‘Idol’ a big Beatles fan

Kris Allen

MANILA, Philippines—“Singing live on television is the worst thing in the world. I’d rather do concerts,” said “American Idol” Season 8 champ Kris Allen in a press conference at the Eastwood Mall Park in Quezon City a few hours after arriving in Manila on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old singer-songwriter, who came with his four-member band, is performing in two shows dubbed “Musicfest 2010” starting tonight at the SM City Cebu North Open Parking 2, and tomorrow at McKinley Hill Open Grounds in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. The gigs will also feature the acoustic rock group Boyce Avenue and “America’s Best Dance Crew” Season 1 winner Jabbawockeez.

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SC asked to reverse Comelec ruling on Arroyo Congress bid

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has been asked by a lawmaker to reverse the ruling of the Commission on Elections, which allowed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to run for Congress in her hometown Pampanga.

In her petition, Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros also asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order on the inclusion of Arroyo’s name in the ballots for the 2nd district of Pampanga.

“A local candidate is only allowed to spend P1.50 per voter, while GMA spent P459 million in infrastructure projects in her district last year alone. A congressional candidate cannot have campaign posters bigger than 2 feet by 3 feet, but GMA [Arroyo’s initials] can produce – using government funds – tarpaulins that are half as wide as Commenwealth Ave. A candidate for congressman is barred from conferring with the Board of Election Inspectors, but GMA can – and actually did – call a Comelec commissioner to secure her votes. The injustice and unfairness of her candidacy is patent,” Hontiveros said.

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Fatality in plane crash had just finished law — kin

HOME WRECKER Rescuers retrieve bodies from a residential area where a military Nomad plane crashed into two houses in Cotabato City shortly after takeoff from the Awang airport on Thursday.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A female Air Force personnel from Cebu was among the casualties in the Cotabato city plane crash, according to the military in Cebu City.

Maj. Wilson Feria, spokesman of the AFP Central Command (Centcom), identified the Cebuana fatality as Ian Christy Marose “Jingle” Llamera.

Llamera was with the group because she served as the secretary of Major General Mario “Butch” Lacson, commander of the PAF’s 3rd Air Division in Zamboanga City.

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Poll machines tried, tested in Benguet, Taguig, etc.

Officials of Comelec and staff of Smartmatic test an automated poll machine in the remote town of Bakun in Benguet, which is a dead zone for mobile phone signals, making it an ideal site for testing the transmission of voters’ data.

BAKUN, BENGUET—“Kaman di baw” (So, that’s how it works) was all he could say after the voting machine read each long ballot in seconds.

Like his town mates, 40-year-old farmer Wilto Paniki trekked to the Ketagan-Cabatan Elementary School at Sitio Beto in Barangay Dalipey here on a cold Wednesday morning to see how the automated election machine looked.

Paniki and many teachers who watched from the sidelines said they were amazed when the machines read each long ballot in a matter of seconds.

“How I wish I could try voting now,” Paniki said.

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Ivler pistol same gun in Ebarle slay

BOUNTY HUNTER Palace Undersecretary Renato Ebarle Sr. (right) and NBI Director Nestor Mantaring hand half of the P1-M bounty to a hooded informant whose tip led to the arrest of fugitive Jason Ivler.

“It was the murder weapon,” Angelito Magno, the chief of the NBI Special Action Unit, told the Inquirer.

According to Magno, a slug recovered from the vehicle of the slain son and namesake of Undersecretary Renato Ebarle Sr. matched test bullets fired from the .45 cal. pistol (serial number MJ59102) seized from Ivler.

Magno said a slug and an empty shell found in the house of Ivler’s mother in Blue Ridge subdivision, Quezon City, where the fugitive was arrested by NBI agents during a raid on Monday, also matched the slug recovered from the Ebarle vehicle.

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‘I want to be king again’

Estrada gets Comelec nod: Watch my rating soar

MANILA, Philippines—Why just be a “kingmaker” when you can be the “king” yourself?

Fresh from getting the nod of a division of the Commission on Elections for him to take another shot at Malacañang, deposed President Joseph Estrada Wednesday said he would not withdraw from the presidential race.

Estrada said he would slug it out “to the end” because he wanted to be “king again.”

Estrada said the Comelec decision would have a “big impact” on his campaign” because his detractors were spreading “disinformation” that he would withdraw from the race or be disqualified.

Now that the poll body has ruled in his favor, he expects his ratings in surveys to rise.

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Big One sure to come; question is when, are we prepared?

MANILA, Philippines — The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti a few days ago can happen in Metro Manila, according to seismologists and geologists.

The question is: Are we prepared?

It appears that we are not. Experts said preparations should begin in earnest to minimize damage to be caused by the big one.

Director Renato Solidum of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said “a strong earthquake can happen” in Metro Manila or anywhere in the country.

He noted that a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Luzon in 1990 and a 7.1-magnitude quake shook Mindoro in 1994. “It can happen again,” Solidum said.

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Filipino rescued from collapsed Haiti building

MANILA, Philippines – One of the four missing members of the Philippine delegation to the United Nations in earthquake-hit Haiti has been rescued, a spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Thursday.

In an interview, Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman, said that at 11:30 a.m. (Manila time), the military received a report that Corporal David Catacutan was rescued by members of the Philippine contingent at the Montana Hotel.

Brawner said that based on initial medical examination, Catacutan sustained bruises but was now recovering at the headquarters of the Philippine peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Brawner said that the family “has been informed about the rescue last night.”

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Captain of sunken ship seen with wine, women and song

MANILA, Philippines—The captain of MV Baleno 9 had women and beer on the bridge before the ship sank on the night of Dec. 26 leaving at least six people dead, a survivor said Thursday at a Senate hearing on the sea tragedy.

Jonathan Umali, whose two relatives are missing, told the Senate blue ribbon committee that he saw the captain of the ship, Jimmy Andal, eating fast food and drinking with at least two women on the bridge in what appeared to be a “Christmas get-together party.”

One of the women was later found among the dead. Andal is missing. He was earlier reported to have survived the sinking.

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Hacking of govt sites not dry run for poll cheating, DOJ says

Even as it investigates the matter, the Justice Department brushed off speculations that the defacing of at least four government websites since December are a dry run of sorts for cheating in the automated polls this May.

In an interview over radio dzXL on Friday, Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera dismissed as “creative” the claims that the hacking incidents may be a prelude to rendering useless the automated counting machines to be used in May.

“Napaka-creative ng ating kaisipan … Ang hacking kung pinagpraktisan man di kailangan sa gobyerno i-hack (Those making such claims are just too creative. If you were a hacker and really making a dry run, you should not be limiting yourselves to defacing government websites),” Devanadera said.

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