Faces of the News: Sept. 27, 2020
He recently revealed in a budget hearing at the House of Representatives that the Office of the Ombudsman has stopped lifestyle checks on public officials suspected of corruption. Samuel Martires, the country’s chief graft buster, has also restricted access to their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
Under the law, the Ombudsman is the official repository of documents that reflect the true wealth of the President, Vice President and other ranking elected officials as well as members of the judiciary, chairs and commissioners of constitutional offices, etc.
Martires defended the policy, saying the SALN has been weaponized to malign officials. Martires, a former Supreme Court justice appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte, was among those who voted to invalidate the appointment of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, citing her failure “to comply with the requirement of submission of SALNs imposed by the Judicial and Bar Council for applicants to the position of Chief Justice.”
He also served as an associate justice of the Sandiganbayan for more than 10 years and was among the three Sandiganbayan justices who approved the plea bargain between former military comptroller Carlos Garcia and then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
—Nikka G. Valenzuela
Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III resigned from ABS-CBN Corp. on Sept. 24 after a 35-year run that saw the media company that his father started grow and become the largest TV network in the Philippines.
His move might have been a surprise to outsiders, but it is supposedly part of a family succession plan that started years ago.
The next generation of Lopezes are now at the helm of ABS-CBN.
The 68-year-old Lopez has also resigned from other family businesses, notably the major publicly listed companies. But Lopez would always be most identified with ABS-CBN.
He often told employees that working for the company was not a job but a calling. Even after he assumed the title of chair emeritus in 2018, Lopez went on to provide guidance to the network’s younger leaders, CEO Carlo Katigbak and chair Martin “Mark” Lopez.
“I may be retired but I am not dead,” he said then.
Lopez later became a target of the Duterte administration. In July, President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies in the House of Representatives denied the company a new franchise, forcing it to downsize and retrench thousands of employees.
Lopez himself emphasized the need for “like-minded young managers” to lead the company into the future. It now falls on the new generation to steer ABS-CBN through this challenging period.
—Miguel R. Camus
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
She was a liberal icon and a champion of women’s rights. Many have tattooed her image on their arms and even dressed their daughters like her in admiration. There are jumper stickers and clothing with her initials.
When US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, aka “The Notorious RBG,” died on Sept. 18 at 87, the grief was deep and the anguish great because of its possible implications on America’s future.
Ginsburg’s death from metastatic pancreatic cancer gives US President Donald Trump a chance to appoint another conservative magistrate to the country’s highest court and tip its balance further to 6-3 in his favor.
Hoping to avert that probability, Democrats and liberals are urging Trump to wait until after the presidential election on Nov. 3 and allow the winner to pick Ginsburg’s replacement, as the late legend herself said.
But Trump plans to assert his constitutional right to nominate the next Supreme Court judge soonest and make an announcement on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
The President promises to appoint another woman in Ginsburg’s place. But gender is probably the lesser of many liberals’ concerns. They are more anxious of the possible effects of an ultraconservative Supreme Court on laws that Ginsburg helped champion during her 27 years on the bench.
Coming off the Miami bench for Game 4 of their matchup against Boston, Tyler Herro bombarded the Celtics with 37 points on an efficient 14-of-21 from the field and 5-of-10 from the three-point line to fuel a decisive 112-109 victory.
Along the way, the Miami rookie rewrote some important entries in NBA history as he jumped to No. 2 for most points scored by a player age 20 or younger in a playoff game. The guy just five points above him?
Lakers great Magic Johnson, who accomplished his feat in 1980. What’s great about this accomplishment is that Herro scored 17 of those 37 points in the crucial fourth quarter which helped Miami put Boston away.
He now holds his franchise’s record for most points scored by a rookie in the playoffs, edging Heat legend Dwyane Wade.
While other people might have been surprised by Herro’s Game 4 explosion, his superstar teammate Jimmy Butler said it was just “another day in the office.”
Even though the Miami Heat lost last Saturday’s Game 5 against the Boston Celtics, 121-108, which cut their series advantage down to 3-2, and that Tyler Herro had a relatively modest 14-point output, it remains clear that coach Erik Spoelstra still has a lot of faith in the University of Kentucky alumnus. And he will be a force to be reckoned with now and in the future.
Alan Cayetano vs Lord Velasco
Whether the so-called 15-21 term-sharing deal between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco proceeds is now in doubt after their allies tussled over the proposed 2021 budget.
(Velasco is supposed to replace Cayetano in October when the incumbent completes 15 months as Speaker; and serve the remaining 21 months until the end of the 18th Congress.)
Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. fired first, questioning the huge infrastructure allocations for Taguig City and Camarines Sur, the respective home districts of Cayetano and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr.
Villafuerte shot back, accusing Teves of acting on Velasco’s behalf to discredit the leadership. The Speaker’s allies now want Cayetano to stay until June 2022 saying a leadership change in the middle of the pandemic would be unwise.
Cayetano claims he has more supporters in case of a hypothetical matchup. Velasco turned to Facebook, saying he would keep his end of the bargain and expects Cayetano to do the same.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who brokered the original deal, would only remark, “Kawawa naman si Lord” in a recent meeting with the Speaker in Malacañang.
His spokesperson said the President wished to see the deal fulfilled but would not meddle if Velasco could not produce the numbers.
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