Faces of the news
Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte smiled, laughed, smirked and scowled as he listened and replied to accusations hurled against him by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV during last week’s face-off in the Senate. Duterte and his brother-in-law Manases “Mans” Carpio appeared at the Senate blue ribbon committee to deny allegations that they belong to the Davao Group said to be behind smuggling at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the P6.4-billion “shabu” shipment from China that slipped past the BOC. At the hearing, the eldest son of President Duterte found himself being linked to the Chinese triad by Trillanes who said proof of which could be shown if the latter had a tattoo of a dragon on his back. Duterte admitted he has a tattoo on his back when asked by Trillanes but he refused to show it, invoking his right to privacy.
The black-and-white photo of his son’s mutilated body, his head wrapped in packing tape, is forever seared into the memory of a nation reeling from the Duterte administration’s bloody antidrug war. Reynaldo de Guzman was only 14, and very frail; he was stabbed 31 times. Finding his son in such a horrible state last Wednesday—his body was fished out of a creek in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija—Eduardo Gabriel could only cry in anguish. “The police are sons of bitches. They act as if they do not have children or parents,” Gabriel said. “That will also happen to their children. They should be hanged.” De Guzman and Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, went out around midnight on Aug. 18 in Cainta, Rizal, to buy snacks. Arnaiz’s mother found him in a Caloocan City morgue on Aug. 28; he bore five gunshot wounds. Police said he was killed in a shootout.
Rafael Mariano would have been the first farmer to serve as the chief of the Department of Agrarian Reform but the Commission on Appointments (CA) did not see him fit to lead the agency, with 13 members rejecting his nomination on Wednesday. He was the fourth member of President Duterte’s Cabinet to be turned down by the commission. In his ordeal to get the CA’s nod, he faced 10 public oppositors, accusing him of showing prejudice against landowners, providing legal cover to land-grabbers, favoring farmers affiliated to his group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. An intelligence report has also linked him to attacks by the New People’s Army against Lapanday Foods Corp. in April. Mariano disputed the reports, saying he never went underground in championing the rights of poor farmers. He called the allegations “unfounded and malicious.”
Former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) branch manager Maia Deguito was left holding the proverbial empty bag this week, with the Department of Justice deciding that she would face trial alone for money laundering charges in connection with last year’s $81-million cyberheist on the Bangladeshi central bank. This was after complaints against her coaccused in the largest money laundering operation in Philippine history were dropped by prosecutors. Deguito—once one of RCBC’s top performing managers, running its high net worth client-heavy Jupiter Street branch in Makati City—said she released what later turned out to be stolen funds at the behest of her superiors. She lamented being the only one to face the conspiracy charges, saying that the odds having been stacked against her were “too obvious” because she had “no connections.”
Former UAAP courtside reporter and The Lifestyle Network host Laura Lehmann, newly crowned Miss World Philippines titleholder, said she will use her title “in the best way that I can.” She added: “With the crown you have a voice, you have a platform and I hope I can use that to raise awareness for our ‘Beauty With A Purpose’ projects, just to show people that beauty queens are not only about looking good. We also have a mind, we speak and we’re very, very proud to be Filipina.” Lehmann bested 34 other aspirants for the title in ceremonies staged at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Sunday night. She also topped the prepageant “multimedia” competition and received the Miss BYS and Miss Cosmo Skin awards. She will represent the Philippines in the 67th edition of the Miss World pageant in China in November.
Phil and James Younghusband
Brothers Phil and James Younghusband made a bittersweet return to the stadium where their international football careers started 12 years ago. In another memorable stint at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City, Phil and James scored a goal in each half as the Philippines salvaged a 2-2 draw against Yemen in the Asian Cup qualifier. Although the Azkals stayed on top of their group with 7 points, the Filipino-British stars had hoped to carry the team to victory. “We’re a bit disappointed not to get [a win to earn] three points, but the team fought hard until the end,” said Phil, who now has 47 international goals. After Yemen led at 1-0, Phil leveled in the 30th minute with a trademark free kick from 30 yards. The Yemenis again pulled ahead, but James forged an equalizer with a header in the 71st minute.