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FilAm Bruno Mars sweeps Grammy Awards

Published in Entertainment

 By JOJIE MAUFIT GABOT

 

(Photo from Instagram | @brunomars)

 

Bruno Mars will have a doubly meaningful and forceful concert in Manila on May 3, 2018 at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

 

This as the American singer and composer from Hawaii of Filipino, Puerto Rican, Jewish and Spanish descent, surprised the music industry and fans with a sweep of the just concluded Grammy Awards held in New York City.

 

 Mars, 32, whose real name is Peter Hernandez, took home the Grammy for Record of the Year award and his “24K Magic” won the Album of the Year as the Emmys celebrated its 60th year, the biggest awards that night.

 

Mars beat out Childish Gambino’s “Redbone,” Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.,” and Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber’s “Despacito.”

 

Mars also won five other awards that he was nominated for:  song of the year for “That’s What I Like;” best R&B performance and best R&B song for “That’s What I Like.” “24K Magic” was also awarded best engineered album (non-classical) and best R&B album.

 

A Variety report indicated that “Despacito” was considered the favorite going into the Grammys, after taking over the American airwaves and pop culture with its Puerto Rican influence. The song spent 16 weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, tying for the longest run in history, and became the most-streamed song of all time, with more than 4.6 billion plays worldwide. The music video also generated more than 4.5 billion views on YouTube.

 

Last year’s record of the year honor went to Adele for “Hello,” one of the five Grammys she won for her third album, “25.”

 

The record of the year award marks Mars’ fifth Grammy from 2018 alone and 11 Grammy in total. His other Grammys include last year’s album of the year for “25,” and record of the year and best pop duo/group performance for “Uptown Funk” in 2016. He also won the best pop vocal album for “Unorthodox Jukebox” in 2014.

 

Mars went to the stage to receive all the awards accompanied by his group.

 

In the last outing in the stage for his seventh award, Mars said: “Don’t cut me off Grammys, please.”

 

The Filipino-American singer recounted his early days as a young performer entertaining tourists in his native Hawaii, Mars name-checked writer-producers Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Teddy Riley as key influences to his music.

 

Kendrick Lamar was the night’s second biggest winner, picking up five Grammys, starting with his first of the night for Best Music Video for “Humble,” which also won Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. Soon after, he won during the telecast for Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Loyalty” featuring Rihanna. “She gassed me on my own song,” said Lamar. “This really belongs to her.” Added Rihanna: “I’m honored. Congrats, you deserve this, man.”

 

Best Rap Album also went to Lamar.

 

The sweep by Mars triggered congratulatory remarks and commendations from all over from the music industry and fans. Some, however, also questioned his win but colleagues readily defended him.

 

Alisha Lola Jones, an assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Indiana University, said Mars deserved praise for acknowledging his debt to R&B and funk greats rather than appropriating them.

 

At the Grammys, Mars credited towering African-American songwriters Babyface, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Teddy Riley for inspiring him.

 

Many scholars of African-American culture “actually appreciate that as he draws from the tradition, he’s telling us the history,” Jones said.

 

It's all systems go for the Bruno Mars return concert in Manila on May 3, 2018.

 

This concert is promoted by MMI Live.

 

The SM Tickets for the show are priced as follows: VIP 1 STANDING: P23,850; VIP 2 STANDING: P18,550; LOWER BOX A: P13, 250; LOWER BOX B: P 8,480; UPPER BOX: P4,770; and GENERAL ADMISSION: P2,650.

 

The multiple Grammy winner will perform on May 3 next year as part of his “24K Magic” tour. 

 

The Filipino American singer last performed in Manila in March 2014 for his “The Moonshine Jungle” tour. 

 

Some of his hits include "Versace on the Floor," "That's What I Like," and "Just the Way You Are." 

  

The concert is  the singer’s third visit in the country. He first performed in April 2011 in Cebu, followed by a concert in Manila in 2014 as part of his “The Moonshine Jungle” world tour.

 

His visit in 2018 is part of his "24k Magic World Tour.

 

The tour, which kicked off last March in Europe, is in support of Mars’ latest album of the same tour name, with three hit singles so far: “Versace on the Floor,” “That’s What I Like,” and the title track.

 

The half-Filipino singer and songwriter whose real name is Peter Gene Hernandez is behind latest hit "Versace on the Floor" and well-loved songs "Just the Way You Are" and "That's What I Like".

 

The 24K Magic World Tour is the third concert tour by the Grammy Award winning popstar, to support his album 24K Magic (2016). It began March 28, at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp, and will conclude at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on May 9, 2018.

 

Meanwhile, 24K Magic, the album, has been consistently on top of the charts, with songs like “24K Magic,” “Versace on The Floor,” and “That’s What I Like.”

 

The Filipino-Puerto Rican singer-songwriter rose to fame for his early hits “Just the Way You Are,” “Marry You,” “The Lazy Song,” and “Grenade.” His other hits include “Uptown Funk” and “Versace on the Floor.”

MORE FOREIGN TERRORISTS NOW IN MINDANAO

Published in Headline

Defense department, Armed Forces on alert as deeper probe under way

By FRANCO G. REGALA

 

(Photo from Philippine Star)

 

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City -- The Department of National Defense (DND) has received reports that there are foreign terrorists still operating in Mindanao despite the defeat by the military of the Islamist-inspired Maute Group in the five-month war in Marawi City.

 

Some of the foreign fighters or jihadists were reported to be helping the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the ongoing campaign in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

 

To prevent a repeat of a Marawi City-like siege, the military in Maguindanao and North Cotabato has started hunting down the alleged foreign terrorists sighted with local armed men in the mountainous borders of the two provinces and the marshland of Maguindanao, according to Colonel Gerry Besana, chief of the 6th Infantry Division-Civil Military Operations (CMO).

 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the revelation during the New Year's Call in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City as the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been alerted and tasked to investigate and go after the terrorists.

 

"Yun ang hinahanap namin ngayon. We are trying to confirm reports that there are foreign terrorists inside the country especially in Mindanao," Lorenzana added.

 

The reports, which came from Malaysia and Indonesia, claimed an increase of foreign terrorists coming from the Philippines' backdoor.

 

"We are trying to verify that,” he said, but added tht “up to now wala pa kaming nako-confirm."

 

And when asked on the possible ISIS presence in the south, Lorenzana said efforts were under way to check on this.

 

"It is ongoing. We are intensifying our monitoring there in South and as of now we cannot confirm the presence of foreign terrorists but there are homegrown terrorists there in the South we are sure of that," Lorenzana added. 

 

Meanwhile, authorities are closely monitoring several houses in Iligan City that could be linked to the Islamic State-inspired Maute terror group.

 

Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia disclosed that 12 residential properties are titled under Maute names and 26 others are allegedly owned by former Marawi City Mayor Fahad Salic.

 

Salic, who was arrested in June 2017, had been charged for conspiring with the terror group engaged in an armed rebellion against the government, ABS-CBN reported.

 

Senior Supt. Leony Roy Ga, director of Iligan City Police Office, said many of the houses are already abandoned but they are still keeping a close watch.

 

While the Armed Forces  is doing everything in its authority to defeat terrorism, the citizenry also needs to play a role by reporting the presence of suspicious looking persons in their neighbourhood, according to AFP spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo when sought for comment on the purported entry of foreign terrorists in the country.

 

"We cannot discount the possibility of foreign fighters surreptitiously able to enter the country given our vast and porous borders," he added.

 

And while the military is exerting all efforts to guard possible entry points, Arevalo said they needed the vigilance, cooperation, and active participation of the citizenry in the communities who could monitor and report arrival of new faces in the neighborhood.

 

Such assistance was of great value together with the relevant domestic and international agencies, Arevalo pointed out.

 

He was referring to the conventions and agreements recently signed by the Philippines such as the trilateral joint patrol agreements with Malaysia and Indonesia which aimed to defeat piracy and terrorism in areas of common concern.

 

The foreign terrorists were reported to be  helping the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the ongoing campaign in Maguindanao and North Cotabato and Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesperson, said the AFP is looking into the reports.

 

"Oo, merong binitawang salita yun mga taga 6th Infantry Division (Lt. Col. Gerry Bersana of the 6th Civil-Military Operations). Positive, may mga nakita dun. Pero hindi pa ma-ascertain kung sino-sino yung mga yun (Yes, the 6th Infantry Division mentioned something about that. Positive, they saw something there. But they cannot ascertain yet whom they have seen)," he added.

 

These individuals are foreign looking, the AFP spokesperson admitted, but said validation is needed to determine whether these foreign fighters are among those reported present in the five-month battle in Marawi City.

 

"Foreign-looking but we need to validate and ascertain. Hindi namin sure (if galing Marawi) pero malamang iba ‘to (We are not sure if they were from Marawi but it seems these are from a different place)," he added.

 

Padilla declined to comment on whether the sighted foreign terrorists are Caucasian-looking.

 

"They may be any nationality that’s why there’s a need to check further. Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang operations against BIFF, nangunguna diyan ay 6th Infantry Division sa ilalim ni Maj. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega (Operations against BIFF are ongoing. It is spearheaded by the 6th Infantry Division under Maj. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega)," he added.

 

This developed as the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested two suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) at a shopping mall in Isabela City in Basilan province.

 

Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) director, identified the arrested suspects as Emran Ismael, who carries the aliases of Bantong Basintin and Bantong Basiri; and, Bryan Mohammad alias Pojong Attiun.

 

Beltran said they were arrested at around 9:15 p.m. last Friday at a shopping mall on La Purisima Street, Barangay Zone III.

 

He said the suspects have standing warrants of arrest for the crime of seven-count kidnapping and serious illegal detention penalized under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines.

 

He said the court of Isabela City, Basilan did not recommend bail for the temporarily release of the suspects.

 

He said the suspects were involved in the kidnapping of seven workers of the Golden Harvest Plantation in Barangay Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan, on June 11, 2001.

 

The Abu Sayyaf bandits executed by beheading some of the hostages while the others have either escaped or rescued by pursuing military troops.

 

Beltran said the suspects were positively identified by two witnesses who are under the witness protection and security benefit program of the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

House adopts Con-ass to amend Charter

Published in Latest News

(Photo from PTV News)

 

MANILA — The House of Representatives has adopted a resolution calling Congress to constitute itself as a constituent assembly (con-ass) to propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution toward a shift to federalism.

 

The Senate, meanwhile, is set to endorse also Con-Ass but the senators insisted they will vote separately with the House.

 

Members of the House approved via voice voting House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 convening both Houses of Congress into a constituent assembly.

 

House committee on constitutional amendments chair Roger Mercado said con-ass as a mode for Charter change would only cost P204 million as opposed to a constitutional convention, which would cost up to P11 billion.

 

Mercado's committee earlier in the day determined the provisions that need to be put up for discussion in the constituent assembly proper.

 

When asked if voting on Charter change should be done jointly or separately in a constituent assembly, Mercado believes that the House and Senate should vote jointly.

 

Article XVII, Section 1 of the Constitution states: “Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by (1) The Congress, upon the vote of three-fourths of all its Members.”

 

"On the part of the House of Representatives, we are limited to the provision. We cannot make any interpretation other than what is stated in our Constitution," Mercado said.

 

The proposed federal charter retains the position of the President, who would act as head of state, and introduces the position of a Prime Minister, who would be the head of the government. 

4 petitions filed vs martial law extension

Published in Latest News

By ALFRED G GABOT

 

(Photo from Business World)

 

MANILA – Four petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to nullify the full-year extension up to December 31, 218 of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao, including the archipelagic provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

 

The Office of Solicitor General (OSG) immediately asked the High Court to dismiss the last three petitions assailing the constitutionality of the full-year extension of martial law in Mindanao after the  court  consolidated all four petitions seeking to declare as unconstitutional the one-year extension given to martial law in Mindanao.

 

With this consolidation, the SC started conducting oral arguments for all four petitions on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 2 p.m. and will continue on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m.

 

The OSG  represented the respondents led by President Rodrigo Duterte in the oral arguments.

 

The four consolidated petitions against martial law in Mindanao, filed by the groups of opposition lawmakers led by Albay First District Representative Edcel Lagman, Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat, human rights groups and militant groups; former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales; and the group led by Christian Monsod.

 

Petitioners argued anew that there is no factual basis required by the 1987 Constitution to justify the extension of martial law, claiming that the administration has even admitted that there is no actual rebellion in Mindanao.

 

The groups cited President Duterte's admission that the government has achieved victory over the ISIS-linked Maute terror group in October last year after a nearly five-month campaign to oust them from Marawi city.

 

They pointed out that the grounds raised by the executive branch in extending martial law, which was approved by Congress, "do not rise to the level of rebellion that constitutes a threat to public safety as contemplated by the Constitution."

 

With this, petitioners stressed that the extension order violated the constitutional provisions which only allowed the imposition of martial law when there was actual rebellion or invasion and when the operations of civilian government were substantially impaired that public safety required its declaration.

 

According to Monsod, the framers of the 1987 Constitution included the martial law provision despite its past horrors because “we want to cover an extraordinary situation. That is why the provision is specific, extraordinary and ultimate.”

 

"Martial law is supposed to be for exceptional case. We made the window smaller for declaration of martial law. We took away imminent danger, insurrection and the likes," Monsod recalled, who is one of the drafters of the Constitution and member of the 1986 constitutional commission.

 

Monsod told the SC that its decision in July last year upholding President Duterte's martial law declaration "seems to say that it is a measure of first resort rather than a last resort.”

 

He also reminded the justices of their duty to review the factual basis of the extension of martial law, arguing that there is no existing rebellion or invasion to justify it.

 

“You asked your honor why are we relying more on 15 justices rather than 292 Congressmen and 24 Senators [because] that is the essence of the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances in our Constitution and there is a vetting process by which the 15 justices are assumed to have the wisdom, experience and the fortitude to stand up to the other powers of government,” Monsod told the high court during the oral argument.

 

The Office of the Solictor General (OSG) is expected to represent the respondents led by President Rodrigo Duterte in the oral arguments.

 

Solicitor General Jose Calida already sought the dismissal of the petitions for lack of basis.

 

“The declaration of martial law is an act of the President. The extension, on the other hand, is the prerogative of the Congress,” Calida said.

 

“It follows that the judicial review of the proclamation of martial law is different from judicial review of the extension,” he said.

 

According to Calida, the President requests the martial law extension but it is the Congress that extends martial law, if it finds that invasion or rebellion persists and public safety requires it.

 

“In view of the presumption of constitutionality accorded to the extension of martial law, it is incumbent upon all the petitioners to overturn the presumption, meaning, show facts that the extension is without basis,” Calida opined.

 

In a 63-page comment, Solicitor General Jose Calida said the three petitions filed by Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat, human rights groups and militant groups; former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales; and the group led by Christian Monsod, who was one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution must be dismissed due to lack of merit, noting the proclamation of martial law was a matter entirely different from its extension.

 

“The declaration of martial law is an act of the President. The extension, on the other hand, is the prerogative of the Congress,” Calida said.

 

“It follows that the judicial review of the proclamation of martial law is different from judicial review of the extension,” he said.

 

According to Calida, the President requests the martial law extension but it is the Congress that extends martial law, if it finds that invasion or rebellion persists and public safety requires it.

 

“In view of the presumption of constitutionality accorded to the extension of martial law, it is incumbent upon all the petitioners to overturn the presumption, meaning, show facts that the extension is without basis,” Calida said.

 

The third petition against the extension of martial rule was filed by former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann "Etta" Rosales, who is a former party-list congresswoman and a lawyer.

 

Echoing the arguments of the two other petitioners, Rosales said there was no longer factual basis to extend martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao since President Rodrigo Duterte already declared last October that Marawi City — the center of skirmishes between government troops and Islamic State-inspired Maute group — has been liberated.

 

The High Court ordered the OSG to submit its comment to the second and third petition not later than 5 p.m. on Jan. 13 with the comment to be personally served on counsel for the petitioners.

 

The parties were directed to submit their respective memorandum not later than 5 p.m. on January 20.

 

Both the minority bloc from Congress led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, as well as human rights advocates and the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) have earlier maintained that there is no need to extend martial law, especially that the government declared Marawi free from the clutches of IS-inspired groups.

 

The first petition was filed on Dec. 27 by opposition lawmakers led by Lagman, who asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the implementation of the challenged re-extension pending adjudication of their petition.

 

The other petitioners are Reps. Tomasito Villarin, Edgar Erice, Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr., Gary Alejano, and Emmanuel Billones.

 

The second petition filed on Monday (Jan. 8) by the NUPL and House lawmakers Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna), Emmie de Jesus (Gabriela), Arlene Brosas (Gabriela), Ariel Casilao (Anakpawis), Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers), and Sarah Elago (Kabataan) said the extension would give way to “alarmingly intensified and increased human rights violations” allegedly aimed at “quelling legitimate redress of grievances against the government”.

 

They said martial law was extended despite government admission that the Marawi siege was over in October last year.

 

In their 40-page petition, the group asked the SC to compel the respondents to present proof on the factual basis for the extension of Martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

 

Monsod was joined by Dinagat Islands Rep. Arlene "Kaka" Bag-Ao, Rey Paolo Santiago, Nolasco Ritz Lee Santos III, Marie Hazel Lavitoria, Nicolene Arcaina and Jose Ryan Pelongco.

 

Named respondents in the fourth petition were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Rey Guerrero, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

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