PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

RESTED MANNY TO RECEIVE $50-M DOWN PAYMENT


Manny Pacquiao clowns around with youngest child Israel as he treats his family and the entire team to lunch at Japanese restaurant Kabuki in the Hollywood area following church service last Sunday. ABAC CORDERO APRIL 21, 2015 
Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao spent his rest day replenishing his energy after a weeklong grind and sharing quality time with family and friends less than two weeks before his megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It was a long Sunday afternoon that started with church service and saw Pacquiao later giving close to $152,000 or P6.7 million to the “biggest losers.”  He also had a sumptuous meal in a luxurious Japanese restaurant in the Hollywood area with family and friends numbering around 100. The bill came up to $3,700, paid by Pacquiao. It was hardly a drop in the bucket considering that Pacquiao is to receive $50 million from promoter Bob Arum on the very first business day after the May 2 showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in what has long been hyped as the richest, biggest fight in boxing history. “On Monday morning, I will hand Manny a check for $50 million as a down payment, guaranteed,” Arum said in a New York Times report. It is a bit more complicated than that – it is a wire transfer, actually, and 30 percent of it will be shaved off for the Internal Revenue Service, Arum said. But the bottom line is that the long-anticipated championship welterweight match between Pacquiao and Mayweather will earn hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly for the fighters.

ALSO: Recalling Pacquiao’s Vagabond days


Manny Pacquiao in 2001. AFP FILE PHOTO
HOLLYWOOD – Everyone knows about Manny Pacquiao’s humble beginnings and how he slept on a cardboard in the streets because he did not have a bed to sleep on. But very few people are aware that even when he was already a world champion and training and fighting in the United States, he was not far removed from that squalid past. The USA Today tells the story of Pacquiao and the Vagabond Inn, a fleabag of a motel where the future Hall of Fame fighter used to stay when there wasn’t much money to go around, even for the two-time world champion that he was at the time (2001). Until 2012 when Pacquiao last fought in the United States, the Vagabond was also the favorite dwelling for Filipino sportswriters covering his training at the Wild Card gym, which is next door to the Vagabond. Which is also the reason why Pacquiao chose to stay in what USA Today described as “a flea-bitten eyesore inhabited by mainly dubious clientele.’’ Still, Filipino sportswriters who have covered many of Pacquiao’s fights, including the Inquirer’s Roy Luarca, the Star’s Abac Cordero and the Bulletin’s Nick Giongco, have fond memories of the place. They waxed nostalgic when they discovered that the Vagabond is gone. READ MORE...

ALSO: Powerful Nepal quake magnitude 7.9 Over 1,000 dead, history razed, Everest shaken


Volunteers help with rescue work at the site of a building that collapsed after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. AP
KATHMANDU, Nepal — A powerful earthquake struck Nepal Saturday, killing at least 1,180 people across a swath of four countries as the violently shaking earth collapsed houses, leveled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest. It was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years. At least 1,130 people were confirmed dead across Nepal, according to the police. Another 34 were killed in India, 12 in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died in the Nepal-China border. The death toll is almost certain to rise, said deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Bam. It was a few minutes before noon when the quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, began to rumble across the densely populated Kathmandu Valley, rippling through the capital Kathmandu and spreading in all directions — north toward the Himalayas and Tibet, south to the Indo-Gangetic plains, east toward the Brahmaputra delta of Bangladesh and west toward the historical city of Lahore in Pakistan. READ MORE.....


ALSO: Islamic State threatens Mindanao, Philippines tells the Asean


AP FILE PHOTO  KUALA LUMPUR – Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario bared yesterday before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reports of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threat to the Philippines through the Black Flag Movement in Mindanao. Speaking before ASEAN foreign ministers, Del Rosario said the ISIS threat to Philippine security is real rather than imagined because of the Black Flag Movement’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “We will contribute in the fight against extremism, terrorism and crimes against humanity by engaging or cooperating with other countries in the areas of information sharing, joint investigations, educational campaigns, humanitarian assistance to victims, restricting flow of funds intended to finance terrorism, supporting resolutions aimed at curbing terrorism and enhancing local legislation to address terrorism,” he said. ISIS has followers among the Abu Sayyaf, Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Khilafa Islamiyah Mindanao or the Black Flag Movement, according to the presentation of Rommel Banlaoi, Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR) chairman of the board, and director of the Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies (CINSS). READ MORE...

ALSO: P-Noy to seek mercy for Veloso


Filipina Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, right, who is on death row for drug offenses, says a prayer with Catholic priest Bernhard Kieser during her judicial review hearing at Sleman District Court in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. AP file photo/Slamet Riyadi
Indonesia asks convicts for last wish KUALA LUMPUR – As the clock ticked for the execution of Mary Jane Veloso, President Aquino is set to make a last-ditch appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare the life of the Filipina maid. Aquino said he would take the opportunity to seek clemency for Veloso, who is due to be put to death tomorrow, when he meets Widodo at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in this Malaysian capital. Reports from Indonesia said Veloso and nine other drug convicts, most of them foreigners, had been notified of their looming execution and asked for their final wish. “Once I am there, I will try to speak to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to appeal once more for her case,” Aquino said in his departure speech yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2. The President and his delegation arrived here at 3:40 p.m. to attend a series of meetings. READ MORE...

ALSO: Resigned BOC chief Sevilla tags Ochoa, Purisima as lobbyists
[Just a few days before he stepped down from his post, Sevilla said he would not allow the Customs bureau to be used as a source for raising funds for politicians in the run-up to next year’s elections].


Sevilla, Presidential execs Ochoa, Purisima Philstar.com/File
MANILA, Philippines - Resigned Customs commissioner John Sevilla has identified Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima as among those who were pushing for the appointment of a bureau official who purportedly had the backing of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC). Ochoa and Purisima could not be reached for comment yesterday. Interviewed on CNN Philippines over the weekend, Sevilla mentioned deputy executive secretary Teofilo Pilando Jr. and Carlo Carag, finance undersecretary for the Revenue Operations and Legal Affairs, as the other officials who were lobbying for the transfer of Teddy Raval, chief of Bureau of Customs (BOC) intellectual property rights division, to the enforcement and security services (ESS). Responding to a query of CNN Philippines as to who among the Office of the Executive Secretary and the Department of Finance were behind the proposal to move Raval to the ESS, Sevilla said: “Secretary Purisima, Usec. Carag, deputy executive secretary Pilando and ES Ochoa.”  Asked what the four wanted him to do, Sevilla said: “Ilagay mo itong position or yang position si attorney Raval.” Currently headed by deputy commissioner Ariel Nepomuceno, the ESS is a 400-man police force whose main task is to safeguard the facilities of the BOC and ensure the safety of cargoes at the ports. The Department of Finance oversees the BOC, which accounts for a fifth of state revenues. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino arrives in Malaysia for 26th Asean Summit


President Benigno S. Aquino III Arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport to participate at the 26th ASEAN SUMMIT held in Malaysia on Sunday (April 26, 2015). Ryan Lim/ Malacanang Photo Bureau.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – President Benigno Aquino III arrived here on Sunday afternoon to attend the 26th Asean Summit. Aquino arrived 3:40 p.m. at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), onboard Philippine Airlines Flight PR001. He was welcomed by Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya and other embassy officials and staff. On the side of Malaysia, YB Dato Seri Idris Bin Jusoh, Minister II for Education, led the contingent. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Rested Manny to receive $50-M down payment


Manny Pacquiao clowns around with youngest child Israel as he treats his family and the entire team to lunch at Japanese restaurant Kabuki in the Hollywood area following church service last Sunday. ABAC CORDERO APRIL 21, 2015

LOS ANGELES, APRIL 27, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Abac Cordero -  Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao spent his rest day replenishing his energy after a weeklong grind and sharing quality time with family and friends less than two weeks before his megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

It was a long Sunday afternoon that started with church service and saw Pacquiao later giving close to $152,000 or P6.7 million to the “biggest losers.”

He also had a sumptuous meal in a luxurious Japanese restaurant in the Hollywood area with family and friends numbering around 100. The bill came up to $3,700, paid by Pacquiao.

It was hardly a drop in the bucket considering that Pacquiao is to receive $50 million from promoter Bob Arum on the very first business day after the May 2 showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in what has long been hyped as the richest, biggest fight in boxing history.

“On Monday morning, I will hand Manny a check for $50 million as a down payment, guaranteed,” Arum said in a New York Times report.

It is a bit more complicated than that – it is a wire transfer, actually, and 30 percent of it will be shaved off for the Internal Revenue Service, Arum said. But the bottom line is that the long-anticipated championship welterweight match between Pacquiao and Mayweather will earn hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly for the fighters.

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Mayweather will receive a substantial portion of his earnings immediately after the fight, said Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions. He would not disclose how much.

“I will tell you this,” Ellerbe said. “Floyd Mayweather’s check will be a lot more than $50 million. And then it goes from there.”


Pamilya Pacquiao, naging emosyonal nang mapanood ang 'Kid Kulafu'
WATCH VIDEO AT BOTTOM PAGE OF PHNO SPORTS SECTION

The contract calls for Mayweather to receive 60 percent of revenues. Pacquiao will get 40 percent. When all the accounting is done, each fighter should make well over $100 million, about double the biggest previous boxing payout, demonstrating that boxing’s slow fade in popular culture has not diminished the potential financial returns of the biggest bouts.

“This is a unique situation, the confluence of time and event – the two biggest fighters in the world coming together,” said Ken Hershman, president of HBO Sports.

Mayweather (47-0) and Pacquiao (57-5-2) are generally regarded as the two best fighters, perhaps in any weight class, of the past decade. But tangled in boxing’s familiar knot of egos, contracts and self-preservation, a head-to-head bout looked unlikely as the aging boxers (Mayweather is 38, Pacquiao 36) moved toward retirement.

A chance face-to-face meeting between Mayweather and Pacquiao at a Miami Heat basketball game in January prompted true negotiations between the two sides, with Pacquiao agreeing to second billing in promotional materials and a lower percentage of the payout.

“We’re both bigger names than we were five, six years ago,” Mayweather said at his gym in Las Vegas on Tuesday. “We’re meeting at the pinnacle of our careers. The time is right.”

The numbers are dizzying, even for Mayweather, nicknamed Money, whose estimated $105 million in two fights last year made him the world’s highest-paid athlete. To keep it all straight, HBO and Showtime, rival networks sharing the broadcast rights to the fight in a rare agreement, have created a central accounting system.

HBO has a long-term contract with Pacquiao, while Showtime has rights to Mayweather’s fights. The only other time the networks have worked together in such a way was when Mike Tyson fought Lennox Lewis in 2002.

“They distribute the revenue in accordance with the contracts of the two fighters, so that there is no side money,” Arum said. “We felt that this was the most reasonable way to go. It’s the way we’ve done it to prevent the accusations that we usually get, that this promoter is stealing from that promoter.”

All revenues from the fight – the foreign broadcast rights, closed-circuit income from bars and theaters, ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise sales and so on – goes into the pot. That will be about $130 million.

The biggest revenue stream will come from the pay-per-view broadcast, sold to households by cable systems and satellite providers at a suggested price of $89.95. Mayweather’s 2007 defeat of Oscar De La Hoya was purchased by nearly 2.5 million households, but expectations are that this one will easily surpass that mark.


INQUIRER

Recalling Pacquiao’s Vagabond days Artemio T. Engracia Jr.-News Editor @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:18 PM | Sunday, April 26th, 2015


Manny Pacquiao in 2001. AFP FILE PHOTO

HOLLYWOOD – Everyone knows about Manny Pacquiao’s humble beginnings and how he slept on a cardboard in the streets because he did not have a bed to sleep on. But very few people are aware that even when he was already a world champion and training and fighting in the United States, he was not far removed from that squalid past.

The USA Today tells the story of Pacquiao and the Vagabond Inn, a fleabag of a motel where the future Hall of Fame fighter used to stay when there wasn’t much money to go around, even for the two-time world champion that he was at the time (2001).

Until 2012 when Pacquiao last fought in the United States, the Vagabond was also the favorite dwelling for Filipino sportswriters covering his training at the Wild Card gym, which is next door to the Vagabond. Which is also the reason why Pacquiao chose to stay in what USA Today described as “a flea-bitten eyesore inhabited by mainly dubious clientele.’’

Still, Filipino sportswriters who have covered many of Pacquiao’s fights, including the Inquirer’s Roy Luarca, the Star’s Abac Cordero and the Bulletin’s Nick Giongco, have fond memories of the place. They waxed nostalgic when they discovered that the Vagabond is gone.


Construction site where the fleabag Vagabond Inn used to stand. Visible on the left is the firewall which protected the Wild Card gym from the fire last year. Jun Engracia/INQUIRER

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Fired razed the inn a year ago and in its place is a big hole from where a high-end apartment will soon rise. There’s not a place like it near the Wild Card gym.

The place, according to Giongco, was crawling with prostitutes and drug users. A police patrol car was always around to make an arrest or to break up a fight.

“My life was very different then,’’ Pacquiao was quoted by USA Today Sports. “That is where I would stay, and it wasn’t so bad. I don’t need so many things to be happy. It was very close to training.’’

Freddie Roach, owner of the Wild Card gym next door and Pacquiao’s trainer, said the place was horrible. Long after Manny had moved out of the place, the Filipino sportswriters continued to camp out at the Vagabond for the same reasons – it was cheap and only a few steps away from the Wild Card gym.

Manny has since moved out to the Palazzo apartments a couple of miles away and later to a more comfortable house just off the upscale Hancock Park in Hollywood. Soon it will be a mansion in Beverly Hills.

The Vagabond Inn may be miles away from Beverly Hills, “but I am still the same Manny,’’ he told USA Today.

Pacquiao ready for all Mayweather will dish out Roy Luarca @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:29 PM | Sunday, April 26th, 2015


Manny Pacquiao shows his body to select journalists after training at the Wild Card gym in Hollywood, CA on Thursday afternoon, 23 April 2015. Photo by Rem Zamora. See more Pacquiao family photos at FRAME

If Floyd Mayweather sticks to his original fight blueprint, Manny Pacquiao will find a way to crack it.

This is the belief of many ring pundits who think the plan hatched by Team Mayweather in secrecy is vulnerable to Pacquiao’s repeated attacks.

As reported by guardian TV, Mayweather’s strategy involves a feeling-out period in the first two rounds, where Pacquiao is expected to pour on the heat.

In that stretch, Mayweather will try to feel Pacquiao’s rhythm, the number and speed of punches he throws and from where they come from.

If he sees an opening, Mayweather will try to nail Pacquiao with a power shot as he comes in, perhaps lifting the idea from the right straight delivered by Juan Manuel Marquez that knocked out the Filipino champ in their fourth battle in 2012.

Eventually, however, Mayweather will be forced to stand and engage, leaning heavily on his vaunted shoulder roll to thwart Pacquiao’s aggression up to the late rounds.

If the intention, however, is to wear Pacquiao down and take the offensive in the last minute of each round, then they have another thing coming.

Pacquiao is prepared for an all-out war and doesn’t intend to give Mayweather breathing room.

Freddie Roach’s instruction is for Pacquiao to win each round, pile up the points and cruise to victory.

The idea is, if Mayweather lags behind, he’ll be forced to do battle with Pacquiao, who’ll overwhelm him with combinations thrown from all over.

Mayweather can’t hope to catch Pacquiao napping though as the Filipino icon had trained hard and ran long distances to sustain his firepower up to the very end.

According to Roach, the set-up jab will be Pacquiao’s primary weapon, though they’ve worked on a “secret weapon” at the gym.

It will be revealed before fight night, when Team Mayweather has no more time to react and counter.

Experts contend that Team Mayweather better have a plan B or even C as plan A is bound to fail.

Even if they have alternatives, however, Team Pacquiao will also have a ready answer, they added.


INQUIRER

Nepal quake magnitude 7.9, Over 1,000 dead, history razed, Everest shaken Associated Press 6:05 PM | Saturday, April 25th, 2015


Volunteers help with rescue work at the site of a building that collapsed after an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. AP

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A powerful earthquake struck Nepal Saturday, killing at least 1,180 people across a swath of four countries as the violently shaking earth collapsed houses, leveled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches on Mt. Everest. It was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years.

At least 1,130 people were confirmed dead across Nepal, according to the police. Another 34 were killed in India, 12 in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died in the Nepal-China border. The death toll is almost certain to rise, said deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Bam.

It was a few minutes before noon when the quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, began to rumble across the densely populated Kathmandu Valley, rippling through the capital Kathmandu and spreading in all directions — north toward the Himalayas and Tibet, south to the Indo-Gangetic plains, east toward the Brahmaputra delta of Bangladesh and west toward the historical city of Lahore in Pakistan.

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Shrish Vaidya, a businessman, was with his family in his two-story house on the outskirts of Kathmandu, when the quake struck.

“It is hard to describe. The house was shaking like crazy. We ran out and it seemed like the road was heaving up and down,” he told The Associated Press. “I don’t remember anything like this before. Even my parents can’t remember anything this bad.”

A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and at least 16 aftershocks continued to jolt the region for hours. Residents ran out of homes and buildings in panic. Walls tumbled, trees swayed, power lines came crashing down and large cracks opened up on streets and walls. And clouds of dust began to swirl all around.

“Our village has been almost wiped out. Most of the houses are either buried by landslide or damaged by shaking,” said Vim Tamang, a resident of Manglung village near the epicenter. He said half of the village folks are either missing or dead. “All the villagers have gathered in the open area. We don’t know what to do. We are feeling helpless,” he said when contacted by telephone.

Within hours of the quake, hospitals began to fill up with hundreds of injured people. With organized relief and rescue largely absent, many of the injured were brought to hospitals by friends and relatives in motorized rickshaws, flatbed trucks and cars. It was also residents themselves who used bare hands, crowbars and other tools to dig through rubble and rescue survivors.

In Kathmandu, dozens of people gathered in the parking lot of Norvic International Hospital, where thin mattresses were spread on the ground for patients rushed outside, some wearing hospital pajamas. A woman with a bandage on her head sat in a set of chairs pulled from the hospital waiting room.

Doctors and nurses hooked up some patients to intravenous drips in the parking lot, or gave people oxygen.

As night fell, thousands of scared residents continued to camp out in parks and compounds, too scared to return to their homes. Meteorologists forecast rain and thunderstorms for Saturday night and Sunday.

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, who was attending a summit in Jakarta, tried to rush back home but made it as far as Bangkok where his connecting flight to Kathmandu was canceled because the capital’s international airport was shut down.


People stand around damage caused by an earthquake at Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. AP

Best known for Everest

While the extent of the damage and the scale of the disaster are yet to be ascertained, the quake will likely put a huge strain on the resources of this poor country best known for Everest, the highest mountain in the world, and its rich Hindu culture. The economy of Nepal, a nation of 27.8 million people, is heavily reliant on tourism, principally trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.

A mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, said an avalanche swept the face of Mt. Everest after the earthquake, and government officials said at least 10 climbers were killed and 30 injured. Their nationalities were not immediately known.

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen, a Dane who is climbing the Everest with a Belgian, Jelle Veyt, said on his Facebook page that they were at Khumbu Icefall , a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow close to base camp at altitude 5,000 meters (16,500 feet), when the earthquake hit.

He wrote on his Facebook that they have started to receive the injured, including one person with the most severe injuries who sustained many fractures.


In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a collapsed building is seen in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu Saturday, April 25, 2015. AP

Magnitude 7.8

He wrote on his Facebook that they have started to receive the injured, including one person with the most severe injuries who sustained many fractures.

“He was blown away by the avalanche and broke both legs. For the camps closer to where the avalanche hit, our Sherpas believe that a lot of people may have been buried in their tents,” he wrote in English. “There is now a steady flow of people fleeing basecamp in hope of more security further down the mountain”

The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.8. It said the quake hit at 11:56 a.m. local time (0611 GMT) at Lamjung, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu. Its depth was only 11 kilometers (7 miles), the largest shallow quake since the 8.2 temblor off the coast of Chile on April 1, 2014.

The shallower the quake the more destructive power it carries.

A magnitude 7 quake is capable of widespread and heavy damage while an 8 magnitude quake can cause tremendous damage. This means Saturday’s quake — with the same magnitude as the one that hit San Francisco in 1906 — was about 16 times more powerful than the 7.0 quake that devastated Haiti in 2010.

“The shallowness of the source made the ground-shaking at the surface worse than it would have been for a deeper earthquake,” said David A. Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University in Milton Keynes, north of London.

A major factor in the damage was that many of the buildings were not built to be quake-proof. An earthquake this size in Tokyo or Los Angeles, which have building codes for quake resistance, would not be nearly as devastating.

Centuries-old temples, towers

The power of the tremors brought down several buildings in the center of the capital, the ancient Old Kathmandu, including centuries-old temples and towers.

Among them was the nine-story Dharahara Tower, one of Kathmandu’s landmarks built by Nepal’s royal rulers as a watchtower in the 1800s and a UNESCO-recognized historical monument. It was reduced to rubble and there were reports of people trapped underneath.

Hundreds of people buy tickets on weekends to go up to the viewing platform on the eighth story, but it was not clear how many were up there when the tower collapsed. Video footage showed people digging through the rubble of the tower, looking for survivors.

The Kathmandu Valley is densely populated with nearly 2.5 million people, and the quality of buildings is often poor.

A Swedish woman, Jenny Adhikari, who lives in Nepal, told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that she was riding a bus in the town of Melamchi when the earth began to move.

“A huge stone crashed only about 20 meters (yards) from the bus,” she was quoted as saying. “All the houses around me have tumbled down. I think there are lot of people who have died,” she told the newspaper by telephone. Melamchi is about 45 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Kathmandu.

Nepal suffered its worst recorded earthquake in 1934, which measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

The sustained quake also was felt in India’s capital of New Delhi and several other Indian cities.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a meeting of top government officials to review the damage and disaster preparedness in parts of India that felt strong tremors. The Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim, which share a border with Nepal, have reported building damage. There have also been reports of damage in the northeastern state of Assam.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offered “all possible help” that Nepal may need.

Mattresses on ground for patients

In Kathmandu, dozens of people gathered in the parking lot of Norvic International Hospital, where thin mattresses were spread on the ground for patients rushed outside, some wearing hospital pajamas. A woman with a bandage on her head sat in a set of chairs pulled from the hospital waiting room.

Doctors and nurses hooked up some patients to intravenous drips in the parking lot, or were giving people oxygen.

A Swedish woman, Jenny Adhikari, who lives in Nepal, told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that she was riding a bus in the town of Melamchi when the earth began to move.

“A huge stone crashed only about 20 meters (yards) from the bus,” she was quoted as saying. “All the houses around me have tumbled down. I think there are lot of people who have died,” she told the newspaper by telephone. Melamchi is about 45 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Kathmandu.

Nepal suffered its worst recorded earthquake in 1934, which measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

The sustained quake also was felt in India’s capital of New Delhi and several other Indian cities.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a meeting of top government officials to review the damage and disaster preparedness in parts of India that felt strong tremors. The Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim, which share a border with Nepal, have reported building damage. There have also been reports of damage in the northeastern state of Assam.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offered “all possible help” that Nepal may need.


PHILSTAR

Islamic State threatens Mindanao, Philippines tells Asean By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 27, 2015 - 12:00am 4 11 googleplus0 0

KUALA LUMPUR – Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario bared yesterday before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reports of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threat to the Philippines through the Black Flag Movement in Mindanao.

Speaking before ASEAN foreign ministers, Del Rosario said the ISIS threat to Philippine security is real rather than imagined because of the Black Flag Movement’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“We will contribute in the fight against extremism, terrorism and crimes against humanity by engaging or cooperating with other countries in the areas of information sharing, joint investigations, educational campaigns, humanitarian assistance to victims, restricting flow of funds intended to finance terrorism, supporting resolutions aimed at curbing terrorism and enhancing local legislation to address terrorism,” he said.

ISIS has followers among the Abu Sayyaf, Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Khilafa Islamiyah Mindanao or the Black Flag Movement, according to the presentation of Rommel Banlaoi, Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR) chairman of the board, and director of the Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies (CINSS).

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The ASEAN is expected to come up with a Declaration on Global Movement of Moderates to curb extremism and terrorism in the region.

Del Rosario said he would like to stress that the Philippines remains steadfast in cooperating with ASEAN, the United Nations and all other countries in confronting extremism and radical violence.

“The Philippines condemns war crimes and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by ISIS,” he said. “We have co-sponsored UN (United Nations) Security Council Resolution 2178 on Foreign Terrorist Fighters and supported the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Statement on the Violence and Brutality Committed By Extremist Organizations in Iraq and Syria.”

Banlaoi said ISIS has been posing a serious threat to global security following the killing in a US operation of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.

“Otherwise known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now recently called by its followers as Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham,” he said.


PHILSTAR

P-Noy to seek mercy for Veloso By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 27, 2015 - 12:00am


Filipina Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, right, who is on death row for drug offenses, says a prayer with Catholic priest Bernhard Kieser during her judicial review hearing at Sleman District Court in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. AP file photo/Slamet Riyadi

Indonesia asks convicts for last wish

KUALA LUMPUR – As the clock ticked for the execution of Mary Jane Veloso, President Aquino is set to make a last-ditch appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare the life of the Filipina maid.

Aquino said he would take the opportunity to seek clemency for Veloso, who is due to be put to death tomorrow, when he meets Widodo at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in this Malaysian capital.

Reports from Indonesia said Veloso and nine other drug convicts, most of them foreigners, had been notified of their looming execution and asked for their final wish.

“Once I am there, I will try to speak to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to appeal once more for her case,” Aquino said in his departure speech yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.

The President and his delegation arrived here at 3:40 p.m. to attend a series of meetings.

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One of Veloso’s lawyers, Minnie Lopez of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, said the Filipina’s execution would be on April 28, at the end of the ASEAN leaders’ summit in the island-resort of Langkawi.

Veloso, 30, a single mother of two boys, is among nine foreigners due to face the firing squad in the high-security Indonesian island of Nusakambangan.

She was arrested in 2010 with 2.9 kilograms of heroin sewn into the lining of her suitcase but insists she went to Indonesia for a job as a maid and was duped by an international drug syndicate.

Vice President Jejomar Binay made the appeal for Veloso during a visit to Indonesia last week.

Philippine officials continue to plead for a stay in the execution of Veloso even as the Indonesian government already sent a notice to her family about the execution order.

The pending executions of Veloso and nine others including an Indonesian have caused an international outcry, particularly in Australia, France and the Philippines, which are opposed to the death penalty.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Indonesian leader not to carry out the executions, saying international law limits crimes punishable by capital punishment.

The UN chief said the death penalty “should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, namely those involving intentional killing, and only with appropriate safeguards.”

French President Francois Hollande has warned of diplomatic consequences if their compatriot is executed, and said Saturday that there could be possible economic fallout as well.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose government has been pressuring Indonesia to spare the two Australians, arrived on a visit to Paris on Saturday night and was expected to discuss the situation with Hollande.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws and often executes smugglers. More than 130 people are on death row, mostly for drug crimes. About a third of them are foreigners.

In January, six convicted drug smugglers – all but one from Brazil, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Nigeria and Malawi –were executed at the same time.

Last wish

Indonesia’s attorney general’s office notified Veloso and the nine others that their executions will be carried out within days, ignoring appeals by the UN chief and foreign leaders to spare them.

Authorities asked the 10 convicts – Veloso, four Nigerian men, two Australian men, one man each from Brazil, France and Indonesia – for their last wish, the spokesman for the attorney general, Tony Spontana, said yesterday.

He said the legal options of nine of them have been exhausted, while Frenchman Serge Atlaoui still has an outstanding legal complaint over the procedure followed in his request for clemency. Spontana said he expects the Supreme Court to rule on it today.

The 72-hour notice indicates the executions by firing squad in Besi prison on Nusakambangan Island will be carried out at the earliest on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Indonesian foreign ministry officials have met with representatives from six countries with citizens facing execution amid appeals for them not to push through with executions.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Indonesian authorities allowed Veloso’s family and her lawyers to visit her on Nusakambangan Island.

Jose said Indonesia did not give the exact date of execution.

He said a letter notice of execution was served Saturday to Veloso but she and her representatives refused to sign it pending the appeal for second judicial review.

The Philippines’ second appeal filed Friday before the Indonesia’s Supreme Court for a judicial review on Veloso’s case included a report from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) claiming that Veloso is not a drug trafficker but a victim of human trafficking.

PDEA said several charges have been filed against Veloso’s alleged recruiter, Maria Cristina Sergio, who reportedly stashed heroin in Veloso’s suitcase.

“We have a second petition filed before the Indonesian Supreme Court. The Indonesian authorities I spoke to told me that if there is such a petition, it will be tackled before any execution,” Vice President Binay said.

Binay also is not giving up hope on securing a reprieve for Veloso. He appealed for prayers to save Veloso from execution.

“Let us not lose hope. We will continue to use all the avenues available to us… let us continue to pray for Mary Jane,” he said. – Alexis Romero, Helen Flores, Mayen Jaymalin, Edith Regalado, Rainier Allan Ronda, AP


PHILSTAR

Sevilla tags Ochoa, Purisima as lobbyists By Zinnia dela Peña (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 27, 2015 - 12:00am


Sevilla, Presidential execs Ochoa, Purisima Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - Resigned Customs commissioner John Sevilla has identified Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima as among those who were pushing for the appointment of a bureau official who purportedly had the backing of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).

Ochoa and Purisima could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Interviewed on CNN Philippines over the weekend, Sevilla mentioned deputy executive secretary Teofilo Pilando Jr. and Carlo Carag, finance undersecretary for the Revenue Operations and Legal Affairs, as the other officials who were lobbying for the transfer of Teddy Raval, chief of Bureau of Customs (BOC) intellectual property rights division, to the enforcement and security services (ESS).

Responding to a query of CNN Philippines as to who among the Office of the Executive Secretary and the Department of Finance were behind the proposal to move Raval to the ESS, Sevilla said: “Secretary Purisima, Usec. Carag, deputy executive secretary Pilando and ES Ochoa.”

Asked what the four wanted him to do, Sevilla said: “Ilagay mo itong position or yang position si attorney Raval.”

Currently headed by deputy commissioner Ariel Nepomuceno, the ESS is a 400-man police force whose main task is to safeguard the facilities of the BOC and ensure the safety of cargoes at the ports.

The Department of Finance oversees the BOC, which accounts for a fifth of state revenues.

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Sevilla said the four government officials were pushing for Raval to head the ESS despite having little or no experience.

He received feelers about transferring Raval to the ESS as early as December 2013 but he never caved in to pressure and just tried to do his job.

Sevilla said the transfer of Raval was purportedly part of the agreement between the government and INC, one of the largest and most powerful religious groups noted for bloc voting in elections.

“Dahil daw yon na napag-usapan with the Iglesia ni Cristo,” Sevilla said.

The INC, with around three million members, has been known for exercising its political clout and can provide swing votes in an election.

Sevilla, instrumental in implementing badly needed reforms at the BOC, strongly objected to Raval’s promotion and eventually resigned amid mounting political pressure over appointments to key positions in the bureau.

“I do not think that anyone outside of Customs or outside of government should have any say in appointments in Customs,” Sevilla earlier said.

Just a few days before he stepped down from his post, Sevilla said he would not allow the Customs bureau to be used as a source for raising funds for politicians in the run-up to next year’s elections.

Sevilla argued that Raval was not eligible to head the ESS, citing the latter’s lack of management skills.

However, during the turnover ceremony between Sevilla and comebacking Customs head Alberto Lina last Friday, Purisima took a potshot at Sevilla, whom he said did not have any experience to manage the BOC then.

“When the President asked me about him (referring to Sevilla), I said he’s smart but I don’t think he’s experienced. But credit to the President, he has an eye for talent,” Purisima said.

In fact, Purisima commended Sevilla for leading the BOC’s transformation into “one of the most radically open and transparent agencies in government.”

Sevilla was also credited for taking “great strides” in reducing graft and corruption and boosting tariff collection.

During Sevilla’s 14-month term, the BOC steadily grew its revenues by double-digit, thanks to wide-ranging reforms that saw several companies and individuals sued for illegal importation of goods and made transactions at the bureau transparent.

Sevilla, the third Customs head since President Aquino assumed office in 2010, clamped down on the release of illegal shipments and suspended permits of unscrupulous traders and importers.

He made all import transactions public by posting them on the agency’s website to ensure transparency.

Prior to becoming Customs chief, Sevilla served as finance undersecretary in charge of the government’s privatization efforts. He joined the DOF as undersecretary during the Arroyo administration.

The former Customs chief fears that the government’s good governance program is in peril at the bureau but did not elaborate.

Sevilla’s departure has dealt a crushing blow to President Aquino’s image as a crusader against corruption.

Just last year, Aquino faced one of his biggest political setbacks when the Supreme Court declared partly illegal a P145-billion economic stimulus fund that allowed the government to channel funds saved from cancelled projects to projects of senators.

Industry observers fear that Sevilla’s departure might spark a wave of resignations at the BOC among the former Customs head’s supporters.

Some industry stakeholders have also questioned the appointment of Lina as the new BOC chief given his interests in various companies engaged in logistics and Customs brokerage.

Under the Public Code of Conduct for public servants, officials have 30 days from assumption of office to resign from private businesses and 60 days to divest themselves of shares and interests in case a conflict of interest arises.

Lina owns more than a dozen companies, which include logistics firm Air21, Cargohaus, eKonek, Shopinas.com, Integrated Waste Management, DOS 1, U-Freight, Waste and Resource Management, Linaheim Properties, Solarlina, LGC Logistics, Credit Solutions & Business Alliances Inc., Lina Farms, GO 21, Ube Media, 2100 Customs Brokers Inc., U-Ocen, and Linaheim Corporate Travel and Tours.

Critics said Lina would also need to address reports that U-Freight Phils., a company he founded in 1976, was the subject of an investigation by the BOC after P1.5 billion worth of aircraft equipment had been discovered unaccounted for.

Lina, who headed the BOC for five months during the Arroyo administration, is known to have contributed a large amount to the campaign kitty of Aquino.

P-Noy’s intervention sought

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said President Aquino should have intervened when former Sevilla reported that political pressures in his job prompted him to resign.

He said the Palace should have acted to stop the so-called political pressures so that Sevilla, whom many describe as an efficient public appointee, could continue the reforms within the corruption-ridden agency.

“Somebody is doing well, you should have convinced him to stay. Look at the reasons why he wanted to get out and address them. Mr. Sevilla said there were political pressures from within,” the senator said. – With Christina Mendez


INQUIRER

Aquino arrives in Malaysia for 26th Asean Summit Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ INQUIRER.net 4:41 PM | Sunday, April 26th,


President Benigno S. Aquino III Arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport to participate at the 26th ASEAN SUMMIT held in Malaysia on Sunday (April 26, 2015). Ryan Lim/ Malacanang Photo Bureau.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – President Benigno Aquino III arrived here on Sunday afternoon to attend the 26th Asean Summit.

Aquino arrived 3:40 p.m. at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), onboard Philippine Airlines Flight PR001.

He was welcomed by Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya and other embassy officials and staff. On the side of Malaysia, YB Dato Seri Idris Bin Jusoh, Minister II for Education, led the contingent.

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Aquino and the Philippine delegation went straight to the Intercontinental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur and will later attend the gala dinner hosted by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Aquino will have an opportunity to meet with the other heads of state at the dinner. Before he left Manila, he said he is hoping to discuss with Indonesian President Joko Widodo the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who is set to be executed on April 28.

Among the topics to be discussed during the Asean summit is the Asean integration, the campaign against extremism and terrorism, and China’s reclamation in South China Sea.

The President will also have a bilateral meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The Philippines and Vietnam are working on a strategic partnership deal amid both countries’ territorial disputes with China. DPL


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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