5 dead at Pasay concert

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda - The Philippine Star

Five concert goers died at the “Closeup Forever Summer”  open-air concert at SM Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay. They reportedly collapsed individually in different places, after taking a green pill that causes a heart failure.

However, despite rumors spreading on social media, it was too early to say the deaths were caused by drug-laced drinks, according to the police investigators. They were looking at possible heatstroke or dehydration due to high temperatures brought on by the El Niño phenomenon.

The victims are identified as Lance Garcia, 36; Eric Anthony Miller, 33, an American; Ariel Leal, 22; Ken Migawa, 18; and Bianca Fontejon, 18.

The concert was headlined by Belgian DJ duo Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike.

Closeup, a major sponsor of the concert, issued a statement saying it is “deeply saddened” by the unfortunate event.

More appointments

Rep. Silvestre “Bebot” Bello of Davao City has been named as Labor secretary, a Cabinet post previously offered to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Maribojoc, Bohol Mayor Leoncio Evasco Jr. was named as Secretary to the Cabinet.

Economic Prof. Ernesto Pernia was named to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Gen. Hermogenes Esperon was designated National Security Adviser (NSA).

Presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte announced that former Defense chief Gilberto Teodoro has declined the Department of National Defense (DND) post, while Lyceum president Peter Laurel declined the Department of Education portfolio. He should get the consent of appointees before announcing them.

Incoming Press Sec. Salvador Panelo and incoming Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre lead a nine-man legal team to represent him at the national canvassing to be conducted by Congress.

Joining the team are Executive Sec. Salvador Medialdea, incoming solicitor general Jose Calida, former Arroyo-era justice secretary Alberto Agra, and Duterte’s personal lawyer Loreto Ata.

Also named were Atty. Inocencio Ferrer Jr.; election lawyers Demaree Raval and Rudyard Avila III.

The canvassing starts on May 25.

80 LPs to vote for Alvarez

Eighty Liberal Party (LP) congressmen have decided to vote for Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez as House Speaker, leaving Speaker Sonny Belmonte with a 30-man Minority Bloc.

Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas announced they will stay with the minority.

As a result, the LP will have two blocs in the House of Representatives, one with the majority and another with the minority.

Belmonte met with Alvarez at the Speaker’s House and conceded the speakership to Alvarez.

Gov’t CPP peace pact

Members of a government delegation, led by Hernani Braganza, sent by President Aquino signed an interim peace agreement on Dec. 8, 2014, with the NDFP.

The agreement was signed by Jose Maria Sison, Fidel Agcaoli, Vicente Ladlad and Danilo Borja, for the Communist Party of the Philippines/ National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP/NDFP). Agreed upon were:

• Reaffirm the 1992 Hague Joint Declaration agreement between the government and the NDFP, which became the framework for the start of formal peace talks, and specified that no conditions must be imposed on either party to start the talks;

• Draft and sign an agreement on “truce and cooperation” that would immediately lead to cessation of fighting and would last depending on a timetable to be determined by the government and NDFP negotiators;

• Accelerate the pace of formal peace talks by forming smaller “reciprocal working groups” that would hammer out political and constitutional reforms, end to armed hostilities and what to do with members of the CPP armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA);

• Immediately convene working committees in social, economic, political and constitutional reforms that give flesh to general agreements on social justice, economic equality and human rights;

• Gives priority, during the duration of the truce, to negotiations on a Comprehensive Agreement on Socioeconomic Reforms, which could list down the measures needed to achieve social justice, like a new land reform program and programs to bring about industrialization.

Duterte hits Catholic bishops

In a press conference in Davao City, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte blasted the Catholic bishops, who tried to erode public support for him in the campaign, for hypocrisy.

He even challenged them to a debate, saying the Catholic Church was hypocritical, and he would expose the sins of the Church.

A week before the May 9 elections, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the faithful to reject a “morally reprehensible” candidate who has shown “scant regard” for human rights and the teachings of the Church.

On his friends and Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, he said: “I am sorry. My loyalty to my friend ends when my loyalty to my country begins.”

He stressed that decisions on the composition of his Cabinet would solely be his.

Duterte said he is ready to defy Catholic doctrines on family planning and reproductive health, saying he believes teachings of the Bible are outdated.

He maintained he does not need a religion to show his faith.


Prof. Benjamin Diokno said that the 6.9% gross domestic product (GDP) is not surprising in a presidential election year. In fact, the economy expanded by 8.4% in the first quarter of 2010.

Some 395 new cadets compose the latest Philippine Military Academy (PMA) batch, much bigger than the previous one.

William Gatchalian should be congratulated for having 3 sons elected to public office: Sherwin as senator; Wes as congressman; and Rex as mayor of Valenzuela.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he does not like to wear barong tagalog.

Prof. Ernesto Pernia is a good choice for NEDA secretary general.

President-elect Duterte announced he will stop all black sand mining.


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