Monday, January 22, 2018

                                                          By Amita Legaspi

            State volcanologists recorded three lava collapses at Mayon Volcano on Monday morning, January 15 that resulted in rockfall and small-volume pyroclastic density currents.
            A bulletin from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) stated that the lava collapses occurred at 9:41 a.m., lasting five minutes; 10:05 a.m., lasting seven minutes; and 11:07 a.m., lasting eight minutes, based on seismic record.
            It said the first two events appear to have originated from the lava front and produced an ash cloud that drifted to the southwest sector and rained ash on the barangays of Travesia, Muladbucad Grande, Maninila, and Masarawag in the municipality of Guinobatan.
            The third event produced a grayish to dirty white ash column with a maximum height of approximately one kilometer above the summit before drifting west-southwest.
            Alert Level 3 remains in effect, meaning that the volcano is currently in a relatively high level of unrest as magma is at the crater and hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days.
            State volcanologists strongly advised the public to be vigilant and desist from entering the six kilometer-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) and the seven-kilometer Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on Mayon's southern flanks due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows.
            Increased vigilance against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden streamflows along channels draining the edifice is also advised. Pilots were advised to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ash from any sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft.
            The bulletin said based on the seasonal wind pattern, ash fall events may most likely occur on the southwest side of the volcano./MP


A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student won the most coveted 2018 Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan crown on January 12. The 19-year old Gracel Ilad Gilongos bested 15 other aspirants for the crown and title during the grand finale at Gov. Augusto B. Legaspi Sports and Cultural Center in Kalibo. The 3rd year student of Aklan State University-Banga also took the preliminary round awards for Best in Swimsuit and Best in Long Gown.

            The reigning Miss Nabas Tourism became the 8th winner of the prestigious beauty pageant in Aklan organized by Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi) in partnership with LGU Kalibo and the provincial government of Aklan.

            The beauty queen was crowned by the winner of last year’s title May Adel Ahmed Salman, Aklan Vice Governor Reynaldo Quimpo and Kalibo legal officer Reynaldo Ross Sucgang IV. The 1st  runner-up went to 16-year old Elmarie Nicodemus Dewara from Odiong, Altavas, Aklan.

            The junior high school student of Regional Science High School for Region VI in Kalibo also grabbed the corporate awards for Miss Philippine Airlines, Miss Novellino and Miss Forever Young Skin Care. The minor award for Best in Talent is Ina Donna Jean Romaquin Pendon, 18 of Numancia, Aklan, adjudged 2nd runner-up.

            Sheiney Jage Mantac Mationg from Kalibo, Aklan finished 3rd runner-up. The 17-year old candidate won the Best in Production Number. The 4th runner-up was 19-year old Mila Mariella Simera of Poblacion, Ibajay, Aklan. Also in the Top 10 are Angelica Marie Lim, Annicka Pauline Dela Cruz, Marijo Mariz Ureta, Stephanie Palomata and Reichelle Macaraeg.

            Miss Globe (Texter’s Choice) and Miss People’s Choice awards are handed out to 19-year old Lim of Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan. She also got the Miss Photogenic and Miss Kasafi Runway minor awards. Dela Cruz, 18, a native of Ibao, Lezo, Aklan took the corporate award for Miss Lecit-E. Moreover, the 23-year old Ureta from Albasan, Numancia, Aklan won Miss Petron while Palomata, 21, from Buenasuerte, Nabas, Aklan got the Miss Coca-Cola award. 

            Other aspirants were Louise Emerald Nadua, Clarynce Ada Concepcion, Buena Kristel Pelayo, Shyna Angie Rivera and Eloisa Mitch Hormillosa./MP

                                                                        BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

        A Fil-German candidate for Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival King was crowned on January 15. Marc Philip Niemeyer, 21, bested 15 other aspirants for the coveted crown and title.

        Niemeyer, a resident of Laguinbanua East in Numancia, Aklan and a Garcia College of Technology student, nailed the question “how will you make a difference in the community as a Kalibo Ati-Atihan King candidate?” in the crucial question and answer portion. The pageant newcomer was born and raised in Lengerich in Germany to a German father and Filipina mother from Nabas, Aklan.

        Jann Vincent Regalado, 24, from Bubog in Numancia won first runner-up. He also got minor awards for Best in Swimwear and the corporate awards for Mr. Coca Cola and Mr. Novelino.

        Odelon Bartolo I, 20, from Poblacion, Ibajay, Aklan and an Information Technology student of STI College Kalibo, finished second runner-up.

        The 19-year old Paolo Benedict Ibuyan from Kalibo, Aklan and accounting student of Garcia College of Technology won 3rd runner-up. He also took home Best in Formal Wear, Mr. People’s Choice and Mr. Philippine Airlines.


        John Rafael Villar from Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan was also named 4th runner-up.

        Other minor awards winners were Frank Jared Rafailes, who won Mr. Photogenic and Mr. Kasafi Runway; Alvin Delos Santos for Best in Production Number and Ronald No for Best in Talent.

Mr. Casino Active award went to Stewart Kenneth Magbanua.

        Other candidates who joined the Kalibo Ati-Atihan Festival King grand finale were Jasper Sy, Charles Manuel Laserna, Icidor Kobe So, Marc Sebastian Hauer, Stewart Kenneth Magbanua, Erol Pestano and Earl Jaztin Beboso.

        The 16 aspirants competed in three categories – production number, swimwear and formal wear in the preliminary round. The candidates were trimmed down to top 5 for the final stage of the competition.

        Xander Ford, Kalibo Dance Ensemble and Ex-Unit dance crew also performed during the two-hour pageant. The event hosted by Rey Jason Gregorio and Allen Guillen was organized by Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation Inc. (Kasafi), the municipal government of Aklan and the provincial government of Aklan./MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer
By: Ambrosio R. Villorente

            The Philippine National Police Chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa’s salary is more than Php.121.00 per month. The salary does not include his allowances like representation expenses and others.
            This monthly compensation makes the PNP Chief a millionaire in a year’s time. This amount of money will amount to nothing if the recipient will not perform. However, if the money is paid to a high performer and most effective person in his job, this amount of money is well spent and worth spending it.
            Last January  9, Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu visited Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan. They met with LGU Officials of Malay and Aklan province, and business and civic leaders in Shangri-La Boracay. They discussed the plans of the Department of Tourism and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.   
            However, before the meeting, the two department heads went over the island of Boracay aboad a helicopter. That was the first time top government officials went above the 1,032 hectares Boracay Island using an airplane. Other top officials who visited Boracay before did it on foot and enjoyed walking on white sand and clear water. With the local officials and civic and business leaders, they discussed the prevention of flood, infrastructure development and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.
            To recall, tourists arrivals in 2017 reached 2,001,974 which is 16 percent higher than the 1,725,483 tourists arrivals recorded in 2016.
            Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte reappointed five (5) special envoys to China. The appointments are aimed to improve diplomatic ties with Beijing and Manila which became strained over the long standing maritime dispute over the West Philippine sea.
            Those reappointed are Ferdinand Borja, Wellie Lee, Carlos Chan, Cheng Yong and William de Jesus Lima.Those reappointed are expected to promote closer relationship with China.”

            Borja, Lee, Chan and Lima had served previously as Pres. Duterte’s special envoys to China in the previous months. Their new term of office starts on Jan. 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018. Yong will also serve for six months.
            Former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos served as Special Envoy to China in July 2016 in the wake of the Philippine historic victory in the United Nations backed maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea.
            However, Ramos resigned in October 2016. He claimed, he has done “my job to break the ice and to help restore the ties of goodwill and friendship” between the Philippines and China.
            Moreover, Pres. Duterte also reappointed Jose E.B. Antonio, chairman and chief executive officer of the Century Properties Group as Special Envoy to the United States. Pres. Duterte also appointed Miguel de Ayala his Special Envoy to Australia.
Ombudsman Indicts Ex Mayor
            For his failure to disclose his two business interests in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) for the year 2007 to 2010 , former mayor Francisco Nazareno of Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, the Ombudsman indicted him. Nazareno claimed it was his secretary who filled up his SALNs.
            The Ombudsman found probable cause to filed barges against Nazareno for violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public officials and Employees and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
            According to the report, Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Unit, Iloilo City found that Nazareno failed to disclose two business interests in his SALNs from 2007-2010. The two business firms, one of which is Juco Enterprise registered in his wife’s name whileJT Merchandise was registered in Nazareno’s name.
            Nazareno served as Mayor of Moises Padilla town for two terms in 2007 to 2013. He maintained he never committed corruption while in office.

            On the other hand, the Ombudsman found that Nazareno during his term as mayor issued  the Mayor’s Permit to JT Merchandise and Juco Enterprise in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practice Act.
US Pledges Php.330M for Marawi Rehab
            The US government has pledged an additional US 6.6M or Php.330M in cash for the rehabilitation and recovery of the war damaged Marawi City.
            Earlier, a pledge worth US$14.3M was pooled by the US government even the war in Marawi City was on-going. The additional pledge has brought the total amount to US$20.9 or one billion pesos.
            According to US Ambassador to the Philppines Sung Kim, the funding will support populations affected by the war and ally in long term recovery efforts to ensure a brighter and peaceful future for the people of Mindanao.
            The money will support the efforts on water and electricity access, school supplies, housing, medical supplies, and anti-extremism efforts, according to Amb. Kim.
            Marawi City was violently attacked and destroyed by y rebels under the Maute group in their bid to convert the region into an Islamic state province. However, the city was liberated in October 2017./MP



            The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Monday wondered why the House of Representatives is still conducting hearings on the impeachment complaint when Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez already thinks there is sufficient basis to put her on trial in the Senate.
            Lawyer Josa Deinla, one of Sereno's spokespersons, said the ongoing proceedings at the House justice committee has been rendered futile by panel chairman Reynaldo Umali's statement on Sunday that the hearings would "perhaps" be a matter of formality in light of Alvarez's pronouncement last month.
            “Why will the CJ attend the hearing when Umali has said that it’s a mere formality because Speaker Alvarez wanted her impeached and they will impeach her? Deinla said.
            “In view of this, the impeachment proceedings will be nothing but a charade and that the House Committee on Justice will just be resorting to a vilification campaign and fishing expedition to cover up for a fatally defective complaint against the Chief Justice,” she added.
            Umali, however, said when the committee voted that the complaint is sufficient in form and substance as well as the grounds for impeachment, "this proceeding has taken a life of its own."
            "Thus, members of this impeachment committee are sitting as investigating prosecutors who may eventually become impeachment prosecutors in the Senate, if the committee will find probable cause and the House plenary will approve the same," Umali said in his opening statement during the resumption of the impeachment proceedings following the Christmas break.
            Deinla maintained the hearings have not produced any solid evidence and sufficient grounds to impeach Sereno./MP

By: Boy Ryan B. Zabal

            Merrymakers and visitors will undergo multiple layers of security check before they could enter the designated Ati-Atihan festival zones in Kalibo, Aklan.

            Acting Aklan police director Senior Superintendent Lope Manlapaz said security is tight as thousands of revelers are expected to converge in the main streets of Kalibo, church and festival venues for the traditional street dancing and devotion to Senor Sto. Nino de Kalibo.

            This week, the Ati-Atihan Site Task Group established 19 police assistance centers in strategic areas in primary and secondary festival zones and staging areas. The task group is aiming for 'zero' major incident for the weeklong Ati-Atihan celebration, Manlapaz stressed. Around 700 additional uniformed policemen from Police Regional Office Western Visayas will be deployed in the streets and police assistance centers to augment the local security officers.

            Manlapaz said the last batch of augmentation forces will have their send-off ceremony at ABL Sports and Cultural Center in Kalibo prior to full security deployment on January 18. Checkpoints for inner border security in Numancia, Banga and Pook (Kalibo) are also set up by the Philippine National Police and Philippine Army before vehicles could enter the town of Kalibo.

            Kalibo police chief Senior Police Inspector Honey Mae Ruiz said pedestrian screening areas are also implemented by the security forces near the festival zone. “Ito ay ginagawa natin para sa security ng Ati-Atihan. Ang mga pulis na naka-assigned sa pedestrian screening areas ay magsasagawa ng inspections sa mga bags at backpacks sa pumapasok sa festival zone,” Ruiz said during the security briefing. 

            Fire trucks of the Bureau of Fire Protection will be redeployed in festival zones and staging areas to respond to fire calls, according to Kalibo Fire Marshall Fire Senior Inspector Sidgie Gerardo.

            Emergency rescue responders and force multipliers are also deployed 24/7 for emergencies. Ruiz also reminded motorists and the public to refrain from leaving their vehicles inside and outside the festival zones. Traffic rerouting plan is also implemented from January 15 to 21, she added./MP
y:"Arial","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman"'>

By: Boy Ryan B. Zabal

            Ati-Atihan Site Task Group (STG) commandeer Senior Superintendent Lope Manlapaz has reminded duty uniformed policemen to intensify the campaign against loose firearms after the arrest of a 32-year old man. Joenel Ibaos, a resident of Barangay Libang, Makato, Aklan, was apprehended at the height of Ati-Atihan celebration in Kalibo, Aklan for carrying unlicensed gun.

            Two police officers assigned in Police Assistance Center (PAC) 1 near the Kalibo-Numancia bridge collared the suspect at around 4:30 p.m. on January 16. Ibaos yielded a .38 caliber revolver with three cartridge cases. The suspect also failed to present the necessary documents supporting his possession of the firearm.

            The firearm was turned over to Aklan Provincial Crime Laboratory for ballistic and gun residue examinations. Manlapaz also ordered the duty officers in PACs and Pedestrian Screening Areas (PSA) to conduct strict inspections of backpacks and bags of revelers and visitors for public safety.

            Meanwhile, Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa also suspended all permits to carry firearms outside of residence for 10 days from January 12 to 21 for the Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival. Dela Rosa, in his memorandum on December 26, 2017, said the gun ban is part of the security preparations to guarantee the Ati-Atihan will be free from firearm related incidents and to ensure the safety and security of local and foreign tourists.

            Only members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcement agencies who are performing their official duties and in agency-prescribed uniforms are allowed to carry firearms./MP

By: Rie Takumi

            French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur will reimburse the Philippine government for the P1.4 billion unused stock of dengue vaccine Dengvaxia stored at Department of Health (DOH) warehouses.
            In a statement on Monday, Jan. 15, Sanofi said they agreed to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III's request in order to rehabilitate Dengvaxia's name in the country.
            "Rather Sanofi Pasteur hopes that this decision will allow us to be able to work more openly and constructively with the DOH to address the negative tone towards the dengue vaccine in the Philippines today," it said.
            Sanofi said, it believes the strong negative sentiment toward Dengvaxia was due to misunderstanding over "the benefits and risks associated with the dengue vaccine" and lack of awareness over the overall benefit of dengue vaccination in dengue endemic countries like the Philippines.
            It asked for a meeting with the DOH to discuss the reimbursement and ways to give the public a "more balanced and evidence-based" perspective on the dengue vaccine and the national vaccination program in general.

By: Amita Legaspi
            A total of 68 out of 481 facilities of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology have been certified drug free by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) after the management review on the performance of regions in the anti-drug campaign.
            BJMP Regional Office 1 posted the highest number with 17 jails certified drug-free during the Oplan Linis Piitan conducted in partnership with the PDEA and the Philippine National Police.
            “We have 481 facilities nationwide. It’s a long way to go pero hindi kami mapapagod kahit sino pa ang tamaan. Gagawin namin ang trabaho namin lalo pa at inspirado ang mga tao namin ngayon dahil sa dagdag na sweldo,” BJMP chief Jail Director Deogracias Tapayan said in a press statement on Monday.
            The Drug-Free Certification Program is a pioneering project of the BJMP to counter-illegal drug operations in jails with the support of friendly forces from the uniformed service and the PDEA as the certifying agency.
            “You can be certified as drug-free if no illegal drugs were found in your jails during series of Greyhound Operations and of course, that has to be validated by members of the intelligence groups composed of the PDEA, PNP, and other allied forces,” said Tapayan.
            He said to be certified drug free, the jail must also show consistent efforts on anti-illegal drug campaigns in their respective communities on top of basic requirements that the facility is clean from any illegal drugs.
            Another requirement is the conduct of random drug testing among inmates and personnel including the warden of the facility, he said.
            “If malinis ang jail mo and the technical working groups are convinced based on records and intelligence reports, then that is the only time you will be certified by PDEA as drug free,” Tapayan added./MP

By: Boy Ryan B. Zabal


            The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Kalibo activated its fire safety inspectors ahead of the Ati-Atihan celebration to ensure safety compliance of buildings, commercial establishments, lodges, inns and beer houses. 

            The newly-designated Kalibo Fire Marshall Senior Inspector Sidjie Gerardo said, “all establishments are required to comply with the fire safety requirements of the Fire Code of the Philippines or Republic Act No. 9514.” 

            During the weeklong Kalibo festival, BFP will deploy its fire trucks in staging and other strategic areas in the west and east sectors of Kalibo and to respond immediately in case there are fire calls and emergencies.

            Fire inspectors also inspected the festival venues, especially the exit doors or points of Kalibo Magsaysay Park for public safety as revelers are expected to converge for the Hala Bira Ati-Atihan nights from January 15 to 21. Gerardo said, exit doors should be marked and lighted to guide merrymakers in case of emergency.  Aside from fire trucks, 40 uniformed BFP personnel will also augment the security forces as emergency responders for the Ati-Atihan.

            Moreover, Gerardo appealed to merrymakers to refrain from using pyrotechnics and firecrackers during the traditional street dancing to avoid fires and to minimize if not stop unnecessary injuries to spectators and visitors.

            Fireworks suppliers are also reminded to coordinate with BFP to secure proper permits and requirements from the Fire Marshall and the Philippine National Police for the fireworks display or fireworks exhibition during the Ati-Atihan celebration./MP

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


            A former undersecretary of the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said that the department's Formulary Executive Council did not give the go-signal for the government's purchase of P3.5 billion worth of Dengvaxia vaccine.
            "Ang Formulary Executive Committee ng DOH simula't sapul tutol sila dito. They did not want to use Dengvaxia on a mass scale," former DOH undersecretary Susan Mercado said in an Unang Balita interview.
            Mercado added that panel had also denied the request then of the DOH leadership, under former secretary Janette Garin, for "exceptional approval for one year only."
            She said that when the council finally approved the purchase of Dengvaxia from Sanofi Pasteur, it recommended that it be done in a stage procurement and advised the government not to buy the vaccine in bulk or the whole P3.5 billion deal.
            The Food and Drug Administration Philippines approved the sale of Dengvaxia in December 2015. Mercado, however, clarified that "license to sell is different from the approval for the government to buy it. "The World Health Organization had said that it did not recommend the use of Dengvaxia.
            She said that the P3.5-billion Dengvaxia deal and the actual administration of the vaccine during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III was a scam because it did not go through the required government processes.
            Mercado also said that among the recommendations of the Formulary Executive Council was to administer the vaccine in small population only.
            In January 2016, Garin announced that Aquino had approved the administration of the vaccine to public school children from nine to 10 years old in three regions, including Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon.
            The goal of the program, which was launched in April 2016, was to administer the dengue vaccine to a total of 1,077,623 children. The DOH said more than 733,000 public school children had been vaccinated since the immunization program was launched, and more than 200,000 children have been given three shots.
            Mercado said in the interview that the immunization program was launched without the school children's parents and health workers being given the proper information on Dengvaxia.
            "I hope it was not intentional, there was not enough information. Pumayag ang mga nanay na pabakunahan ang kanilang mga anak dahil ang alam nila ito ay proteksyon laban sa dengue. Ang totoo niyan, ang bakunang Dengvaxia hindi naman masama iyan. However, you have to use it properly. Kailangan gamitin mo ito sa batang nagkaroon na ng dengue," the former DOH undersecretary said.
            More than a year after the dengue immunization program started, Sanofi Pasteur came out with an advisory last week that the vaccine should not be given to those who have not had dengue before.
In her Facebook account, Mercado said that at least 200 parents have provided her names and some photos of their dengue-free children who have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia.
She promised the parents that the list that she has will be submitted to congressional bodies that will investigate the P3.5-billion dengue vaccine mess.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) had announced that it will also investigate the dengue vaccine purchase of the Aquino administration.
In her post, she said that she received several messages from parents that say their children got dengue after being vaccinated and they required hospitalization.
"I am now analyzing this data and am thankful for those who gave birth dates and locations so I can figure out if age and location is a factor in some of the reactions," Mercado wrote on her Facebook wall.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, which requested the DOJ to investigate the dengue vaccine deal, had claimed receiving reports of at least three deaths of children who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia.
Sanofi Pasteur had denied that Dengvaxia is a deadly vaccine. /MP


            Better port facilities in Malay, Aklan will attract more cruise ship companies to include Boracay Island in their list of destinations. This was stressed by Aklan Governor Florencio T. Miraflores emphasized this as he is optimistic, tourism industry in Aklan, particularly in Boracay will thrive faster with the entry of larger cruise ships.

            Miraflores said the cruise ships stay at anchorage near Boracay Island and tourists on board are ferry back and forth by tender boats to the island.

            “Improving the port facilities in Caticlan and Boracay ports will ease the inconvenience of cruise tourists,” the governor stressed. 

            Two luxury ships are scheduled to make port calls to Boracay Island with a total of 14,700 passengers and crew on board this December 2017. MS World of Dreams with a capacity of 6,000 passengers and crew will return to Boracay on December 13 and December 20 while MSC Lirica with 2,790 passengers and crew will sail to Boracay Island on December 25. To date, the tourism department recorded 12 cruise ships in Boracay from January 1 to December 5 with over 32,000 passengers and crew. 

            Cruise port calls also create economic impact as tourists toured around Boracay Island. Each cruise ship passenger and crew visiting a cruise port spends $140 on the average for their food and beverages, transportation and retail shopping.  Tendering is slightly more inconvenience which takes place when no pier facilities are available or when the water is too shallow for the cruise ships to get closer to shore. 

            Vessels drop anchor at a short distance away and use small boats, called tenders, to shuttle passengers. Tendering can be dangerous in bad weather; if the seas are too rough near a particular tender port, the cruise ship might be forced to skip the call altogether./MP

            A Night of Glamour, a fashion show to support Ati-Atihan tribes will take place on December 9 at Kalibo Pastrana Park covered court in Kalibo, Aklan. The show will feature top-tier collections of designers from Iloilo and Aklan, plus the candidates of Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan and Kalibo Ati-Atihan Festival King. 

            Part of this show proceeds will go registered Ati-Atihan tribes and groups, initiated by the Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi) to raise funds to subsidize the Ati-Atihan costumes.

            The runway will feature local and notable designers in Aklan like Mel Grecia Quimpo, Adriano Samar, Peter Rian Casidsid, Ayein Sun, Jonard Abanco, Bobn-bon Ybarra, Nico Concepcion, Ryan Lopez, Romar Tolentino and Nino Jade Gonzales.

            The local designers in Aklan will have the chance to take home the “Best in Local Designer” from Kasafi, according to festival organizer Albert Menez.

            The performers are Melky Arboleda, Philippine representative to ASEAN+3 Song Contest 2017 last August in Vietnam and Aguinaldo T. Repiedad, Sr. Integrated School  Arts Power and Gymnast.  The show will be hosted by Rey Lebaquin, Jr. 

            The aspirants of Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan and Kalibo Ati-Atihan Festival King are also on the runway to wear the latest trends and creations of Daryl Amar and Ram Silva, two of Iloilo’s most-sought designers.

            The 16 Mutya candidates are Louise Emerald Nadua, Shyna Angel Rivera, Clarynce Ada Concepcion, Angelica Marie Lim, Sheiney Jage Mationg, Janine Maglantay, Gracel Gilongos, Ina Donna Jean Pendon, Mila Mariella Simera, Riechelle Macaraeg, Elmarie Dewara, Eloisa Mitch Hormillosa, Buena Kristel Pelayo, Marijo Mariz Ureta, Annicka Pauline dela Cruz and Stephanie Palomata. 

            The 16 Festival King aspirants are Paolo Benedict Ibuyan, John Rafael Villar, Ronald No, Jasper Sy, Marc Philip Niemeyer, Charles Ed Manuel Laserna, Alvin delos Santos, Stewart Kenneth Magbanwa, Odelon Bartolo I, Marc Sebastian Hauer, Erol Pestano, Jann Vincent Regalado, Frank Jared Rafailes, John Karl Solano, Earl JaztinBeboso and Armando Tandez, Jr./MP

            Supreme Court Clerk of Court Felipa Anama last week repeatedly refused to disclose which Supreme Court justice served as the member-in-charge for the transfer of venue of Maute case proceedings from Mindanao elsewhere even as lawmakers pointed out that the matter was “academic” since it has been resolved.
            While Anama confirmed that the case, which stemmed from a letter of request from Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, was raffled to a justice, she invoked confidentiality rules of the High Court when she said she could not say who became the member-in-charge, despite a sustained round of questioning by members of the House Committee on Justice.
            Anama cited Rule 7, Section 3, of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, which stipulates that the result of the raffle of bar matters, administrative cases, and criminal cases where the penalty imposed by the lower court is life imprisonment “shall be treated with strict confidentiality.”
            According to this rule, matters outside of the confidentiality clause shall be made available by the Clerk of Court to parties to the case or their duly authorized representatives. It was raised by members of the panel that the confidentiality matter was “academic” because the case has been “disposed of.”
“Kung natapos na po ang kaso, wala na tayong pakialam doon sa raffle,” said committee Vice Chairperson and former Court of Appeals Justice Vicente Veloso.
            Anama was then asked by panel Chair Reynaldo Umali that the lawmakers were not discovering the identity of the justice to whom the case was raffled, but were trying to “isolate that it is not the Chief Justice who was the member-in-charge.”
            To this, Anama said: “Hindi po kay Justice [Noel] Tijam, kaya doon po sa labing-apat mamili na po kayo doon.”
            Anama’s reply seemed to frustrate the panel members, including Umali, who said, “Attorney Anama, ‘wag po tayong maging pilosopo dito,” and urged the clerk of court to “cooperate” in the impeachment proceedings. For her part, Anama said she “respects the committee.”
            `In the impeachment complaint of lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, he alleged that the transfer of Maute cases was assigned to Associate

Justice Noel Tijam. Gadon alleged further that despite this initial assignment, Sereno “caused” the matter to be “raffled” to her.
            The Chief Justice herself, in her verified answer to the complaint, said she was the member-in-charge for the matter. The subject at hand picks up from last week’s hearing, where Aguirre testified on the series of events surrounding the supposed “50- to 52- day delay” in the granting of his letter to the Supreme Court requesting for the transfer of Maute cases from the then-wartorn part of Mindanao, citing a lack of facilities and the obvious danger to prosecutors and judges.
            The cases were ultimately transferred to Taguig City Trial Courts, but the allegation centers on the alleged “intentional delay,” which Sereno’s camp has called “baseless” on the grounds that the processing of the Aguirre’s request was first taken up for a shorter period of time.
            Sereno's lawyers said the High Court acted on Aguirre’s initial request within 8 days, took another 14 days to discuss Aguirre’s request for reconsideration, and another 14 to issue its resolution granting the Cabinet official’s motion for reconsideration. 
            Sereno’s camp also refused to comment on Anama’s motive behind her repeated denial of disclosing the information asked of her.
            “As to the state of mind of Attorney Anama, I cannot speak for her, but to be fair I think she’s only invoking the Supreme Court internal rules at kung anuman yung rationale no’n, kung anuman yung dahilan sa likod no’n, ay dapat din nating igalang dahil ‘yan ay alituntunin ng Supreme Court,” Sereno lawyer and spokesperson Josa Deinla told reporters.
It also could not be said that Anama was “covering” for the Chief Justice, she said.
            “Feeling ko, sarili niya namang desisyon ‘yun, hindi naman namin masasabi na... Remember Clerk of Court [siya] for the Supreme Court en banc, ang loyalty niya is to her office at sa buong Korte Suprema. So ‘di natin pwedeng sabihing pinagtatakpan niya si Chief Justice dito,” she said. /MP