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Philippines Today


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.




CUNETA FOR MAYOR. Actress-singer Sharon Cuneta accompanies her brother Cesar Joseph Cuneta at the Pasay City Comelec office as he reactivates his registration as a voter. Cesar, a pilot, wants to continue the legacy of their late father Mayor Pablo Cuneta by running for mayor in 2019 under the Duterte coalition.  


PASAY CITY — A brother of actress-singer Sharon Cuneta is running for mayor of Pasay in the 2019 elections.


Cesar Joseph "Chet" Cuneta, 57, a commercial pilot, said he wants to continue the legacy of his late father, Mayor Pablo Cuneta, who held the post for 41 years starting when he was just a calesa driver.


Sharon disclosed Cesar's plans on Instagram, adding she will be behind her brother and will campaign for him.


Cesar, accompanied by Sharon, went to the local Commission on Elections office, and had his registration as a voter re-activated.


 Sharon revealed Cesar will run for mayor under the coalition supporting President Rodrigo Duterte.


Cesar is expected to be pitted against the Calixto clan, once an ally of the late Mayor Cuneta headed by the late Mayor Eduardo Calixto. At present, Mayor Antonio Calixto is the city executive while sister Emi Calixto-Rubiano is a congresswoman of the city.


"Kung mamarapatin niyo pong iboto ang kapatid ko ngayong eleksyon, talaga pong I shall be there behind him. Tsaka asahan niyo po ang kinikita ng gobyerno mapupunta sa tao ng Pasay, sa taumbayan," the actress said.


The actress was earlier seen dining with President Duterte and Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go in Malacañang Palace.


The President earlier said that he is grateful for the "many things" Cuneta has done for him and his family. He said his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is an avid fan of the megastar.


The singer-actress posted the photo of her and Cesar at the local Commission on Elections office, where her brother enlisted as a voter in Pasay, as voter registration for the 2019 polls resumed and will last until Sept. 29.


“It took us many, many heart-to-heart talks throughout some time to finally come to this decision. And we made sure that when we came to it, it was with all our hearts and souls,” Sharon wrote on Instagram.


“Only with the spirit to serve honestly and with our father Pablo’s legacy in mind,” added the performer, who is married to Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, the president of the opposition Liberal Party.


Pangilinan said he respected Cesar's decision to run for mayor under the Duterte coalition.


Sharon  said her brother is giving up “32 years of his career as a hardworking pilot to serve the people of Pasay City” and she will be “110% behind him.”


“He will make sure that all of Pasay’s earnings will go toward making the city progressive and will be for the benefit of the people. I myself will be by his side,” Sharon said. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

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