CrowdPope Francis kisses a child at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City yesterday.*

Pope calls on leaders:
End graft, fight poverty

Pope Francis yesterday demanded that leaders in the Philippines end "scandalous social inequalities", hitting out at corruption in a nation where tens of millions of Catholics endure brutal poverty.

The pontiff made the comments in his first speech of a five-day visit to the Philippines, after an electrifying welcome on Thursday enhanced the nation's reputation as the Catholic Church's vibrant Asian bastion.

Francis, a revered figure for most Filipinos, took immediate aim at the nation's elite who have for decades enjoyed the spoils of power while the vast majority lived in poverty.

PNoy lauds Fortich,
scores silence vs. abuse


President Benigno Aquino III in his message during the visit of Pope Francis to Malacañang yesterday cited the late Bacolod Bishop Antonio Y. Fortich as one of the country’s church leaders who “truly lived their faith and acted as followers of Christ in being their brothers’ keepers.”

Fortich, who passed away on July 2, 2003, had headed the Diocese of Bacolod from Jan. 13, 1967 to Jan. 31, 1989 and was known as the bishop of the poor who fought for their human rights, especially during the height of the martial law years.

Aquino said his understanding of the changes inspired by Vatican II, and of the influence of liberation theology, was the notion that temporal matters affect our spiritual well-being, and, consequently, cannot be ignored.moremoremore

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Two meted 17 years for
death of SU coed

The Regional Trial Court Branch 32 in Dumaguete City yesterday sentenced the two accused in the killing of a student of Silliman University to 17 years  after they pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of homicide, from the original one of robbery with homicide.

RTC Branch 32 Judge Rodrick Maxino also ordered accused Lelbe Bazar Mabanag and Christopher Bagaan Nerona to indemnify the family of Miraluna Gabato, P77,000, pay P38,328.14 as actual damages for expenses incurred, P50,000 each for moral and exemplary damages, the cost of litigation, and to return the money stolen from the victim, worth P16,400.moremoremore