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Faces of the News: Sept. 23, 2018

/ 05:08 AM September 23, 2018

Jovito Palparan Jr.

A gaunt Jovito Palparan Jr. said he was at peace, shortly before he was convicted and sentenced on Sept. 17 for the 2006 abduction of still missing students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño.

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An unapologetic anticommunist crusader, the retired major general believed the lawsuit was a communist plot to discredit him.

“After this trial, I walk away a free man … What else can this court do that would add to the misery of being separated from my family for seven years?” Palparan had said.

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His angry outburst in court after it found him guilty was played up as the actions of a “Butcher,” his sobriquet for allegedly spearheading military abuses in Central Luzon.

Palparan commanded the Army’s 7th Infantry Division from 2005 until his mandatory retirement in 2017.

The Empeño and Cadapan families welcomed Palparan’s conviction, even if the fate of the two missing women remains unknown.

Darren Criss

Darren Criss’ triumph at the 70th edition of the Prime-time Emmys early this week was no easy feat.

The 31-year-old “Glee” alumnus, who first drew attention for playing Harry Potter in the self-penned musical parody “A Very Potter Musical,” became the first Filipino-American actor to win a major Emmy.

Criss’ mother, Cerina, is from Cebu.

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The actor bested the formidable likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeff Daniels and Antonio Banderas for best actor in a limited series or movie for his career-defining performance in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”

In Ryan Murphy’s nine-episode series, Criss played Filipino Andrew Cunanan, infamous for killing the fashion designer and four other men in 1997.

Criss earned his first Emmy nod in 2015 when he was nominated for best original music and lyrics for “This Time,” which he wrote for the finale of “Glee.”

Ernie and Bert

Writer Mark Saltzman, who wrote Sesame Street episodes in the 1980s, revealed last week that the stories shared by beloved characters Bert and Ernie during that period were based on his own gay relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman.

The revelation sparked a debate after the show’s producer, Sesame Workshop, clarified that Bert and Ernie are puppets and do not have a sexual orientation.

LGBT activists asked why Sesame Workshop had to issue an explanation in the first place.

Meanwhile, the debate sparked another debate on whether the question even mattered because Bert and Ernie had already been seen together by millions of children since 1969, long before Saltzman even started writing for the program, and no one raised questions about their sexuality.

The matter is far from resolved and will likely spawn more debate, especially amid suggestions that Bert and Ernie are not only gay, but also Jewish.

Heidi Mendoza

Former Commission on Audit (COA) Commissioner Heidi Mendoza, who now audits the United Nations, took up the cudgels for the agency that has become President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest target for doing its job of holding government officials accountable.

Mendoza lamented that “not one of the past honorable Presidents of our land has called on another institution subject under our authority to defy our rules.”

This was in response to the President ’s remark encouraging local officials to ignore the COA’s rules on spending public funds.

The President described the COA rules as just a “shit of a circular,” despite the agency being bestowed “exclusive authority” to promulgate such rules by no less than the Constitution.

Not surprisingly, the President lashed out at Mendoza who had demanded respect for COA auditors: “She can’t lecture me, because I was ahead of her by a mile in the understanding of the nitty-gritty.”

Jovie Espenido

Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido of the Ozamiz City police again made headlines when the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed homicide charges against him and two of his men for the killing of six robbery suspects in police operations in June last year.

The DOJ, however, downgraded the original murder charge to homicide and dismissed the arbitrary detention complaint filed by the wife of one of the victims.

Espenido has earned a dubious reputation as police chief in areas where mayors were killed in the government’s vicious war on drugs.

He was chief of Albuera police when jailed Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa was killed inside his cell in November 2016, for allegedly resisting transfer to another jail.

It was also under Espenido’s watch that Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, his wife and several others were killed in what the police said was a shootout, an account that was widely disputed.

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TAGS: Darren Criss, Ernie and Bert, Faces of the News, Heidi Mendoza, Jovie Espinido, Jovito Palparan Jr., Sesame Street
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