POPE FRANCIS AND THE 'BORONGAN MIRACLE' 

Pope Francis will visit the Philippines in January 2015, a momentous event for Filipinos. He is to visit areas in the Visayas devastated by Typhoon “Yolanda” and the earthquake before it. For him, these events have global significance related to the disasters prophesied by Our Lady of Fatima. The Philippines is dear to the Pope. After the earthquake that damaged and even destroyed many ancient churches in Bohol and Cebu, the Pope sent the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the disaster area. He wanted Filipino survivors to pray to Our Lady to avert future disasters. The seeming message of the Lord through the earthquake is: “Your hearts are more important to Me than your churches.”  That original statue has in its crown the bullet that almost killed St. John Paul II. He is the so-called Fatima Pope, who consecrated Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, which, to Vatican scholars, made global peace possible. Immediately after the consecration, Gorbachev visited John Paul II and unilaterally promulgated détente (reconciliation). The end of the Cuban crisis and of the Cold War, when the USSR disintegrated, and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall were all attributed to Russia’s consecration by the Fatima Pope. The assassination attempt on John Paul II was predicted in the Third Secret of Fatima—that he would be saved by the intervention of Our Lady. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Pacquiao to join PBA Draft 

Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has signified his intention to join the PBA Draft this August. This is on top of already being head coach for Kia Motors, one of the new franchises set to join the country’s premier professional basketball league. Pacquiao made the declaration during the opening of the PLDT-ABAP National Open Championship in Digos City, wherein the fighting congressman was the keynote speaker and guest of honor. Sun Star-Cebu first reported about Pacquiao’s decision to throw his name into the annual rookie draft, which is slated on August 24. “Magpa-draft ako this coming August. Then mag-playing coach ako sa Kia Motors,” he declared. Kia, NLEX and Blackwater Sports are the three new teams approved by the PBA board to join the league. Pacquiao’s love affair with basketball has been documented, as the boxer is often reported to participate in scrimmages. The WBO welterweight champion even credits the sport as his way of staying in shape in-between fights. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Get Your Game On: A UAAP Season 77 Mini-Preview

Time flies by so fast that we never felt that the 77th season of the UAAP is upon us. Defending men’s basketball champion De La Salle is set to open its campaign once the ceremonies are over by July 12. And since we aren’t fans of opening numbers (admit it, they are unnecessary), let’s head straight to our mini eight-team preview for the basketball side of things. Ateneo De Manila University The Blue Eagles are out to redeem themselves after falling out of a Final Four finish since 1999. They landed top recruit Arvin Tolentino this summer together with home-grown Thirdy Ravena. They still sport a rather sizeable hole in the middle with transferee Ponso Gotladera, the only true center in the bunch. However, with Tolentino, they are getting a big who dribbles and runs like a guard and able to create space with his ability to knock down three balls. Kiefer Ravena, Chris Newsome, Nico Elorde and Von Pessumal are expected to provide not only the points but also the leadership. It is intriguing to think that on paper, the Blue Eagles can parade a small ball lineup of Tolentino-Newsome-Pessumal-Ravena-Elorde. Sorely missed would be Ryan Buenafe’s swag especially in the end game. Predicted record: 7-7 Adamson University * READ MORE...

ALSO: Priest scolds unwed teen mother; draws online rage

A video showing a Catholic priest berating a 17-year-old unwed mother at her child’s baptismal ceremony in a chapel in Mandaue City, Cebu went viral after it was posted on Sunday on Facebook.
“Makauulaw.Magpabunyag ka og walay bana. Nakig dug ka og laki nga dili nimo bana. Wala ma mauwaw Naka dungog ba na nako, dai? Wala ka mauwaw? (How shameful. You come here to have your child baptized without a husband. You slept with a man who is not your husband. Do you hear me, girl? Aren’t you ashamed?)” said the priest, identified as Fr. Romeo Obach of the Redemptorist congregation, in the video clip. The girl, a college student, softly replied “Mauwaw” (I’m ashamed).
The video was taken by her sister and then posted by the baby’s grandmother Jieve in her Facebook account to express personal rage. “If I had known that my daughter would suffer such humiliation, I would not have let her push through with having her son baptized,” said Jieve in her Facebook post. The Redemptorist community in Cebu is expected to issue a statement on the controversy today. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Priest who scolded unwed mom apologizes  

The controversial Catholic priest in Cebu who berated a 17-year-old mother at her child’s baptismal ceremony issued a public apology on Tuesday. “I am now making a public apology to the mother of the child and her immediate family. The words I said and the rude attitude that I showed before I performed the rite of Baptism last Sunday, July 6, 2014 at the Sacred Heart chapel, Jagobiao, Mandaue City was indeed unbecoming,” said Father Romeo Obach of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Latin: Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris – C.Ss.R). in a statement. “I deeply regret that I have done this. I only later realized how cruel my ways to educate and impart lessons for the said event. I am deeply sorry to the mother of the child, her relatives, the sponsors and the witness of the incident. I am sorry to the internet viewers, to the media listeners and the viewers for this mistake. I personally admit. I am deeply sorry and I humbly ask your forgiveness. I execute this statement of apology on this 8th day of July 2014 at Cebu City,” he added. A video of the priest made rounds on social media after the baby’s grandmother posted it on Sunday to express her resentment. “How shameful. You come here to have your child baptized without a husband. You slept with a man who is not your husband. Do you hear me, girl? Aren’t you ashamed?” the priest told the mother as caught on video. The video went viral on Facebook and drew enraged netizens. As of 12 noon, it has 31,982 shares, 7,407 likes and has earned 297 comments. ‘Appropriate sanctions will be applied’ Meanwhile, the Redemptoris of the Province of Cebu launched an internal investigation and assured that “appropriate sanctions on the part of the involved will be applied once the investigation is complete so that justice may prevail.” Fr. Alfonso Suico Jr., media liaison, said in a statement that they were deeply saddened by the incident. “As a religious community we do not condone such an unacceptable act as it is contrary to the Charism and Mission for which our Congregation was founded– compassion especially to the poor and the most abandoned. We sincerely feel for the family and to them we extend our heartfelt apology,” he said. Suico said they will reach out to the family at the “appropriate and most opportune time.” “We respect their situation at the moment and sympathize their hurt and anger over this matter,” he said. this is the full report.

ALSO: Is the President resigning?

BY R. TULFO (INQUIRER) President Noynoy is contemplating on resigning in the midst of the controversies surrounding his administration, chief among them the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was unconstitutional. That’s according to my little birdie in Malacañang. My little “tweet-tweet” said the President was overheard as saying he was sick and tired of all the criticisms hurled at him. He didn’t seek the position in the first place, P-Noynoy was quoted by our source as saying. * * * But Secretary Rene Almendras said in a text message to this columnist, “No, (the President) is definitely not considering resignation.” Almendras’ message was reassuring because at this time, there is no one good enough to replace the President. What about Vice President Jojo Binay? Next question, please! * * * A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey for the first quarter of this year showed Vice President Binay’s rating rising to +73 percent. The survey, sponsored by the newspaper BusinessWorld, said 82% of those surveyed were satisfied with Binay’s performance, with only 9% dissatisfied. The ratings of other national officials declined, according to the SWS survey. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Budget chief Abad slapped with plunder complaint 

Party-list groups Kabataan Partylist and Youth Act Now! on Tuesday filed a complaint for plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman against Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, the so-called ‘architect’ of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last week.In a 16-page complaint-affidavit, the group said Abad “systematically misappropriated, converted, misused, and malversed public funds through the (DAP).” “We are executing the instant complaint affidavit in order to charge the Respondent for violation of R.A. No. 7080 or, in the alternative, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Revised Penal Code,” the petitioners said. They said all elements of plunder exist in the case when he initiated the DAP. “The respondent systematically misappropriated, converted, misused, and malversed public funds through his executive issuances and the programs implemented by him as Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management,” the petitioners explained. The complaint came after the Supreme Court decision that struck down the DAP. The Supreme Court ruled that implementors, proponents and authors of DAP are liable unless they can prove that their act was done in good faith. The complainants said Abad cannot claim “good faith” or “ignorance of the law” in committing illegal acts through the implementation of DAP. The petitioners cited portions of Associate Justice Arturo Brion’s separate opinion on the DAP wherein the senior justice stated, “it is not hard to believe that [Abad] can run circles around the budget and its processes, and did, in fact, purposely use this knowledge for the administration’s objective of gathering the very sizeable funds collected under the DAP.” THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: Binay'S party UNA after Abad’s head, not Aquino’s, over DAP 

The United Nationalist Alliance on Thursday dared President Benigno Aquino III to sack and charge with plunder Budget Secretary Butch Abad over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).
The party backed by Vice President Jejomar Binay said it would not support calls for the impeachment of Aquino out of ‘delicadeza.’ “UNA will not participate in moves to impeach the President on the unconstitutionality of DAP, out of ‘delicadeza’ and for reasons of conflict of interest since the Vice President is the second highest official of the land. The VP has made his position clear that impeachment is divisive and unproductive,” Navotas Representative and UNA spokesperson Toby Tiangco said in a statement. Tiangco said that Abad should be made accountable especially with the SC saying that palace officials are not yet off the hook.
“It is only proper that Butch Abad be charged with plunder as the money involved got P170-billion which is 17 times larger than that amassed by Napoles,” Tiangco said. Tiangco also said Janet Napoles’ former employee, Merlina Suñas, had kept records that would show that Abad has long been an accomplice of Napoles in both the pork barrel scam and the DAP fiasco. “Napoles could not have gotten DAP funds from five senators without Abad’s knowledge. Butch is a smart guy and Merlina Suñas knows very well how they work with Napoles,” he said.
“Si Abad na ang ‘King of Scams’! Dapat nang tanggalin ni PNoy si Abad dahil puro kalokohaan at kahihiyan ang ibinibigay nya–at mahiya naman sya sa taumbayan sa bilyon-bilyong pisong pinakialaman nya,” he added.
(Abad is the King of Scams! Aquino should remove Abad from office. Abad should be ashamed to the Filipino people for plundering billions of pesos.) * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Inquirer column: Dear Butch 

By John Nery --I have written more than once on the integrity and competence of Butch Abad, whom I first met in the early 1980s. He has always seemed to me to represent the virtues of the transformational politics the Jesuit provincial at that dangerous time, Fr. Ben Nebres, asked student activists to envision; nothing in his political career since then has caused me to change my mind. Not his agonizing tenure at the Department of Agrarian Reform, not his quixotic bid for the speakership of the House of Representatives, not his leadership of the Liberal Party at a turbulent time—and certainly not his stewardship of the government’s entire budget apparatus since his good friend assumed the presidency in 2010.
But as architect of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) declared unconstitutional by a unanimous Supreme Court, he is the man most responsible for President Aquino’s worst political loss; the ruling on the DAP, in the words of the Inquirer editorial yesterday (Monday), was “an almost complete defeat for the Aquino administration.” He must bear the full weight of that responsibility, and resign. * * * It is difficult to write these words, not because the conclusion was hard to read and harder to reach, but because in fact the logic was inescapable. Nothing in the Court’s majority decision impugns Abad’s integrity and competence, and for almost every absolutist, “academic” interpretation we read in Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s separate opinion, we find a generous, realistic counterpoint in Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s concurring and dissenting opinion. (The word in quotes comes from a passage in Leonen’s opinion, which gently but firmly disagrees with an argument of Carpio’s.) * READ MORE...


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Pope Francis and the ‘Borongan miracle’

MANILA, JULY 8, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Bernie V. Lopez - Pope Francis will visit the Philippines in January 2015, a momentous event for Filipinos. He is to visit areas in the Visayas devastated by Typhoon “Yolanda” and the earthquake before it. For him, these events have global significance related to the disasters prophesied by Our Lady of Fatima. The Philippines is dear to the Pope.

After the earthquake that damaged and even destroyed many ancient churches in Bohol and Cebu, the Pope sent the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the disaster area. He wanted Filipino survivors to pray to Our Lady to avert future disasters. The seeming message of the Lord through the earthquake is: “Your hearts are more important to Me than your churches.”

That original statue has in its crown the bullet that almost killed St. John Paul II. He is the so-called Fatima Pope, who consecrated Russia to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, which, to Vatican scholars, made global peace possible. Immediately after the consecration, Gorbachev visited John Paul II and unilaterally promulgated détente (reconciliation). The end of the Cuban crisis and of the Cold War, when the USSR disintegrated, and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall were all attributed to Russia’s consecration by the Fatima Pope. The assassination attempt on John Paul II was predicted in the Third Secret of Fatima—that he would be saved by the intervention of Our Lady.


Gasbarri meets Aquino July 8, 2014 11:30 pm --President Benigno Aquino 3rd welcomes Dr. Alberto Gasbarri, the chief organizer of the papal international apostolic visits. Pope Francis will visit the Philippines in January. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

A sister belonging to the Religious of the Virgin Mary, a native of Borongan, related the “Borongan miracle” to me. She spoke of a legend, oral history handed down through generations.

* Borongan in Eastern Samar faces the mighty Pacific. If Yolanda devastated Tacloban and the entire eastern seaboard of Samar, why was Borongan unscathed? Borongan never felt the supertyphoon. Its houses and coconut trees are today intact, while the rest are still recuperating from devastation. That was the miracle—not the legend I will describe, but Borongan immune from Yolanda.

A passenger-boat ride connects Borongan to nearby islets. The legend dates back to the 1950s. A mysterious woman hugging her baby, a stranger to the people, boarded the passenger boat. At the first islet stop, she refused to disembark. People asked her where she was going. She just smiled without a word and pointed to the sea. Finally, at an islet, now called Punta Maria after the legend, she disembarked and was never seen again. The next day, the residents were surprised to see a statue of Mary with Baby Jesus at the beach. They decided to transport the statue by boat to Borongan, and there they gave it to the parish priest.

Believable? It is not important to verify this legend. Borongan intact from devastation today is living proof of the miracle.

The statue was named Our Lady of the Nativity. The incident catalyzed a new fiesta. Every Sept. 8, the birthday or nativity of Mama Mary, the statue would be brought back to Punta Maria and welcomed by its residents. Later, the residents would all travel to Borongan in a flotilla of boats to accompany the statue back to its home in the parish church. Soon, street dancing was introduced as part of the fiesta, which is now a smaller sea version of the feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia.

When the massive earthquake devastated many churches in Bohol and Cebu on Oct. 15 last year, the people of Borongan were frightened. But not a single house or building was destroyed. There were no cracks in the ground, unlike in nearby towns.

An old woman relates that, when Yolanda came, she saw three tsunami-sized waves from her balcony facing the ocean. She simply closed her eyes and prayed. When she opened her eyes, she saw the waves split and move to the sides, mimicking the parting of the Red Sea. Believe it or not.

The people of Borongan had earlier not known about Yolanda. They felt strong winds, but discovered only much later that the rest of Samar and Leyte, especially Tacloban, was devastated by the supertyphoon. Borongan’s coconut trees today are green and bearing fruits. Borongan itself is as pristine as before Yolanda hit. (I encourage readers to make, not a tour, but a pilgrimage to Borongan on Sept. 7 and 8, and pray for safety against the next disaster, which is the wish of Pope Francis.)

The “Borongan miracle” is said to be a sequel to the “Hiroshima miracle.” After the first atomic bomb in history was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan on Aug. 6, 1945, the Jesuit house a few hundred meters from ground zero was found miraculously intact. For kilometers around, everything was razed, except this one tiny house, standing tall in the rubble. When the bomb exploded, the small group of Jesuits were praying the rosary in that house.

“When you cross turbulent waters, I shall be with you. In the wild rivers, you shall not drown. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned. No flames shall consume you, as I am with you always. For I am the Lord, your God, your Saviour, the Holy One. For you are precious and glorious in My eyes, and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:2-8)

Bernie V. Lopez (eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com) has been writing political commentary for the past 20 years. He is also a radio-TV broadcaster, a documentary producer-director, and a former professor at Ateneo de Manila University.

FROM PHILSTAR

Pacquiao to join PBA Draft By Dino Maragay (philstar.com) | Updated July 8, 2014 - 10:21am 13 997 googleplus0 1


Manny Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines – Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has signified his intention to join the PBA Draft this August.

This is on top of already being head coach for Kia Motors, one of the new franchises set to join the country’s premier professional basketball league.

Pacquiao made the declaration during the opening of the PLDT-ABAP National Open Championship in Digos City, wherein the fighting congressman was the keynote speaker and guest of honor.

Sun Star-Cebu first reported about Pacquiao’s decision to throw his name into the annual rookie draft, which is slated on August 24.

“Magpa-draft ako this coming August. Then mag-playing coach ako sa Kia Motors,” he declared.

Kia, NLEX and Blackwater Sports are the three new teams approved by the PBA board to join the league.

Pacquiao’s love affair with basketball has been documented, as the boxer is often reported to participate in scrimmages. The WBO welterweight champion even credits the sport as his way of staying in shape in-between fights.

* But playing in pick-up games is very different from seeing action in the PBA, where the country’s best cagers gather to test their mettle against each other in competitive outings.

Pacquiao, for his part, remains undeterred by criticisms over his basketball skills and whether he can keep up with PBA players.

“Bale wala sa ’kin yon (That’s nothing to me),” he said.

Pacquiao outpointed Timothy Bradley last April to regain the title, and is scheduled to return to the ring in November.

The 2014 PBA Draft will be held at Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.

Get Your Game On: A UAAP Season 77 Mini-Preview By Pio Garcia, Unblogged Sports (philstar.com) | Updated July 8, 2014 - 12:38pm 13 48 googleplus0 0

Time flies by so fast that we never felt that the 77th season of the UAAP is upon us. Defending men’s basketball champion De La Salle is set to open its campaign once the ceremonies are over by July 12. And since we aren’t fans of opening numbers (admit it, they are unnecessary), let’s head straight to our mini eight-team preview for the basketball side of things.

Ateneo De Manila University

The Blue Eagles are out to redeem themselves after falling out of a Final Four finish since 1999. They landed top recruit Arvin Tolentino this summer together with home-grown Thirdy Ravena. They still sport a rather sizeable hole in the middle with transferee Ponso Gotladera, the only true center in the bunch. However, with Tolentino, they are getting a big who dribbles and runs like a guard and able to create space with his ability to knock down three balls. Kiefer Ravena, Chris Newsome, Nico Elorde and Von Pessumal are expected to provide not only the points but also the leadership. It is intriguing to think that on paper, the Blue Eagles can parade a small ball lineup of Tolentino-Newsome-Pessumal-Ravena-Elorde. Sorely missed would be Ryan Buenafe’s swag especially in the end game.

Predicted record: 7-7

Adamson University

* Adamson lost the brunt of its offense and defense when Eric Camson moved on the pros coupled by the recent losses of Ingrid Sewa (academic issues reportedly) and Jericho Cruz (PBA Draft). And we haven’t talked about Leo Austria’s decision to walk once more. Losing Cruz is probably the biggest blow next to Austria. Here’s a guy who put up almost 15-4-3 on a daily basis. Where will you get your offense? I think it is too much to expect an otherworldly performance all season long from Dawn Ochea, the heralded recruit from the south. Veteran holdovers Ryan Monteclaro, Jansen Rios, Alejandrino Iñigo and Don Trollano were role players at their best last season. Rios and Trollano, however, hold promise that they can eventually break out and lead this outfit longing for the father figure Austria gave them. This would be a very different team after all without his presence patrolling the sidelines and telling his players to slow down the pace for their half court sets. Kenneth Duremdes is in for a rough start.

Predicted record: 3-11

De La Salle University

The Archers are bringing back everyone from their championship run minus Oda Tampus, Luigi De La Paz and Gab Reyes. In come Abu Tratter, Julian Sargent, Prince Rivero and Terrence Mustre. Can I say yikes? The Archers already paraded the biggest frontline last season and that’s not changing. It just got bigger. Rivero did not battle patsies in his junior days. Mustre was recruited from the US. Sargent and Tratter, well, they weren’t so bad in preseason action. I don’t see someone putting a hindrance on a back-to-back especially with Juno Sauler at the helm. It also helps that Yutien Andrada is returning after a redshirt season, adding more ceiling to an already gigantic frontline. With Norbert Torres and Arnold Van Opstal flanking Jeron Teng up front, the only way for the Archers to lose is to shoot horribly from the field, which is their glaring weakness. Good luck trying to get defensive rebounds from the frontline troika of Sauler and even if you goad Almond Vosotros, who has a propensity to jack it up sans bricks, to keep shooting, he’ll eventually punch three to break your back.

Predicted record: 12-2

Far Eastern University

If there’s any team that lost some scoring that bad, it is the FEU Tamaraws. Gone are RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo. That’s 35 points gone (22.2ppg for Romeo and 12.8ppg for Garcia), not to mention the 10 combined rebounds they pull and almost 7 assists they dish out. Mark Belo has to double his season stats for last season, as well as Mike Tolomia, for the Tams to remain in the thick of things. Belo was a beast with 9.1ppg and 7.6rpg playing just a shade above 20 minutes. Tolomia pulled in 9.4ppg, 4.8rpg and 3.6apg subbing in for 25 minutes a game. Can you imagine the production they can dish out given an extra five-10 minutes? I believe in a way that it will offset the production lost from Romeo and Garcia, while bringing a whole new punch for the team. With Russell Escoto set to come back from injury and with Roger Pogoy’s continued rise, they may even have a better team. Now if their management can all move on from creating ungodly rules and focus on their sports programs instead.

Predicted record: 8-6

National University

Anytime you lose your first and second option in basketball is tough. Parks and Mbe left NU along with their combined 33.2ppg, 19.6rpg, and 4.3 apg. That’s 47 percent of your offense gone if your team puts up 70 points a game. That’s how severely gutted this NU team is when it comes to offensive production. However, there are still bright spots. Alfred Aroga has beefed up the last time I saw him and his game remains scary to say the least. Troy Rosario should be able to grab the starting PF spot this time over Glen Khobuntin, relegating Khobuntin to sixth-man duties where he would eventually flourish. See, Khobuntin as your sixth man makes sense since he is a starter material, shot-happy PF who would be going against the second bananas of other teams. The successful recruitment of Rev Diputado solidifies their back court behind Gelo Alolino.

Predicted record: 10-4

University of the East

Three Warriors averaged in double digits led by Roi Sumang’s 19.3ppg and Charles Mammie’s 15.4ppg, respectively. Ralf Olivares put up 11 points a game but has used up his eligibility. The rest of the team? No one cracked seven points. The problem here is UE will be too predictable. You can shackle everybody else and let Sumang and Mammie do all the work. Almost 35 points can only do so much especially when going up against a stacked up team that plays defense. Maybe the addition of Moustapha and continued development of Gino Jumao-As in a Mark Barroca-esque role would lighten the burden on Sumang and Mammie. And while we are at it, will someone please tell new coach Derrick Pumaren to start Chris Javier alongside Mammie? That would ultimately add a D to his efense. And, let’s not forget that UE led the league... in protests.

Predicted record: 7-7

University of the Philippines

How do we start from this? You have a sophomore as your leading returning scorer with 7.8ppg, shooting 40 percent from the field. Gone are Sam Marata and everybody’s Tito Raul, Raul Soyud, who put up double digit outputs on a team that is horrid on both ends of the floor. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Gone are the days when there is actually some fight in the Fighting Maroons. Yes, it’s not what they’re good at, but still, emulating the Philadelphia 76ers in tank mode year in and year out can only make it worse. What chance do they have now? Every celebrated recruit they have flamed out – let’s not discount my HS batch mate, Mike Gamboa, this side of Marvin Cruz and Nestor David. Paolo Romero is the only one with an actual shot at making himself relevant, along with Kyles Lao. The Alinko Mba experiment miserably failed, and the Chris Ball mix isn’t going to go somewhere else.

Predicted record: 1-13 (someone is bound to be caught on an unlucky day)

University of Santo Tomas

UST lost their leader Jeric Teng, who morphed from a stopper to a scorer in his five years. However, they are bringing back a core of Karim Abdul, Kevin Ferrer, Aljon Mariano, Ed Daquioag and Sheak Sheriff. Return to the Finals sounding? Very. Add to that one of the hottest young point guards in the metro agreed to be a Tiger in Renzo Subido. Paolo Pe returns to give Abdul his ablest backup while providing sharp elbows here and there. We’ll miss the Frank Golla versus Paolo Pe battles while we’re at it. Kim Lo, along with Subido, should provide the fireworks off the bench. However, the X-Factor here is Mariano. Will he be able to recover from his Finals boo boo and tow this team to the promised land now that he is hale and healthy?

Predicted record: 11-3

FROM CEBU DAILY NEWS

Priest scolds unwed teen mother; draws online rage By Marian Z. Codilla, Norman V. Mendoza 8:27 am | Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


BAPTISM: Fr. Obach --Sacred Heart Chaplainicy
in barangay Jabogiao, Mandaue


A video showing a Catholic priest berating a 17-year-old unwed mother at her child’s baptismal ceremony in a chapel in Mandaue City, Cebu went viral after it was posted on Sunday on Facebook.

“Makauulaw.Magpabunyag ka og walay bana. Nakig dug ka og laki nga dili nimo bana. Wala ma mauwaw Naka dungog ba na nako, dai? Wala ka mauwaw? (How shameful. You come here to have your child baptized without a husband. You slept with a man who is not your husband. Do you hear me, girl? Aren’t you ashamed?)” said the priest, identified as Fr. Romeo Obach of the Redemptorist congregation, in the video clip.

The girl, a college student, softly replied “Mauwaw” (I’m ashamed).

The video was taken by her sister and then posted by the baby’s grandmother Jieve in her Facebook account to express personal rage.

“If I had known that my daughter would suffer such humiliation, I would not have let her push through with having her son baptized,” said Jieve in her Facebook post.

The Redemptorist community in Cebu is expected to issue a statement on the controversy today.

* Reached for comment last night, Fr. Alfonso Suico Jr., who was designated spokesman for the purpose, said he still has to investigate the matter and speak with the parties as he was still in Mindanao and due to arrive today.

“We will be addressing the matter accordingly at the appropriate time and place. I am still in Cagayan de Oro and will be in Cebu (today). I’m not at liberty to make a statement now. We will be announcing our official statement,” Suico told Cebu Daily News.

Fr. Obach was not in the chapel when reporters went there to get his side. Caretakers of the chapel said Obach only drops by and lives in a seminary elsewhere.

APOLOGY

When Cebu Daily News visited the girl’s family at home, the baby’s 37-year-old grandmother, who is a barangay tanod in Mandaue, said they plan to see the Women’s Desk of the Basak Police Station to file a complaint.

“We want him (Fr. Obach) to apologize on the Internet where there are one million ‘likes’”, said Jieve.

She tearfully recounted the baptism attended by family and visitors, about 50 in all, who came for the 10 a.m. event at the Sacred Heart Chaplainicy in barangay Jabogiao, Mandaue.

“Mosabot ra man mi kung makasab-an sa pari pero gibastos ug gipaka-uwawan man mi niya atubangan sa daghang mga tawo. Kahilakon kaayo ko nga naminaw,” she said.

(We would have understood being scolded by the priest but he was humiliating us in front of people. I really wanted to cry just listening to him.)

She said she wanted to object immediately but was restrained by her husband so that the ceremony would be finished.
Jieve said the video clip she uploaded on Facebook was just half of what the priest said that was so hurtful.

“If only he knew what my daughter went through, he wouldn’t have dared say that,” she said.

The grandmother said the baby’s mother had an emotional breakdown after her boyfriend left her upon finding out she was pregnant. The teenage mother is still under professional counseling.

The baptism itself and wide publicity propelled by the Internet will be another source of trauma.

As of 11:35 p.m. Last night, the video has been shared by over 22,000 users and drew 4,000 “likes” and elicited 233 scathing comments against the priest.

NO CHARITY

Msgr. Esteban Binghay, episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Cebu, yesterday described the action of the priest at the baptism as one “against the rule of courtesy and charity.”

“Any child, whether legitimate or not, has the right to baptized. In the same manner, priests have the obligation to baptize anyone because baptism is the only means to remove original sin.

Maayo gani gidala ang bata para bunyagan. (It’s good that the mother brought her child to be baptized),” Binghay said in a phone interview.

He said Fr. Obach may have a good intention in calling the attention of the baby’s mother.

“The intention was good but the manner he carried out the reminder was out of order. Mora og nangasaba og ultimo. (It’s as if he was scolding a servant),” he said.

Binghay said the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer or commonly known as the Redemptorists has jursidiction over Fr. Obach as a religious community.

“Their superior should take a look at what happened. But the congregation may refer the matter to the bishop,” he said.
In admonishing sinners, Binghay reminded all priests to follow Jesus teaching on “fraternal correction”.

“As Jesus said, if your brother or sister sins, correct him or her privately, in a manner that only both of you know. But the contrary happened in the case of Fr. Obach,” he said.

Nevertheless, Binghay asked the public not to lose trust in priests and the Church in general.

“You have a lot of good priests who are doing their best to live virtuous lives. The sin of one is not the sin of all,” he said./With Ador Vincent Mayol

FROM THE INQUIRER

Priest who scolded unwed mom apologizes By Frances Mangosing |INQUIRER.net12:59 pm | Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


A copy of Father Romeo Obach’s public apology

MANILA, Philippines—The controversial Catholic priest in Cebu who berated a 17-year-old mother at her child’s baptismal ceremony issued a public apology on Tuesday.

“I am now making a public apology to the mother of the child and her immediate family. The words I said and the rude attitude that I showed before I performed the rite of Baptism last Sunday, July 6, 2014 at the Sacred Heart chapel, Jagobiao, Mandaue City was indeed unbecoming,” said Father Romeo Obach of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Latin: Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris – C.Ss.R). in a statement.

“I deeply regret that I have done this. I only later realized how cruel my ways to educate and impart lessons for the said event. I am deeply sorry to the mother of the child, her relatives, the sponsors and the witness of the incident. I am sorry to the internet viewers, to the media listeners and the viewers for this mistake. I personally admit. I am deeply sorry and I humbly ask your forgiveness. I execute this statement of apology on this 8th day of July 2014 at Cebu City,” he added.

A video of the priest made rounds on social media after the baby’s grandmother posted it on Sunday to express her resentment.

“How shameful. You come here to have your child baptized without a husband. You slept with a man who is not your husband. Do you hear me, girl? Aren’t you ashamed?” the priest told the mother as caught on video.

The video went viral on Facebook and drew enraged netizens. As of 12 noon, it has 31,982 shares, 7,407 likes and has earned 297 comments.

‘Appropriate sanctions will be applied’

Meanwhile, the Redemptorists of the Province of Cebu launched an internal investigation and assured that “appropriate sanctions on the part of the involved will be applied once the investigation is complete so that justice may prevail.”

Fr. Alfonso Suico Jr., media liaison, said in a statement that they were deeply saddened by the incident.

“As a religious community we do not condone such an unacceptable act as it is contrary to the Charism and Mission for which our Congregation was founded– compassion especially to the poor and the most abandoned. We sincerely feel for the family and to them we extend our heartfelt apology,” he said.

Suico said they will reach out to the family at the “appropriate and most opportune time.”
“We respect their situation at the moment and sympathize their hurt and anger over this matter,” he said.

Is the President resigning? By Ramon Tulfo |Philippine Daily Inquirer4:34 am | Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


President Benigno S. Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

President Noynoy is contemplating on resigning in the midst of the controversies surrounding his administration, chief among them the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was unconstitutional.

That’s according to my little birdie in Malacañang. My little “tweet-tweet” said the President was overheard as saying he was sick and tired of all the criticisms hurled at him.

He didn’t seek the position in the first place, P-Noynoy was quoted by our source as saying.

* * *

But Secretary Rene Almendras said in a text message to this columnist, “No, (the President) is definitely not considering resignation.”

Almendras’ message was reassuring because at this time, there is no one good enough to replace the President.
What about Vice President Jojo Binay?

Next question, please!

* * *

A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey for the first quarter of this year showed Vice President Binay’s rating rising to +73 percent.

The survey, sponsored by the newspaper BusinessWorld, said 82% of those surveyed were satisfied with Binay’s performance, with only 9% dissatisfied.

The ratings of other national officials declined, according to the SWS survey.

* A replacement for a possible flat tire, which a vice president’s position is, always gets high ratings. Always.

Why? Because the vice president has no responsibilities and if he has—like looking after the welfare of overseas Filipino workers—it’s so minor that he can do no wrong.

Whatever he says or does to alleviate the plight of OFWs gets magnified because it’s not controversial.

* * *

Apparently, survey respondents, like most Filipinos, take officials being rated at “face value” and don’t dig deep into their real character or qualifications.

Those excellent ratings in the surveys are translated into votes during election. That’s why the country is still in a rut 69 years after the Second World War because Filipinos vote crooks and nincompoops into office.

In the case of Binay or his family, why don’t the respondents try asking big real estate developers or condominium builders in Makati?

A national TV network doesn’t support the Binays because its owners run a condominium complex in the premier city.

They know.

* * *

A bank wouldn’t give a loan to a friend of a city official in Metro Manila.

The city engineer’s office was ordered by the official to take a look at the lot on which the bank stands.

It was found that the bank over-extended its easement and the engineer’s office ordered the demolition of the portion of the building that jutted.

The official’s friend got the loan.

* * *

Now, back to P-Noynoy.

If he would only remove vengeance in his heart; if he would kick out Cabinet officials who are either corrupt or incompetent; if he would only listen to advice from well-meaning relatives and honest advisers on how to deal with certain issues; if he would only take heed of the people’s sentiments which are articulated by the media instead of ignoring such sentiments; if he would only devote more of his time poring over state papers instead of roaming around like an alley cat; if he would only become humble enough to admit his mistakes since he’s only human…

Then Benigno Simeon Aquino III might turn out to be an excellent president because he’s not corrupt and has good intentions for the country.

Being honest and having good intentions are good, but they’re not enough to run the country.

Budget chief Abad slapped with plunder complaint By Tetch Torres-Tupas |INQUIRER.net2:10 pm | Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


Budget Secretary Florencio Abad INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Party-list groups Kabataan Partylist and Youth Act Now! on Tuesday filed a complaint for plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman against Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, the so-called ‘architect’ of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last week.
In a 16-page complaint-affidavit, the group said Abad “systematically misappropriated, converted, misused, and malversed public funds through the (DAP).”
“We are executing the instant complaint affidavit in order to charge the Respondent for violation of R.A. No. 7080 or, in the alternative, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Revised Penal Code,” the petitioners said.
They said all elements of plunder exist in the case when he initiated the DAP.
“The respondent systematically misappropriated, converted, misused, and malversed public funds through his executive issuances and the programs implemented by him as Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management,” the petitioners explained.
The complaint came after the Supreme Court decision that struck down the DAP. The Supreme Court ruled that implementors, proponents and authors of DAP are liable unless they can prove that their act was done in good faith.
The complainants said Abad cannot claim “good faith” or “ignorance of the law” in committing illegal acts through the implementation of DAP.
The petitioners cited portions of Associate Justice Arturo Brion’s separate opinion on the DAP wherein the senior justice stated, “it is not hard to believe that [Abad] can run circles around the budget and its processes, and did, in fact, purposely use this knowledge for the administration’s objective of gathering the very sizeable funds collected under the DAP.”

Binay'S party UNA after Abad’s head, not Aquino’s, over DAP
By Frances Mangosing, Marc Jayson Cayabyab |INQUIRER.net3:51 pm | Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

MANILA, Philippines– The United Nationalist Alliance on Thursday dared President Benigno Aquino III to sack and charge with plunder Budget Secretary Butch Abad over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).

The party backed by Vice President Jejomar Binay said it would not support calls for the impeachment of Aquino out of ‘delicadeza.’

“UNA will not participate in moves to impeach the President on the unconstitutionality of DAP, out of ‘delicadeza’ and for reasons of conflict of interest since the Vice President is the second highest official of the land. The VP has made his position clear that impeachment is divisive and unproductive,” Navotas Representative and UNA spokesperson Toby Tiangco said in a statement.

Tiangco said that Abad should be made accountable especially with the SC saying that palace officials are not yet off the hook.

“It is only proper that Butch Abad be charged with plunder as the money involved got P170-billion which is 17 times larger than that amassed by Napoles,” Tiangco said.

Tiangco also said Janet Napoles’ former employee, Merlina Suñas, had kept records that would show that Abad has long been an accomplice of Napoles in both the pork barrel scam and the DAP fiasco.

“Napoles could not have gotten DAP funds from five senators without Abad’s knowledge. Butch is a smart guy and Merlina Suñas knows very well how they work with Napoles,” he said.

“Si Abad na ang ‘King of Scams’! Dapat nang tanggalin ni PNoy si Abad dahil puro kalokohaan at kahihiyan ang ibinibigay nya–at mahiya naman sya sa taumbayan sa bilyon-bilyong pisong pinakialaman nya,” he added.
(Abad is the King of Scams! Aquino should remove Abad from office. Abad should be ashamed to the Filipino people for plundering billions of pesos.)

* Tiangco noted that Suñas has kept Napoles’ ledgers indicating how funds were released through DAP and how funds were coursed through various bogus Napoles non-government organizations that were supposed to implement the projects identified by Abad.

DAP funds, essentially an economic stimulus fund and a savings-impounding mechanism, have been criticized after Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada exposed that the supposed presidential “pork barrel” funds were given allegedly as incentives to senators who voted to oust convicted Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Various groups lauded the SC’s move to rule parts of DAP, criticized as the president’s “pork barrel,” as unconstitutional.

Militant groups said they would file an impeachment complaint against Aquino over DAP, but presidential allies in Congress said they would block it.

Dear Butch Newsstand By John Nery |Philippine Daily Inquirer12:08 am | Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


By John Nery

I have written more than once on the integrity and competence of Butch Abad, whom I first met in the early 1980s. He has always seemed to me to represent the virtues of the transformational politics the Jesuit provincial at that dangerous time, Fr. Ben Nebres, asked student activists to envision; nothing in his political career since then has caused me to change my mind.

Not his agonizing tenure at the Department of Agrarian Reform, not his quixotic bid for the speakership of the House of Representatives, not his leadership of the Liberal Party at a turbulent time—and certainly not his stewardship of the government’s entire budget apparatus since his good friend assumed the presidency in 2010.

But as architect of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) declared unconstitutional by a unanimous Supreme Court, he is the man most responsible for President Aquino’s worst political loss; the ruling on the DAP, in the words of the Inquirer editorial yesterday (Monday), was “an almost complete defeat for the Aquino administration.” He must bear the full weight of that responsibility, and resign.

* * *

It is difficult to write these words, not because the conclusion was hard to read and harder to reach, but because in fact the logic was inescapable. Nothing in the Court’s majority decision impugns Abad’s integrity and competence, and for almost every absolutist, “academic” interpretation we read in Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s separate opinion, we find a generous, realistic counterpoint in Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s concurring and dissenting opinion. (The word in quotes comes from a passage in Leonen’s opinion, which gently but firmly disagrees with an argument of Carpio’s.)

* Even Carpio notes, in his conclusion, that the DAP “has a noble end.”

Leonen’s view is both less categorical and more specific. “DAP is a management program that appears to have been impelled with good motives. It generally sought to bring government to the people in the most efficient and effective manner. I entertain no doubt that not a few communities have been inspired or benefited from the implementation of many of these projects.”

But the Court found that the means by which the DAP was implemented violated constitutional norms.

In the well-tempered majority decision written by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, three reforms of the budget process were struck down: the creative redefinition of savings, the “cross-border” transfer of some of these savings (to offices outside the executive branch), and the funding of initiatives not specifically appropriated for in the national budget law.

* * *

At the moment, I cannot recall a particular instance in President Aquino’s numerous references to his administration’s thoroughgoing reform of the budget process, when he pointed to these three procedures of the DAP as symbols of reform success.

But I believed then (when the first stories about the DAP broke), and continue to believe today, that the procedures now declared unconstitutional were part of the same general approach to budget reform. It was, to use the terms Nebres taught, a transformational takeover of the most transactional aspect of governance.

This partly explains why, in many of President Aquino’s speeches, budget reform is top of mind. It made everything else in his mandate possible.

Here, for example, is Mr. Aquino inviting Malaysian businessmen to invest in the Philippines, last February. “The first thing we did was to stabilize the foundations and to undertake a top-to-bottom cleaning: fixing cracks, plugging leaks, and getting rid of debris. Upon taking office, we introduced the zero-based budgeting to eliminate ineffective programs and projects, and channel funding into initiatives that were proven to have a tangible impact for the people.”

Okay, that last clause may be an unobvious reference to the DAP. But the point is: Reform of the budget process received the highest priority of the Aquino administration. It is in this context that I understand the DAP; the procedures now declared unconstitutional were conceived and put to use as reforms.

The criticism that Abad should have known better may be analysis-on-hindsight. After all, the same Supreme Court found the Priority Development Assistance Fund constitutional twice before finally ruling that it was in fact a violation of the Constitution.

It is certainly not true, as the popular social media activist Tonyo Cruz has repeatedly asserted on Twitter, that the DAP is a scam, in the same way that the Janet Napoles-PDAF enterprise was a scam.

Nothing in the Supreme Court decision, or in any of the other opinions, suggests that the DAP was a scam; that is, that it was designed to shortchange the public and line private pockets.

But now that these three DAP reforms have been struck down, there is no escaping the inevitable: Butch Abad must set the example and step down.

There is a lot that needs to be done, to ensure the continuity of the initiatives he helped start after 2016; he can do that from another position in the administration or as a leader of the Liberal Party. But the maturity of the Philippine polity that he has devoted his entire career to demands the highest standards, and that includes stepping down in the wake of a unanimous Supreme Court repudiation of the reformist nature of his centerpiece program.

I am certain I will receive feedback from other Abad supporters, in the same way I heard from supporters of Bam Aquino before the 2013 elections, when I urged him not to run for the Senate yet.

The feedback will be familiar: We need more good men and women in public office. Why deny them the opportunity?

I do not have the answer. All I know is that transformational politics measures itself by a different arithmetic.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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