Items filtered by date: Saturday, 08 July 2017

Activists riot against G-20 summit for 3rd night in Hamburg

(Associated Press)

Photo:Policemen stand behind a burning barricade in the so-called 'Schanzenviertel' area, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, early Sunday, July 9, 2017, in Hamburg. Rioters set up street barricades, looted supermarkets and attacked police with slingshots and firebombs. (Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP)

HAMBURG — Anti-globalization activists rioted for a third consecutive night in Hamburg early yesterday even after Group of 20 leaders had already left the port city in northern Germany.

Police again used water cannon trucks against rioters attacking them with iron rods and pavement stones. They arrested 186 protesters and temporarily detained another 225 people. Officials say 476 officers have been injured in the violence since Thursday. The number of injured protesters wasn't clear.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel condemned the violence, saying "Germany's reputation is severely affected internationally by the events in Hamburg."

Gabriel told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that a Europe-wide investigative team should search for suspects.

Hamburg's police president Ralf Meyer told reporters at a news conference that while he was proud of the 20,000 police officers who managed to provide security for the many international leaders and their delegations, it was deplorable that so many of them were injured and that the violent riots couldn't be prevented.

The city's interior minister said they hadn't expected this kind of brutality by leftist extremists.

"We had to deal — detached from the actual events at the summit — with ruthless acts of violence by criminals," Andy Grote said.

The city's officials reiterated that those who suffered from the destruction would quickly receive financial support from the government. Cars were torched, stores looted, bikes burned in street barricades and windows smashed during the three-day violence.

The overwhelming majority of the tens of thousands who took to the streets protested peacefully against the G-20 summit, demanding quicker action against global warming and more help for refugees.

The summit, which took place on Friday and Saturday, was hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Guests included President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and many other international leaders who held talks on contentious issues like climate, trade, terrorism and migration.

  • Published in World

Congress seen to back martial law extension

By Paolo Romero and Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star)

Members of the two chambers of Congress are expected to support an extension of martial law in Mindanao in case Malacañang asks for it. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines - Members of the two chambers of Congress are expected to support an extension of martial law in Mindanao in case Malacañang asks for it.

Senators and congressmen said they would ask for security briefings on the situation in Marawi, but would likely support the Duterte administration in its decision.

Malacañang also does not see any hindrance should President Duterte decide to extend martial law in Mindanao beyond the 60-day period after the Supreme Court (SC) ruled there was factual basis for the proclamation.

Senators expect that a request from the President to extend the imposition of martial law in Mindanao will easily hurdle Congress, which is dominated by his allies.

Based on the constitutional limit of 60 days, martial law will lapse on July 23, a day before Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar yesterday expressed belief there would be no difficulties in the event that the President sees the need for an extension of martial law.

“It depends on when the conflict in Marawi will end. I think it will see its end. But if it is not yet finished. The declaration of martial law was supported by Congress and the judiciary,” Andanar told radio station dzBB.

“All co-equal branches of government were one in saying that the martial law in Mindanao was justified. I think if there is a need to extend it, there will be no problems,” he added.

On Saturday, Duterte hinted that he might seek an extension of martial law as government forces continue to battle Maute militants in Marawi.

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 after the Islamic State-aligned Maute terrorists launched attacks in Marawi City, burning several structures and holding hostage more than a dozen people.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the President can declare martial law if warranted for 60 days and inform Congress within 48 hours the justifications for it.

Any extension of the declaration should be done with the consent of the Senate and the House convening jointly.

Officials could not give a categorical answer when asked whether the President would ask Congress to extend martial law, saying it would depend on the assessment of the military.

Andanar claimed that martial law in Mindanao, which has sparked fears of human rights violations, has the support of a majority of Filipinos.

“Almost all Filipinos support the declaration of martial law because people want peace in the land,” he said.

“It showed that the President does not hesitate to act if it is for the benefit of our countrymen,” Andanar added.

ML extension backed

Duterte’s allies in Congress have approved resolutions expressing support for martial law and rejecting calls from the opposition to hold a joint session to review the basis of the proclamation.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III earlier sought another closed-door briefing from security officials on the situation in Marawi City before Duterte’s Proclamation 216 expires.

“We want to be briefed so that we’ll have a better grasp and understanding of the situation on the ground in Marawi,” Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said.

“But since there have been no atrocities or any human rights violations committed since the imposition of martial law, it will be easier to justify an extension if needed,” he said.

Sotto said “if the situation so warrants” the two chambers would agree to extend martial law.

Sen. Francis Escudero said as much: “If they show that the problem is still subsisting, and martial law is still needed to address it.”

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who chairs the Senate committee on public order and safety, said while the lawmakers’ decision would largely depend on how the security officials will present their case to Congress, Duterte has “an overwhelming number of allies” in both Houses.

Pimentel earlier said the 23-member Senate and the House with 296 members would vote once they convene in joint session to deliberate on the extension.

Sen. Gregorio Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security, said any “rational informed policy decision (of Congress) must be based on complete, accurate and timely information.”

Sotto, Ejercito and Sen. Richard Gordon said last week they were inclined to support an extension, especially after the high court upheld the proclamation.

Sotto and Ejercito, however, said it might be better if the scope of the extension was limited, for example, to Lanao del Sur where Marawi City is located.

Pimentel and Gordon earlier said it would be better if Duterte informs Congress of his intention to extend martial law.

Gordon said based on the Constitution, martial law in Mindanao “dies a natural death” on the 60th day and Duterte should initiate an extension before July 22.

This, he said, is to avoid any “legal fracas” as the Constitution “abhors a vacuum.”

Gordon suggested that Duterte make a formal justification of his extension when he delivers his SONA before the joint session of Congress at the opening of the second regular legislative session on July 24.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier suggested that Duterte inform Congress of his intention to extend martial law.

Since Congress will be in joint session on July 24, Drilon suggested that instead of adjourning after the SONA, lawmakers continue the session to deliberate on the request for possible extension.

Drilon said even if there could a gap of a day or a few days from the expiry to the time Congress makes its decision, another martial law proclamation is still considered an extension.

“To me, to avoid any constitutional issues—this is a case of first impression, as it has never happened before. I think the President will lose nothing if before July 22 he sends a notice to Congress that he wants to extend martial law for whatever reason,” he said.

Escudero earlier said the possible gap is not an issue as government troops will still be in Marawi City rooting out the Maute terrorists.

“I have always been against setting deadlines that may endanger the lives of our soldiers just for the sake of meeting the deadline set,” Escudero said.

Allies of the President in the House of Representatives also expressed support for an extension of martial law.

“The Marawi conflict left more than 400 people dead and damaged buildings and infrastructure. So I support the extension of martial law,” Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, chairman of the House committee on good government and public accountability, said.

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez of Quezon province echoed Pimentel’s statement.

“I think the situation in Marawi is far from being normal. An extension of the martial rule may be in order,” Suarez said.

Suarez said it is Congress that has the power to extend martial law.

“It is the call of the House and the Senate if the President will ask for it. I think it’s more of a military decision and the President will be guided accordingly by the decision of the military,” he said.

Representatives Winston Castelo (Quezon City), LRay Villafuerte (Camarines Sur), Robert Ace Barbers (Surigao del Norte), Jericho Jonas Nograles (PBA party-list), Sherwin Tugna (Cibac party-list) and Roger Mercado (southern Leyte) lauded the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) upholding Duterte’s declaration of martial law.

“The ruling is not without any justifiable reason. We are glad to know that all three branches of government are united in solving this biggest threat to the country’s security,” Castelo, who heads the House committee on Metro Manila development, said.

“I hope that detractors would stop bellyaching and refocus their attention on more productive endeavors such as helping Malacañang on the relief and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City,” Villafuerte, vice chairman of the House committee on defense, said.

Barbers said the President’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao proved to be a wise move as it prevented possible reinforcements for the terrorist Maute group in Marawi.

“This is a victory for every peace-loving Filipino who condemned the senseless loss of lives in the rebellion,” Barbers said.

With a vote of 11-3-1, the high court affirmed the President’s Proclamation No. 216, junking petitions that questioned his basis for declaring martial rule in the south.

“ I hope those who dissent will support the efforts for peace and rehabilitation in Mindanao,” Nograles said.

Tugna said the SC decision would allow government forces to exhaust all necessary means to pursue the members of the Maute group and prevent terrorist attacks from spreading to other parts of the country.

“Our Muslim brothers must do their part in rebuilding Mindanao so they could see the funds and infrastructure projects of the national government,” Mercado said.

Last week, the high court upheld Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao, junking petitions questioning its basis.

Eleven justices voted in favor of the Proclamation 216 while three voted to limit it to Marawi City. Only Associate Justice Marvic Leonen voted against the declaration.

Duterte earlier said he may not lift martial rule in Mindanao before his second SONA on July 24.

“No. It’s the Armed Forces and the police who will decide. I consulted them and said it was critical,” the President told reporters in Davao City on Friday.

“I do not have an independent study of what, how things are on the ground. It’s not my job. And I cannot do it physically even. So, I have just to rely on the word of the Armed Forces and the police because they are the ones keeping this Republic healthy and alive,” the President added.

Andanar said the government is praying that the Marawi crisis would end soon, noting that the rehabilitation can only start once the security threats are addressed.

– With Delon Porcalla


Tarlac centenarians get additional P100,000

By Ric Sapnu (The Philippine Star)

Photo:Centenarians in Tarlac have received an additional P100,000 cash each from the provincial government, apart from a similar amount given to them by the national government. File

TARLAC CITY , Philippines – Centenarians in Tarlac have received an additional P100,000 cash each from the provincial government, apart from a similar amount given to them by the national government.

Twenty-five centenarians received P100,000 each during a ceremony held on July 5 at the provincial capitol, according to Gov. Susan Yap.

The cash grant is part of the provincial government’s commitment to help its citizens, aged 100 years old and above.

Last year, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed an ordinance granting P100,000 cash gift to centenarians.

The amount is apart from the P100,000 cash grant provided under Republic Act 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016, which is given by the national government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Yap said Tarlac centenarians are lucky because they would receive a total of P200,000.

She said the provincial government would also give P25,000, a birthday card and a cake annually to every centenarian celebrating his or her birthday.

Irene Crespo, DSWD-Central Luzon assistant director, said the 25 centenarians were the second batch to receive the cash gift from the national government.

Petra Mangrobang, 105, of Camiling town is the oldest among the beneficiaries.

Earlier, 20 elderly aged 100 and above received cash gift from the DSWD.


Magnitude 6.5 quake hits Leyte

By Rosette Adel (

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the magnitude 6.5 tremor occurred at 4:03 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines —A magnitude 6.5 earthquake jolted Jaro, Leyte on Thursday afternoon.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the tremor occurred at 4:03 p.m.

The quake’s epicenter was traced 8 kilometers south 67° west of Jaro, Leyte. It has depth of focus of 2 kilometers.

The quake was considered strong as it was felt at Intensity V in Tacloban City; Palo, Leyte; and Cebu City. It was also experienced at Intensity IV in Tolosa, Leyte; Sagay City, Negros Occidental; and Burgos, Surigao del Norte.

A "strong quake" can be felt by most people indoors and outdoors as it results in strong shaking and rocking felt throughout building, standing vehicles rock noticeably and shaking of leaves and twigs of tress are noticeable.

On the other hand, Bogo City, Cebu and Calatrava Negros Occidental felt the tremor at Intensity III.

Libjo, San Jose, Cagdianao, and Dinagat Islands recorded Intensity II quake in the area while Roxas City, and La Carlota City, Negros Occidental felt the tremor at Intensity I.

Phivolcs warned the public of aftershocks as well as damage from the strong quake.

Despite this, PHIVOLCS clarified that there is no threat of tsunamis.


19 W. Visayas police chiefs sacked

By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star)

Photo:Nineteen police chiefs in Western Visayas have been relieved from their posts for failing to enforce the anti-drug campaign in their jurisdictions. File

MANILA, Philippines - Nineteen police chiefs in Western Visayas have been relieved from their posts for failing to enforce the anti-drug campaign in their jurisdictions.

The relief of the officers was part of an intensified campaign against illegal drugs in the region, according to Chief Superintendent Cesar Hawthorne Binag, Western Visayas police director.

Earlier, Binag approved a recommendation of the regional oversight committee relieving 19 chiefs of police including one from Antique, three from Aklan, six from Capiz and nine from Iloilo.

“The relief will be implemented by the provincial directors in coordination with the local chief executives. The reason is low or non-performance in the campaign of Project SLT/HVT,” Binag said, referring to street level or high value drug targets.

Ordered relieved were the chiefs of police of Bugasong town in Antique; Altavas, Lezo, Numancia, all in Aklan; Zigma, Dumarao, Maayon, Mambusao, Pilar and President Roxas in Capiz, and Alimodian, Anilao, Barotac Viejo, Dingle, Dumangas, Igbaras, Janiuay, Lemery and San Dionisio in Iloilo.

6 axed for extortion

Meanwhile, six members of the Rizal police have been relieved from their posts for allegedly extorting money from a man they arrested for engaging in illegal gambling in Morong.

The officers were identified only in their surnames as Police Officer 3 Catud; PO2s Pili, Manzo and Fabros, and PO1s Maray and San Luis.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa ordered the officers transferred to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Rizal police director Senior Superintendent Albert Ocon said that in March, the officers arrested a man from a cockfighting arena in Morong.

Instead of filing a case against the man, whose name was withheld, the officers reportedly asked P30,000 from him. – With Ed Amoroso


Supreme Court tightens requirements to revoke citizenship

By Attorneys Anda Kwong and Nancy Miller

Since Independence Day on July 4, 1776, our nation has seen remarkable progress in the arts, science and technology, and society. Much of this progress has been possible thanks to immigrants—including those who have naturalized to become U.S. citizens. The United States has set standards for the naturalization process. Generally, one must be a permanent resident for at least five years, be over the age of 18, be a person of good moral character; have continuous residency for at least half of the previous five years; meet physical presence requirements; be able to read, write, and speak basic English; have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government; and demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution. For those who meet the requirements and are approved, the Oath Ceremony is one of the proudest moments of their lives.

Rarely discussed, however, is just how many people have been stripped of citizenship. The truth is that denaturalization is not common, but may occur in limited circumstances. On June 22, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision that made it more difficult to strip someone of citizenship through the criminal proceedings.

In Maslenjak v. United States, the Supreme Court held that the Government must establish that a defendant’s illegal act played some role in the acquisition of citizenship in order to convict under the federal statute which makes it a crime to “knowingly procure, contrary to law, the naturalization of any person.” In this case, the criminal defendant told an American immigration official that her family feared persecution in Bosnia from both parties of the civil war. More specifically, she stated that Muslims would mistreat the family because of their ethnicity, and the Serbs would abuse them because her spouse had evaded serving in the Bosnian Serb Army by hiding for five years. In 2000, after being granted refugee status, the family immigrated to the United States. In 2006, the defendant applied for citizenship, swearing under Oath that she had never given false or misleading information while applying for an immigration benefit. The U.S. government subsequently confronted her husband with records showing that he had in fact served as an officer in the Bosnian Serb Army during a brigade that participated in the Srebrenica massacre. When the defendant attempted to prevent her husband’s deportation, she admitted that she knew the truth all along. Because she gave a false statement, the Government attempted to convict and denaturalize her.

Although both the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals found in favor of the Government, the Supreme Court clarified that in order to be convicted under this particular statute, the Government must establish that the illegal act played a role in the acquisition of citizenship. As an example, the Court analogized that if a painting was obtained illegally, one might imagine the wrong things done to obtain it illegally, such stealing it or paying for it with a fraudulent check. The Court contrasted that “if no illegal act contributed at all to getting the painting, then the painting would not have been gotten illegally.” As it pertains to naturalization, an example would be how one requirement to be eligible for citizenship is to be physically present in the United States for at least half of five years. If the lie was about the amount of time spent inside and outside the country, and the citizenship was granted based on that lie, then it would be appropriate to convict someone under this statute. To a further extent, a jury would have to decide if a false statement sufficiently influenced how a reasonable government official would grant citizenship.

The impact of this decision is that a misrepresentation must be material to the grant of citizenship. It means that those who misspoke on a naturalization application or at the interview may still be able to keep their citizenship. It also means that those who misspoke during the process of obtaining asylum or permanent residency or other benefits may still be able to become citizens. In many instances, our immigration laws favor giving a second chance to one who has made a mistake. This decision strengthens those values. Anyone who has been afraid to seek naturalization, or who, having obtained it, lives in fear of losing it, because of a past misrepresentation should consult with a knowledgeable and experienced immigration lawyer to see if this decision frees the way for them to obtain or keep their U.S. citizenship.


Time to call it a day, champ

It was a sad time in Manila this weekend, not just because Manny Pacquiao lost to Aussie upstart Jeff Horn, but also because there were so many Filipinos celebrating and gloating over his loss.
The general consensus is that he was cheated. A good number of experts said so. But unless a formal complaint is filed and a rematch ordered, it will remain on record as one of those questionable losses suffered by a once-great fighter whose boxing skills are admittedly not what they once were.
It must also be painful for his millions of fans to witness so many of his countrymen celebrating Pacquiao’s loss. A few years ago, this would have been unthinkable. He was, after all, considered some kind of national hero, a super athlete who could unify his country every time he entered the ring.
His undoing, if it can be called that, was his entry into politics, and his turning into a political butterfly with no sense of loyalty to his political mentors.
Recall that after a forgettable stint as congressman, Paquiao decided to run for higher office. He set his sights on a senate seat and he won, not because he was qualified but because he was popular.
In Manny Pacquiao, we see the worst of Philippine politics.
His heart may be in the right place. He may truly desire to serve the people who have idolized him ever since he began winning world title after world title, fighting and beating the best pugilists in the world.
Along the way, he decided he wanted to be some sort of Christian pastor, as well as a singer, and even as a professional basketball player. Then he reached too high for his own good, running for a seat in the House of Representatives despite his total lack of credentials.
Over the weekend, the people who once treated him as a demigod witnessed the sad spectacle of a warrior who was once nearly invincible being bloodied and beaten by a young prizefighter whom he would have made short work of five or 10 years ago.
It was reminiscent of past greats insisting on fighting when they were long past their prime. This was true of the great Flash Elorde. Ditto with a boxer considered as the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali. It was also true of the one-time baddest man in the planet, Mike Tyson.
All were beaten by mediocre competition at the tailend of their career because they thought they were still in their prime.
Among the greats, only two left the ring on their own terms, as undefeated champions. There was Rocky Marciano and more recently Floyd Mayweather.
And speaking of the latter, he will be fighting a mixed martial artist very soon, coming out of retirement in order to fatten his already bloated bank account. He will win, of course, because the fight will be held under pro boxing rules. Mayweather may be 40, but he is still fit.
In contrast, Pacquiao who is still a few years shy of turning four decades old may already be a spent force.
You may love him or you may hate him, but there is little doubt that his best years are now behind him.
It’s time to call it a day, champ. You have nothing more to prove.

One awful public servant

I do not know who this Lorraine Badoy is, except that she is an undersecretary at the Social Welfare department.
She also happens to be full of herself.
Why she has been wasting her government position by constantly insulting the second highest official of the land is beyond me.
This “lady” with a pathetic family name continues to attack Vice President Leni Robredo, almost always on a personal basis.
My advice to her: Begin by legally changing your surname. Badoy just doesn’t cut it. Everyone knows what the Tagalog word ‘baduy’ means, which many pronounce as ‘badoy.’
Many decades ago, there was a professional basketball player with the surname Dacula. For real. He was the butt of countless jokes for obvious reasons. And no, he was not a bloodsucking vampire.
If memory serves, he later legally changed his name. His pro career, however, was shortlived. All those insults must have gotten to him.
As for this great unknown Lorraine Badoy, be reminded that your boss – President Rodrigo Duterte, in case you’ve forgotten – very recently told everyone for the umpteenth time that there is only one person who can legally take over in case anything happens to him.
That person is Leni Robredo. Live with it, ok?


Jeff Sessions' testimony on Russia did not deliver what was anticipated: expected news clarification

There were winners and losers from the Jeff Sessions' scheduled mid-June appearance with the Senate's Intelligence Committee (SIC), prominently aired on TV's principal news stations.
Sessions, the Trump appointee to the position of attorney general met with the SIC.
Interestingly, Sessions spent less than two and a half hours responding to questions on his reported ties, or lack thereof, to Russia, as well as his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey.
It provides great pleasure for this space's columnist to go into the winners' positions who expressed their opinions briefly, but covered with competence as television coverage was complete and uninterrupted.
Some from the Winners' Circle:
Maine's senator, Angus King (Independent) stole the show. Despite his move of appearing in the middle of the group of questioners, King zeroed in on why, exactly, "Sessions was invoking executive privilege and how there was absolutely zero legal reason" for that move. King likewise touched on a widely-circulated comment of Sessions' sharing conversations with Trump that seemed to "favor the administration."
In the mind of any viewer, the senator from Maine accomplished what he meant to execute as a legislature committee member without coming across as overly partisan and angry.
Tom Cotton, GOP, Arkansas. Those who are far from Trump sympathizers would be prone to call him a show-boater. He firmed up Sessions by way of asking him a question that the attorney general thanked him for. As the introduction of Cotton was said, he delivered what was dubbed a performance. Reportedly, Cotton showed he must be aiming for a national position which was more lengthy than his time with Sessions.
Martin Heinrich and Kamala Harris. Both are relative newcomers to the Senate. Heinrich, representing New Mexico, and Harris, California. Both senators showed scarcely any deference to Sessions, at least, during the schedule. Heinrich was quick to state, as he gave a firm look to Sessions: "You are impeding this investigation." On her part, Harris repeatedly interrupted Sessions as he tried to play four corners with her time, forcing the attorney general to admit: "I'm not able to be rushed this fast. It makes me nervous."
Jim Comey. Cotton called him theatrical. Then Sessions refuted, sort of...the conversation the two of them had, following the February 14 one-on-one with Trump was highlighted. Sessions failed to dispute the basis of Comey's earlier testimony. It was evident that when Cotton made mention of Comey, it was not objected to by Sessions. Another victory for Comey.
The Mayflower Hotel. The scene of many significant occasions. That Connecticut Avenue landmark in Washington, D.C. was all over the hearing. It was mentioned frequently during the session as a typical venue of the principal political organizations.
"Lingering." One question that came up: Did Sessions linger in the February 14 meeting at the White House where James Comey's presence was mentioned?
Losers. Definitely Sessions' numerous replies, i.e., "I don't recall." Most watchers of the Sessions' hearing would be unanimous in saying: "I lost count of how many times Sessions could not recall when a specific question was asked."
Some Administration officials from the ideological spectrum at times struggle in recalling specific details that could get them in trouble.
Listeners are bound to remark that not saying "no," is one way of saving those being interviewed by legislative committees.
Yet, not saying "yes" won't hold them to their statements. When one says he simply can't recall, a listener or an interrogator can never insist.
But if later developments will show up and that a testimony will prove that the answer wasn't right, the speaker could be considered a liar or a prevaricator.
One expression, executive privilege: Sessions was quoted prior to his appearance at the Senate hearing in reference to the possibility that Trump might invoke executive privilege.
Sessions was quick to state that President Trump has executive privilege.
Researchers continue to refer to Comey, the former FBI director's disclosures when he appeared at another Senate panel.
The question came up: Does the president have an 'executive privilege?
The answer: Yes. It is not written in the Constitution or federal law, but Congress and the courts have assumed that the president, who heads the executive branch of government, has a right and a privilege to maintain some privacy as he goes about his work. Just as the president could not tell the Supreme Court justice to tell him what was discussed in one of their private conferences, judges and senators cannot tell the president he must disclose what he discussed in the Oval Office.
Typically, legal privileges are invoked by people who have evidence or documents that someone else is seeking. By invoking their privilege, they are saying they are refusing to turn over the material.
The hearing which featured Attorney General Sessions was over, but far from the desired results.
As most onlookers surmised, owing to the fact that he is the head of the Department of Justice, Sessions was expected to tell the truth.
Headlines of dailies the next day were full of negative commentaries that the attorney general of the United States did not deserve his appointment. Exhibit A was the scheduled appearance of the newly-appointed top justice official. Most listeners, it goes without saying, expected more and much more. Instead, he used a trite expression hardly anticipated in
similar sessions.
"I do not recall," was the main ingredient of the Sessions' response to nearly all of the questions that came to the fore.
Was the above-mentioned response what was expected to be uttered many a time by the nation's attorney general?


Reyes hailed for appointment to Contra County Superior Court

Los Angeles, CA – The Philippine American Bar Association (PABA) congratulated the Honorable Benjamin ‘Ben’ T. Reyes II on his appointment to the Contra Costa County Superior Court. California Governor Edmund G. Brown announced the appointment on May 22, 2017.

Ben, 52, has been a longtime friend and supporter of PABA, the largest local association of Filipino-American lawyers in the United States. Ben was born in Naval Station Subic Bay, Olongapo City, Philippines. The son of a Retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer and school teacher, Ben and his family emigrated to the United States in 1968 and lived in Monterey, California and Honolulu, Hawaii, prior to settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was an equity principal at Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver and Wilson PLC since 2005, where he was an associate from 2001 to 2005. He also served as the City Attorney for Union City and City of Pinole, General Counsel for the Stege Sanitary District and for the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee. Ben was general counsel of from 2000 to 2001 and an attorney at the East Bay Municipal Utility District, Office of General Counsel from 1997 to 2000. He served as a Deputy City Attorney at the San Jose City Attorney’s Office in 1997 and was an associate at Boornazian, Jensen and Garthe PC from 1993 to 1997. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1983 to 1987 and received training in infantry, combat engineering and airborne operations. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ben fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Thomas M. Maddock. Ben is a Democrat. He and his spouse, Susan, have two college age children, Adam and Isabel Reyes.

"PABA has closely followed Ben's remarkable career, which spans decades in public service and in the private sector, and is greatly proud of his accomplishments. His legal talent, experience, and service to the community, including the Fil-Am community, make him an ideal jurist. PABA congratulates Ben on his well-deserved appointment," stated Zathrina Perez, PABA’s President-elect. Former PABA Governor, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Julian Recana, who has known Judge Reyes for decades, describes Judge Reyes as a “great role model who will make Contra Costa proud.” Judge Recana hopes that this will pave the way for more Fil-Am judges in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Ben is really passionate about Filipino representation,” stated Christine J. Gonong, former PABA President, who worked alongside Judge Reyes on PABA’s efforts to name a facility in the Long Beach Unified School District in honor of Larry Itliong. “Filipinos are the largest Asian American group in California, comprising of 1.5 million people, yet prior to Ben’s appointment, there was only one active Filipino American judicial officer in the Bay Area. Ben’s background and experience will be a tremendous asset not only to the Northern California judiciary but to the Filipino American community at large.”
Reyes will be the first Filipino-American to serve as judge for Contra Costa County, and only the second Filipino-American judge appointed in the San Francisco Bay Area in 36 years.


Jehovah’s Witnesses Welcome All to 2017 “Don’t Give Up!” Convention

FAIRFIELD, CA—On July 28, 2017, Tagalog circuit in Northern California of Jehovah’s Witnesses will begin their three-day annual conventions with the theme “Don’t Give Up!” The program will be held in 2020 Walters Road, Fairfield CA. As in years past, the Witnesses are participating in a global campaign to personally invite the general public to attend.
Admission to each event is free and no collections are taken. “Nearly thirteen million persons attended our conventions last year worldwide,” states David A. Semonian, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses at their world headquarters in Warwick, New York. “We hope to have an even larger audience this year.” Angelito Roque, the Tagalog’s local circuit convention spokesman, has estimated 1,900 Filipino to attend this years’ convention which is similar to last years’ attendance.
The program is divided into 52 parts and will be presented in a variety of formats, including brief discourses, interviews, and short videos. Additionally, one segment of a three-part feature film entitled Remember the Wife of Lot will be shown each afternoon. Media outlets may contact Mr. Roque for reporters planning to cover the convention.
“Challenges in life can rob us of peace and even cause some to think about giving up,” says Mr. Semonian. “Our convention this year will benefit both Witnesses and non-Witnesses because it promises to empower individuals not only to keep enduring but also to cope with challenges productively.”
For more information, please go to then click the “Convention” section under the “About Us” heading.

Regional Media Contact: Angelito Roque, telephone: (408)238-1063

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