The year 2015 may best be remembered for its “3Ps” – the Pope, Politics, and Pia. The year began with a visit in January by no less than Pope Francis. A series of political crises followed, set off by the deaths of 44 men from the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Maguindanao, resulting in the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by Congress. Corruption allegations against presidential contender and Vice President Jejomar Binay and the “tanimbala” or bullet planting extortion scheme allegedly by Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) staff also hogged the headlines. Whether another aspirant, Senator Grace Poe, will continue her presidential run is a story that will carry over to 2016. Pia Wurtzbach became the third Miss Philippines to be crowned Miss Universe. Her victory not only brought back a sense of pride but of hope, especially to Filipinos devastated by Typhoons “Lando” and “Nona”.
With the national elections set in May 2016, all eyes are on the candidates for president — Grace Poe, Rodrigo Duterte, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Jejomar Binay, and Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. Will the list of choices be the same come Election Day? Watch and wait.
The tanim-bala or bullet-planting and extortion schemes at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) topped the list of corruption scandals that rocked 2015. Vice President Jejomar Binay’s corruption and plunder charges when he was mayor of Makati City aren’t far behind as the allegations surfaced following his announcement of his presidential bid.
OFW Mary Jane Veloso was sentenced to death for drug possession in Indonesia, but her sentence was suspended pending an ongoing re-investigation of her case. Joselito Zapanta, an OFW from Saudi Arabia, however, was not as fortunate as he was hanged in late December for killing a Sudanese national. Jason Ivler, nephew of folk singer Freddie Aguilar, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for killing a motorist in a road rage incident. Domingo “Sandy” de Guzman III, the alleged mastermind in the death of race car driver Enzo Pastor, has been arrested and now awaits trial.
It wasn’t a very good year for the food and beverage industry, with the popular milk tea causing the death of two individuals and reports of food poisoning, including one from a fast-food chain which the company denied after. A long dry spell in the middle of 2015 threatened water supply although rains spawned by a series of weather disturbances refilled the dams.
Metro Manila commuters continue to endure the difficulty of taking the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) trains that have broken down every so often and in some instances endangered lives as the government seeks solutions. Meanwhile, car-booking apps like GrabCar and Uber have emerged as the alternative mode of transport for those who want to weave around metro traffic in comfort and style.
It was the rise of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in 2015 as the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris where 12 journalists were killed in January and the simultaneous shootings in the same city that left 153 people dead in November were attributed to the Muslim extremist group. It was also a year when air transport was not the safest mode of travel after the crash of Malaysian MH 370 and Russian Kogalymavia Flight 9268 killed 239 and 224 passengers and crew respectively.
The Philippines playing host to the 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (Apec) was clearly the top Business story of 2015. Twenty-one world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping, were on hand to discuss strategies on how to promote inclusive growth worldwide. In relation to this, President Benigno Aquino III signed two economic bills into law that would prepare the Philippines for Asean integration.
Philippine sports in 2015 can be likened to a rollercoaster as some athletes found themselves on top of their game while others would rather forget the year that was. Collegiate basketball in 2015 saw contrasting championships with the Letran Knights ending a 10-year title drought to win the NCAA men’s basketball event over the heavily favored San Beda Red Lions while the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws proved they were the team to beat in the UAAP after they defeated the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers for the crown. It was not to be for men’s basketball on the world stage as Gilas Pilipinas finished second twice – to China on Fiba Asia and to Iran for the Jones Cup. It wasn’t a good year for boxing as Brian “The Hawaiian Punch” Viloria lost his world flyweight title to Nicaraguan Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Manny Pacquiao to Floyd Mayweather. The bright spot was Margarita Ochoa who won the gold medal in the World JiuJitsu Championship at the Long Beach State University in California. Filipino fans of the NBA were treated to a visit by Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry who showed them why he was now the best in the NBA.
A NewsCentral.PH story about a young Filipino chef who made waves in photography in New York was the most read on its Lifestyle section. And it’s still all about Pia Wurtzbach as an article about experts and fans weighing in on the chances of the Philippines’ bet ranked second. An LGBT Valentine’s Day story was a hit among netizens as a reallife LGBT couple shared their experiences on dating and celebrating this Day of Hearts.
It was all “AlDub” in 2015. The rise of Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards can only be described as “phenomenal” as their love team broke every conceivable record – from TV ratings to Twitter and the box office of the Metro Manila Film Festival where their movie “My Bebe Love” emerged on top.
And as stars shine, some of them fade away although they will always be remembered: Julia Buencamino; Liezl Sumilang-Martinez, 54; Elizabeth Ramsey, 83; and YouTube sensation Jam Sebastian, 22.
Pope Francis and the phenomenal “AlDub” love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza were two of the most popular trending topics in 2015. So were Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte whose on-and-off-and-on bid for the presidency has been followed extensively by netizens with #DuterteSerye and the Play Girls, a sexy allfemale dance group, who found themselves on the hot seat and tagged with #TuwadNaDaan and #LiberalPanty after their sizzling performance during a birthday celebration for one of the members of the administration-backed Liberal Party.
In 2015, a Filipina from a remote island in Antique province earned her computer science degree, thanks to social media giant Facebook. In the same year, porn potal PornHub offered scholarships to deserving students. Mobile games became a venue for protests against corruption as in the “tanim-bala” or bullet planting extortion scheme at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) while app-based transportation services like Uber and GrabCar made it a little more bearable for commuters to weave through Metro Manila’s heavy traffic as they travel in comfort and style. These were just some of the technology stories that made their mark in 2015 and “touched” everyone with a tap on the keyboard or a swipe on the screen of a computer or mobile phone.
Pulitika at “AlDub” ang namayagpag ngayong 2015. Muling balikan ang mga balitang ito atbp. sa NewsCentral.PH:
Tinawag na oportunista at buwitre ng Akbayan partylist ang mga miyembro ng National Transition Council (NTC). Kanilang binatikos ang NTC na isinisisi kay Pangulong Benigno Aquino ang pagkamatay ng 44 na Special Action Forces (SAF) Officers sa Mamasapano Massacre. Ang NTC ay umano’y alyansa ng mga tagasuporta nina Dating Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at Janet Lim-Napoles.FULL STORY
Ipinahayag ng Makabayan bloc na “hindi sila magso-sorry” matapos nilang magsagawa ng kilos-protesta sa loob ng session hall kung saan nagaganap ang State of the Nation Address (Sona) ni Pangulong Benigno Aquino. Iginiit ni Rep. Terry Ridon ng Kabataan Partylist noong Hulyo 27 na constitutional right nila ang maghayag ng saloobin tungkol sa gobyerno.FULL STORY
Nasawi si Archimedes King, may-ari ng Victoria Court chain of motels, nang bumagsak ang kanilang private plane sa Cuenca, Batangas noong Hulyo. Namatay rin ang piloto, si Jun Taborlupa. Sugatan sina Ling ling King, asawa ni King, Tina Ocampo, Rico Ocampo, Arthur San Diego, Christopher Chilip at Patricia Chilip.FULL STORY
Noong Mayo, pinugutan ng ulo ang cellular inspector na si Jackri Jargi ng mga Abu Sayyaf matapos itong dukutin sa Mohammad Ajul, Basilan. Dinukot rin ng mga pinaghihinalaang kasapi ng Abu Sayyaf sa Dapitan ang 2 miyembro ng Philippine Coast Guard at isang Barangay Chairman ng Zamboanga del Norte.FULL STORY
Noong Setyembre, nanawagan ng People Power ang mga tagasuporta ni Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte upang makumbinse siyang tumakbo bilang Pangulo sa darating na halalan sa 2016. Pinangunahan ni North Cotabato Gov. Manny Pinol ang nasabing panawagan.FULL STORY
Ikinamatay nina William Abrigo at Suzaine Dagohoy ang umano’y nilason na milk tea sa ErgoCha tea store sa Maynila. Si Arnold Aydalla na kasintahan ni Dagohoy ay swerteng nakaligtas dahil naidura pa niya ang naturang inumin. Hindi kinasuhan si Lloyd Abrigo na suspek sa paglalason sa inumin.FULL STORY
Inihalintulad ni Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista ang paghahanda sa eleksyon sa “finished or not finished, pass your papers” na gawi ng mga estudyante. Inamin ni Bautista noong Hunyo na dahil sa pagsasaayos ng mga PCOS machines na ginamit sa eleksyon noong 2010 at 2013, kinunsidera nila ang panukalang magbalik na lamang sa mano-manong botohan sa 2016.FULL STORY
Sa Twitter, ipinahayag ng Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) ang kanilang “100% na suporta” sa tambalang Alden Richards at Maine Mendoza o AlDub. Ayon sa kanilang tweet, itinataguyod ng KalyeSerye ng Eat Bulaga ang Filipino marriage moral standards. Umani ng 2 milyong tweets ang #AlDubAgainstAllOdds na sinuportahan ng CBCP.FULL STORY
Tinaya ng Phivolcs na maaaring tamaan ang Metro Manila at mga karatig-lugar ng 7.2 magnitude na lindol kung gagalaw ang West Falley Fault. Pinaghanda ang publiko sa (damage) na maaaring abutin sa posibleng pagtama ng malakas na lindol sa bansa.FULL STORY
Ani Albay Governor at opisyal ng Liberal Party Joey Salceda, makakayanang talunin ni Rodrigo Duterte sina Mar Roxas, Grace Poe, at Jejomar Binay. Ayon kay Salceda, makukuha ni Duterte ang karamihan ng mga boto kung sabay na tatakbo ang tatlong kandidato. Ikatutuwa rin ito ng Mindanao na magkakaroon na ng kaunaunahan nilang Pangulo.FULL STORY