SHOWBIZ NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

CELEBS ON CROSS-DRESSING CONTROVERSEY


MR. FU (left) and Jose Javier Reyes say that respect is important.
Even before the Valkyrie cross-dressing controversy hit the headlines, I already heard about it through my dalagay, IC Mendoza. While we were having lunch at home, he took a phone call from his good friend, Vice Ganda, who is a Valkyrie shareholder. They had an animated discussion about the incident involving transgender fashion designer Veejay Floresca who was denied entry into the club. The brouhaha has been resolved after the joint’s owners apologized to Veejay. Since I have a gay son, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) issues hit me bullseye. When IC was still coming to terms with his gender identity, he went through a cross-dressing phase. I remember how enraged I got when a newbie actor bullied him during a shoot. We are not the same as the LGBT community but we are nonetheless equal. They more than deserve compassion and understanding because they are such a lovable bunch. The world is zanier and more colorful with them around. Gay pride… wear it well (cross-dresser or not)! READ MORE...

ALSO FROM 'OUTRAGE' eZINE: A different take on the Valkyrie issue
[Valkyrie cited for transphobia]

 
LOGO OF OUTRAGE.COM  To continue - even elevate - discussions on this, Outrage Magazine is publishing a different take on the Valkyrie issue, courtesy of Atty. Bruce V. Rivera who agreed to share his (in his own words) rants. “Cross-dressers and transgenders are human beings. As citizens, they are entitled to all the rights and obligations granted by law. The problem is how we define the meaning of discrimination,” he says.
Everyone close to me knows how I love my cross-dressing sisters. So I know my comment will raise eyebrows and elicit negative reactions. But this is the reality of the matter. Cross-dressers and transgenders are human beings. As citizens, they are entitled to all the rights and obligations granted by law. The problem is how we define the meaning of discrimination. Is a democracy allowed to discriminate? The answer is YES. Provided there is a valid classification. Hence, private schools can choose to accept only male or female while some choose to accept both. We do not allow foreigners to own lands because it is only reserved for Filipinos. We only allow biological women to join Bb. Pilipinas in the same manner we do not allow them to join Queen of the Philippines. Those are forms of discrimination but they are allowed. Why? Because there is a valid classification. READ MORE...

ALSO: Fatal Encounter; A Transgender Woman Meets the Marine Corps


BY Walden Bello is a Filipino author, academic, and political analyst who currently serves in the Philippine Congress. Born: 1945, Manila, Philippines Party: Akbayan Citizens' Action Party Education: University of the Philippines, Princeton University, Ateneo de Manila University Wikipedia As I peered at Jennifer Laude’s serene face in the open casket, I saw the wound on her forehead that was barely covered concealed by the mortician’s make up. I did not see the bruises on her neck and shoulders, but I was told that they were severe. “They seemed to have been inflicted by a martial arts move,” said a mourner familiar with the autopsy. “That may have been one of the causes of death, along with drowning.” 
A few days earlier, on October 11, Jennifer, a transgender woman, was found dead in a hotel room, her face immersed in a toilet bowl. The murder took place in Olongapo, a city adjoining the former U.S. naval base at Subic Bay. Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the U.S. Marine Corps was identified as Jennifer’s companion entering the motel room then leaving the crime scene after about 15-20 minutes. The case has become a cause célèbre. It is destabilizing U.S.-Philippine relations and highlighting the difficulties of the Obama administration’s push to root out the entrenched anti-gay culture of the U.S. Armed Services. Walking Weapons READ MORE...

ALSO: Is the Philippines really gay-friendly?


BY Buena Bernal FACEBOOK PHOTO
'The moment that we (LGBTs) step out and demand rights that heterosexuals enjoy, we become a threat because we no longer fit the stereotype' Published 3:00 PM, Jun 14, 2013 Updated 4:58 PM, May 17, 2015 Last Saturday, June 8, the Inquirer published an article tagging the Philippines as “among [the] most gay-friendly in the world” based on a global survey by the Pew Research Center. "The Philippines has earned its ranking as one of few gay-friendly countries in the world," the article's lead read.The Pew Research Center survey was released on June 4 and showed 73% of the 804 Filipino respondents are of the opinion that “homosexuality should be accepted by society.” 26% felt otherwise, and 1% refused to answer. I posit that “gay-friendly” in this case, is a misnomer. Even conceding the best-case scenario that our nation is indeed gay-friendly, I would argue that this friendship is superficial. Not the actual situation Survey respondents were answering a basic question: “Should society accept homosexuality?” READ MORE...

ALSO Piolo-Sarah tandem: Everybody’s dreamboat is cool and calm under pressure


The tandem between Pascual and Sarah Geronimo is expected to create box office history when The Breakup Playlist hits the theaters tomorrow 
Evidence of strong character is visible in the life of Piolo Pascual. Being in show business for two decades, he has had his share of controversies that would have, otherwise, affected his career. Yet, the actor had simply brushed all those aside. To many, this attitude has helped him in maintaining his self-respect as well as his stature in the business he chose to be in. “It wasn’t easy to keep your cool all the time, but being in this business all these years taught me to choose my battles. I wouldn’t let issues get in the way and affect me or my family,” Pascual explains, adding “I surround myself with people that I love and do things that I love to keep myself happy.” The actor recently won the Movie Actor of the Year at the 31st PMPC Star Awards and was voted at the Guillermo Memorial Mendoza Award as Movie Box Office King for his role in Starting Over Again. He also won in Gawad Tanglaw a Best Performance by an Actor for his role in Hawak Kamay. READ MORE...

ALSO Sarah: Music can mend broken hearts


SARAH GERONIMO --She recalled listening to her breakup playlist when her relationship with a past boyfriend, whom she did not name, ended.
“Magkasama kami ni Ate Juday (Judy Ann Santos) noon, ginagawa namin ang ‘Hating Kapatid,’” she shared. “Nakalimutan ko na ’yung mga title (ng songs) pero naaalala ko na nilakasan namin ’yung tugtog at kumakanta kami (ni Ate Juday), tapos umiiyak ako, ganyan…” Sarah temporarily relives the heartbreak and revisits all the emotions that come with falling in and out of love in “The Breakup Playlist,” co-starring Piolo Pascual. “It’s all about music, love, passion, and family,” the lead actress says of the movie. Sarah compared it to the Hollywood film “Begin Again” noting how she plays a musician who fell in love with a famous rock star. READ MORE...

ALSO: Tuloy na raw ang kandidato ni Chiz; Heart maglilibot ng ‘Pinas?


Sen. Chiz Escudero at Heart Evangelista
Uy uy uy kailangan na pala talagang maghanda-handa ni Heart Evangelista para sa 2016. Kinumpirma ng isang malapit sa asawa niyang si Sen. Chiz Escudero, tuloy na raw ang pakandidato ng kanyang asawa bilang bise presidente sa 2016. Yup, sila raw ni Sen. Grace Poe ang magiging magkatambal.
Pero kayanin naman kaya ni Heart ang mangampanya, as in lumibot sa buong bansa? Kasalukuyang busy si Mrs. Escudero sa teleserye sa GMA 7 na The Beautiful Strangers na eere na this month. Samantala, nakita ko sa Instagram na pinintahan ni Heart ang isa sa kanyang Hermes bag. Ito raw mismo ang naglagay ng pinta sa kanyang mamahaling bag. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Celebs on cross-dressing controversy


MR. FU (left) and Jose Javier Reyes say that respect is important.

MANILA, JULY 6, 2015 (INQUIRER) By: Dolly Anne Carvajal @inquirerdotnet June 30th, 2015 - Even before the Valkyrie cross-dressing controversy hit the headlines, I already heard about it through my dalagay, IC Mendoza.

While we were having lunch at home, he took a phone call from his good friend, Vice Ganda, who is a Valkyrie shareholder. They had an animated discussion about the incident involving transgender fashion designer Veejay Floresca who was denied entry into the club.

The brouhaha has been resolved after the joint’s owners apologized to Veejay. Since I have a gay son, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) issues hit me bullseye. When IC was still coming to terms with his gender identity, he went through a cross-dressing phase.

I remember how enraged I got when a newbie actor bullied him during a shoot. We are not the same as the LGBT community but we are nonetheless equal. They more than deserve compassion and understanding because they are such a lovable bunch. The world is zanier and more colorful with them around. Gay pride… wear it well (cross-dresser or not)!

READ MORE...

Some celebs chime in with their opinions:

CES DRILON CES DRILON


Ces Drilon: I am all for supporting LGBT rights. I hope establishments like clubs, restaurants and the like will respect the rights of the LGBT community.

Joel Lamangan: LGBT people in our country are Filipinos whose rights are protected by the Constitution. They may be different and act differently but they are also human beings and must be respected. The full protection of the law must be accorded them.

Aiza Seguerra: The problem is that until now there is still limited awareness and knowledge about gay people. Now that the issue has been resolved, I hope it will open more avenues for discussion. There are still so many people who are clueless about LGBT rights.

IC Mendoza: What happened was unfortunate, but it’s also a good thing in the end. It opened many closed minds and resulted in a lot of support from netizens, not only from the LGBT community. It’s a big step towards our goal which is a world free from hate and discrimination. I am and will always be one with my LGBT brothers and sisters.

Shalani Soledad: Discrimination is such a thing of the past. Every person has a right to live and express himself or herself. Every person should be treated fairly and with utmost respect, regardless of one’s gender preference.

Jose Javier Reyes: Your life, your choice. And choices have rewards, consequences, responsibilities and reactions. You deal not only with your choices but the attitudes and reactions of others. Respect yourself and you gain the respect of others. Acknowledge the diversity in others and you will be credited for your differences as well.


TUESDAY Vargas:
We claim that we are a welcoming people, ready to receive guests with a smile and open arms. How ironic that we turn a blind eye to our fellow Filipino, who just happens to wear heels … This hypocritical behavior affirms that we should reassess our perspectives a bit.

Mr. Fu: There’s nothing wrong with having rules in every establishment, but these regulations should not discriminate against individuals.

Kim Atienza: Some may not like them but respect and honor knows no gender.

*****

Kapamilya app wins

ABS-CBN’s commuter safety mobile app “PasaHero” (PH) bagged the Silver Tambuli for the Advocacy category and the Bronze Tambuli for the Mobile category in the Asia-Pacific Tambuli Awards night. It marks the app’s ninth and tenth recognition since its launch in November 2013.

“We’re honored to be recognized by different award-giving bodies for our public service efforts,” said Boggs Labayen, digital strategist of the PH team.

“Our main goal in developing the app was to help people during their commute and give them tools to protect themselves. We now have 70,000 users. We are further developing the app and plan to go onto smart devices and the Internet.”

Riding high the PasaHero way!


OUTRAGE ONLINE )
HE LGBT VOICE OF THE PHILIPPINES)

A different take on the Valkyrie issue By Atty. Bruce V. Rivera

To continue - even elevate - discussions on this, Outrage Magazine is publishing a different take on the Valkyrie issue, courtesy of Atty. Bruce V. Rivera who agreed to share his (in his own words) rants. “Cross-dressers and transgenders are human beings. As citizens, they are entitled to all the rights and obligations granted by law. The problem is how we define the meaning of discrimination,” he says.

Everyone close to me knows how I love my cross-dressing sisters. So I know my comment will raise eyebrows and elicit negative reactions. But this is the reality of the matter. Cross-dressers and transgenders are human beings. As citizens, they are entitled to all the rights and obligations granted by law. The problem is how we define the meaning of discrimination.

Is a democracy allowed to discriminate? The answer is YES. Provided there is a valid classification. Hence, private schools can choose to accept only male or female while some choose to accept both. We do not allow foreigners to own lands because it is only reserved for Filipinos. We only allow biological women to join Bb. Pilipinas in the same manner we do not allow them to join Queen of the Philippines. Those are forms of discrimination but they are allowed. Why? Because there is a valid classification.

READ MORE...

The problem with our laws is that there are only two sexes, male and female, and it is determined by birth. Even with gender re-assignment, the classification has not changed. Is this sad? Of course. But from the point of view of law, you cannot discriminate something that is not legally recognized and defined. The same law that forces a transgender to write M to the question of sex even if the heart wants to write F.

If the controversy was about denying a cross-dresser the right to vote. Or denying a transgender the right to own property or denied the right to practice a profession, I would have taken the cudgels for the community. Clearly, it is discrimination when someone is denied a basic right as a citizen because of his or her perceived difference.

But this is denial of entry to an exclusive bar. Veejay will not be denied life or liberty if she is not allowed entry to Valkyrie because her right to party was denied. She can just go to another bar that welcomes her with open arms. A bruised ego does not mean discrimination. “No cross-dressing” is a rude policy, but is it prohibited? The answer is NO. Every business person knows this is merely a business decision.

Bars and night clubs are operated targeting a specific market. Some are open to everyone based on the concept of a free market economy. However, there are clubs that market itself through its exclusivity. It has a guest list. It decides who it allows in. It does not make money on the few nuggets of pesos by the common man but on the millions spent by the chosen clientele.

That is business. These clubs cater to the taste of their target clientele and specified groups of people their clientele wants to party with. Sadly, most of them do not wish to party with cross-dressers. It is unfortunate that while most of us endeavor to advocate for LGBT equality, there are still so many of them who do not share our tolerance and acceptance. The harsh reality of business.

This same harsh business reality is the reason why clubs in Greenwich Village who cater to purely gay clientele turn away straight customers. Or a bar in Thailand that only allows transgenders and straight men to party while shunning straight acting homosexuals. Or a bar in Brazil that only caters to fat people. It is not discrimination. It is just business.

Just because there is a bar called Valkyrie does not give everyone the human right to be admitted inside.

ON JUNE 23, 2015, VEEJAY FLORESCA APPEARED ON ABS-CBN’S ‘AQUINO AND ABUNDA TONIGHT’

FOLLOWING THE APPEARANCE OF FLORESCA IN THE TV SHOW, ATTY. RIVERA (THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE) POSTED HIS “LAST WORDS” ON THE ISSUE


Atty. Bruce V. Rivera with Abundia and Kris

I watched the Aquino and Abunda interview of Veejay and I realized that she was the Project Runway finalist (if my memory serves me right) whose talent is undeniable.

Let me lay-out some things at the onset. Was there damage?

Yes, the feeling of being turned away is shameful and demeaning and I will not wish it on anyone. I had my share of being turned away in a breakfast buffet in a hotel in Manila because the hotel receptionist did not recognize me. She told me the slot was reserved for a school administrator and that I did not look old enough to fit the description. I intended to sue but the hotel was very apologetic. So I let it go. See, I was discriminated based on how I looked.

Should Veejay feel bad?

Yes. She has earned her status as a priestess of fashion. And she may choose to vindicate or be the bigger person and let it go.

Should the LGBT react the way it has reacted?

Honestly, I think there was an overreaction. The community wishes for equality and acceptance. Equality can be achieved when the law finally recognizes our existence and our rights be given. Acceptance is another thing. We do not just want tolerance, we need to be accepted. When you tolerate, you do not need to like the person. It is merely an acknowledgment of our existence. When we aim for acceptance, there is a positive act involved because when you accept, there must be a favorable feeling towards us.

What have we been doing so far?

Sadly, and this is my personal opinion, not very much. It is because the LGBT suffers from a perception problem. People do not take us seriously and it is in situations like this that we are losing sympathy from the very people who we want to accept us. We fight bigotry with reason. We fight indifference with humanity. We fight, but we should choose our battles.

I am a huge fan of Miss Rocero for breaking boundaries plus the fact that she is Cebuano (According to her Wikipedia profile, Ms Rocero is actually from Manila, though she is now an American citizen – Ed). But not all situations involving beautiful transgenders treated badly should there be a reason to wage war. Why? Because instead of gaining friends, we are losing sympathy even from our own kind. Miss Floresca can fight her own wars and we should not put the stamp of LGBT war cry because it worsens how people perceive us.

Let me enumerate:

First, a California license stating you are a female will only be valid in the United States. If Miss Floresca was American, the Civil Code will force us to follow how her citizenship sees her (as a woman) because status is governed by the nationality of the person. But Veejay is still Filipino. And as Filipino, we will have to classify her as male since that was the sex assigned to her by birth. Sad but true. Miss Rocero, being American, can insist she is a woman, but Miss Floresca cannot.

Second, at mag-ta-Tagalog ako para maintindihan ng lahat. ‘Yung mga pinaglalaban natin, napaka-shallow. Karamihan ng Pilipino, nagugutom, salat sa buhay at pagod sa pagbabanat sa buto. Tapos maririnig nila na galit na galit tayo kasi may isang kakosa natin na hindi pinapasok sa mamahaling club. Naman! Maghanap tayo ng situation na yung isang beki ay tinanggal sa trabaho, hindi tinanggap sa trabaho kahit qualified, hindi binentahan ng gamot or di kaya binugbog dahil bakla. Then the common man can relate and sympathize. But when our battle cry is… boo hoo, hindi kami pinapasok sa bar, hindi kami tao kasi hindi kami pinayagang maging masaya at mag-party. Sa isang ordinaryong Pilipino na yung isang buwang sweldo ay katumbas ng gagatusin ng isang beki sa isang gabi ng pag-pa-party, ang sasabihin niya… ‘Tang-ina! Hindi lang kayo napapasok, hindi na tao agad. Eh kami nga walang makain.’

I am not saying we stop fighting for equality and acceptance. What I am trying to tell you and I am risking my life and limb for being too outspoken about this is:

Hindi tayo tira lang ng tira. Away lang ng away. Patulan lahat at discrimination agad. Kasi sa totoo lang, pati babae at lalake biktima din ng discrimination. Siguradong mas madaming babae at lalake ang hindi pinapasok sa club na yan kesa sa beki. Mas madaming straight ang hindi nakapasok sa mga tindahang napasukan natin dahil wala silang pera, hindi nakakain ng kinakain natin dahil salat sila sa buhay. Naging masyado tayong maselan. Nagiging paandar at pag-i-inarte na. Let us be relevant. Let our advocacy have essence. Hindi yung parade lang tayo ng parade, mag-sponsor ng inuman at naka-itim or puti or pink ang lahat ng a-attend at awayin sa social media ang lahat ng galit sa atin.

Because the only way to be accepted, is when people will see our similarities rather than our differences.


COUNTERPUNCH BLOG

Fatal Encounter; A Transgender Woman Meets the Marine Corps by WALDEN BELLO


Walden Bello is a Filipino author, academic, and political analyst who currently serves in the Philippine Congress. Born: 1945, Manila, Philippines Party: Akbayan Citizens' Action Party Education: University of the Philippines, Princeton University, Ateneo de Manila University Wikipedia

As I peered at Jennifer Laude’s serene face in the open casket, I saw the wound on her forehead that was barely covered concealed by the mortician’s make up. I did not see the bruises on her neck and shoulders, but I was told that they were severe. “They seemed to have been inflicted by a martial arts move,” said a mourner familiar with the autopsy. “That may have been one of the causes of death, along with drowning.”

A few days earlier, on October 11, Jennifer, a transgender woman, was found dead in a hotel room, her face immersed in a toilet bowl. The murder took place in Olongapo, a city adjoining the former U.S. naval base at Subic Bay. Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the U.S. Marine Corps was identified as Jennifer’s companion entering the motel room then leaving the crime scene after about 15-20 minutes.

The case has become a cause célèbre. It is destabilizing U.S.-Philippine relations and highlighting the difficulties of the Obama administration’s push to root out the entrenched anti-gay culture of the U.S. Armed Services.

Walking Weapons

Jennifer’s violent end, with no guns or knives involved, might be linked to Pemberton’s martial arts training, say some who have closely followed the case. Pemberton, it turns out, is scarcely out of the Marines’ famous (or infamous) boot camp, where martial arts skills are drilled into recruits. As a letter from one recruit (reproduced in Hamilton Nolan’s blog linked to the Huffington Post) notes:

We learn a ton of martial arts, which is technically called MCMAP–Marine Corps Martial Arts Program–but I call it Karate and ninja training, which my DI’s [drill instructors] don’t like one bit. It started with boring punches and kicks, tiger shulman tae kwon do style, but now we’re learning throws, counters, elbows, stomps, bayonet attacks, bayonet defenses, etc. all of which we do at full speed and intensity on each other. (sometimes w pads but often not). If the DI’s think we’re going easy on each other, they flip a shit.

The MCMAP shit is incorporated into our PT workouts, one of the best workouts we did was the martial arts conditioning course: 2 min of jab straight hook vs. a recruit w a pad throw a recruit over your shoulder, carry them back and forth btwn 2 cones 30 yards apart somersault (sp?) back and forth 30 yards apartment roundhouse kicks drag a recruit back and forth for 30 yards elbow strikes choke counters knee strikes run 1/2 mile punch blocks/throws crawl (low) in sand for 100 yards body squats run 1/4 mile.

Needless to say, the enraged marine that fate brought face to face with Jennifer Laude on the night of October 11 at the Celzon Lodge in Olongapo had been trained to be a walking weapon.

Homophobic Socialization

There is another thing that boot camp drills into raw recruits: homophobia, and plenty of it. With the repeal of the infamous “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the Pentagon, discrimination against gays and lesbians is now supposed to be banned in all U.S. armed services, with heavy penalties for violations. But according to the same anonymous recruit’s account:

Don’t ask Don’t Tell…may have been repealed, but the USMC sure hasn’t adapted. We’re called faggots 10-50 times a day… ‘Yeah, you would think that’s a pushup, faggot,’ etc. Any time we fuck something up, the DI’s tell us ‘you stupid fucking thing. That’s more wrong than two boys fucking.’ One captain, when giving an ethics class, and talking about how one mistake can change your life/identity told the entire company ‘you can be a bridge builder your entire life, but you suck one dick and you’re a cocksucker till you die.’

With thousands of such walking weapons from the most homophobic of America’s armed services prowling Olongapo’s streets on R&R after testosterone-raising military exercises, the murder of Jennifer Laude was an event waiting to happen. The volatile mix of training in the lethal arts and aggressive homophobic socialization was likely to be among the factors that led Pemberton to cross the line from anger to murder that fateful night. And violence such as that meted out to Jennifer is likely to occur again and again, as the U.S. stations more and more troops in the Philippines in pursuit of Washington’s grand geopolitical design to contain China.

A Dangerous and Useless Presence


OLONGAPO MURDER. CCTV footage shows the victim, Jennifer Laude, and the suspect now identified as "PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton" in a bar before the crime allegedly happened in Celzone Lodge, Olongapo City.

The murder of Jennifer has placed the spotlight on two security agreements that the Philippines has with the United States: the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the so-called Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). One of the key motivations of those who opposed the agreements was to prevent the civilian population from again becoming collateral damage as victims of rape, murder, and hate crimes, as many of them were prior to the withdrawal of the big U.S. bases in 1992.

The rape of a Filipina named “Nicole” by another U.S. Marine, Daniel Smith, in 2005 confirmed the anti-VFA movement’s bellocapworst fears. Now an even more brutal crime has taken place.

There are people, like President Benigno Aquino III, who say that the Nicole and Jennifer cases are “isolated incidents,” that these are outweighed by the benefits allegedly brought by the presence of U.S. troops.

Such assertions are increasingly hollow, especially since Washington is not committed to defending the territories and maritime zones claimed by Manila in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) in the first place. The United States has stated that it won’t intervene in sovereignty disputes in the Spratlys.

To prevent future incidents, some have proposed tighter regulation of shore leave or more intensive instruction of U.S. troops on the “rules of engagement” with the civilian population.

But those opposed to the U.S. military presence are not satisfied with these half measures when these troops are not needed in the first place since they do not promote the national security of the country.

U. .S. WARSHIP IN SUBIC – Children watch the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) as it docks at the Alava Pier of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Subic, Zambales, yesterday. The Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship will be one of two US Navy vessels taking part in the Amphibious Landing Exercise 2015 (PHIBLEX 15) which will be launched today in Palawan. (Jonas Reyes)

After keeping him aboard the USS Peleliu docked at Subic Bay for nearly two weeks after the murder, the United States flew Pemberton by helicopter to Fort Aguinaldo, a Philippine base near Manila where he is presently confined in an air-conditioned van and guarded by U.S. Marines.

This anomalous situation has provoked demands for the Philippine government to take genuine and full custody of the suspect. Many are worried that the United States is not serious about turning Pemberton over, even after conviction.

They cite the case of Daniel Smith. Instead of turning him over to Philippine authorities, the United States spirited Smith out of the country when the victim inexplicably “recanted” her testimony.

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs has stated that under the terms of the VFA, the United States could maintain custody of the accused until after prosecution and conviction. The secretary of justice contradicted this, saying that with Pemberton in a Philippine military facility, the government already had custody of the suspect.

Meanwhile, President Benigno Aquino III told the media he would not be present at Laude’s burial because “I don’t attend wakes of people I don’t know. I find it …uncomfortable in trying to condole with people who don’t know me.” All this has created the image of a hapless and insensitive government that appears hesitant to secure justice for one of its slain citizens.

Obama’s Troubled Anti-Discrimination Policy

As the Philippine government flounders, the Obama administration has been confronted with the reality that despite it’s repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the banning of discrimination against gays and lesbians may be facing rough sailing in the armed services.

The brutal slaying of Jennifer and the continued homophobic socialization of recruits indicate how difficult it may be to uproot deep-seated attitudes and institutional practices. It is not surprising that a Marine is in the hot seat.

The Marine Corps carried out the fiercest opposition to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” with Gen James Amos, until recently the Marine Corps commandant, claiming that the change could cost lives because of the impact on “discipline” and “unit cohesiveness.”

A few months after the banning of anti-gay discrimination, Amos reversed himself, claiming the Marines had “adapted smoothly and embraced the change.” The Laude murder and the continued employment of anti-gay slurs as a psychological disciplinary tool in boot camp call this judgment into question.


MASS. German national Marc Sueselbeck, fiancé of slain transgender woman Jennifer Launde, walks to the St Columnan Parish to hear mass of her the love of his life. Photo by George Moya/Rappler

On the hot and sunny day of October 24, Jennifer Laude was finally laid to rest in Olongapo. Hundreds of people were in attendance, but other than myself and the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, Philippine national government authorities were markedly absent. In my eulogy, I called Jennifer “a symbol of our suffering motherland” and called for “justice for Jennifer and justice for our country.”

Taking into account the lopsided history of U.S.-Philippine relations, that demand was, in the view of the skeptics, a tall order.

Walden Bello represents Akbayan (Citizens’ Action Party) in the House of Representative of the Philippines and is the author or co-author of 19 books, the latest of which are Capitalism’s Last Stand? (London: Zed, 2013) and State of Fragmentation: the Philippines in Transition (Quezon City: Focus on the Global South and FES, 2014)

This column originally appeared on Foreign Policy in Focus.


RAPPLER.COM

Is the Philippines really gay-friendly? By Buena Bernal


Buena Bernal FACEBOOK PHOTO

'The moment that we (LGBTs) step out and demand rights that heterosexuals enjoy, we become a threat because we no longer fit the stereotype'

Published 3:00 PM, Jun 14, 2013 Updated 4:58 PM, May 17, 2015 Last Saturday, June 8, the Inquirer published an article tagging the Philippines as “among [the] most gay-friendly in the world” based on a global survey by the Pew Research Center.

"The Philippines has earned its ranking as one of few gay-friendly countries in the world," the article's lead read.

The Pew Research Center survey was released on June 4 and showed 73% of the 804 Filipino respondents are of the opinion that “homosexuality should be accepted by society.” 26% felt otherwise, and 1% refused to answer.

I posit that “gay-friendly” in this case, is a misnomer. Even conceding the best-case scenario that our nation is indeed gay-friendly, I would argue that this friendship is superficial.

Not the actual situation

Survey respondents were answering a basic question: “Should society accept homosexuality?”

They were not asked about their subjective assessment of current conditions but rather about their subjective view on what the ideal condition must be. It was a measure of social inclination more than a caricature of the actual situation.

For instance, people who believe that "homosexuality SHOULD BE accepted by society" may not necessarily agree that "homosexuality IS accepted by society."

The distinction is important. "Should" implies a prescription, while "is" implies a description.

A quick scan of the Pew Research Center's website shows that the June 4 report is part of an umbrella project called "Global Attitudes Project."

Unfortunately, certain civil rights currently denied to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) individuals in the country cannot be granted on the basis of "social attitudes" but through legislation.

Social will vs political will

Globally, the survey found out that the centrality of religion in people's lives is a negative correlate of homosexual acceptance (see graph below). The more important religion is for the country, the less tolerance it exhibited.

Interestingly, the Philippines runs against the global trend. Acting as the strongest outlier in the sampled regions, our country registered an above 50% tolerance rate despite a high level of religiosity.

Screengrab from www.pewglobal.org

Screengrab from www.pewglobal.org

Being the world's statistical anomaly may lead others to think we have "empowered" LGBTs. However, the survey points to an utterly deplorable discrepancy between the will of the people and the policies instituted by government.

There is already social will to accept homosexuality as a valid lifestyle choice. However, there remains a legal vacuum in the protection of LGBTs against hate-motivated violence and discrimination.

The Anti-Racial, Ethnic and Anti-Religious Discrimination Act has yet to pass. While its passage is long overdue, some legislators want to strike down the provisions in the bill meant for LGBTs.

According to data collated by the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, there have been around 164 cases of murdered LGBTs in the country from 1996 to June 2012. (READ: LGBTs push for end to hate crimes)

Because of the lack of investigative and identification mechanisms by the government, LGBT rights advocates depend solely on independent reports which are but a glimpse of the real situation of gender-related hate crime incidence in the country.

Ron De Vera of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHO) Manila Network previously explained that it is the fear of the unknown and ignorance on the science behind LGBT that leads to prejudice, which breeds hate and violence.

In addition, other countries surveyed in the July 4 report include conservative Islamic states that practice the Shariah law. As we don't systematically prosecute gays on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, we are definitely high above the tolerance scale compared to these countries. Although there are graver practices elsewhere in the world, not beheading someone is certainly not a display of acceptance.

Acceptable stereotypes

De Vera also said the results of the survey should be taken "with a grain of salt,” adding they represent a certain “brand of deceptive acceptance.” De Vera is the spokesperson of the IDAHO Manila Network.

“Philippines has a peculiar relationship with LGBT people,” he said. “Majority of Philippine society has typified LGBT people as creative, talented, loud entertainers who are expected to stay in their neat little boxes… stereotypes that LGBT people are expected to conform to.”

De Vera said that while the stereotypical “butch lesbian security guards and effeminate male comedians” are accepted, an effeminate gay male wanting to join the nation’s premier basketball association “would be a totally different story.”

“The moment that we step out and demand rights that heterosexuals enjoy, we become a threat because we no longer fit the stereotype,” he added.

MOVEMENT. Pro-LGBT groups protest against the tagging of LGBTs as part of the "culture of death". File photo by Rappler/Buena Bernal

MOVEMENT. Pro-LGBT groups protest against the tagging of LGBTs as part of the "culture of death". File photo by Rappler/Buena Bernal

Why pride?

June is the world’s Gay Pride month. CNN Contributor LZ Granderson makes a compelling case on why there isn’t a Straight Pride month.

“Because the streets are not filled with children who have been kicked out of their homes for being straight. Because there seems to be a lack of stories in which someone has been beaten, tied to a fence and left to die or shot in the face at point blank range because they were straight,” he wrote.

In the latter part, Granderson was pertaining to a May incident when a gunman uttered homophobic slurs before firing one fatal shot to the victim's face.

Granderson acknowledged in his piece how "the celebratory nature of Gay Pride parades" have been "integral" to their "survival."

CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper also put the issue of pride at the core of the movement when he said “the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible.” (READ: Anderson Cooper: "The fact is I'm gay")

As a public figure, Cooper asserted that remaining silent about his sexual orientation might have unintended outcomes such as creating a false impression that he is “uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid,” which is "simply not true."

"In a perfect world,” he said, “I don't think it's anyone's business, but I do think there's value in standing up and being counted.”

Small steps

While an anti-discrimination law has yet to pass in Congress, De Vera said there are anti-discrimination ordinances that have been passed in the following Philippine cities since May of last year: Bacolod (April 2012), Cebu (October 2012), Davao (November 2012), and, most recently, Angeles (February 2013). He added that the anti gender-based violence ordinance of Quezon City was extended to LGBT people in October 2012.

There are also existing partnerships between pro-LGBT groups and government agencies: policemen are now undergoing gender sensitivity training, and the Commission on Human Rights has agreed to push for LGBT rights.

"IDAHO Manila has partnered with business establishments to make their business a safe space for LGBTs by continuing their practice of accepting LGBT people," De Vera said, contrasting it with the "no cross-dressing policy" of a number of bars in Metro Manila that unduly affect transgenders.

Civil society is doing its part. Social attitudes are increasingly tolerant. Our Congress must not turn a blind eye to the abuses and forms of discrimination directed against LGBTs. - Rappler.com

Buena Bernal writes development stories. You can follow her on Twitter: @buenabernal


MANILA STANDARD

Everybody’s dreamboat is cool and calm under pressure By Isah V. Red | Jun. 29, 2015 at 06:40pm


The tandem between Pascual and Sarah Geronimo is expected to create box office history when The Breakup Playlist hits the theaters tomorrow

Evidence of strong character is visible in the life of Piolo Pascual. Being in show business for two decades, he has had his share of controversies that would have, otherwise, affected his career.

Yet, the actor had simply brushed all those aside. To many, this attitude has helped him in maintaining his self-respect as well as his stature in the business he chose to be in.

“It wasn’t easy to keep your cool all the time, but being in this business all these years taught me to choose my battles. I wouldn’t let issues get in the way and affect me or my family,” Pascual explains, adding “I surround myself with people that I love and do things that I love to keep myself happy.”

The actor recently won the Movie Actor of the Year at the 31st PMPC Star Awards and was voted at the Guillermo Memorial Mendoza Award as Movie Box Office King for his role in Starting Over Again. He also won in Gawad Tanglaw a Best Performance by an Actor for his role in Hawak Kamay.

READ MORE...

Pascual is also proud ambassador of BDO Remit, Sunlife, Silka Papaya Soap, Under Armor and Essilor, Century Properties and ABS-CBN Mobile.

“My heart so full it will burst knowing how blessed I am. I just want to thank all my supporters who still believe in me. I’d be forever grateful for all your love and support,” he says.


With the rest of the cast and crew of the movie at the press conference

The actor is now excited with his big screen project that pairs him with showbiz’s PopStar Princess, Sarah Geronimo, in The Breakup Playlist. In this much-awaited movie, he gets to do two things that he loves - acting and singing.

Pascual portrays a rock musician who is collaborating with an aspiring artist named Trixie (Geronimo). Eventually, he falls in love with her.

“I will never get tired of doing romantic movies. It never ceases to amaze me how love can make everything all right. Yes, there will be struggles but at the end of the day if the two of you were really meant to be together, no one could stop that!” he says.


Piolo Pascual is excited to be in another movie after being hailed Box-Office Movie King by Guillermo Memorial Mendoza Award

Pascual and Geronimo are two of ABS-CBN’s biggest box-office stars, proof of which was the recognition both received at the recent Guillermo Mendoza Box-Office Awards. Pop Star Princess Sarah was hailed as Box-Office Queen in 2013 with her record-breaking It Takes A Man And A Woman, while Ultimate Heartthrob Pascual won the 2014 Box-Office King award for Starting Over Again.

Together, the will set the silver screen on fire in The Breakup Playlist, believed to be the biggest romantic movie of season.

The Breakup Playlist is a love story that revolves around Gino (Pascual) and Trixie (Geronimo). Gino is a band vocalist who recruits law student Trixie as his singing partner. Their chemistry onstage leads to a real-life romance as they eventually become a couple.

Sadly however, Gino’s insecurities got the best of him and forced Trixie to quit the band. Fast forward to present day – years after their breakup, their paths cross again and they are forced to perform one last time due to fans’ clamor for a reunion concert.

Is theirbreakup really final? Or is there a chance for Gino and Trixie to reunite as lovers?

The Breakup Playlist is a modern-day romance set against the backdrop of songs about dreams, choices and love.


MANILA BUILLETIN

Sarah: Music can mend broken hearts by Alex V. Brosas and Rowena Tan July 1, 2015 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share2


SARAH GERONIMO

From birthdays to breakups, bliss and beyond, certain sets of songs help people celebrate the occasion or alleviate the pain, with the appropriate mood or emotional triggers to boot.

Sarah Geronimo, star of the upcoming film “The Breakup Playlist,” says there is a need for such a playlist to help heal a broken heart. “Kasama ’yun sa pag-aalaga mo sa emotions mo, or else mababaliw ka.”

She recalled listening to her breakup playlist when her relationship with a past boyfriend, whom she did not name, ended.

“Magkasama kami ni Ate Juday (Judy Ann Santos) noon, ginagawa namin ang ‘Hating Kapatid,’” she shared. “Nakalimutan ko na ’yung mga title (ng songs) pero naaalala ko na nilakasan namin ’yung tugtog at kumakanta kami (ni Ate Juday), tapos umiiyak ako, ganyan…”

Sarah temporarily relives the heartbreak and revisits all the emotions that come with falling in and out of love in “The Breakup Playlist,” co-starring Piolo Pascual.

“It’s all about music, love, passion, and family,” the lead actress says of the movie.

Sarah compared it to the Hollywood film “Begin Again” noting how she plays a musician who fell in love with a famous rock star.

READ MORE...

“Pareho kaming musikero dito ni PJ, actually. Magkatrabaho kami. Pareho naming mahal ang music. Pareho kaming sumikat, magkasama kami sa success at ’yun ang magiging conflict. Kumbaga, iiral ang personal issues at magli-lead doon sa (separation) ng characters namin,” she explained.

While it doesn’t definitively promise forever, the ending of the movie is must-watch.

“Kailangan ayusin muna ang issues ng bawat isa bago magkita uli at mahalin uli ang isa’t isa para mas matibay na sila,” Sarah said of what’s at the heart of the story.

“’Yung hindi na music ang nagba-bind sa kanila together, ’yung pagmamahal na talaga, pure love na, hindi ’yung success.”

She added, “Sabi nga doon sa kantang ‘Paano Ba Ang Magmahal,’ ’di ba ang love, eh, supposedly ay nagmamahal ka lang, wala kang hinihintay na kapalit? Easy lang kasi nagmamahal ka lang. Dapat matutunan nila ’yun.”

For the movie, Sarah noted, “Sobra talaga akong nagko-concentrate kung paano ko mapaninindigan ’yung role ko. Kasi, sa totoo lang, kung iisipin ko ay napaka-surreal, eh kasi (si) Piolo Pascual (ang katambal ko, na) hinahangaan ko, napapanood ko sa mga pelikula at teleserye. Tapos ngayon, grabe, ka-eksena ko, kaharap ko. So, iyon talaga ang goal ko, na maging effective ako, maging realistic ako sa role ko para matapatan ko naman ang galing niya sa pag-arte.”

On her much-ballyhooed kissing scene with Piolo, Sarah teased, “Naku, maiinggit kayo!”

Directed by Dan Villegas and written by Antoinette Jadaone, “The Breakup Playlist” hits cinemas nationwide today.

WHATS ON PAPA P’s PLAYLIST

If you’re wondering what songs Piolo Pascual listens to when going to the gym, relaxing or just wandering about, wonder no more. Piolo, known to many as Papa P, shared his special playlist at a recent press conference and it features several songs by British rock band Coldplay.

image: http://www.mb.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/papa-204x300.jpg


PIOLO PASCUAL

“Whatever I go through, I have a playlist. (Although) at any given time, I go for Coldplay kasi their songs are very relaxing,” he said.

Piolo noted how music could be helpful in alleviating physical or emotional pain.

“Masarap lang makinig sa music at ramdamin ’yung buong experience na pinagdadaanan mo,” he said.

At the moment, Piolo’s favorite tune is the Yeng Constantino-penned “Paano Ba Ang Magmahal,” which is also the theme song of his upcoming film with Sarah Geronimo, “The Breakup Playlist.”

“’Yung song kasi true ’yung question eh. Kumbaga, it asks kung paano ba ibibigay ang buong puso mo sa taong mahal mo,” he said.

In “The Breakup Playlist,” Piolo plays a rock star, which he said is a dream come true. He even took guitar lessons so he won’t just look the part. “So it was a challenge for me,” he said.

While the movie is not really a musical, Piolo describes it as “music-heavy,” with select songs echoing the highs and lows of a relationship.

“It’s very relatable kasi you have to be willing to go through the journey na masaktan ka at maging masaya ka. Ma-in love ka at magalit ka,” he said.

PERFECT CHEMISTRY

Piolo and Sarah are paired for the first time in “The Breakup Playlist,” the rapport between them is palpable.

“I guess importante na you are on the same page, kumbaga may understanding sa characters niyo,” he explained.

Piolo learned a lot about Sarah during the course of filming. “She has my respect and admiration kasi mahal niya ’yung trabaho niya. Ang sarap lang po sa (pakiramdam) na makatrabaho ang taong alam mo na she wants to make everything work,” he said.

He describes his new leading lady as very different from the pop star we see on stage. To him, working with Sarah is a dream come true.

“Kasi alam ko na hindi lang siya isa sa pinakamagaling. Kumbaga, she’s always on top of her game kaya ang sarap niya ka-eksena, ang sarap niya katrabaho. Marami pa kasi siyang pwedeng ibigay.”

With both Piolo and Sarah singers in real life, the director was able to bring out authentic performances from his lead stars.

“Malaking tulong sa amin na may ‘ASAP’ kami every week tapos we are also in the concert scene. Ang pinaka naging hurdle na lang namin is how to play, perform and act at the same time,” the actor said.

Asked to comment on the much-publicized kissing scene, Piolo teased, “It’s for you to watch. Tingnan natin kung saan tayo dadalhin ng story. What we all did naman is for work.”

“The Breakup Playlist” revolves around the story of Trixie (played by Sarah), a law student and aspiring singer who falls in love with Gino (Piolo), a musician looking to form a rock band. The two fall in love and enter into a relationship but Gino’s insecurities get in the way of their romance. (With report from Jojo P. Panaligan)


PHILSTAR (PILIPPINO STAR NGAYON SHOWBIZ)

Heart maglilibot ng ‘Pinas?! Ni Salve V. Asis (Pilipino Star Ngayon) | Updated July 5, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Sen. Chiz Escudero at Heart Evangelista

MANILA, Philippines – Uy uy uy kailangan na pala talagang maghanda-handa ni Heart Evangelista para sa 2016. Kinumpirma ng isang malapit sa asawa niyang si Sen. Chiz Escudero, tuloy na raw ang pakandidato ng kanyang asawa bilang bise presidente sa 2016. Yup, sila raw ni Sen. Grace Poe ang magiging magkatambal.

Pero kayanin naman kaya ni Heart ang mangampanya, as in lumibot sa buong bansa?

Kasalukuyang busy si Mrs. Escudero sa teleserye sa GMA 7 na The Beautiful Strangers na eere na this month.

Samantala, nakita ko sa Instagram na pinintahan ni Heart ang isa sa kanyang Hermes bag. Ito raw mismo ang naglagay ng pinta sa kanyang mamahaling bag.

READ MORE...


JaDine --Jame Reid & Nadine Ilustre FB PHOTO COVER

Nadine hindi naniniwalang papatusin ni James si Julia?!

Hindi naniniwala si Nadine Lustre na nanliligaw si James Reid kay Julia Barretto. Kamakailan ay may ilang naglabasan na nakita raw na magkasama at naghahalikan pa ang dalawa.

Ayon kay Nadine na may special role sa horror film na Chain Mail starring Shy Carlos and Meg Imperial, wala naman sinasabi ang ka-loveteam sa kanya so wala siyang rason para ma-bother sa mga kuwentu-kuwento.

“Itong Jadine po, alam ko namang very important to him and I don’t think he will do stuff that will ruin him, na magiging masama siya sa ibang tao. So kung meron man pong ganu’n, he would tell me. Sasabihin niya po sa akin, kasi po unang-una parang loveteam is a partnership ito, parang binibigyan namin ng importance, tapos iniingatan namin. Siyempre, ayaw din niyang masira ‘yun dahil before nga po, pareho na­ming na-experience ‘yung nandiyan na ‘yung career, paakyat na, sabay-bagsak.

“And this is a second chance po, so, parang ayaw din naming masira, ayaw naming mawala,” katwiran ng young actress nang matanong siya kahapon.

Although wala nga raw silang relasyon pero pakiramdam naman niya ay magiging honest ang actor sa kanya.

Pero ‘pag nalaman naman daw niyang totoo ang kuwento, wala siyang magagawa at magiging happy siya.

At kung si James ay nali-link sa iba, siya naman ay super faithful sa actor at never na-link kahit kanino.


JULIA BARRETTO

“That’s why, I’m here nga po, para maprotektahan ko rin siya, para matulungan ko rin siya, like sabi ko nga po kanina, hindi naman siya iba, ‘yung nangyari sa aming dalawa, isa po ito sa pinakaimportanteng nangyari sa buhay ko, ito ngang loveteam namin, kaya po ako nandito, para tulungan ko rin siya.

“Hindi ko naman po iniisip na unfair. I care for him din naman po, so ‘pag nadapa siya, siyempre, tutulungan ko po siya, hahatakin ko siya para makabangon.”

Anyay, isa si Nadine sa may maraming followers na active sa social media. At hindi lang sa Pilipinas ang fans niya, kung saan-saang bansa base sa kanilang comment at repost sa Instagram.

Showing na sa July 22 ang Chain Mail kung saan one shooting day lang si Nadine pero siya raw ang pinakamahalaga ang character sa pelikula.

Dinirek ang pelikula ni Adolf Alix, Jr. for Viva Films. Ito ang unang pagkakataon na wala si James sa tabi ni Nadine although ayon sa young actress ay wala namang hiwalayang nagaganap dahil magkasama sila sa hinihintay na magpapakilig na serye na On The Wings of Love ng ABS-CBN.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE