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Faces of the News: Dec. 2, 2018

/ 07:16 AM December 02, 2018

Joel Villanueva

While the Duterte administration has laid down the red carpet for China, Sen. Joel Villanueva has not welcomed the influx of undocumented Chinese workers in the Philippines with open arms.

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Villanueva, who chairs the Senate’s labor committee, initiated an inquiry into this development.

At the hearing, he found that these workers had been entering the country as tourists before getting short-term permits to work in offshore gambling operations, which made it clear to him that they “have been stealing our jobs, taking away our homes and pilfering opportunities from Filipinos.”

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He said there should be stricter regulations for foreign workers in the country.

He clarified, though, that he was not trying to single out any nationality; his concern centers on illegal workers stealing jobs from Filipinos.

Lucas Bersamin

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin assumed the Supreme Court’s top post last Wednesday.

At a press conference, he skirted questions on whether or not the seniority rule was applied in his case.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he would appoint the most senior in the high court as the next Chief Justice.

Despite being the third most senior justice, Bersamin has served in the judiciary longer than the other nominees.

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He said he did not want to second-guess Mr. Duterte.

“Let us trust in his wisdom … I don’t think it would be fair to my colleagues to make a judgment in comparing them to me,” Bersamin said. “I may lack more qualifications than they have but it is still up to the appointing power to exercise the discretion to choose from among us.”

Bersamin retires in October next year.

PO1 Jeremias Pereda, PO1 Jerwin Cruz and PO3 Arnel Oares

Thursday’s conviction of PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jeremias Pereda and PO1 Jerwin Cruz, all Caloocan policemen, became a watershed moment in President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs where police are often emboldened by promises of immunity to kill drug suspects in cold blood.

Judge Rodolfo Azucena Jr. of Caloocan Regional Trial Court Branch 125 declared the three guilty of killing 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos in an Aug. 16, 2017, “One-Time, Big-Time” operation in the city’s impoverished Libis Baesa district.

They were, however, acquitted of charges of planting evidence against the Grade 12 student, after the prosecution failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

They were sentenced to up to 40 years in prison without possibility of parole and ordered to pay the Delos Santoses P345,000 in damages.

For six months, the three stood by their story: that Kian was a drug courier who engaged them in a gunfight, despite witnesses, closed-circuit television footage and forensic science proving otherwise.

In his 35-page decision that capped off the six-month-long trial over Kian’s death, Azucena wrote: “Never has murder or homicide been a function of law enforcement. The public peace is never predicated upon the cost of human life.”

As the court pronounced their sentence, Pereda and Oares, who admitted in court to shooting Kian out of self-defense, looked stunned.

Cruz, the youngest, broke down in tears and had to lean on his girlfriend.

Their conviction was seen widely by human rights advocates and lawyers as proof that extrajudicial killings (EJKs) exist, and could bolster future charges by families of EJK victims.

But they remain wary of a possibility of a presidential pardon.

Meggie Ochoa

The most amazing thing about Meggie Ochoa isn’t that she was crowned jiujitsu world champion recently, the first Filipino to claim such title in the world championship for national teams.

Or that she was a world champion thrice over in a tournament for club teams, and was an Asian Games bronze medalist.

The most amazing thing about Ochoa is that beyond the Asian Games, she has picked a fight against a bigger foe: She is battling to bring attention to the issue of sexual violence against children.

It is a global battle where the Philippines has been tagged the epicenter of the sex abuse epidemic.

But Ochoa is using her sport as a platform to bring awareness to this fight, launching the “Fight to Protect” campaign and reaching out to victims of abuse by teaching them jiujitsu.

UP Fighting Maroons

At one point in the UAAP Season 81, very few people had given the UP Maroons a chance to make it to the Final Four.

With three losses in its first four games, it seemed that the Diliman school was merely setting things up for next year’s super season, when two prized recruits, Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero, would join the squad.

Certainly no one thought they would make it to the Finals, even after a strong run that saw them win seven of their next 10 outings.

But as Maroons coach Bo Perasol said, the pressure was off UP the moment it booked a Final Four slot.

Taking advantage of every opportunity, the Fighting Maroons used their gutsy 89-87 overtime victory over Adamson to claim their first Finals appearance in 32 years and a face-off with Ateneo, last year’s UAAP champs.

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TAGS: Arnel Oares, Faces of the Nes, Jeremias Pereda, Jerwin Cruz, Joel Villanueva, Lucas Bersamin, Meggie Ochoa, UP Fighting Maroons
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