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  • By Theresa Martelino-Reyes, VERA Files

    (Conclusion)

    Business tycoon Manuel Pangilinan offered China’s state-owned oil firm access to the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea over which the Philippines has a territorial claim, although he had no legal capacity to do so.

    Pangilinan, chairman and chief executive officer of Philex Petroleum Corp, offered to include in his discussions with officials of the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) the Spratlys Islands, even if his company’s contract with the Philippine government is limited to Reed Bank, which is part of Palawan.

    Philex Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and Yang Hua, CNOOC presidentIn an aide memoire addressed to President Benigno Aquino dated May 7, 2012, Pangilinan reported on his meeting with CNOOC officials led by its president Yang Hua and listed his 11 point proposal which, he said, the Chinese “received positively.”

    The 11-point proposal includes a Framework Agreement between Philex and CNOOC “relating to an area of mutual interest which will be defined as the

    Read More »from Pangilinan offers Spratlys to Chinese oil firm in Reed Bank talks
  • Cherie Gil , Angel Aquino with young actors of Ikaw Lamang.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    If the first five episodes of “Ikaw Lamang” are of any indication, it is the fact that the network has produced a teleserye with the looks and inherent appeal of a well-made film.

    It is billed as period drama and romance set in the haciendas in the south and indeed it lives up to the genre.

    The initial episodes begin with the main characters played by child actors namely Zaijan Jaranilla as the young Samuel (later played by Coco Martin), Xyriel Manabat as the young Mona (later played by Julia Montes), Louise Abuel as the young Franco (later played by Jake Cuenca) and Alyanna Angeles as the young Isabel (later played by Kim Chiu).

    The first episodes are indeed dominated by the young actors who acted with such intensity you wished the teleserye ended with them as well. Angeles as the young Isabel projected the pathos of young love and so did the amazing Jaranilla as the young Samuel. Abuel’s innocent look contrasted with his sinister transformation and

    Read More »from The Filipino teleserye comes of age
  • By Theresa Martelino-Reyes, VERA Files

    (First of two parts)

    MVPA state-owned Chinese oil firm has rejected the proposal of business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan to invest in a contract to drill in the disputed Reed Bank but welcomed “innovative” proposals on how it can participate, according to a memorandum Pangilinan submitted to President Benigno Aquino.

    State-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) turned down the offer made by Pangilinan, chairman and chief executive officer of Philex Petroleum Corp, in a meeting on May 2, 2012.

    “A Farm-In Agreement into SC 72 (which Philex previously suggested to them) is not acceptable given the sovereignty issue,” Pangilinan reported to Aquino in an aide memoire submitted to the President on May 7, 2012. The contents of the aide memoire, obtained by VERA Files, have not been made public since it was submitted to the President.

    SC 72 refers to Service Contract 72, signed in 2010, in which the Philippine government awarded Forum Energy Plc.

    Read More »from Chinese firm rejects MVP offer for share in PH project in Reed Bank
  • The incredible Dennis Cunanan

    Commentary

    Dennis Cunanan2By Ellen T. Tordesillas

    Dennis Cunanan, the deputy director general of Technology Resource Center (TRC), said of the some P600 million PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) or pork barrel that passed through his office and ended up in the pockets of three senators and Janet Napoles, he didn’t get a single centavo.

    Incredible! As incredible as Cunanan, a college undergraduate, getting appointed by Gloria Arroyo as executive director of the Commission on Higher Education.

    Thanks Karina Constantino-David for reminding the public of that attempt by Cunanan to put one over the Filipino people.

    David, former chair of the Civil Service Commission (she is now a member of the board of directors of the Government Service Insurance System) recalled that CHED officials and the Employees Union were protesting the appointment of Cunanan as executive director because he misrepresented himself as a having graduated from the University of the Philippines.

    “We investigated and true

    Read More »from The incredible Dennis Cunanan
  • Lead actors of new teleserye Ikaw Lamang.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    Those romantic moments may look easy and spontaneous on the TV and movie screen but there is more to doing love scenes than meets the eye.

    “The truth is it is doubly tough for the actor once you face the cameras. The work starts before the shoot. First, you need good rapport with your co-actor and you need to trust your director,” says award-winning actor Coco Martin who is appearing in a new teleserye, Ikaw Lamang with Kim Chiu.

    “First, you have to trust yourself, trust your co-actor and your director who has the final say on how those love scenes would register on screen,” adds Chiu who plays Isabelle in the new teleserye that highlights love and passion in the 70s.

    “True, you need good chemistry for the love scenes to look real. Otherwise, they would look too studied or contrived. I do my best if I know my director will not do anything that will violate good taste,” she further says.

    Martin says good chemistry doesn’t happen overnight.

    “You have to

    Read More »from Coco Martin and Kim Chiu on doing love scenes
  • Brunei Sultan Bolkiah is welcomed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
    By Tessa Jamandre,
    VERA Files

    Four members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with claims in the South China Sea failed to take a united stand on China’s growing aggressiveness after Brunei opted out of a recently held meeting in Manila.

    Brunei was a no-show in the 1st ASEAN Claimants Working Group Meeting held at Pan Pacific Hotel in Manila Feb. 18, and is expected to skip the second round in Malaysia on March 25,diplomatic sources privy to the talks said.

    The meeting, however, saw a more engaged Malaysia, which has abandoned its former passive attitude toward China’s military activities in the region.

    Observers attribute Malaysia’s change of heart to the recent military exercises by China in oil-rich James Shoal, 80 kilometers from Malaysian Coast but is the farthest border of China’s much-disputed 9-dash line map. Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman himself flew to Manila late January and to Brunei to confirm the Feb. 18 meeting.

    President Beningo S. Aquino

    Read More »from Brunei snubs ASEAN Spratlys claimants’ meeting to forge one stand on China
  • Mar-Chiz, Binay-Meloto, Cayetano-Trillanes

    Commentary

    By Ellen T. Tordesillas

    These are the political alliances shaping up for the 2016 presidential elections.

    Mar-ChizInterior Secretary Mar Roxas for president and Sen. Chiz Escudero for vice president for the Liberal Party; Vice President Jejomar Binay and Gawad Kalinga founder and chairman Tony Meloto for the United Nationalist Alliance; and Senators Alan Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV for the Nacionalista Party.

    Sources said Roxas and Binay both wanted Sen. Grace Poe as running mate but the lady senator feels she is not ready yet to run for a higher position in 2016.

    The Mar Roxas and Chiz Escudero ticket is the handiwork of President Aquino, several sources said. Both Roxas and Escudero, gave up their long-harbored presidential ambitions in 2010, to give way to Aquino, whose candidacy came after the death of his mother , former President Cory Aquino, in August 2009.

    Sources said Roxas is reluctant about teaming up with Escudero, who endorsed Binay for president in the 2010

    Read More »from Mar-Chiz, Binay-Meloto, Cayetano-Trillanes
  • Per Pacem et Libertatem

    By Norman Sison, VERA Files

    At the corner of a gallery at the Lopez Museum hangs a painting measuring 18 inches wide and 24 inches high. It is over a century old, but the political issue depicted remains just as relevant today with the threat to freedom of expression embodied in the Cybercrime Prevention law.

    Commissioned by the US government, the painting is one of several studies done by Félix Resurrección Hidalgo, one of two celebrated Filipino artists of the time, the other being the more famous Juan Luna.

    It illustrates the Philippines symbolized by a Malay woman holding a bolo pointing downward. With her other hand she offers an olive branch, a sign of surrender, to a Joan of Arc-like maiden, symbolizing the United States. Its message was that the Philippines needed the benison of US colonial rule.

    The final product, “Per Pacem et Libertatem” (“For Peace and Liberty” in Latin), made its debut at the 1904 Saint Louis Exposition in the United States. It later graced the

    Read More »from Historic painting illustrates state of PH politics
  • Cast of Diary ng Panget directed by Andoy Ranay.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    Book authors in the popular category are now having the good times of their lives with movie executives jumping on the first opportunity to get film rights of bestselling books.

    Bob Ong’s “Aba, Nakakabasa Na Pala Ako” landed in the stable of Viva Films which made a well-received movie version of the book starring Jericho Rosales and Andi Eigenmann, among others.

    Young author Bianca Bernardino penned a love story, “She’s Dating The Gangster” in the social media-based publishing site, Wattpad, and it became a bestseller. It is now the title of a Star Cinema film starring Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo.

    Another teenage story entitled, “Diary ng Panget” -- also published in free literature website, Wattpad and authored by a teenager known only as Who Is That Girl -- logged 12 million reads and it landed once more in the Viva Films creative group and is now a movie of the same title starring young stars Nadine Lustre as the insecure diarist, James Reid

    Read More »from Book power perks up the movies
  • master plan Sabang plant

    By Norman Sison, VERA Files

    Palawan will soon be home to the Philippines’ largest micro-grid solar power plant, generating 1.3 megawatts of clean renewable energy.

    Costing P325 million, the plant will have 5,000 solar panels that will provide power to over 600 customers — homes, businesses and hotels — in Puerto Princesa City’s Sabang district. It will also have a battery pack, the largest in the ASEAN region, that will release stored energy during heavy cloud cover or bad weather.

    To put that in perspective, a mobile phone battery has about 4.6 watthours, while the Sabang plant’s battery pack is 782,000 times bigger, packing 3,600,000Wh.

    To provide nighttime power, the plant will also be equipped with diesel generators that can produce 1 MW of electricity. Atem Ramsundersingh, chief executive officer of Singapore-based WEnergy Global, said the generators will run on diesel fuel for the meantime. WEnergy has a 40-percent stake in the project.

    “Hopefully these machines will run on

    Read More »from Largest PH solar power plant to rise in Palawan

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