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Cesar Montano accused of mismanaging tourism board, approving P16.5M sponsorship of Feb 25 Luneta rally

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Employees of the Tourism Promotions Board filed a complaint against its chief operating officer (COO) Cesar Montano for alleged corruption and mismanagement. The actor is accused of approving contracts with producers for events where he is slated to perform. He is also accused of hiring relatives and friends, going on trips using TPB’s funds, and incompetence in dealing with the responsibilities that come with his post.

The TPB employees have filed the complaint to the Presidential Action Center (PACE) on March 1, complete with details of Montano’s “acts and conducts” that showed his “unbecoming behavior as a government official.”

Among the complaints filed by the employees is Montano’s failure to follow Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo’s order to “divest from his films and private companies.” They said that the actor has failed to submit a Divestment Report, which would show his interests as an actor, film producer, and director, as of the filing of the complaint.

The complaint also named Montano’s team members and consultants, many of whom are relatives and friends and “whose functions are already being rendered by incumbent employees.” This is a violation of Administrative Code of 1987, which prohibits nepotism. Section 59, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 provided these parameters on nepotism: “All appointments in the national, provincial, city and municipal governments or in any branch or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, made in favor of a relative of the appointing or recommending authority, or of the chief of the bureau or office, or of the persons exercising immediate supervision over him, are hereby prohibited.”

They accused the actor of entering into multi-million contracts that have not undergone proper vetting by the TPB offices involved, citing the following concerts and events as example:

  • P11.2-million contract with Carat Philippines, an event where Montano sang with his nieces
  • P12-million sponsorship of Viva Communications’ event called “Jadine United States and United Arab Emirates Concert Tour 2017”
  • P16.5-million sponsorship of the February 25 rally in Rizal Park, where Montano also performed

The TPB employees noted how these multi-million concerts may just “bleed the coffers of the TPB dry.”

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However, Carat Philippines issued a statement on March 13 denying the claim that they produced the February 25 Luneta concert.

The complaint also showed that Montano rarely reports to Teo, considering how TPB is under the Department of Tourism. It claims that he also makes domestic trips that are not part of TPB’s program, but would fund them using the board’s funds.

The TPB employees recalled how Montano would “shout at his staff” if he does not get what he wants immediately and how he “always locks his door” and play guitar even during office hours.

But what’s worse was when Montano left a board directors meeting that would have led to establishing a work program for TPB for 2017.

“Succeeding attempts were made by the TPB to call for a board meeting, to no avail. As a result, there is no approved work program as of this writing,” the complaint said.

Here is a copy of the TPB employees’ complaint obtained by Rappler:

 

Complaint against Tourism Promotions Board head Cesar Montano by Rappler Philippines on Scribd

Montano was appointed to lead TPB by President Rodrigo Duterte. During the campaign, he was one of the celebrities who actively supported the President.

President Duterte said on March 13 that he still trusts Montano despite the complaints against him.

“All they have to do is file a case. If you have a gripe and you think there is something wrong there, file a case, but I trust the guy. Kaya ko in-appoint ‘yan. Kung wala ako kumpyansa sa taong ‘yan, ‘di ko [i-a-appoint],” Duterte said.

He added that he believed Montano would not get involved in corruption because he has money. As for the actor’s ability to lead TPB, the President said: “That would be an opinion of mine. ‘Di na kailangan, may pera na ‘yung tao. Destroying yourself with a measly amount? I don’t think he would go for that.”

Montano calls complaints “baseless and untrue”

Montano, on his part, has called these accusations as “baseless and untrue.”  He pointed out how the complainants have not presented concrete evidence to support their accusations.

“No one knows who is behind this and the said ‘TPB employees’ who filed the complaint have neither come forward nor presented any evidence to substantiate claims. Without proof, anyone can easily fabricate stories with the sole purpose of destroying the credibility of the agency and this administration,” Montano said in a statement.

“It is our hope and prayer that politics do not keep us from our doing job in promoting a safer and drug-free Philippines to tourists,” he added.

“If we cannot work together, it is the Filipino people that ultimately suffer. Despite setbacks and political backlash, this office will continue to serve our countrymen and we thank everyone for their continued support,” Montano said.

Sources: ( rappler.com , gmanetwork.com )

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Paula Defensor-Knack urges fellow DDS to move to Russian social media site after leaving Facebook

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After reports surfaced about how Facebook tapped Vera Files and Rappler as its partners in fact checking everything that goes on the social media site, one Diehard Duterte Supporter urged her fellow DDS to shut their Facebook accounts down and move to a Russian social media website.

Paula Defensor-Knack, the younger sister of the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and avid supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, took to Facebook on April 13 to post detailed instructions for her fellow DDS to deactivate their Facebook accounts and migrate to Russia’s version of Facebook, called VK.com.

“Deactivate your accounts on FB only… so that you get the uncensored truth from us in VK.com and fight again in the rest of social media,” Knack wrote.

She then listed down all five steps that the DDS have to follow to complete the move to VK from Facebook. She wanted them to sign up for a VK account and find their DDS group, warned them about the lag in posting links on VK and how posting of pornographic materials are not allowed, and gave them a deadline of five days before all of Knack’s and other DDS groups on Facebook will be deactivated.

“After 5 days our groups will be deleted/deactivated. Do not let yellows censor or fact-check you. Lets leave them to talk to themselves and get votes,” Knack wrote.

“We will tell the world what is the truth in another platform – this time, in Europe! See you there!!!” she added.

Hours after the instructions for the migration to VK, Knack once again taunted the Liberal Party, while emphasizing how many DDS there are. In the same post, she also said that those living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) within 24 hours of the announcement.

Both of these Facebook posts came hours after Knack took to Facebook to criticize its move to partner with Rappler and Vera Files for fact-checking.

“We will leave Vera Files and Rappler with no one to talk to or no account to suspend on FB. We will bring our defense of PRRD and the country to another international audience in the new social media platform which is free & easy to use,” she wrote.

Meme Buster has written several stories debunking fake stories and has found that some of them were shared by Knack herself.

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Knack shared a meme that made it seem as though Senator Risa Hontiveros flaunting her achievements, but it turned out to be a fake. She also shared that fake claim by a former Arroyo official about how the Magdalo group was allegedly connected to the Maute terrorists, something that even the defense chief denied, Aguirre’s misleading 2015 throwback photo of opposition lawmakers in Marawi, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV getting abandoned by Zambales crowd, and the photo of a man falsely accused as the cop who shot teenage victim Kian delos Santos and having a selfie with Robredo. In 2017, just like Communications Asec. Mocha Uson, Knack also dared people to send the media and support to a wake of a cop who died in 2016.

On April 12, Facebook announced its partnership with Vera Files and Facebook to launch a fact-checking program in the Philippines to “reduce the reach of false news stories on Facebook, check their facts, and rate their accuracy,” according to Clair Deevy, Facebook Director for Community Affairs for Asia Pacific.

Rappler and Vera Files will review stories flagged as fake news. Those that will be identified as such will be put lower in the Facebook News Feed and be less visible. Facebook users who will try to share the story will receive a notification that the story has been identified as false. Related articles will also be written about the fake stories to explain why they were flagged as such. Pages that will continue to stubbornly tell the story will have reduced post distribution and lesser ability to monetize their content.

Sources: ( rappler.com )

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Election lawyer to Marcos’ accusations over ‘ballot anomalies:’ Wow mali na naman tayo

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Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. aired out his accusations over the alleged anomalies involving the opened ballots for the vice presidential vote recount on April 2.

In a Facebook post, he said that “100%  weather proof” and “waterproof” ballot boxes were “soaked in water,” a practice he described as something often used by election cheaters before a recount; found it laughable that Vice President Leni Robredo’s lawyer explained the incident as something that was caused by a storm in Camarines Sur; and found it suspicious how Robredo’s camp changed their tune by saying they are confident with the outcome of the recount.

But election lawyer Emil Marañon III addressed Marcos’ accusations one by one in a Facebook post and told the protesting politician, “Wow mali na naman tayo.”

Marañon deemed the practice of wetting the ballots as something used decades ago in 1992, but things have changed as the automated elections replaced the manual elections. He also pointed out that Marcos’ camp even asked for the scanned copies of each ballot to be printed.

“Una, wetting the ballots para mandaya sa recount is so 1992. Hindi katulad noong manual elections, sa automated election system, may scanned copies ang bawat balota na pwede balikan in case na masira, mabasa or mawala ang original paper ballots. Baka nakalimutan ni Mr Marcos na nag request nga siya to print them,” he wrote.

He also explained why ballot boxes are not exactly “weather proof” and “waterproof,” as per Marcos’ claims.

“Hindi lang raw “100% weather proof” but “waterproof” ang ballot boxes kaya hindi raw pwede mabasa. Mukhang hindi pa siya nakakakita ng ballot box at kung saan nakatago ang mga ito. By design, may mga butas talaga ang ballot boxes kung saan dumadaan ang balota mula sa Vote Counting Machine (VCM) going to the box. Yes, kadalasan doon nakakapasok ang tubig pag directly naulanan ang mga ito,” Marañon explained.

The election lawyer further said that most ballot boxes are simply stored somewhere exposed to the elements, such as a gym, but that it won’t matter as much because there are ballot images that can be used as backup reference.

As for Marcos accusing Robredo’s camp of doing everything to delay the vote recount, Marañon pointed out how it was her camp that even “filed a motion withdrawing all motions” and vowed not to file any, something that the Marcos camp failed to deliver when they were the ones that issued the challenge in the first place.

“The Robredo camp raw “did everything in their power to delay the recount.” Wow lang. The Vice President did not file any motion to delay the recount. In fact, she filed a motion withdrawing all motions na may dilatory effect sa proceedings and committed on record not to file any. Baka nakalimutan niyang siya ang hindi tumupad sa sarili niyang challenge at hindi nag-file ng motion to withdraw his dilatory motions,” he said.

Calling Marcos “Boy Kuryente,” Marañon corrected Marcos’ false assumption that audit logs are also stored in the ballot boxes.

“Sir, hindi naman talaga nilalagay ang audit logs sa loob ng ballot box. Sa procedure ng Comelec (pakibasa Resolution No. 10057, Article VII, Section 29 [f] 5), ang audit logs ay tinu-turnover ng Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) sa Election Officer (EO) ng bayan o siyudad after ng election. Pagkatapos, pinapadala ng EO ang naipong audit logs sa Comelec Main Office sa Maynila. Dahil doon, walang audit logs sa loob ng mga ballot boxes. Samakatuwid, huwag maghanap ng wala,” he wrote.

Before ending his Facebook post, Marañon urged Marcos to hire new consultants, considering how many “fake news” and false assumptions he has made over the past few months regarding his election protest.

“Sa dami ng fakenews, mali-mali at kuryente mo sa nakaraang mga buwan, please find better election consultants. Yung nakakaintindi naman kahit slight,” he said.

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Twitter user hits Marcos, believers that Marcos had gold bars before he became president

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When the vice presidential vote recount started on April 2, one Twitter user made it his job to point out just how corrupt the Marcoses are and slam their supporters who believed that the family had gold bars even before the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. became president.

Twitter user Alt BBM (@alt_BBM) started his thread with a survey, asking the Twitterverse if they believe in the tale about the Marcos gold bars.

He also tweeted a screenshot of a YouTube video with a title “Shocking Fact About the Gold Reserves of Ferdinand Marcos Revealed!”

He then urged his followers to watch a two-minute video clip of an old ABC News documentary called “20/20,” showing the lavish lifestyle of the Marcoses and the millions they accumulated.

There was also a clip, still from the same documentary, showing how the Marcoses had a custom built disco in Malacañang and invited several big names in the international entertainment industry during parties.

Alt BBM reminded his followers how the Marcoses built structures that the ordinary Filipinos did not even benefit from, such as the Coconut Palace and the Manila Film Center. The latter even cost the lives of 30 workers, who were described in the documentary as victims that other workers had to pour cement over because the former First Lady Imelda Marcos said there was no time to dig them out.

There were also clips posted in the thread about Imelda’s collection of jewelries, over 2,000 shoes, and clothes and her hoarder tendencies.

The rest of the thread went on to hit the Marcoses as a family. The last part was a clip showing a reporter asking Imelda how she managed to get expensive, beautiful things. Imelda said that it was because Marcos was a lawyer of a gold mining company and that she saw the gold herself at his home even before he was voted president.

Alt BBM commented on this remark by the former First Lady saying, “Sa mga naniniwala sa pagkakaroon ng maraming ‘Gold Bars/Reserve’ ng pamilya Marcoses, panoorin niyo tong interview ni Imelda with BBC news! Ang sagot niya ay lawyer daw si Ferdinand Marcos ng “Gold Mines”. KUMUSTA NAMAN ANG KWENTONG YAN?!”

He then addressed his lawyer followers if lawyers of gold mines do get filthy rich.

“Sa mga abogadong followers ko, ano kayang cases ang hawak ni Marcos para kumita siya ng ganong karaming pera? O di ba? Kaya kung may kaibigan kang naniniwala sa Gold Bars ng mga Marcoses, i unfriend mo na yang mga yan bago ka mahawa sa katangahan nila,” he tweeted.

He conducted a final survey asking other Twitter users if they still believe that Marcos was rich even before he became president because he had gold bars. The final results have come out, showing that 95% of those who answered the survey did not believe in the Marcoses’ claims.

MemeBuster has also written stories about the Marcos wealth before. Veteran journalist Ed Lingao has a short story on News5 debunking the myths about the sources of the Marcoses’ wealth and ended it with an explanation on why the Supreme Court decided to forfeit their Swiss bank accounts with $685 million in 2003. Another netizen also debunked the same stories about the Marcos gold one by one after several stories about the treasure went viral online.

Sources: ( news.abs-cbn.com )

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