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(Photo from Rappler)


Expect a bigger crowd in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival.


This as the MMFF executive committee headed by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera announced the first four participants in the filmfest with box office stars Vice Ganda, Coco Martin and Vic Sotto leading the casts.


In making the announcement,  Lumbera said: "So, ang apat na pelikula, inaasahan na doon sa apat na iyon, magiging matagumpay ang festival sa pag-akit sa manonood."


The announcement was made at the MMDA Head Office on EDSA and Orense St., Guadalupe, Makati City, adding the additional four official entries will be announced by September.


The first four official film is led by Vice Ganda's "Fantastica: The Princess, The Prince, and The Perya" of the Star Cinema and Viva Films which also stars Maris Racal, Loisa Andalio, and Maymay Entrata. 


The Vice Ganda  will be directed by Barry Gonzalez, whose previous works include "Fangirl Fanboy." 


The other entries are: Coco Martin and Vic Sotto's action comedy "Popo En Jack: The Puliscredibles” under the ” (CCM, MZET and APT Entertainment; Anne Curtis' solo effort with director Yam Laranas, "Aurora" of Viva Films; and the "Girl in the Orange Dress," a Quantum Films production starring Kim Chiu, Jessy Mendiola, Jericho Rosales, Tom Rodriguez, Kit Thompson and Sam Milby. 


Actress and TV host Anne Curtis said she was ecstatic over the selection of "Aurora," as one of the official entries in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). 


The "It's Showtime" shared a teaser poster for the movie which shows her standing on the rocks of a sea shore. 


Details about her newest flick remain scarce, although it was already announced that it will be directed by Yam Laranas, who has worked as cinematographer in several horror movies, reported her mother studio ABS-CBN. 


It is a Viva Films production, and Curtis' third movie this year following the positively reviewed "Sid & Aya: Not A Love Story" and the forthcoming "Buy Bust," scheduled for August. 


Selection Committee headed by  Lumbera said that out of 24 scripts, the first four entries were picked based on the following criteria: 40% artistic excellence; 40% commercial appeal; 10% promotion of Filipino cultural and historical values, and 10% global appeal.


“Our selection committee had a difficult time making our choices given the quality of the films. We have to thank them for their exhaustive and thorough deliberation, for their passion and dedication to make this festival successful,” said Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and MMFF overall chairman Danilo.


“We hope this year’s festival will serve as an instrument for an important change not only for the Filipino cinema, but also for the whole country,” he added.


The next phase for the Full Length Feature category will be the finished film submission. The films with the duly accomplished application forms and complete requirements can be submitted to the MMFF Secretariat until Sept. 21.


The remaining four official entries shall be selected from all submitted finished films to complete the eight official entries to the 2018 MMFF.


The deadline of submission for the Short Film category is on Aug. 31.


Noel Ferrer, MMFF spokeperson, encourages students to enter works to the category.


 Interviewed later by media and the (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Lumbera bared his personal choices among the four initial films.


 “Unang-una, para sa akin yung Aurora at saka yung Girl In The Orange Dress ang pinakamahusay sa puntong nakatutuwa ang takbo ng naratibo at saka may makabuluhang nilalaman ang script,” Lumbera said.


What about the entries of Vice Ganda, Vic Sotto and Coco Martin?


“Siyempre, si Vice Ganda ay garantisado nang makakaakit sa maraming manonood, ganun din sina Vic Sotto,” the national artist said.


“So, ang apat na pelikula, inaasahan na doon sa apat na iyon, magiging matagumpay ang festival sa pag-akit sa manonood,” he added.


Lumbera admitted it was very had to make the selection of the official entries.


“Iyon, ang pagtiyak sa iyong sarili bilang member ng Selection Committee na itong script na ito ay makabuluhan, maganda ang pagkakasulat, at maasahang hahakot ng mga manonood,” he said.


Lumbera said the selection committee went over the scripts at least for one month of at least 20 possible entries. “Yes. Bale one script a day,” he said.


MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte is in favor of same-sex civil union, even as the Supreme Court tackles the constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.


Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte favors same-sex civil union since it will allow same-sex couples to get the same benefits accorded to heterosexual couples.


“Kung same-sex marriage, pati si presidente tutol. Pero ang (same-sex) union, pabor dyan si presidente para maayos ang ibat ibang aspeto ng pagsamama ng magka-parehong kasarinlan,” Roque said in a press briefing in Maasin, Southern Leyte.

“Even the President is part of the majority in opposing the same sex marriage,” Roque said reporters in a press briefing. 


The Catholic Church has long opposed same-sex marriage in the Philippines, the bastion of Catholicism in Asia, where roughly 80 percent of its 100 million people subscribe to the faith.


“Now, I don’t think the current challenge in the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of Article 1 of the Family Code, defining a marriage as between a man and a woman will actually succeed on the basis of the oral arguments conducted,” Roque, inciting the proposed House Bill 6595 or Civil Partnership Act.


“I have a strong feeling that this bill will not pass the Supreme Court. But I could be wrong,” Roque said.


Roque gave this statement in reaction to a Social Weather Stations survey stating that at least 61 percent of Filipinos said they would oppose a bill that would legalize same-sex “civil union” in the country.


 House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez sponsored a bill allowing same-sex civil union in the country.


Proponents of same-sex civil union, including Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, said they opted not to call the process a “marriage” because it has religious connotations which will certainly earn the ire of religious institutions and conservatives.


During the oral arguments at the high court on same-sex marriage, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said same-sex civil union is constitutional, as it is based on the constitutional right to freedom of association.


Carpio noted the Constitution allows two people of the same sex to enter into an agreement regarding property.


Lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, who described himself in the pleading as “an open and self-identified homosexual,” is urging the high court to declare as unconstitutional Articles 1 and 2 of Executive Order (EO) No. 209, the Family Code of the Philippines, which “define and limit marriage as between man and woman.”


Falcis argued that the assailed provisions in EO No. 209 violate homosexuals’ right “to found a family” as protected under Section 3 (1) of the 1987 Constitution.


He also said these provisions “deprive [him] and other homosexuals the right to liberty without substantive due process of law” and “deny them the equal protection of the laws.”


He further argued that the subject provisions cause lesbian and gay Filipinos to be “relegated to 2nd class citizens.”


Roque said based on the developments in the oral arguments at the high court, the petition will be dismissed.

(Photo from ABS-CBN News)


TANAUAN CITY, Batangas — Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili who was known for ordering suspected criminals to take "walks of shame" in the city streets and was also originally linked to illegal drugs, was shot dead Monday morning (July 2) while attending the city hall's flag raising ceremony.


Police said an unidentified gunman shot Halili in the chest. The mayor was declared dead on arrival at the CP Reyes Medical Center where he was rushed, according to Calabarzon police director Chief Supt. Edward Carranza.


The gunman may have been positioned in some bushes 150 meters away from the city hall but others theorized the killer may have fired from the City Hall, said Carranza.


Carranza, Calabarzon police director, said no other person was hurt in the shooting.


Authorities estimate that the killer was believed to have used a sniper rifle.


Malacañang immediately denounced Halili's killing and promised to bring the gunman to justice.


Halili was wearing a black suit and a pair of blue jeans during the flag raising ceremony when he was shot.


"Kinokendena po natin itong pagpatay kay Mayor Halili... Sa pamilya at sa mga constituents ni Mayor Halili, bibigyan natin sila ng katarungan. Iimbestigahan, lilitisin ang mga tao na nasa likod ng pagpatay kay mayor (We condemn the killing of Mayor Halili. We will give justice to the family and constituents of Mayor Halili. We will investigate and try the people behind the mayor's killing.)," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.


Roque, however, would not comment on Halili's alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade, saying the government's priority is to give justice to the slain mayor's family and his constituents.


"Sa ngayon po siguro makikiramay muna kami sa pamilya ng napaslang na Mayor Halili. Saka na po natin pag-usapan 'yan. May mga panahon po dapat pag-usapan 'yan. Ngayon po'y panahon ng pagdadalamhati at pagbibigay ng pakikiramay," the Palace spokesman said.


“Apparently, tinarget po s’ya [Apparently, he was targeted],” said Gerry Laresma, Tanauan information officer.


Halili made headlines in 2016 when he paraded suspected drug criminals in public.


He, however, was included on the list of high-value drug targets of the police and subjected to "Oplan Tokhang." Halili had denied the allegation that he was involved in narcotics.


In 2017, he lost supervision over the police, along with other officials accused of dabbling with the narcotics trade.


A Facebook Live video by Gerry Yson Laresma, Tanauan City Information Officer, showed Halili standing with other city officials while the national anthem was being played when a gunshot was heard.


The National Police Commission (Napolcom), in an October 30, 2017 resolution, included Halili in the list of five Southern Tagalog mayors whose operational supervision and control over the police were revoked because of their supposed link to narcotics.


The mayor, who paraded in public suspected thieves and drug pushers in his town and was known as the “Duterte of Batangas,” denied the allegation, saying politics was behind Napolcom’s move.


“I am ready to pay one million pesos to this police intelligence officer behind this report linking me to illegal drugs and I will resign as mayor if this report can be supported by evidence,” Halili said during a media forum in November 2017.


In an interview in July 2015, Halili said he admired then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership.


Natutuwa kami sa nakita namin sa Davao; may natutunan kami although ‘yong ginagawa nila do’n ginagawa na rin (naman) namin sa Tanauan [We are happy with what we saw in Davao; we learned a few things, but there are policies that we saw there that we have already been implementing in our city],” he said.


Halili won the 2010 and 2013 mayoral polls under the banner of the Nationalist People’s Coalition. He won his third term during the 2016 elections under the Liberal Party.

Jolo confirms breakup with Jodi

Published in Entertainment

(Photo from Instagram | @jolo_revilla)


Now, it can be told. Actress Jodi Sta. Maria and actor Cavite Vice Governor Jolo Revilla have parted ways.


Jolo, son of former Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. and Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado, himself  confirmed his breakup with the comely actress after several years of relationship.


The confirmation came months after reports that they were headed to Splitsville.


Jolo, however, has been mum about her decision not to talk to him, saying he respects her.


Jolo has also been silent on the real cause of their breakup. The actor simply said, “All I can say is Jodi brought out the best in me. She made me a more responsible person. Mahal ko ‘yun!” according to an ABS-CBN report.


Despite the breakup, the actor politician said he remains hopeful on life, saying his heart is no longer bruised.


 “I take it one step at a time. I’ll focus on myself this time. Naniniwala ako na si Lord na ang bahala kung saan kami humantong,” he was quoted as saying by their home studio.


Jolo nonetheless said he was thankful to Jodi for being a great help in raising his son, Gabriel, who is now 13. The boy is his love child with former girlfriend Grace Adriano, daughter of former actress Rosanna Roces.


“Malaking naitulong sa akin ni Jodi sa pagpapalaki ko sa anak ko. She is a disciplinarian. My son, I think, is inclined towards showbiz. Hindi ako magtataka. On both sides, showbiz is in his blood,” he was quoted as saying by ABS-CBN.


Jodi, who was previously married to Panfilo “Pampi” Lacson Jr., son of Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and Jolo first revealed their relationship in 2012. They broke up four years later, but had apparently reconciled. 


The couple had sparked marriage suggestions when Jolo once called Sta. Maria his wife in an Instagram post. He previously said of marrying the Kapamilya star: "All I can say is the right time will come, darating tayo diyan at may mga hinihintay na lang tayo." 


Rumors about their break-up shifted to high gear when fans pointed out that Jolo's birthday greeting to Jodi sounded "respectful" and less "romantic," compared to his past posts about the actress, whom he usually referred to as "asawa" — a term of endearment now missing.


Jodi also reportedly missed Jolo's recent graduation ceremony, and Jolo was not seen publicly, or on social media posts, as having spent Jodi's birthday with her, according to the network. 


Jolo graduated recently from the Lyceum of the Philippines with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. He said he plans to take up a short course at the Harvard University in Boston.


“On September, I’m flying to Boston to take a short course, sa Harvard naman, sa School of Government, ’yung Leadership for the 21st Century,” he said.


“Short course lang naman, dahil sa palagay ko, hindi naman puwedeng… kailangang armasan ko rin ’yung sarili ko,” Jolo said.


He clarified taking up the Harvard course was not a preparation to running for higher office.


“I just want to take it one step at a time. I’m not planning to run with higher position. I’m only 30 years old. Pero that time will come for me,” he said


“I’m doing this for myself, not for anyone, not for… I mean, kasi siyempre, gumagawa tayo ng mga ordinance at saka resolution as a vice governor, I’m the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Cavite.


“Kumbaga, dapat lang naman talaga na nag-aaral kami at patuloy na nag-aaral dahil ginagawa namin ito para sa taong bayan. So, it is a must.

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