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Thelma Cruz

Thelma Cruz

Lawmakers passed only 14 laws this year

Published in Latest News

(Photo from Philippine Star)


QUEZON CITY – Lawmakers passed this year at least 14 bills of national application, which President Aquino signed into law.


According to a tally made by the House of Representatives, 2015 is the second most productive year of the outgoing 16th Congress after 2013, when the legislature approved 20 national bills that became law.


Twelve laws were enacted in 2014, 11 in 2012 and four in 2011.


The most recent bill passed by Congress that became law enhances transparency in the management and accounting of tax incentives. President Aquino signed it last Dec. 9.


Last month, the President affixed his signature on four measures: those that modernize the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, strengthen non-government organizations engaged in micro-finance operations for the poor, prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and amend Presidential Decree 986, otherwise known as the Probation Law of 1976.


The Unifast Law, which consolidates and streamlines the administration of all student financial assistance programs, was signed on Oct. 15.


The other statutes enacted this year are the Fair Competition Act, the Cabotage Law, Open High School System Act, the measure that provides for the safety of children aboard motorcycles, the creation of two additional divisions in the Sandiganbayan, the repeal of the crime of premature marriage and the tax exemption for bonuses of up to P82,000.


Last year, the 12 bills that Aquino signed included those that require telecommunications companies to provide free mobile alerts in case of disasters, strengthen the anti-drug campaign, allow the entry of foreign banks, mandate graphic health warnings on tobacco products, give scholarships to the top 10 graduates of public high schools and the Lemon Law.


Among the laws enacted in 2013 were the Kasambahay Act, amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Law, mandatory biometrics voter registration, K-to-12, Philippine Standard Time Act, Anti-Drunk Driving Act, Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition, allowing the infusion of foreign capital in rural banks, Anti-Bullying Act and reparation of human rights victims during the Marcos regime.


The controversial Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Bill and the sin tax reform measure became statutes in 2012.


Collections from the so-called sin products like tobacco and alcohol are funding the administration’s universal health insurance coverage program.


Also signed in 2012 were the Data Privacy Act, People’s Survival Fund Act, Cybercrime Prevention Act, the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Kindergarten Education Act and the bill defining the crime of financing of terrorism.


The four measures that became law in 2011 sought to promote financial viability and fiscal discipline in state corporations, allow the employment of night workers, extend the electricity lifeline rate for poor households and provide for the synchronization of elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

PHL's Emperador buys Spain's Fundador, Torre Espacio

Published in Business

(Photo from Rappler)


MAKATI CITY — Spain colonized and dominated the Philippines for 333 years but, the situation has changed to friendship with equal footing.

And lately, the Philippines is slowly "colonizing" Spain in a way.

This as the Philippine brandy giant Emperador Inc. has acquired Spain's Beam Suntory and the company’s Spanish brandy and sherry business, including four liquor brands, for P13.8 billion.

Not only that, the group of Andrew Tan, one of the wealthiest Filipinos, also acquired the famous Spanish tower, the 57-story, 230-meter Torre Espacio (Spanish for Space Tower), once the tallest structure in Spain,  for about P11.5 billion.


Tan’s Emperador Inc., which acquired Fundador, said in a statement that the purchase of Torre Espacio in Madrid was made “in his personal capacity and remains as a private investment of his family.”


Tan acquired the property from Spain’s Grupo Villar Mir, primary shareholder of the OHL Group.


The embassies of Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom reportedly have offices in the building, located on prime property.

Forbes estimates Tan’s net worth at $3.7 billion. Tan also controls the Alliance Global, with interests in food and beverage, gaming, hospitality and real estate and owns the McDonald's franchise for the Philippines and the property developer Megaworld. 

The acquisition includes the iconic brands of Fundador Pedro Domecq, the Philippines' largest selling premium imported brandy brand; Terry Centenario, Spain’s no. 1 selling brandy; Tres Cepas, Equatorial Guinea’s no. 1 brandy; and Harveys, United Kingdom’s no. 1 selling sherry wine. 

“The acquisition further strengthens Emperador's dominant position as the number one brandy company in the Philippines and in the world,” the company reported to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The purchased assets include Bodegas Fundador, known to be Spain's largest and oldest brandy cellars established in 1730, as well as production facilities, ageing cellars, vineyards and state-of-the-art blending and bottling facilities, in Jerez, Spain. 

Other assets also include a brandy distillery in Tomelloso, Spain with sufficient ageing inventory of brandy and sherry, which Emperador officials believe will drive the company’s future growth. 

Emperador, Inc. president Winston Co said the acquisition of the Spanish assets and Fundador Brandy is expected to boost the company’s revenue and profit. 

“With the combined global reach of Whyte & Mackay and Fundador, our expanded product portfolio will have access to more than 100 countries around the world. In our pipeline are several proudly Philippine-made products that we intend to introduce to the international markets starting next year," he said.

Last year, Emperador acquired Whyte and Mackay Limited, the world’s fifth largest Scotch whiskey company. 

Among its prestigious brands are The Dalmore and Jura Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, Whyte & Mackay and John Barr Blended Scotch Whiskies and Vladivar Vodka.

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MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan (via PhilAmPress) — There could be no more hindrance to veteran actor Philip Salvador running for vice governor of the province of Bulacan.

This as the Commission on Election office in Marilao town ruled that Salvador and his wife are considered registered voters of the progressive town.

Actor Phillip Salvador is still a voter of this town though he and his wife may just be staying in a house they have been renting from a resident, the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office said. Deogracias Danao, municipal election officer and chairman of the election registration board of Marilao, dismissed the petition filed by six residents questioning Salvador's status as a voter of the town on the ground that he did not own properties there and was only renting.

Salvador, 62, whose full name is Philip Mikael Reyes Salvador, is reported to be the candidate for vice governor of comebacking former Gov. Josefina de la Cruz, who is currently the Postmaster General. Dela Cruz reportedly will substitute as a gubernatorial candidate for her brother, Pedro Mendoza, on or before Dec. 10, the deadline for substitution.

Salvador, a three-time FAMAS best actor awardee, will be pitted against fellow actor Daniel Fernando, who is the incumbent vice governor and runningmate of reelectionist Governor Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado.


Salvador had told the Comelec in Marilao that he and his wife, Emma Ledesma, were renting the house owned by one Ricardo Maximo Silvestre in Barangay Sta. Rosa 2 in Marilao.

The actor, once a partner of presidential sister Kris Aquino with whom he has a son, Joshua Aquino Salvador, cited a Supreme Court ruling which asserts that “ownership of a property is not a qualification before a person can run for public office, [or] in this case before a person can register as a voter,” according to Comelec records.

Domingo Lukban, Teodoro Toring, Rogelio Gervas, Perlita Panes, Benigno Villaruel and Cesar Cuenca questioned Salvador’s registration as a voter in Marilao last Oct. 9 presenting a certification that the address used by Salvador was owned by another person and a certification from the homeowners’ association in Estrella Homes Subdivision in Sta. Rosa village that Salvador was not a homeowner or resident there.

Salvador’s lawyers countered with testimonies from his neighbors who said that the actor has been living at the Silvestre-Nieto compound since August 2014.

The Salvador couple “applied as registered voters of Marilao on Oct. 9, which is seven months before the scheduled election on May 9, 2016,” Danao said.
In affirming the validity of the couple’s voter registration, Danao said Salvador was a deactivated voter from Mandaluyong City, so he is qualified as a new voter registrant when the couple decided to reactivate their voting privileges in Marilao.


Salvador's fellow actor, Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, 53, has filed his certificate of candidacy for reelection for a third and final three-year term.

Fernando, a native of Guiguinto, Bulacan, is running under the administration Liberal Party (LP) while Salvador will running under the Nationalist People's Coalition.

Fernando, a film, television and stage actor who is critically acclaimed for his performance in the Peque Gallaga erotic film Scorpio Nights, among others, is Cesar F. Ramirez in real life.  He finished his Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communication Engineering degree at the University of the East in 1992.

His stint as a public servant began in 1980 when he was elected Kabataan Barangay chairman of his own barangay. He first ran for vice mayor of his hometown but lost in the election. This setback did not dampen his spirit, so in 2001, he ran for board member of the 2nd district of Bulacan and easily won, even garnering the most number of votes. This gave him the privilege of becoming Senior Board Member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

In the 2004 election, he won again in the same position and again was chosen senior board member. 

In the 2007 election, he ran as vice governor but lost to Vice Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado, now his governor. In the 2010 election, he again ran and this time won as Governor Alvarado’s running mate.

Now in his second term of office, Vice-Governor Daniel has already received various recognitions, citations and awards for his exemplary performance and accomplishments in the last three years, foremost among these is the “Most Outstanding Public Servant of 2012” given by the Gawad Amerika Foundation, Inc., an organization of Filipino-Americans living in the United States of America. 

Salvador is the son of the late Lou Salvador, a legend in the movie industry. His siblings include actots and actresses Lou Salvador Jr., Alona Alegre, Leroy Salvador, Ross Rival, Jobelle Salvador, Deborah Sun and Ramon Salvador.

It was gathered that Salvador will use the substitution system allowed by the rules and law of the Comelec, which should be filed in December.


A source, who asked not to be named, said Salvador has already filed his residency in Marilao town in Bulacan and expects the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will allow him to run for public office.


Dela Cruz served the province of Bulacan for several decades starting as the youngest vice mayor of Bocaue, as provincial board member, Vice Governor and then the youngest Bulacan Governor from 1992 up to 2001.


A Barangay Captain from 4th District of Bulacan, who spoke on condition that his name not be mentioned, said that some district representatives, municipal mayors down to barangay officials earlier announced their full support to the Dela Cruz-Salvador tandem after the results of a local survey showed that volunteers from the private sector wherein the Josie-Philip tandem gained a slight advantage over Alvarado-Fernando.

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