Faces of the News
SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel
Two days before the body of missing South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo was found, he finally surfaced and turned himself in at the National Bureau of Investigation. After the Inquirer broke the story on the Oct.18 abduction of Jee from his home in Angeles City, Pampanga province, the police identified Sta. Isabel as one of the eight suspects. When the Philippine National Police could not account for him in Camp Crame, it ordered a manhunt for him. PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa raised the possibility that Sta. Isabel had a protector, one of the “narcogenerals” disclosed by President Duterte. Meanwhile, there were other suspects, including another Korean, and son of the owner of a car rental firm whose vehicle was used in the abduction, according to the PNP chief.
Hell hath no fury like a woman being taxed for beauty products and services. The Ako Bicol party-list lawmaker found this out as he backed down from his controversial proposal to tax what he described as a “multibillion-peso beauty industry.” He raised the idea of a vanity tax in place of the excise tax on petroleum products being pushed by the Duterte administration. But when faced with a backlash, including a social media campaign called “#DontTaxMyBeauty,” he blinked. He made the proposal in good faith, “but then we do realize from the sentiments that taxing beauty products would also adversely affect certain sectors, which according to some, would also deprive them of their basic happiness,” he said. He could have avoided all this if only he asked his wife first.
For the longest time, his province has been wracked by kidnappings. Under the Duterte administration, the Sulu governor has stayed under the radar, all the while negotiating the release of hostages with the Abu Sayyaf. His name resurfaced during the release of South Korean Capt. Park Chul-hong and his Filipino crewman Glenn Alindajao on Saturday. They were handed over by the al-Qaida-linked group to the Moro National Liberation Front, who in turn turned them over to officials of Jolo town, Sulu province. It was Tan who handed them over to Jesus Dureza, presidential peace adviser. How extensive is his role in the negotiations, and how much ransom money is changing hands? There had been persistent rumors that most of the freed hostages were ransomed off.
Juan Miguel Zubiri
He took the floor on Tuesday to protest Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ comments that he and another senator were out to whitewash the inquiry into the P50-million bribery scandal involving gambling tycoon Jack Lam and top immigration officials. But Trillanes reminded Zubiri that he resigned from the Senate in 2011 over charges of electoral fraud. Zubiri denied that he cheated, and lashed back at Trillanes about his role in the 2003 Oakwood mutiny. Trillanes answered that taking part in the mutiny was a badge of honor. The exchange became so heated that Zubiri told Trillanes that “If you pick a fight with me, I’ll fight. I did not become world champion in arnis for nothing.” In the end, after the proverbial cooler heads intervened, the two senators shook hands.
It has been a tough week for the officer in charge and general manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). On Monday, Orbos announced that at least five employees may be suspended for ignoring protocol when a fire destroyed three years’ worth of Commission on Audit records at the MMDA headquarters in Makati. Worse, neither the alarms nor the fire extinguishers in the building worked, an embarrassment for an agency that preaches public safety and disaster preparedness. And then on Friday, the MMDA chief heard a mouthful from Quezon City-bound commuters and motorists who were inconvenienced by the “zipper” or counterflow lane that the agency tested on a 2.5-km section of Edsa. The MMDA was forced to shelve the traffic measure.
Wesley So has been having the time of his chess career the past few days. The Filipino-American sensation has been making waves in the international scene, climbing up the world ranking with steady performances in the Tata Steel Masters Chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. So is currently leading the field, which features the best grandmasters in the world and continues to put his chess wizardry on full display. The result? Wesley watched his ELO rating rise to a personal best of 2819.4, the seventh-highest rating in history. Not only that, he has now climbed the rankings to be the No. 3 in the world, behind Magnus Carlsen (2843.4) and fellow US stalwart Fabiano Caruana (2827). So, what else is new with Wesley So?
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