CHINA TELLS PH TO REMOVE BRP SIERRA MADRE FROM AYUNGIN SHOAL
MANILA — China on Wednesday reiterated its demand to the Philippines to remove the grounded BRP Sierra Madre ship from Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
In a press conference in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian justified Chinese troops being near the ship on Tuesday after Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana complained of their "intimidation and harassment" during a resupply mission.
Lorenzana said earlier that the Chinese coast guard sent a rubber boat near the BRP Sierra Madre and took photos and videos while the supplies were being unloaded for Filipino troops stationed in the grounded vessel.
Zhao claimed anew that Ayungin Shoal, known in China as Ren'ai Jiao, is part of China’s Nansha Qundao, the Chinese name for the Spratly Islands, which is also being claimed by the Philippines.
“Ren'ai Jiao is part of China's Nansha Qundao. China demands that the Philippine side honor its commitment and remove its grounded vessel on Ren'ai Jiao. This position remains unchanged. This delivery of food and other supplies is a provisional, special arrangement out of humanitarian considerations," Zhao said.
"The China coast guard ship patrolled and performed its duty in the water area in accordance with law and monitored from start to end the Philippine side's supply delivery activities,” he added.
After China occupied the Spratly Islands' Mischief Reef in the mid-1990s, the Philippines ran the BRP Sierra Madre aground on Ayungin Shoal to assert Manila's claim to sovereignty in the area.
A small Filipino military contingent has been based in the rusty ship since.
Tensions over the hotly contested waters have spiked in the past week after Chinese coast guard ships fired water cannons at Filipino boats trying to deliver supplies to Marines stationed in BRP Sierra Madre.
LORENZANA HITS BACK AT 'TRESPASSING' CHINA: WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE WANT IN AYUNGIN
MANILA — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday reminded China that the Philippines has sovereign rights over Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
Citing the July 2016 arbitral ruling, Lorenzana stressed that Beijing's territorial claim over the West Philippine Sea "has no historic nor legal basis."
"Ergo, we can do whatever we want there and it is they who are actually trespassing," Lorenzana said in a statement.
The defense chief added that China should abide by its international obligations, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which it ratified.
Lorenzana further noted that the UNCLOS awarded the Philippines its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
"We have two documents proving that we have sovereign rights in our EEZ while they have none and their claim is baseless," Lorenzana said in Filipino.
This statement came in response to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which pointed out that Ayungin Shoal, which they call Ren'ai Jiao, is part of its territory.
Beijing earlier accused Filipino boats conducting resupply mission to military personnel stationed on Ayungin Shoal of trespassing.
"China demands that the Philippine side honor its commitment and remove its grounded vessel on Ren'ai Jiao. This position remains unchanged," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a press briefing Wednesday.
SC JUNKS PLEA: DUTERTE HAS DISCRETION ON HOW TO DEFEND WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
MANILA — The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking to compel President Rodrigo Duterte to defend national territory, including the West Philippine Sea, against Chinese incursions.
The SC voted unanimously to junk the Petition for Mandamus filed by lawyer Romeo Esmero for “utter lack of merit.”\
The SC said that Esmero argued to the SC that President Rodrigo Duterte, named as sole respondent in the case, has “ministerial duty of the President to defend the national territory which includes the West Philippine Sea.”
The petition also asserted that is an exception to the general rule on presidential immunity from suit.
Esmero also said that the filing of diplomatic protests — which the Department of Foreign Affairs has been doing — is not a defense of the country. The Philippines must “go to the [United Nations] Security Council and invoke the [U]niting for [P]eace [R]esolution of 1950’ and sue China before the International Court of Justice to demand payment and damages for taking the Kalayaan Islands.”
The court stressed that a petition for mandamus would only prosper if the petitioner can be shown that the subject of the plea is a ministerial act or duty of the person.
The petitioner, however “has failed to point to any law that specifically requires the President to go to the UN or the ICJ to sue China for its incursions into our exclusive economic zone,” the tribunal said.
“Neither has he shown a clear and unmistakable constitutional and statutory provision which prescribes how the President is to respond to any threat (actual or imminent) from another State to our sovereignty or exercise of our sovereign rights,” the court added.
FVR-FOUNDED LAKAS-CMD ADOPTS MARCOS JR. AS PRESIDENTIAL BET
MANILA — The party founded by former President Fidel V. Ramos, who co-led the 1986 People Power Revolution that ousted the late President Ferdinand Marcos from power, has adopted the dictator's son and namesake's bid to return to Malacañang as president in 2022.
Ramos founded Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats in his 1992 presidential campaign to serve as his vehicle for the presidency after he lost the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino nomination to then-Speaker Ramon Mitra.
Ramos narrowly won the 1992 elections with then-outgoing President Corazon Aquino’s endorsement.
Thirty years later, the party now titularly led by the second President of the Philippines it produced, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, adopted Partido Federal ng Pilipinas' Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. as its presidential candidate.
The current Lakas-CMD is different from the one Ramos founded. Lakas-CMD is now chaired by Marcos Jr.’s running mate, vice presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. Its party president is Bongbong's own cousin, House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez.
Ramos, at 93 years old, is the country’s oldest living former President.
BETS RUSH TO TAKE DRUG TESTS IN WAKE OF DUTERTE'S COCAINE COMMENTS
MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte's off-the-cuff comments that a candidate for president does cocaine has raised questions about the "drug war" and has prompted candidates to subject themselves to drug tests.
Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday said while she was game "anytime" to undergo a drug test, this should be "random" and "unannounced."
At least 2 of Robredo's rivals in the 2022 presidential race recently took drug tests after President Rodrigo Duterte accused an election contender of using cocaine.
"Ako, anytime naman pero sa akin kasi... dapat sana iyong pagpapa-drug test random, unannounced," Robredo said in a chance interview in Bulacan.
"Alam naman natin na mas maigi na random, mas maigi na unannounced para nakukuha mo kung ano talaga iyong tunay na sitwasyon."
She added, "Pero anytime na may lumapit sa akin na mag-request na mag-undergo ako, ako go ako anytime."
Duterte last week said a "weak leader" from a wealthy family supposedly abuses cocaine. He has not named the presidential contender and did not cite any evidence.
Presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said he took a drug test and submitted negative results to authorities.
Vice presidential aspirant Walden Bello said on Wednesday he was willing to take a drug test like his runningmate, labor leader Leody De Guzman, if the Commission on Elections made this a requirement.
“But we refuse to participate in a circus to clean up the image of the a****** Bongbong Marcos. Can you really trust a drug test result produced by Marcos?” he added.
Marcos' camp pays no attention to people doubting the results of his drug test, said his spokesperson Atty. Vic Rodriguez.
"Walang sasapat na paliwanag sa mga ayaw mapaliwanagan," he said in a statement.
Sens. Manny Pacquiao, Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III — candidates for president and vice president — have since undergone voluntary drug tests.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is running for vice president alongside Marcos, has done the same. In a statement on Wednesday, she said she took the drug test upon Marcos's request.
Another presidential contender, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, tested negative for narcotics on Monday.
Duterte's longtime aide Sen. Christopher Go, who is running for president, said he was also willing to take a drug test.
Another rival, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, sent a letter to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, asking for “immediate drug testing for cocaine, shabu, marijuana or all other illegal substances.”
The chief of the Philippine National Police said he supported the "initiative" of election candidates.
“We will document the results, of course. It’s good that they are serving as good examples to the public,” Police Gen. Dionardo Carlos said in a statement Wednesday, adding that the PNP's Forensic Group was willing to assist with any request from candidates to undergo a drug test.
BUSINESSES URGED TO INVEST HEAVILY IN CYBERSECURITY AFTER S&R DATA BREACH
MANILA - Businesses handling data of Filipinos were urged to invest in their cybersecurity measures commensurate to the size of data they acquire, authorities said Thursday after S&R Membership Shopping reported a data breach.
Cybercrimes cannot be prevented but companies should always be prepared, National Privacy Commission's Raymund Liboro told Teleradyo.
"Hindi naman kasalanan na mabreach ka o ma-hack ka. Kasalanan ang maging pabaya. Minsan kahit may ginawa kang mga measures ay mapapasok ka pa," Liboro said.
"Kung malaki po ang database, kailangan gastusan niyo ho yan," he added.
Liboro said the agency is closely monitoring the S&R data breach which compromised the personal details of at least 22,000 individuals.
HONTIVEROS: CHARTERED FLIGHT OF PHARMALLY'S DARGANI SIBLINGS TO MALAYSIA COST P1.85 MILLION
MANILA — The flight ferrying Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. executives Mohit and Twinkle Dargani to Davao City, and later, Malaysia, cost USD 37,000 or P1.85 million, while the two were still allowed to board the aircraft after being checked by immigration personnel, documents obtained by the office of Sen. Risa Hontiveros found.
It is yet unclear who spent the amount to get the two to Kuala Lumpur. The Dargani siblings were apprehended at the Davao Airport on Sunday, November 14, in Davao City as they were trying to flee "via an executive privately chartered flight to Malaysia," Sen. Richard Gordon claimed in a statement then.
At a press briefing Wednesday, Hontiveros presented the confidential contract showing the price of the flight and the incident report of the arrest acquired by her office as she questioned why the two siblings were allowed to board when an immigration lookout bulletin had already been issued against them at the time.
"Upon arrival of the passengers, they were presented to the immigration personnel at the ramp near the aircraft and were checked personally one by one with their corresponding passport, and they were allowed to board the aircraft," the incident report detailing their arrest reads.
"What was the procedure? How did they even board the aircraft?" Hontiveros also asked. "Could it be possible that these frontline immigration officers were given pastillas? Or was it them who helped inform the authorities?"
The two siblings have been detained at the Senate since November 14 after the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee cited them in contempt. They will remain there until they hand over key documents related to the firm's government deals under investigation by the committee.
Hontiveros also questioned the flight's price tag, considering their income taxes paid thus far.
COURT ACQUITS 2 MORE ACTIVISTS ARRESTED IN 2019 'CRACKDOWN'
MANILA — A Manila court has acquitted Michael Bartolome and Cora Agovida, two activists arrested in late 2019 in a series of government raids on progressive groups, of charges of illegal possession of firearms and of explosives.
Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Presiding Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar cleared Agovida of women's group Gabriela and Bartolome of urban poor advocacy group Kadamay over the "failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt."
The court said in a November 24 ruling that "the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt Bartolome’s and Agovida’s ownership and possession of the firearms, ammunitions and explosives and their lack of license to own or possess them."
It said the government "failed to overcome the presumption of innocence which the accused enjoy."
This marks the latest court win for activists who were arrested following "roving" search warrants issued by Quezon City and Manila judges — a power that the Supreme Court restricted in August.
The two activists were arrested in early hours of Oct. 31, 2019.
PH RECORDS LOWEST ACTIVE COVID-19 CASES THIS YEAR; 890 NEW INFECTIONS LOGGED
MANILA - The Philippines on Wednesday recorded the lowest number of active COVID-19 cases this year and announced 890 new infections, data from the health department showed.
Of the 2,828,660 total confirmed cases, 17,864 or 0.6 percent were active infections, according to the latest Department of Health (DOH) bulletin.
The last time the number of active cases fell below 18,000 was on June 11, 2020 with 17,754, the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group said.
Meantime, the number of fresh cases is the second lowest daily tally this year following 841 reported new infections on Nov. 16, according to the research group. This is the third time in the last 9 days that the tally fell below 1,000, it said.
COVID-related deaths increased by 200 to 47,682 while 1,710 more recoveries were reported, raising its total to 2,763,114.
IKEA PASAY CITY OPENS TO PUBLIC ON NOV. 25 WITH 'NO BOOKING, NO SHOPPING' POLICY
MANILA - IKEA's store in the Philippines officially opened to the public Thursday, in a ceremony led by company representatives, local government officials and the new Swedish envoy to the Philippines.
IKEA Pasay City is the Swedish furniture maker's largest outlet at 65,000 square meters. It houses retail operations, a restaurant, a market hall, a warehouse, and a call center for its e-commerce wing.
Preparations for the Philippine branch began in 2016, while the construction was first announced in 2018. It was supposed to open in 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic.
“After several years of preparation, we are ready now to live our vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people of the Philippines,” store manager Georg Platzer said during the opening event.
"Our vision also includes enabling sustainable and affordable life at home," he said.
Shopping started at 10 a.m., but entry to the store is limited to ensure safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, Platzer said.
To do this, consumers must book a slot before being allowed to shop.
Health protocols will be observed, including the mandatory wearing of face masks.
IKEA said it would keep the maximum number of people inside its 5-storey building to half of its capacity, including staff, at any given time.
Those who prefer to stay at home can shop online through its official website.
ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE
JANE DE LEON AS NARDA IN ‘DARNA’ BEHIND-THE-SCENES FOOTAGE
MANILA — Jane de Leon is seen as Narda, the human alter ego of Darna, in behind-the-scenes footage of the upcoming ABS-CBN adaptation of the Mars Ravelo superhero.
In the new footage released by producer JRB Creative Production, de Leon wears what appears to be work outfits, indicating her being a young adult in this version.
De Leon is also shown interacting with acclaimed filmmaker Chito S. Roño, who is helming “Mars Ravelo’s Darna: The TV series” along with director Avel Sunpongco.
Cameras started rolling for the highly anticipated series on November 15, at ABS-CBN’s Hollywood-standard sound stages in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
The behind-the-scenes look was released coinciding with de Leon’s birthday. She turned 23 on November 22.
Joining de Leon in “Darna” are Janella Salvador as the heroine’s nemesis Valentina; Iza Calzado as the original Darna and Narda’s mother; Zaijan Jaranilla as Narda’s brother Ding; and Joshua Garcia as Narda’s romantic interest Brian.
GOODBYE, PH SHOWBIZ? BELA PADILLA SAYS SHE HAS ‘MOVED TO LONDON’
MANILA — Is Bela Padilla leaving local showbiz for good?
This was the question among followers of the acclaimed actress, after she announced Monday she has “moved to London.”
In a tweet, Padilla said the transfer happened “a few months ago.”
“I tried to find my footing first before sharing what it’s really like now. I’m ready to let you in to my life and tell you more about it!” she wrote.
Padilla said she will open up about the move through an upcoming vlog, where she will answer her followers’ questions.
It was not immediately clear whether Padilla being based abroad means she is also leaving her acting career.
Padilla, 30, has family in the UK. Born Krista Elyse Sullivan, she is the daughter of Meg Carino of the Padilla showbiz clan and Cornelio Sullivan, who is British.
In August, Padilla shared photos of her with the British side of her family, including her sisters and niece and nephew. In subsequent photos also taken in the UK, Padilla is seen with her Swiss boyfriend Norman Bay.
Bay was among those who replied to Padilla’s tweet announcing her relocation, writing, “I’m just happy I get to see [you] a lot more nowadays.”
Prior to her move, Padilla had been busy with successive showbiz projects, notably her directorial debut “366.”
NBA SCORES NOV 23
1 2 3 4 T
Heat12-6 20 26 21 33 100
Pistons4-13 25 28 23 16 92
LITTLE CAESARS ARENA, DETROIT, MI
T. Herro MIA
31 PTS 8 REB 3 AST
J. Grant DET
21 PTS 7 REB 3 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Lakers9-10 20 31 30 19 100
Knicks10-8 36 27 20 23 106
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK, NY
R. Westbrook LAL
31 PTS 13 REB 10 AST
E. Fournier NY
26 PTS 4 REB 2 AST
1 2 3 4 T
Nuggets9-9 27 25 27 21 100
Trail Blazers10-8 33 33 24 29 119
MODA CENTER AT THE ROSE QUARTER, PORTLAND, OR
J. Green DEN
24 PTS 4 REB 3 AST
C. McCollum POR
32 PTS 3 REB 3 AST
1 2 3 4 OT T
Mavericks10-7 21 21 38 23 9 112
Clippers10-8 26 22 28 27 1 104
STAPLES CENTER, LOS ANGELES, CA
K. Porzingis DAL
30 PTS 7 REB 1 AST
R. Jackson LAC
31 PTS 10 REB 2 AST
FOREX $1 = P 50.34
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Forget all the reasons why it won't work and believe in the one reason why it will. - Unknown