Faces of the News: Dec. 5, 2021 | Inquirer News
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Faces of the News: Dec. 5, 2021

/ 05:16 AM December 05, 2021
Faces of the News

NEWSMAKERS (from left): Alfonso Cusi, Philip Ella Juico, Vitaly Petrov, Chris Cuomo, and Bong Go. (Illustrations by RENE ELEVERA)

MANILA, Philippines — This week’s newsmakers are Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Patafa chief Philip Ella Juico, pole vault coach Vitaly Petrov, and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.

Bong Go

Less than a month after filing his candidacy for president, Sen. Bong Go changed his mind and announced his withdrawal. Go explained he does not want to make things difficult for President Rodrigo Duterte, who had promised to campaign for him.

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His family also objected to his plan, the senator added.

Duterte’s former aide was initially preparing to run for vice president under Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan when Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte preempted him, saying she is running for the same position.

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This prompted Duterte to urge Go to run for president instead under the hardly known Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan.

“I am willing to make the supreme sacrifice for the good of our country and for the sake of unity among our supporters,” the senator said.

He and Duterte will just support the presidential candidate who will continue the administration’s programs and prioritize the Filipinos’ welfare and interest.

As of this writing, however, Go has yet to appear before the Commission on Elections to formalize his withdrawal from the 2022 Palace race.

—JEROME ANING

Alfonso Cusi

Controversy continues to hound Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi following the Department of Energy’s approval of the Malampaya deal between the Dennis Uy-led Udenna Corp. and Chevron.

A graft complaint was lodged at the Office of the Ombudsman against him for allegedly favoring Udenna and ensuring that the conglomerate will bag the Malampaya sale.

Cusi lashed back by firing off libel suits against several media organizations that he claimed reported his role in the Malampaya transaction “with malice.”

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The think tank Infrawatch PH and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) have denounced Cusi’s move, calling the libel complaints baseless and a form of harassment meant to “intimidate and chill the press.”

“It is meant to say: be careful what you report next. It is the textbook definition of a chilling effect,” the NUJP said. Cusi, who also leads a faction of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, remains firm in his belief that the articles cited in his complaint damaged his “reputation and good standing in government.”

—KARL OCAMPO

Philip Ella Juico

Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Ella Juico said he is neither on a witch hunt nor in a place where he can coerce legendary coach Vitaly Petrov into saying he did not receive his professional fee from pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

In a statement, the Patafa chief said being in a different time zone from Petrov made it impossible for him to pressure the coach into doing anything.

And if there was anyone who was with Petrov in Italy, it was his ward Obiena, “probably 12 hours a day … with whom he goes hiking as (the athlete) announces on Facebook,” Juico added.

That Juico and Petrov were nowhere near each other means there was no way the Patafa head could have done the things the coach insinuated.

“How could I sustain an elaborate web of deception and lies [that even included National Olympic Committee of Ukraine president] Sergey Bubka,” Juico asked.

Contrary to Petrov’s story, Juico said the coach even asked him to report to Patafa about his case to help him recover his unpaid salary.

“Petrov knows the truth,” he maintained.

Vitaly Petrov

The legendary pole vault coach insists he never approached the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) to complain that the athlete EJ Obiena was late in paying his salary.

On the contrary, it was Patafa that “directly approached and heavily questioned him” about the matter. “It was initiated wholly by Philip Ella Juico.”

Petrov said, referring to Patafa’s head. The coach recalled that Juico threw him circuitous questions that he interpreted as an effort to smooth out the payment of his coaching fees.

“I now understand this was a focused mission to try and find fault with EJ,” he said. “I was tricked.”

Petrov said Juico and his former ward Sergey Bubka approached him in a manner which confused him. He was misled by their proactive questioning and was forced to answer the way Patafa wanted — ”to make EJ Obiena look like a criminal.”

The coach also stressed that not only had Obiena already paid him, the star athlete even gave him more than the owed amount. And that it was due to Patafa’s inefficiency that his salary sometimes came in late.

Chris Cuomo

CNN veteran anchor and correspondent Chris Cuomo has been suspended indefinitely for allegedly offering advice to his older brother, former New York state Governor Andrew, in connection with sexual misconduct allegations involving at least 11 women.

The network announced its decision after New York Attorney General Letitia James released voluminous transcripts from her investigation of the case, including interviews with Chris.

“The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions,” a CNN spokesperson said, adding that they “point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew.”

The brothers became very popular when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Chris’s interviews with Andrew on CNN had a light tone with a dash of sibling rivalry. And Andrew gave very clear explanations about New York’s efforts to fight the coronavirus.

“He’s my brother … If he wants me to hear something, I will. If he wants me to weigh in on something, I’ll try,” Chris once said about the counsel he had offered.

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TAGS: Alfonso Cusi, Bong Go, Chris Cuomo, Faces of the News, newsmakers, Philip Ella Juico, Vitaly Petrov
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