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Faces of the news.

Jose 'Joma' Maria Sison

Over the last 12 months, he has soberly engaged President Duterte on issues. After all, once upon a time, he was Duterte's professor at Lyceum of the Philippines. Mr. Duterte himself had been so cozy with the Left that when he assumed the presidency, he appointed leftist leaders to his Cabinet. Until last Monday when

Mr. Duterte delivered his second State of the Nation Adress. Reading from his prepared speech, he vowed to pursue peace with the communist and Moro rebels. Then midway through it, Mr. Duterte-still smarting over the communist rebels' attack on his convoy of security men-ad libbed, and ruled out further talks with them. He even derided Joma as an old man suffering from colon cancer. Firing back from the Netherlands, Sison demanded that the President come clean on his health. The word war has turned ugly.

Mandy Therese Anderson

What started with a ranking government official's privately set social media rant on June 16 against Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is turning into something else entirely. After Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Farinas chewed her out during a ways and means committee hearing on Wednesday, Bureau of Customs spokesperson Mandy Therese Anderson responded with awkward laughter and an apology to lawmakers. But, the next day, Anderson, the chief of staff of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, said Alvarez tried to force the promotion of an unqualified Customs officer. Alvarez later told reporters that he only 'endorsed' the permanent appointment of acting Customs Operation Officer V Sandy Sacluti at the Formal Entry Division of the Port of Manila. Just a routine recommendation, Alvarez said. 'Certainly, the allegation [by Anderson] is far from the truth,' he said.

Justin Bieber

Early morning of July 25, Justin Bieber's official website,, posted an unexpected announcement that he is canceling the remaining 14 dates of his current 'Purpose' world tour, which includes Manila, due to 'unforseen circumstances.' The most probable circumstance, in Bieber's case, is exhaustion. True enough, the 23-year-old Canadian pop superstar told celebrity news website TMZ, whose video crew chanced upon him near a beach in Santa Monica: 'I've been on the road for two years,' adding that he's 'just resting, getting some relaxation. We're gonna ride some bikes.' Apparently, Bieber, like most youth his age, also wants a life other than performing. A sympathetic John Mayer posted on Twitter: 'When someone pulls remaining dates of a tour, it means they would have done real damage to themselves if they kept going...'

Brillante Ma Mendoza

Cannes-winning filmmaker Brillante Ma Mendoza reprised his role as the director of President Duterte's State of Nation Address (Sona) this year. And just like last year's Sona, Mendoza garnered mixed reviews-both glowing and glaring comments, cheers and jeers, in both the real and cyberworlds. Last year, critics described his camerawork as reminiscent of Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda film 'Triumph of the Will.' This year, his shots were compared to the styles of European directors Carl Theodor Dreyer and Sergio Leone. Naysayers likewise put Mendoza to task for his extreme closeup shots of the President. Mendoza explained that while he is 'taking all the criticisms positively,' what matters most to him is the President's opinion. A day after the Sona, Mr. Duterte, through Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, congratulated him for a job well done.

Justice Usec Reynante Orceo

Justice Undersecretary Reynante Orceo faced his first grilling from senators on Wednesday during a legislative inquiry over his resolution downgrading the murder charges against Supt. Marvin Marcos and 18 others implicated in the killing of Albuera, Leyte, Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. to a lighter and bailable offense. Explaining his decision, the San Beda law graduate matter-of-factly told a disconcerted Senate committee that he had a different appreciation of the same facts and evidence that were considered by the Senate, the National Bureau of Investigation and a panel of Department of Justice prosecutors. All three parties found that Espinosa's killing was premeditated. He also insisted that his boss, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, had nothing to do with it even if he signed the resolution for and in his behalf. Senators described his testimony as incredible and a cover-up.

Christian Standhardinger

Christian Standhardinger quickly turned from a virtual unknown to a staple in Philippine basketball. Recruited by national team coach Chot Reyes two years ago, the 6-foot-8 Filipino-German recently debuted with Gilas Pilipinas in the Jones Cup in Taipei where the team finished fourth. But his national duties are far from done. Standhardinger just got tapped to join Gilas again in Fiba Asia in Beirut next month after the country's naturalized player Andray Blatche begged off. From there, the hardworking center will fly straight to Kuala Lumpur to anchor a younger Gilas Five that will try to win the Philippines' 19th cage gold in the Southeast Asian Games. Standhardinger-whose grandfather Pablo Hermoso played for Shell in the CYMCA in the 1950s-expects it to be a tough stretch, but he hardly minds: 'I'm going to be ready.'
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jul 30, 2017
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