Opinion & Community

NY teacher released without bail after she is charged with sexually abusing student, 14

Dori Myers, 29, was released without bail after pleading not guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student.
(Dori Myers/Twitter)
NEW YORK -- A New York City schoolteacher who lives in Upstate New York pleaded not guilty Saturday to charges she sexually abused a 14-year-old student.

The Daily News reports that teacher Dori Myers -- who posted a photo of herself on social media wearing a white tank top with the phrase "Whisky makes me frisky" -- pleaded not guilty to criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child. She was released without bail.

The 29-year-old teacher at the New School for Leadership and the Arts in the Bronx was arrested Friday. Prosecutors said the abuse occurred on Nov. 1 at a Manhattan location.

The teenager told a classmate, who notified the principal that the teacher had allegedly performed oral sex on the victim, police said.

Department of Education officials said Myers has been reassigned away from students.

Sources said Myers, who started teaching at the school in 2014, lives in Garnerville in Rockland County with her husband who works in law enforcement, the Daily News reported.

Myers' attorney, Andrew Stoll, called her "a really outstanding teacher" who poured her heart and soul into the school.

He said she launched the school's track team and regularly worked extra hours.

"It sounds like no good deed goes unpunished. You reach out to make yourself available to kids, and the next thing you know, a single accusation can destroy your career."

Myers couldn't be reached for comment.

The National Desk contributed to this report.

Harrisburg man charged with attempted homicide of unborn child

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) A Harrisburg man accused of trying to kill his wife’s unborn baby has been charged with attempted homicide.

State Police said Ibrahim Beidari, 33, vaginally inserted unknown medication into his pregnant wife with the goal of ending her pregnancy. It happened at a home along the 7300 block of Cobblestone Drive in West Hanover Township.

Trooper met the victim at UPMC Pinnacle’s emergency room on Friday at 5:51 p.m. The woman told them she didn’t know what her husband had done. She was in her first trimester and was released from the hospital Saturday.

Beidari was charged with Criminal Attempt-Murder of Unborn Child, Aggravated Assault of Unborn Child, Simple Assault, and Recklessly Endangering Another Person.

He is currently in the Dauphin County Prison on $250,000 bail.

Aces pound Gin Kings

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net
Banking on a big third quarter, the Aces bombarded the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings from inside and out to score a 97-83 victory on Sunday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at Ynares Center in Antipolo, signaling the return to form of the traditional powerhouse that lingered in mediocrity the past two conferences.

It was the third straight win after two losses for the Aces, who made the most out of the Gin Kings’ lack in size to book the most impressive win of their run that coach Alex Compton hopes would open the gates for their return to the list of elite teams.

“There’s a small person in Greg Slaughter who didn’t play and I think he would have had an impact in this game,” Compton said in jest, referring to the absence of the 7-foot center, who suited up but was kept on the bench by coach Tim Cone because of a strained hamstring.

“You have to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.”
The Kings absorbed a second straight defeat in a 2-2 card, the same record of idle GlobalPort.
Next up for Alaska is Blackwater on Saturday and Compton is bracing for an “exciting game.”
“That’s not a team you look forward to playing anymore, because they already have the pieces,” said Compton.
In the first game, TNT Ka-Tropa found its rhythm early with Troy Rosario leading the way, pouncing on Meralco’s manpower woes to carve out an easy 99-81 victory that put the Texters back in the upper half.
Rosario dropped six triples on the way to 22 points as the Texters pulled away early and never relented on the way to rising to 3-2 overall and dealing the Bolts a third straight defeat after a season-opening victory.
Meralco missed power forwards Ranidel de Ocampo and Cliff Hodge, and aside from their size, the Bolts struggled to find people who could pick up the offensive intensity the entire night as they totaled just 36 points for the first half.
“We knew that they are undermanned and that was what we really tried to take advantage of,” TNT coach Nash Racela said.


House committee leader claims federalism will prevent dictatorship

Rep. Roger Mercado, chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments, on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, led discussions on the proposed revisions to the 1987 Constitution. (Photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Federalism could prevent the repeat of the Marcos dictatorship by “dispersing” executive power, according to Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, chairman of the House of Representatives’ constitutional amendments committee.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Mercado said: “A federal constitution will precisely give even more safeguards against dictatorship because of the dispersal or sharing of executive power, by dismantling the vestiges of Imperial Manila.”
“A dictatorship ended in 1986. We are not going to let that part of our history repeat itself,” he added.

Mercado acknowledged concerns that a federal system of government – which entails the creation of states to which various national government responsibilities are devolved – could be abused by political dynasties to prolong their rule.
Yet, he just left it up to the “critics” to “propose solutions, present alternatives, raise options,” because “it is not enough that critics oppose.”
Mercado said the critics should propose how to “convince nontraditional candidates to venture into politics and public service.”
Meanwhile, Leyte 3rd Dist. Rep. Vicente Veloso, the committee vice chairperson and a former Court of Appeals justice, floated the possibility that the Senate’s lawmaking power might be removed under the new federal Constitution.
In an interview with radio station dzBB, Veloso suggested the Senate should focus only on confirming Cabinet appointees, ratifying treaties – and being a “training ground” for presidential aspirants.
This would leave the creation of laws and the power of the purse to district representatives under the so-called Federal Assembly, the equivalent of what is now the House.
“The law-making should not be duplicitous because that’s not pretty,” Veloso said.
He added that more people “do not seem to like the Senate, especially with what is happening now,” amid an escalating dispute whether the 292-member House and the 23-member Senate should convene jointly into a Constituent Assembly to amend the Constitution.

“They are too insecure, because they do not want to vote separately,” Veloso said.
The mother committee is currently tackling the proposed amendments submitted by its several subcommittees.
The subcommittee tackling the provisions on the government setup, chaired by Davao Oriental 1st Dist. Rep. Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon, proposed that each federal state be allocated three seats in the Senate, although it had not elaborated on the chamber’s functions under the federal-parliamentary setup. /atm



Shaila Mae Rebortera is Cebu's Sinulog Queen 2018

SINULOG QUEEN 2018. Shaile Mae Rebortera is the 2018 Sinulog Queen. All photos by Nathan Soriano 


CEBU CITY, Philippines – Shaila Mae Del Mar Rebortera of Tribu Talisay City may not have won any of the major awards but she romped off with the most coveted title of all, as she was named as the Sinulog Festival Queen 2018, on Friday, January 19, at the Cebu City Sports Center.

Super grateful jud kaayo ko, I’m so grateful kay Sto. Niño, and the next is sa akoang team for being here with me and telling me to just dance for Sto Niño instead of pressuring me to do other stuff, so tinuod jud so maka-ingon jud ko sa uban na salig jud,” said Rebortera.


(I am very grateful. I’m grateful to the Sto. Niño, and next to my team for being here with me and for telling me to just dance for Sto Niño instead of pressuring me to do other stuff, it’s really true, I can really tell others to just have faith.)

The newly crowned Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 had to deal with a few challenges leading up to the competition, such as examinations week, her somewhat heavy festival costume, and late night rehearsals. Her mother said her daughter had to sleep on a bench at the sports center the night before while waiting for the rain to stop so they could rehearse for the competition.

“I really felt sorry for my daughter, she was hugging the image of the Sto Niño and wouldn’t let it go even when we tried to take it from her so she could rest better,” Rebortera’s mom said.

The 21-year-old is the only daughter of a Filipino mother and a British father. She’s a 5th year Dentistry student.

Rebortera admitted that she wasn’t really expecting to win the title because she was feeling the pressure going into the competition.

She became the crowd favorite after bagging 10 of the 16 corporate awards. The crowd would shout “9,” her candidate number every time the winner of a corporate award was announced. The winners of the corporate awards were decided during the pre-judging, which was done an hour before the actual competition.

THE NEW QUEEN. Shaila Rebortera smiles at the audience after winning the competition

THE NEW QUEEN. Shaila Rebortera smiles at the audience after winning the competition 

Rebortera's awards include Ms Casino Femme, Ms Mang Inasal, Ms Magnolia Pambansang Manok, Ms Skygo 2018, Ms Pioneer, Ms PLDT, Ms Novelino, Ms Skin Magical, Cignal’s Ms Awesome, and Ms Air Asia.

The Talisaynon beauty must have set the tone when she was named Miss Runway of the Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 Parade of Costumes and Runway competition held at the SM City Cebu Northwing Atrium on January 18.

Runner-up honors went to Mary Faith Voz Libres of Tribu Katbalaugan of Catbalugan, Leyte (first), Bianca Wilhelmina Willemsen of Carcar City of Carcar City, Cebu (second), Isabel Dalag Luche of Tribu Kandaya of Daanbantayan, Cebu (3rd) and Maerylle D. Blauta of Tribu Buyoganon of Abuyog, Leyte (4th).

Luche, whose Filipino rural life-themed costume went viral on the internet, also won the Best in Production Presentation and Best in Festival Costume awards, while the designer of her costume, Mark Barry Luche, won Best Festival Costume Designer. She was also named as the Ms Photogenic, and chosen for the Ms Grab Award and Ms McSmile.

VIRAL BEAUTY.  Isabel Dalag Luche of Tribu Kandaya of Daanbantayan, Cebu clinched the Best in Festival Costume Award designed by Mark Barry Luche in the Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 competition. The costume's theme is diversity becoming unified in homage to the Sr Sto Niño

VIRAL BEAUTY. Isabel Dalag Luche of Tribu Kandaya of Daanbantayan, Cebu clinched the Best in Festival Costume Award designed by Mark Barry Luche in the Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 competition. The costume's theme is diversity becoming unified in homage to the Sr Sto Niño 

Other major awardees were Blauta for Best in Musicality, and Libres for Best in Group Presentation and Best in Solo Performance.

The rest of the corporate awards went to Willemsen as Ms Flexi Finance and Ms Lecit-E, Ma. Sonia Fate C. Cal of the Tisa Performing Arts as Ms Sky and Blauta as Ms Coca-Cola Swakto, and Ms Sinulog App Users award.

The Sinulog Festival Queen is no ordinary beauty pageant competition. It does not have a swimsuit competition or a question and answer portion, and in lieu of an evening gown competition, candidates are judged for their festival costume.

PIT SENYOR.  Mary Claire Briones of Hugpong Karasikas of Barangay Santa Cruz, Cebu City performs with her contingent during the Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 coronation night at the Cebu City Sports Center

PIT SENYOR. Mary Claire Briones of Hugpong Karasikas of Barangay Santa Cruz, Cebu City performs with her contingent during the Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 coronation night at the Cebu City Sports Center 

Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director said that the Sinulog Festival Queen should embody the modern Queen Juana, the wife of Cebu’s Rajah Humabon.

The tales say that when Queen Juana received the image of the Sto Niño as a gift from Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, she started dancing because she was so overjoyed. Some say that this was the start of the Sinulog.

Thus, the Sinulog Festival Queen will be judged not on beauty alone but she must have queenly traits and dance gracefully while carrying the image of the Sto Niño. She must be able to interact well with her contingent, with the audience, and with the judges. She will also be judged on how well she can convey the Sinulog culture as she will be the ambassadress of goodwill to promote the Sinulog festival in the Philippines and in the world. 

Another thing that sets the Sinulog Festival Queen apart from other beauty queens is that she must be the lead dancer of her contingent. She must dance during the Sinulog Grand Mardi Gras which, aside from the feast day itself, is the highlight and culmination of the Sinulog festivities. Otherwise, she will be stripped of her title.

REGAL IN WHITE.  Bianca Wilhelmina Willemsen of Carcar City is the 2nd runner-up in the competition

REGAL IN WHITE. Bianca Wilhelmina Willemsen of Carcar City is the 2nd runner-up in the competition 

The Sinulog Foundation Inc will also require her to have roots in the place that she is representing.

This is why the search for the Sinulog Festival Queen is one of the most highly anticipated activities of the Sinulog festivities.

Some of the Sinulog Festival Queens have gone on to win international beauty pageants. There is Jaime Herrell, who after becoming a Sinulog Festival Queen went on to win Miss Earth Philippines 2014 and Miss Earth 2014i. There is also Cynthia Thomalla who was named Miss Eco Tourism during the Miss World Philippines competition.

Sinulog Festival Queens have also gone on to become the Reyna ng Aliwan 6 times, including last year’s Marla Alforque. – Rappler.com


Soldiers battle Maute remnants; 6 wounded

Government troops of the Joint Task Force “Ranao” encountered Maute-ISIS remnants and bombers in Lanao del Sur over the weekend, clashing for the first time since the government declared victory over the terrorist group in Marawi City last October.

Army spokesman Major Ronald Suscano said six soldiers sustained minor shrapnel wounds as a result of the encounter.

The clash erupted after government forces encountered about 10 members of the Maute Group in a district in Lanao del Sur, a stronghold of the rebel group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, Suscano said in a statement.

Major General Roseller G. Murillo, the commander of the army’s 1st Infantry Division, disclosed that the encounter took place early Saturday morning when government forces responded to a report from concerned residents about the presence of armed militants.

The exchange of fire lasted about 35 minutes until the militants fled, said Murillo.

He added that the terrorists attempted to escape via the lake but soldiers were able to sink their two boats.

Operating troops collected one M-203 grenade launcher, two rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), three anti-personnel 60 mm RPG ammo, one anti-tank RPG ammo, three 40mm ammo, a hand grenade, two RPG fuse, one binocular, one ISIS flag, and several drug paraphernalia.

Murillo said this is the first encounter since the liberation of Marawi City was declared on Oct. 23, 2017.

He commended the operating troops for the successful operation.

“We shall continue to totally eliminate the remaining Daesh-inspired groups in Lanao Provinces and to sustain our efforts to prevent them from establishing Wilayat and spreading Daesh ideology in our joint area of operation,” Murillo said. (With a report from Reuters)


Alvarez to Sereno: Why the hurry to go to Senate?

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. (File photos by LYN RILLON and GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)
“Maybe she wants to hurry up and go to Senate because she thinks she has the numbers there.”

This was ther reaction of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Sunday to the repeated statements of the legal team of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for the House of Representatives to wrap up its hearings and impeach her, so the Senate could finally begin its trial.

According to a transcript by the House media bureau, Alvarez said in Iloilo that Sereno “should wait” for the House to finish its hearings when it would be ready to do so because she could not “dictate to us [what to do].”

He said the House justice committee had been taking its time to conduct its hearings on the determination of probable cause to impeach Sereno so that the people coud “watch and see there really is evidence” against her.
On Monday, the committee issued a subpoena for the records on Sereno’s psychiatric evaluation when she applied for the judiciary’s top post.
Alvarez said the psychiatrists would testify that she did not meet the required qualifications for mental fitness.
“Ang mahirap, may tililing na justice,” he said. “Kita niyo naman yung actions. Talagang may tililing, di ba? Kayo na ang humusga, huwag na ako.”
“The problem is, the justice is loony,” he said. “You can see for yourself her actions. She’s really loony, isn’t she? You be the judge, not me.” /atm


Airport baggage handlers to wear body cameras

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) issued a new set of guidelines for baggage handlers at the airports, such as wearing body cameras and doing away with pockets in their uniforms, to avoid any incidents of baggage theft which resulted in the recent termination of MIASCOR Groundhandling Corporation’s contract.

The guidelines also prohibit the baggage handlers from wearing loose boots or shoes, where small pilfered items from luggage could be kept.

Likewise, the use of cellular phones and the wearing of jewelry are prohibited as personnel handle the luggage of travelers.

But the most critical among the rules imposed as an offshoot of the involvement of six ground handling employees of MIASCOR in luggage theft at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga is the imposition of the wearing of body cameras during working hours.

No second chance

The government is standing firmly behind the contract termination of MIASCOR Groundhandling Corporation for the protection of the traveling public from baggage theft.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque explained that the aviation services provider has nothing to appeal for reconsideration since the contract has already expired.

Roque also assured there will be uninterrupted aviation ground services amid plans to recruit new personnel or retain qualified MIASCOR workers.

“The contract of MIASCOR is expired,” Roque said in text message, amid reports the company plans to ask President Duterte to reconsider his position.

“The position of MIAA (Manila International Airport Authority) following the order of the President is not to renew because of many pilferage cases of MIASCOR both in NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) and Clark to protect the OFW. So nothing to appeal as there is no existing contract,” he added.

The cases involving MIASCO include include the theft committed to the wife of a Turkish diplomat and the alleged involvement of a MIASCOR supervisor with illegal drugs, according to Roque.

Roque stressed the need to look at the “bigger picture” in which the “national interest is of paramount importance.”

“In particular, we need to protect airport travelers from baggage theft, especially overseas Filipino workers who work so hard to earn a living, and to make sure that potential tourists and investors are not turned off by such incidents at the airport,” he said.

Roque also said the Palace is concerned about the MIASCOR workers “but we cannot give their employer a concession on that basis alone, considering all the theft incidents by MIASCOR.”

Displaced workers

He assured though that qualified MIASCOR personnel will be absorbed by other existing ground handlers.

“Fact is the jobs are there so these will be filled up either by new hires or qualified staff from Miascor,” he said.

Earlier, the firm appealed to the President “to kindly reconsider his position on behalf of our almost 4,000 regular employees and their families who will be affected.”

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal already announced that they have issued a non-renewal of the Lease and Concession Agreement between MIAA and MIASCOR Groundhandling Corporation last Friday.

Monreal wrote a letter to MIASCOR President Fidel Reyes asking them “to vacate and return all premises occupied by MIASCOR inside the Airport Complex and its terminals within sixty (60) days from date.”


Palace: Leni out of touch with reality on ground

During the 72nd anniversary of the opposition Liberal Party last Friday, Vice President Leni Robredo claimed that darkness is enveloping the country and called on members of the once influential group to continue fighting for their beliefs. OVP/Released, File
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday disputed Vice President Leni Robredo’s claim that darkness is enveloping the Philippines, saying only the discredited politicians who want to regain power are facing dark days.

During the 72nd anniversary of the opposition Liberal Party (LP) last Friday, Robredo claimed that darkness is enveloping the country and called on members of the once influential group to continue fighting for their beliefs.

She also claimed that history seems to be repeating itself, noting that the party’s membership also declined during the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Several LP members were reported to have moved to Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan after he won a landslide victory in 2016.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque disagreed, saying the Vice President’s remarks are “completely out of touch with the existing realities on the ground.”

“The darkness that Vice President Robredo may be referring to perhaps pertains to the future of those discredited politicians who wish to return to power,” Roque said in a statement.

He cited the Gallup International polls that suggests the Philippines is the third happiest country in the world and the fifth highest country in the economic optimism index, aside from the Social Weather Stations (SWS) surveys that showed 96 percent of Filipinos entered the new year with hope and fewer Filipino families consider themselves poor.

“People’s high levels of hope and optimism have been complemented by high satisfaction, approval, trust ratings,” the spokesman said.

Roque added that the results of an SWS survey conducted last quarter indicated that more than eight of 10 Filipinos trust Duterte while a Pulse Asia poll suggested that Duterte is the most approved and most trusted among the country’s top officials.

Satisfaction with the Duterte administration remains excellent based on the SWS poll conducted last quarter, he added.

“Genuine and meaningful change has been felt by our people,” Roque stressed.

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