Rappler Newscast | February 7, 2014
Today on Rappler.
- Pork barrel scam conduit Ruby Tuason turns state witness.
- The camp of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo denies involvement in the Malampaya fund scam.
- Senator Drilon criticizes the United Nations for not funding shelters for Yolanda victims.
Story 1: RUBY TUASON TO BACK PORK WHISTLEBLOWERS
She is accused in the pork barrel scam. Now, she’s back in the country and is turning state witness.
Ruby Tuason, the former secretary of ex-President Joseph Estrada and an associate of alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles appears at the Office of the Ombudsman Friday to re-affirm the statement she gave at the Philippine consulate in California.
Whistleblowers say Tuason was the conduit for lawmakers, who allegedly funneled their discretionary funds to fake Napoles NGOs in exchange for kickbacks.
Tuason’s lawyer, Dennis Manalo, says Tuason will "corroborate" the testimony of whistleblowers who tagged Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Enrile's former chief of staff Gigi Reyes in the scam.
Manalo also says Tuason will return the money she collected to the government.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says Tuason’s testimony is --quote-- “slamdunk evidence” against Estrada and Enrile because it proves the lawmakers were directly and personally receiving money from the scam.
Quoting the affidavit, De Lima says Tuason would pick up the pork barrel scam shares of Estrada and Enrile.
Tuason would then receive 1.5% of every successful project as referral fee.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says Tuason is now a "provisional" state witness with conditional immunity.
LEILA DE LIMA, JUSTICE SECRETARY: Si Ms Ruby Tuason ay nag-apply at tinanggap na po ng Witness Protection Program ng Department of Justice provisionally. So nag-issue po ako ng provisional admission para sa kanya. (Ms Ruby Tuason applied and was accepted into the Witness Protection Program of the justice department provisionally. I have issued provisional admission for her.)
De Lima says this status means Tuason is not yet granted full coverage under the Witness Protection Program, pending further evaluation of her testimony.
Tuason says she decided to testify to "clear [her] conscience."
RUBY TUASON, PROVISIONAL STATE WITNESS: It was a very big sacrifice on my part, because these are close friends of mine. It really pains me that I had to do this.
President Benigno Aquino welcomes Tuason's decision to testify, saying he hopes her affidavit will help the government's case against those involved in the scam.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Yung sinabing magtetestify siya, merong isa na pwedeng magkumpleto ng proseso, magtatahi, mag-reaffirm ng mga allegations ng ating whistle-blowers. So mas mapapatibay ang ebidensya. (With her to testify, there will be someone who can complete and re-affirm the allegations of the whistleblowers. So it will strengthen the evidence.)
In a press conference, De Lima says she will allow Tuason to testify before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee after Sen Miriam Santiago asked to interpellate her over the pork barrel scam.
Story 2: COURT HAS FINAL SAY ON TUASON AS STATE WITNESS
Justices say only the anti-graft court can declare self-confessed pork barrel conduit Ruby Tuason a ‘state witness’ upon the recommendation of the Ombudsman.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier declared Tuason a “provisional state witness” but a Sandiganbayan magistrate says it’s not for the justice department to determine whether she qualifies as a state witness.
The justice adds, “The court will determine if she is least guilty, that her testimony is materially substantive. What if the court says otherwise?”
The magistrate also says the justice department has full powers on who could be admitted to the Witness Protection Program, but the court determines who qualifies as state witness.
Retired Supreme Court justice and constitutionalist Jose Mendoza also says Tuason has to be indicted first as an active participant in the pork barrel scam before she can qualify as state witness.
Story 3: MIKE ARROYO'S LAWYER LINKED TO MALAMPAYA FUND SCAM
The camp of former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo denies involvement in the Malampaya Fund scam after pork barrel conduit Ruby Tuason names Arroyo’s lawyer Jess Santos as the collector of commissions from the Malampaya Fund.
Tuason's estranged second husband was Arroyo’s first cousin.
In her affidavit, Tuason says she witnessed her late sibling dealing with another person who delivered money from the Malampaya fund.
Portions of the fund, which is intended for energy development projects, were siphoned off to fake NGOs associated with Napoles.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Santos denies knowing Tuason or taking part in the scam.
He adds, "I am ready to face any probe. I am even ready to face my God to say I have nothing to do with this.”
In a statement, Arroyo's spokesman Ferdinand Topacio criticizes Justice Secretary Leila De Lima for her --quote-- "extreme irresponsibility and lack of ethics, logic and common human decency" for insinuating Arroyo’s involvement in the Malampaya scam.
Story 4: UN HIT FOR NOT FUNDING YOLANDA SHELTERS
Tension brews at the Senate over the United Nations’ lack of assistance in building permanent shelters for survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan.
Last month, the government was criticized for building bunkhouses that fall below international standards.
Senator Bongbong Marcos says the UN will not fund shelters unless the Philippines adheres to these standards.
But Sen Franklin Drilon criticizes the UN, saying that three months after the typhoon, there has not been a single unit funded by the international agency for temporary shelters.
He adds, “So much has been said about these international standards. These international agencies are fond of coming here over the weekend and suddenly becoming experts of local conditions.”
In December 2013, UN head Ban Ki-moon says the UN wants to mobilize at least $800 million or P33.6 billion for Yolanda survivors.
But a UN spokesman says the $800-million aid appeal is about 42% funded, with the component for shelters only a fifth funded.
Story 5: 14 DEAD IN MT PROVINCE BUS ACCIDENT
14 people, including two foreigners, are killed and at least 32 others injured after a bus falls down a ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province Friday.
At around 7:20 am, a Florida bus carrying 47 passengers fell into the ravine in Sitio Ab-ab in Barangay Bayyo.
Police say the accident may have been caused by loose brakes or human error, because there was no traffic and the weather was clear when the accident happened.
Comedian Tado, whose real name is Arvin Jimenez, is among those who died in the accident.
Non-governmental organization DAKILA, which Tado co-founded, says the comedian was going to Bontoc for the 40 Mountains Project.
Tado rose to fame because of his offbeat TV program “Strangebrew” and radio show “The BrewRats.”
He was also a regular fixture in noontime shows and soap operas.
Tado is survived by his wife and 4 children.
Story 6: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, a new study says the number of Filipino youth using technology for sexual activities is increasing.
The 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study shows 1 in every 4 Filipino youth sent or received sex videos through the cellphone or the Internet; 1 in every 100 recorded his or her own sex video; 4 in every 100 had sex with someone they met online or through text messaging; and 6 in every 100 engaged in phone sex.
But access to more information through new technology did not mean safer sex choices.
The study shows 78% of those having premarital sex do not use any form of contraception.
At number 6, negotiators from the Pakistan government and the Taliban meet Thursday to chart a roadmap for future peace talks.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella group of militant factions, started a series of attacks in 2007, killing thousands of people.
Stability in nuclear-armed Pakistan is important to its neighbor Afghanistan, where US-led NATO troops are pulling out after more than a decade of war.
And at number 8, Microsoft’s Kinect is no longer just a motion-detecting toy.
It’s now a security device straddling the landmine-laden border of North and South Korea.
The South Korean military is using it because of its ability to differentiate between human and animal movement.
Story 7: FORMER US CAPTAIN THOMAS DOOLEY IS NEW AZKALS COACH
The Philippine Football Federation announces former United States captain Thomas Dooley will be the new head coach of the National Team.
Dooley was formally introduced by Azkals team manager Dan Palami and PFF president Mariano Araneta on Friday as the man who will replace departing coach Hans Michael Weiss.
Dooley says he is excited about his new role.
THOMAS DOOLEY, AZKALS HEAD COACH: The biggest, shortest goal we have is to win the Challenge Cup because this is an important task. I’m very excited to take this task.
Dooley says he has only seen the Azkals play twice on video and would immediately address getting to know the players individually.
Dooley will need to acquaint with his team quickly, their first outing is set for March 5 against Azerbaijan in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Newscast Production Staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Vicente Roxas|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|
|3D GRAPHICS||Sten Bautista|