Faces of the news
Singer-actress Joanna Ampil, who is currently playing Grizabella in a touring production of the stage musical “Cats,” made sure she was in the country for the critics’ Urian awards held recently. From Shanghai, she flew to Manila, where she stayed for barely 24 hours—
just enough time to perform and receive the best actress award at the ceremony. Though she had already won four acting trophies for the same film (Loy Arcenas’ “Ang Larawan”), bagging the Gawad Urian was extra special for her. “It was an important feat for me,” she said. “I know how hard it is to win it and it’s an award-giving body that’s been around for a number of years.” Forty-one years, to be precise. But the awards and accolades are just “bonuses,” she said. “Ultimately, everything we’ve done has the end goal to educate and tell a very important story.”
Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox again made headlines last week after she won an 11th-hour reprieve on a deportation order, which had the support of President Duterte. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra nullified the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) decision to forfeit Fox’s missionary visa for lack of legal basis. But Guevarra also ordered the BI to continue with Fox’s case by treating it as a visa cancellation case upon receipt of evidence and pending results of hearings to be conducted by the bureau. The BI had initiated deportation proceedings against Fox, saying she was an “undesirable alien” who had joined antigovernment protest rallies in violation of the terms and conditions of her missionary visa. The President himself ordered an investigation of the activities of the 71-year-old nun who has lived in the country for 27 years.
Maria Lourdes Sereno
Ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has emerged as a possible opposition leader and senatorial candidate, as she boldly accused President Duterte of weakening the rule of law by “sowing intrigues and planting evidence.” She said this in front of hundreds of her supporters on June 18, the same day the Supreme Court upheld its May 11 decision to grant the quo warranto petition to remove her from office. Sereno also hit the House leadership for “being determined” in impeaching her by “holding the judiciary’s budget hostage” to the quo warranto petition. Sereno said she did not need to be the Chief Justice to defend the laws and the Constitution. “My story is not unique. It is a mirror, a warning and a call to action to each of us together as a nation,” she told the crowd. But Sereno remained mum on her political plans.
The Philippine National Police appears to be scrambling to interpret and implement President Duterte’s rambling directive made on June 13, asking police to crack down on “tambay”—slang for people who “stand by,” or loiterers. In only five days following the directive, nearly 3,000 people were rounded up in Metro Manila alone, ostensibly on the strength of specific ordinances on public peace and order, according to PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde. But he was quick to deny that the police were rounding up people for loitering or vagrancy, an offense decriminalized in 2012. The campaign has drawn flak for being antipoor, as the police raids centered on urban poor communities often teeming with men, who cited their cramped homes and the heat for being shirtless and out on the street even late at night.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos compared Cristiano Ronaldo to a bottle of port, the fortified wine that famously gets better with age, after his latest match-winning goal for his country. Five days after his hat trick rescued Portugal in an opening 3-3 draw against Spain, Ronaldo’s fourth-minute header clinched a 1-0 victory over Group B opponent Morocco in Moscow. Three previous tournaments yielded a return of just three goals for the five-time world Player of the Year, but the 33-year-old Ronaldo is taking Russia by storm after netting four times in two matches. “Cristiano Ronaldo is like a port wine, he changes as he ages,” Santos said. “He’s constantly evolving, unlike regular players he’s always evolving.” Ronaldo, according to Forbes, was the highest paid athlete in 2017 and has a net worth of about $400 million.
After sustaining a global backlash against his family separation policy, US President Donald Trump is again roiling his own Republican Party after a presidential tweet saying lawmakers should “quit wasting time” on a big immigration overhaul that could help preserve the party’s majorities on Capitol Hill. The mood was gloomy among moderate Republicans who have been pushing a measure that would fund Trump’s border wall, set limits on family visas and also create a path to citizenship for young “Dreamers.” Trump’s party mates are upset that he would abandon their legislative drive when they need to present a law before the Nov. 6 midterm elections. If local Republicans lose their seats, Trump may become the second incumbent US president, after Franklin Pierce, not to be nominated for reelection by his own party.
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