Year in Review 2014: Top newsmakers in the Philippines

Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom

They made headlines and spurred debates. They were among the most searched news personalities in Yahoo Philippines too. Here are the people, in no particular order, who made big news in the Philippines in 2014. (Photos by NPPA Images)

1. Vice President Jejomar Binay

Given his position as the country’s second-highest ranking official, it’s normal for Binay to be newsworthy. But this year has been extra controversial for the 2016 presidential polls hopeful—from allegations of an overpriced car park to an overpriced high school building in Makati, and facing (but not attending) a series of Senate hearing probing his supposed Batangas estate. Add to that his plummeting ratings in presidential polls. A packed year for the VP, indeed.

Top 10 newsmakers- 2014

2. Janet Lim Napoles

She has not been as visible after her arrest in 2013 but Janet Napoles still makes newsrooms busy. Her profuse menstrual bleeding, or of having sex at the hospital made people cringe—issues that surfaced because she sought hospitalization for ovarian tumor. In June, Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the multi-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam was charged with plunder, alongside Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla.

Top 10 newsmakers- 2014

3. Imelda Marcos

The former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Representative began the year with a bang when she visited and brought wine and flowers to former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is under hospital arrest and then called President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III unjust and cruel. In November, Sandiganbayan meanwhile seized Marcos's prized paintings by Pablo Picasso, Michaelangelo Buonarotti, Francisco de Goya, among others. One of the paintings was reportedly purchased in 1983 for a whopping $3.5 million.

4. Manny Pacquiao

The most popular Filipino athlete won in two boxing bouts this year (vs Timothy Bradley in April and vs. Chris Algieri in November) and also donned a basketball jersey instead of gloves, when he joined Kia team as a playing coach. However, his biggest achievement must be the birth of his fifth child, whom he and wife Jinkee named Israel.

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos during an exclusive interview of Yahoo! Philippines at her home in San Juan City, Philippines. (Jerome Ascano/NPPA Images)
Top 10 newsmakers- 2014

5. Nora Aunor

Superstardom and countless acting accolades have not been enough to convince Malacanang that Nora Aunor deserves to be called a National Artist. In July, President Aquino thumbed down a nomination for Aunor, citing a previous drug-related case in the U.S.

Earlier in the year Aunor gained a monument in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, the shooting location of her iconic film "Himala.” Aunor may have lost the prestige and perks of being a National Artist but she’ll always have the support of her legions of fans.

Top 10 newsmakers- 2014

6. Jovito Palparan

One of the country’s most wanted was arrested in August, in a humble hide-out at Sta. Mesa, Manila. The emaciated Major General once tagged as “berdugo” (butcher) said he stayed free for three years with a facial hair disguise. However, a single ATM transaction gave clues on his whereabouts. He is charged with the disappearance of Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan and is detained at the Philippine Army headquarters.

Top 10 newsmakers- 2014

7. Vhong Navarro

Vhong Navarro gained public sympathy as well as scrutiny after appearing on national TV badly bruised, accusing businessman Cedric Lee and several others of almost killing him after an alleged rendezvous with Deniece Cornejo. Model Cornejo eventually accused and charged Vhong of rape (charges were dismissed) while the TV host filed illegal detention charges that placed Cornejo, Lee, et al in jail. In September, Cornejo and Lee posted bail.

Apart from the headlines Vhong made, there was a barrage of memes (Remember, ‘dala ka foods’?) and video parodies.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Vhong Navarro showing some dance moves after he accepts the best male tv host award during the Yahoo Celebrity Awards held in MOA Arena, south of Manila, on July 18, 2014. (Carlos Benedick Arcayan/NPPA)

8. Miriam Santiago

Thanks to her punchlines, Senator Miriam Santiago has always been a favorite source of quotes. But in July, Miriam made headlines, no thanks to an illness. Santiago announced she has lung cancer, prompting a long leave of absence at the Senate and resignation from her post as judge at the International Criminal Court. Now, Santiago claims her health vastly improved after a series of treatment and she is now mustering energy as she eyes the 2016 presidential elections.

9. Delfin Lee

One of the country's top fugitives, Delfin Lee, is finally arrested at a hotel last March over charges of syndicated estafa. Lee allegedly used fake documents to obtain millions of pesos in loads from the housing development fund. Lee is currently detained at Pampanga provincial jail.

10. Senators Enrile, Estrada, Revilla

The trio—Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla probably have the most news coverage in the Senate, amid supposed involvement in the PDAF scam. Charged with graft, the three Senators were sent to jail. In late June, Estrada and Revilla surrendered to Sandiganbayan and were eventually detained at Camp Crame. The frail Enrile, meanwhile, is under hospital arrest at the Philippine General Hospital.