Ateneo Dumps San Jose-Recoletos

Philippine Sports 1 Comment »

ateneoAteneo de Manila University (ADMU) showed why it is the darling of the country’s women’s volleyball circuit, easily disposing Cebu’s Unversity of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R) in three sets, 25-17, 25-18, 26-24, to enter the quarterfinal round of the Shakey’s V-League Season 7 at The Arena in San Juan last Sunday.

Thai import Keawbundit Sontaya led the Blue Eagles, the first runner-up in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), scoring 17 points. Diminutive open hitter Fille Cainglet put in 11 points for the Lady Eagles.

With a 2-0 win-loss card, the girls from Katipunan in Quezon City, is currently with Lyceum of the Philippines for the top spot in Group B with a comfortable position going into the quarterfinal round.

The Lady Jaguars, perennial champions of Cebu just could not handle Sontaya easily giving up points on the defense. The Cebuanos tried to rally on the third set, extending it at 24-all, only to drop the next two points for the match.

With the mandatory two-point extension at 24-al with a miss from Ateneo’s Misha Quimpo, Sontaya and Cainglet buried back-to-back kills to seal the set and the match.

Guest player Michiko Castaneda led the Cebuanos with 11 points while the mainstay Carla Dubduban added nine.

The Lady Jaguars struggled on their reception, allowing the Lady Eagles to score 12 service aces, with veteran Bea Pascual and Sontaya combining for six easy points.

There are eight teams in this conference’s tournament including three out of town teams—USJ-R and Southwestern University from Cebu City and University of St. La Salle from Bacolod City.

Now on its seventh year, The V-League is the premiere women’s volleyball tournament in the country outside the university athletic games. The University of Santo Tomas is the winningest team in the tournament history with five championships. De La Salle University has three while the Adamson University and the San Sebastian College-Recoletos both have one championship each.

Supreme Court orders DNA testing on Vizconde Massacre evidence

Philippine News Update 3 Comments »

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is set to make an inventory of material evidence presented to court 19 years ago during the publicized trial of the Vizconde massacre.

The NBI will check if they still have the semen specimen taken from one of the victims, Carmela Visconde, who was raped before she was murdered along with her mother and baby sister in 1991 in Paranaque City.

NBI Deputy Director for Technical Services Reynaldo Esmeralda said the bureau will comply if ever the Supreme Court asks them to provide a DNA sample of specimens under their custody.

The High Tribunal on Friday granted the request of Hubert Webb, one of those convicted in the massacre, to submit for DNA analysis specimen taken from Carmela’s cadaver. Webb wanted to prove that he was not involved in the rape and murder.

Esmeralda said that should the semen samples be available, the NBI will immediately conduct tests to ensure it is not contaminated.

“It has been a long time. So we will see if it is with us. I asked them to check on our evidence, especially in 1991 and 1992,” Esmeralda said.

Admitting DNA evidence only in 2007, the Supreme Court ordered the reopening of the Vizconde case. Appeals for DNA tests were earlier denied by the lower courts.

“It was only in 2007 when the SC issued a ruling to recognize the DNA testing. During the pendency of the case at the lower court and at the CA, the DNA test is relatively new science and at that time the SC has yet to rule whether the Court will accept DNA test for evidence,” Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez told reporters.

The NBI was directed to submit available specimen to the University of the Philippines – Natural Science and Research Institute, Diliman, Quezon City. The bureau was given 15 days to comply with the court’s order.

The lower court sentenced to 40 years in jail Hospicio “Pyke” Fernandez, Michael Gatchalian, Miguel Rodriguez, Antonio “Tony Boy” Lejano and Peter Estrada for the rape and murder of Carmela Vizconde and the killing of her mother, Estrellita, and younger sister, Jennifer.

Twists and Turns Inside Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) House

Philippine Showbiz News 14 Comments »

PBB-teen-clashPinoy Big Brother opened its house once again for teens ages fourteen to nineteen years old and last April 10. 2010, fifteen housemates were introduced to the public. These fifteen young and fresh faces will be the talk of the town for the next eight weeks. Just like the regular season, Pinoy Big Brother doubles up, the famous Kuya’s house is still divided into two and this time seven housemates that are living simple and not so comfortable lives outside occupied the “Villa” and eight well-off and comfortable teen housemates occupy the “Apartment”.

The “Villa” resembles the total opposite of the lives of the housemates outside for they are given all they want like comfortable complete furnished beds and a swimming pool. The housemates in “Villa” are Angelo, Devon, Eslove, Joe, Kyra, Shey and Yong. The “Apartment” on the other hand, had features of a real apartment with no beds and no swimming pool. The “Apartment” housemates had the taste of a not so comfortable life inside because they were to sleep on “banig” with very hard pillows and these teens are used to sleeping on soft mattresses and pillows. First night inside the “Apartment” is already a big challenge for these teens. The “Apartment” teens are Fretzie, Ivan, Kazel, Patrick, Rebecca, Tricia, Yen and Romeo. There are supposedly sixteen housemates but one teen housemate got health problems prompting Kuya to pick another housemate instead. Maichel was chosen to be part of the official sixteen housemates and entered the house on Day 2 as one of the “Villa” housemates. The housemates eventually started to mingle with each other and became easily comfortable with some.

The housemates were then given their first daily task, which is identifying the housemates of the opposite house through matching baby pictures with their correct names. Failure to name all the housemates correctly will mean eviction for one housemate. Both houses were given a chance to meet and ask the housemates of the other house through the TV screen and instead of making the task easier for them, it only complicated things for the “Villa” housemates. The “Apartment” teens got a taste of their first victory against the “Villa” housemates. The winning team was then asked to decide on which housemate to evict, and they chose Shey. The “Villa” teens then asked Kuya if there is any way they can save Shey from eviction, and he listened to their plea by placing Shey’s fate in a water volleyball game. The “Villa” housemates won the game and saved Shey from being evicted.

The housemates were also given their first weekly task, which involves a goat. The house that would gather enough milk at the end of the task wins the weekly budget. It was a close match but “Villa” once again triumphed. Day 8 inside the house was another stressful event for the teen housemates for they are to face the process of nomination. They individually cast their votes inside the confession room giving one and two points for housemates that they think is not worthy of extending the stay inside the house. During the night, the nominees were unfolded and Angelo, Eslove, Tricia, Romeo and Patrick got the most points. Tricia got a perfect 12 from her housemates since all of them gave her 2 points because of her mood swings. Angelo, on the other hand, got nominated because of his serious attitude. After the announcement of nominees, another name was included in the list, and it was Maichel. Kuya came into a decision to, automatically nominate him because of a number of violations. He was given a task immediately when he entered the house by letting the housemates guess the correct spelling of his name before he could actually speak, but he failed to do so. He was also caught communicating through hand signals and talking with the other housemates without a lapel microphone. Kuya then decided to do a swap among the housemates and Joe and Tricia switched houses without bidding goodbye to their friends. Joe was warmly accepted by the “Apartment” teens and his bubbly personality helped him gain new friends. Tricia, on the other hand, had difficulty adjusting with the “Villa” housemates most especially with the girls, but they cleared things up and eventually accepted their differences.

The housemates also had their “teentramurals” wherein they will be competing in a series of events and the winning team will be allowed to give P10, 000 to a recipient. The “Villa” once again won and proved their supremacy. During the middle of the week, Kuya noticed that Maichel continues to violate his rules, and he decided to, forcibly evict Maichel from the house. He was given enough time to say his farewell because he is to leave together with the evictee at the end of the week. The housemates were then given their second weekly task titled “teentertainment”. They were tasked to choreograph a dance number to be voted by the Showtime judges that will comprise 50% of the total score and the other half will be decided by the public. The performance of the “Villa” was praised by the judges, and they got a higher score in comparison to “Apartment”. The people also gave the “Villa” teens more than 50% of the votes giving them their second consecutive win with their weekly task.

During the eviction night, Maichel was the first one asked to leave and one by one, the other housemates were saved. The percentage of votes is as follows: Tricia- 41.48%, Eslove- 21.20%, Patrick- 16.63%, Angelo- 15.16% while Romeo got the lowest with 5.53% and was the first official evictee. Catch the remaining housemates in PBB: Teen Clash of 2010 on ABS-CBN’s primetime block.

Different Views on Parallel Manual Counting during the Election

Philippine Politics, Philippines Election 7 Comments »

electionAn automated election had brought about a number of issues, whether to provide the people with an accurate, reliable and honest election. Since the proposal and approval of holding an automated counting of votes for the first time in the country, a number of possible flaws had been exposed by certain groups like the use of signal jammers and a bunch of plausible factors that may lead to a possibility for a failure of elections. The COMELEC, on the other hand, has taken in measures that will decrease the worries of the public and to ensure a truthful election for everyone.

Recently, Information Technology (IT) professionals have expressed the need for a full manual counting alongside the automated counting of votes on Election Day due to many possibilities of cheating. These professionals have looked unto fraudulent activities during the previous elections and are open to the fact that it can also happen with the automated counting. According to them, the Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) machines can be manipulated and cheating programs can be placed in it that may lead to padding and shaving of votes. They also said that, even if this new trend in the voting process utilizes high technology, modern equipments and techniques; it is not an assurance that the system will be free from fraudulent activities. They mentioned that the proposal for a simplified parallel manual count will only involve the highest three positions namely the president, vice-president and the mayor. The votes of the manual counting would then be in comparison to that of the PCOS counts. If and when there is a deviation of more than eight votes then they would suggest a full manual counting for all positions. Their proposal is only to ensure that cheating will be avoided and to check the accuracy of the machines. They have urged COMELEC to decide on this very important matter and spare some time so that they can execute the proposal and concur on solutions to both legal and logistic concerns.

The IT professionals are not the only ones who are calling for a parallel manual count of the votes as more and more sectors have spoken to support such call. Recently, business groups such as the Makati Business Club (MBC) and Finance Executives of the Philippines (Finex) have expressed their support on manual counting alongside the automated counting during the election. These business groups have uttered the fear of relying exclusively on automated counting and the possibility of cheating that will not truthfully validate the credibility of the results. Just like what the Information Technology experts have proposed, these business groups wanted the manual counting to be done on the top three positions. They also said that if and when a discrepancy of a single percent takes place, then a full manual counting should be done for all the positions to ensure accuracy and credibility. A number of flaws had also been enumerated by the representatives of these business groups which include similar flaws stated by the IT experts. They also made clear that they are not trying to stain the reputation of automated elections but instead, they are only trying to establish its effectiveness and capability of providing an honest and credible election for the Filipinos.

Candidates running for different positions in the government have also their stand on parallel manual counting. Six out of nine presidentiables have stated their support on the matter. One of these presidentiables, who stated his support, is Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Senator Benigno “noynoy” Aquino III. He had said that official ballots may have a possibility of being tampered, which may be visible with the naked which would result to its rejection by the machine. He also wanted the COMELEC to be transparent with their plans on the May 10 polls. Only three presidential candidates did not support the call for a parallel manual counting namely Senator Manny Villar (Nacionalist Party), Gilberto Teodoro ( Lakas-Kampi) and Richard Gordon. According to Senator Manny Villar, conducting the parallel manual counting on May 10 is too late for implementation because Election Day is fast approaching. He also stated that such proposal is already impossible and should have been pushed long before to ensure an honest and orderly election.

The COMELEC, on the other hand, has studied the proposals but according to COMELEC spokesman James Gimenez, the lack of time will make it impossible to execute. He also stated that a parallel manual count for 75,340 precincts is not easy and should be studied well. He also said that it has logistical and cost ramifications and personnel implications, and it’s a complicated thing. The COMELEC has been working around the clock for the poll preparations, and they are making sure they achieve their goal of having a credible election for everyone. The COMELEC also said that a parallel manual counting would no longer be necessary since a random manual audit is good enough. Malacañang has also supported the COMELEC against parallel manual counting stating that it would only result in chaos.

IBM Heightens Focus on Provinces

Philippine News Update 6 Comments »

Technology giant IBM is projecting growth in the retail, manufacturing, energy and agri-business sectors in outside the Philippine capital as the company eyes to expand its presence in non-traditional markets, often neglected by huge solution providers in the past.

IBM recently introduced a new line of servers for companies of various sizes as well as a renewed push for its email and collaboration platform Lotus Suite to businessmen and company executives in the region.

Charis Fiel, IBM business manager for southern Philippines, said there is a huge potential in key sectors outside the capital – a territory IBM wants to be part of in the long term.

“Aside from the major growth sectors, IBM also sees potential in the BPO sector as well as education, and we want to be part of that,” Fiel said during the IBM Tech Expo and Conference at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Held simultaneously was the Lotusphere conference in Cebu, where the business unit executive for Southeast Asia, John Mullins unveiled new features for the platform, including collaboration for mobile devices, an expanded cloud collaboration platform, new social software and unified communication technologies as well an improved consultancy services.

“We would like to offer Lotus not just a solution for companies with hundreds of thousands of employees but also for smaller companies,” Mullins said. “There is no company too big or too small for Lotus.”

The cloud collaboration allows Lotus users to upload an unlimited volume of work files online for sharing to selected users. This LotusLive function combine integrated email, web conferencing, social networking and collaboration.

For as low as $3 per user per month, Lotus users are assured of greater capabilities and security for their work, Ling Jia Woei, Southeast Asian executive for Lotus Live.

“We bring the same security capabilities that we give to bank clients to our Cebu clients,” Ling said.

The company also unveiled its new Power7 server series, which can handle the most complicated of work to real-time analytics. The new line also offered fewer capital costs, less power consumption and more efficient use of server memory capabilities.

“Smarter solutions require smarter systems that can scale quickly and efficiently, optimize performance, flexibly adapt to changing requirements and demands, avoid downtime, save energy and automate management tasks,” power systems manager Tristan Ylagan said.

IBM’s new eX5 series was also launched to the southern Philippines market, a successor to the highly successful x86 line of servers which the company reported as having cornered 20 percent of the market for each of the quarters in 2009.

The eX5 series expanded the capabilities of the x86 platform by offering six times the memory scalability and at a more cost-effective investment. The result is a system that reduces the number of server needs by half, cutting storage costs by almost 97 percent and slashing licensing fees by 50 percent.

British Tourism Investors Urged to Invest in Philippines

Philippine News Update 16 Comments »

britishThe Philippine government invited British businessmen to come to the country to look at investment opportunities in the tourism industry, during a reception at the British House of Lords in London recently.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) together with Philippine Ambassador to the Court of St. James Antonio M. Lagdameo highlighted to the British businessmen the many advantages offered by the country, such as increased government incentives and the opportunities arising from the growing tourism market in the region, most especially on medical tourism and real estate investments.

The reception, hosted by Lord McNally and the DOT office in London headed by Tourism Attaché Domingo Ramon Enerio III, with the assistance of Friends Philippines through its founding chairman Paul Dimond, former United Kingdom (UK) Ambassador to the Philippines, the DOT made the pitch to attendees, which included the property developers, business executives, heads and representatives of travel and tourism companies, book publishers and travel writers, and the British media among others.

Tourism Secretary Ace Durano hailed the event as a positive reinforcement to the ongoing campaign of the Department.

“With long established mutual relations with the British stakeholders, we are now focusing on expansion and exploration into other forays of tourism investment, which is a priority category for foreign investments in the Philippines,” he said.

DOT reported to the businessmen that in the last four years, tourism arrivals in the Philippines have almost doubled. The industry is now worth more than US5 billion dollars. Durano expressed optimism about the prospects for foreign investment in Philippine tourism, citing the comparative advantages enjoyed by the country.

The DOT presentation also included a highlight on Central Philippines, called Tourism’s Super Region, which accounts for more than half of tourists visiting the islands, with Cebu leading the main destinations in the area, the others being Boracay, Bohol, Camarines Sur, Camiguin, Mindoro, Palawan, Romblon, Siargao, and the provinces of Western and Eastern Visayas.

Some of the top visitor draws in the said region were Mt. Mayon volcano, the whale shark butanding of Donsol, and Water Sports Center in Caramoan, all in Bicol; the rich bio diversity and the St. Paul Subterranean River of Palawan; the league-topping white beaches of Boracay; the Chocolate Hills, the whales and dolphins of Bohol; the cultural heritage sites, distinctive cuisine, entertainment and shopping centers and the hotels and resorts of Cebu; the local festivals and pristine beauty of Camiguin; and the surfing thrills of Siargao.

On the competitive advantages of the country, DOT enumerated the following: skilled managerial talents and technical manpower; rich natural and cultural tourism resources, with an abundance of tropical landscapes and man-made attractions that include Unesco World Heritage Sites, which are suitable for ecotourism ventures; land, sea and air transportation system and infrastructure that continue to be upgraded, linking the major islands and facilitating travel and transport between the major urban centers and emerging tourism hotspots; a responsive government from the national level down to local government units which welcome and encourage local and foreign business ventures as a direct means of alleviating poverty through job creation; government’s commitment to promote investments specially tourism by relaxing investment regulations and providing incentives, investing in infrastructure development and marketing activities; easy access to and from major international cities in the region; relative political stability which allows for regular local and national elections; and a creditable economic performance which has seen successive quarters of unprecedented growth in GDP during the last decade.

The DOT together with Ambassador Lagdameo thanked Lord McNally for the opportunity to make a pitch for Philippine tourism in such a prestigious venue as the British House of Lords. They also expressed the gratitude of the Philippine government and the Filipino people to Friends Philippines and to Ambassador Paul Dimond in particular for their role in drumming up interest among the British in Philippine trade, investments and tourism.

Noynoy Aquino Suffered Clinical Depression in Mid-1990’s: “FALSE”

Philippine Politics 12 Comments »

noynoyaquinoA Catholic priest and Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III and have both denied the authenticity of a document implying that Aquino suffered from clinical depression in the mid-1990′s.

There has been a “document” that includes a header of the Department of Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila University’s which came up on the Internet last Thursday, April 8, 2010.

Base on the “document,” it states that during 1996, Noynoy Aquino, when he was still 36 years old, suffered a psychiatric evaluation.

The supposed document that was apparently signed by Fr. Carmelo “Tito” Caluag, evaluated Aquino to be suffering from major depressive disorder, and recommended continuing therapy.

From the alleged document, a sister of Aquino also reported that she was even worried that he has been depressed for 10 days. It said that he has some problems with his speech and in concentrating, that results from his tensions which are related to work and his separation from his flight attendant girlfriend.

The document also states that during Aquino’s teenage years, he was able to do smoking, drinking, and use of marijuana, therefore, recommended that he undergo medication and psychotherapy sessions.

However, Noynoy Aquino said that the alleged document was a “work of fiction”.

He said that: “What they’re doing is that they came up with this work of fiction, I will respond and point out factual errors that are easily verifiable, thereby giving them the chance to, para bang may ‘editing’ of the work to make it sound more credible. So I’m in a position that there is a no-win situation, and the lack of attribution is already indicative of the fact that the person who made this fiction is aware that he is purporting fiction and is slanderous.”

Noynoy Aquino added that: “I am confident that there are a lot of people who have known me, they are people who, if they bother to read it, will find so many factual errors.”

Caluag also said with confidence that the said document was fake.

Fr. Carmelo “Tito” Caluag said that: “I have never been connected with the said department as the report claimed.” He said that during that time, he was the principal of the Ateneo de Manila High School and clarified that he is an educator by training and a priest by vocation.

Caluag further added that he is not experienced and proficient to make any kind of psychological assessment on anyone. However, he acknowledged that the signature on the document was similar to his, but said that it was just “pasted” on the report and it was the type of signature he would use to sign birthday cards sent to Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) alumni when he was still the university’s Vice President for University Development and Alumni Relations from 2000 to 2005.

According to Caluag, he said he uses a different, “more formal” signature when signing official documents.

Caluag is presently the executive director of ABS-CBN’s 71 Dreams Foundation.

Also, according to Ateneo de Manila University psychology department, they comsider the so-called psychiatric evaluation on Noynoy Aquino to be false.

According to the department: “The document is false; no faculty member or other professional affiliated with the Psychology Department has ever conducted a psychiatric assessment of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.”

The statement also confirmed that Caluag “is not a psychologist or psychiatrist and was never affiliated with the Psychology Department.”