MRT gets failing grade from commuters + more things you might have missed today

Senator Drilon pushes for a revised VFA, Bureau of Corrections chief is clueless, and more.

 

(SPOT.ph) Busy day, Spotters? We quickly recap 10 things you might have missed while you were off the radar.

 

1. MRT gets failing grade from commuters in Senator Poe’s survey

If the MRT were a student, it would be facing some serious consequences by now. At a hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Services led by Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday, the results of an independent survey done with a hundred daily commuters of the MRT was presented. Using the grading system of the University of the Philippines, the 13 stations of the MRT got an average grade of 4 or conditional failure.

 

The survey focused on queuing time; conditions of comfort rooms, elevators, and escalators; ease of travel or comfort while riding the train; air conditioning system; and total riding experience. GMA-Kamuning, Cubao, Shaw Boulevard, and Taft earned a failing grade of 5. Meanwhile, Quezon Avenue, Ortigas, Boni, and Guadalupe earned a 4. North Avenue and Buendia stations got a passing grade of 3, while Santolan-Annapolis (2.75) and Ayala and Magallanes (both 2.5) got satisfactory grades.

 

2. US rejects PH request for custody over Pemberton

The United States has rejected the Philippine government’s request for custody over US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who is accused of murder in connection with the killing of Jennifer Laude. The statement from the US Embassy received on Wednesday afternoon says, "the United States will retain custody of Pemberton as provided by the United States-Philippine Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)."

 

The VFA provision mandates that the US has "the right to retain custody of a suspect from the commission of the alleged offense until completion of all judicial proceedings."

 

3. Drilon urges DFA to revise VFA

Speaking of the VFA, Senate President Franklin Drilon has voiced out his views on the matter, urging the DFA to initiate a review on its controversial provision. He made the call after the US Embassy issued its statement, and said, "Masyadong teknikal ang kanilang interpretasyon ng Visiting Forces Agreement."

 

Drilon added, "Ang hiniling ng pamilya nung namatay nating kababayan ay hindi po kinonsidera."

 

4. Tax raps filed vs Makati City Hall’s cake supplier

Remember those infamous Makati City cakes? They’re back, and it’s not looking good. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Thursday filed a tax complaint before the Department of Justice against Kim Tun Chong of Cups and Mugs Kitchenette. According to the BIR, the company racked up a grand total of P46.5 million of underdeclared income tax and tax evasion from 2009 to 2011.

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Cups and Mugs Kitchenette supplied birthday cakes distributed by Makati City Hall for senior citizens, and also has a contract to manage the cafeteria at Makati City Hall and Ospital ng Makati.

 

5. Sharon Cuneta would make a good Pasay City mayor, says Senator Sotto

Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto is no stranger to making bold statements. This time, he says Sharon Cuneta would be a good Pasay City mayor. "Kung ako ang tatanungin, sapagkat ako ang naghubog, ako ang nag-imbento ng showbiz career niya, puwede ko ring iimbento ang political career niya kung gusto niya," Sotto told reporters Wednesday.

 

Sotto was quick to clarify that he was only expressing his opinion and he had not discussed it with Cuneta. "Hindi niya alam. Ako lang."

 

6. BuCor chief clueless about inmate’s studio, album

On Thursday, the Bureau of Corrections director Franklin Bucayo said he did not know that a convicted bank robber in New Bilibid Prison not only built a recording studio, but also recorded a hit album inside the maximum security compound. "I did not know. I only found out about it when news came out that there was that type of facility and that there were concerts going on," he said.

 

The studio was used by robbery gang leader Herbert "Ampang" Colangco to record his platinum album.

 

7. Customs examiners "ruin" little boy’s Christmas

A December 15 Facebook post is going viral, thanks to Customs officials and allegedly unreasonable postal fees. Dana Porcalla recounted how her son was "reduced to tears" because he couldn’t claim a Christmas package sent by his father. She said the examiners refused to hand over the package, which amounted to P2,300 in fees.

 

The incident occurred at the central post office at Domestic Road in Pasay City.

 

8. Canada man finds woman for free trip around world

In November, a Canadian man made headlines by offering a free round-the-world air ticket to a woman with the same name as his ex-girlfriend. A month later, he has found her: Elizabeth Quinn Gallagher, a 23-year-old student and part-time office administrator from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. They both clarified that the trip would be a platonic one (as Elizabeth has a boyfriend who, by the way, supposedly "isn’t thrilled.")

 

For context, Jordan Axani and his ex-girlfriend booked discounted round-the-world air tickets in May, but they broke up and he didn't want her ticket to go to waste. He found a loop hole: Despite a strict no-transfer policy, passport information was not required when booking so technically, it can be used by any Canadian named Elizabeth Gallagher.

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9. 10 Things to Do in Manila with Balikbayan Relatives

It’s the holiday season which means your balikbayan relatives are here for a visit! Er, now what? From eating options to even party places, we give you some great ideas to keep your guests busy and happy this Christmas.

 

10. 10 Great Wines Under P1,000 to Bring to a Party

’Tis the season to be merry...without breaking the bank, of course. If you’re attending a party, you can never go wrong with a good ol’ bottle of vino that will please your host and wallet.

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