Faces of the News: September 5, 2021 | Inquirer News

Faces of the News: September 5, 2021

/ 05:06 AM September 05, 2021

Sen. Richard Gordon

Richard Gordon

Sen. Richard Gordon once again became the target of President Rodrigo Duterte’s rants last week, after the Senate blue ribbon committee which Gordon chairs uncovered the questionable transfer of P42 billion from the Department of Health to the budget department’s Procurement Service unit through then Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao, the president’s one-time election lawyer.

The committee also learned that Pharmally, a company with a capitalization of a mere P625,000, snagged P8.7 billion worth of contracts for pandemic response supplies. Gordon later showed a 2017 video clip of the President’s meeting with Pharmally officials.


The president lashed back by accusing Gordon of bullying resource persons in Senate hearings, even poking fun at his portly figure.


Duterte later grew more toxic by seeking a state audit of the Gordon-chaired Philippine Red Cross, a nongovernment entity.

In reply, the senator reminded Duterte that the legislature and the executive branch are coequals and that Congress would not abandon its mandate to scrutinize public spending.


Michael Yang

The name of ex-presidential economic adviser Yang Hongming, aka Michael Yang, recently cropped up and raised eyebrows at the Senate blue ribbon committee inquiry into the P8.7 billion worth of contracts awarded to a small, months-old firm, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

Yang was appointed Palace adviser despite his Chinese citizenship, and lawmakers now suspect that his closeness to the president allowed Pharmally to bag the hefty COVID-19 supply deals despite its mere capitalization of under a million pesos.

It was also revealed that the executives of Pharmally’s mother company are wanted in Taiwan for alleged fraud, embezzlement, and stock manipulation.

Senators have grown more curious after the president, despite insinuations of corruption involving Yang, continued to defend him, to the point of threatening the Senate and the Commission on Audit with noncooperation from the Palace and telling people not to believe in these institutions.


Still, the Senate committee is bent on summoning Yang, who has yet to publicly give his side and could not be located at his listed Philippine address.


Jose Mari Chan

It’s the season of Jose Mari Chan! His ubiquitous Yuletide hit “Christmas in our Hearts” has made the singer-songwriter a Filipino Christmas icon decades after the duet with daughter Liza was first released.

Chan is good-natured about his status as Mr. Christmas (and the countless memes that feature him) and is quick to say that the holidays shouldn’t be about him.

“It is not my season. This is the season of the baby Jesus. I am just the Little Drummer Boy,” he told the Inquirer in an interview last year.

The holidays are usually a whirlwind for Chan — with endless appearances and concerts — but that changed last year because of the pandemic.

The continuing lockdown means things might be quieter than usual again.

But Chan said: “It’s the meaning of Christmas that’s more important than all the trimmings. It’s Christmas in your heart, you know? So it’s not how much you own, how much you have, how many houses, how many cars you have. It’s the essence of love within your family. That, to me, is the real meaning of Christmas.”


LJ Reyes and Paolo Contis

LJ Reyes confirmed her “painful” and “difficult” breakup with her partner of six years, Paolo Contis. In an interview with Boy Abunda, Reyes alluded to money issues and infidelity.

Reyes said her priority remains the welfare of her kids, Aki, 11 (with Paulo Avelino) and Summer, 2 (with Contis).

Reyes took several seconds before answering rumors about a third party, saying that people would be able to figure it out even if she didn’t give a direct answer. She added, however, that friends had been telling her about certain “events” and “sightings” involving Contis.

The split had been brewing for several months, Reyes said, noting that Contis had been acting distant before it finally happened.

There were also “revelations” and “proof” about a side to Contis that she didn’t know before.

The Gawad Urian-winning actress and her kids now live with her mother in New York where they can start “healing” and “rebuilding.”

Reyes is willing to give up her acting career if it means shielding her kids from the “situation” here.


Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern faced a raging COVID-19 outbreak and a terror attack the past week.

On Aug. 17, Ardern locked down the country of five million people after a coronavirus case was detected in Auckland.

The Delta variant-driven surge grew to 782, but her “go hard, go early” strategy tamed the outbreak with new infections falling to 20 a day from a high of 84 in late August.

Except for outbreak epicenter Auckland, Ardern has eased health restrictions in the country on Aug. 31.

Then came the terror attack by an Islamic State-inspired Sri Lankan who had lived in New Zealand since 2011. The Islamist, who had been arrested several times over the years, was under surveillance when he ran amuck with a knife inside a supermarket, stabbing seven people and critically wounding three.

Ardern felt “gutted” by the incident since authorities had known the man to espouse and support violent Islamic ideologies.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

On Saturday, she vowed to push anti-terror legislation and have it enacted this month to discourage more attacks.

TAGS: LJ Reyes, Michael Yang, newsmakers

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.