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Philippines Today


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(Photo from Manila Bulletin)


MANILA – Citizens, although they widely support President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, have started to get angry as more people, including young students and teenagers who are perceived to be innocent, are killed by police operatives in their operations.


Manila Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the head of the Philippines' powerful Catholic Church,  for one, called for an end to what he described as "waste of human lives" following a brutal week in President Duterte's drug war in which 60 people died in a day of police operatives alone, including Kian delos Santos, a 17-year-old student in CalooCan City.


Youth groups, human rights organizations and religious communities trooped to EDSA People Power Monument in Quezon City on August 21 – the 34th anniversary of the murder of senator Ninoy Aquino – to call for an end to killings in the country.


“Sigaw ng taumbayan: itigil ang patayan!” they chanted during the protest dubbed “Himagsikan #JusticeForKian.”


US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim joined the chorus of calls for accountability over the anti-drug operation that claimed the life of Kian Lloyd Delos Santos. 


"My condolences go out to the family and friends of Kian. Hope that the investigations lead to full accountability," Kim wrote on Twitter. 


At the tomb of his father in Paranaque City, former President Benigno S. Aquino III also called for end to killings as he likened them to martial law during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos.


The Senate whose majority members are allies of President Duterte, meanwhile, assailed the killing of Kian and joined the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Justice in investigating the killing.


The Grade 11 student whose mother has been working in Saudi Arabia was shot dead last Wednesday, August 16, when he allegedly resisted arrest in Barangay 160, Caloocan City. Witnesses, however, claimed the teenager was mauled by policemen, given a gun and told to run before he was shot. The witnesses’ claims were supported by a CCTV recording of an unarmed Kian being waylaid by policemen after he was collared.


The public outrage triggered by the killing of Kian prompted President Duterte to call for an investigation over the manner by which Kian was killed at the hands of police officers who executed an anti-drug operation.


“Should the investigation point to liabilities by one, two, or all, there will be a prosecution and they have to go to jail,” President Duterte declared at a Malacañang guest house press conference hastily called for that purpose.


The Delos Santos family has initiated a move to file a murder complaint in the wake of autopsy findings by the Public Attorney’s Office that Kian succumbed to three gunshot wounds, each of which could have been fatal.


Three police officers identified to be behind the arrest and killing of Kian were ordered arrested by Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.


The three policemen were identified as Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officers 1 Jeremias Pereda and Jerwin Cruz.


Surveillance footage showed 2 officers accompanying Kian Delos Santos to the spot where the boy was killed. Witnesses alleged that the police beat up the victim, gave him a gun by force, and told the teener to run for his life and thereupon was shot at least three times.


Duterte said there could have been abuses in his government's war on drugs and ordered the police to take custody of officers who were involved in the killing of Kian Lloyd delos Santos.


In a hastily called news conference at the Presidential Guest House, Duterte said he would not condone abuses and the police officers would have to face the consequences of their actions if that is the recommendation of a formal investigation.


"There is a possibility that in some of police incidents there could be abuses. I admit that," Duterte said.


Duterte said he called up the national police chief after seeing footage from a CCTV camera showing plain clothes police dragging the boy, who was later found dead after what official reports described as gunfight in a sting operation.


He said he would abide by the results of an investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). "If the NBI says we file charges of murder, sorry to the policemen concerned," he said.


"You have to face the justice system. They have to go to jail if convicted," he said.


He said there are some rogue elements in the police that were destroying the image of the government.


"These abusive police officers are destroying the credibility of the government," he added. "Who will follow the government if the credibility is destroyed."


The United States earlier expressed concern on the deaths of thousands of drug suspects under the campaign. President  Duterte, in turn, hurled curses at the Western superpower. 


Ties between Manila and Washington have thawed since US President Donald Trump came to power. The American leader has not directly criticized Duterte's controversial campaign so far. 


Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said Kian died due to three fatal wounds. “Tatlong fatal wounds po ito – dalawa sa ulo at isa sa likod … Ito ay gunshot wounds. At isa po ay treacherous wound,” she said.


The outcome of a re-autopsy conducted at the prompting of the family disclosed that Kian died of three fatal gunshot wounds “that were meant to kill”.


The findings by the forensic team from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) prompted the move by the family to file murder charges against police officers implicated in the incident.


The viewing at Kian’s wake was interrupted to make way for the four-hour autopsy by the forensic team from PAO.


In summary, the team observed that Kian died of three wounds: One bullet wound was at Kian’s back, while two other hits were to his left ear.


The Senate majority bloc released a resolution condemning and calling for a probe on the death of Kian Loyd Delos Santos.


It is titled a “Resolution expressing the sense of the Senate to condemn the killing of Kian Loyd Delos Santos and to direct the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation to determine the accountability of the Philippine National Police in the conduct of the campaign against illegal drugs that may have resulted in unnecessary and unjustified deaths and/or killings.”


The resolution was signed by 14 out of 17 senators belonging to the majority bloc namely Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, and Juan Miguel Zubiri. Senators Nancy Binay, Francis Escudero, and Manny Pacquiao  signed the resolution later.


More than a hundred Filipino artists are urging President Duterte to stop the government’s bloody war on illegal drugs as they denounced the recent drug-related killings in the country, especially of the “the innocent and young.”


“We, Filipino cultural workers, condemn the killings wrought by the war on drugs, especially of the innocent, the young, and those caught in the crossfire,” they said in a statement.


“We denounce the normalization of these killings, the pardon of rogue police and military men," the statement was signed by 168 cultural workers; among them were writers Ricky Lee and Lourd de Veyra, filmmakers Lav Diaz and Jun Lana, actors Angeli Bayani and Cherry Pie Picache, director Quark Henares, and musician Ebe Dancel.


While the government is waging war against illegal drugs, the group noted its “silence” on the issue of the P6.4-billion worth smuggled shabu from China that allegedly slipped past the Bureau of Customs.


“Where Filipinos are dying on mere suspicion of involvement in drugs, where deaths are justified by victims’ inclusion in questionable drug lists, where a few grams of drugs on a person has been used to justify murder, government has fallen silent on the P6.4-billion worth of smuggled drugs from China, for which there have been no suspects charged,” the artists said in a statement.

Heart Evangelista 'opens' her new home, answers twits

Published in Entertainment

(Photo from Instagram | @iamhearte)


Fashion icon, painter, actress and wife of Sen. Francis Escudero is veritably on cloud nine these days.


This as she opened her new home to friends who immediately dubbed her a domestic goddess even as she is busy with a Korean-Filipino production in which she co-stars with Korean actors.


Despite her busy schedule and her new television show, Heart showed off portions of her new home earning praises that she still manages to be a domestic goddess in real life.


 The actress is even earning praises for her unique taste when it comes to her home’s dining table setup, it was learned.


In her latest Instagram posts, through @iamhearte, Heart impressed her followers when she showcased her skills by pulling off a Filipino-Spanish dinner setup. The ever-fashionable lady also owns plates showing European and Chinese history.


The GMA star also opened up her home to Instagram followers, posting several parts of the house she shares with her husband Senator Escudero and his twins.


Heart, however, has declined offers to show their entire home in magazine features.


The comely star has revealed it took her three years to finish the house she built from her savings. Heart and her politician husband have signed a pre-nuptial agreement thus, the new home remains under her name.


Heart, at the same time, answered some remarks regarding the new house that she built which insinuate that it came from what her husband had "earned"  in the last election where Sen. Escudero ran for vice president with Sen. Grace Poe.


 “You know, that’s really foul because 'yung house, it really came from my own earnings," Heart stressed in a talk with columnist Mario Bautista.


"We just laugh it off kasi everyone knows we signed a prenup and I declare what I make every year, so check na lang nila ang talent fee ko," the comely actress stressed.


"Hindi kami nagpapakialaman sa earnings ng bawat isa, but when it comes to our everyday expenses, share kami. My husband is a very open minded person and supportive siya sa career ko. I’m working on my own, I act, I have my paintings, so what’s wrong with that?” she said.

Heart was asked when she and husband have their own baby and she had an immediate reply.


“Naku, siguro pagkatapos na nitong ‘My Korean Jagiya’ saka kami magpo-focus sa pagbe-baby. Promise 'yan. We’ll work on it na,” she said.


Her house also serves as her artistic sanctuary as Heart once again picks up her brushes to paint. As an artist, she is known as Love Marie. She has exhibited her works in the past but painting had to take a backseat for a while since her plate has been full with back-to-back acting engagements in “Mulawin versus Ravena” and now, My Korean Jagiya.


“In between taping, did this on-the-spot painting for a short film. Can’t wait to share it with you!” Evangelista proudly noted on her new artwork.


In another interview, Heart, who recently celebrated her 19th anniversary in showbiz, revealed she sees herself staying in the industry for five more years, before moving on to other endeavors.


“Everything that happened after my 10th year was just a bonus, and I’m grateful. I’m giving myself five years. After that, I think I deserve to really live my life,” she tsaid at a recent press conference for her coming romantic-comedy series on GMA 7, “My Korean Jagiya.”


Heart said she plans to focus on her and her family’s businesses in food and fashion. “I plan my life. I think about everything—I take note of how much I make and how long it would last me,” she said.

Andrea Torres 'linked' to Dingdong Dantes

Published in Entertainment

(Photo from Instagram | @andreaetorres)


Showbiz is abuzzed with rumors that comely actress Andrea Torres is being linked to her co-star Dingdong Dantes.


But Andrea immediately shrugged off the rumors, stressing that she is not worried that rumors linking her to the hunk actor have been revived now that they are reunited in the GMA network series “Ang Pagbabalik ni Alyas Robin Hood.”


It was learned that Andrea is reprising her role as Venus in the primetime daily show.


“Ako kasi, I just want to be positive about things so hindi ko na lang iniisip 'yung mga ganyan,” Andrea told showbiz authority and columnist Mario Bautista.


“Kasi if you’d let yourself be affected by intrigues, magkakailangan lang kayo sa taping. Eh, sa ngayon, napakadali ng trabaho namin kasi kilala na namin ang isa’t isa after magkasama kami noong first season,” she said.


“ Si Pepe talaga ang nakikita ko sa kay Kuya Dong and it’s always fun to work with him kasi marami rin akong natutuhan sa kanya. Hindi kami nagpapaapekto sa mga issue at intriga,” she added.


Due to the rumors, Andrea is being bashed for being linked to Dong.


The actress has a ready explanation to this. “I respect him and his marriage (with Marian Rivera). You can see naman na they’re a happy family, so I don’t let myself be affected by bashing on social media,” Andrea stressed.


“Lahat naman ngayon, nagbibigay ng opinion nila, very judgmental, di ba? Ang mahalaga, kilala mo  'yung sarili mo. Ako naman, ever since, alam ko kunsaan ako lulugar. Ang importante, you are always professional,” she told the columnist.


“Nandito ka para magtrabaho, so gawin mo lang nang tama ang trabaho mo,” Andrea said.


“Kaya kahit pagbintangan nila ako, basta malinis ang konsensiya ko at kilala ng mga tao sa paligid ko 'yung tunay na ako, 'yun ang mas importante. Never akong pumatol as in nang-away. May basher na kung anu-ano ang sinabi sa’king panlalait, ang sagot ko lang, I will pray for you when I go to church. Kasi lahat kami ng buong family ko, madasalin talaga,” she pointed out.


Andrea discussed the Season 2 of the television series with Dingdong.“Mas pasabog ito sa umpisa pa lang. Kasi magpo-propose na sa’kin ng marriage si Pepe complete with an engagement ring. Kaso, bago pa matuloy ang wedding namin, magkakaroon ng complications,” she said.


“ Ang mother niyang si Jaclyn Jose as Judy, magiging biktima ng terrorist group headed by Jay Manalo. Magiging hostage sa pagsalakay nina Jay sa city hall. Mas pasabog din ang fight scenes dito. Meron akong fight scene sa bubong ng tall building, eh may fear of heights ako, pero ginawa ko pa rin,” she noted.


“Then papasok pa si Edu Manzano as a corrupt politician at magkakaroon ako ng bagong ka-love triangle kay Pepe, si Solenn Heussaff. Kaya abangan nyo ang Season 2 after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’,” Andrea said.

Andrea told Mario Bautista that she is happier now that GMA Artist Center is managing her and no longer Triple A which also manages Marian Rivera.


 “Oo naman, pero nagpaalam naman ako nang maayos sa Triple A kaya maganda ang naging paghihiwalay namin. Noong magkita nga kami sa Tagaytay noong wedding ni Rochelle Pangilinan nina Mr. Tony Tuviera at Ateng Rams David, big bosses ng Triple A, I hugged them, nagkuwentuhan kami and we’re okay,” Andrea recounted.

At that wedding, many people were wondering why Marian was absent when the groom is Dingdong’s cousin. “Siyempre hindi pupunta roon si Marian kasi si Andrea ang maid of honor ni Rochelle at si Dong ang best man ng groom na si Arthur Solinap,” someone who attended the wedding said. “Baka ma-out of place lang siya roon kaya unawain na lang natin.”


Meanwhile, Marian Rivera dismissed rumors that she has something to do with Andrea Torres' departure from Triple A, headed by Tony Tuviera. 

As reported on PEP, the actress, whose rumoured rift with Torres has been reported for a while now, expressed her surprise by the allegations, saying, "How am I so powerful? Am I more powerful than Mr. Tuviera?"


Marian reiterated her previous statement, that she has no issue with Torres and that she's not the kind of person who would do such a thing to other people. The actress also shut down continuous rumours that she is jealous of Torres' chemistry with her husband, Dingdong Dantes in "Alyas Robin Hood", adding that she treats the actress like her own little sister.


 "As a big sister, I am very open to hearing her issues if there's any," she said. In a previous interview, Torres stated that she has great respect for Triple A and will not make further statements as to why she decided to move to GMA Artist Center.


MARAWI CITY — The war between the IS-inspired Maute terrorists and government troops in Marawi City may be over soon.


This as President Rodrigo Duterte's visited Marawi City for the third time, this time in the main battle area further boosting the morale of fighting troops in the so-called main battle area.


Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año said of the visit:. "The third visit was not just about the Commander-in-Chief in close proximity with the men, it was a seal of his commitment to walk the talk -- literally and figuratively," he added.


Although many of his advisers consider the President's second visit to Marawi's Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA) last August 4 to be daring, this time, the Chief Executive went inside the Main Battle Area (MBA) around 4: 20 p.m.


"He (Duterte) braved the perils of sniper fires, Improvised Explosive Devices(IEDs), and Unexploded Ordnance in the yet to proclaimed 'Cleared' portions of the MBA -- just so he can be with his Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Policemen in the front-lines," the AFP chief stressed.


Duterte, in justifying his third visit to Marawi City, said that he wants to show his unity with the Filipino soldiers engaged in neutralizing the terrorist group.


"I am here once again to show -- not just say -- my unity with you. That much as you all are willing to die for your country with unquestioning resolve to follow the orders to 'Charge!' coming from your Commander-in-Chief, I am and I can be in the same muddy ground that you now stand; drenched like you under the same rain; and somehow smell like you in this battleground," Año quoted the President as saying.


Upon touchdown, Duterte boarded a convoy where he received an informal briefing from Joint Task Force Marawi head Brig. Gen. Rolando Bautista as the vehicles moved around portions of the MBA for grounds inspection up to the foot of Mapandi Bridge -- the site of one of the bloodiest encounters between government security forces and the Daesh-inspired Maute Group.


At one point, he alighted from his vehicle, walked towards the Casualty Evacuation Area without bulletproof vests on, and went further to greet and console the wounded soldiers being treated there.


He came as close to the fight area after he climbed a sniper position and twice pulled the trigger of a sniper rifle trained on an identified position of terrorists trading shots with military marksmen.


Talk-to-the-troops followed at the camp of Task Force Trident under Major Gen. Danilo Pamonag where Duterte handed combat watches, Soldier's Individual Packs, and P5,000 each intended for all the troops in Marawi.


"It was not just his physical presence, but his unspoken words that he has the back of his men covered," Año said.

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