Rappler Newscast | June 5, 2014
Today on Rappler.
- The Ombudsman rejects Janet Napoles and Dennis Cunanan as state witnesses in the public fund corruption case
- But says Napoles and three senators will be charged for plunder.
- President Aquino calls for action against climate change.
Story 1: NO IMMUNITY FOR NAPOLES, SAYS OMBUDSMAN
The Ombudsman denies the motions for reconsideration of the 3 senators and the woman at the center of the pork barrel corruption scandal.
Plunder cases will be filed at the Sandiganbayan against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and alleged mastermind Janet Napoles.
The Ombudsman says evidence against them is --quote-- “sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial.
The 3 senators are accused of pocketing P597 million or about $13.67 million in kickbacks.
Napoles is accused of siphoning away their discretionary public funds to fake non-governmental organizations.
She earlier said she was willing to reveal what she knew about the scam, in a bid to turn state witness and get immunity from prosecution.
But the Ombudsman denies her plea, saying she “appears to be among the most guilty of all respondents.”
The Ombudsman also says former Technology Resource Center director general Dennis Cunanan failed to meet the qualifications to become state witness.
Some senators earlier questioned his denial that he did not benefit from the scam.
Also set to be charged over the scam are individuals named by whistleblowers: Enrile's chief of staff Gigi Reyes, Estrada's appointments staff Pauline Labayen, Revilla's chief political staff Richard Cambe, Napoles’ driver-bodyguard John Raymond de Asis, and her nephew John Ronald Lim.
Story 2: MIRIAM ON OMBUDSMAN: THERE'S A GOD, AFTER ALL
Senator Miriam Santiago welcomes the Ombudsman's decision to deny the appeals of the 3 senators indicted for plunder over the pork barrel scam.
Minutes after the Ombudsman released its decision, Santiago says, "There is a God, after all.”
Once the Ombudsman files a case against Senators Revilla, Enrile, and Estrada, they will automatically be suspended from office.
Estrada says the Ombudsman's decision was "not surprising."
Revilla's lawyer Joel Bodegon, says the senator's camp can file a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court.
Santiago's fiercest critic, Enrile, has yet to comment.
Story 3: PNP EYES CASES VS GENERALS OVER MISSING AK-47S
The Philippine National Police or PNP will file cases against at least 19 police personnel over missing AK-47 rifles.
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief Director Benjamin Magalong says the CIDG is also preparing to file a case against “around 7 retired and incumbent police generals” over the missing firearms.
A probe reveals 1,004 AK-47s supposedly acquired by mining firms and security agencies ended up with the New People’s Army or NPA.
A certain Isidro Lozada, who owns a security agency, says he got the rifles through authorized firearms dealer Twin Pines Incorporated.
Lozada says the NPA threatened to kill him and his family unless he supplied them with firearms.
Story 4: AQUINO: CLIMATE CHANGE ALTERING THE WAY WE LIVE
President Benigno Aquino reminds Filipinos to be aware of the harsh reality of climate change as the country continues its rehabilitation process in the aftermath of last year’s Super Typhoon Haiyan.
BENIGNO AQUINO, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: The reality of climate change is significantly altering the way we live and we will collectively suffer the consequences of our actions if we continue to ignore signs from the environment.
In a speech before delegates at the Asia-Europe Meeting or ASEM on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Aquino calls on the community of nations to deepen cooperation for a more resilient world.
Close to 150 leaders from 36 countries in Asia and Europe are in Manila to discuss how to use new technology to upgrade existing disaster risk reduction and management practices.
The Philippines aims to contribute to disaster preparedness with the “Tacloban Declaration,” which will detail new policies and principles.
Socio-economic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan shares the lessons learned in formulating the rehabilitation blueprint for areas affected by Haiyan, the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda or RAY.
Balisacan says bureaucratic processes are counterproductive, because unique situations will not adapt to a rigid set of rules.
ARSENIO BALISACAN, SOCIOECONOMIC PLANNING SECRETARY: It was very clear in our minds at that time when we were formulating RAY that without a prompt response and shift to recovery, the good macroeconomic essentials that we have established as the cornerstone for the rapid and sustainable economic growth that we’ve been trying to achieve and which we actually have successfully achieved in the past couple of years would be derailed.
Story 5: SOLIMAN: POVERTY IS A DISASTER
Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman says poverty is a disaster - highlighting a main goal of the Aquino administration.
She says cutting down poverty builds resilience into communities.
She encourages communities to “communicate, coordinate, and collaborate.”
DINKY SOLIMAN, WELFARE SECRETARY: The perspective of what we are just saying that the new normal emphasizes that poverty, in itself, is a disaster. And therefore, we must address poverty, and as people gain back their ability to stand on their own feet on self-sufficiency, then they can be resilient against disaster.
Soliman stresses the need for a science-based framework, where people could easily understand hazards and risks.
She also proposes the implementation of a relief highway, prepositioned assets for local government units in high risk areas, and the clean-up of debris in disaster areas within the first 24 hours.
Another speaker at the conference, Senator Loren Legarda, calls for gender-sensitivity when creating post-disaster rehabilitation plans.
She says women are vulnerable to disasters.
LOREN LEGARDA, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: More than 3.5 million women and girls were affected, 250,000 of them were pregnant and 169,000 were breastfeeding. Their distinct nutritional needs, when unmet, make coping with disasters even tougher for them. Also, their displacement from their homes put them at greater risk of sexual violence and of falling prey to human traffickers.
Legarda says development work, risk reduction and climate change adaptation must actively involve women.
She cites examples of women who led communities towards recovery after Haiyan.
LOREN LEGARDA, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: We need to do more capacitation of women not only as primary caregivers in times of disaster and economic distress, but also as part of the overall strategy on disaster risk reduction and management. To empower women is to reduce their vulnerability to disasters.
Story 6: VIETNAM, CHINA DELEGATES IN BITTER EXCHANGE AT ASEM
Delegates of Vietnam and China at ASEM exchange sharp words Thursday as discussions veered toward the two countries' territorial dispute.
The disagreement started when Vietnam’s agriculture vice minister Hoang Van Thang called China’s actions in the South China Sea an example of a “man-made disaster.”
HOANG VAN THANG, VIETNAM MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: Ladies and gentlemen, in closing I would like to bring to your attention a kind of man-made risk and disaster that is extremely serious, which is the situation going on in the South China Sea that first struck May 2014.
China has placed an oil rig at the location of 80 nautical miles deep into the Vietnamese exclusive economic zone.
Before the plenary was adjourned, a delegate from China walked up to the podium and slammed Vietnam’s claims.
CHINESE DELEGATE: The Vice-Minister of Agriculture of Vietnam, the honorable gentleman over there brought it up earlier… we strongly object to that. And we are forced to respond to it. The oil rig is carrying out on Chinese territorial waters which was recognized by a diplomatic note that Vietnam signed years ago, maybe decades ago. Obviously, it’s not Vietnamese exclusive economic zone.
China, Vietnam, and the Philippines are caught in a maritime dispute over parts of the South China Sea.
China’s claim to nearly all of the area strained its ties with Southeast Asian countries.
Story 7: PHILIPPINES MULLS NEW PROTEST AGAINST CHINA
The Philippines is considering filing another protest after reports China is boosting its presence in the disputed West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.
President Aquino says he received reports and photos of Chinese ships in the disputed Gavin Reef and Cuarteron Reef in the Spratlys or Kalayaan Group of Islands.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says if confirmed, China's heightened presence is cause for ‘concern’ if it leads to what China did on Mabini Reef or Johnson Reef in the Spratlys.
Last month, Manila accused Beijing of "destabilizing moves" in light of Chinese reclamation activities in Mabini Reef.
Del Rosario slams China’s reclamation activities, saying the Asian superpower’s “expansion agenda” casts doubt on its willingness to craft a legally binding code of conduct in the disputed sea.
An international tribunal is hearing the Philippines’ case against China.
Manila is challenging Beijing’s expansive claims over nearly the entire South China Sea.
Story 8: FORMER ARMY CHIEF ABDEL FATTAH AL-SISI WINS EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY
Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi wins the Egyptian presidency by 23.78 million votes or a landslide of 96.9%.
His lone rival, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, gets 775,000 or a mere 3%.
The Associated Press reports, thousands celebrate in Egypt after the Election Commission officially announced al-Sisi's victory, Wednesday Manila time.
He will be sworn into office Sunday.
In a televised address, Al-Sisi says, "It is now time to work — work that will carry Egypt to a bright tomorrow and better future and restore stability."
In 2013, Al-Sisi ousted Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi after the 29-year-rule of dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Al-Sisi then led a heavy crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsi’s Islamist supporters rejects Al-Sisi’s government, while critics fear he will bring Egypt back to Mubarak's autocratic state.
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 6, What are the challenges awaiting Spain’s king-in-waiting Crown Prince Felipe?
Felipe faces a nation struggling with a 26% jobless rate, republican sentiment and a growing independence movement in the northeastern region.
After his father King Juan Carlos announced he would step down after 39 years, Felipe urges Spaniards to unite for a better future.
At number 7, Workers on Sao Paulo's subway system launch a strike Thursday, the latest to hit Brazil leading up to the World Cup.
The strike raises fears of transport chaos a week before it hosts the opening match.
The strike will affect about 4.5 million daily passengers.
And at number 10, After almost 40 years of operations, the iconic hotel Mandarin Oriental in Makati will close in late 2014.
In a statement, the hotel says its existing facilities are -quote- "no longer in keeping with the group's well-recognized, luxury hospitality offering."
The hotel is set to reopen in 2020, with real estate giant Ayala Land taking over the development.
Newscast Production Staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Exxon Ruebe|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|
|Raffy de Guzman|