Rehashing dismissed charge; The Filharmonics are in town

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas - The Philippine Star

Not surprisingly, mudslinging has begun to rear its ugly head as political candidates and their busy, busy supporters, bash their opponents with already dismissed charges in order to discredit them before potential voters.

On Aug. 24, 2004, the Tanodbayan, precursor of the present Ombudsman, dismissed a plunder case filed against former House Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella. In 2012, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales also dismissed as baseless the rehashed plunder case against Fuentebella.That should have put an end to the issue, but it hasn’t.

A supposed anti-corruption organization represented by a person who is reported to issue his press releases by telephone, not in person, has been peddling made-up stories, including the plunder case which had been dismissed by the Ombudsmen. The present complaint charges Fuentebella and his wife Evelyn of unexplained wealth.

Arnulfo is the son of Felix Fuentebella, who was congressman for 19 years (1953-1972) and governor for four years (1976-1980). Arnulfo served as assemblyman in the Interim Batasang Pambansa from 1978 to 1984, and as congressman from 1992 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2010. Arnulfo’s son Wimpy served as congressman in his father’s stead from 2001 to 2004. Arnulfo is running again in the 2016 elections. It’s no wonder his opponents are rehashing charges against him.

Arnulfo “Noli” was born Oct. 29, 1945. He was educated in his home province and spent most of his life in scouting until he reached Life Scout. At the age of 15 he was a Philippine delegate to the 50th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America in 1960. He studied law at the University of the Philippines in 1970 and graduated as seventh in his class, and passed the bar exams in 1971.

After he passed the bar, he and his wife Evelyn pursued a career in law and banking. After President Ferdinand E. Marcos imposed martial rule and called for elections to the Interim Batasang Pambansa (IBP), Noli was chosen by Marcos to run in Congress to represent the Partido political party. He won the elections and served as an assemblyman from 1978 to 1984. However, he lost his bid for a seat in the 1984 regular Batasang Pambansa. He then moved to practice law in New York, where he was admitted to the State Bar. Having been identified with the Marcoses, Noli sat out the Cory Aquino years, taking up post-graduate courses at the Kennedy School of Governance at Harvard.

After then Speaker Manuel Villar Jr. passed President Joseph Estrada’s Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, Fuentebella was elected speaker of the House. But when Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became president, he was unseated, and replaced by Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

He was instrumental in the proposed creation of a new province to be called Nueva Camarines, which will be composed of the Fourth and Fifth Legislative Districts of Camarines Sur.

In the 2014 dismissed charge against Fuentebella, his accuser claimed that Fuentebella had built a government sports complex in his private property and had used money for the building of the edifice for himself. The Ombudsmen ruled that property had been donated by the elder Felix Fuentebella and accepted by a barangay resolution before the complex was constructed,  and that the money intended for it had been turned over to the district engineer’s office of Talagongon, Tiagon, Cam. Sur, not to Arnulfo’s pocket.

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The a capella is a type of music where there is no musical instrument used, the music accompaniment is provided by the Beat Boxer who belts out by mouth the sounds of instruments as drums, bugles, piano, and what have you, while his companions sing the lyrics.

On Thursday, Nov. 5, The Filharmonic will demonstrate what a capella is, at Showtime and other talk shows. On Nov. 7, at 5 p.m., an expected large audience at the Mall of Asia will be treated to a performance of this group. The Filharmonic is made up of third generation Filipino-Americans living in the United States.

This diverse group of entertainers is one of the hottest new talents in Hollywood and is said to set for stardom. STAR magazine features them as one of the 2015 “scene stealers.”

The six-member hiphop a capella singers is made up of Jules Cruz, VJ Rosales, Trace Gafnor, Barry Fortgong, Jose Caigay and Niko del Rey who rose to prominence by making it to the semi-finals of the talent series The Sing Off.

The group has toured colleges in eastern US twice, performed at a concert for the victims of super-typhoon Yolanda,  and at the White House. They have recently released a hit album, Motown Fillie, made a huge splash in the blockbuster movie “Pitch Perfect 2,” and also  guested at James Corden’s Late Late Show.

Most of them are music majors. The beat boxer, Niko del Rey (whose real surname is Tibayan), is a graduate of University of California-Irvine. He was a scratch golf player at Diamond Bar High school, golf being his love then, until he found that music is his greater love. By the way, Niko’s grandfather, Rey Tibayan, is a Batch ’61 Upsilonian.

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The sole Moro candidate in the senatorial slate of the Liberal Party is Narima “Ina” Ambolodto.

At the height of the Mindanao conflict in the 70s, her  family suffered from being uprooted and displaced from their home. They had to seek sanctuary in the vast Liguasan marsh in Central Mindanao, and eventually settled along the banks of the Rio Grande in Cotabato City, which became home to them for 14 years.

War and poverty did not stop her parents from sending her and her siblings to school. She attended high school in the Catholic Notre Dame of Cotabato for Girls and Notre Dame University (NDU) for a degree in banking and finance.She thereafter became a scholar in the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines, for her master’s degree.

After completing her post-graduate studies, she went back to Cotabato City to join the University Research Center of NDU in 1996. She then taught sociology subjects while heading the university’s Institute of Cotabato and Sulu Culture.

Narima recently served as assistant secretary for Muslim Affairs and Special Concerns of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). She also served  as vice mayor of Northern Kabuntalan in Maguindanao; board member in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, and acting vice governor of Shariff Kabunsuan.

After the infamous Maguindanao Massacre in November,2009, she was appointed vice governor and designated acting provincial governor of Maguindanao Province in December 2009. She quickly restored and normalized the operations of the provincial government and managed the preparations for the conduct of free, orderly and honest elections in Maguindanao.

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