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Military won’t file case vs Juana Change anymore, says Uson is becoming an AFP reservist

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A day after releasing a statement about pursuing a legal case versus actress and political activities Mae “Juana Change” Paner, the Armed Forces of the Philippines changed its mind.  

AFP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said that after the “thorough review of the case,” as ordered by AFP Chief Gen. Eduardo Año, they learned that Paner was actually praising the Filipino soldiers, not ridiculing them.  

“Last night, the Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año ordered a thorough review of the case of Ms. Paner following information that Ms. Paner did not actually ridicule soldiers but even praised the sacrifices of our men in uniform,” Padilla said, reading the AFP’s statement during the Mindanao Hour briefing in Malacañang on July 28.  

Upon receiving information that the activist donned the military uniform “in the interest of the arts, being a recognized comedian,” they will no longer pursue a case against her but advised her and other individuals “to desist from the inappropriate use of our uniforms,” Padilla added.  

“She and the others must understand that the particular uniform she wore is the battle dress attire of our armed forces,” he said. 

Explaining why the military consider the uniform “very sacred,” he explained, “It is the same uniform our soldiers wear whenever we go to battle and the same uniform many of our heroes die wearing in the battlefield and in the defense of the Motherland and our people. This is the very reason we hold this particular uniform very sacred.” 

The AFP statement also included an invitation for her to become a reservist.  

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“If it is her desire to extol the sacrifice, gallantry and dedication to duty of all soldiers and help recruit more patriotic Filipinos to the armed forces, your armed forces is open to have Ms. Paner among the ranks of our patriotic reservists, who without hesitation continue to be among our most ardent partners for change,” Padilla added. 

The AFP earlier said that Paner violated RA 493, which prohibits the use of military titles or grades by individuals who are not in the service, and Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code (Unauthorized Use of Uniforms). 

Section 2 of RA 493 states that persons who are not in the military are not allowed to “use or wear the duly prescribed insignia, badge or emblem or rank of the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine Constabulary, or any colorable imitation thereof.” 

Those who violate the penal code will be penalized with an arresto mayor, or imprisonment of one month and one day to six months. Those who violate RA 493 may be required to pay P100 to P2,000 in fine, or imprisonment of not less than one month and not more than two years, or even both.  

Paner wore a military uniform during a rally against martial law on July 24, the same day President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his second State of the Nation Address (SONA). She was even featured on the first page of the Philippine Star, July 27 issue, after the AFP threatened to sue her for “disrespecting” their uniform.  

Some netizens have pointed out that Communications Undersecretary Mocha Uson has also worn fatigues before.  

However, Padilla defended Uson, noting that she only wore fatigues that “can be bought commercially,” not the military’s regulation uniform. He also added that Uson will soon become a military reservist.  

Before the AFP changed their mind about filing a case against Paner, several people came to her defense, including De La Salle professor and known Duterte supporter, Prof. Antonio Contreras.  

“Whenever Mae Juana Change Paner appears in rallies, she is playing a role as a performance activist. Her donning a military uniform is not technically impersonating an army soldier, but she is only playing a role,” he said in a Facebook post on July 26..  

He reiterated the same defense for Paner, emphasizing on her right as an artist to do so.  

Contreras even said earlier that suing Paner and Uson for wearing fatigues will “force the court to rule on this matter so that the metes and bounds of artistic freedom be finally delineated.”  

Manila Bulletin columnist Tonyo Cruz also defended Paner, pointing out that she was merely performing “protest art.”  

Facebook user Jonathan Lorca Caiña even posted a photo of comedian Vice Ganda wearing fatigues. His comment section also showed a photo of the Mocha Girls wearing fatigue pants while performing.  

Issues about Paner wearing a military uniform got the spotlight when a post by the Philippine Army Recruitment Office went viral. They criticized Paner’s move, which they considered “disrespectful” to the soldiers who shed blood, sweat, and tears to wear the uniform.  

Sources: ( inquirer.net , news.abs-cbn.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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