Faces of the News: April 11, 2021 | Inquirer News

Faces of the News: April 11, 2021

/ 05:18 AM April 11, 2021

Alexander Gesmundo

Alexander Gesmundo will have his hands full after being chosen by President Rodrigo Duterte as the 27th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

His assumption of the country’s highest judicial office comes at a time when the tribunal is being pressed to address rising human rights abuses and acts of violence targeting judges and lawyers.

A product of the Ateneo Law School, he will be steering the 15-member tribunal as it navigates the legal issues raised against the Anti-Terrorism Act.


The newly appointed chief magistrate will also have to deal with the perception that the high court — now with 11 Duterte appointees — is leaning in the President’s favor, especially after it rejected a petition calling for a public disclosure of his health condition.


Gesmundo, whom the President appointed to the high court in 2017, will reach the mandatory retirement age in November 2026.

He can potentially become the longest-serving Chief Justice since Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was unceremoniously unseated via a quo warranto petition in 2018.

—Marlon Ramos

Delfin Lorenzana

“Umalis na kayo diyan (Just leave)!” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana minced no words in protesting the presence of more than 200 Chinese “maritime militia vessels” swarming the Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef that lies within the country’s exclusive economic zone.

Even after the Department of Foreign Affairs lodged a diplomatic protest against China, the Chinese Embassy insisted that those were civilian vessels on traditional fishing ground in the Nansha Islands (the name China gave to the Spratly Islands).

The embassy also claimed that the fishing boats were just taking shelter from bad weather. Unfazed, Lorenzana said that the Chinese government should stop fooling the Philippines, accusing it of making maneuvers to occupy more maritime features in the West Philippine Sea and repeat what it did years earlier at Panganiban Reef and Panatag Shoal.

Several countries including the United States have expressed alarm over Chinese incursions in the South China Sea and have asked Beijing to curb its expansionist behavior.

—Jeannette I. Andrade

Pork sellers

When the Department of Agriculture (DA) announced the first outbreak of African swine fever in the country, industry players knew it meant dark days ahead. Three years since then, the number of pigs raised in farms across the country has dropped to its lowest in two decades, while the price of pork rose by as much as 50 percent.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s solution was to slash pork tariffs and increase import volume and allow the entry of more imported frozen pork.

Critics argue that these policies will translate to more profits for importers but without concrete benefits to consumers and local raisers.

For meat resellers, this entailed acquiring freezers, observing stricter biosecurity measures, and following the new price points implemented by the DA.

Backyard raisers and lawmakers cannot help but ask: if the government failed to discipline these importers before for not following protocols, what would change now? Once the country begins to rely on imported pork, what happens to the local industry?

The DA has to allay the fears of hog raisers before they completely abandon their farms.

—Karl R. Ocampo

Prince Philip

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was the “second handshake” — serving a supporting role to his wife, Queen Elizabeth II as she modernized the Royal family and steered it through crises.

In private, he was ”a devoted husband and a proud and loving father, grandfather and, great-grandfather,” according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Greek prince Philippos Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg-Glucksburg was born on June 10, 1921. He married his third cousin, then Princess Elizabeth, at Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947, five years before she became queen. He left behind a promising military career in the Royal Navy.

For the next 73 years, Prince Philip stood beside Elizabeth, who saw him as “my strength and stay all these years.” They had four children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and Princes Andrew and Edward.

He was tough and frank, and had no patience for foolishness and indecisiveness. Weeks after treatment for a heart condition and an infection, Philip died in Windsor Castle on Friday, two months before his 100th birthday.

Mike Defensor

Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor said his bout with COVID-19 ended after taking “human-grade” ivermectin. Defensor narrated his story in a House hearing and later announced that he was giving away the medicine for free to Quezon City residents.

More than pundits raising eyebrows over his choice of beneficiaries, alarmed doctors warned that ivermectin has not yet undergone clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19. Besides, only veterinary-grade ivermectin is allowed to be sold in the country.

The doctors added that even US agencies note that ivermectin is an antiparasitic and more studies are needed to see its efficacy against the coronavirus.

The Philippine Medical Association warned its members they could be disciplined for unethical behavior if they prescribe the drug for COVID-19 treatment.

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Still, Defensor persisted and even warned the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration of a plan to file a case of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide against them, citing the more than 13,000 deaths so far due to COVID-19.

—Cathy Cañares Yamsuan
TAGS: Delfin Lorenzana, Mike Defensor, newsmakers, Prince Philip

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