Faces of the news
Hilario Davide Jr.
Erstwhile Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. has come out of retirement to defend the 1987 Constitution that he helped craft. Davide is one of the most vocal opponents of the Duterte administration’s move to amend the fundamental law of the land and shift to a federal government. In speaking up, Davide has raised concerns that the very essence of the 1987 Constitution—to prevent a dictatorship similar to that under authoritarian President Ferdinand Marcos—was going to be allowed under the draft federal Charter. The new draft, Davide warned, gives the President too much power, one of which is expanding the basis for declaring martial law to include “lawless violence.” The proposed Charter is not suited to the country’s political landscape, said Davide, who once declared he was willing to die for the 1987 Charter.
On July 23, President Duterte’s televised delivery of his third State of the Nation Address (Sona) will be directed by renowned film and television director Joyce Bernal. Bernal, who directed such hits as the “Kimmy Dora” movies and “Bakit Hindi Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo,” said she would direct the President’s Sona free of charge. Bernal was tapped for the job on the recommendation of action star Robin Padilla. She replaces director Brillante Mendoza, who also directed Mr. Duterte’s two previous Sonas for free. Bernal earlier told the media that she intended to show Mr. Duterte’s sincere love for the country as its President and its father by employing a “patriotic mood” for the event. Malacañang said the President’s Sona speech was expected to last no longer than 35 minutes.
Chinese ambassador to the Philippines since 2014, Zhao Jianhua came to the defense of the Duterte administration after unknown persons put up “Welcome to the Philippines: Province of China” banners in Metro Manila last week. Timed during the second anniversary of the Philippines’ legal victory against China over the West Philippine Sea dispute, the banners apparently took off from Duterte’s tasteless joke in February, asking China to make the Philippines one of its provinces. Zhao, who was assigned to Manila at the height of the territorial dispute, called the banners a “kind of vicious attack” on bilateral relations and on Duterte’s foreign policy. “[The Philippines] has never been any part of China. No, not now, not ever,” Zhao said during the groundbreaking for two China-funded bridges spanning the Pasig River.
US President Donald Trump pressed his bid to contain the furor caused by his six-day official visit to Europe from July 10-16, including a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In one of the most difficult episodes in his 18-month presidency, Trump has had to zigzag from one position to another from day to day. US media called them “walk-back of the walk-back” forced by the tumults after the security summit in Brussels, a gaffe-filled visit to the United Kingdom, and the summit with Putin in Helsinki. These trips could have been diplomatic coups and Trump’s Republican Party could have claimed them as proof that he could make America great again, but fears over an escalating trade war and Trump’s declarations in the three countries have left many aghast at their political backlash.
Young Kylian Mbappe left the World Cup in Russia with his own chapter in football history, becoming just the second teenager to score in the final of the sport’s showcase tournament, after legendary Brazilian star Pelé. Mbappe’s imprint on the World Cup drove France to a 4-2 victory over Croatia, sending Les Bleus to their second title triumph. Pelé was 17 when he scored in the final of the 1958 World Cup. Like Pelé, Mbappe became an instant star in the tournament with his daring runs and his goals. But more than drawing comparisons to a legend, Mbappe’s heroics allowed France to highlight the kind of multiculturalism that the team flaunted with its multiethnic roster. While some political leaders make moves that border on xenophobia, Mbappe and the French squad opened doors and welcomed diversity.
A minute of infamy resulted in repercussions lasting way longer for Gilas Pilipinas. Two coaches and 10 players were scrubbed from the roster by the International Basketball Federation, following its July 2 brawl with team Australia during the World Cup qualifying match at the Philippine Arena. Calvin Abueva was handed the longest suspension—six games, while coach Chot Reyes was slapped a one-game suspension, and assistant coach Jong Uichico, a three-game ban. Suspended for five games each were Jio Jalalon, RR Pogoy and Carl Bryan Cruz; for three games, Andray Blatche, Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario, and for one game, Matthew Wright and Japeth Aguilar. The national federation for the sport, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas was fined more than P13 million.
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