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FACES OF THE NEWS: May 5, 2019

/ 05:09 AM May 05, 2019

Robert Swift

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If American lawyer Robert Swift was bothered by protests over his “exorbitant” attorney’s fee, he did not show it as he cheerfully handed out P77,500 checks to each of the 140 claimants in Caraga who were the victims of human rights atrocities during the Marcos dictatorship or their relatives.

The payout in Butuan City on Labor Day went smoothly despite police sent to stop the event on instructions of the Office of the Solicitor General and the Presidential Commission on Good Government, which sought to nullify the US-crafted settlement.

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The amount was specified in the agreement reached in January 2019 as their share of the $32-million proceeds from the sale of four paintings, part of the Marcos ill-gotten wealth.

But some complainants in the class action suit against the Marcoses have protested the “exorbitant” lawyers’ fees paid to Swift and his colleagues in the historic three-decade suit: 30 percent of the $13.75-million settlement, or $4.125 million.

Matthew Manotoc

Five hours after Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas withdrew his candidacy for governor of Ilocos Norte, Matthew Manotoc took to social media to thank his supporters in the province.

“Let us join hands for a progressive and livable Ilocos Norte,” Manotoc said in a Facebook post.

Now running unopposed, Manotoc needed at least one vote to be elected  governor, Commission on Elections officials said. Manotoc, 30, is the youngest son of outgoing Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and former champion sportsman Tommy Manotoc.

He is a psychology graduate of Claremont McKenna College in California.

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In 2016, he was elected senior board member of Ilocos Norte.

He also chairs the National Movement of Young Legislators-Ilocos Norte chapter, is a co-owner of Espiritu-Manotoc Basketball Management, and a basketball coach at International School Manila.

Manotoc’s ascendancy firmly cements politics as the Marcos family’s controversial legacy.

June Mar Fajardo

Individual records in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) have fallen one after the other ever since June Mar Fajardo came of age.

Turning 30 in November and in just his eighth year as a pro, Fajardo will again rewrite history by winning the Best Player of the Conference award of the Philippine Cup for the sixth straight season.

Voting started last week, and Fajardo has a clear path — and is the logical choice — since the four other candidates for the award are all out of the all-Filipino Finals.

He topped the statistical points race handily over NorthPort point guard Stanley Pringle.

And with that happening, Fajardo will automatically be a candidate for the season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for a shot at — believe it or not — sixth straight MVP.

No other player has won more than four MVPs in the rich history of the PBA, and the 6-foot-10 San Miguel Beer cornerstone still has a lot of game left in him.

Naruhito

While studying at Merton College, Oxford, in the 1980s, Naruhito spent time with the British royal family.

He observed that Queen Elizabeth “poured her own tea” and served sandwiches, among others.

He believed that, just like the British royal family, it was important for the Japanese monarch to be in touch with the people.

The Japanese crown prince, 59, apparently had this in mind when he ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday, a day after his father, Emperor Akihito, stepped down because of advanced age.

In his address, Naruhito vowed to “stand with the people” under the new “Reiwa” era (“beautiful harmony”).

Akihito, 85, who has ruled since 1989, was the first monarch in Japan to give up the throne in 200 years.

While widely revered as head of state, Japan’s emperor has no political power.

The role is largely ceremonial, and the emperor is constitutionally barred from making any political statement.

Juan Guaido

The Venezuelan opposition leader has been spearheading huge street protests to force out President Nicolas Maduro—with little success.

After a failed coup on Tuesday, the US-supported Juan Guaido again called for the “largest march” that, he tweeted, was the final phase in ousting Maduro, whose reelection in 2018 he has branded as illegitimate.

By afternoon, without any sign of support from the military, many of the protesters walked away.

Guiado has called on the armed forces to back the protests, but the top brass has so far remained loyal to Maduro.

Guaido has argued that since the 2018 elections were “rigged,” Maduro is a “usurper” and the presidency is therefore vacant.

In which case, the opposition figure contended, he as head of the National Assembly should step in.

The United States and more than 50 other countries have recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, but Maduro’s key allies, Russia and China, have stuck by him.

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TAGS: Faces of the News, Juan Guaido, June Mar Fajardo, Matthew Manotoc, Naruhito, Roberto Swift
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