision that makes him happy, saying the negative reaction to "the Decision" is unjustified and even saying James had deserved the regular-season MVP award last year. But when it comes to who would win one on one, Bryant's always going to say he'll be on top, no matter whom he's up against.

Something tells me the NBA should add this as an event for the 2010 All-Star game. The Staples Center crowd would certainly dig it.

Pinay among finalists in singing contest in Italy

by abs-cbnNEWS.com
ITALY – A Filipina is among the finalists of the singing contest Premio Mia Martini 2010, which will be held on October 7 to 10 in Reggio Calabria.  Myles San Jose will go up against 28 other foreign contestants who will vie for the best original composition in Italian language.

Philippines' famed footwear fights cheap imports

by By Mynardo Macaraig, Agence France Presse
MANILA, Philippines - A museum displaying the famed shoe collection of ex-first lady Imelda Marcos has reopened in the Philippines, heralding a fightback by its beleaguered shoe industry against a flood of cheap imports.  The museum is not just a showcase of the best of Imelda Marcos's 3,000-pair collection, but also of the craftsmanship in shoe-making in the riverside eastern suburb of Marikina where the industry was born over a century ago.

John Lloyd Cruz breaks silence on 'hospital scandal'

by by Rachelle Siazon, PUSH.com.ph
MANILA, Philippines - For the very first time, John Lloyd Cruz took on the issue about the alleged hospital scandal that plagued him and girlfriend Shaina Magdayao last month.

Kris Aquino saying no to 'Kapamilya Deal Or No Deal?'

by by Rachelle Siazon, PUSH.com.ph
MANILA, Philippines – After leaving ABS-CBN afternoon program "Pilipinas, Win Na Win," speculations abound that Kris Aquino will host again game show "Kapamilya Deal or No Deal (KDOND)."

Japan's Panasonic develops robot hair-washer

by Agence France-Presse
TOKYO - Japan's Panasonic on Thursday unveiled a robot that can scans a client's head using 3D technology, then shampoos their hair and massages the scalp with its rubbery "fingers".

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