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Maria Amor shares her life story as beauty queen and entrepreneur to

VOL. 1 NO. 17 • 16 PAGES •




► By Winston A.



Marbella Correspondent

ANILA – Chief Justice Renato Corona has been removed from office, but the legacy his raucous trial left is going to make his impeachers wish they never started the fracas in the first place. Less than a week after the Senate voted 20-3 to boot him out of the Supreme Court for keeping secret bank accounts, a snowballing consensus for official transparency threatened

al Santos City who joins amateur boxing competitions on Sundays earning him P50 for food, to the world’s pound-for-pound king with a guaranteed purse of no less than $15million dollars just to step into a ring in Las Vegas. Nineteen years ago, he had to lie about his age just so he could be allowed to box professionally by the Games and Amusements Board in the Philippines. The lie led him to twelve wins before he got a taste of his first knock out. Manny wanted to give up then Turn to Page 3


Snowballing backlash favors total bank disclosures

► By Kai Rosario PWD Contributing Writer



Impeachment of Renato Corona leaves President’s own transparency in doubt

How to own the world (and everything in it) the Pacquiao way

e is a walking weapon and he knows it. Manny Pacquiao is perhaps the only living man who closely approximates a comic book superhero. Strong, invincible, relatively good-looking, perfect abs with power punches to boot. His 1-year old Ferrari 458 Italia even resembles a bat mobile. His multi-million net worth can fly him anywhere in the world whenever he wants or get his hands on anything he fancies. Manny has indeed gone far from the 12-year-old boy in Gener-

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to engulf the Aquino government in the moral flames it ignited. President Aquino is not waiving his right under the laws to keep his bank accounts confidential, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said, although she confirmed that Mr. Aquino declared during the presidential campaign in 2010 that he would waive his priviCORONA lege of secrecy under the country’s banking laws if elected President. Turn to Page 3

President Benigno Aquino III speaking before Fil-Ams at LAX Hilton Hotel Friday, June 8. Photo by Rene Villaroman

The President is mum about concessions gained from the Obama government.

► By Diony


C. Grava and Rene Villaroman

OS ANGELES – President Benigno Aquino III, on the last leg of a 7-day official visits to the United Kingdom and the United States, told a large gathering of Filipino Americans at LAX Hilton Hotel, that the Philippines has achieved a 6.4 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in the first quarter of 2012, the highest in the entire ASEAN region and the second highest in Asia. “From my understanding, this is the second highest in Asia and the highest in Southeast Asia, and this was because of good management,” Aquino said in Pilipino. He said this growth was achieved despite the problem in Japan, Thailand, and the ‘Arab Spring.’ He said that the growth is expected to accel-

erate in the coming months. The President also mentioned accelerated infrastructure development, including the construction of 30,000 classrooms this year, and low-cost housing units for Philippine soldiers and police personnel. “The reason our troops and policemen are having a hard time surviving with their present salaries is because 3000 to 5000 pesos of their monthly salary of 15,000 pesos go to housing expenses. “Paano na yung pagkain ng pamilya, tubig, medicine pag maysakit at iba pa? Aquino announced that the government is beginning to alleviate this condition by constructing low-cost housing units for the soldiers and policemen. “Our administration has erected 21,800 housing units, initially Turn to Page 2

Los Angeles Filipinos celebrate Independence Day 2012 ►Words and photos

by Dionesio C. Grava

From Our Pen OPINION The SALN Revolution


► By Perry Diaz

OFF HOURS Conversation with author Pearlie p7 Rose S. Baluyut

Top Wilshire Avenue litigation lawyer Mariano Alvarez participates in the parade of colors at the start of the event.


ords shrinkwrapped into a magic mantra that could very well make most of the estimated eight-to-eleven million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) feel good of themselves. Political talking heads well aware of the huge remittances -- it

► By Dionesio C. Grava

“Kayo ang mga bagong bayani!” reached $20 billion last year -and the majestic votes of those in the Diaspora have made it a habit to mouth the grandiose claim

Turn to Page 10


After Corona’s p4 impeachment, President Aquino Should speed up versus extrajudicial killings, torture



Currents PH Achieves 1st quarter 6.8% GDP rise: P-Noy

From Page 1

for these military personnel in Luzon. “The next year, the low-cost housing project will be extended to the Visayas and Mindanao areas. “We are going to construct 31,200 units for the second phase of this project.” Aquino revealed that these housing units will be amortized at 200 pesos a month for the first 25 years. “On the 25th year, the amortization is expected to be 1000 pesos. “I think that it is still a very good and very reasonable deal,” he said. The Philippine president lamented that his administration is being hobbled by the excesses of the past administration, citing, for instance, the importation of pre-fabricated bridges costing 11.7 billion pesos, even before they have established which rivers the bridges would be built on. He revealed that the past administration signed the contract authorizing the importation of those bridges on June 28, 2010, one-anda-half days before he took over as the 15th President. “Tulay ng Pangulo, ang sarap pakinggan,” he said, mocking the past administration’s importation of the pre-fabricated bridges. “kukuha sila ng mga pre-fabricated bridges mula sa mga dayuhang kumpanya. Ang problema, bahala na pagdating ng mga tulay kung saan isasalpak na ilog iyan. Wala talagang awa.” Speaking about the Philippines’ perennial rice shortage, Aquino said that the country’s agricultural school-- University of the Philippines, Los Banos, and the Central Luzon Agricultural School, and the International Rice Research Institute -- have produced the best foreign students in agriculture. “Yet we are still importing rice from those countries that we have educated in developing high-yielding varieties of rice. Now these countries are the ones exporting rice to our country.” Aquino said that if the weather conditions cooperate, the government will be able to solve the rice shortage before 2013. “This shouldn’t have been a problem. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is in Laguna. It is a well-known agricultural school. These foreign, highlyeducated agricultural specialists studied rice production at IRRI and the Central Luzon Agricultural School; it is shameful that we are the ones importing rice from their countries,” Aquino lamented. “Pinipilit na may kakayahan daw tayo taon-taon ng 1.3 metric tons ng bigas. Bakit ba nuong 2010 nag-import sila ng 2 million metric tons. Saan itinambak yung .7 metric tons na excess? Itinambak sa mga warehouse.”

On infrastructure, Aquino talked about the his government’s planned construction of a highway that would cut travel time from Clark Air Base to Calamaba, Laguna province in one hour and 30 minutes by skipping the traffic-choked EDSA. “Now two construction companies are trying t o outbid each other to win the right to construct that project.” Aquino said this highway would solve the gridlock on the EDSA corridor. Speaking about the results of his twonation, 7-day trip to the UK and the United States, Aquino was proud about successfully inviting the Prime Minister of England to visit the Philippines. “David Cameron will be the first prime minister from England to schedule a visit to the Philippines.” The President was mum about the concessions gained from his official trip to Washington. His meeting with President Obama was planned around asking for US assistance to the strengthen the Philippines’ military capabilities in light of its territorial disputes with China. However, he was silent about those concessions. The US government, a former colonial ruler of the Philippines, as well as a treaty ally since 1951, has embraced the Philippines as part of a policy that makes the Asia-Pacific region the center of US security and economic strategy. “The meeting between Aquino and Obama was expected to lay the groundwork for the future of the strategic partnership between the Philippines and the United States,” said Jose L. Cuisia, Ambassador to Washington. The US has started helping the Philippines upgrade its notoriously antiquated military hardware and Aquino has agreed to allow greater troop rotations – but not set up bases—in the archipelago. Manila was seeking to procure more warships, jet fighters and radar surveillance technology to beef up its military. Aquino also touched on the reasons why the impeachment of Chief Justice Corona became a necessity. Aquino said that the root of the trouble was that Corona’s appointment by former President Gloria Arroyo “was not only a midnight appointment; it’s past midnight. It was one week after election.” “We were not looking for a fight; we were looking for a solution to the problem. “Hanapin at tapalan ang mga butas. They were bitter pills, but we had to swallow them.” Aquino even jokingly said that Filipinos could be excused if they believed that it was Corona himself that booked the Arroyos’ flight, and he was also the pilot.”

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012 Saturday, May 26, 2012


Impeachment of Renato Corona leaves President’s own transparency in doubt From Page 1

“Let’s go back to the context,” Valte said. “It was the accused [Corona] who issued the challenge to every Tom, Dick and Harry who was willing to take on his dare. “Is it fair to put the President, who has not been accused of graft, who has not been accused of dishonesty, in the same category as the man who was just removed from his post?”



same situation even when they are not being accused of hiding anything?” The President and the members of his Cabinet have all declared their assets, Valte said. Their SALNs have been available to the public since they were sworn into office, she said.

New standard Valte was responding to questions raised by Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano’s call for a new standard of government transparency in explaining his vote to convict Mr. Corona. The Chief Justice submitted a waiver to the Senate impeachment court exposing $2.4 million and P80 million in bank accounts that he did not report in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN). “I ask the President to instruct his Cabinet to sign the waivers or resign and leave the government,” Senator Cayetano said. “Lead by following, or get out of the way.” Cayetano proposed waivers for all executive officials, members of Congress and the judiciary.

No dollar accounts She added that President Aquino had no foreign-currency bank account. “No one is saying that his disclosures in his SALN are incomplete or are inaccurate and the same goes for members of his Cabinet,” Valte said. “Just like Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said [Corona’s] waiver was for theatrics,” she added. Like the President, Senator Enrile will not open his bank accounts. The SALN, Valte said, contains a waiver that authorizes the Ombudsman to look into the officials’ finances with help from all governmental agencies. And there’s the bank secrecy law, which, Valte said provides for exceptions and these could trigger the opening of public officials’ bank accounts.

Not accused “You have to remember that this all came about because one man was on the stand, was being accused of something,” Valte said. “Do we put other people in the

Good example Senator Cayetano was glad about the Supreme Court’s decision to release the SALNs of all its justices. Speaking at a news forum,

Cayetano said Corona’s impeachment should serve as a lesson in honesty and transparency in public service. He said he considered the waiver a “new paradigm” in transparency and accountability, and he observed that more public officials are following Corona’s example. Several members of the House of Representatives have signed waivers, and the leader of the Catholic charismatic group El Shaddai, Mike Velarde, is calling on other government officials to follow. ‘What’s he hiding?’ Party List Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said waivers serve as “the litmus test for public officials to show that they are transparent and have nothing to hide.” “The question now: Is he hiding something?” asked the lawmaker, referring to the President. Casiño said the act of simply releasing to the public one’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth was not enough. “People now don’t take a public official’s SALN at face value. They want to know if the government official really declared his or her true SALN,” Casiño said. “The President’s apprehension that it (waiver) may be used against him or his bets for the coming election is misplaced. He may simply address the waiver to the Ombudsman so that not just anyone can access or invent anything in his accounts.”

More problems But Mr. Corona doesn’t seem to be completely off the hook yet. “As a result of revelations made during the course of the impeachment trial, certain agencies like the Office of the Ombudsman and the Bureau of Internal Revenue had initiated their own processes to look into possible violations of laws and rules over which they have jurisdiction and mandate to look into,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said. “I don’t think that now that judgment has been rendered by the impeachment court, these processes will also terminate,” Abad said. “The administration will not, I believe, interfere in that.” Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan said that the agency would use Corona’s waiver on his bank accounts to investigate complaints against him. One of the complaints involved the forfeiture of assets allegedly disproportionate to the income he had declared in his SALN. Hot pursuit Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the investigation was ongoing. In her testimony in the trial, Morales presented a report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) purportedly showing the Chief Justice had 82 bank accounts with $10 million to $12 million in “transactional balances.” The authenticity of the AMLC paper was not established, but it was repeatedly cited by senatorjudges as basis for Corona’s conviction. Corona assailed the validity of Morales’ supposed evidence. He said he had $2.4 million in bank accounts and did not disclose it because its absolute secrecy was guaranteed by the Foreign Curren-

cy Deposit Act (FCDA), or Republic Act No. 6426. He said Morales simply allowed herself to be used by a vengeful President Aquino. No effect Senator Cayetano said that it was normal for prosecution to follow impeachment. “It is possible that he might be acquitted in civil and criminal cases in court but it would not change the findings of the impeachment court,” Cayetano said. He said Mr. Corona should have no problem if he could prove in a regular court that his P80.7million deposit, for instance, indeed represented a “commingled” fund, which included savings from his family members and money from Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc. “But if this money could not be explained, or worse, it is found to have been ill-gotten, we have no choice (but to convict him). That’s the law,” the senator said. ‘That did him in’ He said Mr. Corona lost his case in the Senate because of his interpretation of the SALN law and the constitutional provision requiring all government officials to state under oath all assets and liabilities. “Because of his interpretation … the SALN became useless,” the senator said. “So that did him in. Many of us senators couldn’t see how he could still be effective as Chief Justice.” Corona was convicted in the impeachment court because of the “mere fact” that he viewed RA 6426 apparently to mean that he did not have to declare his dollar deposits in his SALN, Cayetano said. He said Corona’s fate after the impeachment trial would depend on the quality of evidence that might be collected against him. “That’s why Lady Justice is blind. Pity, compassion, anger—all of these have no place in the justice system.”

How to own the world (and everything in it) the Pacquiao way From Page 1

and just return to his job as a construction worker but a good friend had enough sense to tell him that losing is just as part of the game as winning. Manny listened. A month later, he was back at the training gym. Manny treats boxing not as a sport but rather as a business. Business of discipline, hard training and even harder fights. Just like any business, his entourage of trainers, promoters, coaches, nutritionist, advisers, cooks, dishwashers, car washers, drivers, publicists, gofers, security, and their respective assistants, are treated like a family. They eat what he eats, sleeps where he sleeps, and earns generously as he does. Earnings that do not necessarily mean money; they could be as priceless as his attention for the day or the pride of sitting beside him at the dinner table, sleeping at the foot of his bed or just being at the receiving end of his whims. The young Manny had to take on adult responsibility and skip childhood. His parents separated when he was barely 13 and he was left with his mother, Dionisia, together with his five other siblings. Each kid had to do his part in putting food on the table. Like a million Filipinos, Manny’s youth painted daily survival. He had to work to earn the money to buy the food his body needs for work. A desperate cycle of ditch-digging.

From selling doughnuts and flowers in the street, painting and welding at a construction company to sewing at a tailoring shop, Manny now is one of the most sought-after product endorsers of local and international brands. Hence, the calm confidence and taunting toughness he exudes whenever a boxing opponent clobbers him. Life has punched him around for too long, there’s nothing he could not possibly endure. Hence, the wild boy days later on his life as a means of reclaiming all the juvenile activities he missed – from bars, pool halls, basketball, cockfighting, endless karaoke sessions and even women. Vices that almost destroyed Manny and his family. Rumors that he has an “alleged” lovechild with a pretty student also became a bankable topic for local tabloids and entertainment shows. Simultaneous with these reports, Jinkee, Manny’s wife, is launched as an endorser of a big beauty enhancement firm thru giant billboards of a vamp and gorgeous wife with the words: “Don’t get mad, get beautiful”. In the months that followed, Jinkee would confirm in an interview that she and Manny are working on their marriage and that her self-reinvention worked like a pill for reverse psychology. Thereafter, video footages of the couple would show a sweeter and more attentive husband. Growing up in a largely Cath-

olic country and with a religious mother, the faith and the virtues were instilled on Manny even before he had his own discretion to choose for himself. He practices his faith publicly as can be seen in the boxing ring where he kneels and prays before and after a fight. His poster for a sports line even depicts him kneeling with arms spread out and a rosary on his neck. A heartwarming image of Manny’s deep faith and devotion to the Lord. Masses are held before and after his fights, and his first stop upon arrival in the Philippines is the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila. Manny’s faith and religious upbringing is the source of his conservative stance as a politician on sex education and artificial birth control. He is a staunch oppositor of the Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines, which if passed into law would permit the government to use the people’s money in conducting nationwide artificial family planning seminars and in distributing artificial birth control items. It is Manny’s firm belief that family planning must be done naturally according to what the Bible teaches. Bible reading is a habit he has recently pursued as he put behind his wild boy days. Mommy Dionisia, Jinkee and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines are more than happy to stamp their seal of approval.

He has also expressed his conservative view on legalized same sex marriage and disagreed with Obama. The story about his comment though was deliberately tweaked to mean that he wanted homosexuals dead. The inaccurate comment spread like wildfire and Manny is banned from a popular shopping mall in Los Angeles. Petitions for Nike to drop him as endorser were likewise lobbied in the Internet. If Manny weren’t as famous and influential as he is, his opinion on same-sex marriage, which is shared by a lot of other Americans anyway, would just be another dust in the wind. But he is famous and is included in Forbes’s list of 100 most influential people, so his words can change minds, fuel emotions and even motivate bad journalism ethics. After his June 9 fight with Timothy Bradley, Manny is set to film his first Hollywood movie where he will play a gangster. Another feat he will add to the long list of his many selves – a street vendor, tailor, welder, boxer, family man, congressman, endorser, donor, benefactor, friend, and a servant of God. Manny Pacquiao had a simple dream – to get out of poverty. His faith, perseverance and resilience gave him more. A good and confortable life with his family, illustrious recognitions from various magazines and sports guilds the world over, second chances in

marriage and in the boxing arena, sturdy faith and a country to make happy and proud. His quick feet may have brought him 10,000 miles away from his home in General Santos City but his eyes and heart never left. The man has always looked and came back to his virtues, his faith, the poverty, the survival, his family, to the ditch-diggers, to a country that needs a sincere politician with big a heart as he hopes he could be, to a people that craves moral examples. He had spoken in crowds but has kept his virtues, he has walked with bigwigs but he has never lost his touch to the common people, his kindness and generosity turned foes into friends and friends into family, he has an entire country counting on him but never too much, he stumbled but got up, and he has filled an almost helpless childhood by running a great distance to success. He has become a man. If a hero is someone who has a distinguished ability, strength or courage then Manny Pacquiao is not a hero, because, anybody can fight poverty or any hard wall life may bring, anybody can punch beyond a simple plan, anybody can stand up from a fall. What makes Manny different, though, is that he never stopped believing that anything is possible with faith, hard work and benevolent purpose, and for that he owns the world.



Editorial After Corona’s impeachment, President Aquino should speed up versus extrajudicial killings, torture


hile the Aquino administration is whooping it up following the successful unseating of Chief Justice Renato Corona, human rights activists in many other countries are questioning the Philippine government’s ongoing but slow campaign in eradicating human rights abuses in the Philippines. These alleged abuses are in the form of extrajudicial killings ( EJKs), enforced disappearances, and torture. Although the number of these human rights violations, allegedly perpetrated by some elements of the Philippine Armed Forces have slightly diminished since President Aquino took office in 2010, new cases continue to be reported, and few of those responsible for the violations have been brought to justice, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). One recent example is escaped General Jovito Palparan, accused of ordering the alleged murders of two University of the Philippines activists. Reports said that Palparan was purportedly helped to escape by some of his colleagues in the Armed Forces. Another case is the yet-to-be tried alleged perpetrators of the 2009 “Manguindanao Massacre”in which more than 50 journalists and media personnel have been killed. While the Filipino nation’s attention was glued on the closing days of Chief Justice Corona’s impeachment last month, a Philippine delegation headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was at the receiving end of a chorus of questions raised by several delegates in the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) convention held in Geneva, Switzerland on May 29. At least 22 of the participating countries have raised questions about the continuing spate of EJKs, enforced disappearances and torture in the Philippines during Aquino’s administration. The United Kingdom, Spain and the Holy See called on the Philippines to completely eradicate EJKs, even as the United States lamented that impunity on human rights violations is continuing. Earlier this week, in anticipation to Pres. Aquino’s meeting with Pres. Barack Obama in Washington, DC, HRW called on the US chief executive to use millions of dollars in military aid as a bargaining chip to persuade Aquino to bring justice to security forces involved in serious human rights violations. The human rights organization said that since 2001, years before Aquino took over, security forces have been allegedly implicated in hundreds of human rights violations, and victims included leftist journalists, insurgents, environmentalists and clergy. “Accountability for these alleged abuses is not only a matter of justice for victims,” declared the HRW, “but vital for the Philippines’ future as a rightsrespecting democracy,” the head of HRW, John Sifton, reported. Other countries in the UNHRC convention suggested that Pres. Aquino should widen his ongoing campaign against government corruption and excesses to include a robust and focused drive to go after the perpetrators of human rights violations in the Philippines, whether these elements belong to the Armed Forces, or in para-military and militia groups that are rampant in some conflict-ridden parts of the Philippines. What the Philippine government should do, as pointed out by some Philippine human rights activists groups, is to not gloss over its meager achievements in reducing cases of human rights violations, but to highlight the real conditions in the Philippines, like nil conviction rate of perpetrators, failure to press charges and arrest suspects, and the continuing effects of the government’s counter-insurgency program on citizens. would also like to point out that the Philippines could accelerate the prosecution of these alleged cases of atrocities by systematically ridding the Justice system, including military courts, of corrupt judges and putting in their stead incorruptible judges that are above being bought with bribes and courageous ones that would not be cowed by a threat of violence to their own life.

is published fortnightly by Tanod Bayan, Inc., mailing address at 1247 Arapahoe Street, # 7, Los Angeles, CA 90006, Telephone Number (213) 261-7467 and e-mail address at

Alfonso Gaerlan Aquino Executive Editor

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Money Is Almighty

nce in a while, the Filipino people are treated to a sumptuous spectacle, complete with all the trimmings, and with a dressing that might as well be the flavor of the year. The impeachment trial of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines has come to a close, after 44 days of contentious arguments between the prosecutors and the defense panel, all but taking the breath out of an 88 years old presiding senator-judge who performed an outstanding job of refereeing the contending parties. The representatives of the people--the Congressmen-Prosecutors and the Senators-Judges all measured up to the expectations and the ardor of the masses for justice, and justice was served. The verdict was 20 senators-judges guilty and for the people and 3 senators-judges against conviction. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines, Mr. Renato Corona, was found guilty of Culpable Violation of the Constitution and Grave Abuse of Public Trust. What was this rare moment in the history of the Philippine government all about? After all is said and done, it all boils down to money--the almighty and the root of all evil as well. Whatever power Mr. Corona had was facilitated and accentuated by greed for material things. And because of money, assumed as ill-gotten by the ever watchful eyes of the Filipino people, he’ll be made to pay some more,and justice be served some more.The ball will be passed to another court, this time to the Sandiganbayan, and the prosecution is to be handled by the same Ombudsman, ex-justice Conchita Carpio Morales, whose testimony at the impeachment trial sealed Mr. Corona’s fate. This time around, the case will be about graft and corruption, about ill-gotten wealth. Mr. Corona is said to have oodles and oodles of money stashed in different banks, in peso accounts as well as in dollar accounts. He admitted to have all these monies during the impeachment trial and he is certain that he can account as to how he acquired them. He will go to trial and the eyes of the Filipino people will be fixed on him. The President, Benigno S. Aquino III, is seen as being keen and supportive of moving to the next stage, and make this move as a people’s crusade so as to build enthusiasm and strength in prosecuting the real target of this undertaking: the couple Arroyos--former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. The former president is now in detention at a government hospital, charged with Electoral Sabotage, a capital offense and not bailable . The former First Gentleman is charged with fraud and overpricing in the sale of supposed brand new helicopters to the Philippine National Police. And a lot more charges are being prepared against the couple. We will keep on reminding that 99% of these alleged wrongdoings are about the almighty money and greed, and something the president has started to face in the eye and wield his sword to strike down this evil that stalks the land. Graft and corruption is evil and is destroying the very fiber of Philippine society. Yet, certain quarters from among the politicians are proposing to the President that its time to hold on to his winnings and desist from prosecuting Mr. Corona as he has suffered enough and disgraced enough. These are the politicians who are up for reelection, and their posturing is designed to placate the ruffled feelings of the hierarchy of the politically influential religious sect “IGLESIA NI CRISTO”, whose members vote as a bloc and could be helpful in securing a candidate’s vic-

tory. These politicians have no honor to stand on and they ought to be ashamed of themselves. By the way.....the de facto President of FACLA and his cohorts have just disavowed the standing arrangement between the Knights of Rizal and FACLA to jointly celebrate the birthday of our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, with the knights providing the food, the music, and the payments for the security and janitorial services, and FACLA for the use of the social hall pro bono. This arrangement was started during the Baldonado administration and was honored by the Gatus and Calonzo administration. Now, this de facto administration wants the Order of the Knights of Rizal to pay the rental of the hall as well, and the 3rd vice-president, Letty Reyes, who seemed to be the particular officer in charge of community activities, suggested a whopping $450.00. Either these people are trying to play politics or may be they would like to be called “mukhang pera”, which I pray they are not. Right now, there is talk that they are always quarreling among themselves over money. This writer would like to ask if it was true that the wife of the de facto president, Mr. Austin Baul, who catered the food served during the anniversary celebration of the organization, charged the amount of more than 2 thousand dollars representing some 250 persons. Well the hall could not have accommodated that number of people. And how about the lechons, five in all and were contributed free, as announced by Linda Nery to the members of the media and business club, were they also charged to FACLA? These de facto administration has not posted any financial statement in the bulletin board since they have illegally assumed their office on February 20, 2012. Is it because they have problem with their auditor, Linda Guerchoum, who I believe to be an upright woman. Why is FACLA always under siege by unsavory characters?????

Saturday, June 9 2012


The SALN Revolution


he recent impeachment and removal of Renato Corona as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines was without precedence in the annals of Philippine jurisprudence. However, the impeachment trial was fraught with uncertainty and high drama, which up to the very end could have gone for conviction or acquittal. But the final verdict of 20-3 for conviction was meted out based on Corona’s own admission or “confession” -- on the last hour of the last day of his testimony -that he owns dollar and peso deposits amounting to $2.4 million and P80.7 million, respectively, which he did not report in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN). It was an act of “harakiri” knowing full well that by his admission his fate was sealed. But did he have a choice? But the sad denouement was not scripted nor predicted. Up to that last act, a conviction was doomed from the start of the impeachment trial, which lasted 44 days. On the one hand, the House prosecution team was unable to present clear and convincing evidence. They simply didn’t have the prosecutorial aptitude to make their case. On the other hand, the defense team – consisting of top defense lawyers led no less by the seasoned retired Supreme Court Justice Serafin Cuevas – managed to dispute the credibility and veracity of the evidence. But it was the defense team’s own undoing that shattered Corona’s defense. When the members of the defense team demanded that Ombudsman Conchita CarpioMorales testify as a condition for Corona to take the witness stand in his own defense, they didn’t realize that what they did was akin to opening the gates of Troy to accept a gift – a wooden horse – from the Greeks that would destroy the fortress-city from within. And when Carpio-Morales presented the damning 17-page report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) that detailed 705 transactions – movement of money – involving 82 bank deposit accounts in Corona’s name, Corona’s once formidable defense collapsed just

like what happened to ancient Troy. Conviction On May 29, 2012, the senatorjudges voted to convict Corona. How did that happen? A few days after Corona was dealt the “guilty” verdict, Sen. Loren Legarda revealed that two days before that fateful day, seven senator-judges – the “Magnificent Seven” -- met at her home to ponder Corona’s guilt or innocence. Led by Senate President and Presiding Officer Juan Ponce Enrile, the powerful bloc of senators consisted of Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Majority Leader Tito Sotto, Gregorio Honasan, Loren Legarda, Manny Villar, and Ramon Revilla Jr. Ultimately, it was Corona’s admission of not reporting his dollar and peso deposits in his SALN that sealed his fate, and as a consequence, the members of the Enrile bloc decided that Corona was guilty of not reporting the true value of his assets in his SALN, which was the essence of Article II of the Articles of Impeachment. Sovereign command With emphasis on truthful SALN disclosure as a key factor, the 20 senator-judges who voted for conviction hinged their judgment solely on Corona’s failure to report his dollar and peso deposits,

which is a violation of Section 17 of Article 11, which mandates: “A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth. In the case of the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Commissions and other constitutional offices, and officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public in the manner provided by law.” For the first time since the 1986 EDSA “people power” revolution, this “sovereign command” of the 1987 Constitution was enforced upon the highest echelons in the government, no less than the Chief Justice himself. And for the first time, a constitutional officer had been removed from office for culpable violation of the 1987 Constitution and betrayal of public trust. People’s victory This is a victory for the Filipino people who have seen how those in power trampled the 1987 Constitution for their own personal interests. The people saw how former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo manipulated them into staging a sham “people power” revolution

The rise and fall of a bentesingko ► By Kai Rosario PWD Contributing Writer




estiny turns like a dime or a bentesingko. This phrase could not be any truer than for Delsa Flores, the court interpreter of the Regional Trial Court of Panabo, Davao del Norte who was sacked from government service in 1997 by the Supreme Court for failing to disclose in her Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) that she owned a small market stall. Fifteen years later, her story catalytically shapes the landscape of Philippine political history, as Chief Justice Renato Corona becomes the first impeachable public official convicted and removed for a less than truthful SALN. Delsa’s story served as the yardstick for honesty and decency – qualities that no less than the Philippine Constitution demands from a Chief Justice and from every other public servant for that matter. Delsa’s income from her market stall certainly pales compared to Corona’s hidden $2.4 million and P80 million cash assets. The former made the latter look unpalatable, detestable, and even putrid. But then again honesty and decency are priceless intangible belongings. Although money is, generally, the litmus paper used to test their presence. Delsa has since moved on from that chapter in her life. According to her interview in a local daily, she now owns a laundry shop in her Davao hometown and was able to put her all her four children through college by working different jobs. Corona, on the other

hand, cleared his office desk in his Supreme Court chambers today perhaps, his first step to self-reinvention. Yes, reinvention instead of redemption because he did not really fall in the first place. Falling connotes rapid uncontrolled descent or detachment from one place into another that is usually on a lower plane or level. For humans, falling must be followed by redemption because it effects humiliation, public ridicule or even condemnation. Falling is a term used by cowards who fail to see that you can have more than one destination in a lifetime. Reports have it that Corona intends to go back to teaching. A career move initiated by circumstances beyond his will or outside the pace he set for himself. A sudden shift in the daily grind, which at first can be disorienting but can eventually prove fulfilling. Moving implies transfer, progress or advancement. It ushers in optimism, faith and constant self-improvement. To move is to proceed to the next place where life wants you. To move is to carry one’s self, skill and discipline where all three can be re-discovered and re-learned. Moving is only for those who are brave enough to acknowledge that they can flourish more in an unchartered sea than in the comfortable and familiar shore. A dime less than their undeclared assets could not have changed the verdict handed to Delsa and Corona. But based on the prevailing standards of honesty and decency in

in 2001 to unseat President Joseph “Erap” Estrada and take over the presidency herself. They saw how Gloria attempted to manipulate and amend the Constitution so she could remain in power indefinitely. They saw how Gloria stacked the Supreme Court with justices loyal to her. They saw how Gloria manipulated the appointment of Corona as Chief Justice during the period banning midnight appointments during elections. And they saw how corruption in government made their lives miserable. But the people persevered hoping that someday their aspirations would be heard by the powers-that-be. So it did not then come as a surprise that during the impeachment trial, polls taken consistently showed that the people were convinced of Corona’s guilt. The people wanted him removed from office. Yet, the senator-judges were not influenced by public opinion against Corona saying that the evidence was not convincing enough. As Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano told the media during an interview, “I don’t want to convict an innocent man but I don’t want to acquit a guilty man either.” It’s an ambivalence that was leaning more towards an acquittal because, in the final analysis, who would convict an innocent man unless there is clear and convincing evidence of guilt? But serendipity helped Cayetano out of his dilemma. Right after Corona’s abbreviated testimony on his second and last day on the witness stand on May 25, Cayetano asked Corona: How much unreported dollar deposits did he own? Corona answered, “$2.4 million.” What more did Cayetano want to hear to make up his mind? On May 29, he voted “guilty” as charged. Redemption The turn of events in the final days of the impeachment trial has brought to the forefront of public

the public service, even an undeclared bentesingko in a public servant’s SALN can spell termination. A standard too lofty for a government riddled with corrupt public officials who keep financial skeletons in their closets bentesingko short of a billion pesos. A billion pesos comprised of heaps of bentesingko collected from Filipinos in taxes so the government can carry them to better situations. Unfortunately though, we are yet to see that movement. A single bentesingko can’t buy anything nowadays but when lumped together with

debate Enrile’s leadership during the trial. He was credited with steering the trial on an even keel avoiding controversial situations that could have rocked the boat. His sterling leadership had a redeeming effect on his past political life. Having been on the wrong side of history as the Defense Minister during the dark years of the martial law regime of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, he – together with then Gen. Fidel V. Ramos – led the 1986 EDSA “people power” revolution. For once, Enrile was on the right side of history but not for long. After Cory Aquino was installed as President, Enrile stayed out of Cory’s circle and was often alleged to have figured in several attempts to remove her from office through a series of coup d’états. As a senator-judge during the impeachment trial of Erap Estrada in 2001, Enrile together with 10 others became known as the “Craven Eleven” who voted not to open the “second envelope,” which was supposed to contain Erap’s bank accounts. As a result, the prosecution team led by then Rep. Joker Arroyo walked out; thus, throwing the trial in turmoil. A few days later the sham people power revolution – or “EDSA 2” – erupted and Gloria took over the presidency from Erap. At age 88, Enrile is back on the right side of history just like where he was during the EDSA revolution. But this time around, the revolution he’s fighting for is to make public officials accountable and transparent to the people. At the end of the day, his role in the conviction of Corona has been the redeeming moment of his life and deserving of a special place in our history. Indeed, his long and colorful political life can be defined in one short statement: “From EDSA revolution to SALN revolution.” Nothing is loftier or nobler than that. (

other bentesingkos and used honestly and decently it can change a Filipino’s destiny – like the boy who boards a palanggana (basin) and rows with his tattered slippers as oars across a river to attend his first day of classes today. The congressman in his town was too busy to build a bridge; he was sitting in a box, they call an impeachment court financed by taxpayers’ bentesingkos, hurling stones at a man who must be budged out of his seat. I wonder how many bentesingkos it will take to make the congressman move so the boy may reach the destiny waiting for him.


Saturday, June 9, 2012


Remembering Equity Village

► Words and Photos By Dionesio


A July 16, 1996 issue of the Los Angeles Times featured a story about how vandals and nature had taken a toll on public sculpture in Los Angeles. Among others it mentioned that a 41-year-old bronze sculpture located in a public park in the Westlake neighborhood “has been badly defaced by spray-paint vandals and bird droppings. Cleanup and repairs to its concrete base could cost as much as $8000,” it said citing the assessment of art conservators Rosa Lowinger and Glenn Wharton. That statue was still in that state of deterioration when our aging World War II veterans descended upon it about nine months later. Designated as Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument #100 and in whose honor the former Westlake Park has been renamed, the statue of General Douglas MacArthur became the setting of the so-called Equity Village movement. It was on April 14, 1997, Flag Day, when they did it. Located within the ambit of what at that time was the crime, grime and vandalism central west of downtown, it was an unlikely place for tired, aching bodies to occupy for the next 311 days. Fifteen years may not be too long in the general scheme of things but considering that most of those involved in the historic event were already in their 70s and 80s then, it would be reasonable to expect that many of them may no longer be as spritely to give personal testimonies today, if they’re still around. There were those who, bless their soul, had since gone to the great beyond. To illustrate the scourge of Predator Time, in November 2008 the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor disbanded itself after 62 years because, according to Lester Tenney, 88, commander of the organization, there were few “still alive and none had the energy or inclination to lead the group.” Meanwhile, the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2008 became a law and while there are those who criticize it as too little too late, admittedly the one-time payments were a big help to veterans in their advanced years. To the latter it was better than nothing and in fact many had since returned to the homeland after receiving their dues. It may be said that the age factor was a significant impelling force that spurred the Equity Village initiative as we will learn lat-

er in the story. Among the names that figured prominently in the movement were Nicasio E. Martin, Bonifacio L. Ramo, Pastor Francisco B. Ladia, Alex Romero, Greg Bayani and Bart Gacad. There were of course younger principals such as Rene Junia, Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque and Marlou Balbuena. Hopefully their personal accounts will be available in the next part of this series. Atty. Joel Bander, legal and political adviser of the Coordinating Council of Leaders of Veterans Organizations in Southern California, will be a ready source of clarification considering that he is in the same publication I am connected with. I also had the opportunity to meet for the first time veteran Angel dela Cruz, a game-changer in the Equity Village cause because of his spontaneous offer to fast which caused abrupt changes to otherwise well-laid plans. Another veteran, Orencio Salem, also did the fasting route later on. Surprisingly Dela Cruz is robust for his age (see photo). Hope they, too, will step up to the plate regarding their respective participation in the movement.

(First of a series)

eign powers over the Philippines, including the right, upon order of the President of the United States, to call into the service of the United States armed forces all military forces organized by the Commonwealth government. That precisely was what President Roosevelt did on July 26, 1941 when he issued an Executive Order calling members of the Philippine Commonwealth Army into the service of the United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE). Under this order, Inouye said, Filipinos were entitled to full veterans’ benefits. More than 100,000 Filipinos volunteered for the Philippine Commonwealth Army and fought alongside the United States armed forces. Inouye continued: “The United States Armed Forces of the Far East fought to reclaim control, not only of the Philippine Islands, but also of the entire Western Pacific. During this crucial effort to oust our wartime enemy from United States territory, Filipinos fought under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Filipinos were in the front lines of the battle

Statue of General Douglas MacArthur at MacArthur Park, Los Angeles.

surrender, Congress enacted the Armed Forces Voluntary Recruitment Act of 1945 for the purpose of sending American troops to occupy enemy lands, and to oversee military installations at various overseas locations. A provision included in the Recruitment Act called for the enlistment of Philippine citizens to constitute a new body of Philippine Scouts. The New Scouts were authorized to receive pay and allowances for services performed in the Philippine Islands, Japan, and elsewhere in the Far East. Although hostilities had ceased, wartime service of the New Philippine Scouts continued as a matter of law until the end of 1946. The force gradually disbanded and was disestablished in 1950. At that time the War Department took the position that the New Philippine Scouts were members of the regular army and therefore entitled to veterans benefits on the same basis as the Old Philippine Scouts, which were considered part of the United States armed forces. However, on May 27, 1946, the U.S. Congress enacted the Second Supplemental Surplus Appropriation Rescission Act, which included a provision to limit benefits. This provision essentially duplicated the language

The former fighters have been made to suffer so much, driven to penury for too long such that one is led to ask: Is the money part of the issue too huge thus prompting this rich and powerful country to default on its moral obligation and responsibility to Filipino soldiers it conscripted during WWII? The fact is that viewed within the context of ongoing conflicts and even routine U.S. expenditures, the amount involved in the Filipino veterans’ cause constitute a minuscule amount of what’s being spent in a matter of hours of fighting in Afghanistan, for example. And so for several decades our war weary, age-bent veterans resurrected the fight, shedding the same sweats and tears to right a wrong. They had been on the quest for an end to the cruel discrimination for 51 years-plus. Still without a glimmer of hope, they finally decided on Flag Day 1997 on a new course of action. Salvation had to be attained before natural attrition further diminished their dwindling numbers. The Filipino veterans concerned resolved to implement their plan for fairness and justice during a June 14 program 15 years ago. Soon after, the so-called Equity Village sprouted at the site of the statue of their leader, General MacArthur.

Atty. Joel Bander (contributed photo) Little Boy is now UCLA bound!

Genesis On July 25, 1997 Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D, Hawaii) testified before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs on S. 623, The Filipino Veterans Equity bill. He said at that time that he had introduced the same legislation “in the last four Congresses to right a wrong that has been committed and to provide fair and equitable treatment to Filipino veterans of World War II.” He proceeded to narrate about the Philippine having been a U.S. possession since 1898 until 1946. The U.S. exercised certain sover-

Angel dela Cruz

of Corregidor, fought at Bataan, walked in what became known as the Bataan Death March, and were held and tortured as prisoners of war. These men remained loyal to the United States during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. They fought valiantly for the allies in the Pacific, waging a guerilla war against the Japanese and helping to delay the Japanese advance across the Pacific.” After the war was won, however, the U.S. Congress betrayed the Filipino veterans by enacting the Rescission Act of 1946. On February 18 of that year Congress declared the service performed by the Philippine Commonwealth Army veterans as not “active service,” thus denying many benefits to which these veterans were entitled. Still there were more injustices to come. The senator said that shortly after the Japanese

Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque

which limited benefits under the First Rescission Act, and made it applicable to veterans of the New Philippine Scouts. According to Senator Inouye, the Filipino veterans that fought in the service of the U.S. during World War II are precluded from receiving most veterans’ benefits which were available to them before 1946, and which are available to all other veterans of the U.S. armed forces regardless of race, national origin, or citizenship status. That, in essence, is the cause of Filipino veterans’ grievances that ultimately prompted the forming of the Equity Village movement. How the leadership of the great United States, which considers itself the bulwark of democracy, justice and fairness, continues to run roughshod on the veterans’ legitimate pursuit for benefits and recognition defies explanation.

The series of protest actions soon involved a hunger strike and a 23-day caravan covering some 7,300 miles to the nation’s capital. They made stops and conducted mini-rallies in the cities of Phoenix, El Paso, Dallas, Kansas, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Little Rock and Oklahoma. Protest rallies were also held in front of the White House in Washington D.C. and the Veterans Affairs Building in LA. Meanwhile, the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill sponsored by Congressmen Bob Filner (D-CA) and Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) and their Senate counterparts Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, both Democrats from Hawaii, had been languishing a long time for lack of support among their colleagues. The proposed legislation was intended precisely to correct the injustice committed against our WW2 veterans.

Saturday, June 9, 2012



Off Hours

Conversation with author Pearlie Rose S. Baluyut ► Words and photos by Dionesio


C. Grava

earlie Rose S. Baluyut is the author of Institutions and Icons of Patronage: Arts and Culture in the Philippines during the Marcos Years, 1965-1986. I tried to make sense of the actual conversation occurring in a heavy traffic area where disruptions and noise made comprehension a bit challenging. Voices necessarily subdued on our part, not from other sources. Salabang Song in Pasadena. So, okay, comparing what I was able to catch up with the descriptive paragraph Ms. Nietes kindly provided beforehand, they appear not to be dissimilar. It said that based on primary documents and interviews, Pearlie Baluyut’s book seeks to understand the politics and aesthetics of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos’ rule through the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Philippine High School for the Arts, and the National Museum of the Philippines. Rather than interpret the Marcoses’ support only as political propaganda, Baluyut construes their rhetoric and gestures as a spectacular performance as patrons and icons, engendering both defiance and reverence among their constituents. Or a subtle way of engendering sympathies for the despots? Ms. Baluyot pointed out that Mr. Marcos had a keen understanding about election and reciprocity; about the dynamics of elections and the transforming of relationship with people as the cornerstone of politics. At least whatever they did they were not doing it during the election but after they won. Then there was a mention of negative reciprocity, an outcrop of the “may araw ka rin” concept in our culture. And did she really mention that Corazon Aquino looked vengeful? Imelda as the patroness of art has been influenced by spectacular displays in the places she visited. Our country’s Cultural Center, for example, is seemingly a reincarnation of New York’s Lincoln Center. Personally I cannot vouch for that having not been to either. It’s good that Ms. Baluyot didn’t neglect to mention her extravagance to the point of impoverishing the masses and making their

regime an excuse for their own aggrandizement. Then there was something about the creation of posters featuring singer-actress Nora Aunor and Pinay-African American Elizabeth Ramsey, the comedienne. Was it to exploit their being dark-skinned, their being heroines of the masa, Nora’s short height or whatever? Not too clear about that. She also touched on Renaissance art and the biases of showing only those from Florence, Italy, when the fact was that the Renaissance was happening all over. In the case of the Philippines, however, we’re still into that phase of defining art. What do we mean by art? Finally, she had to be very careful, she said, about fictionalizing or romanticizing the ‘you know who’. “I am,” she said, “not redeeming them but I’m also not putting them down.” But of course. Just tell what it is. After all it was mentioned earlier that funding for visual art has been going on since antiquity. The other attendees were Todd Hanson, Akira Boch, Azusa Oda, Ashlea Gross, David Paraiso, Robert Little, Linda Nietes Little, Agnes Bertiz, Joseph Bernardo, Girlie Collado, Rhachel Parrenas, Ben Rosenberg and Dr. Conrad Ulpindo. Pearlie Rose Baluyot received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Art History at UCLA. She has taught art history, theory, and criticism at the Institute of American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, France, and other colleges and universities in the United States, including the California State University-San Bernardino, from 2006 to 2011 as Assistant Professor of Art. In June, she will be teaching at the University of Santo Tomas’ Cultural Heritage Studies Program and conducting research on the oldest cabinet of curiosities-turned-museum in the Philippines as a Fulbright Scholar. The event was part of the ongoing community outreach program organized by Philippine Expressions Bookshop. For more details, visit Literally Yours, the bookshop’s blog : http://?philippineexpressionsbooksh?

Front, left to right: Todd Hanson, Akira Boch, Azusa Oda, Ashlea Gross. Standing, from left: Linda Nietes Little, Pearlie Rose Baluyot, Agnes Bertiz, Robert Little and Conrad Ulpindo.

From left, clockwise: Todd Hanson, Akira Boch, David Paraiso, Robert Little, Linda Nietes Little, Agnes Bertiz, Joseph Bernardo, Girlie Collado, Rhachel Parrenas, Ben Rosenberg and Conrad Ulpindo.

From left: Ashlea Gross, Pearlie Rose Baluyot and David Paraiso.





ntert inment & rts

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Two-Minute Short Film 2-Step Challenge and Great Panel Discussions and at the Dances With Films Festival, a treat for indie filmmakers, writers, actors, and producers


here were a lot of good things to consider attending the recent DANCES WITH FILMS FESTIVAL, held at the iconic Chinese Mann’s Theatre 6 on Hollywood Blvd. this past week (May 31 through June 7). The festival was not your usual festival where star’s popularity is a come-on to attendees. These are group of talented filmmakers who makes movies that are entertaining. Audience believe in their talents and their abilities to create out of pure imagination. This is a festival where no one has been selected because of who they know or who they are, but by how their film is entertaining for as many minutes as it is on screen. Utilizing the latest products from Canon, the 6th Annual 2-Minute, 2-Step Short Film Challenge brings 6 filmmaking teams together as they are each given just 4 hours to shoot and edit a two-minute film. The competition ran throughout the week in the DWF Shooting Gallery located just across the way in the Solano Room of the Renaissance Hotel. The finished film were screened the following day. Among competitors this year were: Crime in a Box (written by Jeff Lorch and Jason Weissbrod; Love is an Elevator (written by Cerina da Graca); New Friend (written by Amy Wieseneck); Passive-Aggressive Presence (written by Rebecca Norris); Voyage of Vera Velasco (written by Vanessa Newell); and A Wholesale Bundle For A Costly Price (written by Asher Farkas). The winner will be announced at the Closing Ceremony (not available as of this writing but will get back to you on this next ‘ish). I found the remaining 4 days of my attendance at the 15th annual Dances With Films very educational. With their noon Industry Panels (Hosted by Crumbs Cupcakes & Starbucks) and the night Conversations & Cocktails (Hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits, The Grill and Johnny Rockets), I’ve seen high-profiled industry panelists and jurors which are helping new filmmakers get connected. The list was remarkable! On Monday, at the “Lunchtime Panel”

DWF Wednesday’s panelists (L-R) moderator Leslie Scallon, Laura Lewis (CAA Film Packaging), Michael Fey (Shoot The Noise Productions), Steve Wegner (Alcon Entertainment VP), and Dama Claire (Co-Founder Film Incentives Group).

‘Pacman’ Manny Pacquiao’s niece, Kirby Asunto, will sing the Philippine National Anthem at this weekend’s Pacquiao-Bradley fight in Vegas. Dances With Films logo

speakers were Ron Bass (Academy Award winning screenwriter: Rain Man, My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Joy Luck Club, Mo►By Oliver Carnay zart & The Whale). On Tuesday, among notable panelists among panelists include include Jeff Begun (Partner, David Crockett (Executive Co-Founder Film Incentives Vice President GKFilms, Group); Darrien Michelle Producer: Bad Santa, Gone Gipson (National DirecBaby Gone, The Town, Extor, SagIndie); Jane Fleming ecutive Producer Hugo); (Co-Founder, Amber EnterEric Garfinkel (Motion Pictainment, Producer: Exists, ture Literary Agent, The The Frozen Ground, Lovely Gersh Agency); Priscilla Molly and President Emeritus, Ross (Vice President, InWomen In Film); and Robert ternational Sales, Tricoast Linden. And at 6 pm, “CockWorldwide: Bernard Rose’s tails & Conversations” series TWO JACKS (Sienna guest speaker was Michael Miller, Danny Huston) and Lehmann (Director: Heathers, Mike Magidson’s INUK, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, winner of 28 worldwide fes- Cerina da Graca, one of six My Giant, Big Love, True tival awards). In the even- filmmakers who were select- Blood, Californication, Bored to produce her 2-minute ing, for the “Cocktails & ed script “Love is an Elevator” to Death). Conversations” (sponsored at the Dances With Films’ Wednesday, June 6th, by Southern Wine & Spirits 2-Step Challenge competi- among panelists include Dama and Johnny Rockets), guest tion. Claire (Partner, Co-Founder Film Incentives Group); Michael Fey (Shoot the Noise DWF Tuesday’s panelists (L-R) Productions Music Supervisor/Executive: moderator Leslie Scallon, Snow Dogs, Sweet Home Alabama, A Year producer Robert Linden, Jane On Earth, The Pixar Story); Laura Lewis Fleming (Amber Entertain(CAA Feature film packaging and financment), Darrien Michelle Gipson (SAG Indie National ing. Formerly Director of Development at Ed Director), and Jeff Begun (Film Saxon Productions and Creative Executive at Incentives Group). Twentieth Century Fox); and Steve Wegner (Executive Vice President Alcon Entertainment, Co-Producer: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Insomnia, The Blind Side, Book of Eli and Dolphin Tale). At 5 pm’s Conversation series, Guest Speaker was John Mann (DWFF alumni 2009 & 2012, screenwriter Boo U starring Seth Rogan/Dreamworks, Magic 8 Ball/Paramount Pictures, and The Nutcracker/Universal Pictures). Thursday’s panelists include Jay Cohen (Partner, Head of Film Financing & Packaging, The Gersh Agency); Cindy Cowan (Owner, Cindy Cowan Entertainment: Red Lights starring Robert DeNiro, Sigourney Weaver and Vanished pre-production with Pierce Bronson’ Irish Dream Time); Jeff Kleeman (Formerly EVP MGM/UA, Producer: Change Up for Universal, Jack The Giant Killer for New Line and developing numerous films including The Man From U.N.C.L.E.); Melanie Miller (Vice President, Acquisitions Gravitas Ventures: 16-Love, American Teacher, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, The Perfect Family, A Warrior’s Heart).

DWF Monday’s panelists (L-R) Priscilla Ross (VP Tricoast Worldwide Intl. Sales), David Crockett (EVP GK Films) with moderator and DWF Founder Leslie Scallon.

Tidbits: Congratulations to the successful Los Angeles launching of Kapatid TV5 and Aksyon TV International, two new Filipino international channels that are now available through Dish Satellite. The grand launch was held at the Shrine Auditorium, spearheaded by Willie Revillame and his hit tv show ‘Wiltime Bigtime’ with the help of Kapatid stars Ruffa Gutierrez, Aga Muhlach, Mariel Rodriguez, Derek Ramsay, Ms. Nora Aunor, and Camille Villar (daughter of Sen. Villar). ..... American Idol 12 Auditions. After Jessica Sanchez, who will be the next Filipina who will be brave enough to join and take the American Idol crown? It might be hard to follow what the 16year old San Diego native has achieved, but I’m sure many Fil-Ams have flocked the Dodger Stadium this Thursday (June 7) for the main audition. The pre-registration was held on Tuesday, June 5th and Wednesday, June 6th. The Los Angeles first recruitment will kick-off the nationwide search for the next American Idol 2013..... Manny Pacquiao’s niece Kirby Asunto, will sing the Philippine’s national anthem while American Idol - Jessica Sanchez, will sing the American national anthem at this weekend’s Pacquiao-Bradley fight in Las Vegas!

This writer with host Willie Revillame of ‘Wiltime Bigtime,’ TV5’s prime game show during its L.A. press conference.

TV5 Head of Operations - Jeff H. Remigio (3rd from left) assures that aside from quality programming, the new Kapatid TV5 International channel has variety of content that Filipinos and Americans will enjoy. Shown here with this writer, Royce Shiroma, and San Francisco-based columnist Bradford Adkins.

The grand launch of Kapatid TV 5 International brought more than 50 crews and dancers at the Shrine Auditiorium.

Saturday, June 9, 2012




Maria Amor

shares her life story as beauty queen and entrepreneur to ► By Joel Bander Senior Columnist Photography by Rene Villaroman

Amor gives back to her community.


littery personality Maria Amor started her adult life as a businesswoman at about age 19. First venture was a furniture business then extended to handicrafts, a beauty salon, and a silk screening business. Even back then as a young woman being a beauty pageant winner was an item in her portfolio; it did not define her existence. And now she has blossomed into an entertainment entrepreneur. When first invited to cover Amor’s birthday gala at the Beverly Hills Country Club on June 1, 2012, I considered it outside my job definition. I did not know at that time I would be writing about a creative and enterprising businesswoman, sometimes rustling feathers that she was not even wearing. I, like many, was distracted by the aura of a beauty queen that it could be the essence of a person’s professional definition. The usual first impression of a beauty queen is someone relying on her looks instead of her abilities. However, as I have come to learn, that is not the essence of Maria Amor. This birthday gala at the Beverly Hills Country Club on June 1, 2012, was designed to promote Amor’s newest venture, Exoti World Magazine. It was also slated as a fundraiser for her pet charity that’s helping a small community near her hometown that survives living from a large garbage dump. But this was not a ‘Filipino’ event just because Ms. Amor hails from Rizal Province and she was the Miss Galaxy Asia winner in 2010. This gathering reflected the eclectic racial and cultural mix of Southern California’s entertainment industry --- with a bit of extra Filipino representation. The event was effective at centering on the ‘persona’ of Amor, but from afar, observing, I sensed that this was a practical woman, not stating with her body language and expressions that ‘I am beautiful so adore me.’ Her persona was more of ‘I am a beauty queen, but let’s be real; there is more to life than just that.’ Humble, but certainly in full promotional mode nevertheless. Amor seemed to take all the attention in stride, without putting on airs, and not feeling pressured by folks making a fuss over her. When a mock ‘re- crowning ’ was requested she was gracious, but made fanci-

ful light of the circumstances, even slightly mocking the whole beauty queen persona by, for a moment, putting on the false airs, that was clearly made to look false, but was humorous, and endearing, for all. I had not met Amor personally at this point, but I left the event feeling that this woman was focused on presenting herself as a beauty was not her entire being, even if some attendees sought a different reality. But I left the event at 11 p.m. and there was no mention of the charity aspects of the event. A few days later she was kind enough to allow me to interview her, along with our editor Rene Villaroman, and her promoter, Jesse JaM Miranda. Ms. Amor discussed her poor upbringing in Rizal province, but seemed surprised when I asked if she had running water and electricity. (My mom used to kid my dad that he used an outhouse as a small child, so that is ingrained in my

Amor as Beauty Queen.

psyche.) Her father was away from the family during her formative years, working in Saudi Arabia, and her mother was a municipal employee. However, she forged not only Turn to Page 15


Saturday, June 9, 2012 PinoyWatchDog.Com


Los Angeles Filipinos celebrate Independence Day 2012

From Page 1

every time the opportunity presents itself. Perhaps the “bayani” word could also be a balm to soothe those heavy with the mental baggage of having abandoned the family and everything dear to their hearts in the pursuit of the proverbial greener pastures in foreign shores. Philippine Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, quintessential politician that he is, was no exception. In a speech delivered during the 114th Philippine Independence Day Gala Night held at the Hilton Hotel near the Los Angeles Airport, the self-proclaimed 2016 presidential bet exalted the greatness and sacrifices of the heroes in the homeland’s history and at the same time thanked and commended the heroes of today, the OFWs. “Kayo ang mga bagong bayani,” he grandly proclaimed. If so he, in his capacity as vice president and presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns, could have done much more to lessen the injustices and neglect that many of our countrymen continue to suffer in their efforts to make life better for them and their children. The event was one of many that Filipinos in the Los Angeles and nearby areas have cal-

endared for this month in commemoration of that day in our nation’s epoch when our people were set free from foreign domination. Even as the June 2 gala of the Philippine Independence Coordinating Council of Southern California (PICCSC) was in progress, couturier Boy Lizaso had also his 4th Annual Kayamanan ng Bayan at the CBS Studio in Studio City. It was billed as a Philippine Independence Day related celebration. On June 9, Kalayaan Inc. will celebrate their version of the 114th Anniversary of Philippine Independence with a grand ball at the Marriott South Bay Hotel in the city of Torrance (3635 Fashion Way, Torrance, CA 90503). President of the organization is Antero Pagunsan. In nearby Carson on that same date a whole-day celebration of Philippine independence will be held at the city’s Veterans Park (22400 South Moneta Avenue , Carson, CA 90745). The event is being presented by the Philippine Independence Day Foundation (PIDF). The celebration starts at 8 am featuring a trade and health fair with booths featuring foods, goods and services. There will also be an entertainment extravaganza. A precious jewel of Philippine culture, the folk dance.

Some of the members of the PICCSC executive committee prepare to shake hands with Vice President Binay after their oath taking ceremony.

Grand entrance of the coterie of beauties.

Vice President Binay in the rostrum for his speech.

Like celebrants in Carson, Filipinos and friends located in the area embraced by Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles will also enjoy a fee-free celebration of Independence Day. They will congregate at the Temple Street compound of the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) to toast the significance of the occasion. Celebration will start at noon on June 13, according to the president of the organization Austin Baul. The Los Angeles Filipino Association of City Employees (LAFACE) has also extended an invitation to everyone to participate in a free celebration on June 15 starting at 10 am. It will be held in the L.A. City Council Chamber located at 200 North Spring in L.A. The organization is headed by Cora Aragon Soriano. As usual with Filipino events the PICCSC celebration mentioned at the early part of this article started late and the guest speaker came in much more late in the evening. There was a grand entrance march of notables, a parade of colors, the usual singing of the Philippine and U.S. national anthems, an impressive invocation in Tagalog by Rev. Fr. Camilo Pacanza, associate pastor of the Immaculate Heart of Marcy Church, and then some songs and our golden folk dances to delight the crowd. Deputy Consul General Daniel R. Espiritu took over the slot originally allotted to

Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon. He interpreted the theme “Kalayaan: Pananagutan ng bayan para tuwid na daan.” Congen Aragon’s welcome remarks were delivered later in the program. Members of the PICCSC executive committee were sworn into office by the guest speaker Jojo Binay. He in turn was bestowed a recognition award together with the outgoing consul general. The members of the executive committee: Darna Umayam, Cely Anuran, Emmie Liquigan, Trini Foliente, Councilman Elito M. Santarina, Dr. Reynaldo Landero, Dr. Carlos P. Manlapaz, Jojit Paredes, Atty. Jun Paredes, Lini Teal, Cora A. Soriano, Zeny Zoleta, Atty. Noriel Flores, Atty. Mariano Alvarez, Atty. Meynard Agoncillo, Aida Arceo, Nestor Balila, Larry Calonzo, Thor Causing, Mildred Deang, Bert Frias, Bernie Ganon, Architect Fernandico Gonong, Lucita Hakes, Edith Knoch, Dr. Felix Lapuz, Adrian Lecaros, Atty. Abraham Lim, Sylvia Molina, Linda Nery, Gloria Resurreccion, Atty. Norberto Reyes III, Carmelita Rivera, Gloria Rull, Benel Se Liban and Rommel Valarao. About the observance of our country’s Independence Day, here’s something I read somewhere: “Magiging lubos na malaya lamang ang mga Pinoy kung ang mahigit 70 porsiyentong populasyon ng mga mahihirap na Pilipino ay makahuhulagpos sa tanikala ng kahirapan.”

Health Day in Los Angeles Pictorial


he Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and City of Los Angeles co-hosted a free Health Expo in observance of National Public Health Week. Venue was the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument in Olvera Street, Los

Angeles. Among the activities featured were Mariachi performances, self-defense demonstrations, live musical therapy sessions, a blood drive, a healthy food cook-off by kid chefs, workplace exercise demonstrations and free health screenings.

A few ladies demonstrate the proper way of doing exercise.

People line up for free health screening inside a mobile health clinic of the City of Compton.

A child tries to figure out a five pound glob of fat that could adversely affect one’s health if ingested. Looking amused is Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the County Health Officer.

Fielding instructs on the importance of proper diets.


Saturday, June 9, 2012


Saturday, May 26, 2012


Former Daily Express employees’ mini-reunion in Valencia ► By Rene Villaroman Managing Editor


ome twenty former Philippines Daily Express employees recently held a mini-reunion at the Valencia, California home of Sannie Patinio and his wife, Carmen. The Daily Express mini-reunion was started in the early 90s by a core group of former employees of the defunct Manila daily broadsheet, with the first and biggest gettogether held at a regional park in Pasadena. This reunion, coordinated by Dante Sambilay and Sannie Patinio, former DE artist

and reporter, respectively, brought together US-based former DE employees from as far away as San Jose, in the Bay Area, and Yucaipa, in Riverside County. The list includes Val Abelgas and his wife, Marisse; Abelgas was one of the newspaper’s senior editors. Dante Sambilay came with his wife, Natz, and former Express Life and Style assistant editor Tet Villaroman; business reporter Jimmy Reyes, and Arnold Aday, a former artist, and other administrative and editorial staffers, including

Client Care News

Amending the Tax Return 3-3-3-Strategy

► By Angel


Dayan, CPA, EA, ABA, ATA

s a general rule, the IRS has 3 years from the April 15 due date of the tax return, or its extended due date to October 15, to assess any additional tax that may be deemed payable. This same time period in the statute also gives to taxpayers the opportunity to correct their income tax return by filing an amended return for whatever unreported income, over-reported income, unreported deductions, and over-reported expenses. There is actually no law that obligates the IRS to accept an amended return. It is a matter of “legislative grace” that an amended return could be accepted and/ or processed. When the IRS wants to assess additional taxes when the assessment statute is about to expire, it would normally request the taxpayer to waive the statute and extend the assessment date. In some cases, however, the statute could be extended for up to six (6) years, but only when the additional tax liability would increase by 25% more or when the income that was under-reported in the tax return was at least 25% more. The law also tells the taxpayers however that in case there was fraud, this 3 year statutory time limit does not apply. The IRS can thus assess additional taxes for any tax year without being barred by the statute of limitation. It can do an audit as far back as it may decide without limit and make tax assessments. We could marvel at the hidden reciprocal wisdom in this statute that clients we believe may leverage for their own tax benefit. A taxpayer may thus understate income by design to pay less tax to start, and then contemplate to amend the tax return later to pay the supposed tax within the 3-year statute. Reporting the extra income or reporting the extra expenses or tax deductions later on would still be a legal and an acceptable concept. Be forewarned though during this exposure of the potential that the IRS could assess additional taxes and statutory penalties and interests that could run as high during the wait time. But only during an IRS tax audit or examination on less than 1% of the taxpayers. The audit probability is rather low. It makes this 3-3-3 loophole co-exist in our current tax system. But then audits could also

be financially harmful. Three (3) years of tax returns at least could be examined. And it could happen on a routine, DIF-score selected or national research project audits we can defend. Let us look once again at the scenario: what if the taxpayer under-report first his income, or increase his deductions or expenses if only to pay less taxes, with the expectation to amend the tax return to report more income or more expenses correctly in 3 years. But then also what if he was not able to make such corrections after the 3 year statute has expired, (and the IRS has not audited within the statute) would he have then “benefited” from this “3-3-3 tax loophole” and thus saved on his taxes? While we do not recommend taxpayers understate or under-report their income, or over-state their expenses and tax deductions at first temporarily, some clients may find some underlying wisdom in “Amending the Tax Return 3-3-3- Strategy” in difficult times that is still legal. Yes, there are risks and dangers involved in this discretion that some clients might not be willing to take. Do not do this without the help of a tax professional. It is one of our Tax Management Analytics tools for client discretion. That critical decision will be up to the taxpayer. We have ALWAYS insisted the taxpayer must correct and amend the tax return. But the pros and cons the clients should evaluate. When a client decides not to amend the return, the potential tax liability we believe/suggest should not be more than $50,000 dollars, and certain Tax Audit Management Discretions must be implemented under our guidance. Call my office if you might need any help to make other collaborative tax management discretions for your best interest. We could help you make wise decisions. (Angel Y. Dayan, CPA, EA, ABA, ATA could be reached at (213)-365-1040 for an appointment. He has a Masters Course in Tax Defense Representation and Advanced Studies in Tax Practice and Procedures. Website: Email:angel@

Josie Gangozo and her daughter, Jazmine Gangozo-Gantt, Conrad Fernandez, Cynthia Fernandez, Mar Carlos, Rudy Abagat, Malou Ramos-Veneracion, Francis Veneracion, and Francine Veneracion. The reunions used to

draw larger attendance that included the employees’ children. But most of the children have now become adults and have pursued their own interests, and that resulted in a slowly dwindling attendance.



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Adrian Lecaros crashes and burns in 46th Assembly District race


On June 5, 2012, Filipino American Adrian Lecaros received a dismal 2.4 percent of the vote, 781 total, in his campaign to represent the 46th District (Panorama City) in the California Assembly. Running on a campaign of putting the first Filipino in the Assembly in a district that is less than ten percent Filipino seemed flawed to many people I have spoken to about the race. An experienced professional campaign consultant casually observing this race opined that ‘this was not a serious campaign by any stretch of the imagination. He never even launched a web site. He never discussed any issue besides ‘elect a Filipino’, which as a political plan seems quite flawed in a district that has less than 10 % Filipinos. Panaroma City ranks 22nd in California, and 84th in the U.S. in Filipino density, based on zip code analysis. There was no attempt, that I saw, to reach out to non-Filipinos.” This campaign veteran did not wish to be named for this article. For reference, Daly City is the densest Filipino city in California, with 30.74%. “To give you an idea how poorly Mr. Lecaros performed,” the expert stated, “there were 267 candidates running for 80 seats in the California Assembly on Tuesday. Only three received a lower percentage of the total vote than Lecaros.” Under the new primary system the top two vote getters, regardless of party affiliation, move onto the general election. In the 46th Assembly race, Adrin Nazarian, the

► By Joel Bander Senior Columnist Chief of Staff of L.A. City Councilmember Paul Kerkorian, received 27.5% of the vote, and Brian Johnson, a director of a number of charter schools, received 20.3% of the vote, and will move on to compete in the general election in November. Three other candidates received 20.0, 19.3 and 10.6 % percent of the vote, and then lowly Lecaros, with just 2.4%. Another source who also asked not to be named, identifying himself as knowing Mr. Lecaros from the Philippines, told me that the only reason Lecaros ran for office was as a tool to promote the Pinoy Insider newspaper (of which he is most certainly affiliated) and Attorney Norberto Reyes. “Essentially a tool for promotion,” is how it was explained to me. However, I did not see anywhere that Lecaros mentioned either the paper or the attorney. However, I admit I thought it odd that his promotional card was at the Philippine Consulate in mid-Wilshire with the newspapers and handouts, essentially visited by non-citizens far away from his district. And Attorney Reyes does have an office in that building. He also received an ‘award’ for being among the top 100 Filipinos in America, which I have been told required the payment of $1,000 to the dinner organizers within the Pinoy Insider group. I have also received numerous reports that Lecaros and Reyes caused a creditor of Reyes to be arrested for allegedly demanding their funds too harshly. Those charges were dropped by the prosecutor. Lecaros’ Google+ page states he works for Reyes

Law Group. However, his Linkedin page states his professions as candidate for assembly, and it used to state he was membership director for the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce. The election guide listed his profession as independent businessman. I have been informed he does own a booth at a supermarket. Towards election day Lecaros became involved in a dispute with community leader Joe Arciaga regarding whether an endorsement had been obtained from the

Chamber of Commerce. PinoyWatchDog. com had reported extensively on this dispute, which seemed to have some merit from both sides, and misunderstandings. Of substance was Arciaga’s position that Filipinos should not vote for a Filipino just because they were a Filipino. That discussion could probably never be resolved by any ethnic, cultural or similarly situated group of people. During the election campaign Lecaros was quite active for Jessica Sanchez, fighting against the Chinese taking actions in seas proclaimed for Filipinos, for flood victims, and vote for him because he is Filipino. I never heard him speak out on any issue common to someone running for the state legislature. He never responded to two inquires I placed to him about his platform on the issues, and did not respond to both texts and phone calls from me to respond about these election results.

Memorial Day In San Diego ► Words and photo by Dionesio C. Grava


ith beautiful blue skies above and the morning warmth just right, thousands of San Diegans including many veterans, servicemen/women and their families gathered outside the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center at the San Diego Park to commemorate Memorial Day. Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the party’s 2008 candidate, Sen. John McCain, led the crowd in paying tribute to members of the armed services who paid the ultimate sacrifices in the defense of freedom. Romney pledged to maintain an American military unequaled by others to keep the nation safe and protect its interests abroad. “I wish I could tell you that the world is a safe place today. It’s not,” he said mentioning that Iran, China, Russia and terrorists are threats to world peace and safety.

Gov. Romney makes his pledge to defend the military.

A commercial jetliner passes overhead while Senator McCain is in the rostrum for his speech. At this time a heckler managed to get near the fence and shouted insults. McCain’s response: Jerk!

In the crowd were Mel Alfarero (left), outgoing national chairman of the National Filipino-American Republicans (NFAR), Rep. Darrell Issa of the 49th Congressional District and his wife Kathy.

The crowd surges forward to greet Romney after the program.

William Laughlin, pilot of a B24 Liberator who was shot down during WW2 in Romania and imprisoned, was cited by Romney for his service. Helping him is daughter Donna Hall

Gov. Romney and Senator McCain share the text of a song they sang with the crowd. At left is Marine veteran Nick Popaditch and at right, Veteran of the Year David Dickey.

Saturday, June 9, 2012




A sold-out Martin, Charice, Bamboo and Kim and Xian Concert Captivates thousands of fans and raises funds for ABS-CBN Foundation ► Words and photography by Rene Villaroman


oncert King Martin Nievera is enjoying the warm sunshine at a posh resort hotel pool in Cebu when the call from Robbie Fabian of the ABS-CBS Foundation came. “Would you do us the honor of performing in a concert to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Balitang Amerika on May 26 at Home Depot Center ?” Fabian asked Martin. “Of course,” Martin answered in a heartbeat. He knows better than to turn this offer down. He had cut his teeth as a performer with the ABS-CBN network, and as long as the concert did not conflict with any prior commitment, his attendance is a sure bet. Martin also has been supporting the Foundation, the concert’s beneficiary, through his talents in past fundraisers. The ABS-CBN Foundation International of which Fabian is president is huge. It is huge in both its vision and mission. It is involved in the management and growth of charitable endeavors that need the nurturing and financial support of a well-oiled and respected foundation like itself. There is Bantay Bata 163, a media- child caring and rescue organization; E-Media, or education through multi-media; Sagip Kapamilya, poverty alleviation in disaster-affected and marginalized communities; and Bantay Kalikasan, initiatives for the environment; and Volunteerism programs, and Children’s Center which caters to pre-school and grade school pupils. Fabian’s call for help also was heard by international singer, songwriter, record producer, model, dancer and soon-to-be “X Factor Philippines” judge Charice Pempengco. Francisco Manalac aka Bamboo, formerly of the rock band Rivermaya, also heard the call, and so did TFC’s popular love team Kim Chui and Xian Lim. Since this was a 10th anniversary concert, the entire cast of TFC’s Balitang Amerika, headed by anchor Gel Santos-Relos and most of the nightly news program’s California correspondents were also on hand to share the limelight and to greet their hundreds of fans. Scorpio learns that there would be an exchange of citations between the Foundation and the city officials of Carson, California, where the Home Depot Center is located. Home Depot Center had waived the rent for the concert through the interces-

sion of Carson’s Mayor Jim Dear, who is accompanied in the ceremony by longtime Carson councilmember and Mayor Protempore Elito Santarina. The ABS-CBN contingent includes honcho Raffy Lopez and Robbie Fabian. The concert is sold out. Concertgoers are arrived at the venue as early as 3:30

ing because it was a Pinoy event. Scorpio thinks that it has to be on time because it is being held in a mainstream venue, and as such, has to stick to the schedule or pay a fine. Martin Nievera, hewing to the anniversary theme, sings mostly older compositions, some of which he has sung in ABS-CBN entertain-

ment programs of the day. This is not Martin’s greatest performance, and Scorpio knows because he has seen almost all his concerts in Southern California. Even his adlibs are fewer and do not sizzle. Or maybe, this is really not his core audience. But being the trouper that he is, Martin gives the concert his best shot. Ear-

Charice Pempengco singing a new release.

Xian Lim does his best to keep the ladies shrieking.

Martin Nievera poses with Precy Uy, a big fan.

Pinoy rocker, Bamboo, gets audience participation.

pm, Scorpio notes, for a concert that’s slated to begin at 7 pm, and one of the reasons is the public service fair thrown in by the TFC Balitang Amerika crew on the second floor plaza of the Home Depot Center. At this program, entertainment

windows, handing out IDs and wrist straps to volunteers and media members, with assistant Nerissa Fernandez at an adjacent box office window. By 3:45 pm, Scorpio has secured his credentials, along with a bevy of volunteers. Even Adrian

Atty Roman Mosqueda with LA City Attorney-candidate Ed Angeles and his wife.

numbers, a quiz show, and prizes are thrown in. The event preparation was so efficient, even though the organizers are understaffed. Robbie Fabian is manning one of the ticket

Lecaros, the 46th District California Assembly candidate is already happily greeting arriving concertgoers in front of the stadium. The show started on time, which is quite surpris-

The beautiful Kim Chiu singing a ballad.

lier at the reception on the Concourse, he greets Scorpio with, “you with the best questions,” is how he shows that he remembers him from past press conferences and interviews. Remembering Scorpio by the quality of his questions and not remembering his name: precious. Photographer Joe Cobilla tells Scorpio that Charice may not make it, but he knows enough that the info is unsubstantiated. Cobilla says, “I can’t wait for Charice because I have promised Edith (Montelibano) that I would catch up to the other show being held at the Shrine.” It turns out that Joe’s tip is a dud. Charice appears sans fanfare. But Scorpio is flabbergasted by her garb and overall appearance. Charice’s fake blond hair is parted at both sides of her head into a bun on top, and she appears like a miniature female ninja, sans the black kimono. She wears a light gray baseball jacket and leopard-print pants and what appears to be faux leather boots. Scorpio thinks that the new look is a complete turnaround from the time in 2010

Martin Nievera with Xian Lim, Kim Chiu and ABS-CBN dancers.

when she burst into Pinoys’ living room via television in her historic first appearances in the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Ellen Degeneris Show, where she is wearing age and sex-appropriate girl’s dress. Charice, the singer described by Ms. Winfrey as a young Filipino singer “with major pipes,” was born 20 years ago in Cabuyao, Laguna. For Pete’s sake, she is not even legal to play the one-armed bandits in Las Vegas. But now, garbed this way, just a couple of years after she became the darling of Winfrey, Ellen de Generis, Celine Dion, and David Foster, among other Hollywood celebrities, she appears to be going through a discovery phase in her sexuality, Scorpio thinks; and he is left unbelieving. Scorpio is disappointed that Charice, the teen wundersinger from Laguna, has quickly and misguidedly transformed her preppy, squeaky clean image into an edgy and more mature one in only a couple of years since her American debut. Scorpio thought that most concertgoers would remember what she wore, but they would not retain the titles of the newly released pop songs that she performed during that cool Saturday night. What is worth remembering and pondering over is Bamboo’s performance, which is new to Scorpio. He has never heard or seen Bamboo perform in the past. Scorpio knows nothing about this Bamboo, until he searched his web site, and discovers that Bamboo is musician-singer Francisco Manalac’s stage name. Bamboo’s performance is surprising on many levels. He is able to fix Scorpio’s, and the audience’s, attention and to make him bob his head and follow his theatrics as he prances and leaps on the

stage; jumping in the air, bobbing his head, and directing the his back-up band with by bobbing his head and flailing his arms. Scorpio is mesmerized by his songs; he is sucked by the eloquence of his lyrics and the surprising novelty of his rock songs. “This is amazing,” Scorpio says to himself. “This Bamboo is unbelievably good.” In 2003, after living in Los Angeles following the band Rivermaya’s tour of the US, Francisco Manalac, as he was known before assuming a solo career in 2011, returned to the Philippines. Nathan Azarcon, a former Rivermaya band mate, introduced him to Ira Cruz and Vic Mercado. They then formed another band. That band received numerous awards, including “Band of the Year” in the 2004 MTV Pilipinas, and the 2004 MTV Style Awards in the Rock Style category. That band broke up in January 2011. In September 2011, after deciding to go solo, Bamboo released his first single, “Questions”, followed with the release of his solo album, “No Water, No Moon” in November the same year. His web site states: “Bamboo is known for presenting his musical vision that go beyond his craft; with songs whose messages are often a source of inspiration to Filipino youth, Bamboo is considered a Philippine rock music icon.” When asked by a journalist recently about how he views his success, Francisco Manalac said: “I never see it as competition; but we all do want to stand out, have a real voice as I think it’s all about the work you put in even before you get on stage or in the studio. People can spot a phony when they see it or hear it.” Turn to Page 14

A part of the huge audience that attended the sold-out concert.


Saturday, June 9, 2012


Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Gift and More

A Kuh Ledesma concert for charitable giving At Wilshire United Methodist Church June 22


he is one of the Philippines finest singers, she is the Pop Diva; she is…Kuh

Ledesma. An Icon in the Philippine Music Industry, Kuh Ledesma continues to share her love for Music for more than 30 years. Her Achievements, numerous awards and recordings made her the undisputed ‘Pop Diva’ of the Philippines. She has conquered and continues to dominate recording, the con-

cert stage, television, movies and musical production. Her passion and love for music remained as her key to bring forth the message of love, nationalism, and pope to her kababayan’s here in the US. “This time I am giving more, not to boast about my giving, but just to testify to you that just recently, talagang ginagawa ko talaga yung effort na Lord, saan pa ba ako pwede magbigay?” says Kuh Ledesma. The pop diva has so

much to give, and now she is back to offer another beautiful concert entitled, THE GIFT & MORE. THE GIFT AND MORE is a benefit concert for the Senior Citizen Housing of the Rosewood United Methodist Church and the JIR Foundation. Despite her busy schedule in Manila, Kuh makes it a point to reach out to different churches here in the US. Kuh helps these churches to raise funds by producing a concert which hopes to

Matthew Parry-Jones, a Filipino child actor, is shining in Hollywood

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Mayor Jim Dear of Carson reading a commendation for Balitang Amerika while Gel Santos-Relos and Council Member Elito Santarina look on.

are: tenor Edward Granadosin, contemporary jazz saxophonist, Ner de Leon, Isabella, and Constantino Ledesma. THE GIFT AND MORE is brought to you by Rosewood United Methodist Church, Rosewood Revitalization Group and the JIR Foundation. Catch Kuh Ledesma,


atthew Parry-Jones is a name not new in the entertainment business. Born in Makati, Philippines with a Filipina mother from Cebu, 11 years old Matthew grew up in London. This half Filipino, half British rising star has always meant to be in the world of entertainment. Before moving to England when he was a baby, he was already called one of the most beautiful babies in the Philippines and was featured in a diaper commercial. It was just the beginning. Before moving to Los Angeles, Matthew would run from school to sing with a live band in a Filipino restaurant in Mission, San Francisco three times a week. He did not only make the people dance with his music, he would also come home with his favourite pancit and siopao for his mom after eating his favourite tinola and adobo for lunch in the restaurant. Now in Hollywood, Matthew just finished filming “Wolves from Another Kingdom” – an AFI Thesis Film-- with film festival distribution, Online, DVD Anthologies. A mix between “The Road” and “Lord of the Flies,” this visually arresting a tale from award winning filmmakers, chronicles the travails of two young brothers

as they fight to survive in a post apocalyptic landscape, absent of all adults and females. Matthew is actively supporting many different groups in the Philippines through his Foundation called Jeremiah”s Foundation and Feeding Program which helps feed at least 200 or more children in the Philippines every month. The foundation is being named after Matthew’s brother Jeremiah who died following an accident even before Matthew was born. Matthew’s most recent project has been print modelling for MazBrasil – an eco-friendly company hand-makes and manufactures shoes in Brazil with branches in Brazil, Italy, Israel and Spain. The company has a US store on

Edward Granadosin, Ner de Leon, Isabella and Tito Ledesma at THE GIFT AND MORE on June 22 at 8:00 pm at the Wilshire United Methodist Church 4350 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90005. For Tickets, please call 1-877-JIR-3-JIR (1-877547-3547) or “Ding” (626) 354-3500.—Lou Cabalde

Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles. MazBrasil is very proud to be one of the sponsors for the Miss Philippines/USA pageant held at the Marriott Hotel in Burbank. Owners Lidia and Oscar Alzate, are very excited to have Matthew join the MazBrasil family and are already planning for future events. With so much scheduled projects in his little hand -from modelling, acting and singing engagements--Matthew still manages to be a straight “A” student and is on California’s Top Dean’s List. With all the things this young Pinoy is doing, especially giving back to the Filipino Community, TFC Balitang America featured Matthew in the news as one of the most outstanding Filipinos. His mum says: “There is no word that can describe how proud I am seeing him to be what he is now and what he has achieved at a very young age. It is over the top”. His Website:

A sold-out Martin, Charice, Bamboo and Kim and Xian Concert From Page 13

ABS-CBN executives Raffy Lopez and J. Robbie Fabian with Carson councilmember Elito Santarina (right).

touch the hearts of people here in the US and lead people to help these workers for Christ through her shows. For Kuh Ledesma, her concerts not only help raise funds but also serve as a venue for Filipinos to show their unity as they come together to enjoy the show and at the same time fulfill someone’s dream. For Ledesma this is what Filipinos are known for. Aside from Kuh Ledesma, other artists joining her for THE GIFT & MORE

One of the hits in the concert is the team-up of Kim Chiu and Xian Lim. The love team is the lead cast in a TFC teleserye, and that segment of the concert brings back memories of the Nora Aunor-Tirso Cruz tandem in the 70s, right down to the less-than-perfect singing of the male star. A diehard lady fan of the teleserye is able to grab an empty seat

on the front row, right beside where Scorpio is sitting, telling him that “I drove miles to see them in person, and I’m not going to miss this chance to get a photo,” or something to that effect. Scorpio being unconcerned, just opens up a space for her to move in with her tiny digital camera, in the process blocking his view of the presentation while she slithers slowly down to (right) with the Miss Philippines beauties.

the edge of the stage to grab a shot of the young makebelieve lovers. This is a truly Filipino family entertainment event, and poor Scorpio, who does not have TFC in his cable package, does not recognize and cannot relate to the duo’s popularity. But Scorpio is the exception, as most of the attendees that filled the Home Depot Center tennis stadium enjoyed the performances and went home feeling good about themselves. Apart from getting their fix of Pinoy entertainment, they also feel they are helping a charity and that part of the money they spent to buy admission would go to the charitable institutions that are under the wings of the ABS-CBN Foundation. Scorpio, despite his early misgivings, feels good about himself, having done his part documenting

Xian Lim serenades Kim Chiu

the concert in words and pictures through the pages of, even though he cannot relate to the Lim-Chiu love team.



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Maria Amor, chic celebrity entrepreneur, celebrates birthday at posh Beverly Hills Country Club ► Words and photography by Rene Villaroman


Waiting for her prince.

hen you are a beauty queen and entrepreneur with a charitable heart who is living in trendy Los Angeles, how would you celebrate your birthday without actually revealing your real age? The answer is you would want to throw a party at a posh country club, attended by your multi-ethnic friends and business associates, and covered by the ethnic community media. This is exactly Maria Amor’s formula for celebrating her special day. The event itself is a multi-tasking opportunity to not only gather her closest friends and business associates, but also to launch a flashy magazine – Exotifit WORLD – and to turn the celebration into a smorgasbord of entertainment event featuring singers, dancers, beauty pageant winners, and fashion models. For the less trendy Pinoys in the Los Angeles area, the name Maria Amor would not readily have rung a bell, such as Scorpio. But Scorpio learned about this fabulous shindig a few weeks before its D- day from Jesse ‘Jam’ Miranda, a peripatetic producerfilmmaker and publicist and a good friend. “Maria Amor who?” Scorpio clarified. This minutiae, of course, is now water under the

The presidentiables.

The beast was the only bidder -and winner.

Is it the 29th birthday?

The beast has his beauties

Exoti-lady World Winner Samira Kazemeni

Jesse Jam promotes Exoti World

bridge, because not only did Scorpio see and photograph Maria Amor for the first time at the soiree at the Beverly Hills Country Club on June 1st, he gained even more insights into her life after he and PWD Senior Columnist Joel Bander interviewed her at a Century City restaurant a couple of days after the big party. She is a self-made, successful Pinoy entrepreneur with a beauty title under her belt, a business degree from Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA), a wellknown business college in Manila and Quezon City, and President and CEO of Exotifit for Humanity, a pretty snazzy name for an outfit that does, among others, mostly

unheralded charitable projects in a garbage dump squatter community close to the town of Montalban, Rizal, where she was born to a very poor family. It is perhaps that humble beginning, Scorpio surmised, that gifted Maria with a very strong motivation to make it, and to make it on her own terms. Well, as the saying goes: the rest is history. presents here, in a pictorial, how the poor girl from Montalban has parlayed her education, good looks, astute business acumen, a giving and welcoming heart and a passion for community service into a memorable and inclusive birthday celebration. Happy birthday, Maria Amor!

Van auctioning off the birthday girl.

Celebrating the sale.

Maria Amor shares her life story as beauty queen and entrepreneur to From Page 9

an array of businesses back home, but was able to become quite sophisticated through education and international travel before moving to the U.S. less than a decade ago. Now Amor’s multifaceted business empire focuses on beauty and glamour for those over 30, or even 40 years, of age, including not only the newly announced magazine, but a number of beauty pageants, and a regular show on Global TV, along with her charity work. Among her more interesting projects is Miss Global Ambassador, where she requests embassies in Washington, D.C. to designate nominees who best exemplify the

promotion of freedom. So I decided, let me ask a beauty queen contest question: ‘What is your greatest weakness?” Laughing at being asked a question in that format she became serious saying “I wish I was not so emotional, could be more controlled. I am too transparent.” Amor demonstrated this aspect of her personality when a minor controversy arose regarding one member of the press who felt entitled to country club food at the party to write about the birthday party event. In response to that media person’s blog she let loose a minor rage that Filipino food was being insulted, making statements that

would make an ordinary publicist wince. (Interestingly, our own Chief of Reporters, Diony Grava, took the opposite view that the media should take no food from those they write about. For me, I was happy that the chicken adobo was not too salty.) I asked Amor why there was no mention at the birthday party that was touted as a fundraiser for her pet project back home. Jessie Miranda chimed in, advising about mismatching cables from computer to the projector at the hotel, and Radio Shack not having them once it was discovered. Amor admitted that her project back home to date has been modest, with an open air enter-

tainment center for the community, and her plans for a small simple library with computers and internet access. She did not try to make the charity work seem bigger than it was. Amor said that she brings all the money home personally, and the work is administered by her sister, a preacher back home. Amor is also willing to take on controversy, taking a ‘crown’ away from one of her pageant winners, which is also causing a bit of an Internet stir. But my side notes from the interview best describe her as “sophisticated business woman.” Beauty queen is a part of her existence, but does not define her.

Saturday, June 9, 2012



Parody Look Who’s Reading! 17th Issue 9 June 2012 abhors the ‘cut-and-paste’ journalism of Philippine-American papers, publishing vanilla stories except for the most egregi...