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Ex-general in AFP retirement fund scam gets 123 years - Inquirer.net

Ex-general in AFP retirement fund scam gets 123 years - Inquirer.net.....»»

Category: newsSource: googlenews googlenewsApr 16th, 2018

Ramiscal gets another 123 years over AFP retirement fund land scam

    The Sandiganbayan has again convicted retired brigadier general Jose Ramiscal Jr. for anomalies hounding the Armed Forces of the Philippines Retirement and Separation Benefit System's land purchases in the late 1990s. The court's Seventh Division has handed down prison terms of 123 to 216 years on Ramiscal, former president of the now-defunct military retirement fund, and lawyer Nilo Flaviano for 12 counts each of graft and falsification. The case arose from the misdeclaration of the selling price of 12 lots in General Santos City in 1997, cheating the government of P3.506 million in capital gains and documentary stamp taxes. Although RSBS bought the 999-...Keep on reading: Ramiscal gets another 123 years over AFP retirement fund land scam.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Lacson bares new kickback scheme using ‘parked pork’

Some legislators have found a new way to earn commissions or kickbacks from congressional pork after a P10-billion pork barrel scam was exposed several years ago, according to Sen. Ping Lacson.   This involves "parking" large amounts of pork in the allotments for certain "well-connected" lawmakers who then offer the extra money to districts that are so not well-funded, on condition that the legislator making the offer chooses the contractor for their projects, Lacson told Inquirer.net on Friday.   "That's the new scheme," he said.   "Big amounts of pork are parked in a legislative district of a well-connected congressman. Then he/she offers to share p...Keep on reading: Lacson bares new kickback scheme using ‘parked pork’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 15th, 2018

2018-19 NBA.com Rookie Survey

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com It will be difficult for this year's rookie class to live up to the standard set by the class of 2017. Last season, we saw the debuts of Donovan Mitchell, Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum, future All-Stars who not only put up good numbers in the regular season, but also impacted in the playoffs as well. De'Aaron Fox averaged more points and assists than 2016-17 Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and didn't even make Second Team All-Rookie last season. This year's class, at least according to the class itself, has the potential to be just as deep. In the annual Rookie Survey, 20 different players were tabbed as the answer for one -- or both -- of the first two questions: "Who will be the Rookie of the Year" and "Which rookie will have the best career." Big men were taken with five of the first seven picks in the Draft, but a lot of eyes will be turned toward Atlanta, where 6-foot-2 guard Trae Young will hope to make Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk look smart for trading the No. 3 pick (Luka Doncic), picking up an extra pick, and selecting Young at No. 5. For now, Young has the support of his fellow rookies, who named the 19-year-old former Oklahoma star as the class' best shooter and best playmaker. For the 10th time in the last 12 years, NBA.com sat down with the rookie class at the annual Rookie Photo Shoot at the New York Knicks' practice facility. This year's group (of 36) answered seven questions about their class, as well as a few about the current player they most admire and what they're expecting as they make the jump to the NBA. NOTE: Players were asked not to vote for themselves, college teammates or NBA teammates. (Some still did, and those votes were discounted.) * * * Who will be the 2018-19 Kia Rookie of the Year? 1. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix -- 18%     Collin Sexton, Cleveland -- 18% 3. Luka Doncic, Dallas -- 9%     Kevin Knox, New York -- 9% 5. Mohamed Bamba, Orlando -- 6%     Devonte' Graham, Charlotte -- 6%     Michael Porter Jr., Denver -- 6%     Trae Young, Atlanta -- 6% Others receiving votes: Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento; Troy Brown Jr., Washington; Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago; Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City; Harry Giles, Sacramento; Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis; Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Last year: Dennis Smith Jr. – 26% Worth noting: In the first nine years of this survey, at least one player got at least 24 percent of the vote. The only time the rookies got this right was in 2007 (the first year of the survey), when Kevin Durant received 54 percent of the vote. Which rookie will have the best career? 1. Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago -- 13% 2. Kevin Knox, New York -- 10%     Jerome Robinson, LA Clippers -- 10% 3. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix -- 7%     Mohamed Bamba, Orlando -- 7%     Mikal Bridges, Phoenix -- 7%     Collin Sexton, Cleveland -- 7%     Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio -- 7% Others receiving votes: Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento; Miles Bridges, Charlotte; Troy Brown Jr., Washington; Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City; Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LA Clippers; Devonte' Graham, Charlotte; Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis; Michael Porter Jr., Denver; Trae Young, Atlanta Last year: Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum -- 18% Worth noting: This is the fifth straight year that a Duke guy has earned the most votes on this question, with Carter joining Jabari Parker (2014), Jahlil Okafor (2015), Brandon Ingram (2016) and Tatum. Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft? 1. Keita Bates-Diop (48), Minnesota -- 13% 2. Michael Porter Jr. (14), Denver -- 10%     Lonnie Walker IV (18), San Antonio -- 10% 4. Jalen Brunson (33), Dallas -- 6%     Gary Trent Jr. (37), Portland -- 6% Others receiving votes: Grayson Allen (21), Utah; Mohamed Bamba (6), Orlando; Miles Bridges (12), Charlotte; Bruce Brown (42), Detroit; Jevon Carter (32), Memphis; Hamidou Diallo (45), Oklahoma City; Donte DiVincenzo (17), Milwaukee; Luka Doncic (3), Dallas; Jacob Evans (28), Golden State; Devonte' Graham (34), Charlotte; De'Anthony Melton (46), Houston; Svi Mykhailiuk (47), L.A. Lakers; Jerome Robinson (13), LA Clippers; Mitchell Robinson (36), New York; Mo Wagner (25), L.A. Lakers; Robert Williams III (27), Boston; Trae Young (5), Atlanta Last year: Donovan Mitchell -- 19% Worth noting: This question got the biggest variety of answers, and we'll see if Bates-Diop gets a chance to crack Tom Thibodeau's typically-short rotation in Minnesota. Last year's rookies certainly got this one right. Which rookie is the most athletic? 1. Zhaire Smith, Philadelphia -- 24% 2. Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City -- 15%     Josh Okogie, Minnesota -- 15%     Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio -- 15% 5. Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento -- 6%     Miles Bridges, Charlotte -- 6% Others receiving votes: DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix; Mikal Bridges, Phoenix; Bruce Brown, Detroit; Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee; Michael Porter Jr., Denver; Collin Sexton, Cleveland; Robert Williams III, Boston Last year: Dennis Smith Jr. -- 44% Worth noting: We'll have to wait to see just how athletic Smith really is. He just had foot surgery to repair a Jones fracture, the same injury that forced Simmons to miss the season after being drafted. Which rookie is the best shooter? 1. Trae Young, Atlanta -- 47% 2. Kevin Huerter, Atlanta -- 13%     Svi Mykhailiuk, L.A. Lakers -- 13% 4. Gary Trent Jr., Portland -- 9% 5. Grayson Allen, Utah -- 6%     Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee -- 6% Others receiving votes: Aaron Holiday, Indiana; Kevin Knox, New York Last year: Luke Kennard -- 49% Worth noting: As usual, this question garnered the closest thing to a consensus. In fact, Young received more votes on this question (15) than any other player received on the first seven questions total. Which rookie is the best defender? 1. Jevon Carter, Memphis -- 29% 2. Mohamed Bamba, Orlando -- 14% 3. Josh Okogie, Minnesota -- 11% 4. Mikal Bridges, Phoenix -- 9% 5. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis -- 6%     Collin Sexton, Cleveland -- 6% Others receiving votes: DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix; Bruce Brown, Detroit; Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago; Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City; Melvin Frazier Jr., Orlando; Mitchell Robinson, New York; Omari Spellman, Atlanta; Gary Trent Jr., Portland; Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Last year: Josh Jackson -- 26% Worth noting: Carter is another rookie who just had surgery. But it was to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and he's such a good defender that his fellow rookies gave him twice as many votes as any other player despite his absence at the Rookie Photo Shoot. Which rookie is the best playmaker? 1. Trae Young, Atlanta -- 35% 2. Jalen Brunson, Dallas -- 15% 3. Luka Doncic, Dallas -- 9%     Shai Gilgeous-Alexander -- 9%     Collin Sexton, Cleveland -- 9% 6. Troy Brown Jr., Washington -- 6%     Aaron Holiday, Indiana -- 6% Others receiving votes: Devonte' Graham, Charlotte; De'Anthony Melton, Houston; Michael Porter Jr., Denver; Jerome Robinson, LA Clippers Last year: Lonzo Ball -- 72% Worth noting: Young is the first player in the 10 years of the Rookie Survey to get the most votes in both the "Best shooter" and "Best playmaker" questions. He's also one of five rookies – Diallo, Porter, Sexton and Walker are the others – to receive votes on five of the first seven questions this year. Sexton was the only one to receive more than one vote on at least four questions. What will be the biggest adjustment for you, playing in the NBA? 1. Speed or pace of the game -- 31% 2. Schedule/Length of season -- 24% 3. Physicality (size and strength of opponents) -- 19% 4. Travel -- 10% 5. Lifestyle/Time management -- 8% Also receiving votes: Conditioning, Playing NBA defense, Not having the ball as much Last year: Physicality (size and strength of opponents) -- 37% Worth noting: The top four answers on this question have been pretty consistent over the last few years. What is the most important skill you need to develop? 1. Ball-handling -- 19%     Shooting -- 19% 3. Defense -- 14% 4. Playmaking/Reading the defense -- 11% 5. Everything -- 8% 6. Motor/Work ethic -- 6%     Strength -- 6%     Time management -- 6% Also receiving votes: Basketball IQ, Communication, Confidence, Leadership Last year: N/A Worth noting: Good news for coaches: "Defense" got five times as many votes as it did last year. Who is your favorite player in the league? 1. LeBron James, L.A. Lakers -- 29% 2. Stephen Curry, Golden State -- 9%     Kevin Durant, Golden State -- 9% 4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee -- 6%     Chris Paul, Houston -- 6%     Dwyane Wade -- 6%     Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City -- 6% Others receiving votes: Kobe Bryant; DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State; Anthony Davis, New Orleans; Paul George, Oklahoma City; James Harden, Houston; Jrue & Justin Holiday, New Orleans/Chicago; Kyrie Irving, Boston; Jusuf Nurkic, Portland; John Wall, Washington; Nick Young, Last year: LeBron James -- 31% Worth noting: James has been on a different team each time he has led this category, while Bryant is still getting votes two years after his retirement. John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2018

Malaysia repeals controversial fake news law

Malaysia's parliament repealed a controversial law on Thursday that punished spreading "fake news" with up to six years in jail and which critics said was aimed at stifling dissent. The legislation was pushed through in April by the former, scandal-tainted regime in the run-up to a hotly contested general election, sparking a storm of anger. Political opponents said the law was a crude tool aimed at silencing criticism of the then government and its leader Najib Razak, particularly over the corruption mega-scandal surrounding sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. As well as hefty jail terms, the legislation punished the dissemination of what authorities deemed fake news with a fine of up ...Keep on reading: Malaysia repeals controversial fake news law.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 16th, 2018

Ex-energy chief Petilla, mom off the hook in fertilizer fund scam cases

The Sandiganbayan 4th Division has dismissed the graft cases of former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla and his mother, Palo, Leyte Mayor Remedios Petilla on the ground that it took the Office of the Ombudsman 3 years to file the cases. Source link link: Ex-energy chief Petilla, mom off the hook in fertilizer fund scam cases.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsAug 10th, 2018

Napoles must be heard on government fund scams – OSG

While alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles has been removed from the Department of Justice witness protection program, she still deserves to be heard if she has evidence against other politicians involved in government fund scams, the Office of the Solicitor General said......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJun 2nd, 2018

LeBron James reigns supreme over Eastern Conference yet again

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com BOSTON – For nearly a decade, the general managers of the NBA’s Eastern Conference have had, essentially, one job: Arm, equip and overhaul their teams specifically to get past LeBron James and whatever squad with which he happened to be rolling. They have failed. Miserably and spectacularly. And that’s even spotting them the first couple of summers to get their bearings after the whole “Super Team” genesis in Miami back in 2010-11. James’ domination of the conference continued Sunday (Monday, PHL time) when he and the Cleveland Cavaliers persevered in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Clawing back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in the series, and playing the final seven quarters without their second All-Star, forward Kevin Love (concussion protocol), the Cavaliers hung around in an ugly game. They took advantage of a Boston team on training wheels – 7-of-39 on three-pointers, oh my! – and snagged a ticket to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals. For James, it’s eight in a row and nine overall, these Cleveland four added to the four he reached with the Heat from 2011-14. It’s a run unprecedented since Bill Russell’s Celtics were winning 11 championships in 13 years, a stranglehold on half of all Finals opportunities this decade. He has a 6-2 record in Game 7 situations, with nothing but triumphs after dropping his first two. “I mean, the bigger the stage, the bigger the player, and he's been doing it for us since we've been here,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “The great quote from the great [Clippers coach] Doc Rivers is, ‘You always want to go into the Game 7 with the best player,’ and we have the best player on our team going into a Game 7. I like our chances. And he delivered again.” Next year at this point, maybe by league proxy, James will have one hand tied behind his back. That’s the next logical step in handicapping him against the field. He has made it to The Finals without his most talented sidekicks. He has taken or dragged along an ever-changing cast of teammates. This time, he did with arguably the Cavaliers’ barest cupboard since first dipping their collective toes in The Finals water back in 2007. Two All-Star point guards, Kyrie Irving (with whom James won a ring in 2016) and Isaiah Thomas (from whom James won his freedom after five awkward weeks), already were long gone when Love went down. And now he was facing elimination with a shaky crew and a huge, inflated question mark hovering over his and Cleveland’s offseason, whenever it comes. Then again, the Celtics were facing him. Like the Raptors, the Pacers, the Bulls, the Hawks and several others before them, Boston well understood the player through whom its playoff ambitions had to go. “I think we’ve played now until May 25th and May 27th the last two years and we started on September 25th. That’s every day,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said about his team’s 2017 and 2018 tangles with Cleveland in the East finals. “Every day you’re totally focused on this, and he’s gone past that eight straight times. “It’s ridiculous. And he does it at this level and with the pressure, with the scrutiny – doesn’t matter.” Plenty of the foes chasing James when his Finals streak began have headed into retirement ringless and unfulfilled. Others were in high school or grade school. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, for instance, was 13 years old when James began his streak against Dallas in 2011. There are so many others like Horford, with tire tracks on their backs, no mercy coming their way from James and very little hope on the horizon. At age 33, James played all 82 games in the regular season for the first time in his 15-year career. He made it an even 100 with Sunday’s (Monday, PHL time) appearance and he did it with aplomb, staying on the floor for all 48 minutes. “Our goal going into the series was to make him exert as much energy as humanly possible, and try to be as good as we can on everybody else,” Stevens said. “For the most part, I thought we were pretty good at that. Multiple games now in TD Garden, held them under 100, three games in the 80s – but he still scored 35. It’s a joke.” James’ stats line – 35 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists – was enough this time because he got a reasonable amount of help. Three other Cavaliers scored in double figures, including Jeff Green, the journeyman forward who started in Love’s spot. Being one of James’ teammates requires a thick skin for when things don’t go well. It also carries a sense of obligation, to occasionally come through the way Green did in Game 7 (19 points, eight rebounds) given the debt they all owe their resident superstar. “You want to be there for him,” Green said. “You want to be in the trenches, in the battle, helping him achieve the ultimate goal. For me, it’s a no-brainer to go out there and give it all I have.” Green was a part of James’ most tumultuous campaign yet, with so many twists and turns – the shotgun Irving trade, Thomas’ bad fit, a rash of injuries, a desperate reset at the trade deadline and a bumpy learning curve once the new guys arrived – that James and Lue casually referred to it as “five seasons” crammed into one. “It's now six seasons in one,” James said after midnight. “I guess this is the last chapter for our team in this season. It's been a whirlwind. I mean, it's been [a rollercoaster]. It's been good, it's been bad, it's been roses. There have been thorns in the roses. There's been everything that you can ask for.” For eight years, a conference full of rivals has targeted one player, who happens to be the league’s best, the first among alleged equals with the Heat and clearly the leader when he headed back home to Ohio. In that time, the players have worked, the coaches have schemed and the GMs have plotted. No one has found the answer. None have stopped him. Fact is, nobody’s really laid a glove on him. It’s his conference, seemingly for as long as he wants it. “It's been a satisfaction in the fact that I like to be successful,” James said. “But more importantly, just the work that I put into it. I mean, it's an every-single-day work ethic that I have while I'm playing this game, while I have the ability to play this game at this level. I love the competition. “I think about the teams that I've played over this run and the players that I've played over this run, slightly. But more importantly, me just being healthy. I've been healthy throughout this run. I put a lot of work into my body, into my craft. Being available to my teammates and being available to my franchise, the two franchises I've been with, and throughout this run is what's been more important to me than anything. Always being available.” It was late. James was weary. Another Game 7 in less than 24 hours would determine his and the Cavaliers’ next playoff challenge. “I'll be available for at least four more games,” he said. “And we'll see what happens.” Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 28th, 2018

Sandiganbayan acquits Rosario Uriarte of plunder in PCSO intel fund scam case

MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan acquitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office general manager Rosario Uriarte of plunder in the P366-million  PCSO intelligence fund scam  case. Uriarte was the last accused in the plunder case. The Sandiganbayan earlier acquitted 6 of Uriarte's co-accused from 2015 to 2017, while ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 17th, 2018

GSIS fails to reach deal with Sofitel

Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) will hale to court next week the firm that owns Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila as the two parties reached a standoff on at least P101.6 million in unpaid rentals for two lots that the hotel operator was allegedly illegally occupying.   GSIS president and general manager Jesus Clint O. Aranas told the Inquirer on Friday that as the notice to vacate issued to Philippine Plaza Holdings Inc. (PPHI) on April 13 would lapse on May 14, the state-run pension fund already "prepared all the necessary pleadings" to be filed before the Pasay City court by Tuesday.   Isagani L. Cruz Jr., GSIS chief legal counsel, told the Inquirer that...Keep on reading: GSIS fails to reach deal with Sofitel.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 12th, 2018

Fertilizer fund scam whistleblower loses witness protection

    Whistleblower Jose Barredo Jr., the self-confessed "runner" in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam in 2004, has lost his witness protection from the government, the Inquirer has learned.   Unlike other high-profile state witnesses who are accompanied by armed escorts whenever they attend hearings at the Sandiganbayan, Barredo only had Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Director Sandra Cam for company on Tuesday.   Barredo took the stand as a state witness in the P999,000 fertilizer fund scam case against Mayor Mariano Malones of Maasin, Iloilo, before the antigraft court's Seventh Division.   Although he is still immune from corru...Keep on reading: Fertilizer fund scam whistleblower loses witness protection.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 19th, 2018

WHAT WENT BEFORE: The AFP-RSBS fund scam

In 1999, the Senate blue ribbon committee recommended to government prosecutors to file charges against Brig. Gen. Jose Ramiscal Jr., former president of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS), for granting special favors to private investors, as a "willing patsy" for Gen. Lisandro Abadia, former AFP chief of staff, to enable them to use RSBS funds. The AFP-RSBS was established in 1976 as a pension fund for soldiers. It was funded from soldiers' contributions. RSBS invested heavily in real estate, making itself vulnerable to the 1997 financial crisis. In 1998, RSBS losses called the attention of the Senate blue ribbon committee, ...Keep on reading: WHAT WENT BEFORE: The AFP-RSBS fund scam.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 17th, 2018

Former AFP retirement fund head, lawyer convicted of graft, falsification

By Minde Nyl R. Dela Cruz THE Sandiganbayan has found a former retirement fund official and a lawyer guilty of graft and falsification over the 1997 sale of 12 lot parcels in General Santos City, Cotabato. In a 55-page decision promulgated last Friday, April 13, the graft court’s 7th Division sentenced retired brigadier-general Jose S. […] The post Former AFP retirement fund head, lawyer convicted of graft, falsification appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsApr 15th, 2018

House panel begins probe on dubious right of way claims in GenSan

A House of Representatives panel kicked off on Tuesday its investigation on the alleged P8.7-billion road right of way (RROW) scam in General Santos City.   The House committee on good government and accountability started to tackle House Resolution No. 1551 filed by South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. to investigate the alleged payments by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) of RROW claimants in General Santos City using "spurious" or fabricated land titles during the time of former President Benigno S. Aquino III.   "The magnitude of the public fund allegedly misused and the extent of the government offices and agencies that might be involved, no ...Keep on reading: House panel begins probe on dubious right of way claims in GenSan.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 30th, 2018

Master, matchmaker, mentor, caring friend

  We first met Jos Reyes Moreno Jr.---Pitoy to all---in 1988, in his home office. His loyal assistant, Mary Jane Marcelo, served Moreno's signature buko salad, a recipe that remains tightly guarded even after his death. When the plates and glasses were cleared, he entered and started the interview.   Thirty years ago, there was a big hoopla over his fashion show at Manila Hotel. It was a fund-raising event for a cause close to his heart, the Philippine General Hospital children's ward.   Back then, Moreno's name was synonymous with resplendent beadwork, embroidery and handpainting, and with the high and mighty. He had dressed up Philippine presidents fro...Keep on reading: Master, matchmaker, mentor, caring friend.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

Popovich s odd alliance with red state fans

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com SAN ANTONIO -- About 400 people gathered at the Oak Hills Country Club in June 2016 and paid $500 to $250,000 to sip iced tea and nibble hors d’oeuvres next to a golf course designed by noted architect AW Tillinghast, who built many. One is owned by the man who was feted at this political fundraiser, Donald J. Trump. The presidential campaign was in full blast and saltier than the crackers on the cheese plate being passed around. Fresh off the plane, Trump thanked the Republicans for the big ‘ole Texas welcome, witnesses say, before launching a blistering attack on the usual targets: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, illegal immigration. Then, near the end of his 30-minute lunchtime appearance, in an effort to connect with the locals, he pivoted and mentioned perhaps the most famous man in town: Gregg Popovich. Witnesses say Trump called Popovich “a great coach” and said “he does a good job” and then there was some fidgeting in the room when the soon-to-be polarizing leader of the free world said this: “I don’t know if the coach is on my side.” Confirmation came emphatically, right after Trump won a divisive election that November. The coach of the Spurs lit into the President over the next several months with a handful of rants that had the stealth of Kawhi Leonard ambushing a timid ball-handler. In no particular order, here were Pop’s Greatest Hits, all issued through the media and without prompting or provocation: “The disgusting tenure and tone and all the comments … have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic. I live in a country where half the people ignored that to elect someone.” And: “He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting.” And: “The man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks he can only become large by belittling others.” And: “We have a pathological liar in the White House ... You can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.” Popovich didn’t stop there with a President whose sensitivity and intelligence he questioned and accused of being guilty of “gratuitous fear-mongering.” When he took Trump to task for criticizing NFL players who knelt during the National Anthem and defended their rights to do so, Popovich also suspected a measure of the public outrage was racially motivated. “Our country is an embarrassment to the world,” he said. A 68-year-old wealthy white man, therefore, became a sports voice with weight in the political and social justice arena, where the NBA league office has greenlighted players and coaches to speak up. Popovich has done so with clarity and insight to gain national applause in certain corners. He wasn’t the first or the last in sports to verbally spank the president or tackle right-leaning sensitivities, yet he’s certainly the most unique in one respect. As a graduate of the Air Force Academy who works in a military town, and a five-time NBA champion coach who might symbolize the city more than The Alamo, Popovich has long been elevated to icon status, perhaps permanently so, in San Antonio, where folks are mad about the Spurs. Still, this is mostly conservative Texas, one of the most Republican of states based on the state legislature and the congressional delegation, a state that voted Republican in 10 straight presidential elections and saw 52.6 percent of voters punch for Trump. While voters in San Antonio-proper lean liberal, the surrounding areas swing solidly the opposite. Julianna Holt, the Spurs CEO and Popovich’s boss since March after assuming the position held for 20 years by her husband Peter, supported various Republican presidential candidates before eventually donating $5,400 to Trump’s campaign and $250,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, according to Federal Election Commission records. Popovich is therefore a blue blood in a red state and the contrast makes for strange if not uncomfortable alliance between a beloved coach and a group of conflicted Spurs worshippers. His views have in fact shattered the sacrilege by generating hostility from a segment of the basketball flock, something no coach with his credentials would ever feel. The constant winning and acts of charity do not insulate him from those who would prefer Popovich stuff a sweat sock in his bullhorn. Party lines not Popovich's focus “While we all believe Gregg Popovich has the right to his opinions, where was Popovich when Hillary called half of us a 'basket of deplorables?’Many were Spurs fans who are now tired of being insulted ... many of us will never pay to see a Spurs game again.” -- Donna Howington  “The money I will save this year not attending Spurs games should buy me a nice set of golf clubs. Thanks Pop!” -- Jake Ingorgia  “I will never watch them again until Popovich is gone. He is just like all the other leftist celebrities.” -- Lee Harbach, Bulverde They arrive on cue, most from the dusty towns that orbit around San Antonio, some from the city itself. Popovich has unloaded three times this year on Trump, once after the election, once at the start of training camp and most recently by cold-calling Dave Zirin, a friend and liberal writer from The Nation, a progressive magazine. And each time, the letters land in the office of Ricardo Pimentel, the editor who coordinates the comments section of the Express-News, San Antonio’s newspaper of record. “It’s a cycle,” says Pimental, with a sigh. “He speaks out. People who disagree with him send us letters to the editor, then people who object to their disagreement write us letters to the editor defending Pop. Then they respond to one another.” The initial reaction, he said, is always stacked against Popovich and many identify themselves as Spurs fans ripping up their tickets or promising to never attend or watch games again. Even if those who made threats actually carried them out, the change in the Spurs’ home attendance is a blip, from 99.2 percent capacity last season to 98.6 so far this season. Popovich, of course, has been big for business since his first full season as coach in 1997-98. Besides the titles, the Spurs have reached the playoffs every season and won 50 games every season (except for the lockout-shortened 50-game 1998-99 campaign, when they won 37). In short, Popovich's Spurs have a track record beyond reproach in the NBA. If the 2017-18 Spurs stay on pace, it’ll be 20 straight winning seasons for Popovich, one more than Phil Jackson for the all-time NBA record. He hasn’t been this politically vocal until lately, due to Trump, yet was always politically aware, say those who know him. Well-versed through his readings and observations, Popovich welcomes discussion with acquaintences about classism, leadership, government and preferably over a bottle of wine. His two-decades exposure to young black men from humble beginnings raised his awareness and sensitivities about race and bias. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr once played for the Spurs and lately has echoed many of the same thoughts as Popovich. But Kerr coaches in the Bay Area, where folks nod their heads in agreement. Kerr said he can only imagine the flak Popovich catches in Texas. “Here’s this iconic coach who stands for everything that’s right and for honor and integrity, he served in the military, you see him stand at attention for the American flag — man, Pop loves his country,” Kerr said. “And in the middle of Texas for him to be questioning the Republican President, some of the people down there are probably confused. Like, 'I don’t get it, we love this guy but he’s on the other side from us.' “What I love about Pop is that it’s not about party, not about politics. It’s about integrity and character and that’s what people need to pay attention to. It’s not about some policy, not about how much we pay in taxes. If we can just get back to the point where character matters, then we’ll be in better shape. The problem is, it’s clear character has gone down the tubes in many leadership positions in our country. That’s what Pop is calling out.” True enough, Popovich never publicly attached himself to a political party; to suggest he is against Republicans might be as misleading as believing Colin Kaepernick is against the military. When he played for Popovich, Kerr couldn’t recall a time when the coach was this annoyed by the country’s leadership. “The country was in a better place in terms of a relatively peaceful time back then,” Kerr said. “Yes, 9-11 happened and the whole world changed. But we didn’t have quite the same partisan nature, not only in politics but the national conversation. And so people could just admire Pop for who he was and people might not have been aware of his political leanings because they didn’t ask. When we won and went to the White House, Pop and the team went when Bush was in office. We went in ’99 when President Clinton was there. Republican, Democrat, didn’t matter. The times are so different now.” Kerr laughed quickly when asked about the semi-serious groundswell of social media support for a Kerr-Popovich ticket in 2020. Kerr said he hopes to be on his fifth NBA title as a coach then, but turned semi-serious about Popovich. “Our country needs somebody like Pop who can actually lead and unite from a position of authority and credibility,” Kerr said. “This guy served in the military, grew up in a melting pot, understands leadership. More than anything, he’ll cut through all the [expletive].” Since going nuclear on Trump, Popovich declined invites from the national political shows (and wouldn’t comment for this story). That proves what friends have maintained all along: Popovich doesn’t want to be anyone’s political hero or pundit. He’d rather speak when the moment calls for it, then be left alone. That last part is tricky, though. Empathy often marks Popovich's way “Can you imagine being Republican on the Spurs? Would you feel welcome? He’s like Berkeley -- for free speech unless you disagree with him. Shut up and coach, Gregg.” -- Shannon Deason  “When it comes to coaching basketball or drinking wine, Popovich has experience. When it comes to our country, his opinion is no better than anyone else’s." -- Harold Siemens, Seguin  “Open letter to the NBA referee who ejected Pop from the Warriors-Spurs game: Don’t feel bad about what Gregg Popovich called you. He called the POTUS worse and got away with it.” -- Larry Peabody Once the wheels touched down, the pilot jokingly announced over the loudspeaker: “Welcome to Gregg Popovich International Airport,” and one particular passenger noticed that nobody on the plane thought it was strange. Sean Elliott always knew how deeply rooted Popovich is with San Antonio. Aside from the famous Spanish missions and the River Walk, the city is known for the only professional sports team in town. And while George Gervin, David Robinson and Tim Duncan have come and gone, the one lingering reminder is a sometimes gruff and scruffy coach, maybe the NBA’s best ever. “He’s one of the pillars of the community,” said Elliott, twice an All-Star with the Spurs. “He’s looked at with great admiration. He is as respected as anyone who has ever lived in or been part of the city. It’s not just because he’s a basketball coach. Pop has been a big part of the community, huge contributor to charitable functions, good leader.” Elliott was a Spurs rookie in 1989 when their relationship began and he saw the start of Popovich’s reach in the region. Popovich then was an assistant coach under Larry Brown and just planting his feet in the NBA. That summer, Elliott and Popovich piled into a van with the team's "Coyote" mascot and conducted basketball clinics in San Marcos, Corpus Christi, Laredo and similar places. They were signing autographs in malls and running kids through drills in 100 degree heat, never hearing a complaint from the coach. Elliott said folks in those small conservative towns loved him. “If you sit and hear him talk about something, you tend to agree with him,” Elliott said. “He’ll put it in a logical way and he’s very thoughtful, well read and super intelligent, maybe the most intelligent person I’ve ever known.” The owner of the Spurs then was Red McCombs, a homespun Texan who made his fortune in car dealerships and media companies. McCombs didn’t give Popovich the coaching job after firing Brown, telling Popovich “you’ve got a chance to be a great coach” if he got more experience, which he did, going to the Warriors to work for Don Nelson. Popovich returned to San Antonio two years later as general manager, then became coach and the rest is history. Now 90, McCombs said: “Popovich has become the distinguished part of the franchise. He wears it well. Can’t say enough about what kind of man he is and what he’s meant to San Antonio. God has blessed us with Gregg Popovich.” McCombs loves to tell how Popovich, by chance, learned that a local family needed a car. The coach wrote a check, gave it to the father and walked away. McCombs said it was “typical Popovich” who has empathy for those with less. McCombs, curiously, has traditionally been one of the biggest Republican bankrollers in the state, who gave to the Trump campaign and is fully aware of what Popovich thinks of his choice for President. And so one of the most powerful men in Central Texas, who leans politically to the color of his nickname, had a strong reaction to that. “He’s earned the right to give his comments about citizenship or Trump or anything else,” said McCombs, voice rising. “Yes, he made some statements that others might disagree with. But I’ll tell you this: Popovich would be elected to anything he wants to in San Antonio.” Remaining silent never an option “Our country is not an embarrassment to the world. I will tell you what an embarrassment is. It is an American citizen who got a free education from the great Air Force Academy ... and then has the audacity to say that the greatest nation in the world is an embarrassment because the President rightly demands that Americans stand for the anthem. Popovich should be ashamed of himself.” -- Nick DeLouis, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Nowhere on God’s green Earth do they have the right to disrespect our flag and the men and women who died to keep us free. I’m appalled that you stooped so low to join in that disrespect. Shame on you!” -- Fred Martin, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Coach Pop has squashed my love and enthusiasm for the team. A national treasure, he is not. Coach Pop has a voice, but not my voice." -- Jo Ivan A few years ago Popovich was in New York with his daughter to catch a Broadway play when the coach had a last minute change in strategy. He learned that John Carlos was giving a lecture at New York University that night. So Popovich told his daughter to take one of her friends instead; said he was going to see “Dr. Carlos” speak. “When he came in I was surprised and delighted,” Carlos said recently. “Quite naturally, everyone knew who he was but he just wanted to sit and listen.” A year later, in 2015, Popovich flew Carlos to San Antonio to address the team and Carlos admitted to being star struck around Tim Duncan and others. Yet Carlos was most curious about Popovich and why the coach took a strong interest in an Olympic sprinter who raised a fist on the victory stand in 1968, which is frozen as an iconic civil rights moment. “Being with the Spurs gave me an opportunity to check his character out,” Carlos said. “I knew he was a whiz at putting players together to bring out their best ability. But through my conversations with him it became apparent that he was a social activist himself at one point in his life. He was teaching his players about activism and to be concerned about their fellow man and what was going on around their lives, not just basketball. “I was impressed. He just wanted them to know they had a larger role than just playing basketball in the society in which they live.” Carlos, therefore, was not surprised to see Popovich defend the rights of kneeling black football players who came under attack from Trump. On the first day of training camp in September, Popovich said: “Obviously race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly it is not going to get better.” What followed was another swirl of exchanges between Popovich critics and supporters in San Antonio, and Popovich acknowledged receiving mail from both sides. The anti-Pop mail, though, was jarring to Carlos, given the coach’s work in town. “When people write and lambast him for taking leaders to task for what they’re doing to society, that’s like water rolling off a duck’s back, man,” Carlos said. “When they write negative things about him, it encourages him to keep doing what he’s doing. Those people are the problem. Go ahead and throw stones and it just motivates him to do his job. “Look, I’m a black man who spoke out. Imagine what they think of him as a white man who speaks just as strong, to try and get people to see things in a better light? They throw stones at him even more, like, 'Hey you’re white, you have a great life. Keep your mouth shut.’ Well, God points people in certain directions. We know who we are. We do what we do.” And what Popovich does is enlist the help of giants in the social justice world and bring them into his world. He did that with Cornel West, the Harvard professor and civil rights activist, last fall. Popovich invited West to San Antonio to speak at an East Side community center with a few hundred mostly black and Latino students and their parents. Done without TV cameras or media invitation, the discussion was about the importance of education, the imperfect world, self respect and how to help communities. This was an audience that, presumably and unanimously, connected with a white man who didn’t live among them, but was with them. They were the people Popovich had in mind when he attacked present leadership. This was not the audience that writes to the Spurs and the Express-News asking him to take a vow of silence, though he is aware of them, too. “Some responses make you wonder what country you live in,” Popovich said, “and other responses make you very hopeful … overall, it renews my feeling that something must be done because there is enough people willing to listen.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2018

The 17 best PBA photos of 2017

Sure, the PBA has seen some trying times this year but to say  that the league is dying would be complete exaggeration. The games were still good. the stories were still compelling, and the stars were still shining bright. Was it a perfect season? Not a chance. But the PBA is still doing relative well. Well enough that everyone was happy. For the most part. And to celebrate a year that has come and gone, here are some of the best photos captured by ABS-CBN Sports for 2017, in no particular order of course but all of them are great. Happy New Year and here's to another great year for the PBA and basketball in general. Let's do this.   James Yap playing outside the Purefoods franchise? Still weird. James Yap and PJ Simon playing against each other? Weirder.   Allein Maliksi is without a doubt the most unapologetic scorer in the PBA. He had a run in the Philippine Cup where he was setting new career highs for every game and Star was destroying opponents by 25 points. He's with Blackwater now though.   2017 was not a good year for Alaska. Still, it's nice to see Calvin Abueva still Beastin' out there. Never change, Calvin.   Now that they're both healthy at the same time, here's to seeing more head-to-head games between this two. The PBA and Philippine basketball in general needs more of June Mar Fajardo vs. Greg Slaughter.   Terrence Romeo: scoring champion, fashion icon, king of swag both on and off the court. My goodness, bro.   You think Justin Brownlee is clutch? Why don't you ask the barangay. Pretty sure they will say hell yes Justin Brownlee is clutch.   This photo pretty much sums up The Rematch for coacn Norman Black and the Meralco Bolts. We need to see a Ginebra-Meralco part 3 in the Governors' Cup for 2018. Please.   The Fast and the Furious forever. There are no words for this. Happy retirement, Mr. Helterbrand.   If everything goes according to plan, we can call this the smiles that launched a Grand Slam. The PBA better be ready for the super, superteam that is the San Miguel Beermen with Christian Standhardinger.   The Gin Kings might as well own the Philippine Arena. Ginebra is setting attendance records left and right at the massive INC facility. More importantly, they keep on winning there. The barangay is 5-1 in Bulacan including one Game 7 win for another championship.   James Yap used to be the face of the Purefoods franchise and Marc Pingris was the team's heart and soul. Now, Ping is all of that and then some.   Taken just moments before the Beermen completed a Philippine Cup hat trick to capture the Perpetual trophy. This San Miguel team is a special group.   Chito Narvasa's highly-controversial term as PBA Commissioner ended this year. However, perhaps his most controversial move was approving the much-maligned Kia-San Miguel trade for the no. 1 pick of the 2017 Draft. This was from the press conference that triggered the PBA Board impasse. Overall just not a good look. It was impactful, but not good.   He might be slowing down a little bit but Jayson Castro is still a force to be reckoned with. The Blur might just get to a new gear in 2018. Watch out.   He finally beat his inner demons and Mac Cardona found his way back in the PBA this year. Welcome back, Captain Hook.   Kiefer Ravena was ready for the PBA two years ago. Two games into his first pro season, the Phenom is already proving his worth. This was his first PBA dunk. There should be more to come.   Nash Racela is one brave soul. He spent the entire season trying to beat San Miguel teams in order to win a title for TNT. The KaTropa didn't end up winning anything but coach Nash sure got into the skin of the SMC teams. Here he is trying to plead for a foul because officials are supposedly favoring Ginebra. While that's not proven, if 2017 was any indication, 2018 should be even more fun for coach Nash and the San Miguel teams.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

PNP spox: No announcement yet on next chief PNP but Apolinario is top choice

    The spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP) clarified on Wednesday that no official announcement has been made by President Rodrigo Duterte on the replacement of PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa in time for his retirement in 2018. "If there would be an announcement, the official announcement would come from Malacaang," PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said in a press briefing. Carlos' statement came after news reports disclosed the name of General Ramon Apolinario as Dela Rosa's successor when he retired on Jan. 21, 2018---the date when the current PNP chief would turn 56 years old, the mandatory age of retirement for t...Keep on reading: PNP spox: No announcement yet on next chief PNP but Apolinario is top choice.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 6th, 2017

DPWH orders return of P4.8-B RROW fund for Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 5 December) — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has pulled out around P4.8 billion in road right-of-way (RROW) funds for Region 12 in the wake of the alleged multibillion scam involving fake claims in this city and the neighboring areas. Deputy House Speaker and South Cotabato second […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanewsRelated NewsDec 5th, 2017

Just-retired Beltran interviews to become Yankees manager

By Ronald Blum, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Exactly four weeks after winning his first World Series title on his final day as a major league player, Carlos Beltran walked into Yankee Stadium for his interview to become New York's manager. "I never thought that this moment was going to come this soon after retirement," he said Wednesday. "I thought that I was going to be able to spend a little time with the family, but the fact that I got the call to be interviewed, this is something that you cannot turn away from it, because these type of opportunities, especially the one with the Yankees, they don't come very often." The 40-year-old was a nine-time All-Star who hit 435 home runs over 20 big league seasons and spent half his career in New York — including 2 1/2 years with the Yankees from 2014-16. Having interviewed five candidates earlier this month to replace Joe Girardi, New York general manager Brian Cashman called Beltran on Sunday. "At the beginning it's a little bit overwhelming. There's a lot of information that you have to digest," Beltran said. "Being a player and being able to play this game for such a long time, I have seen a lot, and I have seen the importance of what players need in the clubhouse, especially this clubhouse, where you see a lot of younger guys." Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has said he is wary, but not opposed, to candidates with no previous managing or coaching experience. Beltran thinks becoming a designated hitter in the waning stage of his career was preparation for running a dugout. He would hire a strong bench coach in the dugout to advise him. "I got to see the game from a different view," he said. "I got to be actually like a players' coach in the clubhouse, being able to be active with the younger guys, being able to help them." Houston players credited Beltran with a rousing postgame speech following the Game 5 loss to the Yankees in the AL Championship Series, which put New York ahead 3-2 in the best-of-seven matchup. The Astros returned home, swept the next two games and beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven-game World Series for the first title in the history of the franchise, which started play in 1962. "He's grown so much over the years, just in his expression and his ability to communicate, his willingness to communicate," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said last month. "He knows a lot about the game. I joke with him, he didn't teach me anything when we played together. He's teaching me more things now I'm managing him." Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge, San Francisco bench coach Hensley Meulens, former big league third baseman Aaron Boone and Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward previously interviewed. Beltran prepared for his interview by asking Omar Minaya, the general manager who signed him for the New York Mets, what questions he should expect. Beltran cited Terry Collins as a manager he admired — Collins started with the Mets during Beltran's final season in Queens. Like all manager candidates these days, Beltran venerated analytics. "I have seen the Yankees really invest a lot of money in analytics and try to provide the players information that they could use to try to increase their careers," he said. "When I look at my career, I look at my 20 years that I played in the big leagues, I personally feel that out of those 20 years, I played naked in a lot of them because I didn't have all this information." While Beltran prides his ability to connect with players — a trait Cashman is seeking — he understands his interactions with them as manager would change. "Being able to have a good relationship with the guys and being able to have truthful conversations at the same time being the manager is a different responsibility," he said, "so I think that will be the way where I will be focused the most.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 30th, 2017

Ex-DPWH chief vows to unmask Aguirre’s witness in scam

Former Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson on Tuesday said he was ready to expose the supposed whistleblower who accused him, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, and Eldon Cruz, brother-in-law of former President Benigno Aquino III, of involvement in a right-of-way scam in General Santos City. Singson told the Inquirer in a text message that the letter allegedly sent to him by Cruz, asking for an endorsement to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), was "fake." "The accusation is based on a letter claimed to be sent by Eldon to (Secretary) DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways). All fake and I have received quite a few similar letters using big names. The acc...Keep on reading: Ex-DPWH chief vows to unmask Aguirre’s witness in scam.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 29th, 2017