If you’re a radio buff, you must have heard the song “Malapit Na Ang Pasko” as it has become one of the Christmas songs played on the radio, AM or FM band, this holiday season.
And guess who sang and recorded the song? John Melo!
John Melo who?
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, it means you were either out of the country in the late 80s, or you weren’t born yet.
But, John Melo is one of those who made waves in the late 80s and in 1992 his name nearly became synonymous to OPM with the tune “Ikaw Pala ang Minamahal” that gave him an Awit award for Best New Male Performance.
Showbiz was not his priority, he recalled at a brief meeting last week. He said, at the time when his contemporaries were really passionate and motivated to make a name in the music industry, like Ariel Rivera and Chad Borja, he was focused on finishing dentistry (which he did). Eventually, he would migrate first to Canada and then the United States with his young family. (He is married to a dentist, Precilyn Silvestre, and they had one child then. Now, they have three children, two are teenaged and one is just eight.)
Showbiz folk in the Philippines believe that once you’ve stepped into the entertainment door, you could step out but your heart remains inside. And that exactly what happened to John. While engaged in another profession (real estate and dental management), his mind intermittently has been snowed under, as the saying goes, with thoughts of doing something showbizzy.
After nearly 2 decades… John Melo is back with Christmas ditty
'90s OPM artist John Melo
His friends egged him continually and even suggested he met with songwriter and fellow émigré Jimmy Borja (which he did) to ask him to write a Christmas tune for him.
The result is “Malapit Na Ang Pasko” and he uploaded it onto his Facebook page after recording it last year in San Francisco. To date, it has over three million views, and his friends in the US have tagged him as the OFW Prince of Christmas Song.
Motivated by the response of fellow Filipinos overseas to his Christmas ditty, he decided to fly back to Manila and promote it in the Philippines. Thus far, he has been elated that there are still people in the industry that remembers me.
Long-time fan magazine writer now radio commentator Christy Fermin interviewed John in her program on TV5 radio. He also made a guest appearance in Wowowin with host Willy Revillame.
“Alay ko talaga ang kantang ito sa mga gaya kong OFWs. Alam ko ang pinagdadaanan ng mga kababayan natin at dinanas ko na rin yan,” John said.
His 1992 album Hanap-Hanap Kita from where the hit single “Ikaw Pala ang Minamahal” was taken, was certified Gold. Vehnee Saturno wrote the tune for Ivory Records.
In1994, John also recorded another album, Magtiwala Ka with the carrier single “Basta’t Mahal Kita” that Saturno also penned.
While the number of views of John’s Christmas song continues to grow, comparisons with “Sana Ngayong Pasko” by Ariel Rivera and “Pasko na Sinta ko” by Gary V are becoming inevitable. But, for John Melo, his only dream now is to be on the same tracks as Jose Mari Chan who is known to many Filipinos as the “Father of Christmas,” thanks to his Christmas ditty here that has become Philippines’ national Christmas anthem.
Malacañang and Congress have asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition assailing the constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
In a 118-page comment, the Palace and both Houses of Congress, through the Office of the Solicitor general, asked the high court to dump the petition filed in October by the Sulu provincial government seeking to strike down the BOL or Republic Act 11054 and to stop its implementation.
Solicitor General Jose Calida said the BOL does not violate section 18, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, which authorized only one Organic Act to establish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
He rejected the argument of the petitioner that the law should have had the approval of Sulu and the other provinces under the ARMM through majority voting as separate units, saying this was not required by the Constitution.
“The [separate] voting requirement provided in Section 18, Article X of the 1987 Constitution applies only to the creation of an autonomous region, not to the amendment of the law, nor to the expansion of its territorial jurisdiction,” Calida says in his comment.
He says the law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in July last year, which created a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, was not exactly a creation of a new autonomous region as described in the Constitution, but rather an amendment of the organic act and an expansion of the territorial jurisdiction of the ARMM.
“When Congress decides to expand the territory of the autonomous region, the requirement does not apply to the subsisting provinces, cities of geographical areas of the autonomous region, but only to those provinces, cities or geographical areas proposed by Congress to be added therein,” the Executive and Legislative department said in their comment.
“A majority of the votes in all constituent units put more info together is sufficient for those provinces, cities or geographical areas already part of the autonomous region.”
Calida says the expansion of the ARMM does not require an amendment of the Constitution since Congress only needs to amend or repeal the Organic Act on ARMM.
“Congress retains the plenary power to amend and repeal the Organic Act that created the ARMM. The power to amend and repeal laws is included in the general and express grant of legislative power under Section 1, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution,” Calida said.
“The creation of an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao is through an organic law, categorized as a statute passed by Congress. As a statute, the organic law may be amended or repealed by Congress pursuant to its general legislative power.”
Calida, in invoking the powers of Congress to amend and repeal statutes, says the high court has no power to review the BOL because the issues raised by the petitioner involves political questions.
“The issues raised in the present petition are purely political questions that this Honorable Court is not permitted by the 1987 Constitution to examine,” Calida said.
He said the BOL complied with the requirement for the governmental setup for an autonomous region under the constitutional provision.
Calida also rejected the petitioner’s assertion that the law erased the identity of the indigenous cultural minorities in Sulu by automatically including it in the BAR without their knowledge and consent and also against their will and in violation of their rights.
President Rodrigo Duterte is not dying, his spokesman said Friday, even as House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is among those who think the Chief Executive can still function normally despite a “growth” found in his digestive tract.
Duterte not dying—Palace
Roque said he will suggest to the President to issue a medical bulletin to put to rest speculation about his health.
Asked if the President was on the brink of death, spokesman Harry Roque said: “I don’t think so. That’s why I showed a video of the President yesterday to show that he is healthy.”
“But he also said yesterday, name a 73-year-old who does not have an illness. So, if he really has an illness, he thinks it’s not out of the ordinary,” Roque added.
Arroyo, a key ally of Duterte, vouched for the President’s ability to execute his duties, citing her own experiences.
“I’m also going through treatment, right? But even I can go through a six o’clock adjournment [in Congress],” the 71-year-old Arroyo said. “So it can be done.”
Reporters sought the opinion of the former President and Pampanga lawmaker on Duterte seeking medical treatment for an admitted “bad case” of Barrett’s esophagus, which could lead to cancer.
READ: Cancer risk in Barrett’s disease
As Manila Standard reported Friday, the President revealed he is awaiting the results of fresh medical tests at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City—adding that “if it’s cancer, it’s cancer.”
Duterte, 73, is the oldest person ever to be elected president in the country, and speculation about his health has cropped up regularly since he took power in 2016.
Arroyo, meanwhile, had been diagnosed with degenerative bone disease, among other ailments, and wore a neck brace for a while. She was under hospital arrest for a plunder charge for nearly four years starting in 2012 at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.
Roque, who said he did not know about the tests until later, said the President underwent an endoscopy to learn more about a growth in his digestive tract.
“Right now, we don’t know [if it’s serious] because he went for a diagnostic exam,” he said.
Roque said he will suggest to the President to issue a medical bulletin to put to rest speculation about his health.
“He is still entitled to privacy in this matter. I do not know. If I am still here next week then I will tell him perhaps we need to issue a medical bulletin whether or not it’s serious,” said Roque, who also admitted that he was considering resigning (See separate story—Editors).
“I assure you, as a lawyer, he knows what the Constitution says. If it’s a serious illness, he will inform the nation,” Roque said.
In a speech late Thursday, the President said he underwent an endoscopy and colonoscopy about three weeks ago but that he was advised this week to repeat the tests—and so he went to Cardinal Santos on Wednesday, apparently without the knowledge of Presidential Spokesman Roque.
READ: Duterte: I've undergone colonoscopy
“I don’t know where I’m at now physically, I have to wait for that. But I would tell you that if it’s cancer, it’s cancer,” he said.
“And if it’s third stage, no more treatment. I will not prolong my agony in this office or anywhere,” he added.
Speculation began after Duterte missed a Wednesday Cabinet meeting and another public event.
Duterte keeps up a punishing schedule of appearances ranging from shopping mall openings to police funerals, and frequently delivers multiple, lengthy speeches per day.
The government had denied the leader was having health problems, with spokesman Harry Roque saying the president “just took his day off.”
“I assure you that I have no information that he went to a hospital,” Roque added.
However, in Duterte’s Thursday speech he said: “There was supposed to be a Cabinet meeting, that was yesterday, but... Somebody advised my doctor just to repeat and get some [medical] samples.”
Duterte has said previously that he here suffers from daily migraines and ailments including Buerger’s disease, an illness that affects the veins and the arteries of the limbs, and is usually due to smoking.
He has cited his ill health as the reason for skipping events during summits abroad.
The President, known for his deadly crackdown on drugs, also revealed in 2016 that he used to take fentanyl, a powerful painkiller, because of a spinal injury from previous motorcycle accidents.
Section 12 of Article 7 of the Constitution says if the President is seriously ill, the public will be informed about the state of his health.
“The members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.” With AFP
READ: Rody in hospital ‘for 2nd opinion’
READ: Pray for Rody's health—Bishops
Three Duterte kids also in the mix in Davao City
posted October 18, 2018 at 01:15 am by Manila Standard
All of President Rodrigo Duterte’s children, except his youngest daughter, will seek elective posts in next year’s midterm polls.
Duterte’s youngest son, Sebastian, on Wednesday, filed his certificate of candidacy for vice mayor, marking his first time to enter politics.
He will serve as the running mate of her elder sister, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who declined offers for her to run for senator and will instead seek reelection after establishing the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago earlier this year.
The President’s eldest son, former vice mayor Paolo Duterte, will run as the city’s First District representative.
Duterte-Carpio, for her part, shrugged off criticisms that her family is building a political dynasty.
“We really cannot deny that, especially if our detractors and those in the opposition will make such claims. I don’t want to engage them. This is not something that is happening exclusively to Davao. When you are a family of doctors and your children become doctors, too—it’s the same thing,” she said.
Palace shrugs off Du30 claim that Sara led Alvarez ouster
posted October 19, 2018 at 11:40 pm by Nathaniel Mariano
The Palace on Friday downplayed President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission that his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio “initiated” the ouster of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said even if Duterte-Carpio initiated the ouster, the fate of Alvarez’s speakership were decided by the members of the House of Representatives.
“Ultimately whoever suggested the ouster, the members of Congress shall still decide. Those who voted [for Alvarez’s ouster] said they were discontented with the way it is being run,” Panelo said in a radio interview.
“It’s the House of Representatives that decided regardless of whoever initiated it,” Panelo added.
He said even with the influence of the President, members of the House of Representatives still had the final say on whether to oust or let Alvarez remain based on his performance as a speaker.
He said that lawmakers appeared to be dissatisfied with how Alvarez ran Congress.
“Rightly or wrongly, that’s the perception of those who voted against him. But as far as the administration is concerned, Speaker get more info Alvarez did all things in favor of the administration. The bills which have been certified as urgent, he passed it through,” Panelo said, recognizing how Alvarez shepherded bills that were important to the administration.
On Thursday, Duterte admitted it was his equally fierce daughter who worked in the shadows to oust Alvarez.
“Be careful with that woman. She can even oust a Speaker. She operated in Davao. Look what happened in Congress,” the President said in a speech during the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo.
This was the first time Duterte confirmed that his daughter played a role in unseating Alvarez as Speaker.
Alvarez was ousted as Speaker as Duterte delivered his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July. He was replaced with Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Duterte said he only learned of his daughter’s political maneuver through Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
He said that his daughter admitted her role in the ouster as when she bumped into Puyat at the restroom of the Batasang Pambansa during the third State of the Nation Address.
“She was told by Inday. They saw each other in the washroom. ‘Tell my father, I’m sorry.’ So, I did not know the implication of that. I have no [idea]... honest to God. It was Inday, she maneuvered it,” Duterte said, referring to his daughter by her nickname.
In February, Duterte-Carpio called Alvarez an “insecure fat sleaze” for allegedly linking her to the opposition after the Davao City Mayor formed a separate regional political party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
Alvarez had since denied the allegation.
Duterte-Carpio is seeking reelection as Davao City mayor, while Alvarez also wants to stay in Congress in the 2019 midterm polls.
‘Mocha isn’t off the hook just yet’
READ: Three tales of ‘endo’ in government service: Bowed out
Ombudsman Samuel Martires said Uson’s resignation had nothing to do with the ongoing probe of the complaints filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Akbayan Youth and the Philippine Federation of the Death.
On Sept. 28—the day Uson resigned—Martires said the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office sent a letter ordering her and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar to file their own comment within 10 days on the complaint filed by the Philippine Federation of the Deaf.
The letter, signed by Asst. Ombudsman Joselito Fangon told Uson to submit within 10 days a written explanation or comment on a complaint filed by four complainants over a video she posted on her Facebook page that mocked people with disabilities.
Uson also faces complaints about an earlier video in which her sidekick, blogger Drew Olivar, danced while pointing to his crotch and breasts as mnemonic devices for federalism.
Although Uson may no longer be suspended or dismissed, she could be disqualified from public office, effectively stopping her from running in the next elections.
Uson on Thursday shot back at Vice President Leni Robredo, whose spokesman had said her resignation would not spare her from liability for her lies and scandals.
Talking to UNTV, Uson said it was the vice president who was full of lies, and that even her position was a big lie—a reference to the election protest filed against her by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr
Assistant Secretary for Communications Margaux “Mocha” Uson has been the fair-haired girl of the Duterte administration—much to its detriment.
The former sexy dancer turned blogger had actively campaigned for Mr. Duterte in 2016 and was rewarded with a high-paying job at the Presidential Communications Operation Office.
Since her appointment, Uson has committed a series of gaffes, and in all of these blunders, she had defended herself haughtily, arrogantly. Ironically she and her legion of defenders dismiss her critics as purveyors of fake news or out to bring down their revered “Tatay Digong.”
It has escaped us for long why the Palace has continued to stand behind Uson despite her misadventures. Our best here guess was that her millions of followers gave her enough clout to do as she pleased in the name of spreading the word. Proof of her good standing at the Palace is the decision to tap her services in the information campaign for the proposed federal form of government.
This weekend, however, Uson crossed the line.
In a video posted on her Facebook blog Sunday, Uson, along with companion Andrew Olivar, attempted a federalism tutorial complete with an obscene song-and-dance number, a simplistic analogy and a script of dubitable accuracy read aloud like a high school class report.
If Uson succeeded in anything, it is in insulting the hard work of the consultative commission that proposed a draft constitution that, if approved, would govern the transition to the federal form.
It is in denigrating the sober matter of governance and trivializing hopes that a new structure of government would improve the lives of millions of Filipinos.
Uson successfully turned people against federalism, not because people were able to weigh its foreseen benefits against the costs, but because it is now associated a lewd Tagalog equivalent and equally lewd dance moves.
She easily made the Duterte administration, which she is supposed to speak for and represent, look stupid, irreverent and laughable.
With any luck, her latest stunt should convince the President that he has risked enough in having her on board—and getting the rest of us to foot her insanely high commanding price.
What would be the most vulgar of all is if Uson gets to keep her cushy job and continue to enjoy her perks despite the near-universal outrage at her acts.