Headlines for Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Enrile won’t hear PAL exec’s testimony
DAY 21 An angry Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile points his finger and bangs the gavel as he lectures the prosecution: “And now you’re offering a stranger in paradise to prove an allegation that doesn’t exist in Article 3. I consider this trash.” An incensed Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Tuesday rejected a prosecution witness called to testify that Chief Justice Renato Corona and his wife allegedly enjoyed special treatment from Philippine Airlines (PAL) while a case involving the company was pending in the Supreme Court.

Government appeals junking of case vs Marcos et al.
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has contested the Sandiganbayan decision dismissing the P50-billion ill-gotten wealth case against the Marcos and Ver families, former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin and the participants in the so-called Binondo central bank, claiming the case was resolved too early and questioning the court’s “procedural shortcuts.” According to the OSG, it was shown that the very operation of the Binondo central bank violated the law and other government rules and regulations, and Ongpin’s admission to having spearheaded its operations entitled the government to damages.

Sayyaf Leader Linked To 2007 Beheading Falls
MANILA, Philippines — A suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member involved in the 2007 beheading of 10 Marines in Al-Barka and several other atrocities in Mindanao was arrested in Basilan by joint government security forces before dawn Tuesday. Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said Abdulpattah Ismael, also known as "Patah Hamjak," was arrested around 1:40 a.m. in a joint police and military operation in Barangay Riverside, Isabela City in Basilan.

New Sokol choppers amaze Philippine troops
MANILA, Philippines—Philippine troops and civilians were awed by the latest military air asset acquisitions, which went on test flights Monday afternoon, a military spokesman said. In a press briefing Tuesday, Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said the Sokol choppers, which flew from Clark Air Base in Pampanga, amazed the troops and civilians at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija where the aircraft passed by. He said, “The troops were impressed with the capabilities of the Sokol choppers as they executed several air maneuvers.

Philippines now a creditor nation
MANILA, Philippines - From being a user of the resources of the International Monetary Fund for decades, the Philippines has attained creditor status, with half of its $251.5-million contribution to the IMF as of December tapped to help European countries such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece ease the impact of the financial crisis in the euro zone, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said yesterday. The BSP said the country’s improved status has become evident with its being a participant in the Financial Transactions Plan (FTP) of the IMF since 2010.

Caught having sex with lover in UAE, Pinay sentenced to 3 months in jail
A Filipina maid in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was ordered jailed along with her Pakistani lover after her employer caught them having sex in his house, the news site Gulf News reported on Tuesday. After admitting that they had consensual sex, the Filipina and her Pakistani lover, both 40 years old, were sentenced to three months in prison by the misdemeanor court.

Palace: Nothing wrong with free hotel stay for PAGCOR execs
Malacañang said it sees nothing wrong Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) officials receiving complimentary hotel accommodations from a casino investor. At a press briefing on Tuesday, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said giving of hotel accommodations is an acceptable industry practice. “If, for instance, our PAGCOR officials go to the US for a gaming convention or for any country, for that matter, which is primarily more expensive than our standard of living, kung sila naman ang mag-o-offer, in effect we’re cutting cost on that.

Senate dilemma: To accept or reject CJ accounts as evidence
MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said yesterday that the Senate has not yet decided if it will accept the documents containing the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) account details of Chief Justice Renato Corona as evidence, noting the questions on the integrity of the source of the signature card presented by the prosecution. According to Enrile, if it is established that the prosecution’s photocopy of the signature card was leaked by the Anti-Money Laundering Specialist Group of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), all bank-related testimonies cannot be admitted as evidence.

Manny Pacquiao warns Tim Bradley as fight’s press tour starts
Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao issued a subtle warning to unbeaten American Timothy Bradley on their face off Monday (Tuesday in Manila) in Los Angeles. “Don’t take this fight easy, just do your best in training,” Pacquiao told Bradley, according to Examiner.com. “Make yourself ready on June 9th.”

Japanese gambling tycoon bribed PAGCOR officials: US suit
WASHINGTON - Japanese gambling tycoon Kazuo Okada was accused Tuesday in a US lawsuit of paying off Philippine regulators and cheating his powerful Las Vegas partner. The lawsuit named former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chairman Efraim Genuino and current Chairman Cristino Naguiat, and their families, as the recipients of the payoffs, which dated to 2008.

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