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ARREST, HUNT FOR EX-COMELEC CHIEF ORDERED

Published in Headline

Cited for his failure to show up in Senate hearing on P1-B wealth probe, hiding in US?

By ALFRED GABOT

 

(Photo from SunStar)

 

PASAY CITY — The Senate has ordered the arrest of resigned Commission on Elections Chairman Juan Andres Bautista for repeatedly failing to attend the Senate investigation into his alleged over P1 billion ill-gotten wealth. 

 

The arrest order of Bautista, who was last known to have flown to Oklahoma where his brother, Dr. Martin Bautista and famile reside, was signed by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Feb. 21 but was made public only on Feb. 26. 


Senator Francis Escudero, chairman of the Senate committe on banks, financial institutions and currencies, said the arrest warrant would be forwarded to addresses of Bautista by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms (OSAA) Jose Balajadia with the help of law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Immigration.

 

Escudero said his committee will schedule another hearing before Congress adjourns in March.

 

Escudero’s committee earlier cited Bautista for contempt and ordered the former poll chief’s arrest, adding that a warrant would be served on him so he could be delivered to the Senate when he returns to the country.

 

 Bautista, who resigned after it became imminent that he would be facing impeachment proceedings following the expose of his wife about his unexplained wealth, earlier sent a letter to the Senate saying he had not received any invitation to appear before the Senate committee’s inquiry.

 

He said he was out of the country since November 21 last year to “explore professional opportunities” and “seek assistance for certain medical challenge” he was facing.

Bautista, also a former chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) attached to the letter a certification from a doctor with a letterhead address in Oklahoma City.

 

In the medical certificate, Bautista's doctor said the former poll chief is suffering from secondary pulmonary hypertension possibly due to obstructive sleep apnea, essential hypertension and hyperlipidemia.”

 

Bautista was also advised to avoid prolonged travel "due to increased risk of thromboembolism," according to the medical certificate signed by Branislav Schifferdecker, MD from the Oklahoma Heart Hospital Physicians.

 

Bautista’s wife, Patricia, has accused the former Comelec chief of allegedly amassing nearly P1-billion worth of unexplained wealth, and of owning more than 30 bank accounts with the Luzon Development Bank’s (LDB) amounting to P329 million.

 

Mrs. Bautista also accused Bautista of allegedly abandoning her and their children, which the former Comelec official vehemently denied and even accused his wife of alleged infidelity.

 

In his letter to the Senate earlier, Bautista stated: "I understand from news reports that a subpoena has been issued because of my non-appearance in the hearing. In this regard, I respectfully ask that the subpoena be recalled since I never received the invitation."

 

Bautista also told the committee that he "will be pleased to answer in writing any appropriate questions that the Honorable Committee may have regarding the referenced topic."

 

But Escudero said Bautista could just be making an excuse for not attending the Senate hearings.

 

Escudero said the fact that Bautista did not even give a forwarding address is "clearly an attempt to stifle" the proceedings.

 

"That letter for me is a ruse. There is no good faith in it. He asked for the subpoena to be recalled and to instead answer in writing. He is a former chairman of a constitutional commission; he has no legal and formal address here in the country. That is not normal. At the very least, he should have given us a forwarding address where we can communicate with him but so far he has not done that. That is the very opposite of what he had said in the past that he will squarely face any and all allegations lodged against him in any forum," Escudero said.

 

Bautista's siblings, Susan Afan and Martin Bautista, were also invited by the committee but both also failed to show up. Afan wrote the committee that she could not attend the hearing because of prior commitments and that as a private citizen, she had no knowledge of the Anti-Money Laundering Law and thus begged to be excluded from the committee hearing.

 

"Kung ayaw nila mag-attend, ayaw nila magsapubliko, mag- execute sila ng waiver. We can't compel them to execute a waiver, but we can compel their attendance to the hearing. They can tell the committee that they will not issue a waiver, they can invoke whatever rights they have under the laws and we will respect that. But they cannot do that through letters alone and hide behind it," Escudero said.

 

"Hamon ang binibitiwan ko kay Chairman Bautista: Kung wala siyang tinatago, wala siyang dapat katakutan. Kung wala siyang kinatatakutan, wala siyang dapat itago. Kung di man niya kaya to personally attend, he can talk to his siblings for all of them to execute a waiver and we will continue the proceedings without them," the senator said.

Nietes retains crown, Viloria falls in California bouts

Published in Sports

(Photo from Twitter | @coachala)

 

INGLEWOOD, California — Donnie "Ahas" Nietes, the longest reigning Filipino world champion, continued his rule after stopping Juan Carlos Reveco of Argentina to retain his IBF flyweight title last week at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

 

Filipino American Brian "The Hawaiian Punch" Viloria, however, bowed to Ukranian Artem Dalakian via unanimous decision in their battle for the vacant WBA flyweight championship also at The Forum.

 

It was a dominating performance for the Ukranian, with all three judges scoring the bout, 118-109.

 

Viloria immediately found himself rocked in the first two rounds before recovering late in round two and settling himself in the next three rounds. He would then press on Dalakian in the seventh and eighth rounds, landing solid punches.

 

That, however, seemed to be his last hurrah as Dalakian connected with a crushing hook to Viloria’s body in the ninth round as he continued to pummel “The Hawaiian Punch.”

 

Viloria was also bloodied in the 11th round after taking an inadvertent elbow to the forehead.

 

Dalakian (16-0, 11 KOs) remained unbeaten and won the flyweight title vacated by Japanese Kazuto Ioka while Viloria (38-6, 23 KOs) saw his winning streak cut short at two.


Nietes, for his part, unleashed a flurry of punches to the body that dropped Reveco. He managed to get back up but was still very wobbly, prompting the referee to stop the fight at the 53-second mark of the seventh round.

 

The 35-year-old Nietes, who improved to 41-1-4, 23, has been a world champion since winning the WBO minimumweight crown after scoring a unanimous decision win over Pornsawan Porpramook of Thailand on Sept. 30, 2007.

 

Reveco, 34, saw his three-fight win streak come to an end, absorbing the fourth loss of his career. His record now stands at 39-4 with 19 knockouts.

Ellen-John Lloyd wedding soon in Cebu?

Published in Entertainment

(Photo from Instagram | @maria.elena.adarna)

 

There is no more stopping the wedding of sexy star Ellen Adarna and boyfriend John Lloyd Cruz.

 

Reports point out that the couple will walk to the altar soon, except that they have been mum on the exact date and place of the rumored wedding.

 

But the wedding may happen sooner than their fans and friends think, reports circulating in Manila indicated.

 

According to a source close to the actress, the lovebirds might tie the knot in summer, as was earlier reported by the STAR and Philstar.com, presumably on Ellen’s birthday, April 2. 

 

And the wedding could be held in Ellen’s territory – Cebu.

 

Published reports in Manila indicate that the source speculates that the two might get married by then because the actress likes holding big parties on her birthday. 

 

There are reports that the two may already have had a secret wedding, before the public wedding ceremonies.

 

Just last week, Ellen, in a social media post, showed an apparent baby bump on an Instagram story. John Lloyd can be seen walking beside her.

 

The post came about a week after the couple posted the same photo of a location with a picturesque green view, which Ellen captioned: “Our future view.”

 

Earlier, Ellen posted a photo wearing a ring, presumably coming from the actor.

 

The celebrity couple later were photographed wearing identical rings on their hands, making many netizens speculate that the co-actors may have had a secret wedding.

 

 

The first photo, uploaded on Instagram by a private netizen who appears to be a friend of the couple, showed John Lloyd and Ellen Adarna having dinner in a restaurant.

 

Netizens commented that they noticed that the actor now wears a "wedding" ring that seemed to be not there before as seen in his previous Instagram posts. The photo was posted November last year.

 

Rumors that the couple already got hitched in Quezon City was further fanned by new photographs of the couple that surfaced in news.

 

 The photos showed the pair queuing in immigration at an airport in Osaka, Japan. Those who took the photos did not notice if Ellen indeed has a baby bump, although they noticed that the actress seemed to have gained weight. In one of the photos, it can be seen that Ellen's hand also bore a ring similar to that of John Lloyd's. The picture's photographer reportedly heard the actor call Ellen "love."

 

Apart from the supposed secret wedding, netizens also allege that Ellen was pertaining to John Lloyd's ex girlfriend, Angelica Panganiban, when Ellen posted on her Instagram story a cryptic post about moving on.

 

The post showed a video clip of the movie “Meet Joe Black,” where actor Anthony Hopkins asks Brad Pitt, “It’s hard to let go isn’t it?,” to which Brad replies: “Yes. It is, Bill.”

 

A day after this post, Ellen deactivated her Instagram account and set up a new private one. Her new Instagram account is believed to be “@emg.a” because it replied in a comment on John Lloyd's Instagram account, @ekomsi, and to Beauty Gonzalez's post on Instagram.

 

Angelica, recently, has also been a tabloid fodder for revealing that a former boyfriend has been stolen from her and there are no closures for her and her ex, who netizens suspect to be John Lloyd. Angelica also guested in Moira's concert last weekend and was reported by ABS-CBN to have asked "Bakit lagi ako iniiwan?" in a spoken word performance.

(Photo from journal.com.ph)

 

The Philippines’ Ian Veneracion won the best actor trophy for his role in Dan Villegas’ “Ilawod” at the 38th Oporto International Film Festival, held in Portugal from Feb. 20 to March 4.

 

Also known as Fantasporto, the Portuguese fest invited three Filipino movies this year, the “Ilawod,”another horror film, Prime Cruz’s “Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B,” and "Bhoy Intsik."

 

 Joel Lamangan’s gritty urban drama “Bhoy Intsik” was included in the Directors’ Week section,

 

All three Filipino films vied for top honors in the Orient Express competition, too. Lamangan’s “Bhoy Intsik” won the Special Jury Award in the Orient Express section.

 

The film festival is dedicated to “fantasy/science fiction/horror-oriented commercial feature films, auteur films and experimental projects from all over the world” and is rated by Variety as one of the “25 leading festivals in the world.”

 

The 43-year old actor was honored with the Best Actor trophy for his portrayal of a website reporter who accidentally brings a vindictive water spirit that proceeded to wreak havoc in his home in Dan Villegas’ horror thriller, “Ilawod.” Villegas received the award on the actor’s behalf, reported Edwin Sallan of Interaksyon.

 

In a post on her Facebook page, “Ilawod” producer Joji Alonso was elated to learn of Ian’s victory and hailed him as “an underrated actor” and considers his performance in the film as “his best acting piece, to date,” the report added.

 

“To God be the Glory. Thank you [Joel Lamangan] for directing me in this wonderful film…Can’t wait to do another one with you…,” “Bhoy Intsik” lead actor and producer Raymond “R.S.” Francisco posted on Facebook.

 

A surprise moment in the festival’s award ceremonies involved independent producer Ferdinand “Ferdy” Lapuz who also co-produced “Bhoy Intsik.”

 

Last year, another film produced by Lapuz, “Pamilya Ordinaryo” won Best Film and Best Actress in the festival. However, as Lapuz revealed, no one from the film was in Portugal to receive awards.

 

“I asked if they can be sent by courier but they said they are too heavy to be shipped which is true. I told the festival director that maybe in the next edition, there will be Filipino movies and maybe ask them to bring home the trophies…Two days ago, I sent them an e-mail requesting if I could have the trophies delivered to my hotel room. They said they have other plans which happened last night,” Lapuz narrated in a Facebook post.

 

Lapuz was given the 2017 trophies for “Pamilya Ordinaryo” in the awards ceremonies.

 

“There were no speeches and it was a straight to the point ceremony. I was the first to be awarded by no less than Mario Dorminsky, the festival director,” Lapuz said.

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