Kiefer Ravena

Cabinet Secretary leaving dep’t soon
A Cabinet Secretary will soon move to Malacañang to further assist the President

MANILA, Philippines – A Cabinet Secretary will soon be leaving his department to transfer to an office by the Pasig River. It’s an office that would keep him in constant touch with his friend, President Benigno Aquino III, and maybe make another Palace resident insecure.

Our sources say this Cabinet Secretary will be replacing a Palace resident who has decided to leave government. It’s not immediately clear why this official is leaving. Burnout? Fed up? Or is it because this official, as administration critics put it, is the suspected source of a leaked document that was damaging to a top official?

Of course, the next question is: who will be replacing the Cabinet Secretary? If our sources are to be believed, it will be someone who had worked in the previous government but is a known professional.

When will all this happen? The President will probably let the country listen first to his state of the nation address.-

Battleground: CamSur

BATTLE CRY. We found this streamer all over CamSur's 2nd District during a recent visit

CAMARINES SUR, Philippines – During a recent visit to this province, Rappler saw streamers such as the one above, urging Bicolanos to “return” the 2nd District to a real Bicolano. The streamers all carry a photo of LRay Villafuerte, the incumbent provincial governor.

It is obviously a campaign against Camarines Sur Rep Dato Arroyo, whose father (Mike Arroyo) is Ilonggo and whose mother (former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) is from Pampanga.

Villafuerte, after all, is on his last term and is keen on building another stronghold to advance his political career.

This is ironic since his father, Rep Luis Villafuerte, had supported Dato’s bid for the province’s original 1st District. At the time, Dato replaced Rep Rolando Andaya, the former representative of the district who was appointed budget secretary by then President Arroyo.

OUTGOING? Streamer featuring a smiling CamSur 2nd District Rep Dato Arroyo

Towards the 2010 elections, however, Andaya decided to return to his legislative district, prompting administration allies in Congress to hastily create another district in the area to accommodate Dato and keep Andaya happy.

The move was again supported by Rep Luis Villafuerte.

But his governor-son did not support the redistricting bill. In fact, he shared the position taken by President Aquino, then a senator, on the matter. Aquino, who was chair of the Senate committee on local government at the time, had opposed the Camarines Sur bill because of its failure to meet the population requirement for a new district.

Which could explain why the President seemed pleased with the younger Villafuerte in this video posted on Youtube below, even if the latter campaigned for Aquino’s rival, Sen Manuel Villar, in the 2010 presidential race. –

Euro crisis? Not for this couple

MANILA, Philippines – If you happen to be part of a group trip abroad that includes this controversial high-profile couple, don’t ever make the mistake of agreeing to do a group luggage check-in with them.

During a trip to a European country a few years back, colleagues of Mr Former High Official found out the hard way just how cheap he and his wife could get.

The missus, according to witnesses, happens to like shopping a lot. She went to practically all the luxury stores she could find in between helpings of churros con chocolate. And to think her husband says they live simple lives!

One would have thought that, with all the dollars the couple have, it would have been easy enough for them to fork out extra euros to pay for the excess luggage that they eventually ended up accumulating.

Well, listen to this.

On their trip back to the Philippines, the couple said no to an offer by their trip coordinator for them to join a group check-in. But when they realized they had excess luggage, they changed their minds.

When the bags were weighed, the group was told they needed to pay a few hundred euros in excess luggage. Told that the excess belonged to the belated checked-in luggage of the power couple, the trip coordinator tried to collect from them. The couple refused to pay. There was a back and forth between them and the rest of the group. To avoid further delays and embarrassment, one of their colleagues offered his credit card and paid for the extra charges.

One wonders how this colleague must have felt when it was revealed that the husband’s bank accounts are bursting with dollars. –

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