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(Photo from Instagram | @mr.cocomartin)


Coco Martin’s television series “Ang Probinsiyano” under fire even as it draws more support from viewers and the entertainment industry.


This as the Philippine National Police (PNP) ordered all of its units to withdraw support for the three-year on the running TV series for allegedly depicting policemen in a bag light while the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) called for investigation on the use of its cast of PNP uniforms, insignias, and other official paraphernalia, raising the possibility that the show could be censored or even axed.


In a memorandum issued last week, all PNP offices and personnel were told to stop assisting and providing resources to the production team of the hit series.


"All units, offices, and personnel are advised to immediately refrain from assisting, to withdraw their support to the production of the said teleserye in terms of PNP resources like patrol cars, firearms, personnel, venues, and other items and gadgets being used in the teleserye," Police Community Relations Director Eduardo Garado said.


This developed after PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde aired concern on the alleged negative portrayal of some policemen in the Coco Martin-starrer.


Garado, in the memorandum, said producers of the show promised during a dialogue with the police force and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) last October 17 and 23 to "make the necessary corrections on the issues raised by the PNP in a week's time."


Senate President Vicene Sotto III and Senators Grace Poe and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes came to the defense of top rating television show “Ang Probinsyano,” both shielding the telenovela from criticisms from the DILG and the PNP.


Many actors like Vice Ganda also came to the defense of Coco Martin and his show, pointing out that the "show" was only a show and does not depict real situations and characters in the police agency.


An alliance of artists and media practitioners at the same time slammed the PNP leaders and the DILG for its supposed attempt to "censor" the hit TV series "FPJ's Ang Probinsyano”.


The group Let's Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI) said it is the administration itself, and not the ABS-CBN action drama, that demoralizes the police force when it continues to be involved in alleged killings under the drug war. 


"Both Albayalde and Año claim that the story of 'Ang Probinsyano' demoralizes the ranks of policemen in this country. They should look for a mirror and join President Duterte in staring at it," LODI said in a statement. 


"If there’s anyone who demoralizes law enforcers, it is this regime that presides over an orgy of extrajudicial killings both in the cities and the countryside," the group added, urging Albayalde and Año to resign and just apply as the show's scriptwriters instead.


LODI stated it believes the move by the police could be a "trial balloon" for future attempts to crack down the media and the arts, citing that "Ang Probinsyano" is aired by a ABS-CBN, a network Duterte wishes to be denied a legislative franchise.


Sotto, who is a singer-actor, said judging the television series is highly debatable pointing out that the characterization there are not of those real people and clear fiction for the movies and television.


Poe, daughter of the late Movie King Fernando Poe Jr., who first portrayed the role “Cardo” in the “Ang Probinsyano" movie, said that current lead role Coco Martin has no reason to seek forgiveness since the actor is doing nothing wrong but just portraying his role.


The lady senator instead urged the DILG and PNP to focus their attention and energy on other more pressing problems they are facing such as high volume of crimes and the deterioration of the values of some of their members.


Trillanes warned the DILG and the PNP against forcing the producers of the show to change the plot of the story which he said would amount to censorship.


“Ganun talaga ang script eh, sabi nga fiction yan. Yan ay kathang isip kahit na anong script gawin dyan. Kung wala ka namang ginagawang mali, hindi ka dapat maba-bother dyan,” Trillanes said.


He said that if the PNP will insist on interfering with the show, he will file a resolution that will investigate their actions.


Trillanes advised the PNP not to watch the teleserye if they are taking offense with the show which he argued is purely fiction.


Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chief Rachel Arenas, a former congresswoman, meanwhile, said the agency has no mandate to stop the showing of "Ang Probinsiyano" but meetings are continuing with the PNP and DILG and ABSCBN and MTRCB to thresh out concerns on the series.


Only the court can stop the showing, said Arenas.


Lawyer Romulo Macalintal said there could be violation of freedom of expression which is guarranted by the constitution if the PNP and DILG insist on censoring the series.


"Solution is baguhin ang situation para sa image ng PNP," said Prof Luis Teodoro of the Center for Press Freedom and Responsibility.


DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano and PNP chief Albayalde later backpedalled and made it clear they did not want giant ABS-CBN to stop the airing of the hit series ‘Ang Probinsiyano.’


The officials, however, said they are merely concerned with the negative portrayal of the police force in the series and wanted it corrected as soon as possible.


The PNP has called on the attention of Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairperson Maria Rachel J. Arenas to seriously look into the matter specifically their concern that the ‘Ang Probinsiyano’ has put the uniformed organization in a bad light, its recent episodes continuously portraying PNP personnel including the Chief PNP as villains, thus literally putting the PNP as ‘bad guys in the eyes of the public.’


Officials also have called the attention of ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer  Carlo Katigbak and Ms. Camille Camacho Rosales, an official of Dreamscape Entertainment, the outfit behind the series, regarding what they said as the ‘unfair depiction of PNP personnel in the teleserye, the PNP Chief included, thus putting the police force and its leaders in bad light.


Among the issues and concerns raised by the PNP were several scenes in ‘Ang Probinsiyano’ including one showing a high-ranking officer telling a subordinate that he can get a position ‘sa tamang halaga’ or through bribery. Officials said that the scene is an ‘insult not only to the PNP but also to the appointing authority, the President of the Republic since senior officers in the PNP are being appointed based on merits.


Another concern is the presence of the ‘Vendetta,’ the rebel group led by lead actor Coco Martin and former Senator Manuel Lito Lapid. The PNP said that the ‘Vendetta’ in the teleserye is depicted as defenders of the seat


 of government although it is contrary to real truth and in some ways sends viewers specifically the youth a distorted message.


Officials said that there was a scene in ‘Ang Probinsiyano’ wherein the ‘Vendetta’ members easily killed a group of policemen and Presidential Security Group personnel who were being portrayed as ‘villains’ in the story as they were involved in a plot to kill the president.


There is also the PNP’s concern over the ‘shabby’ wearing of police uniforms by many of the cast including the one who portrays the PNP chief as well as the series’ credit acknowledgement which gives the public the impression that the PNP is closely supervising the shooting of the ‘Ang Probinsiyano’ scenes when no real consultations between the police organization and the teleserye men have been taking place over the past months.


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(Photo from Instagram | @jessicaesanchez)


Filipino American singer Jessica Sanchez is enjoying every day her present visit to the Philippines, the native country of her mother.


This appeared so as she went trending anew on Twitter, this time when she sang the soulful “Another Silent Christmas Song” with balladeer Christian Bautista at her press conference in Manila.


It was Jessica’s second time to perform a duet. The first was for the song “Two Forevers,” released in 2017.


And because of new developments, Jessica may yet be back in Manila on another extended stay to be able to learn and possibly record Filipino songs and explore the culture and heritage of her mother’s home country.


And she could be launched also as an actress in Manila.


The 23-year-old star singer, who rose to prominence when she ended up as runner-up in the popular United States talent show “American Idol, has just finished a standing room only concert at the Solaire Theater. She had as guest singer Martin Nievera in the show.


Jessica claimed she loves Christmas and may yet spend the season in Manila soon. “I haven’t had a silent Christmas. It’s loud and fun for me! I love Christmas! It’s very festive!” she exclaimed.


Jessica explained that Christmas for her back in her home in San Diego, California is a frenzy of activities, which consist of “putting up trees and wrapping presents.”


Since the season always puts her in a happy mood, Jessica admitted she cannot relate to a sad Christmas song. The fact that she puts so much soul to her somber Christmas song with a fellow Stages actor is proof of Jessica’s talent.


After her Solaire concert, Jessica will be holding another one in December in Davao. The Davao show is produced by BG Productions International owner Baby F. Go.


Jessica said she is readying for an extended stay in the Philippines next year to learn Tagalog with the help of a personal coach. 


It was learned the planned three- to four-week extended stay next year will see her doing an album, as she looks forward to “tapping into the (Filipino) culture and collaborating with more artists.”


BG Productions Baby Go, meanwhile, revealed she plans to cast Jessica in a movie, thus making her acting debut on the big screen in the Philippines.


She said she wants to record more Filipino songs as well as she signed up under a new management in Manila for the purpose.


It can be recalled that during her earlier visit last May, she gave a powerful rendition of the favorite song of Filipinos entitled "Ikaw" that rendition was in the ABS-CBN show “Umagang Kay Ganda.”


Top columnist Isah Red devoted a full report in his column on the only American Idol contestant with Filipino roots that reached the top 2 in the search’s season 11.


Last Nov. 10, a Saturday, Jessica was the featured star in a concert at The Theatre at Solaire with Filipino-American singer Martin Nievera.


At Studio 28 in Taguig City’s Uptown Parade in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Jessica met a motley group of members of the mass media and explained why she is back in the Philippines.


Though this isn’t her first time in the country, Jessica said she bent his time on carving a niche in the Philippines’ colorful and flourishing music market.


She signed with Stages for management of her career not only in the Philippines but in the booming digital music market in Southeast Asia.


Jessica, with the help of Stages, said Carlo Orosa who was there to represent the management company, will do a number of projects in the country in the coming months.


Meanwhile, it was gathered that she could be a judge in the upcoming “Idol Philippines” talent show on the top network ABS-CBN.


"I heard there's like rumors about that but nothing is like set in stone right now. But if they do ask me, I would love to be part of that," Jessica was quoted as saying in an ABS-CBN report.


During the media meet-up, another STAGES star, Christian Bautista, was also there, and they performed the Christmas tune that they recorded in LA, ”Another Silent Christmas Song,” which now available for download from digital music websites, according to Isah Red.


Jessica said she would love to learn Filipino (Tagalog), then she would sing more OPM songs, reported the columnist.


“While I don’t understand Filipino well, it’s a beautiful language to sing in. I want to learn, dive in and be part of the culture. I want to be able to talk and sing in Tagalog to show that side of me,” said the now 23-year-old singer, who was raised in the United States by a Mexican-American father and a Filipino mother from Bataan.


Jessica said she feels that speaking the Filipino language better can double as her way of thanking all the Filipino fans that have been supportive of her career over the years.


“I just love the people and how they backed me up throughout my ‘Idol’ journey, and I’m excited to show everyone how I have grown up,” said Jessica in Isah Red’s column.


During her Solaire concern, Jessica sang again the ballad “Ikaw,” which she has done a couple of times in previous visits to the country. She learned a couple more and performed them with Martin Nievera.


Jessica is also slated to do shows in Cebu and Davao in December.


The upcoming shows will be “a mix of fun stuff”—a throwback to her ‘Idol’ days, a smattering of her original material, and songs that have become part of her musical journey, Isah Red wrote.


“I’m excited to sing different types of songs that will cater to everyone in the crowd. It won’t be limited to ballads and pop songs. I want to touch everyone with my music,” she said. 


“Filipinos can really sing—they’re like vocal monsters, belting and doing all these crazy stuff! I’d love to work with talented artists, not only onstage, but also on record,” she said.


Jessica is recording a new album, which she hopes to finish and release next year. The sound will be R&B-leaning, which is more in line with who she is as an artist.


“I just feel that my voice sits in a beautiful pocket when I sing R&B music. I think my tone suits that genre, and I’m super excited to continue in that direction,” said Jessica, who looks up to the likes of Mariah Carey, Etta James and Aretha Franklin. “Over the years, I have let people dictate who I am as an artist. But now, I just want to do music that feels right to me.”

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By EDDIE G. ALINEA | Sports Editor & Columnist


Photo from Instagram | @mannypacquiao


LAS VEGAS – With his next fight with Adrien Broner almost done, ring idol and senator Manny Pacquiao braces himself for his return to the United States to defend his World Boxing Association (WBA)welterweight title against his American challenger from Cincinnati.       


The soon-to-be 40-year-old Pacquiao last fought in U.S. soil almost two years ago in November 5, 2016, when he beat Jessie Vargas via  unanimous decision  to reclaim the World Boxing Organization (WBO) version of the 147-pound crown at the Thomas and Mac Center in Las Vegas.


The Filipino legend, according to a very reliable source, and Broner collide on January 19, or nearly a week after the Philippine Senate would  have resumed session following Christmas recess.


The same source said details of the fight like venue, purse, etc will be discussed and finalized on November 7 between representatives of Pacquao’s own outfit, MP Promotions, and Broner’s handlers.


After which, the official press conference where the bout will be announced will be held in New York where the two-city press tour, which includes Los Angeles, will end.      


Pacquiao had actually made the announcement on Thursday during an appearance at a news conference in Manila for the non-profit International Sports Promotion Society, which named him an ambassador.


In his announcement, the eight-division world champ said he would be fighting Broner next, either on Jan. 12 or Jan. 19. In Las Vegas, The  Manila Times source with knowledge of the deal, however, told ESPN the fight would be Jan. 19, not Jan. 12, though a fight likely wouldn't be formalized until both the champ and challenger had affixed their signatures on the dotted line.


And this will come, precisely, on November 7 during the signing of the long form contract.


About a fortnight ago, Pacquiao was reported  to have signed up with adviser Al Haymon, the Premier Boxing Champions founder who controls several named welterweights, including Broner as well as world titleholders Errol Spence Jr., Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman.


Haymon also works with Floyd Mayweather and should Pacquiao hurdled  Broner, he would set him up for a potential spring rematch with Mayweather.


Pacquiao and Haymon were on opposite sides when Pacquiao lost a decision to Mayweather in their 2015 welterweight title unification mega fight that shattered every combat sports revenue record, including for pay-per-views sold (4.6 million), overall revenue (about $600 million) and live gate ($72 million).


In mid-September, Mayweather and Pacquiao met in Tokyo, after which Mayweather announced on social media that he was coming out of retirement again and would fight Pacquiao in December. The December date is not happening, but they are on track to meet in the spring.


In that event, Pacquiao mentioned that Mayweather would fight somebody on Dec. 31 and that he would fight in January in an effort to set up the rematch. However, a source close to Mayweather said he was not going to fight in December.


The Filipino great’s last two fights have been held overseas. In July 2017, in the fight that kicked off the Top Rank/ESPN partnership, Pacquiao lost the title by controversial decision to Jeff Horn in the latter’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia, in his final fight with Top Rank as his promoter.


After a year off, Pacquiao returned this past July and knocked out Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round -- Pacquiao's first KO since his 2009 victory over Miguel Cotto to win his first welterweight title -- to win a secondary welterweight belt that he will defend against Broner.


During his media appearance in Manila, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), who turns 40 on Dec. 17, said he is hoping for another convincing knockout when he faces Broner. "If I can finish it earlier than seven rounds, why not," Pacquiao said.


Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs), 29, of Cincinnati, who has won world titles in four weight classes, is 0-1-1 in his past two fights, having lost a clear decision to Mikey Garcia in July 2017 followed by a draw with Vargas in April. 


Meanwhile, a boxing analyst said Pacquiao needs to knockout Broner to remain open to a lucrative rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.


The Filipino boxing icon did it against Argentinian champion Lucas Matthysse in July, and fight analyst Dennis Principe believes Pacquiao can do that against Broner, too.

"I think malaki ‘yung tsansang (maka-knockout) kasi ang feeling ko after nu'ng panalo ni Manny over Matthysse, parang Manny felt the importance of scoring a knockout win," said Principe.


Principe said that when Pacquiao floored the heavy hitting Argentinean to win the WBA welterweight title, everybody began clamoring for Pacquiao-Mayweather 2.

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FIGHTING SENATOR Manny Pacquiao poses with information technology expert and Laguna player Aljo Victor Gabot during a break in their basketball game in Makati City over the weekend as part of the conditioning of Pacquiao for his fight in Las Vegas with American slugger Adrien Broner in Jan. 19 or 20, 2019. Pacquiao is also readying for his rematch with undefeated champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

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