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FRONT PAGE NEWS
4 March 2020

DUTERTE: US WANTS STRONGER DEFENSE TIES

MANILA — The United States has been trying to reach out to the Philippine
government for newer and stronger defense ties since President Duterte’s
abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) three weeks ago.
Emerging from a closed-door meeting with US Ambassador Sung Kim and
Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez last night at Malacañang, Duterte
again defended his move to terminate the two-decade old agreement.
Duterte said he reiterated to Kim that he needed to get things done with
regard to the VFA to prove a point that he is saving his country from the
scourge of illegal drugs.
“It came to a fore, yung alitan ko sa kanila. Tinanggal ko ang VFA, sila
naman ngayon ang lapit ng lapit (my tiff with them. I removed the VFA, now
they keep coming to me),” Duterte said in remarks last night at Malacañang
before newly sworn officials.
Kim was at Malacañang for his farewell call since he has been designated as
new US ambassador to Indonesia.
“I repeated, how could it be wrong? When can it be wrong? If I said, ‘do not
destroy my country I will kill you’. Who can debate with that? That is
preservation of my people,” Duterte said.
“If you destroy society, what will be left to us? We are poor… I told him,”
the President said.


CAYETANO BACKERS TO NAME NAMES IN HOUSE COUP TRY

MANILA - A lawmaker on Wednesday confirmed that some congressmen are
plotting to oust Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano from post, even using the
non-hearing of the ABS-CBN franchise application renewal as an issue.
"If you instigate a coup and it succeeded, iba 'yung storya. Ngayon, nahuli
ka ang sasabihin wala. Si Speaker mismo nagsabi at least 20 congressmen
confirmed personally, by text that there was a plot," Deputy Speaker for
Finance Luis Raymund Villafuerte said on ANC's Headstart.
Villafuerte said the coup plotters were offering chairmanship posts and
enticing colleagues to join them with additional budget.
"Meron, kasi may inofferan na: 'O majority leader sumama ka, o accounts
chairman sa'yo 'to. O, ikaw ma-reretain ka, o ito sa'yo.' In due time, we
will name them and members of Congress alam naman kung sino ang plotters,"
he said.


SARA DUTERTE, PULONG DISAGREE ON ABS-CBN FRANCHISE

MANILA — The children of President Duterte are apparently not on the same
page regarding the franchise renewal of broadcast giant ABS-CBN.
While Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has publicly supported the renewal of
the network’s 25-year franchise, her brother Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte
has silently opposed the measure seeking temporary extension of the
franchise in the House of Representatives.
The STAR learned that the representative of Davao City’s first district was
instrumental in blocking the proposition of some House members to come up
with a joint resolution extending the ABS-CBN franchise after expiration on
May 4.
At least two insiders revealed that almost 80 congressmen in the “super
majority” coalition already expressed support for the joint resolutions
filed by Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.
The resolutions sought to extend the franchise either until 2021 or 2022
while the House deliberates on the measure.
But most of those House members withdrew their support after Rep. Duterte
simply posted an emoticon in their Viber group indicating that he was
watching over them, according to the sources who requested anonymity.
“They saw it as official position not just of the House leadership but of
the President as well,” a member of the bloc bared to The STAR.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman earlier claimed that the resolution already had the
support of some 90 House members – both in the majority and minority blocs.


SENATORS EYE MEASURE TO 'STOP' POGOS AMID SPATE OF 'ILLICIT' ACTIVITIES

MANILA - Senators on Tuesday agreed to craft a measure that would declare as
"illegal" the business of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) after
incidents of Chinese-related money laundering, corruption and prostitution
were raised in the plenary.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked his colleagues to "consider"
the adoption of a concurrent resolution that would "stop" POGOs after Sen.
Richard Gordon delivered a privilege speech about crimes linked to either
Chinese nationals or the offshore gaming industry.
"These shenanigans that we see here all arise from the policy decision of
allowing online gaming operations to stay here... Should we allow the
operations of these POGOs with all the illicit activities that come with
it?" Drilon said.
"We should have all options on the table including passing legislation
declaring it as illegal," he said.
"The theory of the Chinese government is if it is illegal in my country,
then it should be illegal for Chinese citizens to do the illegal thing
outside its borders," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and opposition senators Risa
Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan backed Drilon's suggestion, noting that
even the Chinese foreign ministry earlier "welcomed" the government's
decision to temporarily halt the issuance of POGO licenses.
"I personally will be one with my colleagues if it will be the sense of the
Senate to clamp down on their compatriots because of their illegal
activities here," Zubiri said.
"I join the majority leader if there is a sense of the senate resolution, we
will support it," Pangilinan said.


DOH SEEKS P2-B CORONAVIRUS FUND AS MEDICAL SUPPLIES DEPLETE GLOBALLY

MANILA - The Department of Health is seeking some P2 billion funds in
preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as medical
supplies are rapidly depleting globally, its chief said Wednesday.
President Rodrigo Duterte has given his consent for the proposed
supplemental budget but it still needs the approval of Congress, Health
Secretary Francisco Duque said.
At least 2 lawmakers have filed measures for an additional P2 billion budget
for the DOH.
The agency, in the meantime, can use some P530 million allotted for medical
equipment by the Department of Budget and Management, Duque added.
"Nagkakaroon ng worldwide shortage, syempre inuuna nila (supplier) ngayon
kung saan may local transmission," he told radio DZMM.
"Pero sabi ko kailangan araw-arawan pukpukin natin ang supplier. Kailangan
ang demand natin mapagbigyan."
The agency is waiting for the delivery of some P95 million worth of personal
protective equipment for its health workers, Duque said.
"This is the time to do all massive preparation dahil wala pang mga pasyente
(because there are no patients yet)," he said.
The country has so far recorded 3 cases of the virus, all of whom were
travelers from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated. Of this figure,
2 have recovered and returned to their nation, while 1 died.
The Philippines has yet to report a local transmission of the virus, which
Duque attributed to the country's early response.


ACTIVISTS WHO FAILED TO GET PROTECTION FROM COURTS NOW FACING PERJURY
CHARGES

MANILA - Ten human rights defenders who initially sought but failed to
obtain protection from the courts against alleged threats and attacks from
government forces are now facing charges for allegedly lying in their own
petition.
Charged with perjury before a Quezon City metropolitan trial court were
Elisa Tita Lubi, Cristina Palabay, Roneo Clamor, Gabriela Krista Dalena,
Edita Burgos, Jose Mari Calleung and Wilfredo Ruazol of rights group
Karapatan.
Also charged were Joan May Salvador and Gertrudes Libang of Gabriela and Sr.
Emma Cupin, a 63-year-old nun who belongs to the Rural Missionaries of the
Philippines (RMP).
Lubi and Palabay are the chairperson and secretary general of Karapatan,
respectively, while Salvador is the secretary general of Gabriela. Burgos is
the mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos.
Eight of the 10 accused posted an P18,000-bail on Monday. Palabay and Cupin
are outside Metro Manila.


CHAMPION ROWING TEAM OF CANCER SURVIVORS ALSO BATTLES PLASTIC POLLUTION

CEBU — Living a full, inspiring life as a dragonboat team after a cancer
diagnosis is one feat that the Cebu Pink Paddlers have ticked off their “To
Do” list. But the ladies have taken on another challenge: Advocate and work
for cleaner waters.
When the team headed out to the Mactan Channel for their training early
Thursday morning, they did not only bring their paddles. They brought along
sacks and tongs to pick up trash floating in the waters too.
"We started the clean up drive last October 2019, in line with Breast Cancer
Month. We see a lot of garbage during our training so we thought that it’s
time to act and give back to the Mother Nature," Coach Christian Ian Sy
said.
On the first day that the Paddlers conducted their clean-up drive, the team
filled 21 sacks of trash.


WHAT MANNY PACQUIAO WANTS TO TELL SARAH G, MATTEO

MANILA -- Those angered by the overprotectiveness of Sarah Geronimo's
mother, Divine Geronimo, are not without reason.
But that does not mean that the pop star should echo this "hate" towards her
mom, according to Sen. Manny Pacquiao, as he was asked about the hot topic
in a radio interview this Tuesday.
Speaking on DZMM's "Dos Por Dos," Manny shared that he had a similar
experience with his own mother, Dionisia Pacquiao.
The senator recalled that his parents, back then, wanted him to marry
another woman, and not Jinkee, his now-wife.
This feud of theirs lasted until his wedding day with Jinkee, which Mommy
Dionisia defiantly decided to miss.
"Isa lang ang masasabi ko sa kanila --kahit ganun pa man iyong mga magulang
o mga biyenan ninyo ay mahalin ninyo," he said, talking to Sarah and her
husband, actor Matteo Guidicelli.
He advised them: "Huwag kayong magtanim ng galit kasi ang mga magulang ay
dapat minamahal at iniintindi."
Manny said that one of the best ways the couple could do to prove that they
made the right decision is to live a happy married life, before encouraging
them to have kids.
"Kung mag-aaway kayo at magiging magulo iyong pamilya ninyo, ang lalabas na
tama eh iyong magulang ninyo. So ipakita ninyo na karapat-dapat kayong
dalawa at masaya kayong dalawa hanggang sa magkaroon kayo ng anak," he said.
Manny and his wife Jinkee have been married since they were 19.
Manny also told Sarah's mother to just support the happiness of her child.
"Pagdating ng panahon ay ayaw mo ba magkaroon ng magandang pamilya iyong
anak mo?" he asked. "So suportahan na lang. At least nagmamahalan iyong
dalawa."


SARAH G'S FORMER BODYGUARD SETTLES FOR P200,000

MANILA – Jerry Tamara, the former closed-in security detail of Sarah
Geronimo, has agreed to settle and will not file any formal charges against
Matteo Guidicelli in exchange for P200,000.
This, after Tamara accused Guidicelli of punching him in the throat on the
night the actor secretly married Geronimo in Taguig City last February 20.
As seen in a video uploaded by Raffy Tulfo’s team, the radio host
accompanied Tamara to the Viva Entertainment office last February 26
supposedly to meet with the newlyweds and the company's founder and chairman
Vic del Rosario.
Upon their arrival at the Viva headquarters, del Rosario informed Tamara
that Guidicelli and Geronimo could not make it since the two were still in
the middle of their respective work commitments.
Tamara and Del Rosario then had a closed-door meeting where Geronimo’s
former bodyguard allegedly asked for a hefty amount of P1.5 million.
Tulfo reported that del Rosario made a counter offer of P100,000, which
Tamara refused.
According to Tulfo, Tamara was decided on settling the matter even without
any money involved as long as Guidicelli would apologize to him in the TV5
compound.
Tulfo then informed Tamara that this is highly improbable because Guidicelli
and Geronimo are both stars of ABS-CBN, which is a rival network.
In the same video, Tamara also revealed that Geronimo’s mother Divine told
him not to settle with Guidicelli.
“Dapat nasa proseso daw. 'Yung ginawa ni Sir Matteo, dapat panagutan ang
pangyayari at malinis ang pangalan,” he said.
When asked if Mrs. Geronimo has been dictating his decisions, Tamara said:
“Hindi po sir. Kusang loob ko talaga sir na pumunta sa inyo. Sa akin naman
sir, gusto ko naman talaga maayos na para wala ng gulo. Gusto ko rin
makaharap sila Ma’am Sarah at Sir Matteo talaga.”
No agreement was reached on February 26, but Tulfo was informed by Viva’s
Jay Montelibano two days later that Tamara had already accepted an amount of
P200,000 as a settlement.


NBA SCORES MARCH 2


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Jazz 38-22    31    28    35    32    126
team logo Cavaliers 17-44    25    26    31    31    113
SCORING LEADERSB. Bogdanovic UTA
28 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST
C. Sexton CLE
32 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Trail Blazers 27-35    35    34    23    38    130
team logo Magic 27-34    28    30    30    19    107
SCORING LEADERSC. McCollum POR
41 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST
N. Vucevic ORL
30 PTS, 11 REB, 2 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Rockets 39-21    31    32    28    32    123
team logo Knicks 19-42    36    37    28    24    125
SCORING LEADERSJ. Harden HOU
35 PTS, 2 REB, 8 AST
R. Barrett NY
27 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Bucks 52-9    26    26    18    19    89
team logo Heat 39-22    31    22    28    24    105
SCORING LEADERSB. Lopez MIL
21 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST
J. Butler MIA
18 PTS, 6 REB, 7 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Grizzlies 30-31    24    28    32    43    127
team logo Hawks 19-44    23    26    19    20    88
SCORING LEADERSG. Dieng MEM
17 PTS, 10 REB, 1 AST
T. Young ATL
19 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Mavericks 37-25    29    29    17    32    107
team logo Bulls 21-40    19    29    33    28    109
SCORING LEADERST. Hardaway Jr. DAL
26 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST
C. White CHI
19 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Pacers 37-24    26    40    26    24    116
team logo Spurs 25-34    34    23    27    27    111
SCORING LEADERSM. Brogdon IND
26 PTS, 6 REB, 7 AST
P. Mills SA
24 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST

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