National Newsbits for January 24,2014


Following his meeting with Saudi Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud last Wednesday, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay expressed renewed optimism that “dead-man-walking”, overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Joselito Zapanta, will be given a new lease on life. The Vice President who is Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns, however, declined to divulge details of his conversation with the Saudi prince on Zapanta’s case so as not to jeopardize ongoing negotiations with the heirs of the victim. Binay said he is optimistic that the OFW will not be executed this month even though the SAR 4 million (P48 million) demanded by the heirs of his Sudanese victim has yet to be settled. (JC Bello Ruiz)


Four major tobacco manufacturers have agreed to support “in principle” the various Graphic Health Warning bills pending in the Senate. Senator Pilar “Pia” Cayetano said these companies are Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation Inc. (PMFTC), Japan Tobacco International (JTI), British-American Tobacco Philippines (BAT), and Mighty Corporation Inc. (MCI). Representatives of these four companies were present during the public hearing of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, which is chaired by Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, last Wednesday. (Hannah L. Torregoza)


A 26-year-old “sari-sari” store owner in Muntinlupa City claimed the other day his P155.4-million winnings from hitting the Grand Lotto 6/55 jackpot combination. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) said the lucky punter was really scared after winning the biggest jackpot so far for 2014. “We are glad that the P155.4 million was already claimed,” said PCSO General Manager Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II yesterday. Married and with offspring, he said he used birthdays of his family for the winning numbers that matched the jackpot combination of 02-38-32-19-08-03. (Edd K. Usman)