Archive for the ‘ People ’ Category

The Troubled Times of Angelo Reyes

After Oakwood, it was somehow downhill for him within the institution he served for most of his life.

On the second week of July 2003, then Armed Forces chief of staff Angelo T. Reyes got wind of initial intelligence reports about the plan of young military officers to mount a mutiny.

Reyes was lukewarm about it. Thus when the group of then Navy LtSg. Antonio Trillanes IV seized the Oakwood hotel in Makati on July 27, the general was in Mindanao meeting with local disaster councils, though he returned late afternoon that day and went straight to Malacanang.

One of the senior intelligence officers that Newsbreak interviewed then said, “He was not on top of it. He also misread the soldiers. He said that their morale was highest after Camp Abubakar fell [in 2000].”

Reyes was chief of staff when military troops seized the main camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after days of warfare with the rebels. It was a shining moment for the AFP since the camp symbolized MILF power and stature in the Islamic world.

Proud and oozing with confidence, Reyes had a fast rise to the top after a short lull in his career.

He went to the best schools aside from the Philippine Military Academy, finishing 2 masters degrees: a business administration diploma from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and a public administration degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Until his death, he was president of the Harvard Club, an association of Harvard alumni in Manila. Just last week, he presided over their meeting at AIM in Makati and showed no signs of despondence, according to fellow Harvard alumnus and PMA graduate, Victor Corpus.

Reyes spent several years in the intelligence community and commanded an Army battalion, brigade, division, major service and eventually the entire Armed Forces.

He loved singing, yes, but he also loved debating. “He looked intimidating, but I think that was just a put-on. In truth he was soft-hearted, always cracking jokes,” says Corpus.

Reyes was not one who gave reporters easy answers, and he would reply to a question with another question. In his heyday, Reyes grew sensitive to media criticism and saw motive behind certain negative stories about him.

Reyes’s first brush with political power was under the Marcos years, when he served as military aide of then Prime Minister Cesar Virata. It was during those years that he got acquainted with former military comptroller Jacinto Ligot, who is also one of the subjects of an ongoing probe into military corruption. Ligot was then with the Presidential Security Command.

Reyes’s wife, Teresita, and Ligot’s wife, Erlinda, would end up as close friends when Reyes became chief of staff.

This friendship, in fact, was discussed at a Senate hearing last Monday following immigration records shown by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada about the two wives’ frequent foreign trips together.

Angie’s Coup
Reyes’s stars were brightest under former President Joseph Estrada.

In a span of 3 years, from 1998-to 2001, he served as commanding general of the Southern Command, then the Philippine Army (for only 3 months in 1999) and eventually as chief of staff.

Like Estrada, Reyes lived in San Juan; their mothers reportedly knew each other from way back. Reyes enjoyed Estrada’s confidence so much that when one of the general’s sons got married, he asked the former President to stand as godfather.

This is why it took a while for him to be persuaded to join the anti-Estrada movement that by end-2000 had already snowballed.

During Estrada’s impeachment trial in 2000, at least 3 factions in the Armed Forces debated the options on how best to deal with their commander-in- chief: Should they oust him by force, or should they simply withdraw support from him?

In the end, Reyes, who espoused the most passive, least confrontational approach, prevailed.

In “Angie’s Coup,” Newsbreak’s inside story on the military withdrawal of support from Estrada in January 2001, we said that hours after Reyes declared the military’s break from Estrada, 4 generals raised to him a sensitive point: Since the military was making a crucial move, why couldn’t it go a step further and dictate the terms for the transition? Reyes would hear none of it.

We reported then that just 3 days after the jueteng scandal broke out in October 2000, Reyes received a letter from an Army colonel who noted that many of his fellow officers “feel outrage deep within—outrage for having a ‘lord of all gambling lords’ as their commander in chief.” The colonel told Reyes: “You are about to make the most important decision of our life—a decision that can either lead this nation back to recovery and progress, or plunge it further down the road to perdition.”

In Newsbreak’s first issue in January 2001, we wrote then: “It took Reyes 3 months, after consultations with civilian groups and fellow officers, to make his decision.

Up to the last minute, some leaders of the anti-Estrada mass movement had serious doubts about Reyes. Word spread that there were officers and field commanders who were more prepared to strike. The bloc of former Tarlac Rep. Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco Jr. and Pastor ‘Boy’ Saycon openly talked about the supposed commitment made by 14 brigade commanders to join the Estrada Resign movement. The target date was November 25. The plot flopped.”

In contrast to his agitated peers, Reyes was a cautious man. For months, he spurned all appeals for him to abandon Estrada.

Former Army chief Fortunato Abat met with him to ask him to advise Estrada to quit. “Well, since Angie (Reyes) is a champion debater and Abat also loved to talk, they ended up debating,” our source recalled then.

Our story added: “Yet unknown to most, Reyes did agree to an aide’s suggestion to try to persuade the President to quit first week of November (2000)…But Reyes was stopped in his tracks, according to a source close to the general.

In a meeting in Malacanang on Nov. 4, 2000, the day of a massive rally at Edsa, the President told him straight that he had received reports that he, Reyes, was being invited by the opposition to a meeting. Reyes denied it, but he probably felt then that the die was cast. For Estrada’s spooks got it right: Reyes was to meet with the Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo the following morning. The meeting had to be cancelled. Still, Reyes’s trusted officers continued to touch base with some anti-Estrada leaders and the Arroyo camp. And the chief of staff did his homework, projecting a neutral image while meeting with officers from different PMA batches to get their sense of the situation.”

In his conversations with PMAyers during those difficult days, he told them, “Think of the repercussions of what we do 50 to 100 years from now. We do not want a tradition of the AFP going against the leadership.” But when the people massed up at Edsa for the second time, Reyes moved and spelled the end of Estrada’s term.

Bad luck
Under President Arroyo, Reyes soon got dragged into all sorts of controversies.

As chief of staff and later defense secretary, Reyes kept a tight group of young officers doggedly loyal to him. They got plum positions and lorded it over in Camp Aguinaldo. Among them was then Lt. Col. George Rabusa, who was very close to Reyes and his wife; Rabusa first served as Reyes’s budget officer when the latter worked at J2 (AFP deputy chief of staff for intelligence) under the Ramos government.

The entire comptroller family—Rabusa, Carlos Garcia, Jacinto Ligot, and Antonio Lim—enjoyed the confidence, and protection, of Reyes. (See: Cover-up in the military)

In August 2003, when he was forced to resign as defense chief following the Oakwood mutiny, Reyes refused to talk about the reasons for his leaving.

Instead, he cited his 2 major “achievements:” the fall of Camp Abubakar and his role in the peaceful transition of power from Estrada to Mrs. Arroyo. He told Newsbreak then: “I want to be remembered as an officer who spent 30 years in the service, as one who tried to do his best. I always maintain a standard of excellence that I impose on myself before I impose it on others.”

The public image that he built over the years, however, was tarnished by serious allegations of compromises and graft.

After leaving the defense department, Reyes was named by Mrs. Arroyo to various positions: anti-kidnapping czar, head of an anti-smuggling task force, Interior and Local Government Secretary, and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary. His last Cabinet position was Energy Secretary before he ran under the 1-UTAK party-list group in the last elections. Reyes was criticized for joining this transport group because he was obviously not part of this sector.

Initially, he toyed with the idea of running for the Senate. But his own survey numbers discouraged him from it.

The energy department proved to be too technical and complicated for him. At one time, he attributed the increasing cost of fuel to rising water waves. At another, he said there would be blackouts on election day (May 10, 2010) and gave an exact number of households who will have no power.

Energy and power supply experts wondered where he got the figure since there was still no available simulation model to compute for that.

In February 2010, a month before he stepped down as energy boss, Reyes approved the conversion of a mining exploration contract with a UK-based oil and gas exploration company into a full-fledged service contract, which allowed it to drill.

He defended his move: “The area [covered]…is within the Exclusive Economic Zone, and the government has the authority to engage in the exploration, development and utilization of resources and enter into an arrangement and that authority is within the DOE (Department of Energy).”

When he ran under 1-UTAK, militant groups sought his disqualification. The Commission on Elections upheld his nomination, but 1-UTAK later withdrew his name from their list, a move that Reyes questioned before the Comelec. The case is still pending with the poll body.

But it was the damning testimony of his longtime aide Rabusa that truly got Reyes depressed.

In 2003, when Newsbreak asked him about his plans after he resigned as defense chief, Reyes had this to say: “What the future holds, only time will tell. I have lived a full and fulfilled life. I have no complaints, no regrets. If I were to live again, I would take the same route.”

At his mother’s grave this morning, could he have uttered the same words?


Manny Pacquiao’s Los Angeles home

Manny Pacquiao’s Los Angeles home featured on MTV Cribs.

Mubarak’s message, abridged

Shorter Mubarak (with some poetic license about ulterior motives

1. A lot of naive but earnest young people are in the streets.
2. Those young people were quickly exploited by political forces (i.e. those who don’t adore me). 3. I’m going to investigate those political forces. A lot.
4. Oh, and I almost forgot, I’m not going to run for president again.
5. Did I mention that I was going to investigate those “political” forces who are trying to run me out of town?
6. I am a man of the military–so you should be worried that I’m going to have them shoot you if you don’t calm down.
7. Oh, and about those “political” forces: I’m going to spend the last months of my service “investigating” them–I mean, really investigating them, gouging the truth out of them–with extreme prejudice…which should be sufficient time for me to throw them all in jail and maybe torture them.
8. Then again, if it isn’t sufficient time to rid our great nation of these horrid pests…well, who knows, a guy can change his mind about not running for president again, can’t he? 🙄

Padre Pio

Saint Padre Pio

Also known as
Francesco Forgione
Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
Pio of Pietrelcina

23 September


Born to a southern Italian farm family, the son of Grazio, a shepherd. At age 15 he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin friars in Morcone, Italy and joined the order at age 19. Suffered several health problems, and at one point his family thought he had tuberculosis. Ordained at age 22 on 10 August 1910.

While praying before a cross, he received the stigmata on 20 September 1918, the first priest ever to be so blessed. As word spread, especially after American soldiers brought home stories of Padre Pio following WWII, the priest himself became a point of pilgrimage for both the pious and the curious. He would hear confessions by the hour, reportedly able to read the consciences of those who held back. Reportedly able to bilocate, levitate, and heal by touch. Founded the House for the Relief of Suffering in 1956, a hospital that serves 60,000 a year. In the 1920’s he started a series of prayer groups that continue today with over 400,000 members worldwide.

His canonization miracle involved the cure of Matteo Pio Colella, age 7, the son of a doctor who works in the House for Relief of Suffering, the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo founded by Padre Pio. On the night of 20 June 2000, Matteo was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital with meningitis. By morning, doctors had lost hope for him as nine of the boy’s internal organs had ceased to give signs of life. That night, during a prayer vigil attended by Matteo’s mother and some Capuchin friars of Padre Pio’s monastery, the child’s condition improved suddenly. When he awoke from the coma, Matteo said that he had seen an elderly man with a white beard and a long, brown habit, who said to him: “Don’t worry, you will soon be cured.” The miracle was approved by the Congregation and Pope John Paul II on 20 December 2001.

25 May 1887 at Pietrelcina, Benevento, Italy as Francesco Forgione

23 September 1968 in San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italy of natural causes

18 December 1997 by Pope John Paul II (decree of heroic virtues)

2 May 1999 by Pope John Paul II

16 June 2002 by Pope John Paul II at Rome, Italy

See also: Pio of Pietrelcina

Profile of a Supermodel: Danica Flores Magpantay

Danica Flores Magpantay, 17, is the winner of the Supermodel of the World 2010 contest held recently in New York City. She will take home around P11-million in cash prizes, and a contract with Ford Models.

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Danica is the daughter of Lala Flores, the 1990 Supermodel of the World-Philippines winner. Before venturing into modeling, Danica was a freshman student of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines.
It was only last year that Danica decided to enroll at the Masters School for Models to learn her craft. According to Chriscel Agudo, the school’s administrator, Danica decided to pursue a career in the industry when she saw old videos of her mother modeling on the runway.
Danica was just a newcomer in the modeling industry when she started her course at the Masters School for Models in August 2010. But she asked a lot of questions during her classes and learned a lot in a short time.

Danica finished her course in the modeling school after only a month. Then she joined the Supermodel of the World-Philippines contest and eventually was declared the winner.
Judges in the Supermodel of the World contest in New York liked the interesting blend of masculine and feminine features on Danica’s face.
Danica stands 5’8-3/4″ tall, and has the perfect body proportions—30″ (chest), 22″ (waist), and 30″ (hips).
Danica will now work in New York. In an interview, she reveals that she wants to continue her studies there.
Will Danica make it to the top of the modeling industry? Her mentors at her modeling school believe she can. “She should keep believing in herself and in God,” said school administrator Chriscel Agudo.🙄
See also : Pinay is 2011 Ford Supermodel of the World

Kilala niyo na ba ang Pinay na nakapasok sa Operacion Triunfo, ang American Idol version ng Spain?

After going through an audition of almost 7,000, a former Mutya ng Barcelona and dzMM’s Global Singing Idol 2010 third placer named Alexandra Masangkay Escalona reaches the top 16 of Operacion Triunfo, Spain’s version of the Idol franchise.

Alexandra is based in Barcelona, Spain where she was born to Filipino parents. Information available in the Web says this 18-year-old Filipina-Spanish is a Chemical Engineering student in Universidad Politecnica de Cataluna.

In her Operacion Triunfo blog entry Alexandra says she loves dancing and enjoys reading during her free time. Her favorite book is Carlos Ruis Zafon’s The Prince of Fog. She likes all kinds of music, especially R&B and dreams of doing a duet someday with Jordin Sparks, Mariah Carey and Chris Brown.

A Facebook page was made for her to campaign for support for her in the show. And for you, Spanish-speaking out there, you can also show your support by visiting the Operacion Triunfo fan page and clicking on the “Hazte fan” to become a fan of Alexandra.


Artists pay tribute to Francis M via ‘Muziklaban’

Various artists and celebrities on Saturday trooped to SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds in Pasay City to attend the Pambansang Muziklaban: Francis Magalona Tribute.

Vocalists Jamir Garcia of Slapshock, Marc Abaya of Qwan, and Reg Rubio of Greyhoundz were among those spotted in the event.

They acknowledged Magalona’s influence in their respective singing careers. They added that they were inspired by his music as they grew up listening to his songs.

“Ako ata ang unang batang nagkaroon ng album niya na YO! Nasa tape pa ‘yon kasi taga-Mindanao ako, so hindi naman lahat ng bago dumadating ‘yon those times,” Rubio said.

Garcia was also all praises for Magalona. He said Magalona deserved to be given a tribute since “he’s a very important part of the music industry. He inspired even the rock scene.”

He said: “Siya ‘yong unang gumawa na pinagsama niya ‘yong hip hop and rock in a good way na maganda pa din sa taste ng rocker, maganda pa din sa taste ng hip hop.”

Abaya, meanwhile, pointed out Magalona’s contributions to Original Pilipino Music (OPM). He noted that his music made him prouder to be a Filipino.

He added that he now write songs “about being a Filipino” because of Magalona.

“He will forever be a legend, we will forever love him, Francis M,” he said.

Sarangani Rep. and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, Arnel Pineda of Journey and actor-singer Jericho Rosales also made an appearance at the “Muziklaban” rock event.

Pacquiao said, if Magalona was alive today, they would have done a duet.

Pineda, meantime, noted that Filipinos “are very grateful for what he had done.”

“Wala siyang direct na influence sa akin. Ako nasa rock, siya nasa dancing pero I witnessed how he grew as a rapper and a Filipino musical icon,” Pineda added.

Rosales, for his part, said he is into music and song writing because of Magalona’s influence.

Magalona, the 44-year-old rapper, actor and television host, died in March of 2009 after losing his battle with leukemia.

He was the son of 1950’s legendary actors and celebrity couple Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran.

Launched as a teen star in the 1980s, Magalona’s career boomed with his hit rap song “Mga Kababayan,” which was included in his album “Yo!” released in 1990.

He was also the voice behind the hits “Ito ang Gusto Ko,” “Meron Akong Ano,” “Mga Praning,” and “Kaleidoscope World.”

Francis M left behind his wife Pia Arroyo and eight children–Unna, Nicolo, Francis Jr., Isabella, Elmo, Arkin, Clara, and actress Maxene Magalona.🙄