News Briefs: May 29, 2019
‘Bikoy’ a no-show in estafa case hearing
MANILA, Philippines — Peter Joemel Advincula alias “Bikoy,” who claimed to be behind the controversial “The Real Narcolist” online videos, was a no-show on Tuesday at the preliminary investigation hearing for the estafa case filed against him by a Quezon City businessman.
Complainant Arven Valmores, president and chief executive officer of the perfume distributor Ardeur World Marketing Corp., told reporters that neither Advincula nor his lawyer attended the hearing before state prosecutor Herbert Calvin Abugan.
Valmores’ lawyer, former Bureau of Corrections chief Benjamin delos Santos said that if Advincula failed to show up in the next hearing on June 4, the prosecutor would be compelled to resolve the case against him.
In his complaint, Valmores said Advincula, his sales agent, organized without his authority a beauty pageant in Polangui, Albay province, in August last year and used Ardeur’s name and logo to promote the event.
When Advincula failed to show up on coronation night, Valmores said he was forced to pay more than P304,000 to the production outfit and pageant winners.
Advincula’s online videos accused President Duterte, his family and close associates of having links to the illegal drug trade. —Jerome Aning
Pacquiao: Senators ‘happy’ with Sotto at the helm
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III may now sleep soundly at night, with Sen. Manny Pacquiao assuring him on Tuesday that the senators were “happy” with his leadership.
“We’re not thinking of replacing him,” Pacquiao told reporters, quelling speculations about a possible plot to unseat Sotto.
Pacquiao also denied that members of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan and the proadministration Hugpong ng Pagbabago of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte were planning to form a formidable power bloc in the upper chamber.
But Pacquiao admitted that the senators were having problems deciding the chairmanship of major committees in the Senate, among them the blue ribbon, justice, finance, education and public services.
Sotto, who earlier said altering the Senate leadership might lead to a stronger opposition bloc in the 24-member chamber, said he was confident that he enjoyed the support of at least 16 senators. —Marlon Ramos
Graft raps for ex-Lanao del Sur mayor over GSIS mess
MANILA, Philippines — Former Bacolod-Kalawi, Lanao del Sur Mayor Diarangan Ringka Dipatuan is facing one count of graft and 12 counts of violating the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Act before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly failing to remit for a whole year the state insurance contributions of former Councilor Habid Tarosan.
The Office of the Ombudsman has recommended a bail bond of P150,000 for Dipatuan and his coaccused, then municipal treasurer Rasad Gubat Dumarpa. —Patricia Denise M. Chiu
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