Headlines for Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Antonio Trillanes IV and Albert del RosarioAquino’s back channel to China is Trillanes
A tempest is brewing in the country’s diplomatic front with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario saying his efforts to resolve the lingering standoff with China over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea were being torpedoed by a backroom negotiator. In interviews conducted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV emerged as the negotiator working independently for President Benigno Aquino in Beijing.

Ex-PAGCOR chair Genuino accused of funneling funds to daughter's party-list group
The Department of Justice on Tuesday recommended the filing of charges of plunder, graft and corruption, and malversation of public funds against former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) chairman Efraim Genuino and other officials of the agency. Among the alleged beneficiaries of the diversion of at least P50 million in public funds was party-list group Batas Iwas Droga (BIDA) which fielded several candidates in the 2010 national elections, including Genuino's daughter Sheryl Genuino-See.

Muslim rebelFilipino Muslim rebels say they won't attack US over anti-Islam film
The Philippines' largest Muslim insurgent group on Sunday rejected Al-Qaeda calls to attack US targets over an anti-Islam film that has sparked protests around the world. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has instructed its 12,000 members to observe a cease-fire pact with the government, and will not attack US targets in the country, the MILF's chief political officer Ghazali Jaafar said.

Miriam 'vetoes' Mar confirmation
MANILA, Philippines - Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has formally informed the Commission on Appointments (CA) that she will veto the confirmation of newly appointed Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II at its plenary session today. Once Santiago invokes Section 20 of the rules of the CA, President Aquino will have no choice but to issue an ad interim appointment for Roxas when Congress goes on break between Sept. 22 to Oct. 7.

Manuel Roxas IIUnfazed, Roxas to wait and see
Malacañang remains hopeful one of President Benigno Aquino’s closest advisers and political allies will make it through the bicameral Commission on Appointments, despite the threat by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago to block the confirmation of Manuel “Mar” Roxas II as the new interior secretary Wednesday. Mr. Aquino has named Roxas, the erstwhile secretary of transportation and communications, to head the Department of Interior and Local Government, after Secretary Jesse Robredo was killed unexpectedly in a plane crash on August 18.

PNoy wants 'person of foresight' as successor
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III laid out the qualities that he hopes his successor would have. He is hoping that his successor would be a "person of foresight" and would continue his campaign to promote transparency and accountability in government. In his speech before the delegates of the 2nd Integrity Summit, Aquino said his style is to "pick up the can rather than kick [it] down the road" and try to solve the problem rather than pass it on to someone else.

Phillip Phillips and Jessica SanchezAmerican Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez arrives in Manila
Filipina-Mexican-American singing sensation Jessica Sanchez and fellow American Idol Season 11 competitors arrived to a warm welcome in Manila early Tuesday. "Mabuhay! Welcome to the Philippines!" PAL said on its Twitter account shortly after 6 a.m. AI winner Phillip Phillips and finalists Joshua Ledet, Colton Dixon, and Skylar Laine arrived with Sanchez.

Pinay nurses win nearly $1-M language discrimination case vs. US hospital
For being mocked for their accents and ordered to speak "English only," a group of Filipino nurses won a nearly $1-million language discrimination settlement against a California hospital. According to a report of the news site LA Times, lawyers from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Monday a $975,000-settlement for the 69 immigrants who filed the case in 2010.

Jeffrey UthoffBPO firm banks on Filipino talent
One can’t help but admire the way the president of business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Telus International Philippines talks about the ways his company helps marginalized communities. As the leader of a big multinational company, Jeffrey Uthoff is expected to discuss his company’s business. Instead, he excitedly talks about the Telus Community Board, a program that aims to provide funding to local grassroots organizations that help educate and empower the youth.

PDEA Mystery Deepens
MANILA, Philippines --- The mystery behind the dismissal of a ranking Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) official continues after Malacañang gave limited details on the matter, while the top official of the agency offered to resign over gambling issues involving his wife. Yesterday, Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte failed to disclose what prompted President Aquino’s loss of confidence in PDEA Deputy Director for Operations Carlos Gadapan, whose relief was made known the other day. But she said Gadapan may raise questions about his dismissal to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

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