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FACES OF THE NEWS: April 28, 2019

/ 05:42 AM April 28, 2019

ILLUSTRATIONS BY RENE ELEVERA

Pablo Virgilio David

Unfazed by President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to behead him, Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David continues to take the government to task for the unprecedented spike in drug killings and alleged human rights violations in the country.

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At a democracy forum last week, David lamented how some groups had been sowing disinformation on social media and vilifying the President’s critics, while promoting his violent antidrug strategy.

The feisty Church leader repudiated the President’s claim that the vicious drug war was aimed at eradicating the narcotics problem, describing it as the “biggest lie” he had heard since the President took office in 2016.

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David also said the clergy had failed to “educate [the] consciences” of Filipino Catholics, as many continued to support the murderous war on drugs.

Marcelino Teodoro

Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro ran and won in 2016 on his promise to beef up the local police force.

But his reputation as a peace and order politician was challenged this week after simmering tensions between him and the Marikina City Police came to the fore.

The city’s acting police chief, Police Col. Redrico Maranan, accused Teodoro of withdrawing support to the force and of crippling its ability to serve and protect city residents, while the Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde, lambasted Teodoro for “childish” behavior.

Teodoro had ordered the takedown of police tarpaulins, disinvited police officers from the weekly ceremony and reduced their gas allowance, allegedly in retaliation for not being consulted on the PNP’s decision to install an acting chief in March.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy

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Now it’s for real. Comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy played a destitute schoolteacher who unexpectedly becomes president of Ukraine over a viral anticorruption rant in the Ukrainian comedy series “Servant of the People.”

But life apparently imitates art and the 41-year-old Zelenskiy was elected Ukraine president in last week’s runoff, winning 73.2 percent of the vote, while incumbent Petro Poroshenko won a mere 25.3 percent.

The comedian rode on the people’s disillusionment over a host of issues, chiefly corruption and a flagging economy, according to CNN.

The overwhelming support for Zelenskiy was seen as a protest vote.

“I will never let you down,” Zelenskiy told his supporters.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted: “You will now truly be a Servant of the People.”

Tony Stark / ‘Iron Man’

The hero at the (artificially energized) heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in 2008’s “Iron Man” heralded a continuum of heroes.

From 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” to 2019’s “Captain Marvel,” the film franchise is now growing beyond the comics universe into cinemas around the world.

Now, over a decade and 21 films later, Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) enters “Avengers: Endgame” as the face of the MCU.

Downey was already an Academy Award-nominated actor before he became Iron Man, but everyone certainly recognizes him now mainly as the armor-wearing hero.

He was brought down by the seemingly omnipotent Thanos in 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War.”

But as “Avengers: Endgame” proves, Stark as Iron Man remains the genuine beating heart of it all.

Ferdinand dela Cruz

Manila Water Co. Inc. president Ferdinand dela Cruz accepted the P1.13 billion in penalties imposed by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) not only with equanimity but also with self-esteem intact.

MWSS fined the company P534 million, which the company gave back to customers in April in the form of uncollected water billing, plus an additional P600 million to fund a new water source that it was not allowed to charge to customers.

“[We] hold ourselves accountable for our inability to provide our consumers with the usual uninterrupted water service,” Dela Cruz said.

But he added that, while Manila Water was responsible for delivering treated water to customers, the responsibility to provide raw, untreated water was ultimately that of the MWSS based on their concession agreement.

Ernest John Obiena

The days when the Philippines was among the top athletics countries in the continent may be just a part of memory now, but that doesn’t mean those days can’t be brought back.

A lot of talent have risen from the grassroots and one of them is Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, who recently proved his worth when he bagged the men’s pole vault gold medal in the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, recently.

The country’s premier pole vaulter cleared 5.71 meters, setting a new Asian championship record and beating China’s Zhang Wei and Huang Bokai in the process.

The 23-year-old son of former pole vault great Emerson Obiena failed an attempt to hurdle 5.76 meters but the effort hardly mattered.

His feat qualified Obiena for the world championships in September, also in Doha.

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TAGS: ‘Iron Man, Ernest John Obiena, Faces of the News, Ferdinand dela Cruz, Marcelino Teodoro, Pablo Virgilio David, Tony Stark, Volodymyr Zelenskiy
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