Cabinet Shakeup arroyo1
President Arroyo has revamped her Cabinet. Asked if the reshuffle would make a difference in government, she replied, “Change? Yes we can!”

Have you heard about the latest changes in the Arroyo government? Remonde is the new press secretary; Dureza is the new chief presidential legal adviser; Ebdane is the new PMS chief; Razon is the new peace adviser, and the DOJ has a new letterhead.

Here’s a piece of good news: The articulate and amiable Cerge Remonde is the new press secretary. The bad news? Weekly press conferences will now be conducted in Cebuano.

The good news: Jesus Dureza still has a job after his appointment as the new chief presidential legal adviser. The bad news? He’s been barred from leading the prayer in all government meetings, activities, and functions.

Heckler’s Pick 2

Movie: Bribe Wars
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Director: Siraul Gonzaless
Rating: PG-13 for Drug-related theme


Plot Summary:
Janice Santiago and Jovanne Zuño play two government agents assigned to fight drug dealers. The best friends’ solid partnership was put to a test when Jovanne fell in love with a wealthy, young drug pusher. While Janice refuses to meddle with her partner’s personal life, she cannot just let the romance jeopardize the government’s anti-narcotic operations. A moving account of friendship and perfidy, “Bribe Wars” also marks the screen debut of ‘80s radio host Johnny Frightnight as Jovanne’s future father-in-law who tolerates his son’s involvement in the illegal drug trade. Plus an Oscar-worthy performance by Major Marcelino Fernando Jose in his breakout role as a blind narcotic agent who “witnessed” a bribe attempt to silence Janice Santiago; With the special participation of Timm Yup who gives life to the character “Timbukling” – an Über-annoying poseur-buyer who dates suspected drug dealers, and collects Bratz dolls and Bratz accessories.
Memorable Quotes from the Film:
“Ano ako cheap?! Ayoko ng 3M Pizza! Gusto ko pizza from California Pizza Kitchen.”
“My son is not an addict. He is just a social user, kasi sosyal siya! Sosyal ang buong pamilya ko!”
“That Marcelino Fernando Jose is a liar! He cannot be a witness kasi blind siya and that is unconstitutional!”
“My brother is not a pig. My brother is a traitor. Sinisiraan niya kami dahil sa pera!”
“You want ecstasy? Go to Embassy!”

Apologies for the “pilit” na poster. I couldn’t find better photos of the film’s leads.


Emergency Landing
On its way to Lima via Los Angeles for the APEC Summit in Peru, President Arroyo’s plane made an emergency landing in Japan after her husband fell ill on board. ABS-CBN first reported the First Gentleman had suffered a heart attack. Other networks said he experienced stomach cramps; some reported he had chest and back pains. Whatever the real reason was, one thing was sure: for a moment, journalists thought the Philippines would have its second widow president.

President Arroyo’s plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Kansai airport in Osaka, Japan when First Gentleman Mike Arroyo fell ill. Sketchy reports say President Arroyo thought the First Gentleman was just joking inside the plane when he began clutching his chest. She reportedly told him, “Hmpf! Tigilan mo nga ako. Napanood ko na ‘yan eh. Ginawa na ‘yan nung lalaki sa wheelchair.”

President Arroyo left her husband in Japan to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Lima, Peru. After all, he is now “stable and okay;” the Philippine economy is not.

Some sources say the First Gentleman will soon fly back to Manila via a Japanese charter plane. This travel arrangement will definitely push through… unless Mikey Arroyo insists on a charter change.

Malacañang is appealing for prayers for the quick recovery of the First Gentleman. Press Secretary Jess Dureza offered to lead the prayer but was politely declined.

Late last night, ABS-CBN News online posted a screaming headline saying the First Gentleman had suffered a heart attack. It turned out to be inaccurate though. But just the same, ABS-CBN never felt so good writing that incorrect news item.

A palace statement says First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is now out of danger. Then, the country is still in danger.

President Arroyo’s plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Kansai airport in Osaka when First Gentleman Mike Arroyo fell ill. Asked if he knew where Osaka was, Sen. Lito Lapid said, “Of course! Ano ako tanga? May branches ‘yan sa Cubao, Baclaran, Guadalupe at Quiapo. D’yan ako nagpapacheck-up ng mata!”

In Other News
Sen. Loren Legarda attended the SRO premiere of Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera’s movie One True Love at SM Megamall earlier in the week. The two young stars met Loren in person for the first time. When Marian said, “Hi ma’am, I am Marian,” she replied, “Hi Marian. I am Senator Loren.” When Dingdong said, “Hi Senator, I am Dingdong,” she replied, “Hi Dingdong. I am single.”

So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.
~AJ Reb Materi


Postscript to a Senate Coup
Did you hear about US President-elect Barack Obama’s pre-dawn call to President Arroyo last Tuesday? They say Malacañang is so proud of that one call… to which Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said, “That’s nothing! Before dawn last Tuesday, I received 13 calls.”

As of press time Thursday, both the Senate majority and minority were claiming Sen. Lito Lapid, the confused chairman of the games and amusements committee as their own – prompting the Kapampangan action star to complain, “Ewan ko nga ba sa mga ‘yan. Ang gulu-gulo at ang ingay-ingay sa session hall. Kulang na nga ako sa tulog eh.”

Sen. Francis Escudero wants the chairmanship of the powerful Blue Ribbon committee. Sen. Richard Gordon also wants the Blue Ribbon. Other senators want Alan Peter Cayetano to keep the Blue Ribbon. Everyone is desperate for the Blue Ribbon… except perhaps for Lito Lapid whose only craving is a Red Ribbon.

A Worried JDV
Reports say Cong. Jose De Venecia is worried about the upcoming new appointments in the Supreme Court. Two days ago, he got worried when Juan Ponce Enrile was installed Senate president. He is also worried Congress might totally junk the impeachment complaint filed by his son against President Arroyo. Kawawa naman ‘tong taong ‘to. Ayaw tigilan ng konsensya. Nakakatulog pa kaya siya?

Pulse Asia Survey
In the latest survey conducted by Pulse Asia Inc, 58 percent of Filipinos said they were “losers” or “worse now” compared to last year. Sen. Manuel Villar and Cong. Jose De Venecia share the same sentiment.

Somali Pirates I
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the number of abducted Filipino seafarers being held hostage in waters off Somalia rose to 134 after another group of Somali pirates seized a merchant vessel with seven Filipinos on board. President Arroyo is calling on all Filipinos to pray for the safety of the hostages. She ordered Press Secretary Jesus Dureza to lead the prayer.

Somali Pirates II
Somali pirates hijacked Saudi oil super-tanker Sirius Star with 19 Filipinos on board. Sketchy reports say the Pinoy hostages were allowed to use mobile phones. Those who were able to call home assured their loved ones they are being treated humanely, with some pirates even promising them clothes, food, and a chance to meet Johnny Depp.

If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.
~Thomas Szasz


null GMA in the US

President Arroyo signed a directive allowing Vice President Noli de Castro to assume the functions of the Office of the President during her 10-day trip to the United States. But the vice president explained he’d be able to act as president only for four days because the first six days, he’d spend reading and understanding the directive.

null While in the United States, President Arroyo is reportedly monitoring the typhoon in the country… something that’s almost impossible considering that even PAGASA- which is right there in QC couldn’t even monitor the storm!

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza says although President Arroyo is “concerned” about the weather situation in the Philippines, she would never cut short her US trip. In fact, she’s more concerned about Noli De Castro as acting president.

null Postscript to an Abduction

Police say the 5 million peso-ransom paid to the Abu Sayyaf group came from the Oreña family… which is actually good news because if it came from the Lopezes, your June 2008 Meralco billing might just give you a headache.

Authorities are investigating the chartered Seair flight which reportedly delivered two mysterious duffel bags at the Jolo airport the day Ces Drilon et al. were released. Police are checking on reports that one bag contained cash and the other… make-up kit.

Ces Drilon, her cameraman and a Mindanao university professor walked for almost six hours along with their abductors the night they were released. Actually, the kidnappers had an option to let them ride a jeep – if not for the high cost of gas.

Question: How would you know if the armed men who took you hostage are members of the Abu Sayyaf Group?
Answer: They do not address their leader as “boss” or “sir.” They call him “mayor.”

In Entertainment…

YES! Magazine has released its own list of the 100 Most Beautiful People (inspired by PEOPLE magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People). Under the “porcelain” category (recognized for their great skin), there’s Lucy Torres, Bea Alonzo, Lorna Tolentino, and Gretchen Barretto among others. And then there’s Vicki Zubiri, Tingting Cojuangco, Vicky Belo and Imelda Cojuangco under “plastics” category.

null Quotable Quote

“That cannot be. We own the bank!”
Gretchen Barretto when her credit card was declined at Dusit Hotel after having dinner with friends Ruffa Gutierrez and Pops Fernandez, and sister Marjorie Barretto. The controversial actress has since denied ever making that statement.

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