Today's Headlines in the Philippines

Manuel V. PangilinanMVP on endorsement for president: Thanks, I’m no politician
MANILA, Philippines - Thanks, but he’s not interested. Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is grateful for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s praise and presidential endorsement, but says he is not a politician. In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the search for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines 2015 Wednesday night, Pangilinan dismissed the idea of running for president in the 2016 elections. “Not really,” he said when asked if he was considering a run for the country’s top government post. “(I’m) very honored and very flattered. Very grateful for her words, coming from her, a very well respected senator of the republic,” Pangilinan said, referring to Santiago’s unsolicited presidential endorsement. “I’m not a politician, I’m just an ordinary business person,” he added.

PNoy asks for understanding over Mamasapano debacle
SILANG, Cavite — President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday fell short of issuing an apology over the deadly January 25 Mamasapano operation, and instead appealed for public understanding over the debacle. Speaking before graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy and stressing that it will be the last time he will speak on the matter, Aquino asked the public to look at the issue from his point of view. "Ang magagawa ko na lang, matapos masabi ang lahat ng dapat masabi, at magawa ng lahat ng dapat gawin, humingi po ng pang-unawa," the President said in the speech made on the same day Pulse Asia released the results of a survey showing Aquino is no longer the most trusted top government official.

Bangsamoro struggle won’t stand chance before UN – lawmakers
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is just wasting its time if it will elevate its Bangsamoro struggle for self-determination before the United Nations if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is watered down, the chair of the 75-man Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL said yesterday. Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, panel chairman, and other House leaders branded as “premature” the MILF’s threat to go to the UN to question the dilution of the peace measure, since his committee has yet to resume the deliberations on the creation of the proposed Bangsamoro juridical entity on April 20. “There is no basis for such action. Instead of issuing a threat, the MILF should show its sincerity by cooperating with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and by implementing confidence building measures to convince lawmakers to support the BBL,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview.

Benigno Aquino IIIPresident Aquino vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP
SILANG, Cavite, Philippines – President Aquino vowed yesterday to dismantle the culture of factionalism or the bata-bata system within the Philippine National Police as he continued the search for the next PNP chief. Speaking at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) commencement exercises here, the President said the country needed solidarity among leaders and members of the police force so that the policemen would be effective protectors of Filipinos. “Our challenge to the next chief of our national police force: Craft the plans that will lead to greater unity in the ranks of the police. Let us change the culture of factionalism within the PNP,” he said. Amid calls for him to immediately name a replacement for resigned PNP chief Alan Purisima, a source said Aquino did not want two changes of command in a year and this would apparently put the chances of PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina in peril. Espina will be retiring in July this year.

‘Worst’ no more? Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1 makeover 85% complete
Amid the hammering and whirr of tools, the public address system at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 1 tirelessly issues an appeal: “Please bear with us. We are undergoing renovations to better serve you.” For Sonia, a frequent flyer since the 1990s, all that work should have been done years ago. Still, the 40-year-old migrant worker is appreciative of the transformation unfolding before her. “It’s much cooler now, less congested and not as dark as before,” she said. “Now everything looks brighter and more welcoming.” Not many would have agreed with her four years ago, when the 30-year-old terminal made headlines for supposedly being the worst in the world. The ranking was made by a website that offers a guide for travelers when sleeping at airports—and was seen as a validation of what long-suffering passengers had been complaining about.

MRT-3 passengers forced to walk railways or suffer from suffocation
MANILA, Philippines—Passengers of a northbound Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) train on Thursday evening were forced to walk along the railway at the Santolan station after the train suffered a technical glitch. Guammer Partosa, one of the passengers of the defective MRT train, told in a phone interview, that the train suddenly stopped at the middle of the railway between Ortigas and Santolan stations at around 7:54 p.m. Partosa said the MRT tried to re-start about nine times but failed to operate. He said that after its fifth attempt, power inside the MRT was shutdown including the air-conditioning system. The train announcer, according to Partosa, only said, “Pasensiya na po at huminto po tayo (Pardon, we stopped).” He said the train announcer also told the passengers not to open the doors.

Irene Mae AlcobillaSan Beda grad tops 2014 Bar exam;1,126 hurdle bar out of 5,984 examinees
After a six-year drought, a law graduate of San Beda (Manila) topped the 2014 bar examination leading 1,126 successful bar applicants out of the 5,984 examinees who took the exam on all Sundays of October at the University of Santo Tomas. Irene Mae Alcobilla who got the highest grade of 85.5 percent said she cried upon learning about the results. “I didn’t expect to top. In a radio interview, Alcobilla said, “the exam was so difficult” to the point that she was not sure to pass the Bar. “I just consoled myself that my answers during the exam had some sense,” humbly admitting that “I am not that good.” Alcobilla previously worked in the Senate and in the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

GMA-7, ABS-CBN, TV5 come together for free TV broadcast of Pacquiao-Mayweather fight
The three major broadcast networks in the Philippines will come together on May 3 to broadcast Manny Pacquiao's fight against Floyd Mayweather. This development was announced in a news conference on Thursday with representatives from GMA-7, ABS-CBN, and TV5 in attendance. "Maraming-maraming salamat sa GMA-7, ABS-CBN, TV5, and Solar Sports dahil sa pagkakaisa nila para maipalabas sa ating mga kababayan ang fight na ito," said Pacquiao, who credited Solar Entertainment, the rights holder to the fight, with making the development happen. GMA Executive Vice President Felipe S. Yalong, GMA Regional TV First Vice President Rikki O. Escudero, and Senior Vice President of Radio GMA Mike Enriquez represented the network in the event. "As in all Manny Pacquiao fights, GMA-7 is one with the Filipino nation praying for the victory of Manny," said GMA Network chairman and CEO Felipe L. Gozon in a message read by Yalong.

Philippine Share prices hit new record high
MANILA, Philippines - After weeks of staying below the radar, the Philippine Stock Exchange index surged yesterday to another all-time high ahead of the Monetary Board’s policy setting meeting. The PSEi gained 0.44 percent or 34.76 points to zoom to its 20th record close for the year at 7,871.10. Yesterday’s finish eclipsed the PSEi’s previous all-time high of 7,861.33 recorded on March 6. The index started out slow due to the downtrend seen in markets abroad but slowly picked up pace in positive anticipation of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ policy meet scheduled later in the day. Most Asian stocks fell following declines in Wall Street and rising tensions in the Middle East. In Wall Street, all three indexes were in the red, with the Nasdaq sliding 2.37 percent, the Dow losing 1.62 percent, and the S&P 500 falling 1.46 percent. Grace Cerdenia, research head at F Yap Securities, said Wall Street’s sharp overnight retreat, which weighed on regional sentiment, was expected to dampen local stocks.

Evander HolyfieldHolyfield picks Pacquiao over Mayweather, sparks conspiracy theory
Evander Holyfield has picked Manny Pacquiao to triumph over Floyd Mayweather Jr. in boxing’s biggest fight on May 2, but the logic behind his decision is of the unconventional kind. Talking to Sports On Earth, the former undisputed heavyweight champion said the sport of boxing will not allow anyone to retire undefeated. “Mayweather won’t win, because from what I’ve seen, boxing doesn’t want nobody to get out [of the sport] undefeated,” Holyfield said. “They want to keep the money in the sport by doing things to make it happen this way: Somebody beats the man, and then somebody beats the man who beat the man, and then somebody beats the man who beat the man who beat the man who beat the man.” Holyfield added that Pacquiao will win via decision in the welterweight unification bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

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