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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Anonymous Philippines hackers attack gov’t websites over cybercrime law

Hackers from the group Anonymous Philippines defaced the website of American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines as well as the web portals of a number of government agencies to push for the revision of the newly passed Cybercrime Law.  The following are the affected government websites:

– Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)

– Manila Water and Sewerage System

– Philippine Information Agency (PIA);
– Regional Caves Committee of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources;
– Smokefree Philippines of the Department of Health; and
– Philippine Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), an inter-agency and multisectoral task force fighting intellectual property pirates.

(Source: GMA News)

Anonymous Philippines Hackers

Anonymous Philippines Hackers attacked a number of government websites late Wednesday night

The website of DOH and MWSS remain inaccessible as of early Thursday morning while BSP and PIA are now under control. In a statement posted in the hacked websites, the group described the newly-passed Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 as “the most notorious act ever witnessed in the cyber-history of the Philippines.” It added that the bill “effectively ends the freedom of expression in the Philippines.”

Echoing an earlier statement made by University of the Philippines law professor Harry Roque, the group noted that the law’s provision on online libel covers written messages, comments, blogs, or posts in sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and other Internet social media sites, and that this poses a threat to all netizens.

“The Cybercrime Law, again seems to have retarded our march with the rest of the world with respect to giving full force to the people’s freedom of expression,” Anonymous Philippines also said. Using the hash tag #OccupyPhilippines, the hackers  identified themselves as Anonymous Butuan, PrivateX, #pR.is0n3r, Lo0p th3 Lo0p, l4stl00k, Blackrain, and Anonymous Manila.

Officially known as Republic Act 10175, the Cybercrime Law contains a portion on Internet libel based on Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code. The constitutionality of this provision in RA 10175 is being challenged in at least three petitions filed before the Supreme Court.

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Multiply to shut down by December 1 2012

 

Multiply export tools for Blogger

As announced last August, Multiply.com will be shutting down its social network service (which includes blogs, notes, photos, links, among others) by December 1, 2012 to focus on becoming “Southeast Asia’s premier online marketplace.” I will forever remember Multiply because it is where I started blogging back in 2007 – more on this on a future post.

 

With still nine weeks left, the website has already outlined to its users how they can export their uploaded content to Blogger.com. In an email to users dated September 16, Jack Madrid, country manager of Multiply Philippines noted that “efforts are underway to offer ways to migrate content to other platforms such as Tumblr and WordPress.” Here is the full text of his email:

 

Image representing Multiply as depicted in Cru...

Multiply.com logo

Hello.

This is Jack Madrid, Country Manager of Multiply Philippines.

Over the past year and a half, Multiply has shifted its business focus on expanding its e-Commerce presence in Southeast Asia, concentrating exclusively on the Philippine & Indonesian markets. It is for this reason that we have a permanent office here in Manila with over 50 employees, while moving the global headquarters from the United States to Southeast Asia (Jakarta). Our mission today is to become Southeast Asia’s most loved online shopping marketplace.

Recently, our CEO Stefan Magdalinski announced that as part of this shift in strategic focus to online shopping & selling, we will no longer support the social networking and blogging services that you are currently utilizing.

For our users who utilize our social network features (blog, video, photo, etc), we realize that this is painful, and we are launching some tools to help you preserve your content or migrate it to another platform.

The export tools are available underneath your headshot in your Multiply site. The export tool enables you to do the following:

  1. Download your content to your computer
  2. Export to Blogger (a blogging platform owned by Google)

Using the export tool:

  1. Visit your Multiply page (example: multiplyid.multiply.com)
  2. Click one of the options available on your Multiply page (below your headshot):
    1. Download Media: to download all media files
    2. Export to Blogger: to transfer your blogs to your Blogger page
      1. Choose file you would like to download
      2. You will receive an email (via the email address registered to your Multiply account) containing a link to download all your Multiply files along with instructions on how to import them to Blogger.

(Sample Email)

Image representing Blogger as depicted in Crun...

Logo of Blogger.com

 

These tools will be available until December 1, 2012 for you to migrate your content. There are efforts underway to offer ways to migrate your content to other platforms such as Tumblr and WordPress, and we will keep you posted as these options materialize.

For more information, please read this list of Frequently Asked Questions on this process.

Should you have any questions regarding the export tool, please let us know by dropping an email to csph@multiply.com.

Thank you for your kind attention. It has been a joy to have been your trusted partner in the storage and sharing of your lives online and we look forward to remain a part of your lives as we complete our transition into SEA’s leading online marketplace.

Warm Regards,

Jack Madrid

Note:
If you are using custom CSS the links to the export tools may not be visible under your headshot. In this case you can use the following urls to access them directly

http://(INSERT USER ID).multiply.com/download-media
http://(INSERT USER ID).multiply.com/export-to-blogger
http://(INSERT USER ID).multiply.com/export-to-tumblr

 

 

 


UP wins 2012 UAAP cheerdance tilt

UP Pep Squad wins 2012 UAAP Cheerdance Competition

For the fifth time in six years, the University of the Philippines Pep Squad won the first place in the UAAP cheerdance competition. Far Eastern University (FEU) and National University (NU) won the second and third place, respectively. Prior to this year, the Diliman-based cheering squad also won the crown in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. Meanwhile, this is the first time that NU placed in the top three.

UP’s Nicolette Erika Ambulo was declared as the “Samsung stunner” for the 2012 cheerdance competition. The final ranking of schools for this year’s contest are as follows:

UP, FEU, NU, University of Santo Tomas (UST), De La Salle University, Ateneo De Manila University, Adamson University, and the University of the East.

nicolette erica ambulo

UP’s Nicolette Erica Ambulo won the “Samsung stunner” award for the 2012 UAAP cheerdance competition (credits: Facebook)

Here are the rankings for the group stunts category:

1st – UP Pep Squad

2nd – FEU

3rd – NU Pep Squad

The annual UAAP cheerdance competition began in 1994. However, no such event was organized in 1997. The UP Pep Squad and UST’s Salinggawi Dance Troupe won the tilt eight times each while FEU has bagged the crown twice. UP has placed within the top three since the cheerdance competition’s inception.

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Zac Efron Penshoppe Fan Conference – September 29 2012!

Hollywood superstar Zac Efron will be meeting his Filipino fans in an exclusive event to be held in SM Mall of Asia Arena on September 29. Labeled by organizer Penshoppe as a “fan conference,” Efron will be formally introduced as the newest addition to the clothing line’s growing list of international endorsers during the event.

Efron’s visit to the Philippines has been widely anticipated since his endorsement deal with Penshoppe was announced last April. The hunk actor joined the ranks of fellow Hollywood celebrity Ian Somerhalder, Thai heartthrob Mario Maurer, and Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick as part of the so-called Penshoppe All Stars. Through the ambitious campaign, Penshoppe is reintroducing itself “as a Filipino brand proudly worn by some of the world’s most sought-after stars.”

Efron’s Filipino fans will have the chance to see their idol in person by joining a special promo by Penshoppe. Keep in mind that the promo will only run till September 23 or until passes last. Gates will open at 6PM.

Zac Efron Penshoppe fan conference – September 29, 2012 (credits: Penshoppe’s Facebook page)

PENSHOPPE FANCON 2012 starring ZAC EFRON

Continue reading


On Rico E. Puno – my exclusive

I came out last week with an investigative article on Rico E. Puno, President Benigno Aquino III’s shooting buddy and outgoing interior and local government undersecretary. The piece, which I originally submitted to Vera Files, has now appeared in four other media outlets – ABS-CBN News, Malaya, Manila Times, and Yahoo! News Philippines. Puno’s resignation was announced shortly before this report was released.

A string of disconcerting facts appeared shortly after Robredo was laid to rest. It turns out that ABS-CBN’s report that Puno and a group of police officers tried to “raid” the late secretary’s condominium unit in Quezon City is just the tip of the iceberg. Puno justified his actions by saying that he merely tried to “secure” sensitive documents there, adding that he is under instructions from Aquino to do it (the president did his part by corroborating his friend’s tale).

My exclusive story about DILG’s Rico E. Puno made it to the front page of The Manila Times last September 12

One of these sensitive documents is a classified August 8, 2012 memorandum addressed to Robredo which details the anomalous bid of the PNP to purchase 60,000 additional handguns. The entire initiative will cost about P1 billion. In page 14 of the 16-page memo, it is mentioned that Puno and three other individuals went to Israel to visit the facilities of the state-owned Israel Military Industries (IMI) – upon the company’s invitation.

The trip happened on the same day that PNP held a pre-bidding conference for companies interested to take part in the arms procurement initiative. IMI is formerly affiliated with the Israel Weapons Industries (IWI), one of the participants in the aforementioned bidding. Puno and two of his companions are part of the bids and awards committee for this project, the August 8 memo added. Puno’s other travel buddy is Reynaldo Espineli, president of R. Espineli & Co., IWI’s local partner in the bidding.

Excerpts of the confidential DILG memo dated August 8 2012 that incriminates Rico Puno (credits: ABS-CBN)

This is when the story becomes more interesting. IMI, the company that invited Puno and his peers to Israel, has been blacklisted from doing business with the Indian Defense Ministry for engaging in corrupt practices. The ban, as reported by wire agency United Press International, will last until year 2022. Isn’t it astounding to know that a high ranking Philippine government official would like to be associated with a company with this background?

No one has publicly refuted my report a week after it appeared. How can the article be refuted? IMI’s dubious background has been reported by foreign news outlets and by India’s Press Information Bureau.  In a report by radio station DZMM, Puno admitted that he went to Israel but only for a religious family vacation. He added that he visited the firing range of IWI in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The Israel Military Industries is banned from doing business in India for the next ten years

Coincidentally, IWI was declared by the PNP bids and awards committee as the lowest bidder among the seven companies that took part in the in the aforementioned process. The deal with IWI did not materialize after the company failed to submit certain documentary requirements. The more important task for Puno is to belie what the August 8 DILG memo says about his actions.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago conducted an inquiry on the matter last Friday, and predictably, one of the focal points of discussions there is Puno’s travel to Israel last May. According to him, he and his family went to Jerusalem for a vacation (Robredo approved his leave, he said), adding that he shouldered his travel expenses.

Puno went on to claim that he only met Leocadio Santiago, former head of PNP’s special action force, in an Israeli airport. After that, Puno and Santiago did some target shooting in a facility owned by IMI. Eventually, an exasperated Santiago exclaimed: “I don’t get the logic of what he was trying to say.” Sensing the futility of further investigating the matter, the House of Representatives has scrapped its plan to conduct a separate inquiry about Puno. According to news reports, Puno answered Santiago in a “cool” manner. Why not when he knows that President Aquino is there to back him up?

Nevertheless, I have the following questions in mind:

1. Where is Puno’s proof that he is indeed on a vacation leave during the said time period?

2. If Puno indeed traveled to Israel with his family, can he show proof that he was truly with his family during the trip?

3. Can the Bureau of Immigration (or other concerned government agencies) show evidence that Puno and the three men mentioned as his travel companions to Israel went to the said country SEPARATELY?

4. Is the Philippine embassy in Israel not aware of the presence of a high-level official from their home country there during the said days?

5. Is Puno not aware of the IMI’s corruption-laden track record in India?

Rico Escalona Puno visited the main facility of IMI last May. Two months before that, the company was blacklisted in India for engaging in corrupt practices (click to enlarge)

Must read:

If P-Noy believes Israel trip story, pity the Filipino people by Ellen Tordesillas


September 15 2012 class suspensions

No classes  -September 15 2012

The heavy rains triggered by Typhoon Karen experienced by Metro Manila throughout the night has prompted a number of universities to suspend classes for today, September 15 2012. They are the following (the announcements came from Twitter postings). We will update this post as soon as we get new information.

University of the Philippines – Manila

Far Eastern University (all Metro Manila campuses)

Adamson University

Centro Escolar University – Manila and Makati

EARIST Manila

College of St. Benilde

College of San Benildo – Rizal

National University

De La Salle University (Taft, Makati, and Ortigas extension)

Colegio de San Juan Letran

St. Scholastica’s College – Manila (except graduate level)

University of Santo Tomas

Polytechnic University of the Philippines (all Metro Manila campuses)

University of the East (Manila and Caloocan, except law and graduate school)

Lyceum of the Philippines University (Manila)

Arellano University

Miriam College

Emilio Aguinaldo College

San Sebastian College

Philippine College of Criminology

San Beda College

Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila

St. Paul University – Quezon City

PS: All UAAP games scheduled for today will proceed.

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Rico E. Puno is President Aquino’s “eyes and ears”

(N.B.: This is not yet the “story” I have been mentioning in Facebook since Sunday.)

President Benigno III’s had an impromptu press conference with members of the local media at the sidelines of the recently-concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok, Russia last September 8. During the exchange, it is apparent that Aquino is not in any way throwing Rico E. Puno, his shooting buddy and (outgoing) interior and local government undersecretary for peace and order, under the bus. An incomplete transcript of the press con has been posted in the government website. Veteran journalist Raissa Robles posted a more complete transcript in her blog.

Asked by a reporter how involved Puno is in the department’s procurement of additional weapons for the Philippine National Police, Aquino said he is relying on the former as regards to checking the pertinent data related to the transactions. Aquino added that Puno is his “eyes and ears” and that he is “knowledgeable” (about guns, perhaps). In 2011, then-House minority leader Edcel Lagman said Puno is part of Aquino’s circle of cronies (referred to as “kakampi, kaklase, at kabarilan”).

Puno first gained notoriety shortly after the 2010 Manila hostage crisis where a number of Hong Kong nationals died. The fiasco revealed that Aquino effectively truncated the power of now-deceased Jesse Robredo as DILG when he gave Puno the power to supervise the PNP. Robredo belongs to the so-called Balay faction of Aquino allies while Puno is allied with the Samar group. Shortly after the hostage incident, retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz listed Puno as among the regular recipients of jueteng payola. Despite the two issues, Aquino did not ask Puno to resign.

Compared to his multi-awarded superior at the DILG, little is known about Puno. As undersecretary for peace and order, Puno also controls the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. However, the DILG website does not even have a bio brief of Puno.

DILG organizational structure (credits: http://www.dilg.gov.ph)

A Philippine Star news report published shortly after Puno’s appointment in July 2010 said he has been part of Aquino’s staff since he was a congressman and senator. “He served as Aquino’s consultant in various activities in Congress; in the Senate as officer for public order and safety, economic affairs and local governance, as well as liaison officer for the PNP and the Armed Forces,” the article added.

GMA News’ Jam Sisante wrote a more detailed profile of Puno after the hostage incident. According to the article, Puno served as the president of Far East Ballistics Corporation from 1992 to 1995. It added that Puno was also a board member of National Range Officers Institute and the Philippine Practical Shooting Association. Despite his sterling record as a gun lover, the article noted that Puno “lacks experience in actual law enforcement.”

Puno is again in hot water after it was revealed in an ABS-CBN report late last week that a group led by him went to Robredo’s condominium unit in Quezon City supposedly to safeguard (acting on Aquino’s orders) sensitive documents stored there just a day after the latter’s plane was reported missing.

The controversy intensified after another report came out indicating that Robredo is in fact investigating Puno for his involvement in a deal to procure assault rifles for the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force. Why Aquino wants Puno to “secure” documents that includes those that may likely incriminate the latter has not been explained yet.

In the past two years, Puno has proven himself to be an albatross in Aquino’s neck. However, the president seems to be very reluctant to part ways with him. He said in Vladivostok that Puno continues to enjoy his trust since he is deemed “innocent until proven guilty.” He went as far as suggesting that Puno may be given another cabinet position if HE wants it. The ties that bind Aquino and Puno must be definitely thicker than water.

*Despite having a cozy working relationship with Puno, Aquino admitted two weeks after the 2010 Manila hostage fiasco that he has “differences” with Robredo and that this is why he appointed him in an “acting” capacity only. According to him, this will serve as an “evaluation period” for him to determine if he can get along with Robredo.

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