FACES OF THE NEWS: July 14, 2019
Alan Peter Cayetano
Taguig City-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano likened the events leading to his anointment by President Rodrigo Duterte as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives to a “roller-coaster ride.”
He is set to share the speakership under a much-derided term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.
Under the agreement, Cayetano will serve as Speaker for 15 months and Velasco the remaining 21 months of the 18th Congress.
The President’s son, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, hinting at a “coup d’etat,” said the former foreign secretary should not feel assured of taking the top House post, despite the President’s endorsement.
Cayetano also has been rebuked by some senators and fellow House members, who believe the President’s endorsement was due to the support of his former colleagues in the Cabinet supposedly to ensure congressional funding for their projects.
American lawyer Robert Swift was in the Philippines last week for the third round of distribution of compensation to thousands of martial law victims from the $13.75 million obtained from the sale of paintings owned by the widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda.
Thousands of victims of human rights violations under Marcos had won a class action lawsuit against the dictator in a Hawaii court.
Swift, who led the legal battle, also gave a talk on the landmark court victory and the nearly $2 billion awarded to the class members.
He was confronted by some victims and their families who were removed from the official list of people to be compensated.
They decried their delisting just because they were unable to register a second time in 1999.
Swift explained that he had no control over the Hawaii court’s decision to reduce the number of class members.
“In litigation, you don’t always get what you want. You try hard, but ultimately it’s up to the court to decide that,” he said.
Malacañang was quick to press the “downplay” button when news broke out that international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney was joining the legal team of embattled Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Ressa’s team had simply “misled” Clooney but that he was “excited to debate with her” and eager to “educate” her on the tax evasion and cyberlibel cases filed against the award-winning journalist.
On July 10, speaking at a media freedom conference in London, Clooney said Rappler’s “hard-hitting stories” on the human rights abuses under President Duterte eventually led to a string of cases against Ressa.
Clooney has defended two Reuters journalists jailed for more than 16 months in Myanmar.
In February 2015, she filed a suit in the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention seeking the release of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from her hospital detention on plunder charges.
Alfred delos Santos
“I am not a bully or a troublemaker,” Ang Probinsyano Rep. Alfred delos Santos said in his apology letter to Christian Kent Alejo, the waiter he hit in the head at a Legazpi City diner on July 7.
But such an act of contrition may be too late to absolve the junior lawmaker in the public eye, as he made headlines for the wrong reasons before he could even warm his House seat.
Before entering politics, Delos Santos was a businessman in Legazpi, his mother a government contractor.
With his assault on Alejo caught on video and shared on social media, labor groups have demanded his ouster from the House for his “despicable” behavior, and his own party list group stated its willingness to have him “suspended or even removed if we establish that this was an unprovoked attack.”
For a group that took the title of a popular action-drama television series, it would be interesting to see how it would decide Delos Santos’ fate before its “pilot episode” on July 22, the opening of the 18th Congress.
A change of address, change of jersey number. It has been quite a week for Kevin Durant. 0
One of the NBA’s best players right now, Durant formally ended his tenure with the Golden State Warriors after the Brooklyn Nets completed a sign-and-trade with the Warriors.
As the Nets’ newest franchise player, though, Durant, who will wear No. 7 for Brooklyn, will have to sit on the sidelines for quite some time as he repairs an Achilles injury that knocked him out of the recent NBA playoffs.
Golden State acquired D’Angelo Russell, Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham. Durant earlier said he would sign a max deal with Brooklyn, which would be $141 million over four years, after three seasons with the Warriors.
But details later seeped out of the signing room and as it turns out, Durant inked a four-year, $164-million contract with the Nets.
That includes a player option for the final year, meaning Durant can opt out of his deal after the 2021-22 season. That could leave the Nets with just two healthy seasons with the 10-time All-Star.
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