Ang babaeng humayo, protégé ko
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - March 23, 2017 - 12:00am

Imagine my protégé on top of the world! That’s Charo Santos-Concio, who plays the lead role  in the film “Ang Babaeng Humayo,” which won the Golden Lion Award for Best Picture in the prestigious Venice Film Festival last year. The film reaped a gold for film director Lav Diaz, and that glory he shares with Charo, whose performance made judges sit up and give the production an A.

I personally felt swept up to  Cloud 9 for Charo’s stellar performance, which you will watch on television via Sky Cable’s Critics’ Choice Pay-Per-View. And that’s because, in 1976, 41 years ago, I was her chaperone on a world tour sponsored by Baron Travel Corp. as her prize for winning the Miss Baron Travel title. My chaperoning her was a result of a media raffle. What a privilege it was to be the travelling companion of the daughter of a medical doctor from Calapan, Oriental Mindoro and a  graduate of St. Paul’s College, Manila.

Although I was 12 years older than her, we were like the same age, laughing and giggling and sharing jokes and secrets (which I can’t tell you) as we stayed in five-star hotels, ate hotdog at street stalls in Berlin, watched a porno show (by mistake) at Raymond’s, walked in parks, have  dinner with Pinoys in London,  Paris and Norway, and so forth and so on. People stopped to look at her, and asked  if I was her mother! I wish.

After our trip, we met just a few times. In the years that followed, she  became a dramatic actress and won acting awards for several films.

In 1987, while working for Regal Films, Charo  was invited to join the new ABS-CBN, which had reopened on September 14, 1986. Charo  was promoted from production manager, to program director to executive vice-president. She is credited in the production of several phenomenal television series of ABS-CBN including Esperanza, Mula Sa Puso, Pangako Sa 'Yo, and Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay.  She is credited in her important role in the creation of Star Cinema. She is also behind the longest-running Philippine TV drama anthology program Maalaala Mo Kaya, which she has hosted since it premiered in 1991.

On March 1, 2008, Charo  was appointed as the fifth president of ABS-CBN, making her the first woman president of the media conglomerate and the Lopez Group of Companies. She remains as the chief content officer of ABS-CBN while having an additional role as the president of ABS-CBN University and serves as the executive adviser to ABS-CBN Corporation Chairman Eugenio Lopez III.

To my dear former  roommate, congratulations.

* * *

Congratulations to Elba Siscar Cruz, who has been appointed by President Duterte as president and  CEO of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).

Cruz has a PhD, is also a lawyer, and a  reserve colonel in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. She was the former dean of the Arellano Law School  and  is likewise a successful entrepreneur, professor and  environmentalist specializing in biotechnology.

Her recent appointment is viewed by insiders as a boost to the Duterte administration's desire to strengthen national government agencies with the required competencies and skills to deliver results particularly on the President's avowed programs on the war against drugs, anti-corruption, and of drastically cutting red tape.

DAP serves as the think tank or repository of innovative and pioneering ideas under the Office of the President with the mandate to capacitate and train the bureaucracy.

For her part, Cruz has vowed to be inclusive and to collaborate not only with government agencies, but the business and non-government sectors as well. "We will position DAP to provide the ideas and strategies the public sector urgently needs in organizational and  human resources development that will help the President and his administration produce the intended outcomes in law and order, productivity and innovation towards a better quality of life for our people."

* * *

The Catholic church and President Duterte may have reason to shake hands – at least in the sharing of the  belief that marriage should take place only between a man and a woman. This came about when the president announced in Myanmar that same-sex marriage may not be legalized in the Philippines.

The announcement came as a pleasant  surprise to Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bates, who said, “That’s very nice of Duterte. It is a ‘pogi’ point for our President.” The church is strongly opposed to the marriage of people of the same sex or members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).

Duterte’s announcement was a 180-degree turn from his campaign promise in February 2016, where he said if a draft for a same-sex marriage would reach him,  “I’d consider it.”

Incidentally, a couple of years ago,  Sen. Manny Pacquiao, a born-again Christian,  expressed a similar view, saying the Holy Scriptures sanction  marriage only between a man and a woman. Mixed marriage, he said, is “worse than animals.” Not surprisingly, his statement drew a flak from LGBTS.

* * *

The discovery of a massive haul of shabu worth P6 billion  inside a townhouse in  San Juan City confirmed our suspicion that production of illegal drugs takes place not only on board ships and hideouts in rural areas, but also in plush townhouses and residential villages.

  I once asked  PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa   during  a function of the Manila Overseas Press Club why the highly-publicized drug-related killings involved only suspects in informal settlements. His answer was that no reports had been received to warrant searches in the houses of the rich. Someone then must have blown the whistle on the manufacturing operation in San Juan,  resulting in the discovery of  the bags of shabu and  manufacturing paraphernalia,  said to be owned by a big-time drug syndicate known as Red Dragon. Can General Bato’s men catch this filthy monster?

According to the CNN Philippines report, Barangay Maytunas chair Artemio Samson said no one would suspect such an activity would take place in a peaceful neighborhood. The owner of the townhouse revealed that he did not know that chemicals were being stocked in the unit which was leased  for four years.

According to the CNN Philippines reporter, the NBI said it could be “ part of the syndicate's strategy to blend into residential communities and spread out the areas where drug manufacturing takes place, to remain inconspicuous.”

The drug bust is described by the NBI as the biggest in its history. The agency had placed the neighborhood under surveillance for a few days.  NBI Task Force Against Illegal Drugs Assistant Regional Director Roel Bolivar said Red Dragon leaders seemed to easily source their materials. The precursors may be imported from China, while other ingredients may have been sourced locally, he added.

Now, we wonder what President Duterte will say about this.

As in the San Juan case, it  will help government efforts at curbing  drug manufacturing if all local government units are mandated to monitor their areas conscientiously and report to the drug enforcement authority suspected drug manufacturers. They must, of course, include reporting the activities of police enforcers, many of whom are believed to be in drug trafficking.



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