FACES OF THE NEWS: May 12, 2019
Peter Joemel ‘Bikoy’ Advincula
At a hastily organized press briefing, Peter Joemel Advincula, a former marketing executive and ex-convict, stunned the country by claiming he was “Bikoy” — the mysterious masked man behind a series of videos linking President Rodrigo Duterte’s family and closest allies to the illegal drug trade.
Advincula had been in hiding for months even as his videos earned the ire of the country’s law enforcement agencies.
“I have seen how drugs have destroyed families, and I was once part of spreading these as a member of a syndicate,” he said during his brief appearance at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ office in Pasig City.
He doubled down on allegations that the President’s son Paolo Duterte, son-in-law Manases Carpio and former aide Christopher “Bong” Go had reaped millions in kickbacks from the narcotics trade, and denied any connection to media personalities and the political opposition.
He said he was ready to face any investigation to prove his claims.
“Join me in this fight. This is the true war on drugs,” said Advincula, who had spent four years in jail on estafa charges.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo found himself on the hot seat after presenting yet another “matrix” or diagram that raised eyebrows.
Panelo claimed the new diagram showed personalities who were out to discredit President Duterte and push the candidacies of the Otso Diretso coalition.
He named the Magdalo group, the Liberal Party and its allies in the plot which, he said, included putting out the videos that linked the Duterte family to the illegal drug trade.
But confusion arose when the names of sportswomen Hidilyn Diaz and Gretchen Ho were found in one of the diagrams.
Panelo initially denied knowing anything about it, though he later cleared the two of involvement in the conspiracy.
Instead, the Palace official blamed the media for its supposedly wrong analysis of the diagram. Panelo later said the diagram, which included Ho’s and Diaz’s names, was actually about Rodel Jayme, who was the administrator of the site that uploaded the sensitive videos. The two women were mentioned as among the accounts Jayme was actively following.
Ateneo Lady Eagles and UST Golden Tigresses
Ateneo’s Lady Eagles and the University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) Golden Tigresses hit the headlines over the week after booking Finals tickets to the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball.
The two varsity squads eliminated the finalists from last season on the way to the championship duel.
The Lady Eagles, favored all season after a dominant run in the elimination round, dispatched Far Eastern University after two games in the Final Four.
The Tigresses were the biggest surprises after they eliminated champion La Salle Lady Spikers in their half of the semifinals.
The Tigresses actually beat the Lady Spikers in an earlier playoff game for a higher seeding, emphasizing their mastery of last season’s peerless squad.
UST also made news after its two top players — Sisi Rondina and Eya Laure — were locked in a tight race for the MVP award.
Rondina won the title, but Laure went home with the Rookie of the Year trophy.
Rondina, already a four-time beach volleyball MVP, averaged 17.7 points per game on a 33.38 spiking percentage to also win Best Scorer and Second Best Open Spiker.
Eduardo “Edu” Manzano’s bid for San Juan City’s lone congressional seat was dealt a crippling blow this week after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division ruled that his certificate of candidacy should be canceled because the actor was not a Filipino citizen when he filed it.
Manzano, born to Filipino parents in the United States, served in the US Armed Forces before moving to the country, where he has been a mainstay on both the entertainment and political scene for decades.
Manzano pledged to fight the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court, saying that the Comelec decision would only increase his political fortunes with supporters rallying to his defense.
He is running under the ticket of San Juan scion Janella Ejercito Estrada, and is up against nine-term Rep. Ronaldo Zamora. “I can see politics written all over the case,” Manzano said.
Ironically, some 20 years ago, the high court ruled that Manzano was a Filipino citizen and eligible to run for office. He ran for mayor in Makati City, but lost his bid.
Six-day-old Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the newest member of the House of Windsor, thrilled royalists all over the world last week even if they were not subjects of the British monarchy.
The baby was born on May 6 to Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and almost immediately commanded public attention.
Sadly, Master Archie, the first British royal of multiracial heritage, was also quickly greeted by the nastiness of a BBC presenter who thought it funny to portray the baby as a chimpanzee.
But the little-known presenter will soon be forgotten while Master Archie, seventh in line to the throne, will remain in the world’s eye for decades to come.
Most certainly, there are four children in one New Zealand family who will be closely watching Master Archie and three of his cousins.
The children’s mother, Jo Stafford of Otago, considered it a “royal flush” that her offspring Charlotte, 11, Harry, 9, George, 7, and Archie, 4, all have namesakes in Buckingham Palace.