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PRAY FOR MAY 9: IN JUST 23 DAYS, A CALL FOR DAILY PRAYER BY CBCP PRESIDENT SOCRATES VILLEGAS FOR MAY 9 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
[“Pray the rosary for our national elections. “Pass on this invitation and let us fill the Philippines with the light and power of the HOLY ROSARY!”]


APRIL 17 -BISHOP VILLEGAS -  In just 23 more days, we will have our general election. Unless something like a declaration of martial law, or the Commission on Elections declaring that it is, for some technical or force majeure reason, unable to conduct the elections, our general election as scheduled on May 9. This is a general election because we will vote to elect officials of the executive branch of government and lawmakers in the legislative for all levels of government – national, provincial, and local, except for the barangay. Aside from choosing who will be our Republic’s next President and Vice-President, we will also elect: The 12 senators to replace the 12 outgoing ones in the Senate. The 297 new congressmen (or congresswomen) who will form the House of Representatives. All the governors, vice-governors, and the provincial board members of our 81 provinces. All the mayors and vice-mayors for our 145 cities and our 1,489 municipalities. All the city councilors and 11,924 town council members.
All the governors, vice-governors and all the 24 members of the regional assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. In today’s Holy Mass or chapel or temple service that you go to, please pray for the May 9 elections. Those who pray the Holy Rosary we urge to respond to the call made by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, of Lingayen-Dagupan, who is the current president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, for a Rosary Campaign for May 9. Archbishop Soc’s call This is his call: “Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war, “With the Cross of Jesus going on before…. “With these words, I plead with you to join the Catholic faithful in Lingayen, Dagupan and throughout the nation in a rosary prayer campaign from today until our local and national elections on May 9. READ MORE...

ALSO: Sayyaf suspects snatch 4 sailors


APRIL 17 -ABU SAYYAF bandits are accused by the military of having a hand in the abduction of four Indonesian sailors in Philippine waters between Tawi-Tawi and Sabah.
AN Indonesian sailor was shot and wounded while four of his compatriots were abducted by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in Philippine waters between Tawi-Tawi and Lahad Datu in Sabah, authorities reported on Saturday.
Major Filemon Tan, spokesman of the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command, said there were 10 Indonesians onboard the tugboat T/B Henry which was towing the barge Christy en route to Tarakan in North Kalimantan, Indonesia after delivering 8,000 tons of coal in Cebu. When they reached the area between Tawi-Tawi and Lahad Datu around 6:30 p.m. of Friday, they were intercepted by a grey-blue speedboat carrying five armed men. Tan said the gunmen ordered the Indonesians to the lower deck but the crew resisted, resulting in the shooting of one of the sailors in the chest. The gunmen then ordered four of the sailors to board the speedboat and they fled toward the north.  Tan said the six remaining sailors, including the injured man, then radioed for help and Malaysian authorities rescued them and brought them to Tawau town in Sabah. The kidnapping of the sailors from tugboat TB Henry is the third incident in three weeks to occur in the sea routes between Sabah and Tawi Tawi and Tan said there is reason to believe the kidnapping was perpetrated by Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Hadjan Sawadjaan.  But Tan also stressed that the abductors could also just be pirates using the name of the Abu Sayyaf. “There is no proof that they are the ones who did that [abduction],” Tan said, adding that the Wesmincom has alerted all its units on the possible landing of the speed boat in their jurisdictions. So far, Tan said the Abu Sayyaf is holding a total of 18 foreign hostage victims since Abu Sayyaf bandits resumed kidnapping sorties in Western Mindanao waters. READ MORE...RELATED, Armed Forces clarifies Indonesians kidnapped off Tawi-Tawi...

ALSO: Interior designer is Phl Miss U bet


APRIL 18 -Right: Confetti falls on the 2016 Binibining Pilipinas winners as they are joined by reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (center) during the coronation night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Sunday. The newly crowned queens are (from left) Bb. Pilipinas Globe Nichole Manalo, Bb. Pilipinas Supranational Joanna Eden, Miss Universe-Philippines Maxine Medina, Bb. Pilipinas International Kylie Verzosa, Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Jennifer Hammond and Bb. Pilipinas Grand International Nicole Cordoves. Left: Medina posing during the swimsuit portion of the pageant. MIGUEL DE GUZMAN  The interior designer named 2016 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Sunday night after a three-hour pageant at Smart Araneta Coliseum was “Face of the Week” in the Allure section of The Philippine STAR in September 2014. Maxine Medina, 25, will represent the country at this year’s Miss Universe pageant, which might be held in the Philippines for the third time, after 1974 (won by the late Amparo Muñoz of Spain) and 1994 (won by India’s Sushmita Sen). The reigning Miss Universe is the Philippines’ Pia Wurtzbach who is pushing for the holding of the pageant here. Asked about the possibility of a back-to-back win for the Philippines (so far, only Venezuela has achieved that record), Maxine said she’s keeping her fingers crossed. “But I will do my very best to bring honor to the country like Pia did,” said the Philippine School of Interior Design graduate who’s a member of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP). Maxine was one of six Binibinis chosen by a board of judges that included Paulo Roxas (son of former interior secretary and presidential candidate Mar Roxas), 2015 Miss USA Olivia Jordan (who placed second runner-up to Pia in the Miss Universe Pageant and is now Pia’s roommate at a condo unit owned by former Miss Universe pageant franchise owner Donald Trump), actor Ian Veneracion and executives Cory Vidanes and Laurente Dyogi of ABS-CBN, which aired the pageant. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino government urged - Ensure stable power supply during polls


APRIL 18 -Citing the threat posed by the dry spell on power generation, Sen. Grace Poe said the government should make use of all available measures to guarantee steady supply of electricity, especially during the election period. Philstar.com/File
MANILA, Philippines - The government should do everything to ensure stable and uninterrupted power supply come May 9, presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe said yesterday. Citing the threat posed by the dry spell on power generation, Poe said the government should make use of all available measures to guarantee steady supply of electricity, especially during the election period. She cited as example the Interruptible Load Program or ILP. Under the ILP program of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), establishments – like malls – which use their stand-by generation capacities during power shortage would be given compensation. If elected president, Poe said she would immediately direct energy officials to address possible power shortage, especially in the provinces.  Poe also reiterated the need for greater support for renewable energy projects. READ MORE...

ALSO: Prelate - Elect PH leader ‘decent enough’ to face world


BUDANG NISPEROS / INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON FILE PHOTO
CEBU CITY — Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma advised Filipinos on Monday to elect a leader decent enough to face leaders of other nations. “When we elect people in power, we expect them to serve, but at the same time they should also relate with other people in many parts of world,” he told reporters after presiding over a Mass and a diaconate ordination at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. He was asked to comment on the controversial remarks of Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte about the 1989 gang rape of Australian missionary worker Jaqueline Hamill.
The archbishop expressed concern over how other countries would perceive the Philippines if news of Duterte’s remarks landed in the international news. “What if this kind of joke will spread to other people from different parts of the world? Can we feel at ease with that kind of person?” the 66-year-old prelate asked. Palma, a former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the electorate would now decide whether to vote for a person like Duterte. “Are we happy with what he (Duterte) said? Do we agree with it? Some say it’s okay. Others say otherwise,” he said. “The future of our country depends on the votes we make. The electorate should discern and decide. That is where the power of the ballots come,” he added. On election day, Palma encouraged the faithful to pray for honest and clean elections and pray for fellow Filipinos in choosing the best leaders for the country. A YouTube video has gone viral showing Duterte, in a campaign rally, recalling what he had thought and said when he saw the body of the raped and murdered Hamill in 1989. He said he saw how beautiful the missionary worker was and then joked about how the hostage-takers had raped her before he could. “Naunahan pa ang mayor. Patayin lahat yan (They did it ahead of the mayor. Kill them all),” the mayor recalled saying during the 1989 hostage-taking inside the Davao Metrodiscom Headquarters. Last Sunday, Duterte admitted he said those words not as a joke but in the heat of his anger about the heinous crime. SFM  FULL REPORT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Pray for May 9: In just 23 days a call for prayer campaign by CBCP President Archbishop Soc VillegasCBCP

MANILA, APRIL 18, 2016 (MANILA TIMES) April 16, 2016 11:34 pm - In just 23 more days, we will have our general election. Unless something like a declaration of martial law, or the Commission on Elections declaring that it is, for some technical or force majeure reason, unable to conduct the elections, our general election as scheduled on May 9.

This is a general election because we will vote to elect officials of the executive branch of government and lawmakers in the legislative for all levels of government – national, provincial, and local, except for the barangay.

Aside from choosing who will be our Republic’s next President and Vice-President, we will also elect:

The 12 senators to replace the 12 outgoing ones in the Senate.

The 297 new congressmen (or congresswomen) who will form the House of Representatives.

All the governors, vice-governors, and the provincial board members of our 81 provinces.

All the mayors and vice-mayors for our 145 cities and our 1,489 municipalities.

All the city councilors and 11,924 town council members.

All the governors, vice-governors and all the 24 members of the regional assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

In today’s Holy Mass or chapel or temple service that you go to, please pray for the May 9 elections.

Those who pray the Holy Rosary we urge to respond to the call made by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, of Lingayen-Dagupan, who is the current president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, for a Rosary Campaign for May 9.

Archbishop Soc’s call

This is his call:
“Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war,
“With the Cross of Jesus going on before….
“With these words, I plead with you to join the Catholic faithful in Lingayen, Dagupan and throughout the nation in a rosary prayer campaign from today until our local and national elections on May 9.

READ MORE...

“Blessed Pius IX said ‘If I had an army to pray the rosary, I could conquer the world.’



“It was not courage, not arms, not leaders but Mary of the Rosary that made us victorious,” said the Venetian senators after the Battle of Lepanto.

“The rosary is the weapon of our times according to San Padre Pio. And centuries ago, Pope Adrian VI said the rosary is the scourge of the devil.

“In my pastoral guidelines for the 2013 elections, I reminded you of the unique importance of prayer for national change. Our best contribution is to pray that the Lord of History guide every voter and guide every candidate. It is God who can enlighten our decisions. It is God who can thwart the plans of evil men and women to destroy social order. It is God who can give us the best leaders for the good of everyone.

“Pray ALL the mysteries of joy, light, sorrow and glory EVERYDAY until May 9. Pray as a family. Pray while traveling. Pray in the offices or factories. Pray everywhere for our national elections.

“By the power of the rosary, we can stop the evil of election violence and cheating.

“By the power of the rosary, we can win the battle for peaceful and credible elections.

“By the power of the rosary, we can fight stubbornness, cynicism and stupidity in making our choices. Let the rosary melt our hardened hearts and arrogant lips.
“By the power of the rosary, we can crush the devil’s head and let the Lord of History reign in our beautiful land.

“Pray the rosary for our national elections.

“Pass on this invitation and let us fill the Philippines with the light and power of the HOLY ROSARY!”


MANILA STANDARD

Sayyaf suspects snatch 4 sailors posted April 17, 2016 at 12:01 am by Francisco Tuyay


ABU SAYYAF bandits are accused by the military of having a hand in the abduction of four Indonesian sailors in Philippine waters between Tawi-Tawi and Sabah.

AN Indonesian sailor was shot and wounded while four of his compatriots were abducted by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in Philippine waters between Tawi-Tawi and Lahad Datu in Sabah, authorities reported on Saturday.

Major Filemon Tan, spokesman of the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command, said there were 10 Indonesians onboard the tugboat T/B Henry which was towing the barge Christy en route to Tarakan in North Kalimantan, Indonesia after delivering 8,000 tons of coal in Cebu.

When they reached the area between Tawi-Tawi and Lahad Datu around 6:30 p.m. of Friday, they were intercepted by a grey-blue speedboat carrying five armed men.

Tan said the gunmen ordered the Indonesians to the lower deck but the crew resisted, resulting in the shooting of one of the sailors in the chest. The gunmen then ordered four of the sailors to board the speedboat and they fled toward the north.

Tan said the six remaining sailors, including the injured man, then radioed for help and Malaysian authorities rescued them and brought them to Tawau town in Sabah.

The kidnapping of the sailors from tugboat TB Henry is the third incident in three weeks to occur in the sea routes between Sabah and Tawi Tawi and Tan said there is reason to believe the kidnapping was perpetrated by Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Hadjan Sawadjaan.

But Tan also stressed that the abductors could also just be pirates using the name of the Abu Sayyaf.

“There is no proof that they are the ones who did that [abduction],” Tan said, adding that the Wesmincom has alerted all its units on the possible landing of the speed boat in their jurisdictions.

So far, Tan said the Abu Sayyaf is holding a total of 18 foreign hostage victims since Abu Sayyaf bandits resumed kidnapping sorties in Western Mindanao waters.

READ MORE...

Tan said the incident happened barely 21 days after the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped 10 Indonesian crew of the tugboat Brahma 12 towing a barge with 7,000 tons of coal while cruising towards Batangas Port in Tawi-Tawi.

The 10 Indonesians were identified as Peter Tonson, Julian Philip, Elvis Peti, Surian Syah, Wawan Saputra, Bakyu Oktavianto, Wendi Raknadian and three others identified only through their names as Mahumud, Reynaldi and Surianto.

Someone claiming to be from Abu Sayyaf called the vessel’s owners to demand a ransom for the sailors’ release.

A week later, four Malaysian nationals aboard their motor vessel were also kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf off the coast of Semporna, Malaysia.

Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau’s Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting Centre, said the shipping community had expressed concern over the rise in attacks.

“Everyone is concerned as the attacks could hurt trade. Operating costs will go up if they were to use a longer but safer route,” he said.

“IMB fears such attacks will continue to escalate. How can seamen defend themselves against militants armed with high-powered guns and fast boats?” he added.

Many Western and other embassies routinely issue warnings against traveling to most of the Philippines’ Muslim-populated southern regions, which lie just northeast of Sabah, because of the risk of being abducted by the group.

In the past, Abu Sayyaf has mainly targeted tourists as they can demand high ransoms for foreigners.

Two Canadians and a Norwegian were kidnapped from yachts at a marina in September, with the militants setting an April deadline for a ransom to be paid.

The militants in a video demanded P1 billion ($21 million) for each of the three foreigners, but the Abu Sayyaf lowered their ransom demand to P300 million and postponed the execution of their victims from April 8 to April 25.

The bandits announced the changes in a video posted on YouTube which featured messages from two of the four hostages.

The captives were identified as Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Hall’s Filipina girlfriend Marites Flor.

The victims were seized by armed men last Sept. 21 from the Oceanview Samal Resort in Barangay Camudmud in Samal island.

The videos were posted as another Abu Sayyaf bandit was killed while four troopers were wounded in the military operation against the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group, presently holed-out in the jungles of Tipo-Tipo, Basilan Thursday.

-------------------------------

RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Armed Forces clarifies Indonesians kidnapped off Tawi-Tawi Published April 16, 2016 11:04pm

Some four Indonesian seamen - not Malaysians as earlier reported - were kidnapped by gunmen off Tawi-Tawi on Friday night, the Armed Forces of the Philippines clarified.

"The [earlier] report that was given to us was wrong," Maj. Filemon Tan, Western Mindanao Command spokesman, explained on Saturday.

Tan added that seven gunmen used a blue speed boat to intercept the two Indonesian flagged tugboats off the island of Sitangkay in Tawi-tawi, near the border with Malaysia's eastern Sabah state, and took the four crew.

"We don't exactly know who took them but the only lawless group operating in that area is the Abu Sayyaf," Tan said, adding 10 Indonesians and four Malaysians were also abducted in two separate incidents early this month in the south.

The Indonesian foreign ministry meanwhile issued a statement which said four Indonesian crew were taken captive after gunmen attacked two tugboats, TB Henry and TB Cristy, on their way to Kalimantan from Cebu. Six other crew were left behind but one was shot.

"He is in stable condition now," the foreign ministry said, adding Malaysian water police evacuated the wounded crew to a hospital in Lahad Datu in eastern Sabah state, where the two tugboats were towed to safety.

The Philippine military said the Islamist militants have been targeting foreign crew of slow moving tugboats because they could no longer penetrate resorts and coastal towns in Sabah due to increased security.

Also, in response to the kidnappings, the newly appointed commander of the Joint Task Group Tawi-Tawi, Rear Admiral Jorge Amba, intensified sea patrols in the area. "He (Amba) brought larger craft and intensified patrols [in the area]. But the sea is vast, you cannot really guard it completely," admitted Tan.

The al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which is known for extortion, kidnappings, beheadings and bombings, is one of several brutal Muslim rebel factions, has stepped up activities on the remote islands.

Last week, the militants killed 18 soldiers and wounded more than 50 others in an ambush on Basilan island, prompting a massive army offensive with artillery and aerial bombings. The military said 28 rebels had died in the week-long fighting.

On nearby Jolo island, the militants gave a final deadline on April 25 for payment of 300 million pesos ($6.50 million) ransom for each of the two Canadians and a Norwegian captive or they will behead the three foreign captives.

Security is precarious in the resource-rich south of the largely Christian Philippines, despite a 2014 peace pact between the government and the largest Muslim rebel group that ended 45 years of conflict.

Abu Sayyaf militants are holding other foreigners, including one from the Netherlands, one from Japan, one from Norway, two from Canada, four Malaysians and 10 Indonesian tugboat crew. — with a report from Reuters/Virgil Lopez/DVM, GMA News


PHILSTAR

Interior designer is Phl Miss U bet By Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 19, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Right: Confetti falls on the 2016 Binibining Pilipinas winners as they are joined by reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (center) during the coronation night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Sunday. The newly crowned queens are (from left) Bb. Pilipinas Globe Nichole Manalo, Bb. Pilipinas Supranational Joanna Eden, Miss Universe-Philippines Maxine Medina, Bb. Pilipinas International Kylie Verzosa, Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Jennifer Hammond and Bb. Pilipinas Grand International Nicole Cordoves. Left: Medina posing during the swimsuit portion of the pageant. MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

MANILA, Philippines - The interior designer named 2016 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Sunday night after a three-hour pageant at Smart Araneta Coliseum was “Face of the Week” in the Allure section of The Philippine STAR in September 2014.

Maxine Medina, 25, will represent the country at this year’s Miss Universe pageant, which might be held in the Philippines for the third time, after 1974 (won by the late Amparo Muñoz of Spain) and 1994 (won by India’s Sushmita Sen).

The reigning Miss Universe is the Philippines’ Pia Wurtzbach who is pushing for the holding of the pageant here.

Asked about the possibility of a back-to-back win for the Philippines (so far, only Venezuela has achieved that record), Maxine said she’s keeping her fingers crossed.

“But I will do my very best to bring honor to the country like Pia did,” said the Philippine School of Interior Design graduate who’s a member of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP).

Maxine was one of six Binibinis chosen by a board of judges that included Paulo Roxas (son of former interior secretary and presidential candidate Mar Roxas), 2015 Miss USA Olivia Jordan (who placed second runner-up to Pia in the Miss Universe Pageant and is now Pia’s roommate at a condo unit owned by former Miss Universe pageant franchise owner Donald Trump), actor Ian Veneracion and executives Cory Vidanes and Laurente Dyogi of ABS-CBN, which aired the pageant.

READ MORE...

The other winners were:

Bb. Pilipinas-International Kylie Verzosa, 24, a B.S. Management graduate from Ateneo de Manila University, who will represent the country at the Miss International contest in Japan sometime in October;

Bb. Pilipinas Globe Nichole Manalo, 26, a nurse currently working at the ICU of a government hospital, who comes from a family of beauty queens (1968 Bb. Pilipinas-International Nini Ramos is her aunt, while her two sisters, Kate and Bianca, are former Bb. Pilipinas-Universe);

Bb. Grand International Nicole Cordoves, 23, who works at the Department of Finance, who will represent the country at the Miss Globe contest in Germany in December;

Bb. Pilipinas-Inter-Continental Jennifer Hammond, 25, who was raised in Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro;

Bb. Pilipinas-Supranational Joanna Eden, 19, an International Studies sophomore at De La Salle University.

First runner-up was Angelica Aleta, 20, a member of ABS-CBN’s Star Circle (where Pia also started her showbiz career); and second runner-up was Jehza Mae Hueler, 21, a Finance graduate from Davao.

During her farewell speech, Pia gave the winners this advice: “Remember to give your best. Behind that beautiful gown, your knees might be trembling, like me right now. I’m still not used to it. Being in front of millions can be nerve-wracking. You have to remember that you are wearing that sash that proudly says PHILIPPINES. In your moment of doubt, remember that you have the whole country cheering you on.”


PHILSTAR

Government urged: Ensure stable power supply during polls By Christina Mendez and Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 19, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Citing the threat posed by the dry spell on power generation, Sen. Grace Poe said the government should make use of all available measures to guarantee steady supply of electricity, especially during the election period. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - The government should do everything to ensure stable and uninterrupted power supply come May 9, presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe said yesterday.

Citing the threat posed by the dry spell on power generation, Poe said the government should make use of all available measures to guarantee steady supply of electricity, especially during the election period.

She cited as example the Interruptible Load Program or ILP.

Under the ILP program of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), establishments – like malls – which use their stand-by generation capacities during power shortage would be given compensation.

If elected president, Poe said she would immediately direct energy officials to address possible power shortage, especially in the provinces.

Poe also reiterated the need for greater support for renewable energy projects.

READ MORE...

As this developed, Poe welcomed more offers of support for her presidential bid by local officials.

For the second time, Poe campaigned in Las Piñas City where the Villars and Aguilars of the Nacionalista Party (NP) dominate the political scene.

Poe headed to Barangay BF International/CAA in Las Piñas City where she was accompanied by Imelda Aguilar, the wife of incumbent Mayor Vergel Aguilar and their daughter April.

Mayor Aguilar is a brother of Sen. Cynthia Villar, whose husband former Senate president Manuel Villar Jr. is head of the NP. CAA reportedly has the biggest population in Las Piñas.

Just last week, Poe was endorsed by the Aguilars and by Villar’s son Mark who is running for reelection as congressman of Las Piñas.

Several NP stalwarts have come out to endorse Poe, including former Surigao del Norte representative Robert Ace Barbers and former Camarines Sur governor Luis Raymund Villafuerte, who is running for a seat in Congress.


PHILSTAR

Prelate: Elect PH leader ‘decent enough’ to face world SHARES: 441 VIEW COMMENTS By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Visayas 06:11 PM April 18th, 2016


BUDANG NISPEROS / INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY — Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma advised Filipinos on Monday to elect a leader decent enough to face leaders of other nations. “When we elect people in power, we expect them to serve, but at the same time they should also relate with other people in many parts of world,” he told reporters after presiding over a Mass and a diaconate ordination at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. He was asked to comment on the controversial remarks of Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte about the 1989 gang rape of Australian missionary worker Jaqueline Hamill.

The archbishop expressed concern over how other countries would perceive the Philippines if news of Duterte’s remarks landed in the international news. “What if this kind of joke will spread to other people from different parts of the world? Can we feel at ease with that kind of person?” the 66-year-old prelate asked. Palma,
 a former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the electorate would now decide whether to vote for a person like Duterte.

“Are we happy with what he (Duterte) said? Do we agree with it? Some say it’s okay. Others say otherwise,” he said. “The future of our country depends on the votes we make. The electorate should discern and decide. That is where the power of the ballots come,” he added.

On election day, Palma encouraged the faithful to pray for honest and clean elections and pray for fellow Filipinos in choosing the best leaders for the country.

A YouTube video has gone viral showing Duterte, in a campaign rally, recalling what he had thought and said when he saw the body of the raped and murdered Hamill in 1989. He said he saw how beautiful the missionary worker was and then joked about how the hostage-takers had raped her before he could.

“Naunahan pa ang mayor. Patayin lahat yan (They did it ahead of the mayor. Kill them all),” the mayor recalled saying during the 1989 hostage-taking inside the Davao Metrodiscom Headquarters. Last Sunday, Duterte admitted he said those words not as a joke but in the heat of his anger about the heinous crime. SFM


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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