Manny mum on politics, pushes for clean polls

Manny Pacquiao issued a call for clean and honest elections next year even as he shelved his political plans for the 2010 polls to concentrate on his upcoming fight with British champion Ricky Hatton.

In a move that caught everybody by surprise, Pacquiao decided not to read a prepared statement distributed to the media in a press conference in Makati yesterday where the Filipino boxing sensation was supposed to officially declare his intention to run for a congressional seat in the province of Saranggani.

After a brief talk with his election adviser Atty. Romy Macalintal, Pacquiao delivered his message calling for an honest and clean elections next year.

“I am here to call on my fellow Filipinos to help ensure a clean and orderly elections next year,” said Pacquiao in Filipino.

He, however, stressed he is not endorsing a particular candidate at this stage.

Pacquiao also called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to do its job and prevent cheating in the 2010 polls.

In a chat with reporters, Pacquiao said he is concentrating on his coming fight against Hatton and not the 2010 elections.

But he did give hint at running for a congressional seat in Saranggani.

“I spent years of my life in that province. I have a house there and my wife is from there,” said Pacquiao in Filipino.

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How Robin became Totoy Bato

Perhaps no other actor takes his craft as seriously as Robin Padilla, almost to a fault.

“Before he started shooting Blackout in which he plays an edgy role,” recalled his manager Betchay Vidanes, “Binoy insisted on staying on the location…and abandoned house in Cubao, Quezon City… to get the feel of the milieu.”

For (Carlo J. Caparas’) Joaquin Bordado, his last GMA action-series in which he plays the title role (a man whose tattoos would come to life to help him fight goons, played by former Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr. in the movie version), Robin did Pilates to look lean and practised yoga to de-stress himself.

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The long arm of the law

The two sons of former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, who is on trial for plunder and has just been convicted of perjury, were arrested Wednesday in the United States. Brothers Juan Paulo and Ian Carl were arrested in Michigan and Las Vegas, respectively, by US authorities.

The brothers, together with a third sibling, Timothy Mark, and their mother Clarita are wanted in the Philippines for plunder on charges that they amassed P303.27 million in ill-gotten wealth.

Juan Paulo and Ian Carl were arrested by US authorities not for the plunder charge, but for smuggling $100,000 through the San Francisco airport in December 2003. When the brothers were questioned by US Customs authorities for their failure to declare the dollars, the mother came to her sons’ rescue. Clarita Garcia executed a written statement wherein she famously declared that the money came from her husband’s earnings as comptroller of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. She also indicated that there was more where the money came from.

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Legacy landgrab? Town loses island

A town in Leyte has become the latest entity to go after Celso de los Angeles and his failed Legacy Group of 12 rural banks and three pre-need companies, and this time the complaint is not about questionable financial dealings but alleged land-grabbing.

Officials and residents of the 3rd class municipality of Palompon denounced on Wednesday the alleged illegal transfer of ownership of Kalanggaman Island from that of the town to the Rural Bank of Carmen, one of the banks owned by De los Angeles.

Palompon municipal legal consultant Donna Villa Gapasan said town residents, accompanied by members of the media, braved guards and armed men detailed by De los Angeles at the so-called “Boracay of Leyte” and held a protest rally on the 10-hectare strip of land located 12 kilometers off the municipal shoreline.

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Dog fight at Senate

There seems to be a dog fight in the halls of the Senate.

Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon referred to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano as an “askal” (mongrel) after the latter took issue with the committee’s report that fell short of holding President Arroyo criminally liable for the action of her appointees in the fertilizer fund scam.

Cayetano told reporters on Tuesday that the Gordon report prematurely absolved Mrs. Arroyo when circumstantial evidence indicated possible prior knowledge on the President’s part regarding the P728-million fertilizer fund scam in 2004.

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OFWs forced to pay bribes to fly out of RP?

At least 500 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) failed to leave for their jobs in the Middle East since the start of the year allegedly for not being able to “shell out grease money” to Bureau of Immigration (BI) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) personnel assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), sources said yesterday.

The Dubai and Kuwait-bound workers, who requested anonymity, said although they were properly documented, airport authorities prevented them from boarding their plane.

NAIA general manager Edgar Manda could not be reached for comment.

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Protest vs BNPP evokes EDSA scenes

Evoking scenes from the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, residents of Bataan and neighboring provinces clutched rosaries, carried images of the Virgin Mary and prayed as they marched here Monday in protest of a plan to reopen the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) located in this city. Meeting in front of St. Joseph Cathedral, nuns, tribal folk, environmental groups, students and parish leaders joined the protest in response to a call from Balanga Bishop Socrates Villegas to block a bill reviving the facility built during the administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos but later mothballed because of safety concerns and corruption issues.

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Statins: The new wonder drugs

Statins might just prove to be real miracle drugs. They do a great job at lowering cholesterol, and they also appear to have a multitude of other medical benefits. They work by altering the metabolism of cholesterol, a complex fat that the body needs for many purposes. For example, cholesterol forms a vital component of cell membranes and nerve sheaths; it forms the basis of sex hormones; and it enables bile acids to process the food we eat. Most of the body’s cholesterol is produced by liver cells, and most of the rest comes from the food we eat.

Cholesterol is insoluble in water, so it can’t circulate in blood plasma without a protective shroud of lipoproteins, which are part fat and part protein. Cholesterol’s ultimate destination depends on whether the shroud consists of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL particles deliver cholesterol to cells throughout the body; HDL particles mop up excess cholesterol and carry it back to the liver for disposal. If the body produces more LDL cholesterol than the cells can absorb, it settles in artery walls and contributes to atherosclerotic plaque. That’s why LDL is often called “bad” cholesterol and HDL “good” cholesterol — even though the body needs both kinds.

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After the Senate probe

Nearly five years after agricultural funds meant for fertilizer were allegedly misused, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee has come up with its findings. The committee headed by Sen. Richard Gordon recommended yesterday the filing of charges against former agriculture under-secretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante, his purported runner Marites Aytona, alleged bagman Jaime Paule and six others for plunder, technical malversation, money laundering, tax evasion and perjury. A 10th individual, Joselito Flordeliza, who headednators

the foundation used in the alleged P728-million scam, may face prosecution for money laundering.

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Car plates spell jackpot for bettor

A 50-year-old woman who chose the plate number of a passing car near a lotto outlet to complete her ticket claimed her prize of P173 million at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) at noon yesterday.

The woman is one of only two winners of the Super Lotto 6/49 game with the combination (in any order) 6-34-33-20-26-12, which carried a pot of P347,836,903.20, the biggest PCSO jackpot to date.

Don de Leon, chief of staff of the PCSO chairman’s office, said the woman from Caloocan, an employee in a private company, was accompanied by her husband and 25-year-old son when she claimed the prize yesterday.

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