Miriam hits Napeñas, media freedom declines, nurse with MERS pregnant | The wRap
Today on Rappler.
- Senator Miriam Santiago hits police officials for mishandling operations in Mamasapano.
- Watchdog group says media freedom declines drastically partly because of extremist groups.
- Filipina nurse diagnosed with MERS is pregnant.
MIRIAM HITS NAPENAS, PURISIMA OVER MAMASAPANO CLASH
Senator Miriam Santiago calls the January 25 operation in Mamasapano Maguindanao a “failure”... and the ground commander “incompetent”.
The hunt for top terrorist Marwan on January 25 ended in the deaths of 44 Special Action Force or SAF commandos.
In a Senate hearing Thursday, Santiago pinpoints relieved SAF commander Getulio Napeñas.
She calls the operation a -quote- “failure from the very beginning.”
She says the police operatives should have arrived when everyone was asleep and not during dawn prayers.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Bakit hindi sila umabot doon? Ano rason ninyo? Plano nyo? Bakit hindi nangyari yun?
(Why didn’t they arrive on time? What’s your reason for this? What were your plans?)
GETULIO NAPENAS, RELIEVED SAF CHIEF: There were intervening factors that happened along the way.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: That means you’re a failure. You’re incompetent. Because you said there were intervening factors. When you make a plan there should be no such factors.
But Santiago believes what happened was not entirely Napenas’ fault.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Ang timing niya, ang execution niya, at papakita ko maya-maya na hindi sa iyo galing ang lahat ng detalye na yun. Kaya you shouldn’t be blamed.
(The operation’s timing and execution – I’ll show later that not all the details came from you. Therefore you shouldn’t be blamed.)
Santiago also berates resigned police chief Alan Purisima for - quote - meddling in the operation despite his suspension.
Purisima downplays his role, saying it was Napeñas who was in control.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: You performed the duties of your office albeit in a surreptitious manner. And then you say you were not violating the terms of your preventive suspension? That is amphibole. You’re using words to confuse the person listening to you.
Nakialam ka, eh.
Preventive suspension pero masyado ka maraming kinakausap.
(Preventive suspension but you were talking to a lot of people.)
You were participating in what’s none of your business.
E bakit ka salita nang salita di ka manahimik sa estate mo sa Nueva Ecija under preventive suspension ka eh! Nakikialam ka sa - biro mo, apatnapung tao ang namatay. At kasali ka doon! Kung hindi ka siguro nakisali doon baka buhay pa sila.
(Why do you keep on talking? Why not keep quiet in your Nueva Ecija estate, you were under preventive suspension! You’re meddling – look, 40 people died. And this is your doing. If you did not meddle they might have still been alive.)
Santiago mentions an alleged coup plot against President Benigno Aquino, which Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin confirms.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: But I have intelligence as of yesterday that leaders of certain alphabet soup acronyms who are familiar with the public had a recent meeting because they wanted to discuss a coup d’etat, who should be installed as president.
VOLTAIRE GAZMIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We indeed received those reports and we are still in the process of verifying and confirming those reports.
But Malacanang downplays the threats.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma says the military can handle the situation.
The Vatican also reacts to statements made during the hearings this week on the Mamasapano clash.
Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi discredits Napenas’ claim... Marwan tried to assassinate Pope Francis during his visit last January, calling it “unfounded.”
Thursday’s Senate hearing was highly anticipated.
Aside from the rare appearance of Sen Santiago because of health issues, Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said he would attend Wednesday night.
Iqbal reiterates the need to pursue peace, saying what happened was an “unfortunate encounter.”
MOHAGHER IQBAL, MILF CHIEF NEGOTIATOR: Let me speak straight from the heart. First, the encounter between the MILF and the SAF was, as I said, an unfortunate encounter. It was something nobody planned or wanted. We thought we had effective protocols and mechanisms in place that would prevent things like this from happening.
The MILF is against all forms of terrorism. We have made a solemn vow to fight terrorism in all our areas. Terrorism is inconsistent with Islam and has no place in the orientations of the MILF.
Senator Nancy Binay took another line of questioning: she wanted to know who informed the President about the crisis in Mamasapano.
No one answers, until Senator Grace Poe asks Purisima.
NANCY BINAY, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: So who among you informed the President?
Wala pa din ho?
GRACE POE, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: General Purisima, you never informed the President or even reported to him the progression of events in Mamasapano?
ALAN PURISIMA, FORMER PNP CHIEF: Your Honor, may I be given time to seek clearance with the President to answer your question.
The Thursday hearing is the fourth this week.
Two Senate hearings were conducted Monday and Tuesday...
while a third was held at the House of Representatives Wednesday.
Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao or ARMM governor Mujiv Hataman gets emotional as Senator Alan Cayetano calls the MILF a terrorist organization.
MUJIV HATAMAN, ARMM GOVERNOR: Sa totoo lang pag basahin nyo lahat ng social media, pag merong magsalita against the Bangsamoro lahat ng laman ng social media parang ang kasalanan ito ay kasalanan ng sambayanang Moro.
(The truth is, if you read social media, if somebody speaks against the Bangsamoro everything you read is as if this incident is the fault of the Moro people.)
Senator Bongbong Marcos says if both the Senate and the House were to vote, the Bangsamoro Basic Law might be the “next casualty in the Mamasapano clash.”
GARIN: FILIPINA NURSE WITH MERS-COV PREGNANT
Acting health secretary Janet Garin says the Filipina nurse diagnosed with MERS is 4 to 5 weeks pregnant.
Garin says the child cannot get infected...
but the mother’s condition might affect the child’s survival.
The patient no longer has a fever and is in stable condition.
Authorities found 63 of the 225 passengers from the same flight that brought the patient to Manila.
CEBU TOWN MAYOR: KILL WHALE SHARKS, DOLPHINS
Mayor Nelson Garcia of Dumanjug town in Cebu says whale sharks and dolphins are pests and are responsible for fish shortage in the area.
He also says he wants to kill them.
At an environmental summit, the town mayor notes how whale sharks and dolphins eat two tons of fish a day.
When asked if he knew that killing whale sharks and dolphins is a crime under national and local laws, Garcia quotes the Bible.
He says, “God said, man has dominion over the ocean...”
'DRASTIC DECLINE' IN MEDIA FREEDOM WORLDWIDE
A watchdog group says there’s a dramatic decline in press freedom worldwide.
In it’s 2015 World Press Freedom Index... Reporters Without Borders says there were 3,719 violations of freedom of information in 180 countries… 8% more than a year earlier.
The Paris-based watchdog group says, there has been an ‘overall deterioration linked to very different factors...
with information wars, and action by non-state groups acting like news despots.'
ISIS or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and Cameroon, and criminal organizations in Italy and Latin America...
all used "fear and reprisals to silence journalists and bloggers.”
Iran, China, Syria and North Korea are among the countries with the worst levels of press freedom out of the 180 evaluated.
COURT FINDS 'NUT RAGE' KOREAN AIR HEIRESS GUILTY
In South Korea…
Former Korean Air executive and heiress Cho Hyun-ah is found guilty of breaking aviation safety law for her now famous “nut-rage”.
Cho verbally abused and physically assaulted a steward, then forced the Seoul-bound plane to return to the gate.
The reason? She was served macadamia nuts she had not asked for – and in a bag, not a bowl.
Cho is jailed for one year, avoiding a possible maximum sentence of 10 years.
Cho is seen as a spoilt and arrogant offspring of family-run giant conglomerates that dominate the South Korean economy.
And still in South Korea... at least two people are killed and 43 injured Wednesday in a 100-vehicle pile-up on the highway to Incheon International Airport.
The multiple collision occurred in heavy fog.
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