Saturday, February 28, 2009



tdrz productions, inc. presents
V-Day 2009: “FILIPINAS” 2009 Benefit Productions of
Writings To Stop Violence Against Women and Girls
Until the Violence Stops

( Los Angeles , CA .) – February, 2009 – CHANGE THE STORY OF WOMEN! The international movement to end violence against women and girls comes to Los Angeles with benefit readings of Eve Ensler’s award winning play “The Vagina Monologues” and the groundbreaking collection of monologues by world-renowned authors and playwrights, “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and a Prayer”. For the first time in Los Angeles, all-Filipino casts have been assembled for both productions, headlined by Dante Basco, Nia Peeples, Janelle So, Giselle Tongi, Tamlyn Tomita and just added, performer/singer/actress/publisher Antoinette Taus.

Each year, 1 in 3 women in the U.S. will be victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and/or rape, a staggering statistic that only counts reported cases. For women in college, 1 in 4 will be raped or sexually assaulted in their freshmen year. The current economic crisis is dramatically impacting women even more so. “There has been a noticed increase in women who are seeking assistance from women’s shelters,” explained Holly Mattson, Development Associate at the Center for the Pacific Asian Family, one of the beneficiaries of V-Day 2009:Filipinas. “A lot of women, mostly new immigrants, are being kicked out from their homes by their spouses or partners because they have lost their jobs and can no longer support a family. Most of the women are stay-at-home mothers, with little or no work experience or skills. All the shelters have been impacted and the situation gets worse daily” continues Mattson.

“The recent headline grabbing incident with Chris Brown and Rihanna is reason enough for all of us to see how violence, particularly towards women, should not be tolerated in our society,” explained Ted Benito, Executive Producer of the V-Day 2009: Filipinas productions. “It was so disheartening to hear some people say ‘well, maybe she deserved it’ or ‘she put herself in that situation herself’ or ‘he’s like that because of his childhood experiences’. Whatever the case, and we may never no what actually happened, I believe there is no excuse to result to such brutality.”

In 2008, over 4000 “V-Day” benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world (and for the first time, in the Philippines ), educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $60 million for local beneficiaries working to end violence against women and children. “I’m very excited about our V-Day:Filipinas productions” explains Associate Producer Maria Gardoce “not only because of the message of V-Day but also because they will have special highlights. Jannelle So (from “Kababayan L.A.”) and Prosy de la Cruz (civil service commissioner) will be making their theatrical debuts in The Vagina Monologues. Camile Velasco will be debuting a song off her new, upcoming CD. Eleanor Academia – The Black Swan will be playing music throughout both shows and theater veterans Bernardo Bernardo and Becca Godinez will be sharing the stage in “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” for the first time in years!”

This year, net proceeds from the benefit performances Bantay Bata (Child Watch), a project of the ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc.- USA (, and The Center for the Pacific Asian Family. CPAF’s toll free 24-hour crisis hotline is 1-800-339-3940 and they are on the internet at

The cast of A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer includes (in alphabetical order) actors Dante Basco (“The Debut”, “Take the Lead”, upcoming Ixnay at East West Players), Dion Basco (“City Guys”, “Biker Boyz”) Bernardo Bernardo (The Romance of Magno Rubio) and actor/dancer/producer Sonny Sison (“General Hospital”). They are joined by actresses Esperanza Catubig (“Without a Trace”, “The Sensei”), Fran de Leon (“Becker”, “Faces of America”, Associate Artistic Director of Will & Company), Liza del Mundo (“ER”, Imelda: A New Musical, “Punk’d”), Becca Godinez (singer/songwriter, director, producer, recording artist; “West Side Story”, “The King and I”); Golda Inquito (“The Shield”, Chess-The Musical) and Minerva Vier (Stateside Girls, Barefoot Boy with Shoes).

The cast of The Vagina Monologues features (in alphabetical order) actresses Edelyn Aubrey (“Kapalaran”, Dough Boys), Melody Butiu (Dogeaters, Shipwrecked, “Samantha Who”); poet, playwright and performance artists Alison de la Cruz; community leader Prosy de la Cruz (former L.A. Civil Service Commissioner appointed by Mayor Villaraigosa); actress, singer and television personality Nia Peeples (“North Shore”, “Fame”, “The Young and the Restless”); television host and producer Jannelle So (“Kababayan L.A.” – KSCI Channel 18); and actresses Leslie Lewis Sword (Miracle in Rwanda, Yesterday Came Too Soon), Antoinette Taus (actress/singer/dancer/magazine publisher); Tamlyn Tomita (“The Joy Luck Club”, “Day After Tomorrow”, “Heroes”) and Giselle Tongi (television host, singer, Anna in the Tropics).

American Idol Season 3 finalist Camile Velasco will make a featured appearance at The Vagina Monologues and singer/songwriter and musician Eleanor Academia – The Black Swan will be the featured musical guest artist at both shows. Directing both productions is Jon Lawrence Rivera, award-winning Artistic Director of Playwrights’ Arena (“Dogeaters”). All performers have volunteered their time and talent to make both productions a success.

Both performances will be presented on Saturday, March 7, 2009 at the Aratani Theater, part of the Japan American Cultural & Community Center, at 244 South San Pedro Street , Los Angeles , California 90012 .


tdrz productions, inc. presents
“A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer”
and “The Vagina Monologues”
The Aratani Theater of the Japan American Cultural & Community Center
244 South San Pedro Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer - 4:00pm
Tickets: $10.00 - $15.00

The Vagina Monologues - 7:30pm
Tickets: $10.00 - $35.00

Parental Advisory: Adult Language and Themes

Silent Auction

Limited* $100.00 VIP tickets which include premiere seating at both “A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer” and “The Vagina Monologues” performances and access to post-performance reception (after “The Vagina Monologues”). Please email and include a daytime contact phone number and/or valid email address.

*While available and on first-come, first-serve basis.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Czarina and the Priest

PerryScope By Perry Diaz

A battle royal is looming in the land of Cong Dadong Macapagal between his daughter, President -- and anti-drug “Czarina” -- Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Gov. Fr. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga. With all the government and political resources at her disposal, the Czarina has come down furiously at the priest-turned-governor through a series of Machiavellian strategies. But the priest is fighting back like David did to the mighty Goliath.

It all started when Panlilio and other governors were invited to a breakfast meeting at the Malacanang Palace in October 2007. During the meeting, a presidential aide handed brown envelopes to the guests without any explanation. The brown envelope that Panlilio received contained P500,000. After a few days -- not knowing what the money was for -- Panlilio went public and disclosed the money which he believed was a bribe. At about the same time, it was revealed in the news that brown bags were also distributed to about 190 congressmen who attended a separate meeting with Gloria in Malacanang. At that time, an impeachment resolution against Arroyo was pending in the House of Representatives. Soon after the meetings, the impeachment resolution was overwhelmingly rejected by the House of Representatives.

Panlilio’s expose’ of the bribery was tantamount to a declaration of war against the Arroyo regime. Pretty soon, Pampanga’s vice governor, provincial board members, and all the municipal mayors ganged up on Panlilio and openly opposed him on everything he did or wanted to do including eradicating jueteng and corruption.

Pampanga is known as the “Vatican of Jueteng” because the reputed Jueteng King of Central Luzon is believed to be a town mate and “kumpadre” of Gloria. With the influence of “jueteng power” over the people and political establishment in Pampanga, any attempt by Panlilio to stop the jueteng operations would likely fail. However, something good in a grand scale could be achieved in the process.

Unfazed by the resistance, Panlilio persisted and held his political enemies at bay. Last year, people believed to be associated with Lilia Pineda -- one of two candidates that Panlilio defeated in the gubernatorial election in 2007 -- launched a recall petition against Panlilio. Some people questioned if Gloria’s son, Congressman Mikey Arroyo, had a hand in initiating the recall move.

The recall was stalled momentarily when the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) didn’t have the funds to spend for the recall election. But in an unusual move, the Arroyo-controlled House of Representatives hastily approved a budget of P50 million specifically for the Panlilio recall election. Clearly, the Arroyo administration was hell-bent in removing Panlilio from office. However, there is a small window of opportunity for Panlilio to escape the recall. If the COMELEC fails to conduct the recall election by April this year, then Panlilio could complete his three-year term of office.

The Arroyo-Panlilio war came out in the open when Panlilio accused Gloria and Mikey of “coddling” the jueteng protectors in Pampanga. But Gloria challenged Panlilio to “show proof that the President allows jueteng lords to operate freely in his province.” This “show proof” counter-offense has always worked for Gloria.

Panlilio wanted to replace Senior Superintendent Keith Ernald Singian as Pampanga Provincial Director. He accused Singian as one of the protectors of jueteng operations in Pampanga. He also claimed that Mikey together with San Fernando Police Chief Superintendent Benjamin Medina and a certain Fr. Jun Mercado had been protecting Singian from being removed from his position.

At one time, Singian declared that jueteng did not exist in Pampanga. He could be technically correct because jueteng, which is illegal, has morphed into “Small Town Lottery” (STL), which is legal. Jueteng and STL are basically the same. It’s interesting to note that the STL operators are the same people who operated the illegal jueteng operations.

Panlilio had repeatedly complained -- he said 18 times -- to National Police Chief Director General Jesus Verzosa that jueteng was still rampant in Pampanga and that Singian had been protecting the jueteng (aka STL) operators. Under constant pressure from Panlilio, Verzosa finally acceded and directed the regional police director to replace Singian. Senior Superintendent Gil Lebin, Jr. was appointed to replace Singian.
After Lebin took over, he was interviewed by the press and was asked how he would deal with jueteng? His response was: “Does it exist here?” Whoa! Is Lebin a clone of Singian? Panlilio commented that “Lebin was recommended by the Pampanga Mayors’ League, who is chaired by the son of the alleged jueteng lord in Pampanga.”

The high-profile tug-o-war between Panlilio and Gloria -- and her surrogates -- has attracted a lot of attention in the country as well as abroad. Sad to say, it is contributing to Gloria’s bad image abroad. It’s no wonder that US President Barack Obama had avoided Gloria three times when she chased him around in the US.

Recently, Panlilio stated that he would run for President if God willed it. His base of support is growing fast in the country as well as in the Filipino global community. But should he decide not to run in 2010, he could become a strong catalyst for “change” and would be effective in helping to bring down the corrupt ruling party.

Almost a century ago, the powerful Romanovs of the Russian empire were deposed in a bloody revolution. The weakling Czar Nicolas II and his strong-willed wife Czarina Alexandra were oblivious of the suffering of the Russian people. Protected by the military led by corrupt generals, the royal family lived in pompous splendor while the people lived in abject poverty and hunger. And behind the Czarina was a mad monk. His name was Gregory Rasputin. He ill-advised the Czarina who virtually held power in running the corrupt czarist regime. In the end, the evil Rasputin was one of the causes -- perhaps the catalyst -- of the Romanovs’ downfall in 1917.

In the case of Czarina Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, another holy man -- the good priest Among Ed Panlilio -- could play a pivotal role in the 2010 election, an election that could eventually bring “change” to the country. Indeed, it could be a “change” that will bring forth -- albeit belatedly -- the true spirit and meaning of the unfinished “People Power” revolution of 1986.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Arnel Pineda joins Lani Misalucha U.S. Tour for a Cause

By Jay Fermin (FMG)

Anaheim, California: It was the Nightingale teaming up with the Journeyman! Lani Misalucha was joined onstage by Journey’s Arnel Pineda. And the house was packed for the Friday Concert at Heritage Forum last January 30, 2009. Excitement was in the air as close to a full house SRO crowd filled the theatre-in-the round as it is popularly referred too – the stage being in the middle of the venue.

Close to near capacity crowd of 2500 slowly took their seat as Season 3 American Idol Finalist Jasmine Trias opened the evening with intimate rendition of pop and R&B favorites at a little past 8 pm.

However, the excitement of the evening was Journeyman Arnel Pineda himself who for the first time joined the multi-awarded nightingale Lani Misalucha on this her 2009 multi-city U.S. Concert Tour.

Arriving at Burbank Airport shortly before noon, just the day after the U.S. tour opening night in San Jose Auditorium, Arnel Pineda took a quick rest at the hotel and proceeded to Heritage Forum for soundcheck. Tonight will be different from the rest of the U.S.Tour. Arnel will be performing in the first part of the concert and catch a flight to Tampa, Florida, where he will join his band Journey to perform on Superbowl Sunday Pre-Game show February 1, 2009.

Lani Misalucha, lovely as ever, opened the show with a couple of fast paced songs, circling the round stage in her white mini skirt to the delight of the packed crowd. However, what brought the house down was when Journeyman Arnel Pineda joined her onstage; the energy of the crowd, especially the ladies, was overpowering, testing the limits of stage security!

Arnel thanked the crowd’s overwhelming response by saying “Salamat po sa pag tangap ninyo sa akin !” (Thank you for accepting me!). He opened his set of seven songs with Journey’s own ‘Faithfully.’ The crowd pushed forward as he belted the opening lines “Highway run / into the midnight sun / wheels go round and round / you’re on my mind…” echoing with the guitar lead of the popular Journey anthem song.

Lani and Arnel however reminded the crowd before their duet that the greater purpose of their U.S. Tour is ABS-CBN’s Bantay Bata 163, a social welfare program which protects children in the Philippines from abuse. Part of the proceeds of the tour will go to the Children’s Crisis Center and the Children’s Village.

Going back to business, Journeyman Arnel completed his set with classic rock selections and capped his performance with another Journey favorite – “Open Arms.” The crowd now are pushing forward to touch Arnel’s hand as he rounds the stage singing “Lying beside you / here in the dark/ Feeling your heart beat with mine / Softly you whisper, you’re so sincere / How could our love be so blind….” The crowd rendered Arnel a standing ovation as he belted out the last line “So here I am with open arms / Hoping you’ll see / What your love means to me / Open arms.” He was rushed by security down the circular stage thru the pushing crowd into the safety of backstage. Tonight’s reverse format with Arnel singing earlier than their other concert venue of the U.S. Tour, took Lani a few minutes to bring the crowd back to her sweet rendition of heartwarming blend of pop, rock, jazz, soul, R&B, and opera!

The Nightingale again has caught the heart of America with Journeyman himself, with shows in Chicago, New Jersey, San Diego (February 8) and capping the tour in Guam (February 12). As promised, they have delivered something different, a fusion of the Diva and the Rock Star! Just in time before the Rock Star rejoins the band Journey for their 2009 World Tour.