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FACES OF THE NEWS: June 16, 2019

/ 05:42 AM June 16, 2019

Illustrations by Rene Elevera

Margarita Valle

This Davao-based veteran journalist, who has been writing news and opinion pieces for Mindanao papers since the 1980s, found herself in the news this week when officers of the Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG) arrested her on June 9 at an airport in Misamis Oriental, allegedly for arson and multiple murder.

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The arbitrary arrest and 12-hour detention of Valle, 61, sparked outrage from media and religious groups, the academe, and the Commission on Human Rights, which described the incident as a government tactic to harass and intimidate its critics.

The police described the wrongful arrest as a case of “mistaken identity,” and later apologized for the “unnecessary anxiety” it had caused Valle.

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Despite that, she said she would still file arbitrary detention charges against the CIDG for its “brazen attack and outright disregard of her human rights.”

Joel Apolinario

The meteoric rise to fame and fortune of this self-proclaimed shepherd of the controversial Kapa Community Ministry International Inc. is the stuff of legends, as is his get-rich-quick scheme that the Securities and Exchange Commission has described as a scam.

President Rodrigo Duterte called Apolinario a con artist, but little is known about him except that he was born poor in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

After a series of blue-collar jobs, he founded a ministry and in just over three years, struck gold from members’ donations in return for monthly “love gifts,” interest rates equivalent to 30 percent of their “donations.”

The SEC estimates that the scheme netted its founder some P50 billion from its claimed five million members.

With the President ordering all Kapa offices closed and its business permits revoked, the chopper-riding Apolinario and his wife, “Madam Reyna,” have since made themselves scarce.

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Gazini Ganados

This 23-year-old Filipino-Palestinian model represented Talisay City, Cebu, in the recent Binibining Pilipinas pageant and bested 39 other aspirants to win the Miss Universe Philippines crown from reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray.

Ganados was born in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, and earned a tourism degree from the University of San Jose-Recoletos in Cebu City.

In earlier press interviews, Ganados said part of her mission to become a beauty queen was to travel to see her Palestinian father, whom she has never met.

“I don’t know if he is still alive. I’m hoping for the best. I just want to go and try to look for him,” she said.

A pageant veteran, Ganados joined the 2014 Miss World Philippines pageant and made it to the semifinals.

She was first runner-up in the 2017 Miss Bohol pageant won by Pauline Amelinckx, who was crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas last year.

Rafael Nadal

About a month before the French Open began, people were having doubts about Rafael Nadal’s ability to reign as the King of Clay.

Nadal himself doubted his form and his chances at a record-extending 12th straight crown at Roland Garros.

He hadn’t won a title going into May and had  myriad health issues that resulted in major surgeries.

“Mentally, I was down. Physically and mentally,” Nadal was quoted as saying. “But for me, I always put more attention on the mental side.”

How wrong his critics were. Once he got to the French Open, he tore opponents apart and forged a title showdown with Dominic Thiem.

After two tight sets, Nadal ripped the game wide open in the last two to stretch his reign on tennis’ toughest surface.

“Too many issues the last 18 months. That makes these last few weeks very, very special,” Nadal said after blasting Thiem in the final, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.

Kawhi Leonard

Some time back, when Kawhi Leonard was a newly minted Toronto Raptor, he was seen by many as a one-year rental, a roll-the-dice acquisition whose risk, early on, outweighed the potential reward.

Well, who has the last laugh now? The jittery atmosphere that pervaded the Raptors organization faded with each round of the playoffs as Leonard led the squad from one series to another in the NBA.

Once Leonard and the Raptors reached the Finals, it didn’t matter that it was the dynastic defending champions Golden State Warriors that they were facing.

They never trailed in that series, thanks largely to the superhuman efforts of Leonard.

The soft-spoken swingman submitted an average of 28.5 points per game during the series to power Toronto to a franchise-first NBA crown, the first ever won by a team outside the United States.

For the feat, Leonard was named Finals MVP.

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TAGS: Faces of the News, Gazini Ganados, Joel Apolinario, Kawhi Leonard, Margarita Valle, Rafael Nadal
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