Items filtered by date: Thursday, 11 May 2017

Trump Incriminates Himself: I Decided To Fire Comey; Demanded He Give Me Details On My Investigation

 

In what may go down in history as one of the greatest fatal mistakes any president has ever made, Trump decided to sit down with NBC’s Lester Holt and spill the beans on his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey mid-way through the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s collusion with Russia. Even casual observers of the law know that when you stand accused of crimes, in this case going all the way up to possible treason, the best thing to do is shut up and get a lawyer. Instead Trump just gave an unhinged confession of sorts that will be broadcast worldwide.

The clip that everyone will be talking about came when Holt turned to Trump’s decision to fire Comey and the reasons behind it. A visibly angry Trump managed to debunk his own administration’s lies about the circumstances behind the dismissal and instead incriminated himself.

By White House versions, Trump decided to fire Comey after he was given that recommendation by the Deputy Attorney General and after realizing Comey had lost the respect of the American people and those working within the FBI. By Trump’s telling, he had already made up his mind to fire Comey long before any recommendation passed his desk and even went further:

“I was going to fire Comey. My decision. It was not…”

A stunned Holt interrupt him to clarify: “You had made decision before they had come into the room?”

Trump, not realizing he may as well have been confessing to a bank robbery, nonchalantly responds in the affirmative: “I was going to fire Comey. There’s no good time to do it, by the way.”

That’s huge, because Trump is admitting his personal grudge against Comey led directly to the FBI Director’s dismissal. His hand wasn’t forced. He just didn’t like Comey or what he was looking into.

But Trump, oblivious to all of this, marched on and stumbled into an even greater admission of guilt: He also claimed to have directly asked the FBI director for details about his investigation. That’s a HUGE no-no.

“In one case I called him In one case he called me… I actually asked him. I said, ‘If it’s possible, will you let me know am I under investigation?'”

According to Trump, Comey assured him he wasn’t. (Comey, in fact, has testified under oath that Trump and his campaign are under investigation meaning Trump is lying or Comey is. Which is more likely?) But in either case, what Trump is confessing to is a major ethical and perhaps even legal violation. Demanding an FBI investigator provide you — the person he’s investigating — with up-to-date details on how the case is proceeding presents all sorts of problems.

Ultimately, it may have been the fact that Comey wouldn’t give Trump the details on his investigation that led to his dismissal. Sources close to Trump say the White House was furious when Comey refused to unethically hand over his planned remarks before his congressional hearing in the days before his firing.

If this were a game of Clue, Trump just confessed to being in the billiard room with the candlestick. On national television.

 

By  Jameson Parker, Addicting Info


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KIKO PANGILINAN: LP ‘slighted’ by Mocha appointment, slams ‘militarization’ of Cabinet

Liberal Party (LP) president and Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Friday slammed the appointments of Mocha Uson and two military officials to key positions in the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In a statement, Pangilinan said that like other government officials, the LP felt "slighted" by Uson's appointment as PCOO assistant secretary, especially since the former sexy actress, according to the lawmaker, has "looked down on Philippine media practitioners as chroniclers of the nation’s story."

"Many, including government workers doing critical work for lower pay who have been contractual for a long time, feel slighted. We share their sentiment," the lawmaker said.

Pangilinan criticized Uson for using her radio program without provocation to bash LP chairperson Vice President Leni Robredo, supposedly calling her names and disrespecting her, her office, and those who voted for her.

Pangilinan also expressed concern over the installation of military men in the bureaucracy.

Former military chief of staff retired Gen. Roy Cimatu was appointed to head the DENR, while current military chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Ano will take over the helm of the DILG after he retires in October.

"Do these appointments mean the militarization of the government bureaucracy?" asked Pangilinan.

Pangilinan stressed that public service needs competence, integrity, and passion. Just the same, the LP president wished the three new appointees good luck "as we keep vigilant watch." — MDM, GMA News

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FBI Agents Are Doing Something Unusual In The Wake Of Comey’s Firing

Prior to the Nov. 8 election, the FBI was, more or less, Trumpland. They wanted Trump to win. They neither trusted nor approved of Hillary Clinton. And that anti-Hillary attitude led to a number of anti-Hillary leaks to the press from the agency. They were angry with James Comey’s decision not to indict Hillary over her emails.

Now, though, the FBI is wracked with shock, anger and grief over Comey’s sudden firing. According to the Daily Beast, one agent said his abrupt dismissal was like a death in the family. Another said that they’re basically “sitting shiva,” which is a Jewish ritual of mourning just after a funeral.

And some of them are doing something very unusual for a situation like this: They’re posting pictures of themselves with Comey on social media, and even changing their profile pics to those of Comey. That’s a gesture generally reserved for someone who dies.

Acting Director Andrew McCabe told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Comey was well-liked and had broad support throughout the bureau. In other words, when Trump said that Comey had lost the trust and respect of his rank and file, he was either not speaking for the majority of the rank and file, or he was flat-out lying.

Rank-and-file agents were also very suspicious of the timing of Comey’s firing, wondering whether it had anything to do with the Russia probes. Various officials’ phones were ringing off the hook. FBI headquarters in D.C. was more or less locked down and not answering the flood of phone calls coming in.

One agent told the Daily Beast that there’s likely to be serious distrust of whoever Trump puts into Comey’s place:

“No matter who gets the job, there will be a cloud of suspicion because the President is unpopular with much of the [U.S.]. That bad faith will make it harder to do my job.”

Trump undermined the public’s trust in the FBI more than Comey ever could. The new director is going to face a tough confirmation, with much of the Senate viewing Trump with suspicion, too. That makes possible picks like Rudy Giuliani out of the question – he’s going to have to tread very carefully with Comey’s replacement. In the meantime, McCabe has assured the Senate that he’ll let them know immediately if the White House tries to interfere with the Russia probes in any way at all.

 

By  Rika Christensen, Addicting Info


Featured image by Zach Gibson via Getty Images

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Dan Rather’s Facebook Post After Trump Fired Comey Deserves A G****** Pulitzer

 

 

Seldom are words so perfect that they summarize the weight of an entire situation, but former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather just made sure not only the nation but the world knows exactly what just happened when Donald Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey.

Taking to Facebook, Rather wrote:

 

“Future generations may mark today as one of the truly dark days in American history, a history that may soon take an even more ominous turn.

President Trump’s sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey is a matter that should deeply concern every American, regardless of party, partisan politics or ideological leanings.

The independence of our law enforcement is at the bedrock of our democracy. That independence, already grievously shaken under the brief tenure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is now shattered by uncertainty.

The firing of an FBI Director is always a very serious matter in normal times. But these times aren’t normal. Far from it. The Bureau is engaged in one of the most important and perilous investigations of this or any other presidency—the investigation of connections between the Trump election campaign and the Russian government.

The questions mount and the shadow grows darker. What were those connections? What did Mr. Trump know about them and when did he know it? How can the President explain the serious allegations against his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn? And what is President Trump hiding in this regard? It’s imperative that the nation—We The People—get answers to those questions. It will take time, but the process must start now.

A politicized FBI is the last thing we need as we struggle through the maze of lies, concealment and ever-deepening mysteries. The last time a President fired prosecutors who were investigating him was Richard Nixon during the widespread criminal conspiracy known for short as “Watergate.” We all know how that turned out. In real ways, this potential scandal and coverup are much graver. We are talking about the very security of the United States and the sanctity of our republic.

Thomas Paine famously wrote in 1776: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. ”

I see this as having the potential for a similar reflection point in our American story. If there is a cover up, if our nation is at the risk that has certainly been more than suggested, it is incumbent upon everyone who claims to love this nation to demand answers.

We need a special prosecutor. We need an independent investigation. There is, obviously, much we don’t know about what has just happened, why it happened and why now. Just as obviously there is much more, so much more that we need know. We need to damn the lies and expose the truth.”

 -Blue Tribune.

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Ely Buendia on Existence, Loneliness, and the Songs That Matter

 

 

The very first song I ever wrote would have to be this song called “The Junction,” inspired by Michael Jackson. Kind of R&B. Disco. Falsetto. I only got as far as the chorus. I got myself a Walkman and I bought myself the cassette of Off The Wall, and then I started sound-tripping and suddenly, after I put down the Walkman, a tune started playing in my head.

I remember the nights were very dark. We lived in Naga, Camarines Sur in Bicol, from 1970 to ’75. It was a very provincial existence. I don’t even think we had electricity. I just remember being very afraid when it turned dark. The lights were almost always out in our house. It was a small house. My mom, brother, and I lived with my uncle because my father was working here in Manila. We moved to Manila in 1976. I know that because the first movie I saw was Star Wars.

The first person I knew who played guitar was my cousin. In drinking sessions, he’d be the one sitting there, strumming a guitar. He could play anything. I got one of my songs from him actually: “Toyang.” I don’t know where he got it, I never asked him but I assumed it was a traditional Bicolano folk song.

Honestly, I’m more comfortable in English. Somebody said that I have weird syntax in English. I think I have weirder syntax in Tagalog.

There was a time when writing in Tagalog was more of a conscious decision. The songs that we started writing in the beginning were all in English. Blues-based stuff like “Waiting for the Bus,” “Scorpio Rising.” But “Ligaya” and “Pare Ko,” came from a natural place kasi probinsyano ako and everything I would hear in Bicol was all OPM, and I’m also comfortable with that kind of music. But lyric-wise, I could not write anything poetic in English so it was all kantospeak.

Wala akong concept ng baduy o cool noon. Ngayon na lang.

 
 


THE BAND

I didn’t think recording for a major label meant I sold out. I only had that concept instilled in me when people started criticizing the Eraserheads. I found myself wondering “Did I sell out?” I must’ve sold out because we made it big and a lot of people didn’t like the songs, they were too pop.

The Eheads wasn’t pop. I was pop.

When I started writing for the Eheads, I wrote for the band. I was looking for a sound everybody would be comfortable with. At that time, it came naturally. We played with the blues. We were into classic rock, Elvis, Beatles. David Bowie, we were into that.

We started auditioning in bars around ‘89. There was this place in Balara, a place called Anthem, and we played Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. Finally, Club Dredd took us under their wing.

The feeling of rejection isn’t nice. But I guess that’s where my naïveté served me. At that time, you had nothing to lose, and you believed in yourself and you believed that there has to be someone who’ll like you and that kept me going.

I remember a very cinematic and clichéd image: we just got rejected at Anthem, and we were walking in the rain after, and there was this truck that drove over a puddle, and it all splashed on to me. Just me.

At that time, you had nothing to lose, and you believed in yourself and you believed that there has to be someone who’ll like you and that kept me going.

 
 

Most of my lyrics are dark, if I had the choice, even the melodies would be dark. But then again it wasn’t going to work. We started covering Metallica, we started covering The Cult until Jing Garcia approached us and said di kayo bagay sa ganyan. He was right.

That band really had an identity crisis when I think about it. Iba-ibang influences eh. Raimund was a hip-hop guy. Buddy was a jazz guy and I was mostly a folk guy but I think that also affected the songwriting. We were trying to find the right style for us. We were so different musically, so it was a push and pull kind of thing, there’s always tension. For example, I’d write a song and I wanted the drums to be this way and Raimund wouldn’t follow me. Also Marcus. That’s why most of the time I always recorded the guitar parts.

I was aware that we were lacking somewhat in chops. Raimund was just starting out. Marcus just started learning guitar and Buddy wasn’t really a bass player. That was one of the reasons why I had to focus on songwriting and tried to be unique and new as possible.

At that point in time, it didn’t affect me at all. I had nothing then. There’s ego involved when you become successful. There were people who would say, “You’re the best thing to ever happen.” Of course, you can’t help but absorb that and believe it. And there would be people who would say something bad, and it would hurt. But before, it didn’t mean anything, because we were just starting out. I was very confident at that time, kahit na alam kong bano ako. It was all attitude, just sheer attitude of, “Fuck you, we’re gonna play our music.”

Raymund’s his own man and I needed that from the start, that’s why I just let it be. He could explain stuff that I could not explain musically to the other guys and…even though we didn’t write a lot of songs together, production-wise, arrangement-wise he was always with me.

How important was Buddy? Buddy played bass. (laughs) He played very good bass. He gave the Eheads a little bit of credibility. A lot of people laughed at the three of us but of course they were hats off to Buddy.

Marcus? Well, he was Marcus. He was there, he had his own thing. People responded to him. It wouldn’t be the Eraserheads sound without his dirty guitars.

THE SONGS

What would I consider the top five songs I’ve written? Number one would be “Poorman’s Grave.” Then “TNT,” “Alapaap,” “Magasin,” “Disconnection Notice.”

“Magasin” was based on my cousin who apparently dated Shirley Tesoro…Naging bold star siya. May mga movies siya dati eh. ‘Yung original title nga nun “Tiktik” eh. One of those songs I wrote on the way home from work. Bumaba ako sa Baclaran; puro magasin ‘yung nakikita mo dun. But the chorus came from a somewhat stylish influence…I got that from Marvin Gaye… “Sexual Healing.”

“Poorman’s Grave,” I’m so proud of because it was one of the few songs that I wrote that wasn’t based on anything and it came out from a real desire to express something that I felt at that time—which was, to put it bluntly, father issues, and not having the freedom of doing what you want at that age. I was a teenager then, in high school. Fifteen. It’s very, very personal and I only really appreciated that song after [the band] Hilera approached me and said they liked that song. And, well, gano’n naman ako eh, di ko alam kung maganda ’yung song ko or what. I have no idea if I’m good or I’m bad.

The greatest lesson from my mom is love conquers all. I think that would be it. She didn’t say it. She just showed me.

 
 

It was about my dad, what I saw at that time. I was frustrated, and that line about “He comes home drunk every night” was as real as I could get. Actually, “Acid Tongue” from Wanted: Bedspacer was also about him. “Acid Tongue” was him.

Now? We patched things up from the time that was really bad, and I like to think that I’ve matured and let all that go.

After [President] Marcos left, my dad lost his job. He had a hard time after that. Palipat-lipat siya ng trabaho. I remember I had to write letters to the school for my tuition, the promissory notes. I don’t know if those promissory notes were connected or not, but I remember that was when my dad became increasingly difficult. The family dynamics became much more volatile. He was always arguing with my mom, and taking it out on the kids.

I think, now, I understand my dad more. I was also hard on him and I could’ve done my part. Of course, when you’re a teenager, you’re only concerned with your own feelings. You have no clue about the big picture. When you grow older, you learn to appreciate what your parents went through. My dad was close to 30 at that time, and when I became that age, I tried to put things in perspective.

Ngayon na lang I think he’s proud. Brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. Of course when I was in college, I was really into music. I wanted it to be my career. I was just in Film because I couldn’t get into Architecture. He wanted me to become a doctor but I didn’t have the ability to become a doctor. And when I started playing, he wasn’t really supportive.

 
 


The greatest lesson from my mom is love conquers all. I think that would be it. She didn’t say it. She just showed me.

From my dad? Well, he showed me what I did not want to be, parenting-wise.

I’m more like my dad. He was a creative person. He wrote very, very long love letters. He was very romantic. He appreciated the value of being mysterious. He had this image of being mysterious and silent when he was in high school.

“Alapaap?” A songwriter can ask no more than to have a song as controversial as that. Was it an allusion to drugs? Of course. You should know. Kaya nga na-pinpoint ‘yun e ‘cause it’s pretty obvious. Puwede ring hindi (about drugs), and that’s what we argued back then. (But) everybody knows what it’s about. Weed lang naman.

It is similar to the Pale Fountains’ “Reach.” Yes, I admit. I think this is the first time I will admit that. I’ve never admitted it before. Just the first few measures, and after that it’s a different song. I wasn’t comfortable with that. Kaya sabi ko sa’yo, ngayon ko lang iaadmit yan. (But) I think it’s the way you appropriate it.

I think when you appreciate the song that appropriated the other song, if you can appreciate it on its own merits, even after the fact, I guess ‘yun na eh. ‘Yung sa Orange and Lemons parang kinopya lang talaga, wala nang dinagdag na halo…Wala silang dinagdag na sarili nila. Di pa nila binawi ng konti.

I think it’s the only artistic method, don’t you think? Everybody gets from everybody else before, don’t you think?

I kinda related to outcasts at that time and “Hey Jay” is not about being gay. Not strictly about that. A big part of it was. I also identified with those people who couldn’t express themselves freely.

I can’t write a happy song, although I try.

 
 


With the Eheads it was always the melody. Sometimes—like with “El Bimbo” and “Wag Mo Nang Itanong” and “Magasin”—lyrics came out at the same time as the melody. Mostly the intro and then I started mixing things up just to keep it fresh. I tried other methodologies. Some I got from Raimund and Buddy and Marcus who always wrote differently, who mostly started from lyrics. Sometimes I couldn’t understand how to do that. Just not the way I did things.

ON PLAYING LIVE

On critics telling us we couldn’t play? Even now, I look back upon that time. I’m still trying to figure out what was wrong, especially when we broke up and we started our own bands. Marcus started his own thing, Raimund had Sandwich during Eheads. I was always thinking “Bakit magaling silang live tapos ‘pag kami na, we suck?”

It wasn’t that we were lacking musical ability, no. We weren’t technically proficient. I think only Buddy really fit that bill. Raimund could play keyboards very well. Marcus really could not play during that time. I could not play for shit. Analysis ko dun it was the songs. Probably the songs.

Why were the Eraserheads successful? The clashing styles of the band members made up a kind of Frankenstein’s monster that somehow worked.

 
 

I think Eheads songs were too complicated. The songs I think were difficult to play for the biggest things. “Pare Ko?” Tuning pa lang, komplikado na. Naka E flat kami the whole time. E flat tuning kami. Why? Wala lang. In the spirit of being different. And I guess it was kind of a joke, too. Kasi ‘yun ‘yung uso noon na songhits…we wanted to give the tablature guys a hard time…Too many chords, too many styles. It was all over the place.

The other theory was, I think—and this is just my theory—I may be a bad leader. I think I have, like, this scrambler…I scramble their signals, their radar. It’s just a theory. Napansin ko kasi, nakailang banda na ako—nag-Eheads na ako, Pupil, Mongols—I’ve played with the best and when you look at their other work like Jerome (Velasco) and the other guys, sila Yanny (Yuzon) and, of course, the other Eheads, and I’ve even played with Hardware Syndrome, banda ni Kiko (FrancisM), pansin ko, pare, nagkakalat sila. Nagkakalat talaga sila—‘pag ako. That was my obeservation. And that’s true.

As for Pupil, we started to gel after the third album. And that’s because I started to put my foot down. I’d say what I really wanted, like, okay, live. Sabi ko, “Okay, Wendell, wala nang laro-laro. It fucks everything up.” When he’s playing with me, he just probably assumes he’s free to do anything he wants. I wanna fix that. And the live gigs got better! Mas malinis. With Eheads, everybody was playing—as in naglalaro lang talaga the whole time.

In the Eraserheads, we never rehearsed. We rarely rehearsed.

It’s only now, with Pupil, the rehearsals are more rigorous, and everything is calculated down to the ending. I think that’s it.

I think I lost my sense of humor right after "Fruitcake". It just became too much to handle. The expectations and the never-ending battles and the frustration.

More than the critics, it was me. I was my own worst critic. I really did not think the band was any good. I was trying to hold it up with pop songs, trying to survive.

Success is almost always the end of the line. That’s where things start going downhill and it’s almost impossible to hang on to it. It’s like quicksand, it’s like a trap. The more you try to please everybody, the faster you sink.

 
 


Why were the Eraserheads successful? The clashing styles of the band members made up a kind of Frankenstein’s monster that somehow worked.

Yeah, to an extent [the Eraserheads] were friends. We went through that thing together. We were.

Risk is coming out of your comfort zone. Doing stuff that you’re not sure about.

AFTER THE EHEADS

Leaving the Eheads, that was a risky move and wasn’t well thought out. I wasn’t thinking straight, not planning ahead. There was a time that I was down financially, down creatively, you name it.

The animosity that resulted from breaking up with the Eraserheads was something I did not imagine. I didn’t take it lying down, definitely. I fought back.

Medyo matigas din ulo ko eh,and the more na pinipilit nila ako to look back upon it fondly, the more I hated it. The more the audience wanted me to sing Eraserheads songs, the more I hated it.

In a way she [Diane Ventura] was the way out that I was looking for. I could not do it on my own. It was scary. I did not know what to do. If I had the choice, I would’ve left earlier.

During Natin99 it wasn’t fun anymore. I was really depressed and I was really boxed in. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t do anything that I felt was what I really wanted.

MORE FROM ESQUIREMAG.PH

I wanted what Raimund had. I was envious of Raimund. Because he was playing with a band [Sandwich] that was close to what he wanted. It was the sound he wanted. It was the bandmates that he wanted. That’s why they played well and I was stuck with the Eheads. I was stuck with a band that I didn’t form in the first place. They recruited me. I was a recruit. It was the three of them: Buddy, Raimund and Marcus. I just came in because my real band left me—I preferred that band. The guitar player was [another guy named] Raimund but he switched to jazz, and he was into Morrissey like I was. And we were starting to write when he left.

Not to take away anything from the three guys, I’m just saying what I felt at that time cause my world was really… dun lang naka-focus attention ko. I really want to be in a band I was really a part of building.

The songs I can’t sing anymore are “Tindahan ni Aling Nena,” “Shake Yer Head,” “Toyang.” A lot of the early stuff. But I sang “Toyang” in the reunion…Yeah, because people wanted it. You know me, I am here to please. But “Aling Nena,” it’s just so hard to sing.

I stand by Fruitcake. As a whole, as a concept. But I won’t listen to it in its entirety. It was caught up in this Sgt. Pepper thing. A lot of people noticed that and that’s one of the things I regret, not being able to see the bigger picture.

I wanted what Raimund had. I was envious of Raimund. Because he was playing with a band [Sandwich] that was close to what he wanted. 

 
 

Can I imagine going back to the studio again with them? To record new stuff, no… I have scenarios in my head also—not because I’m interested in that kind of thing, but that’s the only thing I hear! You can’t help but think, ano pwede gawin kung saka-sakali? Yeah, I came up with…definitely I would not want to write songs for the Eheads. The expectations would be too great and I myself would be too concerned with a lot of stuff to ever write anything good so what I thought of was maybe other people can write the songs for Eheads and for us to record it.

Well, I like to live dangerously.

I’ve always been collaborative. I had Raimund. I had Jerome (Velasco) in The Mongols and to an extent Yanny. So I’m still a collaborative person. I don’t like the idea of being solo that much.

Why did the Mongols fail? Timing… It wasn’t time for me to do something new. I just left the Eheads, and I guess the name (he wanted to be referred to as Jesus “Dizzy” Ventura then) didn’t help also. And the label that we were on didn’t help, definitely.

That was the first time I actually enjoyed playing live. Again, not to take anything away from the Eheads, but that was the kind of music I was gearing towards. Of course, I was a big fan of Jerome. It was always a pleasure playing with him, even recording for him. We actually wrote a lot of good songs together.

I think my self-consciousness went away (when I started playing with Pupil). In Mongols, there was still that thing that I wanted to come up with different sounds as much as possible and I think the fans noticed it. It was trying too hard. But with Pupil everything got more settled and natural. I wasn’t afraid to write again.

I hate bands that change their styles but I can understand that. Being a songwriter, you just cannot write that same style the rest of your life, di ba?

 
 


Is songwriting easy for me? Yes it’s easy.

I want hits. I want to write hits. It’s the way I make my living. Why would I not want to write hits? The only difference probably is that the melodies are not as soaring as before. I cannot write [songs like] “Ligaya” anymore. I can’t hack it as a singer.

I’m just conscious of one fact: will I be able to sing it well live? Will I be able to play it well live? Will I be able to have fun with it live?

I can still sing “Ligaya” but it takes effort. I guess that’s what I’m going for now: effortlessness.

I regret not being an asshole enough. (laughs) I think I would’ve avoided a lot of pain and stuff ering for everybody. I would’ve been more dictatorial like Morrissey.

I guess if I weren’t in music, I’d be in film. But I wouldn’t have gone far. In fourth year college, I realized I just wasted four years of my life studying film. Wala eh. Nag-intern ako sa mga Ishmael Bernal films, kay Lino Brocka sa TV specials and TV movies. I didn’t work with Ishmael. Lino Brocka, I was just too intimidated to talk to him. Nakita ko na that with film, it was going to be a long road.

LIFE, ET CETERA

Those two occasions where I almost died, it made me appreciate life more, appreciate music. Yeah, that’s it.

I don’t even know what agnostic means. I definitely am not an atheist. I believe there are more things in heaven and earth than what your philosophy has dreamed of.

How do I deal with pain? I try to accept it and let it happen. That’s the only thing you can do. If you don’t accept it, it’s going to stay there, fester. A lot of people have been telling me na kaya ka nagkaka-heart attack kasi you don’t express yourself, you don’t share your emotions. To an extent they’re probably right.

Fortunately I don’t have to deal with that a lot. Most of the pain comes from the past so I’m going through this thing, all that crap about being in the now.

We’re all doomed to fail. I mean relationships are doomed to fail.

I guess I’ve gone through a lot in terms of the dream, of being in that romantic dream of finding the right one.

Yes, I do feel lonely even if I’m with somebody.

We’re all doomed to fail. I mean relationships are doomed to fail.

 
 

Is that why I write songs? I guess.

What did I learn from marriage? Nothing. It wasn’t a marriage at all. The very first marriage, we were very young. We didn’t know what we were doing. Wala kang mapupulot sa ganun. We didn’t even live together. She lived in the province and I was busy with my career. I guess, what I learned from that, you never force kids to get married for whatever reason. I’m glad to say that we are on speaking terms now. ‘Yun nga kasi kinakausap na ako and last year she allowed Una [their daughter] to stay here for Christmas kahitbirthday niya. It’s going well.

What is the greatest thing I’ve learned from women? They love me. And I love them back! (laughs) But like everything else, there’s pride involved and, yeah, I have learned to become a better person or a better man because of my relationships.

Yeah, everything does (leave permanent scars). That’s also part of growing up, I guess.

I’m not breaking new ground anymore, I’m in my 40s. I can’t be in that mindset anymore ‘cause I know too much.

I’ve been through a lot, that’s why I look to Elvis on what he’s doing or what he was trying to do at my age. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to get fat any time soon. Or do drugs.

 
 


I will continue making music, but not necessarily release it. What for? To remain sharp.

What do I want to do now? I don’t know.

Why do people still love those songs? That has nothing to do with me, or the song. It was just a convergence of the right elements, the timing. People grew up with “Ligaya,” “El Bimbo.” They were in high school, they were having fun, they were young. That’s why they liked it.

How do you write songs that matter? How? You should know better than to ask that. I would not be able to answer that.

What songs matter to me? Songs from my childhood. Rico J Puno. He was funny, he had soul and he could sing with conviction. And it just happened that my mom loved him and I could hear him all the time. I was starstruck when I first met him. I don’t remember what I said. I was probably speechless. I think we didn’t really talk at all. I remember he hugged me. I really felt the love and the fact that he called me idol was, woah!

I don’t wanna be content. Yes, it’s a goal but it’s not necessarily the right goal especially if you’re a creative person.

I guess I still enjoy playing live. I think I never enjoyed playing before. I will still continue playing live. Most probably I will be content if that happened. People will say, “Yeah Ely’s band, they’re awesome live!” That’s the best compliment.

You always think it was better before. You just like going back to the good old days. I wouldn’t trade places with the past and now. That’s the kind of philosophy I’m trying to adopt now, like really appreciating the present, not to be too identified with the past. I think it’s the greatest source of suffering for people—thinking “Mas mabuti ako before, in the past.” It’s almost always pure ego. Don’t be identified with your ego, because that’s not you. It’s an illusion.

 

By ERWIN ROMULO

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Esquire Philippines. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

 

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Pacquiao confident Senate will pass death penalty bill

 

Senator Manny Pacquiao on Friday said he is confident that they have the numbers in the Senate to pass the death penalty bill.
"May numero naman kami. Maipaliwanag lang ng husto," Pacquiao said in an interview with Kara David on News To Go.
He added that the death penalty bill may cover drug lords. "Doon man lang sa mga drug lords. Kumbaga 'di 'yung mga user. Drug lord lang dahil wala namang mahirap na drug lord o manufacturer ng illegal drugs."
Pacquiao reiterated that the reimposition of death penalty would help in lowering the number of other crimes such as rape.
"Halimbawa nahulihan ka ng laboratory diyan, diyan 'yung mga droga na ang dami... Focus lang muna kami sa drugs kasi mababawasan 'yung kriminalidad na 'yan. 'Di ko sinasabing ma-i-i-stop pero mababawasan 'yung rape," Pacquiao said.
The senator authored three bills proposing to impose death penalty on certain heinous crimes involving dangerous drugs, and on the crimes of kidnapping and aggravated rape.
Pacquiao believes that the Philippines needs a death penalty law to address the problem of illegal drugs, which he considers as poison. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KG, GMA News

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Bittersweet stories as undocumented OFWs trickle in from Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH - Thirty-seven more undocumented Filipino workers who availed of the amnesty being offered by the Saudi Arabian government were sent home.

On board an Etihad Airways flight, the 37 left Jeddah Thursday morning (Saudi Arabia time) and were expected to arrive in Manila late Thursday night.

The 37 undocumented OFWs who availed of Saudi Arabia's amnesty before their departure for Manila.
The group was accompanied by Amelito Adel of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), which sponsored the plane tickets, to the airport.

"Salamat sa Diyos at wala namang naging problema sa mga nakauwi maliban dun sa isa na nawalan ng boarding pass na agad naman naming nagawan ng paraan," said Adel.

One of the Filipinos, Felomina Inecita, has been working illegally in Saudi Arabia for five years. She has fond memories of the employer that she will leave behind.

"Umiiyak siya nung pauwi na ako, hina-hug niya ako at sinabi niya sa akin na huwag daw ako mag-alala at padadalhan niya agad ako ng visa," said Inecita, a Cebuana who left her original employer for allegedly being abusive.

Meanwhile, despite being sent home, Jainal Abdila, a resident of Tagum City, couldn't bring himself to be happy as he will be leaving behind his wife who is working in Saudi Arabia legally.

For now, Abdila is banking on the promise of his employer that it would send him a visa so that he could return to Saudi Arabia and work legally.

"Sabi sa akin ng kumpanya ko ay papadalhan daw ako ng visa pero kung may makuha naman ako hanapbuhay sa atin ay doon na muna ako para makasama ko ang mga anak ko," he said.

Both Inecita and Abdila are thankful to the Philippine Consulate and OWWA for helping them in applying for the amnesty, which is being offered by Saudi Arabia for 90 days starting March 29. —Ronaldo Concha/KBK, GMA News

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Student groups march for ‘free tuition for all’


Students rally for better state funding for education. (INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO / MATIKAS SANTOS )

ILOILO CITY — Student and youth groups here are gearing up for a series of protest actions to call for “genuine” free education less than a month before the school year opens.

About 50 members of Anakbayan and the Kabataan Partylist and several parents displayed placards and banners in front of the Iloilo provincial capitol, on Wednesday, calling on state colleges and universities (SCUs) not to collect tuition and other fees in line with the “free tuition” policy of the Duterte administration.

“The policy should cover all those eligible to be enrolled and not a select few,” Bryan Bosque, spokesperson of Anakbayan in Panay, said.

Bosque said Anakbayan has decided to reject proposals to implement a socialized tuition fee program similar to that being implemented in the University of the Philippines system, wherein students for years have been charged for fees depending on their income.

“This scheme distorts the principle that education is a right for all. The socialized tuition scheme has only been used to generate income for SCUs when it is the responsibility of the government to provide funds for education,” Bosque said.

Congress has allotted P8.3 billion to cover the tuition of around 1.4 million students in 114 SCUs for school year 2017-2018.

But youth groups have condemned the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the free tuition policy.

They said the IRR would cover only tuition and students and their parents would still need to shell out for other fees such as laboratory and miscellaneous fees.

The free tuition policy will also prioritize existing beneficiaries of the student financial assistance programs.

Bosque’s group believes that it is within the means of the government to implement free education for all students regardless of income.

In Western Visayas, some 20 private schools have submitted their letters of intent to increase tuition to the Commission on Education
(CHEd).

Not all would be endorsed to the CHEd central office due to failure to comply with requirements and not meeting the February 28 submission deadline, said Rex Casiple CHEd 6 chief education program specialist.

He said the tuition increase would be based on the inflation rate of Western Visayas which has been pegged at 1.8 percent.

He declined to identify the schools that have applied for tuition increase because these have not been finalized and endorsed to their central office.  

 

-By:  Inquirer Visasyas

 

 

 

 

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Acting FBI Director Just Laid Out A Massive Trap For Trump; Trump Is Screwed No Matter What

Two days ago, Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for allegedly losing control of the bureau. But as anyone who’s paying attention knows Comey was fired because he was about to testify, via subpoena, in front of a grand jury. There’s also the inconvenient little fact (to the Trump administration) that Comey wasn’t going to stop investigating the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.

Now, the acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe is baiting Trump to fire him and it’s one of the best things he could do for the sake of our democracy.

“There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date. Simply put, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing.”

Mr McCabe also said he believed the agency had sufficient resources to continue its probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election. He said he was not aware of reports that Mr Comey had asked for more.

“If you are referring to the Russia investigation, I do. I believe we have the adequate resources to do it and I know that we have resourced that investigation adequately,” he said.

Source: Independent UK

On one hand, this is just McCabe doing his job, independently, as he should. He could have done this quietly, with no public announcement, but instead he chose to let the country know that Trump will not be controlling him.
Sure, Trump could fire him just like he fired Comey, and that may be the point. If Trump fires McCabe, there will be no plausible deniability. The entire country, except for the 25 percent of the country who believes that Trump can do no wrong, will know for sure that Trump is obstructing investigations.

The other possibility, and McCabe certainly knows this, is that Trump might not take the bait, which would allow the FBI to continue its investigation. It’s looking increasingly more likely that Trump will not come out of that unscathed.

Neither of these two possibilities are good for Trump. The third possibility, though, is that Trump could immediately replace McCabe with his own sycophantic nominee, which is likely, but might be difficult to get through a divided Senate, at least until the Russia investigation comes to some sort of conclusion.

Regardless of Trump, McCabe showed himself today to be shrewd and not easily manipulated. Republicans don’t like McCabe because his wife ran for Democratic state senator in Virginia. Still, his colleagues state that during McCabe’s 20 year career with the FBI, he’s been nothing but professional and impartial.

Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

New Century Times

  • Published in U.S.
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BPO office leasing deals decline in first quarter -- Colliers

 

LEASING DEALS involving business process outsourcing (BPO) companies slowed in the first quarter as new governments in the Philippines and the US put potential tenants in wait-and-see mode, according to property consultancy Colliers International.

 
In a briefing on Thursday, Colliers said BPOs comprised only 21% of total transactions from January to March, down from the 60% share in the same period last year. These deals accounted for a gross leasable area of 81,400 square meters (sqm) in Metro Manila during the first quarter, 35% lower than the take-up a year earlier.

The market was sustained by other traditional users of office space with a 42% share of transactions, followed by offshore gambling at 30% and government agencies at 9%. 

“First off you have political concerns, locally and overseas, and the transition period also from the Trump and Duterte presidencies that has forced some of the tenants to actually take away their position,” Colliers Senior Manager for Research Randwil Dinbo Macaranas said.

While there have been more of protectionism in the US, this has yet to translate to actual policies.

“It’s quite normal for a transitional government where you try to understand first if there will be policy changes. I think even in the US they have been more cautious, but now they’re seeing that they can proceed with business as usual so they’re going back to the table,” Mr. Macaranas said.

Longer processing of PEZA approvals likewise delayed BPO entry into the market, with 40 PEZA applications currently pending with the Office of the President. 

The result is additional pressure on rents, with PEZA-accredited buildings seen to gradually hike their rates following the tightening of the market. The emerging central business district (CBD) in the Manila Bay Area for instance has pushed rates up by 5% since the last quarter, while rates in the Makati CBD and Fort Bonifacio have increased by 1.6% and 3.3%, respectively.

Colliers said PEZA Director Charito B. Plaza is “personally following up on the approvals,” in order to fast-track the transactions.

The following quarters are not expected to sustain the first-quarter trend, as Colliers has already seen BPOs signing new deals.

“Some BPO firms are going back to the table right now, so we have new deals... Potentially there will be a rebound, that’s what we’re seeing,” Mr. Macaranas said.

Given the decline in transactions from BPOs, the consultancy advised developers to offer a balanced mix of product for various tenants to take advantage of the growth of non-BPOs.

“The Metro Manila market is characterized by high demand amid shifting tenancy profiles and increasing rents. Non-BPOs are emerging as a significant growth driver for a sector that has been BPO-reliant for years,” Colliers said.  

“We see moving forward that developers have to adjust to this to implement more flexible terms and more flexible work spaces to cater to different types of work tenants,” Mr. Macaranas added. 

Colliers said the increased demand from offshore gambling comes as no surprise, as the industry took up around 54,000 sqm during the quarter. In a statement earlier this year, Colliers noted that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. issued 35 gaming licenses in 2016, and is expected to add 25 more this year.

The issuing of licenses indicates potential demand, Colliers said, further adding that offshore gambling could reach 350,000 sqm in office space demand this year.

Other industries, including information technology companies, trading, construction, online shopping, and energy, among others, also have potential to offset any declines by the BPO industry, according to the company. -- Arra B. Francia, Business World

 

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