FACES OF THE NEWS: Feb. 3, 2019
Nearly six years after it was supposedly slain by the Supreme Court’s legal sword, Sen. Panfilo Lacson found himself battling the Hydra-like pork barrel system after uncovering billions of pesos in “insertions” and “personal amendments” that his fellow legislators kept hidden in the stalled P3.8-trillion national budget.
Lacson, who took on the Herculean task of making sure that the government’s annual spending program is pork-free, insisted that the Duterte administration’s budget for 2019 was still larded with lump sum allocations for lawmakers that the high tribunal declared unconstitutional in 2013.
Lacson’s allegations nearly led to the Senate’s withdrawal of its version of the budget after Senate President Vicente Sotto III, expressed disgust over insinuations that even senators had billions in pork for their chosen projects.
He was just doing his job as an actor, said Robin Padilla on why he agreed to star in the biopic “Bato: The General Ronald dela Rosa Story.”
Industry players have called for a boycott of the movie, saying that its release in January could be considered a “political act” since it was too close to the May 2019 elections, where the former Philippine National Police chief is seeking a senatorial post.
Padilla claimed his involvement in the film was not political.
“We’re actually helping provide jobs for people in the entertainment industry,” he said.
The Adolf Alix Jr. movie had its premiere screening on Jan. 29, with President Rodrigo Duterte describing the film as “a tribute to an officer and a soldier of the Philippines.”
The bustling crowd in the Makati City central business district found themselves transfixed on Tuesday when Alain Robert, popularly known as the “French Spider-Man,” started climbing the 217-meter GT International Tower without harnesses and other safety gear.
Spectators gawked as the 56-year-old daredevil safely ascended and descended the building in a stunt he had previously pulled off on the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
Authorities, however, were not amused.
Robert was arrested by police and was charged with alarm and scandal.
Three days later, he was again a free man after pleading guilty and paying a P1,000 fine.
“Although I’m judged as a small criminal, I am a nice guy,” Robert said, adding that he loves the Filipinos’ cheerful disposition.
Karen Gallman made history when she became the first Filipino to be crowned Miss Intercontinental, besting 82 other aspirants in ceremonies held in Pasay City on Jan. 26.
It was also the first time the contest was held in the country in the pageant’s 46-year history.
Gallman, a Bohol-born operations analyst, first joined in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant in 2011, making it to the semifinals.
She was crowned Binibining Pilipinas-Intercontinental on her second attempt last year.
The new queen vowed to use her international title as a platform to push for “compulsory education in the rural areas,” saying she had personally experienced the inadequacies of the public education system while studying in Ubay, Bohol.
Born to a Filipino mother and an Australian father, Karen considers Brisbane and Bohol her two homes.
Ramon Revilla Jr.
Despite being acquitted of plunder charges in December, former senator and action star Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. is back in the hot seat, after government prosecutors demanded that he return some P125 million found in his bank account.
Revilla was cleared of involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund, or pork barrel scam, but was still required to pay civil damages to the national treasury since the scheme transpired through his office.
Government prosecutors have asked the Sandiganbayan to compel Revilla and his coaccused, former chief of staff Richard Cambe and pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles — both of whom were found guilty of plunder — to return the amount.
Revilla, who was detained for almost four years, is running for reelection in the midterm polls this May.
Novak Djokovic is not backing down from No. 17. His camp thinks No. 20 is certainly attainable.
After ruling the Australian Open with a methodical dismantling of Rafael Nadal, Djokovic has raised his Slam total to 15. That’s just two short of Rafa’s total.
“I’m blessed to be able to win 15. I know there are two guys ahead of me now in the history of the most Slams won, but I still have time. I’m not rushing,” he said.
Roger Federer’s 20 remains the yardstick for greatness. Djokovic’s coach, Marian Vajda, is realistic but isn’t dismissing the notion of catching up with Federer.
“I don’t want to go too far, but (Djokovic) is in a very good position now to go for a little bit more,” Vajda said. “But 20 is still far away… At the moment, Novak feels really good about reaching, maybe, another Grand Slam victory.”
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