MANILA, FEBRUARY 6, 2012 (INQUIRER) Until Leila de Lima stopped the flight of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her consort Mike Arroyo right at the point of departure at the Naia on Nov. 15, 2011, President Benigno Aquino III’s much-heralded payback drive for the once untouchable accountables in the Arroyo government sounded really nice but was also really a lot of sound and fury.

De Lima set the stage for the wheels of justice to start grinding.

She fast-tracked the prosecution of the icons of impunity—notably Gloria Arroyo and husband Mike Arroyo, Benjamin Abalos, Leandro Mendoza, the multimillion-peso generals (some in euros, too), including two AFP chiefs of staff not to mention that Palparan is now on the run.

All these only 18 months into the Aquino administration.

Her focused pursuit of justice, says one editor, displays courage and consistency of purpose as she never wavered even when confronted by her opponents particularly in her face-off with the Supreme Court’s Arroyo appointees and her fiercely independent probe and findings/recommendations of the Luneta hostage tragedy, even if their salient points were glossed over by the Palace.

Says another editor: “There is such a thing as a Filipino collective conscience. And now, it has a face—Leila’s.”

Llamas ‘admonished’ over pirated DVDs By Norman Bordadora Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:24 pm | Saturday, February 4th, 2012

[PHOTO - WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Almost everybody does it—buy pirated CDs—but it doesn’t look right seeing Presidential Adviser Ronald Llamas doing it in Quezon City Monday. DONA POLICAR/BANDERA]

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has “formally admonished” Secretary Ronald Llamas in connection with his purchase of pirated DVDs recently.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., by authority of President Benigno Aquino III, also warned Llamas of more severe sanctions if he commits another act of impropriety in the future.

In the dispositive portion of the issuance, Ochoa said that while Llamas’ act of buying bootlegged videos isn’t a criminal offense, “the impropriety is without question.”

Ochoa’s letter indicated that Llamas’ admission of his purchase of pirated DVDs and apology over the matter were also factors in Llamas’ getting only a slap on the wrist with an admonition.

From ‘Coke Zero’ to kimchi: Aquino dating Korean By: Norman Bordadora Philippine Daily Inquirer February 2, 2012 | 2:41 am 1share115 108

[PHOTO - AMAZING GRACE A publicity shot of Grace Lee who also confirms in a TV interview that she and the President are dating. PHOTO FROM GRACE LEE’S FACEBOOK PAGE From “Coke Zero” to kimchi.]

Months after comparing his love life—or lack of it—to sugar-free cola, President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday admitted dating TV and radio personality Grace Lee, a Korean national who has found a niche in the local entertainment scene.

It was the first time the bachelor leader publicly and categorically confirmed he was seeing someone, a pre-Valentine revelation also picked up by the South Korea media.

Lee (Kyung Hee-lee off-screen) was born and raised in Seoul but had since been “Filipinized” (to use a term in her profile on the GMA Network website) after moving to the Philippines at age 10 because of her father’s business.

She went to high school at St. Paul College in Pasig City and earned a degree in interdisciplinary studies at Ateneo de Manila University.

Mr. Aquino made the revelation after social networking sites went abuzz over reports that Lee had admitted on her morning radio show that she went out with the President the night before.

“Well, we are seeing each other, okay?” President Aquino said with a wry smile when asked about the real score toward the end of a news briefing on Wednesday morning at the lobby of the Philippine Information Agency office in Quezon City.

The audience erupted into cheers upon hearing the question and more so when they got the answer from the President, almost like movie fans agog over a newly unveiled love team.

Article 3

President Aquino, who turns 52 next week, declined to take further questions about the date with Lee, 29.

“I think I’ll leave it at that,” he said. “In the Constitution, there’s a thing called privacy. Perhaps, I can also enjoy that right under Article 3.”

A couple of hours later, Lee confirmed President Aquino’s disclosure when asked by a fellow anchor on a GMA noontime news program.

“What the President said is true,” said a smiling Lee, who had just delivered the program’s show biz segment.

Like her date, she also shied away from further queries. “I think there’s no room for clarification because what the President said was simple,” she said.

On her FM radio show last week, Lee neither denied nor confirmed reports she and Mr. Aquino were seeing each other, saying she would rather not comment out of respect for the President.

Early hints

In what now seems to be a prelude to his own Korean telenovela-in-the-making, President Aquino went off-script in a speech and described Lee as guwapa (pretty) at the inauguration of a power plant in Cebu in the middle of last year. Lee was then one of the emcees of the program.

HAND OVER HEART. HEAD OVER HEELS? President Aquino stands at attention as the national anthem is played during the 25th anniversary of the Philippine Information Agency on Wednesday in Quezon City. The President admits for the first time that he is dating Korean radio-TV celebrity Grace Lee but he also invokes his right to privacy. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE Later in December last year, the President granted Lee a one-on-one interview in Malacañang.

In Lee’s native land, The Korea Times on Wednesday carried a story with the headline “Is Filipino president in love with Korean woman?”

“Philippine-Korean relations have suddenly gotten warmer,” an Associated Press report said on what could be a budding Palace romance, which came out in the open a week after the President’s former girlfriend, Valenzuela Councilor Shalani Soledad, tied the knot with Pasig Representative Roman Romulo.

Mr. Aquino and Soledad ended a two-year relationship shortly after he assumed the presidency in June 2010, after which the rumor mill had since linked the President to three more women: stylist Liz Uy, stockbroker Len Lopez and teacher Bunny Calica. With a report from AP

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved