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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Panfilo "Ping" Lacson

Panfilo "Ping" Lacson
Born June 1, 1948

Official Website:

A retired Director-General of the Philippine National Police, and is currently a member of the Philippine Senate.

Personal life

Ping is the child of Buenaventura and Maxima “Lola Imang” Lacson, 87, (who died on November 3, 2008, at Bayang Luma, Imus, Cavite) and children Romy, Eli, Rey, Ping, Nani, Ito Neneng and Tina. His father Buenaventura died on November 18, 2008. Ping, as what many people call him, is married to Alice de Perio. Television personality Jodi Sta. Maria is his daughter-in-law, being married to Panfilo "Pampi" Lacson, Jr., one of his four sons. Jodi and Panfilo Jr. have a son, Panfilo "Thirdy" Lacson III.

Early life and studies

Born in Imus, Cavite, Lacson finished grade school at the Bayang Luma Elementary School in 1960, and high school at the Imus Institute in 1964. He took up Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at the Lyceum of the Philippines University. In 1967, he enrolled at Philippine Military Academy. He was given a commission in the Philippine Constabulary after his graduation in 1971. He earned a postgraduate degree of Master in Government Management from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 1996.

Early police career

Lacson worked at the Metropolitan Command (Metrocom) Intelligence and Security Group (1971-1986), PC-INP Anti-Carnapping Task Force (1986-1988), as Provincial Commander of the Province of Isabela (1988-1989), as Commander of Cebu Metrodiscom (1989-1992), and as Provincial Director of the Province of Laguna (February to July 1992). He was then appointed to the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission as Chief of the Task Force Habagat from 1992 to 1995). From 1996 to April 1997, he was project officer of Special Project Alpha.

During the Estrada administration

Lacson headed the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) as Chief (June 26, 1998-January 21, 2001) as well as the Philippine National Police PNP Director-General, (November 16, 1999-January 20, 2001). Shortly after the second EDSA People Power Revolution, he submitted his resignation as Chief of the PNP to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a day after she took her oath.

Revival of the Kuratong Baleleng murder case

In 1995, the PACC was linked to the killing of 11 members of Kuratong Baleleng in Quezon City. In 2003, the High Tribunal ordered the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to try the case against Lacson and 33 other police officials. The trial court however dismissed the criminal case, finding absence of probable cause. The special prosecuting team later moved for new trial before the High Tribunal to remand case to the trial court to present new evidence against Senator Lacson, inter alia. On May 2, 2008, the Supreme Court of the Philippines resolved to take cognizance of the motion of the families of the slain Kuratong Baleleng members for revival of the murder case against police officials and Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Dacer trial

After eight years of self-exile in the United States, Sabina and Carina Dacer, on July 11, 2008 testified before the Manila Regional Trial Court, regarding the mastermind of the abduction of their father, Bobby Dacer. Sabina swore that: "In his exact words he said, 'mga anak, kung may mangyari sa akin, walang ibang may kakagawan noon kundi si Ping Lacson'" (translated: my children, if anything should happen to me, no one else could be responsible but Ping Lacson). Dacer's family also discovered the publicist's letter to Joseph Estrada on Panfilo Lacson's 1999 actuations to secure the Philippine National Police chief post. Dacer was the publicist of then PNP chief Roberto Lastimoso, Lacson's rival. Lacson's link to one of the suspects, Michael Ray Aquino, were also evident according to the Dacer witnesses.

Lacson denied the allegations: "For the nth time, I will assert the truth that I had nothing to do with it. They can lie and make people lie even under oath and before a court of law to make me look bad and guilty in the Dacer case. In fact, right after Dacer disappeared, the family sought my help.... And I responded the way I should as a law enforcement officer at that time."

Former police senior superintendent Cezar Mancao also named Lacson as the mastermind of the murders of Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito. The allegations were made in an affidavit that Mancao signed on February 14, 2009, according to The Philippine Star. Mancao was allegedly present when Lacson gave the hit order to then police senior superintendent Michael Ray Aquino sometime in October 2000.

Lacson denied these allegations, stating that the Office of the President had pressured Mancao to sign the affidavit.

In an interview by, Transportation Undersecretary Reynaldo Berroya said that Dacer possessed documents showing Lacson was earning billions of pesos from stock manipulation. Berroya was chief of the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group at the time of the murders.

Dacer and Corbito were abducted the morning of November 24, 2000, while on their way to the Manila Hotel. Investigations later showed that the two were interrogated, tortured and strangled to death, and their bodies burned.

Entry to politics

Lacson ran for the position of senator in the 2001 elections running under the LDP and affiliated with the Puwersa ng Masa coalition. He won a seat in the Senate, ranking 10th. In the 2007 senatorial elections, he ranked third.

In the Senate, Lacson primarily authored the following measures:

  • Republic Act No. 9160, as amended by Republic Act 9194, otherwise known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act
  • Republic Act No. 9163, The National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001
  • Republic Act No. 9166, An Act Increasing the Base Pay of the Members of the AFP
  • Republic Act No. 9208, The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003
  • Republic Act No. 9416, Anti-Cheating Act of 2007
  • Republic Act No. 9484, The Philippine Dental Act of 2007
  • Republic Act No. 9485, Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007

He was also one of the co-authors of the following laws:

  • Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002
  • Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as the Absentee Voting Act
  • Republic Act No. 9287, otherwise known as the Anti-Jueteng and Illegal Numbers Game
  • Republic Act No. 9406, An Act Reorganizing the Public Attorney's Office

2004 Presidential election

Lacson ran for President in the 2004 general election against the incumbent President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. His candidacy stirred disagreements with its party president, Edgardo Angara. The COMELEC decided to follow what was done in the Quirino-Avelino case splitting the certificates of votes into half. Angara appealed the case before the Supreme Court and reversed the COMELEC decision.

Lacson resigned from the party upon hearing the news. He continued campaigning and in the elections, he finished third, ahead of the late Raul Roco and Bro. Eddie Villanueva.

Manila mayoralty election

In late 2006, Lacson said he may run as mayor of the city of Manila in the 2007 midterm elections. However, a month after the announcement, he rescinded that decision and will instead run for re-election for a second Senate term.

On May 20, 2008, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that Lacson planned to join the PDP-Laban party, a move seen as a preparation for his second attempt for the presidency in 2010.


Garci tapes

On August 21, 2007, Lacson sought an investigation by the Senate Committees on National Defense and Security. During a privilege speech, Lacson played a taped interview of Vidal Doble, formerly of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp). Doble stated that "Project Lighthouse" (September 2003 to April 2005), targeted several personalities. He said he came out only now since he is already a civilian and he did not see any action against cheating in the 2004 and 2007 elections.

An insider of Smart Communications worked with the Isafp in wiretapping political leaders during the 2004 elections, and Smart admitted it was possible that an employee coordinated with Isafp. Vidal Doble said two of his former superiors at the "Project Lighthouse" operation – Col. Paul Sumayo and Capt. Frederick Rebong – "coordinated" with a "recruit" and contact inside Smart. Ramon Isberto of Smart, said - "This first came out two to three years ago. The company has not participated in any efforts to monitor conversations." Speechless wiretappers: Doble said he and everybody else involved in "Project Lighthouse" were shocked to hear President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo speak with former Virgilio Garcillano about the rigging of poll results. Doble said "Project Lighthouse" had 14 members divided into four teams - "All of the teams knew about the conversation of PGMA (Arroyo) and commissioner Garcillano." Doble revealed those who gave the order to launch "Project Lighthouse": Western Command (Wescom) chief Vice Admiral Tirso Danga, former deputy chief of staff for intelligence; Brigadier Gen. Marlou Quevedo, former Isafp chief; Army Col. Allen Capuyan, former head of the Isafp's special operations group; and "down the line" the project "group commander" Col. Sumayo; Capt. Rebong; and Capt. Lindsay Rex Sagge.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. linked Senator Panfilo Lacson to the February 6, 2005 Coup d'état plot. Esperon said that the February 2006 "diamond statement" document seized from rebel soldiers mentioned Lacson and touched on "who would lead the country should the rebel soldiers succeed in toppling the government."

ZTE broadband deal

On September 11, 2007, Lacson delivered a privilege speech where he bared irregularities involving the government's national broadband network project, with Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE Corp. bagging the contract.

Lacson said that in the Special Joint Investment Coordinating Committee (ICC) and Technical Board Meeting of the President’s Cabinet held on March 26, 2007, the Department of Transportation and Communications took up with the economic team, particularly Finance Sec. Margarito Teves and then NEDA Director-General Romulo Neri along with their support staff, the NBN project, which was conceptualized in view of the Cyber-Corridor Initiative enunciated by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during her State of the Nation Address on July 2006.

In his speech, he said that November 21, 2006 while presiding over a NEDA Board meeting which she chairs, President Arroyo laid down the following conditions for a government broadband network:

  • It should be established along a build-operate-transfer or such similar undertaking using private funding;
  • There should be no government subsidies;
  • There should be no “take or pay” conditionalities and instead a “pay for use” facility;
  • And it should result in a substantial reduction of government telecommunications expenses

But in the ICC meeting with DOTC and Telecommunications Office (TELOF) proponents on March 26, 2007, what was presented as the NBN Project completely changed the broad terms of reference set by President Arroyo in November 2006.

What Assistant Secretaries Lorenzo G. Formoso III and Elmer Soneja presented for ICC consideration was an NBN project that would cost the Republic of the Philippines an estimated 19.4 billion pesos of which 19 billion would be sourced through foreign loans, and 380 million pesos from the DOTC/Telof budgets. It would involve the utilization of Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP-based single infrastructure network.

Then NEDA Secretary Romulo Neri, now Social Security System head, pointedly wondered how savings could be generated on the retirement of the obsolete analog system carried by Telof.

Yet, Neri signed a letter dated April 20, 2007, addressed to China’s Minister Bo Xilai of Commerce, and Li Ruogu, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of China, nominating the NBN Project. This was a day before the President witnessed the signing ceremony of the NBN Supply Contract with DOTC and ZTE executives in Hainan, China. |title="What is right must be kept right; what is wrong must be set right" |publisher=Sen. Ping Lacson: Legacy of Corruption |author=Posted by Sen. Ping Lacson

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bayani Fernando

Bayani Fernando
Born July 25, 1946

Secretary of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). He concurrently holds the position of director of the Department of Public Works and Highways for the National Capital Region.

He was born in San Juan, Metro Manila. He ran for public office in 1992, becoming mayor of Marikina City. His administration as mayor is credited with several cleanliness and beautification projects, and his term saw the transformation of Marikina from a 4th class municipality to a model Philippine city. He was re-elected mayor twice, and served as mayor until 2001. In 2002, he was appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

His wife, Ma. Lourdes C. Fernando, is the current mayor of Marikina City.

On December 17, 2007, Alfredo Lim told MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando not to conduct its sidewalk clearing operations in Manila since vendors were allowed to sell on sidewalks for humanitarian reasons. Lim stated: "I jokingly told Chairman Fernando that they are welcome anytime but I cannot guarantee their safety. Their problem is how they will get out."

Fernando on November 8, 2008, was named the GMA-7’s 2008 “Celebrity Duets” 2nd season grand champion. He sang impressive duets with Pilita Corrales and Basil Valdez.


On September 6, 2007, Chairman Bayani Fernando said that “Gwapotel Inn” (Overnight stay: P20 a night, P5 a bath) run by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority became a big hit with transients due to safe and decent lodgings. 40,000 transients registered in the 4-story “hotel” on Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila, since its May 14, 2007 opening. The 710-bed inn, painted in “BF’s” signature pink and blue, posted an average occupancy rate of 73%, or 519 guests daily. But the overnighters share common sleeping area with double-deck beds.

2nd Gwapotel

On December 23, 2007, Chairman Bayani Fernando of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced the building of a 2nd Gwapotel: 3-story lodging house at Tondo, Manila, in the abandoned 2,800-sq.m. Emmanuel Hospital at Jose Abad Santos St., to be renovated on January, 2008 (5 months to complete for the May 1 inauguration coinciding with Labor Day holiday). 60,000 transients already stayed in the 4-story first Gwapotel, since its May 14, 2007 opening.

The Plan to Run for Presidency

On January 4, 2008, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Bayani Fernando officially announced (at the Lani Misalucha concert at his office) that he is running for the presidency in 2010. Fernando formally confirmed and launched on August 26, 2008, his candidacy in the Philippine general election, 2010 (to become the next "no-nonsense president of the country").

With or without the support of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, he stated: "Even if the party doesn't pick me, I will continue with the campaign because I have a lot friends who will help me. They're just floating their names. And I'm the only one of the presidential hopefuls who has declared my intention to run this early."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Nur Misuari

Nurallaji Misuari
Born: 1942

Completed his education through academic scholarships at the University of the Philippines

He was a lecturer at the University of the Philippines in political science. In the early 1970s he was one of the organizers of the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) seeking for better treatment of the people of Mindanao by the Manila government.

The MIM later on paved the way in the organization of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The MNLF is the Bangsamoro united armed forces that sought for the independence of the Bangsamoro people and homeland that comprised Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan known as MinSuPala.

The MNLF waged bitter wars with the Philippine government from 1972 to 1976 under Nur Misuari as the Chairperson. The high morale of the MNLF freedom fighters forced the Manila government under late president Ferdinand Marcos to sign a peace agreement under the auspices of the Libyan government of Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi. This peace agreement is known in the Philippines as the "Tripoli Agreement". It should not be confused with the Tripoli Agreement of 2006 that dealt with the Sudanese conflict with Chad.

The Tripoli Agreement, in the opinion of the MNLF, has not been complied by the Philippine government. The provision that required Philippine legislative confirmation of many of the vital aspects of the Tripoli Agreement like ancestral domain, territories, and administrative system provide the Philippine government perfect alibis to dishonor it.

The Philippine Congress has been controlled by legislators who were against the very spirit of the agreement especially in providing meaningful autonomy for the Bangsamoro people.

Nur Misuari was compelled again to lead the MNLF in the arm struggle after more than ten years of patience and persistent protest on the Philippine government non-compliance.

He was in self exile in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until Marcos was ousted and the Corazon Aquino government was installed in 1986.

The new Philippine government initiated another peace negotiation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MNLF. It was the administration of Fidel V. Ramos that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was organized. The ARMM was meant to implement the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.

However, because ARMM was created through legislative process, it was perceived by the MNLF to be lacking in substance in the implementation of the Tripoli Agreement that called for the meaningful autonomy of the Bangsamoro people. Nur Misuari as governor of ARMM was miserably portrayed by the GRP as inept and corrupt. However, studies by several international organizations revealed that ARMM as created by the Philippines Congress was not really equipped to provide meaningful autonomy for the Bangsamoro people even for those who are under the ARMM cities and provinces. Nur Misuari as a revolutionary leader became a helpless prey of the divide-and-conquer strategy of the GRP.

Nur Misuari has consistently voiced out his protest on the non-implementation of the Tripoli Agreement and including the latest agreement signed by Ramos administration. When Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) became President, Nur Misuari was ousted by the "MNLF Council of 15" and was forced to vacate his chairmanship of the MNLF. He was then subsequently incarcerated after leading an insurrection in the ARMM alongside his aides and former MNLF members.

It is believed that the ouster of Nur Misuari was planned by the Philippine Government through the Council of 15. Upon his ousting, Nur Misuari was replaced by a senior official of the MNLF.

Presently, the ARMM Governor is not a member of the MNLF and is said to be a violation of the peace agreement signed between the Philippine Government and the MNLF during the Ramos administration.

On July 9, 2007, a lower court Judge Winlove Dumayas allowed jailed Muslim leader Misuari (representing the MNLF) to attend a tripartite meeting in Saudi Arabia which will assess the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement between the Philippine government and MNLF. The MNLF accused the government "of failing to implement key provisions of the pact, particularly those pertaining to the development of conflict areas in the southern region of Mindanao". Misuari, however, failed to leave for failure to present a "sovereign guarantee" to return from the Saudi government.

On December 20, 2007, Judge Winlove Dumayas, Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 59, denied Misuari's petition for bail as he will remain under house arrest in New Manila, Quezon City. The court however, granted the bail petition of Misuari's 7 co-accused, at P100,000 each.

On April 2, 2008, former rebel leader, Muslimin Sema, mayor of Cotabato City replaced ousted Nur Misuari, as the new MNLF chieftain. It was the second time that Misuari, who founded the MNLF, was removed by his own commanders. On April 25, 2008, Judge Winluv Dimayas issued an order allowing Misuari to post bail, upon the instructions of the Cabinet security cluster.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Francis Magalona

Francis Magalona

Born: October 4, 1964
Died: March 6, 2009

Also known as FrancisM, Master Rapper, and The Man From Manila, He was a Filipino rapper, songwriter, producer, actor, director, and photographer. Often hailed as the "King of Pinoy Rap", he was considered a legend in the Philippine music community. With the success of his earliest albums, he was the first Filipino rapper in the Philippines to cross over to the mainstream. He is also credited for having pioneered the merging of rap with Pinoy rock, becoming a significant influence to artists in that genre as well. He was also a television host on MTV Asia and on noontime variety television show Eat Bulaga! Magalona died seven months after being diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. Magalona was later awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Merit. The award's citation noted that it had been given “for his musical and artistic brilliance, his deep faith in the Filipino and his sense of national pride that continue to inspire us.”

Family Background

Magalona was one of the nine children of actors Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran, popular film stars of the 1940s and 1950s. His grandfather, Enrique Magalona, served in the Philippine Senate from 1946 to 1955. He graduated from High School at the Don Bosco Technical College in Mandaluyong and studied at the San Beda College in Manila from 1981-1984.

Early Career Stint

With the familiarity brought about by having celebrity parents, Magalona started out as a breakdancer in the 1980s. He was cast in several Filipino movies of that decade, including Bagets 2. He likewise gained attention as the resident DJ/rapper in the IBC-13 variety show Loveli'Ness.

Magalona was introduced by co-actor Richard Gomez to Pia Arroyo at a party in a disco owned by the late film director Ishmael Bernal and the couple got married in 1985. The couple had eight children, two of whom were Francis' step-children: Unna, Nicolo, Francis Jr. (Frank), Elmo, Arkin, Clara, and actresses Maxene and Saab.

Music career

In 1990, he released the groundbreaking album Yo!, the first commercially released Filipino rap album. Yo! included several popular singles such as "Mga Kababayan" (My Fellow Countrymen), "Gotta Let 'Cha Know", "Cold Summer Nights" and "Man From Manila". With tracks that featured politically conscious and thought-provoking rhymes in both English and Tagalog, Yo! was a big success and helped catapult Filipino hip hop from underground to mainstream status. It also marked the birth of Makabayang (Nationalistic) rap in Filipino hip hop.
Magalona remains highly respected in the Pinoy Rap scene

In 1992, Francis Magalona released Rap Is FrancisM (1992). With tracks addressing the various cultural and social problems that plagued his country such as drug addiction in "Mga Praning" (Paranoids), political instability in "Halalan" (Elections) as well as the detrimental effects of a colonial mentality in "Tayo'y Mga Pinoy" (We Are Filipinos), the record's complexity and conscious message quickly earned it its classic status and became the standard by which future albums of the genre were to be compared. This album helped tag Magalona as one of the most politically conscious voices of his generation.

The release of his third album, Meron akong ano! (I Got Some!) in 1993 marked the beginning of Magalona's experimentation with Pinoy rock. It also saw the birth of Hardware Syndrome--previously known as Cannabis--the band which would, with Magalona at its helm, introduce the merging of Pinoy Rock and Rap to the Filipino music audience. Members over the years included musicians Carlo Sison,Francis Villanueva, Niño Mesina, Boyet Aquino, Elmer Blancaflor, Noel Mendez, Perf de Castro, Benjie "Bagets" Mendez, Albert Tamayo, DJ Kimozave, DJ Radikal MK, Kenji Marquez, Jack Rufo, and Wendell Garcia.

Magalona was soon cited for excellence in both genres of music. He frequently collaborated with other OPM luminaries such as Joey Ayala, Heber Bartolome of Banyuhay, Ryan Cayabyab, Mike Hanopol of Juan Dela Cruz Band, Andrew E., Michael V. and the Eraserheads. In the latter part of his career, Magalona worked together with Gloc 9 and Parokya ni Edgar. In 1994, Magalona moved from Octo-Arts EMI Philippines, which had released all of his previous albums, to BMG Records Pilipinas, the same label as the seminal Pinoy rock group, The Eraserheads.

Freeman was released the following year, 1995, and firmly established Magalona's legitimacy in the Pinoy rock scene. Tracks like "Three Stars & A Sun", "Kabataan Para Sa Kinabukasan", "Suckin' on Helium/Kaleidoscope World" would become defining touch-points in Magalona's body of work. A track titled "Intellectual Property Rights" would sample a speech by then-president Fidel V. Ramos. Intellectual property rights was an issue that would continue to be an important and very personal advocacy for Magalona. "Kaleidoscope World" went on to win 1996 Awit Award for Best Produced Record of the Year, and the 1996 NU 107 Rock Award for Song of the Year. Its music video was directed by the celebrated director/cinematographer Raymond Red.

Magalona's next album,Happy Battle, was released in 1996. The launch for the video-game themed album at the Hard Rock Cafe in Makati was noted by the press for its wide range of influences: aside from fans of Magalona's music, he had showbiz fans and coworkers from Eat Bulaga!, where he had already started hosting; and two sets of Sony Playstations with giant screens set up so people could play video games while watching the gig. The album was also notable for a number of significant collaborations: "Unstrung Heroes" with Ely Buendia; "Sapot", with project band Planet Garapata, which included Raimund Marasigan, Jeng Tan and Mark Lakay, who would later form Sandwich; and "Make Your Move" with pioneer Filipino punk band Betrayed. In keeping with the nationalistic theme in Magalona's work, 1-800-Ninety-Six was written in celebration of the centennial of the Philippine revolution of 1896. "Rainy" won Best Folk song, and the album itself would became the first and only album to win Best Rock and Best Rap Album at the Katha Awards. When Magalona was diagnosed with Leukemia, he and his wife Pia would use the album name "Happy Battle" as a reference to his fight against cancer.

The 1998 album The Oddventures of Mr. Cool saw a move from the last two albums' heavy guitar sound and explored mellow, urban-style rapping. It featured the song "Whole Lotta Lovin'", whose music is a sample of the Eraserheads song "Alapaap".

Later albums with BMG would include Interscholastic (1999) which featured adaptations of various artists' songs; and Freeman 2 (2001), which would echo many of the themes that had made the first Freeman album so popular. In 2002, his greatest hits album The Best of FrancisM was released by Musiko and Sony BMG Philippines. 2004 in turn saw the release of a single titled "Pambihira Ka".

In 2002, with the assistance of then FUBU Philippines' management employees Carlo Maniquiz and Nick Tuazon, Magalona launched a compilation album of the same name.

Magalona founded his own record company called Red Egg Records, and a production company, Filipino Pictures Inc., where he served as the resident Director. Through his production company, Magalona produced and directed music videos for several bands and solo artists such as Ely Buendia. His work on Sponge Cola's "KLSP" won Best Rock Video at the 2006 MYX Video Awards.

Shortly before his death, Magalona collaborated with Ely Buendia on an album with the working title The Sickos Project. It will be released posthumously. Both Francis M. and Ely Buendia were having health problems at that time. The album's carrier single is "Higante" (giant) which is about illness. In an interview, Ely Buendia described his self as a "ticking timebomb" and Francis Magalona as "on borrowed time." The album will include a documentary about Ely and Francis, shot by Magalona's very own production company Filipino Pictures.

Television career

In 1997, Magalona played the lead role in the acclaimed TV film Kamada, by Raymond Red. The film, a full length feature shot on 16 mm, received awards from The Philippines Broadcasting Television and Asian TV Awards in 1997.

And in addition to co-hosting LoveliNess, Magalona was one of the original members of the youth oriented show That's Entertainment in 1987. He was also a co-host of the Philippines' longest running variety show, Eat Bulaga!, as well as being a VJ for MTV Asia. Magalona was MTV Asia's first Filipino VJ and remained with the network from 1996 to 2000. He was also chosen by Fremantle Media, owners of American Idol as one of the judges of in the first Philippine Idol season that aired on ABC-5. Magalona and his fellow judges Ryan Cayabyab and Pilita Corrales were not retained by GMA Network when the franchise transferred to that network in 2008. Aside from television, he also hosted live events and presentations.

Other endeavors

In his last years, Magalona also turned his attention to photography, a hobby which he began to take more seriously when he started submitting pictures to magazines for publication. News reports note that he was overjoyed when he was accepted as a member of the prestigious Camera Club of the Philippines, and eventually received critical acclaim for his photographs.

Branching out into fashion, Magalona also established a clothing line named FMCC, standing for "FrancisM Clothing Co." FMCC also operates its stores under the "3 Stars & A Sun" brand.

And way before celebrity blogs had become the norm, Francis had begun blogging to communicate with fans. His website, A Free Man, chronicled his latest projects, new endeavors and even family affairs such as birthday parties and other activites with his children. His wife Pia, and some of his children had likewise started their own websites.

He also started a foundation with Ely Buendia called Heartist Foundation, which aims to help Filipino artists with health and commercial concerns.

Illness and death

Magalona, then 43, was diagnosed on August 8, 2008, with acute myeloid leukemia at the Medical City Hospital, Pasig City. After his first treatment and discharge, he made his return on Eat Bulaga together with Ely Buendia, who had also been recently discharged. Not wanting to let the disease get the better of him, he remained active, chronicling his battle with the disease on his blogs and continuing to pursue his creative efforts in spite of his illness. His daughter Maxene noted that "He always did what he wanted to do. He never let anyone or anything stop him from doing what he loved to do. He still went to the Camera Club, he still took pictures, every time he was discharged from the hospital, he recorded songs with Ely Buendia. He taught us that life is short but it can be well lived. Don’t waste your time in the world.

His wife Pia later described her husband's battle with the disease, saying "Francis was a very passionate person. When he was angry, he was very expressive. He would get angry with his cancer. That was his way of coping with it. But he didn’t give up. I remembered that he told me, 'I'm going down fighting.

On March 6, 2009, at 12:00 p.m., Magalona succumbed to multi organ failure secondary to septic shock, secondary to pneumonia in the immunocompromised (immediate cause); acute respiratory failure secondary to acute respiratory distress syndrome (antecedent cause); underlying cause: acute myleogenous leukemia blast crisis. He had undergone several chemotherapy sessions since he was diagnosed the previous year, and had been expected to undergo a bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT).

The announcement was first made on the television variety show Eat Bulaga!, which he had co-hosted. News of his death sparked a surge of web traffic to several Philippine news sites, causing a momentary slowdown in the operation of those sites. Guests at his wake included former president Corazon Aquino, along with other politicians and artists who paid tribute to Magalona's contribution to Filipino music, and to the national pride - the dominant advocacy theme in FrancisM's music. Fans arrived in droves to pay their last respects, some of them making a point to wear shirts from Magalona's FMCC line. Numerous television programs, ranging from noontime variety shows to primetime newscasts and late night news documentaries, paid tribute to Magalona.

Magalona had been slated to appear as a special surprise guest at the Eraserheads' "the Final Set" reunion concert on March 7, 2009. Since he died the day before, the band instead dedicated the concert as tribute to Magalona. Buendia rapped the 22-bar portion in Superproxy which FrancisM had written, and the penultimate song of their last ever Eraserheads performance was the reprise of Kaleidoscope World.

Magalona's remains were cremated before daybreak on March 11, 2009. After final rites, his ashes were then brought to his final resting place in the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, causing traffic to stall in the Marikina Riverbanks area near the park as fans joined the convoy. Military rites and a salute were offered to Magalona, and his wife Pia accepted a Philippine flag from the Philippine Army, in recognition of Magalona's patriotism and for being an army reservist with the rank of sergeant.

Magalona holds up two medals awarded by the Camera Club of the Philippines

Honors and Legacy

Magalona would ultimately be cited as the "King of Philippine rap". Magalona's contributions to the genre have been featured in several international hip hop publications including the All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap and Hip-Hop (2003) published by Backbeat Books; as well as the May 2004 issue of the U.S.-based publication The Source. He was also given the Pioneer Hall of Fame Award by Empire Entertainment at the 1st Annual Philippine Hip-Hop Music Awards in 2005.

Magalona was the recipient of the MTV Pilipinas Video Music Awards Generations Award in 2006 "in recognition of his career that has spanned decades and broken boundaries, and for his music which continues to inspire generations of artists and music fans both here and abroad." He was the second person so honored, the first having been singer Gary Valenciano at the 2005 rites.

On March 18, 2009, the Philippine Government - through the efforts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts -- recognized Magalona with by awarding him a posthumous Presidential Medal of Merit. The award's citation noted that it had been given “for his musical and artistic brilliance, his deep faith in the Filipino and his sense of national pride that continue to inspire us.”


Octo Arts

* 1989 Francis M. (Extended of Loving You)
* 1990 Yo!
* 1990 Mga Kababayan (E.P. Dance Remix)
* 1990 Gotta Let 'Cha Know (E.P.)
* 1992 Rap is FrancisM
* 1993 Meron akong ano! ("I have something!")

BMG Records (Pilipinas)

* 1995 Freeman
* 1996 Happy Battle
* 1998 The Oddventures of Mr. Cool
* 1999 Interscholastic
* 2001 Freeman 2
* 2002 The Best of FrancisM
* 2004 "Pambihira Ka" (single)


* 2008 F Word
* 2009 The Sickos Project (with Ely Buendia; working title)

Television appearances

* MTV Pilipinas Music Video Award 2006
* Eat Bulaga!
* S.O.P. (Guest Co-host)
* A Telefantastic Christmas: The GMA All-Star Spcecial (2005)
* True Love: Eat Bulaga Special (2005)
* Philippine Idol (Judge)
* Show ko 'to (2004)
* Astigmatism (2004) as Victim 1
* GMA Telesine Specials
* MTV Talk
* Life’s A Beach
* Music Bureau
* Kamada (1997)
* Student Canteen
* That's Entertainment
* Plaza 1899
* U. F. O. (Urbana, Felisa & Others)
* Loveliness (co host)
* Vilma In Person (co host)


* Anak ni Brocka (2005)
* Kwentong kayumanggi (2002) as Narrator
* Tong-its (1996)
* Ano ba 'yan 2 (1993)
* Mama's Boys (1993)
* Engkanto (1992) as Uban
* Estribo Gang: The Jinggoy Sese Story (1992)
* Joey Boy Munti, 15 anyos ka sa Muntilupa (1991)
* Iputok mo... dadapa ako!!! (1990)
* Gumapang ka sa lusak (aka Dirty Affair) (1990)
* Hati tayo sa magdamag (1988)
* Action Is Not Missing (1987)
* Kung Aagawin Mo Ang Lahat Sa Akin (1987)
* Family Tree (1987) as Edwin
* Ninja Kids (1986) as Tone
* Doctor, Doctor, We Are Sick (1985)
* Bagets 2 (1984) as Ponce

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sheryl Cruz

Sheryl Cruz (born April 5, 1974 in Makati City, Philippines) is a Filipina actress and singer who was once a teen icon in the Philippines. her full nameis: Sheryl Rose Anna Marie Sonora Cruz-Bustos

Personal Background:

Her parents were both Sampaguita Pictures stars - Ricky Belmonte and Rosemarie Sonora. She is the niece of actress Susan Roces, widow of the 'King of the Filipino Movies' and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. She is the cousin of Donna Cruz, Geneva Cruz and Sunshine Cruz. She has a daughter named Ashley.

Acting Career:

Cruz started her career at a very young age. She won the FAMAS best child actress for her portrayal in the movie "Mga Basang Sisiw" opposite Janice de Belen, Che Che and the late Julie Vega. She also won best child actress for the movie "Roman Rapido" opposite her late uncle Fernando Poe Jr.

She was later contracted by Regal Films along with Kristina Paner and Manilyn Reynes to form the sensational "TRIPLETS". At that time, GMA Network established the youth oriented TV show "That's Entertainment" hosted by German Moreno, where she became part of the Wednesday group.

Her movie career blossomed as part of Philippine cinema's more memorable loveteams, that of herself and Romnick Sarmenta loveteam. Sheryl then signed a contract with Seiko Films. Sheryl was named during her teen years as "The Princess of the Philippine Movie".

She later married and moved to United States, only returning to Manila infrequently. However, Sheryl decided to return home, and starred in her comeback movie, Mano Po 3: My Love.

But her biggest break was starring on two Now and Forever seasons, Tinig and Ganti, which gained high ratings despite its afternoon timeslot; and through Bakekang, which her villainous character became a household name.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Dra. Vicky Belo

Official Website:

Victoria G. Belo, popularly known as Dr. Vicky Belo, is a renowned cosmetic surgeon in the Philippines. She is famous for having performed dermatological services on high-profile members of the Philippine showbiz.


Belo earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of the Philippines, Diliman in 1978. She attended the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1985. She obtained a Diploma in Dermatology from the Institute of Dermatology in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1990.


Belo trained in Dermatologic Surgery at the Scripps Clinics in San Diego, California. She also trained in Cutaneous Laser Surgery at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1993. She studied Skin Rejuvenation and Laser Surgery at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in the University of California at San Francisco in 1995.She studied Advance Techniques in Phlebology at the Pauline Raymond-Martimbeau Vein Institute in Texas. She took an intensive course in Liposuction under Dr. Jeffrey Klein in San Juan Capistrano, California; and in Laser Assisted Liposuction under Dr. Rodrigo Neira.

Belo pioneereed in the New Aptos Thread Seamless Facelift, training with Doctors Marlen and Georges Sulamanidze.


Belo has pioneered the following procedures in cosmetic surgery in the Philippines: First Skin Laser Carbon Dioxide in 1990; Tumescent Liposuction in 1991; Ultrapulse Laser for Resurfacing and Blepharoplasty in 1994; Versapulse Laser for Tattoos and Veins in 1996; Botox in 1997; Restylane/Perlane, Microdermabrasion, and Power Peel in 1998; Endermology in 1999; Laser Assisted Liposuction in 2000; Intense Pulse Light (IPL) and Light Sheer Hair Removal in 2001; Aptos Thread Facelifts and Lift 6 in 2002; Cool Glide, Clearlight for Acne, and Stem Cell Auto Grafting (SCAG) in 2003; Electro-Optical Synergy (ELOS) Technology: Polaris, Aurora and Velasmooth (Lipolite), and Mesotherapy in 2004; and Thermage, Multiclear, Jet Peel, and Carboxytherapy in 2005.

She is a frequent resource speaker and guest lecturer in several organizations in the Philippines and abroad, such as the International Society of Cosmetic Laser Surgeons in Washington, D.C.; the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery in Portland, Oregon; the World Congress on Liposuction Surgery in Pasadena, California; the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery; and the International Darmstadt Convention on Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (Quantum SR): Asian Experience in Frankfurt, Germany and USA.

Business Interests:

Belo is the Medical Director of the Belo Medical Group. The Group owns and operates six (6) medical clinics in highly urbanized locations in Metro Manila--Medical Plaza in Makati City, Tektite Towers in Ortigas Center, Westgate in Alabang, Tomas Morato in Quezon City, Connecticut Street in Greenhills, and Rustan’s Shopping Mall in Makati City.


Belo is not a member of the Philippine Dermatological Society because she did not train in dermatology locally and passed the local dermatological exam. Nevertheless, she is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Society of Lipoplastic Surgery, the American Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, the International Society of Cosmetic Laser Surgeons (ISCLS), the International Society of Dermatologic Surgery, the Foundation for Facial Plastic Surgery, and is a Founding Officer of the Philippine Liposuction Surgery.

However the American Academy of Dermatology is not the certifying body for dermatology and one can only be called a dermatologist after being Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology.It is interesting to note that the Phillipines does not recognize Miss Bello as a dermatologist and neither does the United States.She is however a highly skilled aesthetic physician with a special interest in dermatology.

Private Life:

Belo is a former aerobics and group fitness trainer. She hoards chocolate bars and candies imported from trips in the United States and Europe, keeping all of them inside her refrigerator. She is famous for being associated both professionally and personally with prominent members of the Philippine showbiz, such as multi-awarded actress and singer Sharon Cuneta, and talkshow host Boy Abunda.