The Inbox
  • Negros Oriental fishermen return home from a fishing expedition.

    By Irma Faith Pal, VERA Files

    Dumaguete City – Some 278 fishermen from Negros Oriental have been waiting for nearly two-and-a-half years for P13.424-million in back compensation from a fishing company that was found by the National Labor Relations Commission in 2011 to have violated Labor Wage Standards.

    The fishermen served as crew in a paaling fishing expedition in 2008 for Pesca Maharlika Marine Resources, Inc., a Navotas-based fishing company.

    The NLRC, in a decision released on Oct. 12, 2011, awarded P13,424,437 to the fish workers who were deducted 20 percent of their contracted rate during their 10-month fishing expedition in Palawan.

    Sandra Delfin, the Department of Labor and Employment’s representative to the Negros Oriental Provincial Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (PIACAT), said the NLRC decision on the labor aspect of the case entitles each fisher about P40,000 to P50,000, whether or not they filed a case against the fishing company.

    The action was brought about

    Read More »from Waiting for just wages
  • Derek Ramsey and Angel Aquino in Bawat Sandali.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    The thing with movies made for TV audiences is that you don’t expect much.

    You are offered star values, you are expected to be tickled pink by romantic trailers and you hope you catch it in your free time.

    But when you are 60 and above, romantic flings are not likely to appeal to you. You leave the “kilig” factor to the very young but you secretly hope a kind of déjà vu happens in your TV viewing.

    Because like it or not, you identify with the characters when it touches or resembles a part of your private past.

    Director Joel Lamangan.Given this reality among one sector of TV audiences, TV 5’s “Bawat Sandali” directed by Joel Lamangan and written by Racquel Villavicencio, is a big surprise because the senior citizens in the preview audience were hooked by it to the very end and rooting for the married heroine gone bad and the single swain gone hopelessly in love.

    A clue that a film has sunk on the viewers’ consciousness is when they start reacting on the predicament of the

    Read More »from Love and passion with unlikely denouement

  • By TheMitch Meñez, VERA Files

    Photos by Little Wing Luna

    The once lush plant life of the Manila Seedling Bank is now a thing of the past. Last month, the demolition of plant nurseries, vendors’ stalls and other structures inside the seven-hectare property pushed through despite the absence of a court order.

    Now enclosed by makeshift gates and fences, the view is gray and grim. Inside, the greens are replaced by upturned earth---brown and black. Tractors and workers continuously are digging through every inch of the land preparing the area for whatever the Quezon City government has in store for it; the property is reportedly being developed into a mall.

    The city government claims that the property has been forfeited in its favor due to non-payment of real taxes. However, the Transfer Certificate of the compound (Title No. 309814-309816, T-004-2012005017) shows that the owner of the property is still the National Housing Authority.

    The city government has not shown any proof that it has

    Read More »from The demise of the Manila Seedling Bank
  • SC decision on Cybercrime law:OK, but…


    SC Justices prepare to hear arguments on Cybercrime Prevention law. Photo by

    By Ellen Tordesillas

    We did not fully get what we asked Supreme Court regarding the Republic Act 10175 otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 which was to declare the whole of it as unconstitutional primarily because of its libel provisions. But we can live with the Supreme Court decision released yesterday.

    We still have to fully analyze the SC decision which upheld the constitutionality of the controversial law but struck down the most odious “take down”provision which empowered the Department of Justice) to restrict or block access to any online post which it deemed violating the law without any court order.

    The court also said only original authors of libelous material are covered by the cybercrime law, and not those who merely received or reacted to it. So those who “liked” and shared a libelous online item won’t be punished. Good luck to whoever is tasked to trace the original author after a post is shared and reposted thousands of times.

    But what we

    Read More »from SC decision on Cybercrime law:OK, but…
  • By Ellen Tordesillas, VERA Files

    Photos by Mario Ignacio IV

    Yolanda survivors Lito G. Abucejo, 47, a carpenter and his wife, Rebecca, 44, marked the 100th day after the super typhoon slammed into Manicani Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, in a newly-built house.

    The Abucejos have folded their United Nations-donated tent, which was their shelter the past three months, and are now living in a new structure built where their old house once stood.

    The Abucejo’s new house is one of the more than 400 being built by Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), which owns a non-operating nickel mine in Manicani.

    Coco lumber felled by Yolanda are being used for the 30-square meter houses. They are expected to last four to five years .

    NAC and the local government will be working on a long-term rehabilitation and development of the island, where Yolanda made its first landfall last Nov. 8.

    Aside from the houses in Manicani Island, NAC will also be underwriting the construction of 10 barangay halls in Guiuan

    Read More »from Guiuan rises with a lot of help from mining firm
  • Andre Paras during MTV Pinoy presscon.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    At 6”4’ and every inch looking like a matinee idol, Andre Paras towers over the rest of his contemporaries namely model-actress Sam Pinto, television find Yassi Pressman and singer Gino Padilla’s son, Josh Padilla.

    The four youngsters are the newly recruited video jockeys (VJs) of MTV Pinoy, which was launched last February 14 by Viacom International Media and Viva Communications, Inc.

    The new music channel will be different as it promises original content and equal airing of OPM music and latest overseas top hits.

    The good-looking VJs with assorted backgrounds all look forward to the new challenge as they project what is exciting about their generation.

    Andre Paras with father, Benjie Paras.“I came from the movies and so becoming video jockey will allow me to meet people who make news in the entertainment scene,” said Pinto.

    As for the younger Paras, Andre admits being VJ is another challenge outside of basketball and he intends to make the most of it.

    Andre, now with the UP Maroons, is

    Read More »from Andre Paras: The son also rises
  • President Aquino welcomes Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Malacanang, Oct. 15, 2012 to witness signing of GRP-MILF Framework Agreement.

    By Tessa Jamandre, VERA Files

    President Benigno Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak are set to meet in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 27, when Aquino visits Malaysia in his first foreign trip for 2014, a highly reliable foreign affairs source said.

    Missing from the agenda, however, will be the setting up of a consulate in Sabah, a matter which Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had asked his Philippine counterparts to include.

    Anifah conveyed the request personally to Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario when he came to Manila on January 31 on a day trip that was kept from the media.

    The source said Anifah reiterated to Del Rosario Malaysia’s proposal “for a PH consulate in Kota Kinabalu and not in Sarawak” to take care of the consular needs of some 1.4 million mostly undocumented Filipinos in Sabah. Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah.

    The Philippine government, on the other hand, has a standing request for the establishment of a consulate in Sarawak, 513 kilometers from

    Read More »from No talk of Sabah in Aquino-Najib meet Feb. 27
  • Gerardo and Violeta Tolentino

    By Artha Kira Paredes, VERA Files

    The story of Violeta and Gerardo proves two things: It’s never too late to fall in love again and love hurdles immigration barriers.

    After the death of her first husband, 60-year-old Violeta Timbang Tolentino married 80-year-old widower Gerardo, an American citizen, August 7 last year in Pampanga.

    The couple has known each other for years, Violeta’s aunt being Gerardo’s late wife. They saw each other again two years ago and from there the rest is history as the old cliché goes,

    While processing their papers, Violeta who is from Pampanga, is learning to adjust to her husband whom she describes as “more American now.” Gerardo has resided in the States for the last 20 years and he lives independently from his 11 children.

    “More American” also means transparency and strict budgeting in their finances. “Nagkukusa naman siya (sa pagbibigay ng pera) pero dapat alam niya kung saan ito napupunta (I don’t need to ask for money but he needs to know how I spend

    Read More »from Love conquers immigration woes
  • Evelio Javier

    By Alex C. Delos Santos, VERA Files

    Twenty-eight years ago, a murder at high noon was executed in San Jose, the capital of Antique in Panay Island that outraged the Filipino people struggling to free themselves from the clutches of a dictatorship.

    The assassination of Evelio Bellaflor Javier (EBJ) on Feb. 11, 1986 sparked the flame of democracy that burned bright in the succeeding days and culminated in the historic February 22-25, 1986 People Power that ended the 20-year Marcos dictatorship.

    Today, there’s hardly a flicker about Evelio Javier in the younger generation of Antiqueños.

    Last February 11, San Jose de Buenavista was abuzz with activities. The town was hosting the West Visayas Regional Athletic Meet. To attract the delegations from other provinces, the Provincial Tourism Office organized an expo at the park as part of the commemorative activities, but half of the booths were empty. Only the yellow banners printed with EBJ’s familiar profile dotting the whole park provided

    Read More »from How Antique celebrated Evelio Javier day
  • Senators’ applause for Tuason proves stealing pays


    Ruby Tuason in Senate hearingBy Ellen Tordesillas

    Sorry, but I don’t share the euphoria of Sen. TG Guingona, chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee, over the testimony of Ruby Tuason in the Senate yesterday.

    After the hearing Guingona enthused: “A three-point shot na buzzer beater na, winning shot pa."


    Sure, Tuason detailed her role as “commissioner” in the anomalous operation of Janet Napoles with Senators Juan Ponce-Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada using the Priority Development Assistant Fund allotted for small-scale projects in poor communities. But except for some details, all that she said were already revealed by whistleblowers Ben Hur Luy, Merlina Suñas, Arthur Luy, Gertrudes K. Luy, Annabelle Luy, and Nova Batal Macalintal.

    Laywer Harry Roque noted that during the hearing, “ Tuason kept on relying on Ben Hur’s records.”

    Roque said Tuason’s testimony “ bolsters my position that her testimony is not indispensable and that the testimony of Ben Hur Luy et al are sufficient. Worse, she could not

    Read More »from Senators’ applause for Tuason proves stealing pays


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