Gay Marriage is too hot to handle for Supreme Court?


MANILA – The road to the approval of same-sex marriage in the country by the Supreme Court (SC) may not be as smoothly paved as in the United States.

More than a month before the landmark ruling of the US Supreme Court allowing same-sex marriage in all US states, a petition was filed in the Philippines’ high court seeking a similar decision.

In a 31-page petition filed last May 18, lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III asked the SC to nullify and declare as unconstitutional provisions of the Family Code, which laid down the legal framework for the ban on same-sex marriage.

The SC, however, did not immediately act on the petition when justices resumed session last June 16 following a six-week recess.

An insider told The STAR that most justices consider the case as a ”rather sensitive” one that ”might be too tough to resolve.”

According to the source, the Falcis case was included in the agenda but the magistrates deferred acting on it even when they usually seek comments from respondents without giving due course to petitions.

”It was not taken up,” the source revealed, noting that the case was likewise no longer included in the agenda when the justices again sat in session last week.

The source – a member of the Court who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is pending and for lack of authority to speak for the Court – expressed belief that there is no urgency in ruling on Falcis’ petition.

The magistrate explained that unlike in the US, no law ”expressly allowing” same-sex marriage in the country has been passed yet, suggesting that the case may still be premature.

Asked on the chances of an SC approval on the petition, the insider did not directly respond and said it might be ”too early to tell.”

Court observers, however, cited ”religious background” of the current SC justices as a possible factor.

Most members of the SC are devout Catholics, while Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno is an active member of a born-again Christian church.

But the insider stressed that they only base their decisions as magistrates on legal and constitutional considerations, citing their earlier ruling upholding the legality of the Reproductive Health Law despite vehement opposition from the Catholic Church.

Despite the development in the US, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said over the weekend that it will maintain what it has always taught about the sacrament of matrimony: that marriage “is a permanent union of a man and a woman, in the complementarity of the sexes and the mutual fulfillment that the union of a man and a woman brings into the loftiness of the matrimonial bond.”

In his petition, Falcis specifically assailed Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code, which limited marriage as between a man and a woman.

The provisions define marriage as “a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life” and “the foundation of the family and inviolable social institution.”

Falcis, who admitted his homosexuality in his petition, also questioned Articles 46 (4) and 55 (6) of the law, which set concealment of homosexuality or lesbianism as ground for annulment and legal separation.

He argued that the ban on same-sex marriage violates the rights of homosexuals and lesbians to due process and equal protection, to decisional and marital privacy and to found a family in accordance with their religious or irreligious convictions.

Falcis further alleged that the Family Code was approved with grave abuse of discretion as it effectively repealed the 1949 Civil Code and the Constitution, which did not specify parties in a lawful marriage. He named the Civil Registrar-General as a respondent in the case.

The Family Code was issued as Executive Order 209 in 1987 by the late former President Corazon Aquino.

Falcis cited his “personal stake” in seeking relief from the high court, saying he sustained direct injury from the ban since he plans to marry in the country.



Donald Trump on his call for Mexican Border Wall: “Mexico treats us as though we are stupid people.”!


WASHINGTON, United States – Presidential hopeful Donald Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that he would force Mexico to pay to have a wall built along its northern border with the United States.

“I would do something very severe unless they contributed or gave us the money to build the wall,” Trump said on CNN’s State of the Union.

It was the billionaire’s latest broadside against Mexico since he announced his candidacy June 16 with a speech labelling immigrants from the United States’ southern neighbor as drug traffickers, criminals and rapists.

His comments caused an uproar, prompting Mexico’s interior minister to call him “prejudiced and absurd,” and Univision, America’s top Spanish-language TV network, to sever its ties with Trump’s Miss Universe Organization.

In the CNN interview, Trump insisted “you have people coming through the border that are from all over. And they’re bad. They’re really bad.”

“I’m not just saying Mexicans, I’m talking about people that are from all over, that are killers, and rapists,” he said.

Asked about his calls for a border wall, Trump said, “Mexico has not treated us well. Mexico treats us as though we are stupid people. Which, of course, our leaders are.

“I don’t blame Mexico. China’s even worse,” he added.

He said he would force Mexico to pay for the wall “because Mexico makes a fortune because of us.”

Trump, a real estate tycoon and star of the TV reality show “The Apprentice,” came in second place this week among Republicans in the running for the presidency, behind former Florida governor Jeb Bush, in a poll by Suffolk University.


Taiwan fire aftermath results to flammable colour powder ban!

Source: AsiaOne
TAIPEI – Premier Mao Chi-kuo yesterday announced a nationwide ban on flammable coloured dust events in the aftermath of the tragic water park fire on June 27 at the event “Color Play Asia,” with other governmental bodies similarly announcing prohibitions.

The government has formed a response team to investigate the dust explosion, with Mao having issued orders to related governmental bodies.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare is in charge of tallying up the numbers of people affected and injured; the Ministry of Education is to follow up on students’ counseling as many of the event attendees were students, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be responsible for foreign nationals injured in the explosion.

Following the announcement, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) issued ban regulations to local governments through a statement yesterday.

Since New Taipei City’s notice last night at 8:41 p.m., the MOI had activated the “emergency management measures” to combat the accidental explosion.

Mao also reassured the public that there is sufficient supply of resources for skin transplants. Nationwide health institutions, associations such as the Taiwan Society of Plastic Surgery and the Taiwan Society for Burn Injuries and Wound Healing, have also donated skin from Southern Taiwan to hospitals in the north, said Mao.

Chu and Ko Respond

New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu and Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je also announced strict bans on coloured dust-usage at public events in the future.

Chu announced that the government will not only assume full responsibility for the accident, but will also conduct rigorous investigations into the matter.

According to Chu, health care institutions have become front-line emergency control centres, transferring the maximum manpower to handle the overwhelming number of injured people, and to prepare equipment for burn-related injuries and volunteers to help the injured.

Chu has also banned any similar events in areas under the New Taipei City’s jurisdiction. Further discussions with the National Fire Agency of the MOI will be held to lay down the groundwork for stricter regulations and the management of similar events.

Rescue operation systems will face re-evaluation, according to Chu, from ambulances, health care and traffic flow to support systems.

For Taipei City, Ko slapped a temporary ban on coloured dust-usage at events, with flammable powder completely prohibited in the future.

Ko had been attending a campaigning event for Democratic Progressive Party Tainan City Councilor Wang Ding-yu, where he fielded questions on the powder explosion.

The Taipei City mayor said that all usage of powder at any events will be temporary banned until they can clarify which measures needed revision. Should there be any more dust-related events in the future, Ko went on, events should only use inflammable powder.



38 dead victims of Tunesian Islamist gunman including 8 Britons, one Belgian, one German identified!

Source: Manila Bulletin

Eight Britons, one Belgian and one German have been identified among the 38 people killed by an Islamist gunman at a Tunisian beach resort, the health ministry said Saturday.

“Ten bodies have been identified out of 38 — eight Britons, a Belgian and a German,” said senior ministry official Naoufel Somrani.

Another 39 people were wounded including British, German and Belgian nationals.

The ministry said more time was needed to identify the other victims because most of them were in beachwear at the time of the attack and were not carrying identification.

The Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack on Friday by an assailant who pulled a gun from inside a beach umbrella and opened fire on crowds of tourists on the beach and by a hotel pool in the popular Mediterranean resort of Port el Kantaoui.

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid said early Saturday that most of the dead were British but that they also included Germans, Belgians and French.



Taiwan park party fire injuries climbs to 500!

Source: Manila Bulletin

TAIPEI, Taiwan  — A fire on a music stage spread into a crowd of spectators at a party Saturday night at a Taiwan water park, injuring nearly 500 people, including 141 in serious condition, authorities said.

The fire was sparked by an accidental explosion of an unknown powder near the stage in front of about 1,000 people, said Wang Wei-sheng, a liaison with the New Taipei City fire department command center.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency on Sunday reported 474 have been injured, including 141 in serious condition. It quoted the New Taipei City health bureau. The injured included four mainland Chinese and two foreigners.



Sarah Geronimo and Piolo Pascual in their movie grand launch on ASAP this Sunday!

Ultimate Heartthrob Piolo Pascual and Popstar Royalty Sarah Geronimo will treat TV viewers with an afternoon of music and romance this Sunday (June 28) as they headline the grand launch of the most-anticipated movie of the year, “THE BREAK-UP PLAYLIST” in “ASAP20.”


Be amazed with the most requested collaboration of Sarah and Bamboo. Plus, back-to-back concert treats from Teen King Daniel Padilla and Chinito Royalty Enchong Dee.

Supahdance goes backtrack with Sam Concepcion, Inigo Pascual, Alex Diaz, Anjo Damiles, Bugoy and Nhickzy. Robi Domingo, Luis Manzano, John Prats, Gerald Anderson, Rayver Cruz, Arron Villaflor, Shaina Magdayao, Janella Salvador and Kathryn Bernardo conquer the centerstage via a Dance Craze medley hits. Hottest Girls Bangs Garcia, Michelle Madrigal and Arci Munoz invade your TV screens with sexy treats as they interpret different movie playlist. Plus, wacky birthday bash from Ryan Bang.

A stunning concert playlist from the finest performers to be led by Zsazsa Padilla, Vina Morales, Yeng Constantino, Jed Madela, Nikki Gil, Klarisse De Guzman and ASAP Sessionistas. Mariah Carey’s Playlist will be belted-out by Angeline Quinto, Morissette and Kyla back to back with ASAP’s hottest singers Bradley, Jason, Daryl. Plus, Next Attraction concert artists Karylle, Paolo Valenciano, Robin Nievera and Isabella.

Party this Sunday with Asia’s longest-running and Outstanding Variety Show, “ASAP 20,” this Sunday, 12:15nn, on ABS-CBN.



Binay quits Cabinet posts not out of delicadeza!


MANILA  – Vice President Jejomar Binay has resigned from his Cabinet posts in what some quarters believe was a consequence of a falling out with President Benigno Aquino III.

Binay quit as chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns.

In a statement, Binay’s camp said the resignation was “irrevocable.”

The vice president’s daughter, Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, hand-carried the resignation to the Office of the President on Monday.

“She was accompanied by Undersecretary Benjamin Martinez Jr., chief of staff of the Vice President. Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa received the letter around 3:55 p.m. at the Office of the Executive Secretary,” said Binay’s spokesman, Joey Salgado.

Last week, Binay took a swipe at Aquino’s “daang matuwid (straight path).” He expressed doubt government officials are staying true to Aquino’s mantra.

Asked to comment, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda had said it’s up to Binay to decide whether or not to cut his ties with the Cabinet.

Lacierda is with the so-called Balay faction, which supported the vice presidential bid of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas in 2010.

Binay, on the other hand, was favored by the so-called Samar faction and Aquino’s sisters.

But the political lines were drawn when Aquino himself said weeks ago that he is not keen on endorsing Binay’s presidential bid.

“Hinahanap ba niya ang suporta ko? 2010, sa ibang grupo sya tumakbo, 2013, nanguna sya ng ibang grupo. Parang medyo ang layo ng kurba,” Aquino had said.

Meanwhile, the president has since given a good word or two for Roxas and even Senator Grace Poe, who is now leading in presidential polls.


Angelina Jolie visits camp for Syrian refugees in Turkey calls it “Global Crisis”!


ISTANBUL | Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie on Saturday called for more international action to help refugees as she visited a camp in southeastern Turkey housing thousands of Syrians who fled their war-torn country.

The Hollywood star and special envoy of the United Nations refugee agency visited the camp in Mardin on World Refugee Day with UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres, after meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was also in the city.

“We are here for a simple reason: this region is at the epicenter of a global crisis,” Jolie told reporters.

“We should call this what it is: not just a ‘refugee crisis,’ but a crisis of global security and governance, that is manifesting itself in the worst refugee crisis ever recorded -– and a time of mass displacement,” she said.

Jolie and Guterres’s visit came after the U.N. said Thursday that the number of people forced to flee war, violence and persecution has soared to a record 59.5 million, half of them children.

The huge tide of displaced people has grown by 8.3 million since 2013 — the highest-ever increase in a single year.

“My first message is that it is due time for people to respect the plight of refugees and see their value. We must protect them, and invest in them. They are not a problem, they are part of the solution to this global crisis,” Jolie said.

“I plead to the international community and leaders of the world to recognise what this moment in mass human displacement means. This is not just another day.”

The mother of six, including three adopted children, thanked Turkey and other countries who have provided shelter to large numbers of refugees.

Turkey, which has taken in 1.8 million Syrian refugees since the conflict started in 2011, has repeatedly complained that it has been left to shoulder an unfair burden.

During her visit, Jolie met with Syrian refugees and heard how they had escaped their country. She was spotted earlier Saturday walking around Mardin and visiting local shops accompanied by her eldest daughter Shiloh.

On Friday, the pair had been in Lebanon, also to visit Syrian refugee camps.

Jolie has made several visits to countries neighboring Syria since the war began more than years ago.


Online petitions seek to halt Yulin Dog Meat Festival!


MANILA –  Netizens are up in arms over a Chinese festival, slated next week, that encourages people to kill and eat dogs and cats, in the belief doing so brings good luck.

Petitions platform has gathered over 700,000 supporters for a campaign to stop China’s “Yulin Dog and Cat Meat Festival.”

This, as one animal-loving woman went all the way to Yulin on an urgent mission: she paid over $1,000 to save 100 canines from being eaten at the dog meat festival, media said Sunday, as activists condemned the event, labelling it cruel.

According to tradition in the city of Yulin, some 10,000 dogs and cats are usually targeted for extermination during the festival, held annually in June.

Netizens are outraged and on care2petition, some 552,099 people have signed up to show their disgust.

Chinese woman pays to rescue 100 dogs

A Chinese woman has paid over $1,000 to save 100 canines from being eaten during a dog meat festival, media said Sunday, as activists have lashed out at the event labelling it cruel.

Animal-loving Yang Xiaoyun paid about 7,000 yuan (US$1,100) to save around 100 dogs in the southern city of Yulin on Saturday, web portal Netease reported.

The city holds an annual festival devoted to the animal’s meat on the summer solstice, which has provoked an increasing backlash from animal protection activists.

Reports said that Yang, 65, plans to rehouse the dogs at her home nearly 2,000 kilometers (124 miles) away in Tianjin.

Pictures posted online showed her browsing a market in Yulin where the dogs were kept in cages.

Activists, who say the festival is cruel, have in the past travelled to the city to hold demonstrations, sometimes buying dogs to save them from the cooking pots.

Locals have been quoted as saying that animals are killed in a humane way for the festival, where their meat is then served with lychees.

Many dogs are stolen, strays

The majority of “meat dogs” in the country are stolen pets and strays, according to an investigation published this month by Hong Kong-based charity Animals Asia, though eating dog is unusual in most parts of China.

Around 30 million households in the country are estimated to keep dogs as pets, helping to fuel the growing animal rights movement.

This year the festival has been targeted by British Comedian Ricky Gervais, who posted a series of messages on Twitter with the hashtag “StopYuLin2015”.

The city’s government has tried to distance itself from the event.

“Some residents of Yulin have the habit of coming together to eat lychees and dog meat during the summer solstice,” the city’s news office wrote on Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter equivalent.

“The ‘summer solstice lychee and dog meat festival’ is a commercial term, the city has never (officially) organized a ‘dog meat festival’,” it added.

Eating dog is not illegal in China, but the government called on meat vendors to respect food safety laws.

“Yulin is an open, tolerant and civilized city,” it said. “We welcome people across the world to pay attention to Yulin.”



Reporter hints Davao’s Rodrigo Duterte may run for President!


DAVAO CITY – Amid his continued listening tours and the sprouting of his billboards in some parts of Mindanao, why is Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte still denying that he is eyeing the presidency?

A political analyst said there are reasons behind the tough-talking mayor’s repeated denial.

Ramon Beleno III, a political science professor from the Ateneo de Davao University, said Duterte’s continued denial that he will run for president is probably his strategy to earn more support from Filipinos.

“Medyo reverse psychology. Sinasabi niya na hindi siya tatakbo pero pinapakita naman niya what he is capable of,” Beleno said.

”Kasi ayaw naman din ng mga Pilipino na masyadong ambisyoso, iyung parang atat na atat sa posisyon. Relax lang siya, kung tataas siya sa survey, salamat. Kung hindi naman siya tataas, salamat pa rin.”

In the latest Pulse Asia presidential preference survey, Duterte ranked third, getting 15%, three percentage points higher from the previous survey.

Duterte ranked fourth in the latest Social Weather Stations survey, garnering 20%, higher than the 15% in March.

Beleno believes Duterte’s improved ratings suggest that his listening tours and advertisements are working.

Despite the improvement in his numbers, Duterte continued to deny that he will run for president in 2016.

“I am not really running because I said it would be against the wishes of my family,” Duterte said in an interview after visiting Muslim communities in Davao City for the start of Ramadan.


Beleno said another possible reason why Duterte is not yet declaring his candidacy is to avoid political attacks that could jeopardize his potential bid.

Aside from being accused of tolerating the activities of the Davao Death Squad, Duterte was recently questioned by the Commission on Audit (COA) regarding the city’s hiring of over 11,000 contractual workers in 2014.

The COA said the Davao City government spent about P708 million in the hiring of the contractual employees.

Duterte refuted the COA’s findings, saying his predecessor was responsible for the hiring. He likewise questioned the timing of the release of the report.

”The mayor before me did it. [Benjamin] De Guzman (former mayor) did it. Why only now? Wala akong ginawa, basta ang pera dumaan sa ganito, if I can produce one worker of the 11 thousand, magsabi na may piso dumating sa akin, mag-resign ako bukas, at magpakulong ako,” he said.

”For as long as I give jobs to the people, it’s ok, basta dumating yung pera sa tao, merong trabaho.”

Beleno believes the issue on contractual workers is unlikely to pull down Duterte’s popularity.

“For me this is not an issue. Unless they would file a case against the Mayor and that the mayor will be suspended because of the COA report. But since hiring of contractual employees is common among LGUs, I don’t think that this will be a major issue against the mayor,” Beleno said.

Beleno said the mayor should expect more issues against him to surface in the coming months.

He said another issue that might be brought up against him is his family’s strong grip in Davao City politics, especially now that some lawmakers are moving against finally limiting the influence of political dynasties in the country.


Beleno said Duterte might also be just waiting for more support from an established political party, a viable running-mate, and a strong senatorial slate.

The Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), led by Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, is eyeing Duterte as its standard-bearer.

“Kasi of course this is a national election, a national campaign, so hindi naman niya kailangan hati-hatiin ‘yung kanyang katawan to go around the Philippines. So kailangan niya yung mga senatorial candidates na would campaign for him,” Beleno said.

The political analyst said Duterte needs a running-mate who complement his strong personality.He believes this person is Senator Grace Poe.

“Mas maganda kung babae so that he would get women’s votes. Mas maganda siguro kung galing sa Visayas o Luzon, kasi malakas siya sa Mindanao. Or someone who would push for human rights kasi siyempre ang issue kay Mayor is human rights violations, so someone na with opposite para makukuha iya yung gusto ng peace and order at yung mga galit naman sa kanya,” Beleno said.

Poe is now the leading both the Pulse Asia and SWS surveys, dislodging consistent front-runner, Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Poe, an independent, has yet to declare her intentions for 2016, but several political parties are considering to support her potential bid.

President Benigno Aquino III, who belongs to the Liberal Party, is holding talks with Poe regarding the next elections, although some of his party-mates prefer Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to carry the party’s banner.

Other major parties such as the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and Nationalista Party are also considering supporting Poe in 2016.

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