Rappler Newscast | December 19, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- Both chambers of Congress ratify the Reproductive Health bill - now ready for President Aquino’s signature.
- Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia is suspended for 6 months for grave abuse of authority but refuses to step down.
- President Aquino catches up with his Vice President Binay in the latest Pulse Asia trust ratings.
Story 1: BICAM APPROVES RH BILL
Both chambers of Congress ratify the Reproductive Health bill Wednesday.
Earlier, the bicameral conference committee signs the final version of the bill before Congress goes on Christmas break.
Voting 11-5, the Senate adopts the bicam report on the measure.
The House of Representatives also ratifies the bill by voice vote.
All it needs now is the signature of the President to become a law, which may take place before the year’s end.
Albay Rep Edcel Lagman says the bill retained -quote- “the empowerment of women and couples to freely and responsibly determine the number and spacing of their children.”
Here are the key features of the final version:
1.) Parental consent is needed before minors get access to contraceptives and other RH services, except if they are pregnant, have given birth or had a miscarriage;
2.) Both national and local governments must give RH services, including sex education and free contraceptives;
3.) Sex education is optional for private schools; and
4.) Providing RH services optional for private health institutions.
Members of the House contingent are appointed Monday night after the House passes the RH Bill on 3rd and final reading.
On Tuesday, a pre-bicam conference is held at the Senate to identify the most contentious provisions between the House and Senate versions.
The Senate panel includes Senators Pia Cayetano, Bongbong Marcos, Francis Pangilinan, TG Guingona, Alan Cayetano, Vicente Sotto III, Ralph Recto and Ping Lacson.
Story 2: AQUINO SUSPENDS CEBU GOV GWEN GARCIA
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is suspended Wednesday for 6 months for grave abuse of authority.
Cebu Vice-Governor Agnes Magpale - a member of the Liberal Party - is sworn into office as acting governor.
Garcia - a member of the United Nationalist Alliance - is found guilty of grave abuse of authority in connection with administrative charges filed against her by late Cebu Vice-Governor Greg Sanchez Jr. in 2010.
Sanchez accused Garcia of diverting the province's budget for allegedly anomalous contracts.
In July, the Ombudsman files separate graft charges against Garcia in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of land in Tiga-an, Naga, Cebu for 98.9 million pesos.
Story 3: GWEN GARCIA WON'T STEP DOWN
Governor Garcia refuses to step down, calling the suspension order a - quote - ‘power grab.’
Garcia says she is not stepping down because she has NOT personally received the suspension order.
She issues an executive order telling department heads that she remains the governor and that they should only follow her orders.
Vice Governor Agnes Magpale is sworn in as acting governor after governor Garcia’s office refuses to accept the DILG suspension order.
Garcia calls the suspension a - quote - ‘plain and simple power grab.’
She only has 6 months left in her term as governor, which is covered by the length of the suspension.
She adds, the ‘suspension amounts to a removal from office.’
Garcia is on her last term.
Her brother, Cebu Rep Pablo John Garcia, is running for governor in 2013.
He faces the Liberal Party’s gubernatorial bet Hilario Davide III - the son of a former supreme court chief justice.
Davide ran against Gwen Garcia in 2010, but lost by more than 96,000 votes.
His running mate at the time, the late Cebu Vice Governor Greg Sanchez Jr, filed the case against Garcia 4 months into her term
Story 4: PRESIDENT AQUINO SIGNS P2 TRILLION BUDGET
President Benigno Aquino signs the 2 trillion peso or 49 billion dollar national budget for 2013 into law - allowing the government to frontload spending early next year.
The 2013 budget is 10.5 percent higher than this year’s 1.8 trillion peso budget.
It also incorporates performance management measures for national government agencies.
Social services will continue to receive the highest allocation followed by economic services, such as infrastructure programs and debt servicing.
The Department of Public Works and Highways gets the second highest allocation with 152.4 billion pesos.
Budget secretary Butch Abad says up to 400 billion pesos will be spent for capital outlay.
He expects the Philippine economy will receive a boost from early spending, the start of public-private partnership projects and increased election spending in 2013.
Story 5: AQUINO CATCHES UP WITH BINAY IN SURVEY
President Aquino catches up with his vice President Jejomar Binay in Pulse Asia's trust and approval survey released Wednesday.
Binay now leads Aquino by only one percentage point in trust ratings.
Aquino registers a nationwide trust rating of 80% in November while Binay is at 81%.
In a similar survey in September, Aquino got 78% while Binay got 84% – a difference of 6 percentage points.
In terms of performance, Aquino posts a 78% rating in November while Binay registers 82% - a 4 percentage-point difference.
Aquino's performance rating remains unchanged from a similar Pulse Asia survey in September.
But Binay's rating in the same area drops by 3 percentage points from 85% in September.
Binay is eyeing the presidency in 2016 while Aquino's former running mate, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, plans to run for president.
He is expected to run on a platform to continue Aquino's legacy.
Story 6: US GUN LOBBY REACTS TO SHOOTING AS FUNERALS BEGIN
In the United States, as residents of Newtown, Connecticut begin to bury the victims of a deadly school shooting, the top U.S. gun lobby group says its members are - quote - ‘shocked, saddened and heartbroken.’
In a statement, the National Rifle Association says it is “made up of four million moms, dads, sons and daughters” and are “shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown."
The NRA releases its statement on the shooting after initially keeping silent, saying it wanted to give time for families to grieve.
Police are on high alert for copycats as public clamor grows for stricter gun control laws.
CNN reports in California, police arrest a teenager for making criminal threats online.
Another teenager in Louisiana is arrested for posting online that he wanted to - quote - go on rampage.
There is an estimated 310 million non-military firearms in the United States as of 2009, one for each citizen.
People in America are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than someone in another developed country.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, South Koreans head to the polls Wednesday to elect a new president.
In a tight race, Park Geun-hye of the governing Saenuri party looks set to become the country's first woman president.
But Democratic United Party's Moon Jae-in is putting up a good challenge. He is slowly eating away at Park’s lead.
The winner will replace President Lee Myung-bak who's at the end of his five year term. Formal results will be announced Thursday.
At number 6, following the backlash that came as a result of Instagram's new terms of service, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom clarifies Instagram has no intention of selling user photos.
Systrom blames the misinterpretation on less than stellar wording of the legal terms and adds they are going to remove the misleading language.
At number 7, according to a report by a market research firm, Samsung overtakes Nokia as the leading cellphone manufacturer.
This the first time in 14 years that the Finnish company is not on top.
Samsung is expected to account for 29% of worldwide cellphone shipments in 2012 up from 24% last year.
Nokia on the hand drops from 30% in 2011 to 24% in 2012.
And at number 9, authorities in China who see doomsday believers as a threat to social stability detain at least 93 members of the Church of the Almighty God.
According to a report by state-owned paper The Global Times, the group -quote- "brainwashed others into believing the end of the world is near" through texts and flyers.
The banned Christian cult adapts the Mayan prophecy of the world ending on December 21st but relates it to the second coming of a -quote- ‘female Jesus.’ Followers believe the sun will disappear for 3 days from Saturday through Monday followed by other natural calamities.