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Patag, Paredes accused of politicizing musician’s death to criticize drug war

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Actress Cynthia Patag and singer Jim Paredes and his wide Lydia have been slammed by Filipino netizens, who accused them of politicizing the death of musician Noli Asensio.

Both Patag and Paredes are vocal supporters of Liberal Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas II in the last elections. Both have also criticized President Rodrigo Duterte.

Patag posted about Asensio’s death on her Facebook page last weekend with a title “He wasn’t poor” and with the byline “Lydia M. Paredes.” The post claimed that Asensio was “abducted” and “drugged,” adding that he became a “victim of Duterte’s drug war.” These claims were said to have come from a certain Ana Segovia. Segovia further claimed to be Asensio’s cousin.

Patag Paredes Accused of Politicizing

However, Asensio’s ex-wife Iwi Laurel and daughter Nicole refuted these claims by posting on their social media accounts.

According to Iwi, her ex-husband was not abducted or drugged and did not fall victim to the government’s anti-drug campaign.

“Forgive me for saying this, but you were not in the ER during his last moments and we never appointed you to be the family’s spokesperson. So please, do not use Noli’s passing for any of your political motives and schemes,” Iwi said.

“If you are a good person, you will stop spreading all these lies. If you have compassion, you will understand that we are grieving for someone we love very much who was a good person and we miss him terribly,” she added.

Iwi is the daughter of the late Vice President Salvador “Doy” Laurel, while Noli was the son of Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, the grand dame of the Philippine opera.

 

Her daughter, Nicole, shared her mother’s post with a message to those who “gossiped” about her father’s death.

“My father died with me in Makati Medical Center ER… Right beside me at his final hours… I am appalled at the yellow idiots who have gossiped and gossiped about his life and death, plotting to use his death to fuel their political schemes. Some of these yellowtards were my friends… Some are my own blood relatives,” Nicole wrote.

LP’s official color is yellow.

 

Nicole also posted a screenshot of her exchange with Paredes on Facebook Messenger. Paredes apologized and said that his wife’s text message to Patag was meant to be private.

Patag Paredes Accused of Politicizing

Noli Asensio’s brother, Dennis, wrote a Facebook post that offered another glimpse into the circumstances behind the musician’s death. He said:

“Update on a painful journey: I talked to brother, Manuel (Noli) Asensio for the last time on Tuesday eve (US time) when he complained of fever, and pain on swallowing liquids. He was getting dizzy on standing, but would not see a doctor. Typical. From halfway around the world, by phone, egged him to go to the ER. About 6 hours later, I got a call from Makati Med ER, to inform me that Noli was in septic shock, and had gone into cardiac arrest. I went through the usual checklist of problems with the ER physician. Infection, dehydration? Yes. Heart attack? Don’t know. Potassium deficiency? No. Drugs? Not suspected. So many questions. Why? The physicians were in the 40th minute of resuscitation, and his heart was not responding. As a physician, I knew he was gone. As a brother, by phone, how could I tell them to stop trying? For his own good, I had to say, “let him rest now”. He is with God.”

 

Paredes then posted an apology to Iwi and Nicole on Monday, October 17. He said that his wife forwarded Segovia’s message to friends to verify the circumstances surrounding Asensio’s death.

Paredes’ post was taken down but entertainment portal PEP.ph posted his full apology in its article.

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“NOTE: My wife and I had sent our apologies privately to Nicole. I am reiterating it publicly and humbly.

“Dear Nicole Asensio and Iwi Laurel,

“I am writing to once again and send my prayers and regrets for the way news of your dad had gone inadvertently wrong.

“My wife sent the message she received from Ana Segovia PRIVATELY to me and some friends. She in turn sent that message to a few people who she thought knew the asensio brothers, since she also knew them during her high school days. Barkada of Lisa and carina and bob (her cousins), who were classmates. She got that message from a viber group and wanted it confirmed.

“After you expressed your concern to me via PM about Cynthia Patag posting message publicly, I immediately called her and asked how it is that the message became public. Cynthia told me she thought it was sent to her because the sender wanted it public. Bottom line was, it was not meant to be public or even editorialized with a title “HE WAS NOT POOR.” I immediately asked her to take it out.

“A few points

  1. My wife and I had NO INTENTION whatsoever of politicizing your dad’s death. The message from Ana Segovia who claimed to be your relative clearly said your dad was a victim of Duterte’s war on drugs. It was ALREADY political when we received it. If we wanted to politicize it, we would have posted it publicly ourselves. It never even appeared on my wife’s timeline.
  2. I contacted you out of pure concern and sympathy as a friend, colleague.
  3. We are continuing prayers for your dad and the people he loved and cared for.

“Nicole, I wrote you PMd you on FB and sent a message on instagram and texted when I heard about the news. I was shocked. I may have known your father and played with him. During a taping in a TV show on cable, the guitarist introduced himself to me as the son of Fides. He may have been Noli. I can’t remember now. He played back up for my solo guesting. He was a nice guy who played well.

“I hope this clears the air. These are the facts. I hope people on both sides of the political fence step back, look at everything with sobriety, and allow you and your family to have your grieving moment quietly and peacefully.”

Patag, on her part, has deleted the post and addressed the issue with this Facebook post.

Nicole has reacted to Patag’s apology, saying that it doesn’t sound sincere at all. She emphasized that the family is grieving.

“This is not the time to make this about you. Or duterte,” she wrote.

(Nicole on Patag apology)

Sources: (rappler.com, pep.ph, nicole.l.asensio, cynthia.patag, dennisasensio)

 

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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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