Scenes from 2015: Nation

By Abbie Escarilla, Isabel Doria

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”.

Image by Benhur Arcayan / Lauro Montellano Jr. / Malacañang Photo BureauImage by Benhur Arcayan / Lauro Montellano Jr. / Malacañang Photo Bureau

Papal Visit 2015

FULL STORYImages from PCDSPO, PRIB Senado, Jojo Binay and Grace Poe Facebook pageImages from PCDSPO, PRIB Senado, Jojo Binay and Grace Poe Facebook page


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.

Image from Miss Universe Twitter accountImage from Miss Universe Twitter account

Pia Wurtzbach is Miss Universe 2015

FULL STORYImages from and Jojo Binay Facebook pageImages from and Jojo Binay Facebook page


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.

NBI files criminal complaints vs ‘tanim-bala’ suspects

Binay, 16 BSP execs face plunder over P3-B ‘anomalous’ Makati land deal

Images from Florante A Raspado's Facebook account, Justice for Camille Dee FB community page,  Jason Ivler's Twitter account and The GuardianImages from Florante A Raspado's Facebook account, Justice for Camille Dee FB community page, Jason Ivler's Twitter account and The Guardian

Justice and Crime

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.

Image by Gil Nartea/Marcelino Pascual/Malacañang Photo BureauImage by Gil Nartea/Marcelino Pascual/Malacañang Photo Bureau

Mindanao Issues – Mamasapano, BBL, Lumads

Maguindanao clash death toll up to 49–police

Aquino to address nation on deadly Maguindanao clash

Palace hopeful BBL be passed next year

House leader sees OK of BBL as ‘rare opportunity that should not escape our hands’

Lumads protest caravan to reach Manila Oct 26

MILF challenged to surrender comrades who killed 44 SAF members

Image by Gil Nartea/Malacanang Photo BureauNona Image by Gil Nartea Malacanang Photo Bureau

Disasters and accidents

NDRRMC: ‘Lando’ damage hits P11-B mark

NDRRMC: ‘Nona’ death toll up at 42, P5.2B in crops, infrastructure damaged

2 killed, 21 injured in 2 road accidents in Marikina

8 injured, traffic stalls after multiple collision on Nagtahan Bridge

Images from and Howief/Wikimedia CommonsImages from and Howief/Wikimedia Commons

Consumer Issues

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.

Milk tea proves fatal to 2, leaves one fighting for life

Fastfood chain probes ‘multiple messages of food poisoning’ in metro branch

Images from GrabTaxi, Uber Facebook page, and from GrabTaxi, Uber Facebook page, and

Commuter Issues

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.

Bad news for Uber from LTFRB: No franchise, no operation starting Aug. 20

Suspension of Uber, GrabCar angers netizens

Early morning MRT trips limited, defective rail section suspected

New Beep card system causes long queue at MRT