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Senior advocate bows out

Published in Editorial & Other Articles

Upside by Cherie

Aurea Cruz concludes her 12-year service on the Commission on Aging with commendation from County Supervisor David Canep0, who also lauded  Sandra Lang (seated behind Cruz) for  her 12-year service.  (Photo by CHERIE M. QUEROL MORENO)


San Mateo County Commission on Aging, the board advising the Board of Supervisors on issues facing the county’s older residents, said goodbye to its longest serving Filipino American member last month.

Aurea Ocampo Cruz completed 12 years on the 17-member  volunteer body dedicated to addressing matters promoting the safety, dignity, inclusion and engagement of seniors. Among the topics regularly discussed at monthly general meetings and regular committee sessions are resource access, transportation, housing, health care and adult and dependent abuse.

“I joined the CoA in 2006 to give voice to our underserved residents, especially in North County, where I live,” said the resident of San Pedro Commons in Colma. “Adult abuse prevention is my passion and I’m honored to have contributed to the dissemination of information that has educated many about the different forms of hidden abuse, like neglect and economic control.”

Cruz, 86, brought her forthrightness to meetings, always speaking up to share observations from her community activities or to thank a guest speaker.


“I’ve been a commissioner through six chairpersons,” said the former head of the Human Resources Managers Association of the Philippines who rarely missed a meeting.  If she was absent from the second Monday gatherings at Room 100 of the San Mateo County Health Systems complex on 225 37th Avenue, she was most likely halfway around the world visiting family in the Philippines or her grandchildren in Australia.

“Ate Auring,” as protégées called her, modeled the self-sufficiency  her commission aims to inspire and foster. She would commute by Samtrans to and from meetings garbed in the latest fashion, accessories carefully picked to match.

She welcomed new commissioners, taking fellow Filipino Americans like Walter Batara, Elsa Agasid, and, before she resigned to return to full-time work, Marissa Robles, under her wing.

For her “dedication to help promote programs to vastly help the lives of older Americans,” County Supervisor David Canepa commended Cruz at her final meeting. Canepa also commended Commissioner Sandra Lang who completed 12 years of service as well.

“Don’t be surprised to see me at CoA meetings among public attendees,” Cruz told this writer. For sure she will take the mic and have a thought to expound.

Meanwhile she will continue presiding over the Legion of Mary at Holy Angels Parish in Daly City and assisting clergy and sisters to who she is a surrogate aunt.  She looks forward to spending quality time with her husband Ross.


Cruz and Lang’s retirement has opened vacancies on the CoA.  Applicants must live in San Mateo County, be at  least 21 years old and available to attend daytime meetings. To apply, visit

Cherie M. Querol Moreno is an award-winning journalist, community educator and volunteer.  She is in her third term as Commissioner on the San Mateo County Commission on Aging.

Pacquiao ready to claim a champ's belt again

Published in Sports

By EDDIE G. ALINEA, Sports Editor & Columnist


FIGHTING SENATOR Manny Pacquiao punishes the heavy bag after a grueling 12 rounds of sparring at the Pacman Wildcard Gym in General Santos City Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — All the bases have been covered.


This,  Filipino boxing pride Manny Paquiao assured as he prepares himself to put the curtains down on his General Santos training camp starting Monday, exactly a week before departing to Kuala Lumpur for his World Boxing Association welterweight title date with champion Lucas Matthysse.   


The Filipino fighting senator is seeking to retake  his place in the elite list of world champions when he collides heads on with Matthysse for the Argentine’s 147-pound belt on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in that Malaysian capital.        


“After spending the past two-and-a-half months in the camp, running the road, sparring and working the mitts, heavy bag, speed ball, etc., I believe we’ve covered everything there is to cover to prepare for this coming fight,” Pacquiao said after completing another rigid grind on Saturday at the Pacman Wild Card Gym here.


To chief trainer Buboy Fernandez’s projection, his ward and boyhood pal is already 95 percent prepared to fight and can, in fact, lace his fighting gloves anytime this week.


“Ang problema lang ay ang pigilang magkaroon si Manny ng sakit like ubo, sipon at lagnat. Otherwise, what we tried to  achieve when we opened the camp has all been achieved,” Buboy said.      


“Yeah, I feel I’m ready to again climb the ring after a year’s absence following my last fight a year ago,” the Pamabansang Kamao declared after working a heavy 12-round sparring with three dancing partners.  


Assigned the task of getting Pacquiao competitive form were Australian world-ranked lightweight George Kambosos Jr., Philippine junior welterweight champ Jerich Chavez and middleweight Arnel Tinampay.


The eight-division champion last fought July 2017 in Brisbane, Australia where he was dethroned of his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt  by former public school teacher Jeff Horn via a controversial unanimous decision.     


This week’s training schedule starts Monday with very light gym activities highlighted by a 10-round job with the mitts with Buboy.


A slightly heavier regimen awaits Pacquiao on Tuesday when he resumes sparring with his three mates for 10 rounds, two rounds less than the 12 he worked Saturday.


What could be the last of his heavy load comes Wednesday when he tries to  complete a hard 10-set plyometric exercise program which, according to strength and conditioning guru Justin Fortune, is a  45-minute energy-sapping procedure.


“Everything from there would be relatively easy,” Justin assured. “Yeah, there’s  still eight-round and probably six-round skirmishes on Thursday and Saturday but those are only routine.”


Pacquiao and his team that will include his staff, his and wife Jinkee’s families, congressional allies, friends and supporters leaveMonday afternoon next week for Kuala Lumpur.


Buboy and Fortune said a short four-round sparring can be scheduled Monday morning depending on Pacquiao’s wish. (Eddie G Alinea/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Published in Headline
SC orders President to answer petition of former lawyer in San Francisco, NY

By ALFRED GABOT, Editor in Chief



MANILA — Despite being popular among Filipinos on his second year in office, President Rodrigo Duterte is facing “ouster” plots from several fronts, one in the Supreme Court, the other allegedly by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the other by the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front and opposition groups.


The communist rebels were plotting since 2017 to oust President  Duterte by October this year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed.


In a statement, Lorenzana said during the unilateral ceasefire from 2016 to January 2017, the CPP-NPA-NDF called a People’s Congress during which they created a three-year plan that included the ouster of Duterte if he rejected a coalition government.


The CBCP has also been accused of allegedly plotting to overthrow the Duterte administration but this was vehemently denied by the bishops. 


"It is just a fabrication that came out of somewhere. It cannot come from the church. I can assure you of that," said Imus Bishop Rey Evangelista, head of the conference's public affairs office. 


After seeing the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno by the High Court via a quo warranto petition, Duterte himself is facing a similar ouster attempt also by a quo warranto petition filed by an international lawyer, Elly Velez Pamatong, who once had a good practice in New York and in San Francisco, California.


Acting on Pamatong’s petition, the High Tribunal ordered Mr Duterte to answer the petition even as  Malacañang brushed off the case by Pamatong, a former classmate of the late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago in the University of the Philippines College of Law who had filed filed certificates of candidacy for president himself before the Commission on Elections.


In his five-page petition, Pamatong accused Duterte of usurping the powers of the chief executive as a consequence of an allegedly illegal certificate of candidacy (COC) for the 2016 polls.


Duterte, saying it is nothing but a nuisance case.


Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, himself an international lawyer, said Pamatong’s petition was nothing but “a nuisance case.”


“Everybody has the right to file cases,” Roque said, adding that since they respect the judiciary, they will answer the petition against the President.


“Well, as you all know, everybody has the right to file cases, and for our part, we respect the judiciary. Of course the President will answer the complaint to prove the petition will not hold water,” Roque said during a media briefing.


Pamatong’s petition before the Supreme Court  is not within the jurisdiction of the High Court because the president is an elected official, Roque  added.

Roque said “it is very clear that all controversies involving the President should be lodged before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).”


“And since it was not filed before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, it is clear nobody has jurisdiction over it,” Roque pointed out.


The Presidential spokesman also clarified that the case of former Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno is different because the chief justice is not an elected official compared to the President, who has the mandate of the people.


“It is very easy to dispute the allegations,” Roque said.


Pamatong in his petition alleged the certificate of candidacy of Mr. Duterte during the 2016 presidential elections was illegal.


The Supreme Court (SC) issued an order during its June 26 en banc session, directing the President to comment on Pamatong’s plea and gave Duterte 10 days from receipt of the order to reply.


In his petition, Pamatong, who hails from Mindanao like the President, questioned Duterte’s authority to hold the position of president in the SC petition.


Pamatong lost in the presidential races in 2004 and 2010 and called Mr. Duterte a usurper because the certificate of candidacy (CoC) he (Duterte) filed in 2015 was not allowed by law.


The petition stated that prior to the elections on May 9, 2016, Duterte withdrew his CoC for mayor in Davao City and filed another CoC for a new position or for the Presidency.


The former mayor for 23 years of Davao City eventually won the presidential election with six million votes margin over his closest rival in the May 2016 polls.


Pamatong argued that under the law, a candidate who withdraws his CoC for one position, cannot thereafter file a CoC for another position.


But in his petition for quo warranto, Pamatong did not state what law he was referring to.


Those who may file a quo warranto under the Rules of Court are the Solicitor General, public prosecutors and a person claiming the usurped public office or position, and Pamatong is not one of them.


President Duterte became a substitute candidate of PDP-Laban partymate Martin Diño who is now undersecretary for barangay affairs of the Department of Interior and Local Government.


Pamatong also alleged that Duterte’s CoC was filed late and that it was never approved by the Comelec (Commission on Elections).

Chinese cruise port to connect with Subic Bay

Published in Travel




Delegates from the Zhoushan International Cruise Port and the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism, as well as officials of cruise lines and travel agencies, pose with SBMA officials during a courtesy call at the SBMA office on Monday.


SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Plans are afoot to connect the Subic Bay Freeport, an emerging cruise ship destination in Southeast Asia, to the Zhoushan International Cruise Port (ZICP), which is one of the five major cruise ports in China today.


According to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, Zhoushan port authorities, cruise line executives, travel agents, and representatives from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism visited here on Monday to look into prospects of connecting ZICP with Subic, along with Clark International Airport.


“ZICP targets more than 200 international cruises every year after opening their cruise port in 2014,” Eisma said. “Now they are looking at Subic Bay as their next target.”


She added that it would be logical for ZICP to connect with the Port of Subic “because the Subic Bay area is getting to be a popular cruise ship destination for Chinese tourists.”


Zhoushan, which is located in China’s Zhejiang province, is the only archipelago city in China and is considered the gateway to East China Sea.


Since its opening in October 2014, the ZICP became a departure point for cruises to Taiwan and other Asian destinations. Phase 1 of the ZICP development involved reclaiming land from the sea and building a berth for megaships. Total investment to date is reported at around $74 million.


Eisma said Subic could gain much from the proposed connection, as the Chinese cruise industry is expected to become bigger in the years to come.


“The link between Zhoushan and Subic would be mutually beneficial, since both areas have great offerings for cruise ship passengers and the potential to serve as jump-off points for other destinations in the region,” Eisma said.


“This could be the start of our version of a maritime silk road here,” she added.


At least 20 cruise ship arrivals have been calendared in Subic for this year, and some bookings have been made for 2019 and 2020. These include three arrivals each for the month of June, July and August this year.


Eisma said that another giant Royal Caribbean vessel, the Voyager of the Seas, has been scheduled to arrive here in August. Its sister ship, the Ovation of the Seas, which is the biggest cruise ship in operation in Asia, has called at the Port of Subic last June 8. (30)

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