Archive for the ‘ People ’ Category

Wright’s Law: A Unique Teacher Imparts Real Life Lessons

St. Pedro Calungsod Music Video

ZAC EFRON shares his experiences in the Philippines on Ellen DeGeneres Show

Fr. Bossi, former Mindanao kidnap victim, dies in Italy

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Fr. Bossi

The people of Mindanao will always treasure their memories of Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, the Italian missionary abducted in 2007 by a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said in a tribute to the priest who died in Italy Sunday.

Bossi, 62, who struggled with lung cancer for a year, died in the Humanitas clinic in Rozzano sul Naviglio in Milan.

“We feel very sad [upon learning about] the death of Fr. Bossi,” Jumoad said. “We treasure his memories, his missionary work, here in Zamboanga del Sur,” he added.

“We pray that there be more Fr. Bossis in terms of commitment to the ministry, in terms of fidelity, so we entrust his soul to the Almighty, that he be given the joy of life hereafter,” the bishop said.

Bossi lived in the Philippines for 32 years, “creat(ing) schools and working cooperatives…and taught people to overcome divisions to collaborate, share and promote the common good,” his friends and colleagues from the Pontificio Istituto Missioni Estore (PIME) recalled.

The missionary was kidnapped in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay, in June 2007 by armed men belonging to a breakaway group of the MILF, and released a month later on July 10.

He returned to Italy the following month and had the opportunity to meet Pope Benedict XVI, who had appealed to his kidnappers for his release.

In the July 20, 2007, issue of the PIME newsletter, Santos Digal wrote of Bossi’s narration of his ordeal while in captivity: “Speaking alternatively in English and the local dialect, the Italian missionary confirmed that the kidnappers ‘treated him well’ despite (being moved) constantly to evade military troops. He was fed rice and salt (and) dried fish.

To keep up with his abductors, the confessed chain smoker said he was forced to give up cigarettes: “One night while we were walking, we (had) to climb a mountain and my breathing was heavy. I told myself if I want to survive, I have to keep breathing. Better stop smoking and I stopped smoking”.

Told about the 14 Marines in Basilan who died when their unit was ambushed as they returned from a mission to check reported sightings of him, the Italian priest said, “I felt so sorry. In a way, I feel responsible for their deaths.”

Bossi, who was not allowed by his superiors to return to Payao after the kidnapping, also told his colleagues of his desire to go back to his mission work in the area.

“I want to return to Payao to greet my people and tell them I am well,” Digal quoted Bossi as saying. “They say that a priest must also be a father and so as the father of my community, it is my duty to return to my people, to my children.”

Pacquiao ‘primed for fall’

World champion Manny Pacquiao says he’s rejuvenated in body as well as spirit, but challenger Timothy Bradley says the Filipino ring icon is primed for a fall when they meet on Saturday.

“He’s worn out, tired, I can see it in his eyes, the wrinkles,” says Bradley, a 5/1 underdog despite his unbeaten record of 28-0 with 12 knockouts.

“This boy’s not ready for me.”

Pacquiao and Bradley weighed in on Friday before a raucous crowd of about 4 000 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organisation welterweight world title will be on the line.

Pacquiao weighed in at 147 pounds (66.67kg) – the heaviest he’s been at a weigh-in.

In comparison, Pacquiao weighed in at just 144.6 pounds (65.58kg) when he fought Antonio Margarito in a super welterweight title bout fought at a catch-weight of 150 pounds (68.03kg) in 2010.

Bradley tipped the scales at 146 pounds (66.22 kg) and the challenger, who has presented a relaxed front in the build-up to the bout, was all-business at the weigh-in, scowling and moving in on Pacquiao in the photo-op staredown.

When Bradley gave an aggressive jerk of his chin, Pacquiao seemed to struggle to suppress a smile.

“I’m smiling,” Pacquiao said. “I’m happy.”

While Pacquiao is the favourite, he has, indeed, been doubted by pundits who point to his unconvincing majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in November, along with such signs of weakness as debilitating leg cramps in his more recent fights.

“I’m ready for war,” Bradley declared after the weigh-in in front of a pro-Pacquiao crowd. “Don’t matter getting booed. None of these people are going to be in the ring. It’s going to be me and Manny at the end of the night.

“I’m set out to prove everybody wrong.”

Pacquiao – who has won titles in eight weight classes and boasts a record of 54-3 with two drawn and 38 knockouts – has said his preparations for his last Marquez fight were hampered by marital strife, a thing of the past now that he has re-dedicated himself to God and spends his time in Bible study rather than gambling, drinking and womanizing.

“They’re as happy as can be,” trainer Freddie Roach said on Thursday of Pacquiao and his wife, Jinkee. “He’s in a much better place than he was before his last fight.”

While promoter Bob Arum has characterised Pacquiao’s life as “careening off the rails” prior to his spiritual re-awakening, Roach seemed to think things weren’t that bad.

“He just got caught up in the limelight a little bit,” Roach said. “He took a step back and looked at his life and didn’t like it – and he changed.”

Roach said the change has carried over into the gym, but Bradley sounded a sceptical note this week.

“He’s here, he’s there, he’s fornicating and now he’s got his religion in place,” Bradley said. “I don’t have to throw religion in people’s face.”

Whatever the truth of Pacquiao’s spiritual quest and its impact on his physical abilities, Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz, said Saturday’s fight will come down to ring skills, pure and simple.

Diaz said that’s what will give his fighter a chance in what Bradley has acknowledged is the biggest bout of his life.

“Manny is a one-dimensional fighter,” Diaz claimed. “He unloads a lot of punches, but he’s reckless.

“He doesn’t focus on his defense. You can counterpunch him all night long. And Timothy’s a brawler who can move his feet and be smart enough to make any changes he needs to in there.”

Roach, not surprisingly, begs to differ.

He says Bradley isn’t a slick counterpuncher and won’t be able to match Pacquiao’s quickness.

“He’s the same fighter he was as an amateur,” Roach said of Bradley. “He makes the same mistakes. We’re going to take advantage of them.

Guilty: Corona accepts fate after Senate’s 20-3 vote

Guilty.

But beyond that vote of 20 of the 23-member Senate ousting Chief Justice Renato Corona for dishonesty in submitting his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs), Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano pointed to a “new paradigm” in good governance.

He said that he admired Corona’s submission of an unconditional waiver during his second appearance before the Senate impeachment court on Friday allowing the government to scrutinize all his assets, not just the bank accounts.

Saying the Corona waiver “has set a new standard” among public officials, Cayetano said that President Benigno Aquino III should now instruct his Cabinet to do the same “or resign and leave government.”

“Lead by following, or get out of the way,” he said, noting that the same standard should be applied from the executive branch down to the barangay (village) level. “We should all follow this standard. The standard for one should be the standard for all.”

The 20-3 vote ousting the 63-year-old Corona came after 43 riveting days of the nationally televised impeachment trial for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

In a statement issued from his hospital bed, Corona said he was accepting his “calvary” and left unanswered the question of whether he would still go to the Supreme Court to seek relief, possibly a declaration of mistrial. His lawyers said they were still to meet with Corona later in the evening.

The senators took Corona to task for his failure to include some $2.4 million in bank deposits—on top of an allegedly commingled amount worth P80.7 million—in his SALNs from 2002 to 2010.

“The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, having tried Renato C. Corona, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, upon three articles of impeachment charged against him by the House of Representatives, with a guilty vote by 20 senators representing at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate, has found him guilty of the charge under Article 2 of the said articles of impeachment,” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile announced after four hours of voting.

“Now, therefore, be it adjudged that Renato C. Corona is hereby convicted of the charge against him in Article 2. So ordered,” he continued, before banging the gavel to signal the end of the impeachment trial.

Subdued applause

The announcement was greeted by subdued clapping from the gallery, despite restrictions imposed by the Senate sergeant at arms.

Copies of the verdict were ordered transmitted to President Aquino, who campaigned for Corona’s removal, the Supreme Court en banc, Corona’s camp, the House of Representatives, and the Judicial and Bar Council, which would provide the President with a short list of candidates as the next Chief Justice.

The conviction puts an abrupt end to Corona’s stint as the country’s highest magistrate, which began in May 2010 with his disputed appointment by the outgoing President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

House prosecutors got the crucial 16th vote to remove Corona when Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. took the floor and rendered a guilty verdict. Four more senators—Vicente Sotto III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Manuel Villar, and Enrile—followed suit, bringing to 20 the number of senator-judges who found the Chief Justice guilty.

Only Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. voted to acquit Corona. They all agreed that Corona’s failure to disclose assets in his SALNs was not an impeachable offense.

History is final judge

As presiding officer, Enrile cast the final vote with Corona’s fate already sealed. He provided an overview of the entire trial, its curious twists and turns and legal and “moral dilemmas.”

“I have constantly held that those who face the judgment of imperfect and fallible mortals like us have recourse to the judgment of history, and, ultimately, of God,” he said.

“And so, with full trust that the Almighty will see us through the aftermath of this chapter in our nation’s history, I vote to hold the Chief Justice, Renato C. Corona, guilty as charged under Article 2, Paragraph 2.3, and that his deliberate act of excluding substantial assets from his sworn statement of assets, liabilities and net worth constitutes a culpable violation of the Constitution.”

Majority of the senators did not buy Corona’s position that he was precluded from declaring his dollar deposits—purportedly his family savings of nearly four decades—in his SALNs because of the “absolute” confidentiality provision of the Foreign Currency Deposit Act (Republic Act No. 6426).

Enrile, in particular, rejected Corona’s reason that he did not declare some P80.7 million worth of deposits in three peso accounts because they were “commingled” with his family’s savings, including money from Basa Guidote Enterprises Inc. (BGEI).

“Assuming that any part of such deposits in truth belonged to third parties, the respondent could have indicated such third-party funds as corresponding liabilities in his SALN. That would have reflected his real net worth,” the Senate President said.

Grossly misplaced

Enrile described as “grossly misplaced” the Chief Justice’s “reliance on the absolute confidentiality” provided under RA 6426. He cited the constitutional requirement for all government employees to submit SALNs.

“Are we now to say that this constitutional command is limited to a public official’s assets or deposits in local currency? If so, would we not be saying, in effect, that the Constitution allows something less than a full, honest and complete disclosure?” he asked.

Enrile said Corona could have converted his dollar deposits into peso and reflected them in his SALNs. “The nondisclosure of these deposits, in both local and foreign currency, would naturally result in a corresponding distortion of the Chief Justice’s real net worth,” he said.

Because Corona was already found guilty of the second article of impeachment, the court no longer voted on the two other charges—Article 3 on the alleged flip-flopping SC decisions, and Article 7 on the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order against a justice department order preventing Arroyo from seeking medical treatment abroad.

Hypocrisy

A recurring issue throughout the trial was the matter of “hypocrisy.”

Enrile acknowledged the question as to why Corona should be punished for an error—the failure to make full disclosure of assets in SALNs—when others in government were most likely doing it as well.

“I believe it is our duty to resolve this ‘dilemma’ in favor of upholding the law and sound public policy,” said Enrile, one of the richest members of the upper chamber.

“If we were to agree with the respondent that he was correct in not disclosing the value of his foreign currency deposits because they are absolutely confidential, can we ever expect any SALN to be filed by public officials from here on to be more accurate and true than they are today?”

Macho bloc

The House prosecution’s campaign to oust Corona gathered the support of all blocs in the Senate, including most members of Senator Manuel Villar’s Nacionalista Party group. Enrile’s so-called “macho bloc” consisting of Sotto, Estrada and Honasan all voted against Corona.

Not long ago, Villar waged a bitter campaign against Mr. Aquino during the 2010 presidential election. Thus, his vote was closely watched, considering that the President was considered the main architect of Corona’s removal.

Technicalities

He spent most of his speech on Tuesday, not to explain his vote, but to recall the vilification he had likewise suffered in public. In the end, his vote turned out to be to Mr. Aquino’s liking.

“I believe that CJ Corona is a good man,” he began, “but in this issue of the (Foreign Currency Deposit) account, he was wrong. I believe that the law applies equally to all, whether rich or poor, a member of the Supreme Court or an ordinary citizen.”

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano sought to simplify the issue against Corona and the Chief Justice’s invocation of the absolute confidentiality provision.

“Why do we complicate what is so simple? Technicalities should protect the rights of the people. I don’t blame this court for sticking to technicalities because this is supposed to protect the rights of the people. But, somehow in this country, it is being used to protect people who plunder this country,” he said.

“If you did not disclose, we have to depose. If you are not fit, you cannot sit.”

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III also pounced on the issue of equal application of the law.

“The law that applies to Juan is the same law that applies to Renato,” he said in Filipino. “If you don’t want to disclose your real net worth, don’t enter government.”

John Lennon

“You make your own dream. That’s the Beatles’ story, isn’t it? That’s Yoko’s story . That’s what I’m saying now. Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don’t expect Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself. That’s what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshiped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be. There’s nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.”

John Lennon’s Dream for the 80’s