Faces of the News: Nov. 24, 2019 | Inquirer News

Faces of the News: Nov. 24, 2019

/ 04:24 AM November 24, 2019

Faces of the News: Nov. 24, 2019

Illustrations by Rene Elevera

Franklin Drilon

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon kicked the hornet’s nest when he questioned the use of the budget for the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) that the Philippines is hosting this year. What got the public’s ire was his revelation that the cauldron to be used for the SEAG flame cost some P50 million, an amount that could have been used to build 50 classrooms. Netizens also pointed out that our athletes could have used the money to train better. Officials led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano defended the high cost, saying the cauldron, designed by National Artist Francisco Mañosa, was a “work of art” that represents the country in the games. Drilon also called for a probe into why a private foundation was tasked to prepare for the SEAG using government funds.


Vico Sotto


Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto grabbed headlines last week after he publicly rebuked Regent Foods Corp. (RFC) on Facebook for allegedly suppressing the rights of its workers who were on strike and for refusing to withdraw charges against them. Just on his sixth month on the job, Sotto earned the goodwill of labor groups that saw him as a rare government ally against abusive companies. A day after his Facebook post, Sotto raised the bail money for the last 11 of the “Regent 23” who were still detained. He also admonished the company for bearing down hard on workers in the city and hinted that Regent could take its business elsewhere. Days later, amid criticisms from the mayor and netizens over its labor practices, RFC said it was considering moving out of Pasig City.

Tab Baldwin

There’s no doubt that the University Athletic Association of the Philippines has a dynasty going and that Tab Baldwin had a very big hand in making the Ateneo Eagles such a dominant basketball force. Since taking over the team, Baldwin has steered the Eagles to three straight championships, capped by the league’s first perfect season when Ateneo dismantled University of Santo Tomas last week. The Eagles won 18 straight games to do what no other team has done in the league. Baldwin, the former coach of Gilas Pilipinas who steered Jordan Clarkson to the Olympics before that, will have his work cut out for him come Season 83 next year as the Eagles would have graduated five standouts, among them the athletic Thirdy Ravena.

Brian Cu

The president of Grab Philippines insists that the ride-hailing giant has never overcharged its passengers. Nonetheless, he chose not to challenge the order by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) early this week, which levied a P23.35-million fine against the Singapore-based firm for its problematic operations. Grab has cornered 99 percent of the ride-hailing industry here. The PCC ordered Grab to refund P5 million of its total fine to affected commuters who used its app from February to May this year. Some 3 million riders are covered by the refund, which means each of them is entitled to anywhere from less than P1 to P100, to be reimbursed through Grab Pay wallet before the year-end. The computation is still being finalized, the company lawyer said.

David Holmes


A cell-phone conversation between US President Donald Trump and US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was so extraordinary for David Holmes that he had no difficulty recounting it during the ongoing impeachment investigation led by US House Democrats. The investigation is looking into allegations that Trump had pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to look into the possible links to corruption of former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for military aid. Among the gems recalled by Holmes, a US Embassy staffer in Kyiv, was this exchange: Is Zelenskiy “gonna do the investigation (into Biden)?” Trump asked, to which Sondland responded: “He’s gonna do it,” Zelenskiy would do “anything you ask him to.”

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