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Bong Revilla hopeful on release, eyes new movie

Published in Entertainment

Photo: Philippine Daily Inquirer


“I do not deserve to be incarcerated.”


Thus, said actor-turned-politician Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in an interview with media inside the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.


Revilla, a former senator, governor and vice governor of Cavite, has been in detention for four years now and aired hopes he would be free soon.


His hope is based on the fact that former fellow detainees, former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, have been freed on bail while facing trial for plunder and graft charges like him.


His fans in show business have been wondering whether the actor/senator would be, like Jinggoy, be allowed to post bail (at least) while he is being tried for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam filed against him and the other senators, entertainment editor and columnist Isah Red reported.


“I do not deserve to be incarcerated,” Revilla told Red when he visited him at the PNP detention center.


“Gayunpaman, buo ang tiwala ko sa sistema kaya’t mula’t sapul ay sumailalim na ako rito (Even then I trust the system that’s the reason I surrendered.)” Revilla added.


“As I promised, I continue to face the lies and intrigues thrown at me by my detractors,” he continued.” This has never weakened my resolve to fight for the truth and what is right. I am steadfast in my commitment to our kababayans. I still believe in justice and I trust that the truth will prevail and that I will be vindicated.”


His fans began to express their sentiments since late last year when Coco Martin’s movie “Ang Panday” started getting media buzz. It will be recalled that Revilla starred in not one but two “Ang Panday” films. One was released in 2009 and the other in 2011. In fact, if he were not in detention, he could have shot a third “Ang Panday” in collaboration with its creator, Carlo J. Caparas.


He, however, said that once he is allowed to leave his detention cell, he’d star in another movie, not another “Ang Panday” as its franchise has been acquired by another film company.


He said doing another movie is a promise to his fans.


Revilla Jr. has filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to stop the proceedings at the Sandiganbayan which he claimed as a violation of his rights as an accused in the P224.5-million plunder and graft cases filed against him for alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel.


Revilla, a former governor of Cavite, was one of three senators charged and detained in connection with the controversial pork barrel scam, but the two - former Senators Enrile and Estrada - have been released due to various reasons although their cases have remained.


In a 62-page petition for certiorari filed through his counsel, former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza, Revilla said his rights to due process, to be presumed innocent, to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him and to a fair trial had been violated when his motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence as well as his motion to quash and motions for reconsideration had been dismissed by the anti-graft court.


For issuing the said resolutions, the petitioner accused the Sandiganbayan of failure to perform its constitutional duty to enforce his rights that resulted to his continued detention in the past four years.


Estrada said he hopes the Supreme Court will grant the petition of fellow actor and senator Revilla to be freed from detention.


“Ako ay nagdadasal na sana ma-grant ng Supreme Court 'tong hinihingi ni Senator Bong para makalaya na siya,” said Estrada who was released from detention on bail in 2017.


In an interview after his hearing on his plunder case in connection with the PDAF scam, Estrada said he visited Revilla in Camp Crame.


“He is still in high spirits, although he is complaining about the strictness of all of his guards there,” the former senator said.


Estrada said the guards suddenly became strict “dahil sa isang babae doon,” referring to Senator Leila De Lima who is also detained in Camp Crame for drug-related charges.


Estrada dismissed the witnesses presented by government prosecutors in his own plunder case.


The prosecution presented eight residents of Mabitac, Laguna -- some of whom are farmers -- who all denied having received agricultural package worth P22,000 supposedly from the PDAF of Estrada.


“I have nothing to do with those alleged beneficiaries,” he said.


Revilla is principally questioning the Sandiganbayan’s ruling issued on Dec. 7, 2017 denying his motion to file a demurrer to evidence which would have sought the dismissal of his plunder case in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam as well as its Dec. 28, 2017 resolution denying his motion for reconsideration.


“The Sandiganbayan order of December 7, 2017, principally challenged in the instant petition, in ruling that there is a need for the accused to present their evidence, implicitly, by way of defense or more directly put, to controvert the charge in the information and the evidence offered by the prosecution, violates petitioner’s right to ‘due process’ and disregards that petitioner is ‘presumed innocent’ even at this stage of proceedings,” Revilla argued.


With the denial of his motions, the Sandiganbayan has set the reception of evidence for the accused on January 25, 30; February 1, 6, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and March 6 and 8. Revilla argued that the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan violated his constitutional right to due process, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusations against him, to have an impartial trial and to meet the witnesses face to face.


The anti-graft court, in said decision, instead directed the senator to submit his evidence that would disprove the allegations against him.


While the case is pending with the Supreme Court, Revilla also asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to enjoin the Sandiganbayan from conducting proceedings on the case for the purpose of receiving his evidence against the case which will start on Jan. 25, 2018.


He also sought his provisional release from jail pending the High Court’s action on his petition.


The former senator also urged the high court to hold an oral argument on the matter. Revilla is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.


In August 2015, the SC granted the petition for bail of former senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the same plunder case with Janet Lim Napoles before the Sandiganbayan due to his "advanced age and poor health."


The two other former senators indicted with Napoles in separate plunder cases before the anti-graft court - Jinggoy Estrada andRevilla -- also filed bail petitions.


The Sandiganbayan special fifth division granted Estrada's plea last September.


Photo: ABS-CBN News


Another box office historical movie is in the works in Manila.


This new movie is from the same group behind the blockbuster film "Heneral Luna."


But this time, actor Paulo Avelino will play the title role.


The movie is all about another Filipino hero, Gen. Gregorio del Pilar.


Paulo said he is so fortunate to have been chosen by Director Jerrold Tarog to play the title role in his new historical drama, “Goyo: ang Batang Heneral.”


The movie is Tarog’s follow up to his acclaimed “Heneral Luna” that’s also a commercial success at the box office. The principal photography of “Goyo” was completed after more than 60 shooting days, produced by TBA (Tuko Production, Butchi Boy Productions and Artikulo Uno).


Mario Bautista, in his latest column, reported that the production budget of “Goyo” has escalated and reached P160 million due to the expensive period sets made specially for the movie, making it the most expensive movie in the history of local cinema. It’s almost double the budget of “Heneral Luna” that was made for P80 million and made a total of nearly P300 million at the box office three years ago.


Paulo also played Goyo in “Heneral Luna” and the new movie maybe considered as a sequel of sorts as it shows what happened after Gen. Antonio Luna was assassinated ruthlessly by his own compatriots. Goyo is the youngest general in the war of the Filipinos against the Americans during the turn of the 19th to the 20th century.


It will be a big challenge for Paulo to make “Goyo” an even bigger hit than “Heneral Luna” which is a certified blockbuster. It’s been proven that local films can gross to almost half a million pesos, as seen in the gross receipts of Vice Ganda’s Metro filmfest entries, especially “Gandarrapido, The Revengers”.


It was gathered that If “Goyo” would be a big hit that will succeed in recovering its investments, then TBA will give Direk Jerrold the green light to produce his third dream historical project, a movie on the life of Pres. Manuel Luis Quizon during the Commonwealth Era.

Jennylyn, Dennis in GMA shows in US, Canada

Published in Entertainment

Photo from Instagram | @mercadojenny


Don’t look now but you may bump actress Jennylyn Mercado, Dennis Trillo and others in New Jersey in the United States and in Toronto, Canada.


This as the reel and real sweethearts are part of the “Sikat Ka Kapuso” shows of GMA Pinoy TV in New Jersey and in Toronto In Canada.


Meanwhile, Jennylyn is back to work after her Holy Week vacation abroad with her inamorato, Dennis Trillo. She’s currently taping “The Cure”, whose trailer is already being shown and it certainly looks like a big and expensive production. The story revolves about a city where the inhabitants are inflicted with a deadly new virus that turns them into zombies.


“Excited kami ng mga kasama ko rito, led by Tom Rodriguez, kasi first time kaming makagawa ng ganitong klase ng serye na ibang-ibang talaga from anything we’ve done before,” said Jen as reported by columnist Mario Bautista. “It really offers something new to the viewers kasi first time din naming magiging magkapareha ni Tom. Magkahalong horror, drama at suspense ang show.” 


Directed by Mark Reyes, Jen and Tom play a married couple, Charity and Gregory Salvador. When Tom’s mother, played by Irma Adlawan, is diagnosed with terminal illness, Tom is desperate for his mom to regain her health and agrees for her to be subjected to an experimental treatment by Dr. Evangeline Lazaro, played by Jaclyn Jose.


But instead of being beneficial to its recipients, the drug causes an infection that threatens to spread all over the city, prompting Tom and Jen along with Jaclyn and her son, Ken Chan, to seek for the right cure to the disease.


The powerhouse cast also includes Andrea Torres, Mark Herras, LJ Reyes and Arra San Agustin in important roles, along with Jay Manalo, Diva Montelaba, Jojo Alejar, Ronnie Henares, Rita Daniel, Joanna Marie Tan and child star Leanne Bautista as the daughter of Jen and Tom. 

It was reported that the fans of Jen and her beau, Dennis Trillo, as a couple are pleased when they saw pictures of Jen with Calix, the love son of Dennis with ex-beauty queen Carlene Aguilar. They are happy that Jen is bonding well with Calix while Dennis is also getting along fine with her own love son, Alex Jazz. In one school activity of Alex Jazz, both Jen and Dennis were there to attend the affair. They’re really one happy family.



Published in Headline

Marcos cries foul over wet ballots, missing audit logs; Robredo firm in win

By ALFRED GABOT | Editor in Chief


Photo: ABS-CBN News


MANILA – Finally, after several months of waiting, the Supreme Court (SC), acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), started on Monday, April 3, the manual recount of thousands of votes in connection with the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against sitting Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.


The recount will determine the number of votes received by Robredo, wife of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and a former congresswoman of Naga City and Camarines Sur, and Marcos, son of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. and former First Lady now Ilocos Norte congresswoman Imelda Romualdez Marcos, in the May 9, 2016 national elections through manual counting of the votes at the Supreme Court-Court of Appeals building in Padre Faura, Ermita, Manila.


Marcos had claimed he could have been cheated during the election prompting him to file an election protest but Robredo denied the allegations pointing out that she won that election fair and square.


Marcos filed the protest on June 29, 2016 in which he is contesting the results from 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clusters, covering 27 provinces and cities.


Robredo won the five-way vice presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos' 14,155,344 votes. Other candidates then were Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and former senator, now Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, the runningmate of President Rodrigo Duterte.


The first day of the long-delayed recount was marred by allegation by Marcos and his lawyers of many “wet ballots” from four precincts in Bato, Camarines Sur, bailiwick of Robredo, and missing early voting transmission logs which they said were indications of alleged cheating in the polls.


Meanwhile, four of 40 head revisors tasked to manually recount the votes have resigned for still unclear reasons which could delay the proceedings.


Marcos said he was "surprised and concerned" with the resignation of the four revisors allegedly "for no apparent reason." 


"I hope this will not result in another round of delays especially now that we have started to uncover clear signs of fraud," he said. "They are no ordinary revisors, having undergone rigid psychological test and meticulous screening by the PET. They must have a compelling reason for backing out and I am one with the Filipino people in asking why," he added.


Robredo, through her lawyer Beng Sardillo, also lamented the delay in the recount that the resignation has caused.


"It is unfortunate as this will once more cause delay in the proceedings," Sardillo said.


The vote recount will first cover the pilot areas of Marcos protest, namely, the provinces of Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental and Iloilo, all known bailiwicks of Robredo, covering a total of 5,418 clustered precincts.


It was gathered that the results of the revision of the pilot provinces will determine whether the Marcos protest will proceed with the remaining 31,047 protested clustered precincts, based on Rule 65 of the 2010 PET rules.


Records showed that this is the first time that PET is holding an actual recount of votes since the body was created by the 1987 Constitution to tackle electoral protests in the presidential and vice-presidential races.


The actual recount shall be conducted by revision committees, which are composed of three members each: one representative of the protestant, one representative of the protestee, and a head revisor, who shall represent the tribunal.


“As of today (Monday), the Tribunal has constituted 40 revision committees. The target is 50 revision committees and the Tribunal is still in the process of hiring and training applicants for the remaining 10 Head Revisor positions,” said Te told reporters in a press conference.


The recount will be conducted Monday to, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with two 15-minute breaks and a one-hour lunch break.


Lawyer Jose Lemuel Arenas, a PET ad hoc committee member, said the revision is the process of verifying the ballots, to recount the votes of the parties, and to record the objections or claims of the parties.


He said there were 5,418 clustered precincts that cover the three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental, which were chosen by Marcos as the best provinces where he could prove the irregularities he cited in his poll protest.


Arenas said for each table, there will be three revisors – the head revisor (employee of PET), the protestant’s revisor and the protestee’s revisor.


The revisors will not be allowed to bring in their personal belongings, including their mobile phones, inside the venue. The PET has provided a locker for their belongings.


He noted that the time limit per ballot box with less than 300 votes will be 5.5 hours while for 300-700 votes will be 8.25 hours and for more than 700 votes will be 11 hours.


The tribunal is expecting some 213 personnel to come in per day during the recount. These include 60 employees of the tribunal, psychometricians, lawyers and representatives of both parties, and the revisors.


The revisors are part of the tribunal’s committee tasked to examine the contested ballots.


Arenas, said that the PET is currently housing some 1,400 ballot boxes from Camarines Sur.


Arenas said that other ballot boxes are currently with the Commission on Elections, due to storage issues.


Once the recount on the first 1,400 ballot boxes is done, the PET will receive the other ballot boxes from Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.


Members of the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Police Security Protection Group and PET guards will secure the recount venue round-the-clock.


CCTVs were also installed on all four corners of the recount venue and the storage area. The proceedings are closed to media.


Marcos personally visited and observed at the recounting area during the first day of recount.


Marcos raised the issue that there were alleged wet ballots and "missing" clustered precinct audit logs in municipality of Bato in Camarines Sur.


He said that all ballots from four clustered precincts in the municipality of Bato in Camarines Sur have all been found wet, and their contents "illegible," and also alleged 39 out of four clustered precincts in the same town had no audit logs.


“Apat na presinto, sa bayan ng Bato, lahat ng balota, nung binuksan ‘yung balota, lahat ng balota, basa,” Marcos said.

“So, hindi magamit. Eh hindi namin maintindihan papaano. Hindi naman siguro, impossible naman siguro na dalawang taong basa ‘yan,” he added.

Furthermore, Marcos said that audit logs from 38 precincts out of 42 in Bato town were missing and remain unaccounted for.

“Out of 42 precincts, 38 precincts walang audit logs. Kinuha ‘yung audit logs. In other words, kinuha ‘yung ballot box, kinuha ‘yung ballot logs, at hindi namin makita,” he said.


Hindi namin maintindihan papaano, imposible naman siguro na dalawang taong basa 'yan. Palagay ko, kailangan talaga pag-aralan kung paano nangyari 'yan. Ibig sabihin kasi kung may nagbasa, may nagbukas nung ballot box (We cannot understand but I think’s it is impossible the ballots were wet for two years. I think we must know how did that happen. If these are wet, this means that somebody opened the ballot boxes)," Marcos said.


Marcos also said the audit logs contain the record of the times the precinct opened, closed and the time the votes were cast.


“We’re going to have to find a way to recover those audit logs somehow. Since we are using computer, maybe it’s possible that those audit logs are in the database,” the former senator said.


Marcos admitted that his camp is concerned about votes that came late on the evening of May 9, 2016 and early morning of May 10, 2016.


He said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is to be blamed for the missing audit logs since they have in their possession the ballot boxes.


These concerns will be manifested in their objections, which will be recorded by the head revisors in each revision committee.


Marcos said he found the ballot boxes apparently unsecured prior to their Monday reopening -- while the containers were sealed, one box had a hole patched by masking tape, and a crack on its side.


He further observed rather slow proceedings on the first day of the recount but expects the process to speed up in the future.


 Robredo was represented by her lawyers on the first day of the recount.


Robredo’s legal counsel Romulo Macalintal dismissed Marcos’ insinuation that the wet ballots and missing audit logs indicate irregularities in the 2016 vice presidential race.


Hindi naman problema ‘yon eh. Talaga namang nangyayari ‘yon eh. Dahil sa ‘yang mga audit logs, pwede ka namang mag-request diyan sa mga ballot images. Puwedeng mag-request siya sa Supreme Court, sa Comelec. It’s not a problem. Kasi hindi naman pupuwedeng porket wala ang audit logs ay may anomaly (There is no problem with that. It really happens. You can just request for ballot images. It can be requested from the Supreme Court and Comelec. It doesn't necessarily mean that there is anomaly when there are no audit logs). The best evidence in the recount or revision are the ballots. And even the lawyer of Mr. Marcos said the best evidence are the ballots,” Macalintal told reporters in a hastily called press conference.


“The credibility of the ballots will remain. Kasi pag ang bilang ng (If the number of) ballots will tally with the bilang (number) ng election returns, walang problema (there is no problem). And in all election protests, from 2010 up to present automated elections, laging nagta-tally ang bilang ng recount doon sa (the recount tallies with the number of) election returns. And that’s the reason kung bakit wala pang nanalong (why there is no winning) election protest in 2010 to 2016 on the basis of ballot recount,” he added.


Macalintal said the ballots got wet during a typhoon sometime in December.


“I think Mr. Marcos should consult his representatives when the ballots were retrieved. Maybe he failed to read their report or they hid the truth from him about the condition of the ballots,” Macalintal said.


The wet ballots, according to Macalintal, are also immaterial considering that existence of ballot images.


“That is the beauty of an automated election. Because for every ballot cast, there is corresponding ballot image, corresponding picture of the ballot,” he pointed out.

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