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

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 13, 2010 Major News Stories

Long holiday for Filipinos ahead

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Filipinos should expect a long holiday break this Christmas following Malacañang's declaration of December 24th and the 31st as "special non-working holidays."

Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office said that the Palace has decided to observe the December holidays as earlier declared by previous president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Proclamation no. 1841, which had set the holidays for 2010.

Dec. 24, the eve of Chrismas day and Dec. 31, the last day of the year, will both be special non-working days, according to Proclamation no. 1841, as upheld by President Aquino, according to Coloma.

The Palace will observe as regular holidays Dec. 25, Christmas Day; and Dec. 27, which is the Monday nearest to Dec. 30, which in turn is Rizal Day.

He told government station dzRB radio that Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa gave him the clearance to announce the December holidays.

STL boosted to beat jueteng -- DILG chief

If you can't lick them, be like them. With this mantra, the government is set to introduce a reinvigorated scheme for the small town lottery (STL) in 2011 in a bid to stamp out the illegal numbers game, "jueteng" in the country, according to Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Rama reminds Osmeña: I never meddled or complained when you were mayor

by cebuweb

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama is fed up with the public criticisms from Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) and would like the congressman to stop castigating him.

When his political ally was mayor, Rama pointed out, he never criticized Osmeña's management style.

Tom: Mike setting double standards

by By Garry B. Lao

The partnership between Cebu City south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña and Mayor Michael Rama appears to be on brink of ruin.

The congressman is referring to former city councilor Jocelyn "Joy" Pesquera and Rene Mercado.

Pesquera is the girlfriend of Rama while Mercado is reportedly the political "prime mover" of the mayor.

Osmeña said the mayor is giving much importance to Pesquera and Mercado even if they hold no official position in City Hall.

"See the double standard? Observe Joy Pesquera and Rene Mercado," Osmeña said, adding that Rama is always making excuses and listening to the people that do not even help him.

In the case of Pesquera, the former councilor drew the ire of Osmeña for allegedly influencing Rama's decisions.

"She interviews former members of the Mayor's Management Team saying that she can easily get these cum laude graduates fired," Osmeña said. The MMT was his brainchild.

Mercado, according to Osmeña, has been giving direct orders to department heads and reportedly interviews City Hall suppliers.

"When directly asked what position he holds, he says he is the 'prime mover' of Mike Rama," Osmeña said.

A department head, who asked not to be named, confronted Mercado and asked him why he was not interested to be one of the consultants of the mayor rather that intervening in their department's work.

Mercado reportedly replied to the department head that "the city cannot afford me".

In a separate interview with The FREEMAN, Pesquera laughed off the congressman's statement saying that she never intervenes in Rama's decision-making.

"Siguro ang akong giapil-apilan sa City Hall mao ra gyud ang pag-decor sa Office of the Mayor. I'm busy with my office work and the only time nga nadugay ko og uli kadtong nag-decorate mi sa Office of the Mayor," Pesquera said, adding that she never influences Rama on anything.

Separately, Rama maintained that councilors should not forget their legislative functions.

Rama refused to comment about his relationship with Osmeña and was also mum on his political plans by 2013.

"Wala sa ko'y panahon nga motubag ana," Rama said.

Osmeña, the founder of the BOPK, acknowledged that he is encountering problems in his relationship with Rama, who has been with the group since 1992.

Rama drew the ire of Osmeña when the mayor did not invite the BOPK vice mayor, city councilors and Cebu City north district Rep. Cutie del Mar to the mass oath-taking for the newly-elected Sangguniang Kabataan and barangay officials, while opposition figures were invited to join the ceremony.

Osmeña also accused Rama of abandoning their leaders in the Oct. 25 SK and Barangay elections, citing the losses of their allies in the barangays of Lahug, Bulacao, Punta Princesa and Cogon-Pardo, among others.

Osmeña also alleged that the mayor dismantled the Barangay Intelligence Network and kicked out some police officials from the Cebu City Police Office, including Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, Supt. Paul Labra and Chief Insp. George Ylanan.

Rama, however, denied that he relieved Labra and Ylanan, although he did recommend the replacement of Comendador, the former city police chief.

Osmeña's public criticisms of Rama have provoked comparisons to what happened ahead of the 2001 elections, when Osmeña and former mayor Alvin Garcia first ran against each other.

Osmeña and Garcia founded BOPK and launched their political careers together, running in tandem in the elections of 1988. Osmeña served for two terms as mayor with Garcia as his vice mayor.

Then in 1995, Osmeña gave up what was to be a sure third term to give way to Garcia, who won handily with Osmeña supporting him from the sidelines.

But things began to sour shortly after Garcia won a second term in 1998 and ended up running against each other in 2001 and 2004. Garcia bolted BOPK and formed the Kugi Uswag Subgu.

Term limits kept Osmeña from seeking reelection last May. Rama was Osmeña's running mate in 2001 and they won three consecutive terms, the last ending last June 30.

Convicted 72-year-old retired civil servant detests going to jail

At age 72, former Cebu City cash division chief Benilda Bacasmas cannot imagine going to jail for six to eight years for a crime she said she did not commit.

Bacasmas was among four former and incumbent Cebu city government officials convicted for graft by the Sandiganbayan First Division for their respective roles that led to a paymaster absconding with P11 million in city funds.

"I am innocent. I have not committed any wrongdoing in my 42 years of service in the government. I have lived a simple life," Bacasmas said in Cebuano in a telephone interview Sunday.

Bacasmas said she would ask her lawyer, Mario Ortiz, to immediately appeal the Sandiganbayan First Division ruling that was released in Manila last Friday.

Bacasmas, former city administrator Alan Gaviola, city treasurer Eustaquio Cesa and city accountant Edna Jaca were also ordered to pay P11 million to the city government, an amount that corresponded to the unliquidated cash advances that former paymaster Cleofe Delute obtained from the city government from 1995 to 1998.

Delute has already been convicted of malversation of public funds and is now serving her sentence in jail.

Gaviola, a lawyer, left the city government service after the paymaster scam broke out in 1998 and is now engaged in private practice. He could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Cesa has been reassigned as city assessor while accountant Jaca passed away last year.

Bacasmas retired in 2002 and is now living with her children and grandchildren in Bulacao, Talisay City.

In its recent ruling, the Sandiganbayan's First Division said that the four city officials were negligent and should be held liable for paymaster Delute's accumulating P11.18 million in cash advances, all of them unliquidated.

The court said that the roles of the four Cebu City officials were proven, since each of them signed relevant documents that enabled Delute to get the cash advances.

Bacasmas maintained that even if she was the superior of Delute, she had nothing to do with the latter having accumulated so much cash advances.

The liquidation of the cash advances was supposed to be accomplished between the paymaster and the city accountant, before the papers went to the auditor.

Bacasmas said she has been pinning her hope for an eventual acquittal on the justice system and on prayers.

A devotee of Cebu's patron saint, Señor Sto. Niño, Bacasmas said she would continue to visit the Basilica del Sto. Niño every Friday and pray for an acquittal.

She said she was extremely sad that the Sandiganbayan ruling came during Christmas time.

Bacasmas revealed she had been attending the hearings of the case at the Sandiganbayan in Manila, personally paying for the litigation and travel costs.

Despite the lack of help from the city government, she said she had no regrets that she spent most of her adult life as a civil servant because she worked hard and with sincerity.

"I was just being dragged into the mistakes committed by other people," Bacasmas said.

Rama wants probe to continue

by cebuweb

CEBU City Medical Center (CCMC) credit officer Maria Lourdes Archua may have breathed a sigh of relief when the court upheld an order granting her an injunction to stop the special panel of the City Government from investigating her.

But Mayor Michael Rama wants the investigation to proceed over the loss of 28 Philhealth checks from CCMC early this year.

Move to freeze assets 'uncalled for'

by cebuweb

THE lawyer of Amparo Balili yesterday questioned the Provincial Government's asking the court to freeze all the assets of the late Engr. Luis Balili.

The proposal aims to protect the P37 million reserved for the civil suit Capitol filed in April, when it asked for a refund of amounts it paid for what turned out to be submerged land.

Lawyer Carlo Fortuna, one of Amparo's counsels, said the Cebu Provincial Government's omnibus motion to freeze all of Luis's assets is "uncalled for."

"The estate proceedings have been pending in court for more than 10 years. This (omnibus motion to freeze) is uncalled for and it violates the rights of the heirs to their rightful claims of their shares," said Fortuna in a phone interview.

But Provincial Attorney Marino Martinquilla said the Province filed the omnibus motion after the court said there is "something wrong" with the remaining amount in the banks.

Martinquilla said Fortuna has to file his opposition to the motion and convince the court that indeed freezing the Balili assets is unnecessary.

The Capitol lawyer said their motion to freeze and account for all the Balili assets is primarily directed at Atty. Romeo Balili, executor of Luis Balili's estate.

The Capitol immediately filed an omnibus motion to freeze and account for all the assets of Luis Balili when it learned that Amparo withdrew P44.483 from the Banco de Oro (BDO) F. Ramos branch last Dec. 7.

Court sheriff Ramon Superales Jr., along with Amparo and her lawyers, implemented the notice for immediate release of the widow's share.

The order directed Edward Alquizalas, BDO-Ramos branch manager, to immediately release about P37 million to Amparo as her share and that of their four children (P7.4

The notice of release came after Judge Ester Veloso of the Regional Trial Court Branch 6 permitted the partial distribution of what the Capitol paid for nearly 25 hectares.

The total payment was nearly P99 million.

But while she allowed the partition of the proceeds, Judge Veloso instructed P37.81 million should remain intact, because of the pending civil suit the Province filed for its refund.

Atty. Romeo Balili earlier submitted an amended partition of P44.48 million, or the total payments less the refund requested. 

Veloso ordered that one-half of P44.48 million shall go to Luis's widow, Amparo, as her share. The other half will go to the estate of Luis, who left a will detailing how his estate will be distributed.

Last Dec. 10, Judge Veloso ordered Atty. Balili to settle the issue and make sure that the P37 million remains intact in the bank, pending resolution of the civil case before Judge Raphael Yrastorza of RTC Branch 14.

Veloso warned of contempt of court if parties concerned fail to return the P37 million, which is the subject of the civil case filed by the Province.

Atty. Romeo Balili, executor of the Balili Estate, told the court there's "not enough funds to replenish" the P37 million claim for refund, after Amparo made withdrawal of more than half of the property proceeds without his consent.

Romeo has disclosed that Amparo already got P24 million as an "advance" 50 percent of her share in the estate, including the P15.5 million she later got.

Romeo said the Balilis earned P80.5 million in the sale because P18.3 million went to taxes, fees and relocation expenses. About P4.7 million went to broker's commission.

 Fortuna, interviewed by phone yesterday, said they will meet with Amparo this week and discuss the court's directive to replenish the P37 million reserve to cover the Capitol's lawsuit.

Fortuna reiterated that Amparo withdrew the money from the bank based on a court ruling that approved the Declaration of Heirship and Revised Partial Project of Partition filed by the estate executor.

Holding all the assets of Luis Balili will violate the rightful claims of his heirs over the properties, said Fortuna.

Fortuna said Amparo was "disappointed" with the decision of Atty. Balili to retire as
estate executor. Although they could not prevent him from "retiring," Fortuna said Romeo still "needs to fix" certain issues.

Atty. Balili, in his pleading to RTC Branch 6, said he wanted to retire from what he described as "thankless job" as estate executor.

While they opposed the proposal to freeze all the Balili assets, Fortuna said they are
joining with the Province in calling for an accounting of all the Balili properties.

Businessman Crisologo Saavedra yesterday said he will file an intervention on the case relative to the Province's claim of P37 million.

Saavedra said the Province sought a refund merely to "cure the defect partially" of the anomalous procurement of the Balili property.

Garcia: Ombuds favors Saavedra

by By Gregg M. Rubio/FPL

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has questioned the Ombudsman's perceived penchant on self-styled anti-graft crusader Crisologo Saavedra.

Garcia said the anti-graft office continues to entertain Saavedra's letter-requests and is even acting more expeditiously on it rather than focusing on the formal complaints that have been lodged before them.

Garcia lamented that while the Ombudsman had already came out with the final evaluation report on the province's purchase of the Balili property in Naga, until now it has not resolved the verified complaints that the Capitol has filed against Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez and the Cebu City officials for allegedly entering into a grossly disadvantageous contract with the Filinvest for a joint-venture agreement at the South Road Properties.

Electoral sabotage case vs Martinez dismissed

by By Mylen P. Manto

The Cebu Provincial Prosecutor's Office has dismissed the electoral sabotage complaint filed by fourth district Rep. Benhur Salimbangon against Celestino Martinez III and two members of board of canvassers who served during the May 2007 elections.

Loot to sue Digal over cops' transfer

by By Ria Mae Y. Booc/JPM

Daanbantayan Mayor Ma. Luisa Loot is willing to file a case against Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Erson Digal if the Daanbantayan Police Station will receive the formal order pulling out six of their police officers.

Digal: Barcenas' brother a "noted drug lord"

by By Ria Mae Y. Booc/JPM

Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Erson Digal admitted that the younger brother of Carcar City Vice Mayor Patricio Barcenas was a noted drug lord in the city.

Limit use of Christmas lights: council

by cebuweb

TO AVOID contributing to a power shortage, the Cebu City Government wants the city's residents to limit to four hours each day the use of their Christmas lights.

The Cebu City Council recently approved the resolution filed by Councilor Noel Wenceslao, asking the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) to encourage business establishments, offices and households to switch on their Christmas lights only from 6 to 10 p.m.

At least 15T workers depend on Cebu BPOs

by cebuweb

AT LEAST 15,066 employees with an estimated total compensation of more than P1.4 billion depend on the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in Cebu.

A report presented to the Regional Development Council said these figures come from Cebu's Asiatown IT Park alone.

Pilgrims from as far as Samar come to see John Bosco's relic

by cebuweb

THE relic of St. John Bosco arrived in Cebu yesterday, drawing hundreds of devotees to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Punta Princesa, where a mass was held in his honor.

Officiated by Fr. George Militante, Father Provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco South Province, the mass was attended by devotees coming from as far as Dumaguete City and Borongan, Samar.

Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal also urged Cebuanos, particularly the youth, to visit the relic.

Indignation rally against 10 SC justices Monday

Plans are afoot to hold an indignation rally against the 10 Supreme Court justices who junked as unconstitutional EO 1 - creating the Truth Commission - and to seek their resignation, Akbayan party-list said Sunday.

Aquino: Impeach move vs Chief Justice Corona untimely

(Updated 12:15 p.m.) President Aquino is not convinced the time is ripe for impeaching Chief Justice Renato Corona despite the Supreme Court's ruling declaring Aquino's Executive Order No. 1 as unconstitutional. EO 1 seeks the creation of Truth Commission, the body that would investigate unresolved controversies under the previous administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Amending EO on truth body not enough to correct 'infirmity' –Lagman

Any amendment to President Aquino's unconstitutional order creating the Truth Commission would come to naught if the infirmities were kept intact, House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman said on Sunday.

'Morong 43' mulls anti-torture case vs military officers

Kung hindi raw gagawa ng hakbang si President Aquino sa hiniling ng pamilya ng 'Morong 43' na bawiin ang medalya sa dalawang military officers na umaresto sa kanila, sila na ang magsasampa ng kaso laban sa mga umano'y nag-torture sa ilang miyembro ng 'Morong 43.' 

'AFP will not apologize to Morong 43'

MANILA, Philippines - The military said it will not apologize for the arrest of the Morong 43, noting their rights have not been violated at all.

Army boosting morale after 'mistake' in 'Morong 43' case

The Philippine Army is now in the process of explaining to its troops President Benigno Aquino III's decision to have the case against the so-called Morong 43 - the health workers arrested for allegedly being communist rebels - withdrawn.

Palace open to granting amnesty for all political detainees

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino government is also open to dropping the cases against other political detainees, especially those put behind bars during the previous administration, similar to its decision involving the health workers collectively known as the Morong 43.

CPP hails 'Morong 43' release order, says more action needed

Philippine communist insurgents praised President Benigno Aquino III for his order to release the 43 health workers detained for allegedly being members of the New People's Army (NPA), saying this will boost the peace process.

House set to concur with amnesty grant

THE HOUSE of Representatives is set to concur with a proclamation granting amnesty to rebel soldiers involved in three failed uprising against the past administration.

CPJ: Poor forensics may cripple massacre case

Philippine courts handling the Ampatuan massacre case will have a very tough time reaching a conclusive verdict because of the prosecution's lack of forensic evidence, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Father, 3 sons killed in Zambo strafing incident

Police are now looking for the suspects in the massacre of a family in Zamboanga City on Friday, which left four people - a father and his three sons - dead.

Flood kills 2 children in Capiz

Two persons were killed while 108 barangay (villages) in Capiz were flooded in the wake of days of rains that began Wednesday evening.

Finally free: 19 Filipino seamen released by Somali pirates

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement on Sunday that the notorious Somali pirates have freed MV Elena P vessel, which had onboard 23 seafarers, of whom 19 are Filipinos.

EU NAVFOR: Pirates seize ship with 24 Pinoys

At least 24 more Filipino seafarers are now in the hands of pirates who attacked their bulk carrier off the Indian Ocean Saturday.

Gov't failed to help OFW who cried rape in Saudi—Migrante

An overseas Filipino workers' alliance disputed on Sunday the claims of the Department of Foreign Affairs that it had extended "full assistance" to a jailed Filipino cleaning woman who claimed to have been raped.

OFW rues rape, jail sentence, then alleges embassy of neglect

After spending 10 months in a Saudi Arabian prison, suffering a miscarriage behind bars, and enduring 150 lashes for acts of immorality which she maintains she never committed, overseas Filipino worker Clarissa (not her real name) has finally come home.

$1: 43.660

$1: 43.660

Euro 1: 57.8673

DTI warns of substandard laptops and computers

Nagbabala ang DTI sa pagdami ng kaso ng mga nabibiling substandard laptop and notebook computers. Aminado rin ang DTI na hindi sakop ng product safety standards ang mga computers.

PHL banks resilient despite problems abroad - IMF

The Philippine banking system has proven to be resilient after the central bank instituted fiscal reforms to contain the effects of the global financial crisis, multilateral lender International Monetary Fund said over the weekend.

Celebrities, businessmen among top taxpayers

by By Prinz P. Magtulis, BusinessWorld
MANILA, Philippines - Celebrities like Wilfredo "Willie" B. Revillame and businessmen like San Miguel Corp. top honcho Ramon S. Ang landed on the Bureau of Internal Revenue's (BIR) list of the biggest taxpayers for 2009, along with telecommunication giants Smart Communications, Inc. and Globe Telecom, Inc.

GSIS looking at investing more in the stock market

by By VG Cabuag, Business Mirror
MANILA, Philippines - State-owned pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is looking at putting its money more in the domestic stock market, with the declining rate of the capital market, such as the government bonds and notes, being insufficient to meet its needs.

South Korea to stage firing drills off coasts

by Reuters
SEOUL – South Korea will conduct live-fire drills at sea on Monday, The latest in a series of military exercises taking place against a backdrop of heightened tension with North Korea, a military official said on Sunday.

Suu Kyi patiently seeks dialogue with junta

TOKYO – Myanmar's newly-released democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has vowed to remain patient in seeking dialogue with military rulers following last month's controversial poll which has kept them in power.

No rice please, we're Indonesians

Indonesia is one of the world's biggest producers—and consumers—of rice, but in the interests of public health and food sustainability the government has launched an ambitious drive to wean people off their beloved staple.

Singapore thinks Asian allies corrupt, incompetent—cables

by Agence France-Presse
SINGAPORE - Singaporean diplomats think the leaders of some close Asian allies are corrupt, incompetent or stupid, cables from Wikileaks revealed Sunday.

Roach: Mosley will be tough competition

MANILA, Philippines – Former World Boxing Association Welterweight (WBA) super champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley will guarantee Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao a real competition.

Khan keeps crown via narrow decision

MANILA, Philippines — British boxing prodigy Amir Khan successfully defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) light welterweight crown after routing Argentine Marcos Maidana by a unanimous but close decision Saturday (Sunday, in Manila) at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Texters nail top spot

by cebuweb

MANILA—As expected, Talk 'N Text crushed Air 21 Express, 103-89, Sunday to claim the top spot in the 36th PBA All-Filipino Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Ryan Reyes and Kelly Williams led the Tropang Texters' fiery breakaway in the final
half to complete their elimination round assignment in a tie with San Miguel Beer at 11-3 apiece.

Coach Chot Reyes' team gets the no. 1 position since they own a higher quotient over the Beermen.

Miller sparks Kings' win over depleted Painters

Willie Miller and the rest of the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings were already in a playoff mood as early as Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.  The two-time league MVP exploded in a big second-half run, which the Kings used as a springboard to repulse the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 99-88. 

Dimakiling grabs solo lead in Penang chess

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino International Master (IM) Oliver Dimakiling beat Fide Master (FM) Julius Joseph de Ramos in the 8th round to grab the solo lead in the ongoing Penang International Open Chess Championships in Malaysia.

Lakers vs. New Jersey: Lakers defeat Nets with strong finish in fourth

by Brad Turner

Lakers1_300Lakers 99, Nets 92 (final)

Kobe Bryant had 32 points and six assists to lead the Lakers past the Nets.

Lamar Odom had 22 points and seven rebounds and Pau Gasol finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The Lakers were even with the Nets at 87-87 in the fourth, but pulled out the win behind Odom and Bryant.

Bryant found Gasol for a dunk and then Odom for a dunk.

Derek Fisher also found Odom for a three-pointer that gave the Lakers a 95-87 lead that sealed the decision.

Wade's 36 help Heat win eighth straight (AP)

Sacramento Kings head coach Paul Westphal, center, watches the closing moments of the Kings 104-83 loss to the Miami Heat , with assistant coaches Mario Ellie, left, and Jim Eyen in an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010.

Dwyane Wade came flying down the lane, grabbed a miss with his right hand and slammed it home in one motion. If coach Erik Spoelstra wanted the Miami Heat to end a West Coast trip with an exclamation point, Wade provided the proper punctuation. Wade's fourth-quarter dunk highlighted his 36-point night and led the Heat to their season-best eighth straight win, 104-83 over the Sacramento Kings.

Celts win 10th straight, smother Bobcats (AP)

Charlotte Bobcats forward Eduardo Najera (21) looks to score as Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett , second from left, guard Rajon Rondo , center,  guard Ray Allen , second from right, and forward Paul Pierce (34) sit on the  bench in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010. The Celtics won 93-62.

Down to their fourth center because of injuries and with their shots constantly clanging off the rim, the veteran Boston Celtics turned to a smothering defense. It was so effective there was little suspense in their 10th straight win while Michael Jordan fumed. Ray Allen and Glen Davis scored 16 points apiece and the Celtics overcame their obstacles in a 93-62 rout of Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats.

Aga on rift with Sharon: It's Christmas

Sinagot ni Aga Mulach ang isyu tungkol sa pagkatampuhan nila ni Sharon Cuneta at kung bukas syang gumawa ng proyekto kasama ang Megastar.

Cristine Reyes blows top, hits 'drama princess' on Twitter

MANILA, Philippines – Sexy actress Cristine Reyes blew her top on Sunday over a snide remark that was allegedly made behind her back by her female co-host on musical variety show "ASAP XV."

Robin's daughter denies taking diet pills

MANILA, Philippines – Queenie Padilla, eldest daughter of action star Robin Padilla, on Sunday confirmed that she was rushed to a hospital a few days ago but, contrary to tabloid reports, it was not because of diet pills.  Queenie said she had allergic reactions after eating seafood. Stress and a weak body immunity further aggravated her illness, she added.

Emir wins at 34th Cairo International Fest

by The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Director Chito Roño's musical Emir won the Yussef Chahine Award for Best Artistic Contribution at the 34th Cairo International Film Festival in Egypt held last Thursday.

17,000 sing 'Amazing Grace' for Guinness world record

MANILA, Philippines – The historic chorus of more than 17,000 Christian delegates who sang "Amazing Grace" in 49 different languages last July finally made it to the official record of the Guinness Book of World Records.

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