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Defense chief calls out PSG commander’s ‘uncalled for’ remark against Rappler reporter

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called the remarks of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander “uncalled for” and “off the mark” after the latter said that a Rappler reporter should “be thankful” that the PSG officer she took a video and constantly questioned about why she was barred from entering Malacañang did not hurt her.

“That remark is uncalled for and really off the mark. Whatever the Rappler’s offense the PSG had no right to harm Rappler’s people nor threaten them,” Lorenzana said in a text message to the media.

On February 20, Rappler reporter Pia Ranada was briefly barred from entering Gate 2 of the Palace to get to the New Executive Building (NEB) by PSG personnel, Cpl. Mark Anthony Cempron, who said that there was an instruction from the “higher ups” to not allow Ranada entry to the Palace premises. The Malacañang Press Corps (MPC), of which Ranada is a member, holds office at the NEB.

Dagoy called Ranada’s behavior “insulting” and “rude” and added that she should be thankful the PSG personnel did not hurt her despite her behavior.

“Bakit kailangan bastusin ‘yung sundalo ko? Subo-subo ninyo ‘yung mic para makuha n’yo ‘yung information with camera pa, with cellphone,” Dagoy told Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson in an interview.

“Huwag ninyo ganunin, sumusunod sa orders lang ‘yan. Mabuti nga ‘di kayo sinaktan. Pasalamat kayo hindi kayo sinaktan sa pagbabastos na ginawa n’yo. Pambabastos ‘yun,” he added.

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In a text to Ranada, Dagoy told her, “It was good that my soldier did not hit you when you were bullying him.”

Dagoy said the Rappler reporter should have asked her questions to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) instead of directing those questions toward the PSG guard.

Rappler reported that Ranada reached out to the PCOO when the PSG personnel told her she was barred from the Palace premises. But Media Relations Undersecretary Mia Reyes texted her back saying that she did not know anything about the order to the PSG and sent her staff to Gate 2, where the Rappler reporter and the PSG guard were.

Rappler further wrote that during the barring incident, Ranada was not given any reason why the prohibition was ordered.

But head of Malacañang’s Internal House Affairs Office (IHAO) Jhopee Avanceña told Ranada via text message on February 20 that President Rodrigo Duterte himself gave the instructions to stop the Rappler reporter from entering the Palace.

“I informed the PSG not to allow you to enter the Palace since I was instructed last night by the President,” Avanceña said.

The Malacañang official also told PTV News that the President wants Rappler CEO Maria Ressa barred from entering the Palace.

Rappler released an official statement, calling the move to bar their CEO and reporter as “another instance of power attempting to intimidate independent journalists.” It further commended Ranada for her courage “in asking the tough questions that demand clear answers.”

On how long Duterte has prohibited Ranada from entering the Palace, Avanceña responded to Ranada: “He said you are not allowed inside. That’s it. Not only today.”

Rappler also reported that the PSG later informed Ranada that she could get to the NEB, but not the Palace itself, but no reason was given for the move.

In a Facebook post, Ranada thanked Lorenzana for calling out the PSG chief.

Pia Ranada

In an interview on DZMM, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that Ranada was barred from entering the Palace because Duterte was irritated at her. This contradicted Executive Secretary’s reason, which cited the Securities and Exchange Commission’s earlier decision to revoke Rappler’s license, causing the media entity to lose its Malacañang Press Corps accreditation.

Rappler has emphasized that the SEC itself said its decision is not yet final and executory.

Sources: ( newsinfo.inquirer.netrappler.comcnnphilippines.com )

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’

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President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks

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His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( rappler.comphilstar.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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