World Newsletter

PHILIPPINES NEWS
3 March 2020

CAYETANO OPPONENTS LOSE KEY HOUSE POSTS

MANILA — A minor revamp has been implemented in the House of
Representatives, just days after Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano revealed an
alleged plot to oust him, as three officials close to his perceived
successor were removed from their posts.
Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, who is closely identified with Davao City
Mayor Sara Duterte, was removed as chairman of the powerful House
appropriations committee and replaced by neophyte Rep. Eric Go Yap of
party-list ACT-CIS.
Yap, former chairman of the House committee on games and amusement, is a
close friend of Sara’s brother, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte. Abra Rep.
Joseph Bernos will take over Yap’s committee.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon – a close ally and confidant of
speaker-in-waiting Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque – was also removed
as chairman of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
Leachon was replaced by fellow lawyer Rep. Ron Salo of party-list Kabayan,
who previously chaired the House committee on public information. Salo now
leads the nine-member tribunal that resolves and settles electoral protests
among congressmen.
In reaction, Ungab said, “I believe that the only guide to a man is his
conscience, and the truth will always prevail no matter what. I have served
my country and people well to the utmost of my ability. I accept my fate and
so be it.”
Leachon, in a separate statement, said, “I will always be mighty proud of my
actions as I was raised and taught that there is never a wrong time in doing
the right thing. They can rob and take away all of our positions, especially
from PDP-Laban, but we’ll never bow down to this masked leadership of
tyranny. It will always be a nice feeling putting a hard fight for a friend
and our cause.”


NEW CONCURRENT RESOLUTION URGING NTC TO EXTEND ABS-CBN FRANCHISE FILED IN SENATE

9 senators back new resolution
MANILA (UPDATE) - A new concurrent resolution urging the National
Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to allow ABS-CBN Corp to operate while
Congress is still finalizing its franchise renewal bid was filed in the
Senate on Monday.
There is "an urgent need" for the NTC should issue a provisional authority
for ABS-CBN Corp "to operate under the terms of its existing franchise
pending final determination of the renewal" of its license to operate,
according to Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 7.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel
Zubiri, senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Sherwin Gatchalian, Lito Lapid,
Manny Pacquiao, Grace Poe and Joel Villanueva authored the resolution.
"The non-renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise will result in the loss of thousands
of jobs as the network has over 11,000 employees," the resolution read.
"The removal of a market leader such as ABS-CBN would have a significant
impact, not only on competition within the broadcasting industry, but also
on the economy as a whole," it said.
The resolution noted that GMA 7, TV5 and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of
the Philippines "were allowed to operate under the terms of their existing
franchise even after its lapse and pending renewal."
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier filed a similar concurrent
resolution, and a separate joint resolution seeking to extend ABS-CBN's
franchise until December 31, 2022.


PALACE DEFENDS DUTERTE’S POLL SPENDING

MANILA — Malacañang denied yesterday that President Duterte violated
election spending rules in 2016 as it dismissed Kontra Daya’s allegation as
mere speculation.
“(The President) has not violated any law and he will not. He enforces the
law. He is number one among those who are against violators. How can he
violate the law?” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a chance
interview.
Panelo said Duterte is open to an investigation on the allegation that he
overspent during the campaign.
“Every time he’s being accused, he would say, file charges if what you are
saying is true,” Panelo said.
Panelo said some of the money spent by the Duterte campaign team for
commercials were donations.
“When you’re running for any position, there are friends and supporters who
contribute… who pay for your advertisements – they like him,” the Palace
official said.
The poll watchdog Kontra Daya urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec)
yesterday to investigate Duterte’s campaign spending in the 2016 polls,
saying it now appears that he is the “bigger fish to fry” based on the
commercial spots his camp bought from ABS-CBN network.


DAVAO CITY REP. UNGAB OUT AS HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIR

MANILA - The one-time bet of Paolo and Inday Sara Duterte for the House
Speakership of the 18th Congress was unseated Monday as chair of the
powerful House Committee on Appropriations amid talks of a looming coup
against Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab was replaced by ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap, upon the
approval by the full House of the nomination made by Senior Deputy Majority
Leader Jesus Crispin Remulla.
Yap, an ally of Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte in the National Unity Party,
assumes chairmanship of the committee that prepares the annual national
budget.
Rep. Joseph Sto. Nino Bernos, meanwhile, takes over the chairmanship of the
Games and Amusements Committee which Yap used to head.
In a press conference, Yap said he had no prior knowledge about the changes
and was only informed when he arrived at the House of Representatives on
Monday.
Yap, who was part of the bicam in the 2020 budget, said he did not get to
talk to Ungab and had not seen him yet.
“Wala ako idea ano nangyari. Hindi kasi ako active sa news. Kanina,
pagkapunta ko, kinausap ako ni Speaker tungkol sa trabaho, sa
responsibility... Siyempre, kumbaga ako, nagtatrabaho lang dito. Kung ano
naman i-utos sa akin, gagawin ko lang po," he said.
Yap said even Rep. Duterte, whom he confirmed as his friend, was surprised
by the development. But he said he doesn't think his close relations with
the presidential son was what got him the job.
Rep. Duterte doesn't meddle in politics as the president's son just attends
to work, Yap said.


'UNACCEPTABLE': SARA DUTERTE'S PARTY BLASTS ALLY'S OUSTER FROM KEY HOUSE
POST

MANILA - The regional party of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is
credited for orchestrating a House coup that toppled its leader, said
Tuesday that the removal of its member from a key post was "unacceptable"
and "disadvantageous."
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano was earlier quoted as saying that Davao City 3rd
District Rep. Isidro Ungab was removed as chairperson of the House
appropriations committee because the latter was "more interested in
intrigues" than working with him.
Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which Duterte-Carpio chairs, "strongly condemns" the
Ungab's chairmanship removal, the party said.
"For HNP, the ouster of Ungab was grossly unacceptable as it is
disadvantageous to the Duterte administration’s reform agenda for the
Filipino people and the country," Hugpong said in a statement.
Hugpong said Ungab is "a good soldier" of the President who did his job
"with pride and principle."
Duterte-Carpio declined to comment on Ungab's ouster.
"I can only comment on our full support to congressman Ungab," she said.
She also said she had no knowledge of any coup attempt to kick out Cayetano
from power. "Wala akong personal knowledge of any coup attempt," she said.
Ungab lost his committee post after Cayetano accused another lawmaker,
Marinduque Rep. Allan Lord Velasco, of attempting to grab the House's top
post, which the latter denied.


SACKED MALL GUARD HOLDS DOZENS HOSTAGE; 1 HURT

MANILA — A man was shot and at least 30 people were held hostage yesterday
by a disgruntled security guard who was fired from work at a mall in
Greenhills, San Juan City.
The hostage-taker, Archie Paray, former security guard of V Mall, shot one
of the guards as he entered its administration office on the second floor,
according to Mayor Francis Zamora.
Paray was armed with a gun and grenades, Zamora, who served as one of the
negotiators, said.
“He was upset after he was fired from his job. He wanted to get the other
guards to join him for some sort of coup against the mall management,”
Zamora.
The victim was taken to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center where he is in
stable condition.
Zamora said the suspect was sacked by Safeguard Armor Security Corp.
(Sascor), which provides security for the mall.
The mayor said the hostage-taker demanded an audience with fellow guards and
the media.
A Special Weapons and Tactics team entered the four-story mall, which has
more than 100 outlets. Shoppers were evacuated and a security cordon
established around the area.
The mall had been placed on lockdown following the hostage-taking incident.
According to the Greenhills shopping center management, most of the hostages
were mall employees and vendors.
“Our priority is to ensure the safety of the employees and of the public,”
the management said in a statement.
Col. Orlando Yebra of the Eastern Police District said the suspect had gone
on absence without leave for two weeks.
Fernando Solina, head of Greenhills corporate safety, clarified that Paray
was not sacked.
Paray was dismayed that he had to be transferred to another post, Solina
said.
In a video call aired in public by security officials of Greenhills shopping
center, Paray accused Sascor officials of corruption.
The officials of the security agency resigned from their posts yesterday and
apoligized to Paray.
They are Sascor field officer Henry Tuason, mall security coordinator
Salvador Capadocia, assistant director Frederick Salvador, general manager
Oscar Hernandez, operations director Villamor Luis Jr. and Solina.
Paray released the hostages after authorities complied with his demands.
He walked out of the mall together with the hostages.


WORKERS GROUP URGES PROBE INTO DISGRUNTLED GUARD'S ALLEGATIONS VS SECURITY
AGENCY

MANILA — A labor group called on the government to look into issues raised
by a disgruntled security guard who held hostage dozens of people at a mall
on Monday.
Thadeus Ifurung, Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson, urged Labor Secretary
Silvestre Bello III and San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora to look into and
shed light on Archie Paray’s grievances.
In a statement, Ifurung stressed that the workers’ group does not condone
Paray’s act of hostage taking, but it called on an investigation into “the
alleged mishandling of the security agency and the Greenhills management to
their personnel and supposed corruption in the company, alleged illegal
termination and inhumane working conditions inside their workplaces.”
The incident lasted 10 hours, with one guard shot and at least 30 people,
mostly employees and vendors of Greenhills shopping center, held hostage by
Paray, who is a former Safeguard Armor Security Corportation (SASCOR)
security guard.
Bello, in a phone patch interview with CNN Philippines, said he has already
directed Labor Undersecretary Ana Dione and DOLE’s NCR to “immediately
inspect that [security] agency.” The investigation will also cover the
"whole mall management, including occupationala and health standards," Bello
said.


26 TRAVELERS FROM S. KOREA VIRUS HOTBED ALL FOUND, QUARANTINE SET: DOH

MANILA — Authorities have traced all 26 travelers from the epicenter of
South Korea's coronavirus outbreak, who arrived in the Philippines last week
ahead of a travel ban, the health department said Tuesday.
One of the 26 Koreans from Daegu City, which accounts for the bulk of South
Korea's 4,000 virus cases, gave erroneous information on his whereabouts
which made it difficult for authorities to find him, said Health Assistant
Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
The foreigner was eventually found at a hotel in Cebu province. He and 7
other Koreans from Daegu will be quarantined at hotels there for 14 days,
Vergeire told DZMM.
Seventeen other travelers from Daegu have returned to South Korea, while
another was found in Angeles, Pampanga, north of the capital, she said.
"Wala pa hong nakakapagpakita ng signs and symptoms [ng sakit] sa kanila,"
added Vergeire.
The Philippines so far confirmed 3 cases of the disease, including one
death, all from Wuhan City in central China, where the virus was first
detected.


SUPREME COURT BANS SINGLE-USE PLASTICS IN ITS OFFICES

MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday announced that it has banned
unnecessary single-use plastics in its offices, as the high court works
toward turning the judiciary into a more environment-friendly government
branch.
The SC sent the memorandum through its Office of Administrative Services,
directing the implementation of the outright ban on single-use plastics in
its offices.
SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said that while there was no mention of
sanctions imposed on those who would not abide by the memorandum, it is
believed that taking care of the environment should be everyone’s concern.
“There is no sanction as per the memo… I guess when it comes to the
environment it is a given that we should help and protect it,” Hosaka said.


OVERWEIGHT COPS FACE RELIEF

MANILA — Overweight and obese police officers should be in shape as they
face relief due to their bulging waistlines, the Philippine National Police
(PNP) said yesterday.
The Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development (DHRDD) is
planning to sanction overweight policemen for less grave neglect of duty.
“At the end of every quarter, all overweight police personnel with
unsatisfactory compliance will be charged for less grave neglect of duty,”
DHRDD Maj. Gen. Amador Corpus told reporters at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Corpus said police officers who refuse to undergo body mass index
measurement would also face relief.
The sanctions range from withholding from privileges to suspension,
according to PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac.
PNP chief Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa has ordered obese police officers to
reduce weight to improve their health and image to the public.


NBA SCORES MARCH 1


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Bucks 52-8    26    19    25    23    93
team logo Hornets 21-39    20    23    25    17    85
SCORING LEADERSG. Antetokounmpo MIL
41 PTS, 20 REB, 6 AST
D. Graham CHA
17 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Mavericks 37-24    28    35    18    30    111
team logo Timberwolves 17-42    24    20    21    26    91
SCORING LEADERSK. Porzingis DAL
38 PTS, 13 REB, 4 AST
D. Russell MIN
16 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo 76ers 37-24    39    33    24    34    130
team logo Clippers 41-19    34    36    38    28    136
SCORING LEADERSS. Milton PHI
39 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST
K. Leonard LAC
30 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Pistons 20-42    31    20    19    30    100
team logo Kings 26-34    16    34    26    30    106
SCORING LEADERS
    C. Wood DET
20 PTS, 12 REB, 0 AST
    D. Fox SAC
23 PTS, 3 REB, 7 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Raptors 42-18    32    37    27    22    118
team logo Nuggets 41-19    40    33    27    33    133
SCORING LEADERSO. Anunoby TOR
32 PTS, 7 REB, 3 AST
N. Jokic DEN
23 PTS, 18 REB, 11 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Lakers 46-13    29    34    30    29    122
team logo Pelicans 26-34    33    28    34    19    114
SCORING LEADERSL. James LAL
34 PTS, 12 REB, 13 AST
Z. Williamson NO
35 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST


FINAL
    1    2    3    4    T
team logo Wizards 22-37    35    28    31    30    124
team logo Warriors 13-48    28    29    19    34    110
SCORING LEADERS
    B. Beal WAS
34 PTS, 2 REB, 8 AST
    A. Wiggins GS
27 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST

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