Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Repost From Bong Godinez

th spot in Billboard's List of "Music's Hottest Minors"" border="0" width="300">

Charice makes it to Billboard's List of 21 under 21: Music's Hottest Minors. The 18-year-old "Gleek" and recording artist bested other international acts like Nick Jonas, Miley Cyrus, the Korean all-girl group Wonder Girls, and Sean Kingston, to corner the 4th spot overall.

Charice claims 4th spot in Billboard's List of "Music's Hottest Minors"

Bong Godinez


Filipino singing sensation Charice continues to gain international attention following her debut on the popular American musical comedy-drama series Glee last September 21.

The 18-year-old singer cornered the fourth spot in Billboard's List of 21 under 21: Music's Hottest Minors, right behind country pop singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, Canadian teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber, and actress-singer Selena Gomez.

Charice's inclusion in the list was attributed to her association with American television talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who strongly supported the young singer's international aspirations by constantly inviting her to perform on Oprah.

Being part of the 2010 Golden Globe Awards winner Glee, however, sealed Charice's status as one of the hottest young stars with the "potential to rule the pop culture zeitgeist over the next 12 months."

The write-up went further, "Credit the Queen of All Media [Oprah Winfrey] for plucking the Filipina sensation from obscurity two years ago and introducing her to Celine Dion. The hype finally paid off this spring, when Charice debuted in the Billboard 200 top 10 with her first U.S. album. But it's Fox's high school musical hit, on which she now plays a foreign exchange student with killer pipes to match Rachel Berry's, where Charice will show millions of Gleeks that she can out-sing the best of them."

Completing the Billboard's roster are: Soulja Boy (5), Nick Jonas (6), Willow Smith (7), Demi Lovato (8), Greyson Chance (9), Miley Cyrus (10), Lex Luger (11), Taylor Momsen (12), Chris Colfer (13), Miranda Cosgrove (14), Diggy Simmons (15), Wonder Girls (16), Never Shout Never (17), New Boyz (18), Nikki Yanofsky (19), Cody Simpson (20), and Sean Kingston (21).

Charice's successful Glee debut also propelled two of the songs she performed in the musical series to the iTunes Top 10 list in the United States.

Her solo rendition of Beyonce Knowles's "Listen" currently occupies the 8th spot, while "Telephone"—the song performed by Charice and Glee regular Lea Michelle during a campus restroom scene—clinches the 2nd spot.

Reposted From Bong Godinez

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Repost From Thea Alberto Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Aquino’s hotdog meals not scripted, says spokesman

By Thea Alberto – September 24th, 2010

By Thea Alberto
Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Malacanang on Friday defended President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III amid criticisms he was staging a down-to-earth image that puts Overseas Filipino Workers in bad light.

“He loves to eat hotdogs. When in the U.S. you would like to try the hotdogs. Hindi scripted ‘yun. He was looking forward to it. You cannot blame the people for looking at it in different ways,” said Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

On Thursday, Aquino and his entourage were spotted eating at a hotdog stand on the corner of 6th Avenue and West 45th Street in New York.

Aquino foot the bill, which reached $54 or about P2,500.

“I don’t think nagpapapogi si Presidente. I think he’s being natural. During campaign, he would take out from kamameshi. It’s very typical of him,” Lacierda added.

Lacierda said Aquino also ordered steak and pasta.

“NY is a mecca of food. As long as he remains frugal there is nothing wrong with it,” said Lacierda.

Malacanang said although Aquino is moving freely in New York, no security concern has been noted yet. Lacierda said Aquino’s security men are already used to the President’s ways.

“Sanay na sila. He only brought 18 members. They are already familiar with the way he conducts himself,” said Lacierda.

“The U.S. secret service iba sa kanila they will have to adapt to who he is. There is compromise on security but have to adapt to guest head of state,” he added.

Meanwhile, Aquino had a full day with various courtesy calls and meetings.

Aquino also witnessed the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact Signing Ceremony. Philippines will receive a $434-million (P20 billion) grant from an independent U.S. development agency to facilitate poverty reduction through economic growth.

“I am here to assure you that the Philippines is committed to good housekeeping practices in its domestic and international dealings with investors. We are committed a not just a fair, but a square, deal for all,” Aquino said in his speech in New York.

Reposted From Thea Alberto of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Repost From ABS-CBN News

Chiz to Aquino: Time to let go of Puno

Chiz to Aquino: Time to let go of Puno

MANILA, Philippines - Even if the jueteng allegations are not true, it would be best for President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to let go of a favored member of the Cabinet, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said.

In an interview with radio dzMM, the administration ally said “hindi ko sinasabing tama ang alegasyon. Ang akin lang, ang sinuman na naninilbihan sa ilalim ng Pangulo na nagpapabigat, dapat pag-aralan nang dapat palitan o ilipat.”

(I’m not saying the allegations are true. However, anyone who is already a burden, should be fired or transferred.)

During the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Tuesday, retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz named Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno as 1 of 2 recipients of jueteng payola.

Puno already denied the allegations, saying it is just a smear job against him.

In MalacaƱang, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Puno should be given the chance to debunk the accusations.

Puno still enjoys the trust of Aquino, he said.

Escudero, however, said the jueteng scandal is not the only issue plaguing Puno.

The other day, a multi-sectoral task force also recommended that he be charged in connection with the hostage fiasco last August 23.

“Either let go or assign him to another office…Perhaps, he can do a better job in another, rather than this particular position,” he said.

A subordinate should always take the bullet for the President, not the other way around, he added.

Reposted From ABS-CBN News

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Repost From Thea Alberto Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Burgers, pizza, ‘wang-wang’ for PNoy in U.S. visit

By Thea Alberto – September 22nd, 2010

By Thea Alberto, Yahoo! Southeast Asia

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino chose burgers and pizza for his meals in the first day of his working visit to the United States.

Upon arriving in San Francisco on Tuesday, Aquino and his delegation dined at “In-N-Out,” a fastfood restaurant known for its tasty hamburgers.

“The President noted that he and his cabinet secretaries were like kids as they enjoyed eating their burgers which were really huge,” according to a Malacanang statement.

Aquino is also looking forward to eating hotdogs, pizza and chow mien in New York.

“He recalled that his family used to eat pizza and chao mien when they were in Boston while his late father, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was in exile,” the statement added.

While in New York, Aquino also broke his vow that he will not use sirens. His escorts there have insisted the use of sirens during his trip from the airport to the five-star Sofitel Hotel in Manhattan.

Aquino said the use of sirens, known in the Philippines as “wang-wang”, was beyond his control because “we’re just visitors here.” He discourages the use of the sirens in government vehicles, including those he uses as president, when plying public highways and roads.

Aquino is on a week-long working visit to the United States for the 65th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and meetings with foreign investors, among others. He is also expected to meet U.S. President Barack Obama in the UNGA.

“If I get the chance to meet with President Obama, of course, that would be most welcome. There are a lot of concerns that have to be taken up with President Obama,” Aquino said in an interview with reporters in New York.

Aquino is also scheduled to meet with former US Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger and some officials of the Synergos Institute and AES Corporation. He will also meet with World Bank president Robert Zoellick.

Aquino will also face the foreign press, including meetings with the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He will then visit the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York where he will be conferred with the Elizabeth Ann Seton medal, the school’s highest honor.

Aquino left on Monday, with high hopes he will be able to draw more investments from the US and generate more jobs for Filipinos.

Aquino’s U.S. visit is his first foreign trip since he was sworn into office in June, breaking the tradition of his predecessors who visit neighbouring Asian countries first.

Reposted From Thea Alberto of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Repost From Tessa Jamandre of Vera Files

RP faces new tensions with China over Spratly

By Yahoo! Southeast Asia Editors – September 21st, 2010

By Tessa Jamandre
VERA Files

Even before the diplomatic tension created by the Aug. 23 hostage crisis has subsided, President Benigno Aquino III will have to deal with another strain on the country’s relationship with China: the dormant yet sensitive issue of the contested Spratly Islands.

The Spratlys dispute will be high on the agenda when Aquino meets his counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday in New York.

The ASEAN-U.S. Leaders Meeting is expected to tackle the territorial dispute in the context of maritime security under the broad agenda “Maintenance of Regional Stability.”

The meeting comes after the Armed Forces of the Philippines announced on Tuesday it was pushing through with the plan to develop Pag-asa Island, which is part of the Spratlys group, into a tourist spot.

AFP Spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta said major repairs are underway for the airstrip and the pier on the main island of Pag-Asa that needed “a lot of renovation due to poor maintenance, longstanding neglect and deterioration.”

Last Thursday the Department of Foreign Affairs received a call from China’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Liu Jianchao, who said the plan was not a welcome pronouncement at a time when the two countries were still ironing out the issue of the Aug. 23 hostage incident that killed eight Hong Kong tourists.

The ambassador also asked about the final report of the government probe on the incident which was still not ready then. The report was presented to the President only last Friday.

But in an interview with defense reporters last month, Navy Flag Officer in Command Rear Admiral Danilo Cortez said repairs on the eroded part of the Pag-asa airstrip was ongoing. As a result, supply missions to the Philippine-claimed Kalayaan Island Group had to be done monthly now, compared to the previous quarterly.

Cortez also confirmed that an incident at the Ayungin shoal became the subject of a Chinese protest in July. Soldiers stationed there were accused of firing a warning shot at a Chinese vessel. A Philippine Navy ship is beached at Ayungin shoal and serves as housing facility for AFP troops manning the area.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing summoned the Philippine Embassy in Beijing over the incident, but Cortez clarified that Philippine troops stationed there never fired a warning shot.

“Based on our inquiry, there was no shooting that happened. Actually we just flashed a light at them. To actually fire—that needed clearance from the top because that’s an act provoking the other country. We had that investigated and there was none really,” Cortez said.

Before the July incident, the DFA also received a diplomatic protest from the Chinese Ambassador on alleged construction activities on the same shoal, which the Philippines denied.

The Philippines occupies nine of the islands in the disputed Spratlys chain or Nansha islands in the South China Sea (SCS). Five countries lay overlapping claims to the Spratlys which are believed to be oil-rich. The Philippines along with fellow ASEAN members Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei contest ownership with China and also with Taiwan.

During the ASEAN-U.S. Leaders Meeting in New York on September 24, other items on the agenda also include “Regional Architecture and Plans for the Future” that will cover US eventual participation in the East Asia Summit (EAS).

There is also an item in the agenda called “Economic Cooperation” where the U.S. will talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other areas of ASEAN-US economic cooperation.

In the draft joint statement of the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Leaders Meeting prepared by the U.S., the leaders are expected to “oppose the use or threat of force by any claimant attempting to enforce disputed claims in the SCS.”

ASEAN prefers to limited the text to “reaffirming the importance of freedom of navigation, regional peace and stability, unimpeded commerce in respect for relevant universally agreed principles of international law and the peaceful settlement of dispute in the SCS.”

Both the U.S. and ASEAN however agreed on the text that supported a full implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the SCS and encouraged the eventual conclusion of a regional code of conduct in the SCS.

Among those agreed upon by ASEAN and China in the declaration is to “undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.”

In a meeting in Washington preparatory to the 2nd ASEAN-US summit, U.S. State Department Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell and National Security Council Senior Director for Asia Jeffrey Bader briefed ASEAN ambassadors about their discussions with the Chinese government during a recent visit to Beijing.

The State Department officials said the meeting “provided clarity on expectations and behavior of all states in SCS and that they explained to China that the US statement on SCS do not seek to single out China but was a message to all states.”

In a DFA report about the highlights of that meeting, the exchange of views on regional issues showed that “the US wants to strike the exquisite balance” on issues involving maritime security to ensure that they do not create new venue for US-China tensions.

However, they will remain supportive of regional efforts without having to create new mechanisms to discuss the issue.”

Reposted From Tessa Jamandre of Vera Files

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Repost From Thea Alberto Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

IIRC: PNP chief, gov’t officials, media must face charges over botched rescue

By Thea Alberto – September 20th, 2010

By Thea Alberto
Yahoo! Southeast Asia

(UDPATE 3) President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has named several people who might face administrative and criminal charges over the botched rescue of foreign tourists during the Quirino hostage crisis.

In a press conference, Aquino said that based on the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) led by the Department of Justice, among those recommended to be charged were former Philippine National Police Chief Jesus Verzosa; PNP’s Chief Superintendent Rolando Magtibay; NCRPO chief Leocaldo Santiago; DILG Usec Rico Puno; Senior Superintendent Orlando Yebra; the head of the SWAT team; Ombudman Merceditas Gutierrez; a Deputy Ombudsman; News anchors Erwin Tulfo and Mike Rogas; and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno; and some officials from three TV news networks.

Aquino said he has ordered a review of the report so appropriate charges would be filed. Some of those named in the report face possible administrative and criminal charges.

“The report is recommendatory in nature. I have forwarded it, and its recommendations, to a legal team composed of the Executive Secretary and the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel to make a thorough review of the IIRC’s recommendations,” said Aquino in a press conference.

“I want to emphasize that I do not want make decisions regarding such important matters without a thorough review. I will study their findings upon my return, and decide accordingly,” added Aquino, who is set to leave for U.S. Monday night.

Aquino said the Philippines already sent a copy of the report to the Chinese Ambassador [Liu Jinchao] but has yet to receive any feedback.

The President added China has been “helpful in trying to resolve this crisis” and that Philippines opted to give them the report before it was made public in the Philippines “lest we further strain our relationships.”

In a separate interview with the Chinese Embassy, spokesman Ethan SunYi said they have not received the report as of Monday afternoon.

Aquino said the report “represents a significant and necessary step” as he ordered the upgrade of capabilities of the local government units and the PNP to ensure there will be no repeat of the deadly hostage.

“We are committed to implementing the necessary changes to upgrade the capabilities of our local government units, police and security forces, to ensure the safety of the public. We have also been working to review and improve our procedures and protocols for emergency and crisis situations and a draft of a new crisis management manual is now being prepared,” said Aquino.

Aquino received the 82-page Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) report last Friday.

Critics earlier hit the government after reports the IIRC result would first be submitted to China before it would be made public in the Philippines.

On August 23, eight tourists from Hong Kong were killed after a 12-hour hostage drama staged by disgruntled policeman Rolando Mendoza who asked for his reinstatement.

Reposted From Thea Alberto Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Repost From Thea Alberto Of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Palace on Noynoy & Shalani: No time to talk

By Thea Alberto – September 17th, 2010
Valenzuela City Councilor Shalani Soledad (photo by Voltaire Domingo/NPPA)

By Thea Alberto
Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Palace on Friday neither denied nor confirmed reports that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and girlfriend Shalani Soledad have called it quits.

However, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda admitted Aquino said they are having a hard time seeing each other, given that Aquino is busy with his duties.

“The President said that that they have been very busy and they have not had the chance to talk to each other,” said Lacierda in a text message.

Aquino, the Philippines’ first bachelor President, has been dating Soledad, a Valenzuela City Councilor for almost two years.

Lacierda said he doesn’t know much about Aquino’s private life but he was forced to ask the President about Shalani upon reporters’ prodding.

“I wouldn’t know the private life of the president. I don’t ask him the question…but I asked him that because the media is asking me and that’s what he said,” said Lacierda in a phone interview.

Several reports on Thursday however said Soledad denied the persistent rumors and said “not true” in a text message to reporters. She was last seen with the Aquino family during the first death anniversary of former President Corazon Aquino.

The “presidential girlfriend” was not present during Noynoy’s first State of the Nation Address.

In a recent panel interview with Aquino, he admitted not having enough time and privacy to go out on a date.

“Sa totoo lang ho, kung saka-sakaling magkaroon ako ng oras, wala naman hong privacy. Maski ano’ng puntahan natin, kay supermarket, kay restaurant, kay sinehan, marami hong nakikisama kung magkakadate,” he said.

But when asked whether the country will see a Malacanang wedding in six years, Aquino just replied: “Hope springs eternal.”

Reposted From Thea Alberto of Yahoo! Southeast Asia


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