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FASO legal adviser searches for Maharlika who “lied” about funds raised by FASO going to Robredo

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Pro-Duterte blogger Maharlika claimed in May that the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) was organizing a fundraising event for Vice President Leni Robredo but that they would make it seem like it was for Fil-Am musicians.

In the video she posted on May 14, Maharlika answered a netizen’s question about FASO’s fundraising event. She said that it was indeed for Robredo, although FASO is trying to pass it off as a fundraising for the organization and its beneficiaries.

At mark -4:10, Maharlika said, “Oo, fund-raising nya po ito. Pinapalabas lang po na ano, na kunyari sa FASO.”

She also posted a photo of FASO’s invitation, along with a caption echoing her claim that FASO’s dinner and gala event was intended to raise funds for Robredo.

“Fund raising po ito para kay Robredo pero pinalalabas lang na para sa Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO),” she wrote.

This tidbit of information was picked up by another pro-Duterte blogger Thinking Pinoy, who slammed that $300 fee for Robredo’s meet and greet and who further asked if the Vice President is raising funds for her daughter’s Harvard studies.

However, another blogger, Pinoy Ako Blog, responded to both Maharlika’s and Thinking Pinoy’s claims. Read more of the details in our article, “Busted: Pinoy Ako Blog slams Thinking Pinoy for accusing Robredo of $300 meet-and-greet but it’s fundraising for Fil-Am musicians.”

Maharlika resumed posting about FASO and Robredo on June 18, where she called Robredo a “destabilizer.”

On June 19, she asked why FASO was not posting about Robredo on their website and Facebook page.

She posted this on June 21, this time, targeting the attendees of the event.

And yet another post on the same day, where Maharlika claimed that FASO will charge her and have her arrested.

In response to Maharlika’s accusations against FASO, the organization’s legal adviser Claire Espina posted a “public call for information” on June 22 to know the real identify Maharlika and to debunk her lie.

Espina also posted on the Facebook group #NeverAgain: No to Dictators, to Martial Law, to a Marcos return to power” on June 23 an explanation of FASO’s nature as a nonprofit corporation and how Maharlika has committed libel against and defamed FASO.

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“The Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO) is a 501 (c)(3) corporation, a nonprofit corporation which cannot make any donation to a political candidate or for any political purpose. We cannot engage in political activity. We lose our non-profit status if we did so. Her false allegations and that of her supporters who have repeated the lie defame us,” Espina wrote.

“We believe in people’s right to free speech but free speech is not unlimited – in the exercise, people cannot libel and defame persons – and in CA, organizations and corporations are persons. By casting aspersions on FASO to attack VP Robredo, this woman has defamed FASO in the one area where we could truly get hurt – if we lose our nonprofit status,” she added.

“VP Leni was our keynote speaker at our gala where politics was not discussed but rather the promotion and call for support to Angat Buhay to improve the lives and well-being of Filipinos.”

Maharlika

On her Facebook page, Espina posted several things about her pursuit of Maharlika’s identity and why she is doing it –she wants to give Maharlika proper notice and to take action against the blogger’s “libelous statement.”

Espina even dared Maharlika to reveal her name and address and to provide proof for her claim.

Espina also posed a question about whether it should be right to ask Maharlika “to account” for her mug-selling business, which will supposedly help other Filipinos, and whether she has a business license to sell online.

On June 23, Espina repeated her call for whoever can give her Maharlika’s identity and address, adding that while she respects Maharlika’s right to free speech, the blogger cannot “defame” and “libel in the process.”

It was also on the same day that Espina shared Meme Buster’s post about Thinking Pinoy issuing an erratum over his earlier post showing a “fake photo” of Robredo’s oil portrait being sold on eBay because the Vice President cannot afford to have it shipped to the Philippines.

Espina also responded to Maharlika’s claim that she would go to prison when charged by FASO.

“FAKE NEWS AND DRAMA: Libel and Slander are mere civil torts in California. No one goes to jail for being found liable for libel or slander. The claim that she will be jailed (ipakukulong) is FAKE NEWS AND FAKE DRAMA,” Espina wrote.

More of Espina’s posts on that day showed her expressing her desire to fight fake news and “bullies.”

“FOLKS, SERIOUSLY: Let us all work together to call out fake news. We need to establish the historical record of the push back,” she wrote.

“Trolls have power only when they are not called out. People of goodwill have collective power. Let us not ever forget that,” she added.

“I hate bullies. I went into the law to fight bullies.”

She later posted about how the FASO fundraising event was a “sold out success.”

In another post, she simply said: “Got it!” It seemed like she finally got Maharlika’s identity and address.

On June 25, Espina wrote about how a “pushback against fake news works,” seeing as how Maharlika has stopped talking about her “false allegation” against FASO and how the interview Maharlika had with PCOO Asec. Mocha Uson showed one more “important detail” about the US-based blogger.

The interview can be seen here.

On June 27, Espina seemed to be reminding Maharlika to “preserve evidence” after receiving legal notice.

She also replied to this comment.

And another warning here.

This is Espina’s latest post about her pursuit of Maharlika and her “libelous” statement against FASO. We can check in on her Facebook page for more updates.

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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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