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Zamboanga City and Zamboanga del Norte officials are set to meet to settle an ongoing boundary dispute between the two local government units on April 18.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco Salazar will lead City Councilors in a symbolic move to meet their Zamboanga del Norte counterparts led by Sibuco Mayor Norbideiri Edding right at the Limpapa bridge, the designated boundary the Norte side insists on.

Formal talks, however, will all be held at the city council session hall.

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Women stand by their men, as talks spin around the graft charges House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez filed against Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. for alleged conflict of interest in the latter’s lease of government land for his banana company.

Alvarez’s daughter, Assistant Finance Secretary Paola Alvarez, on Thursday expressed “shock” at what she described as the “crass and juvenile … spin” on the graft issue by Floirendo’s live-in partner, Cathy Binag.

Binag had earlier said that the crack in the relationship between the two formidable allies of President Rodrigo Duterte started when Alvarez’s wife, Emily, and their children, ran to them for help over the Speaker’s womanizing.

Floirendo’s partner added that a public spat she had with Alvarez’s girlfriend, Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio, during the Maskara Festival in Bacolod City in October last year further soured the two friends’ relationship.

But the younger Alvarez disputed this and said in a statement that it was “incredible how personal relationships are exploited by Rep. Tonyboy (Floirendo), to twist an otherwise simple question of facts. It’s completely appalling!”

Alvarez initially refused to answer questions about his extramarital affair, but relented when asked to comment on the possibility of an ethics case being raised against him.

“If they see ethical issues, then go ahead, file a case. No lawyers will be left,” the Speaker said, suggesting in jest that all lawyers had affairs.

Alvarez also admitted being long estranged from his wife, Emelita Apostol, with whom he has four children. He has two other children from a first marriage.

And this is the more likely angle. Floirendo and Alvarez were close friends until they had a falling-out after rumors circulated that the former was plotting to oust the Speaker and replace him with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

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Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, the retired marine officer who filed impeachment charges against Pres. Duterte yesterday ruled out “horse trading” that will free Vice President Leni Robredo from being hounded by a similar case pursued by the President’s allies.

Alejano aired this stand as he filed a supplemental impeachment complaint against the Chief Executive, this time accusing him of failing to execute his mandate as President by not asserting the country’s exclusive sovereign rights over Benham Rise.

Aside from this, Alejano said Duterte’s refusal to protest China’s plan to construct an environmental monitoring station over disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea is an impeachment offense amounting to betrayal of public trust.

But as far as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo is concerned, the supplemental impeachment complaint is part of the “nonsense” propaganda to undermine the President.

For Davao City 1st district Rep. Karlo Nograles, the filing of a supplemental impeachment complaint against Duterte was a planned thing.

 

And who said, Duterte is serious in his pronounced laxity over the Spratlys issue. Read on.

China’s reclamation activities in the South China Sea will be one of the issues to be tackled when Beijing and Manila start discussions on a bilateral mechanism on the disputed region this coming May.

“I think this will simply be one of the issues that we will ask China: ‘What is the intention of building this?'” acting Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said in television interview Thursday (March 29). “We made it perfectly clear that we want to raise issues of concern to our side.”

That Manalo valiant stand can only be poised with express instructions of the president. Need we say more?

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A group of journalists is not cowed by the President, after it hit back at him for claiming the reporting of media organizations as garbage. The group charged his mindset to be that of a "petty tyrant."

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) released the statement entitled "Mr. Duterte, your mouth is getting the better of you!", shortly after Duterte blamed the media for reports that do not put the administration in a good light.

In Pilipino the NUJP said, “We beg your pardon, but it is clear that it is not the media, but you, who is rude," adding, it was a brazen abuse of his immense power as chief executive of this land and only shows how little, if any, appreciation he has of democracy and governance.

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The Japanese government will extend 771 million yen (P348.8 million) grant aid to the Philippines to implement an energy project in the conflict-affected Bangsamoro area over the next three years, as it continues to provide support to peace and development in Mindanao.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) on Thursday penned the grant pact.

The project will upgrade the power distribution equipment of the six electric cooperatives (ECs) operating in the area.

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In another profanity-laced speech, President Duterte has called on the European Union (EU) not to impose its standards on the Philippines in the wake of its strong criticisms against the administration’s brutal anti-drug campaign.

Known for his colorful language, the 72-year-old President hurled invectives at the EU, calling it a hypocrite before hitting the United States anew.

“Those in the EU. You know if they will ask you how I would describe them. Just tell them: you are a f***ing s**t,” Duterte said during the mass oath taking of the members of the Philippine Councilors League held in Malacañang yesterday.

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The family of basketball star Kiefer Ravena is poised to file criminal charges against Kristoffer Monico Ng for attempting to extort money from the former Ateneo De Manila University basketball standout in connection with his leaked lewd photos.

Kiefer’s father, a former PBA player Bong Ravena himself, said charges of robbery and extortion will be filed against Ng.

“We’re still in the police station and the case is ready for filing,” Bong said in a text message to The Manila Times.

The 29-year-old Ng, also an Ateneo alumnus like Kiefer, was arrested on Wednesday in an entrapment operation.

Kiefer, 23, who plays for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League (ABL), said that he’s hopeful that his harassment will finally end.

“Now that we have the first suspect under the PNP custody, we hope to get more leads and information so justice will be served, and harassment and blackmailing such as this would end,” he said in a statement.

“We’ve been silent the past couple of weeks because my parents have been consulting with lawmen to get to the bottom of this matter. According to police, Mr. Ng will be charged with robbery and extortion, and could face a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 20 years in prison,” Kiefer added.

If convicted, Ng then would not be eligible to the probation privilege.

Good for him.

The former University Athletic Association of the Philippines Most Valuable Player is also the boyfriend of popular volleyball star Alyssa Valdez.

He also played as a developmental player for the Texas Legends in the NBA Developmental League this year. (By Jimmy Cabato)




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