Faces of the news
Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa
Netizens had a field day spoofing the Philippine National Police chief this week, with such memes as “Kwarta na, naging Bato pa,” on the heels of his candid announcement that PNP officials were getting from P50,000 to P400,000 in Christmas bonuses from President Duterte. “Do not ask where the money came from,” he advised them, but soon everybody else was asking. The next day, Malacañang scrambled to explain away the controversy, with presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella denying the bonus and saying it wasn’t forthcoming at all. But a police official admitted claiming the cash gift on the same day that Dela Rosa made the announcement. Not quite the kind of bang that Dela Rosa would want to end 2016 with.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II couldn’t be more blunt: He can’t work with Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, he said, following the bribery-extortion scandal involving online gambling tycoon Jack Lam and some immigration officials. Aguirre said Morente was running the bureau like his fiefdom, despite it being under the Department of Justice. He said Morente should go the way of bureau intelligence chief, Charles Calima, whom he had ordered terminated for allegedly accepting P18 million of the P50 million that Lam had offered two immigration officials, reportedly for the release of 1,316 Chinese nationals found illegally working at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.
For weeks, there has been a lot of quibbling over her planned visit to the country to investigate the extrajudicial killings linked to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs. The government had set three conditions for the visit of the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions: first, she must engage the President in a debate before the media; second, Mr. Duterte could ask her questions, and lastly, she has to take an oath to confirm her intention to be truthful. Describing the terms as inconsistent with the special rapporteurs’ code of conduct, Callamard rejected them, but said she was open to a joint press conference with the President. The visit might not push through if she refuses to abide by the terms.
Solicitor General Jose Calida
Show me yours, I’ll show you mine, so dared the official, referring to Sen. Leila de Lima and their bar exam scores. De Lima had earlier described Calida as having an “empty skull,” in response to him calling her “Public Enemy No. 1” for scoring the spate of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and users under the Duterte administration. Whoever had a lower grade in criminal law in the bar exams should resign, he said. “What a foolish challenge!” said De Lima who ranked 8th in the 1985 bar exam. Calida passed the 1973 bar exams with a perfect score in criminal law.
Katchry Jewel Golbin
She dreamed the dream, and she’s living it. For this Capiz native who loves singing and learned French in college because she idolized French singer Edith Piaf, joining the “France Got Talent” show was a feat in itself. More than that, she wowed the judges with her soulful rendition of Les Misérables’ “I Dreamed a Dream,” which landed her third among 12 finalists in the 11th season of the show. “Making it to a French talent show’s grand finale is beyond my wildest dreams,” said the 26-year-old Golbin, who was born premature and blind.
A world title may not be too far-fetched for Wesley So as the chess whiz captured the overall crown in the 2016 Grand Chess Tour. Too bad he won it for the United States, the country he now represents since shifting allegiance two years ago due to the Philippine sports agencies’ meager support. In a victory he described as his “best achievement ever,” the 23-year-old So amassed a runaway total of 36.0 points in the four-leg, country-hopping tournament that gathers the world’s best woodpushers. The Cavite-born grandmaster won a total prize of $295,000.
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