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QUEZON CITY (PinoyNews) — Actor and outgoing senator Manuel "Lito" Lapid will go on trial for his involvement in the P728 million fertilizer fund scam.

 This as the Sandiganbayan first division found probable cause against the senator in graft charges filed before it by the Ombudsman.

The court stated in its resolution that after perusing the information and evaluating the resolution of the prosecutor, the evidence in support of the charges and the records of the preliminary investigation sufficient grounds exists for the finding of probable cause.

Aside from Lapid, those to on trial are his co-accused Pampanga provincial account Benjamin Yuzon and provincial treasurer Vergel Yabut along with three private individuals, namely, Ma. Victoria Aquino-Abubakar and Leolita Aquino, incorporators of Malayan Pacific Trading Corp. (MPTC) and Dexter Alexander Vasquez, proprietor of D.A. Vasquez Macro-Micro Fertilizer Resources (DAVMMFR).

Lapid and his co-accused have already posted P30,000 bail. Lapid was accused of the charges while he was governor of Pampanga.

Lapid, who is winding up his term as senator, is running for mayor of Angeles City. His son Mark Lapid, also a former actor and governor of Pampanga and now a top tourism official, is a candidate for senator under the Liberal Party (LP).

According to Sandiganbayan First Division clerk of court Estella Teresita Rosete, the issuance of a warrant of arrest against the accused is no longer needed due to the posting of the bail.

The anti-graft court though ordered the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to prevent the accused from leaving the country after the probable cause to proceed with the trial was determined.

The BI order also stated that as the accused are barred from leaving the country they could not leave without the prior approval of the anti-graft court.

In May 2004, the provincial government of Pampanga during the incumbency of Lapid as governor, purchased from MPTC 3,880 liters of liquid fertilizers formulated by DAVMMFR amounting to P4.761 million.

The Office of the Ombudsman in its information said the purchase was done without public bidding as required under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The respondents, according to the Ombudsman, also violated the procurement rules by resorting to direct purchasing “despite the availability of a suitable substitute offered at a much lower price in the locality.”

It alleged that it was Lapid who certified that there was no suitable substitute to MPTC’s Macro-Micro Foliar Fertilizer, which paved way for the provincial government to unlawfully resort to the direct purchase agreement.

It was pointed out in the information that specification of a brand name in a purchase request was also a violation of the procurement rules under RA 9184.

The anti-graft body also cited the “inordinate speed” in the consummation of the transaction between the provincial government and the private respondents.

It was on May 12, 2004 when Vasquez’s DAVMMFR submitted the price quotation for the fertilizer products. The Ombudsman said that on May 24, 2004 Lapid had already issued the purchase order and on the same day, delivery was supposedly made.

On May 26, full payment was made by the provincial government to MPTC, thus, the full transaction was allegedly completed in a span of 14 days.

It was also found by the Ombudsman that MPTC was not authorized supplier fertilizer products as it has no product registration and certificate of license to operate.

Also, the purchased items were not registered with the Fertilizer Pesticide Authority (FPA) as it was only in August 2005 when DAVMMFR applied for Product Registration with the FPA.

The Ombudsman also stated the purchased items were overpriced by as much as P4.268 million as the fertilizer was sold at P1,250 per liter when its real value was only P150 per liter, “thereby causing undue injury to the government.”

Section 3(e) of RA 3019 prohibits a public official from causing any undue injury to any party, or giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions.

On the other hand, Section 3(g) of RA 3019 prohibits the act of entering, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government, “whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.

The money for the purchase of the questioned items supposedly came from the P728-million funds of the Department of Agriculture for its “Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Program.”

The charges were denied by Lapid and has said he is ready to answer the charges lodged before the anti-graft court.

Angel Locsin mulls surgery for spine

Published in Entertainment

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Actress Angel Locsin might undergo surgery to treat a disc bulge in her spine.

No less than Angel's boyfriend, actor and television host Luis Manzano, made the disclosure on the plan as reported by their mother studio, ABS-CBN.

According to the report, Angel was forced to pull out from the upcoming remake of the movie "Darna," due to her condition.


It was gathered that the comely actress, now 30 years old, might have overdid some exercises and preparations for the role that could have misplaced some of her bones.


"I think mayroon siyang two options na kino-consider. May isa na medyo mas matimbang, so hopefully soon magawa na niya," her boyfrined told in an interview.


Luis expressed hope  that Angel will be back on her feet in no time.


"Basta makapagpa-treatment kung sakaling magawa niya 'yung nakaplanong whether 'yung surgery, basta magawa 'yon at maayos 'yung therapy after, she can be 100% again," he said.


"With technology now, sa science ngayon, parang ang bilis (maka-recover). ’Yung last case na nakita after one or two weeks parang medyo okay na. Pero of course she still have to undergo therapy. Hindi pwedeng afternoon eh lahat ay gagawin mo. Siyempre kailangan may kaunting ingat pa din before you're 100%," he added.


Luis said he is touched that a lot of people are still hoping that Angel will get to fly again as Darna.


"Nakita ko nga may mga Instagram pa na Darna will wait for Angel Locsin. Nakaka-touch kasi siyempre ibig sabihin there's no one better for that role," he said, noting that these aren't just "hardcore fans" of his girlfriend.


"Kahit 'yung regular na tao who follows showbiz talagang sinasabi nila na iba 'yung naging tatak ni Angel as Darna. So thank you. I guess on behalf of Angel maraming salamat doon sa nagsasabing kung kayang antayin, antayin sana," Luis said.


Asked if there's still a possibility for Locsin to still do the Darna movie, the young actor said: "Sana. Siguro not just dahil sa clamor ng tao but kahit ang management ay nakikita na 'Oo nga ano baka naman kaya pa ngang hintayin si Angel.' So sana."


Many of her Angel's fans have been praying that she gets well so she continue her other acting roles.


Even her boyfriend's mother, outgoing Batangas Governor Vilma Santos Recto, has joined the legions of fans of the comely actress in praying for her immediate recovery and continued good health.


The lady governor of Batangas, who herself had performed as “Darna” in past movies, has also an advice for the young star – don’t cry over the lost role.


“You have played the role of Darna and have proven yourself,” Governor Vilma said in a television interview, referring to Angel Locsin.


The remake of Darna with Angel Locsin was planned two years ago.


But with the turn of events, columnist Aster Amoyo said that since Luis Manzano has not also entered politics earlier planned, there is a strong possibility that Angel and Luis could finally walk down the aisle for a grand wedding.


She said that the two are of prime age, Luis is 34 and Angel is 30.


Meanwhile, the search is on for her replacement in the title role of Darna which originally was a popular comics novel of Mars Ravelo which was first made into a movie in 1951.


The first Darna movie had actress Rosa del Rosario playing as Darna and the movie was directed by the late Fernado Poe Sr.


The second Darna movie had Eva Montes playing the role in 1964.


Columnist Aster Amoyo recounted in her Pilipino Star Ngayon column the other stars in the remake and television series on Darna.


In 1969, another remake of the movie had Gina Pareño as Darna in 1969 and five years later, it was the turn of Vilma Santos to be Darna. Vilma Santos appeared in the movies Darna and the Giants, Darna vs. the Planet Women in 1975, and Darna and Ding in 1980.


In 1977, the first TV series on Darna was made by KBS-9 and by Kitchie Benedicto with Lorna Tolentino. In 1979, a spoof was made by comedy king with the title Darna Kuno.


In 1986, GMA made Darna into a cartoon series. In 1991, the movie was again remade this time by Viva Films with Nanette Medved as Darna followed by Anjanette Abayari in 1994


Marian Rivera gives birth to first child

Published in Entertainment

Photo from Philippine Star


Actress Marian Rivera has given birth to a healthy baby girl at the Makati Medical Center in Makati City.

She and husband Dingdong Dantes immediately received congratulatory messages from friends and fans on becoming new parents to their baby whom they will call Maria Letizia.


Dingdong expressed joy with the coming of their first child. 


The proud father immediately posted photo of his daughter’s hand and on the caption said, “Twenty-three November, 2015: The day God decided to deliver His most precious gift.”


“This morning, I witnessed a miracle... and during that moment, I realized that my life would never be the same again,” he added.

It was gathered that christening will be held in January next year at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City, the same church where they were wed.

The comely actress is recovering fast at the hospital, according to Dingdong who was with Marian all the way, prompting him to say he witnessed a "miracle."

The baby, he said, got more of the features of her mother.

According to Dingdong, Marian gave birth at exactly 5:25 a.m. on, November 23. The baby was 3.1-kg (6.9-lbs) and, nicknamed “Baby Z”.


''Thank God they are both safe and okay,'' Dingdong said.

Dingdong posted on Instagram: “Maria Letizia came out… today. Thank God they’re both safe.”


“This morning, I witnessed a miracle. And during that moment, I realized that my life will never be the same again,” Dingdong wrote on Instagram, where he also shared with his followers a photo of his daughter’s little hand. “As we welcome this new, graceful chapter with open heart, we want to thank everyone who prayed with us through this sweet journey.”


After five years of being together, Marian and Dingdong tied the knot in a grand church wedding ceremony, celebrated by eight bishops and seven priests, at the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral in Quezon City last December 30.


A star-studded affair, it was attended by no less than President Benigno Aquino III as Dantes' best man. The couple also had 40 principal sponsors, 18 groomsmen, 18 bridesmaids and 25 secondary sponsors.


  The two mainstays of GMA Network met in 2007 when they co-starred in the local adaptation of "Marimar." They went on to play sweethearts in several more television series, including "Dyesebel" in 2008

Marian revealed she is pregnant via a TV interview last April, four months after she and Dingdong tied the knot. "'Yun din ang isa sa mga dahilan kaya kami nagpursiging magpakasal; it's to really build a family. And alam naman natin an ang pagkakaroon ng anak ay isa sa mga mahahalagang bagay para magkaroon ng isang pamilya," Dingdong said at the time.

The pregnancy led to Marian withdrawing from the GMA-7 drama "The Rich Man's Daughter," which was originally planned as the 31-year-old actress' first soap opera after getting married. Rhian Ramos took over Marian's role.

"Ito talaga ang pangarap ko at inaasam-asam ko—ang ikasal at magkaroon ng anak at magkaroon ng pamilya. Ito talaga, e," Marian said in an interview last May.


Marian and Dingdong plan to have their newborn daughter, Maria Letizia, christened in January next year at the same church where they tied the knot, according to the show biz couple’s spiritual adviser and friend, Fr. Tito Caluag, who had been asked to perform the religious rite.


“They originally intended to have the child baptized on Dec. 30, their first wedding anniversary, at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao, Quezon City. It was a very nice plan. But because of the holiday rush, they moved it to January,” he said.


Caluag, a former principal of Ateneo de Manila High School (Dingdong’s alma matter), added that he would meet with the family soon “to bless them, especially Letizia.”


Shortly after the news broke online, well wishes started pouring in for the couple and their firstborn, from family, friends and fans—many of whom have been dutifully praying for the new mother’s well-being. On the social networking site Twitter, the topics “Marian Rivera” and “Congrats DongYan,” trended nationwide.


Lilybeth Rasonable, GMA 7 senior vice president for entertainment television, said she was sure that Dingdong and Marian—her godchildren—would become “wonderful parents.” “I’m very happy for them. I wish them luck on this new, exciting chapter in their lives,” she told the Inquirer.

“We celebrate with them. We pray that Baby Z would grow up healthy and fulfill her destiny,” one of the child’s soon-to-be godparent and GMA 7 exec Oliver Amoroso told the Inquirer.

“Baby Z is lucky to have been born in this generation, with Dong and Yan as her parents, because she can grow up to be whatever she wants to be,” the assistant vice president and head of GMA 7’s regional TV-integrated marketing division added.

In her Instagram account, actress Ai-Ai delas Alas, Marian’s “kambal” (twin) and “Sunday PinaSaya” cohost, described Letizia as her “beautiful inaanak.” “Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Dantes! God bless your family,” she wrote. “And to you, kambal, enjoy motherhood. Napakasarap maging mommy. (It feels so good to be a mommy).”


Photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer


QUEZON CITY — The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has found Filipino-American Jason Ivler guilty in the fatal shooting of a son of a former Malacanang official during a traffic altercation in 2009, and sentenced him to life in prison.

Judge Luisito Cortez of the QC Regional Trial Court Branch 84 also ordered Ivler's transfer to the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.

According to agents of the National Bureau of Investigation who arrested him after a firefight in their home, Ivler was facing “dangerous drug charges” in America. In a document from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, there was an outstanding bench warrant of Court of Canal Township in Nevada against Ivler, which could be the reason he returned to the Philippines

Ivler, an American discharged from the US military service and son of Marlene Ivler, a sister of singer Freddie Aguilar, was the same person who figured in the death of Manila Congressman Nestor C Ponce Jr. in a vehicle collision in Quezon City in 2004.

Judge Cortez also ordered Ivler to pay P9 million in damages to the family of Renato Ebarle Jr. with whom Ivler had a heated argument in Santolan district in November 2009 that led to Ivler shooting Ebarle to death.

The family of Ivler is reportedly filing an appeal.

On January 18, 2010, Ivler was arrested by NBI agents in his mother's home at 23 Hillside Drive, Blue Ridge Subdivision, Quezon City. Two NBI operatives were wounded after Ivler “went amok” and instigated a brief shootout. 

NBI Special Action Unit Chief Lito Magno was grazed on his right thigh and was rushed to Medical City, while Special Agent Anna Lara, who was hit in her chest, was taken to Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC). Ivler was also brought to QMMC since he sustained gunshot wounds, one in his right shoulder, another in his left abdomen that cut through his spleen and large intestines.

When he was 22, Ivler was charged with homicide due to reckless imprudence when, on August 8, 2004, he reportedly lost control of his Toyota Land Cruiser which jumped to the other lane and crashed to an oncoming Isuzu Trooper driven by Ponce Jr. who was then  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's adviser for resettlement.

Ivler posted bail and attempted to flee to Malaysia by boat but was arrested in Zamboanga City. He was considered a fugitive after failing to appear in the homicide case hearings that are still pending in Pasig City court.

Additional charges of resisting arrest, complex crime of direct assault with frustrated and attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms, and violation of election gun ban were filed by NBI against Ivler. His mother Marlene was also charged for obstruction of justice for claiming that Ivler had already left the country.

On 16 February 2010, while lying on a stretcher, Ivler pleaded “not guilty” during his arraignment in court.

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