Rappler Newscast | August 15, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- Convicted killer Rolito Go is missing from prison.
- Senate Majority leader Tito Sotto accuses international groups backing the RH bill of condoning infanticide and genetic manipulation.
- More anti-RH bill lawmakers filibuster, preventing the House of Representatives from tackling the measure for the second day.
Story 1: ROAD RAGE KILLER ROLITO GO MISSING FROM PRISON
Convicted killer Rolito Go is missing from the New Bilibid Prison.
The Justice Department says his sister claims Go and nephew Clemence Yu, his nurse, were kidnapped and the captors are asking for a 1 million-peso ransom.
Their absence was discovered during the morning headcount.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima orders the DOJ and the Bureau of Corrections to investigate the matter.
Go was convicted for the death of De La Salle engineering student Eldon Maguan in 1991 after a traffic fight in San Juan.
In 1993, a local court sentenced Go to life imprisonment.
He was moved out of maximum security in New Bilibid in 2009, prompting an outcry from the Maguan family.
He asked for executive clemency under the Arroyo administration, a move opposed by the Maguan family.
Story 2: SOTTO ATTACKS INTERNATIONAL GROUPS BACKING RH BILL
Senate Majority Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III changes his tone from emotional to combative, in the second part of his speech against the Reproductive Health bill Wednesday.
Sotto attacks international and local groups backing the RH bill.
He questions their motives and credibility, saying they want to control population through abortion.
He names the USAID, International Planned Parenthood Federation and the UN as groups wanting to control the population of developing countries.
He says local NGOs get funds from the international groups to "nurture legislators".
TITO SOTTO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Ang problema, ang nagpondo sa paggawa ng mga statistical data na ito ay ang United States Agency for International development. The USAID, for the information of the body is the agency which the United States uses as its principal instrument to control and reduce the population through birth control worldwide. This is IPPF’s vision: We believe that a woman has the right to choose and access safe abortion services and we advocate for changes in legislation to support this. This is the true meaning of Pro-Choice.
Sotto alleges that the founder of Planned Parenthood condones infanticide and the group uses birth control to eliminate people of inferior genes.
TITO SOTTO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: There was even a darker side to Margaret Sanger…To Sanger this meant the systematic elimination (through birth control, including abortion) of all those people she and her cohorts considered to be of “dysgenic stock’ in order to create a race of superior intellectuals. Ito po yung tinatawag na eugenics-- if you are weak, useless, uneducated and poor, you have no right in this world.
Story 3: RH ADVOCATES: SOTTO'S SPEECH REHASH OF OLD ARGUMENTS
RH advocates dismiss Senator Sotto's speech as a rehash of old arguments and old conspiracy theories.
Beth Angsioco of the RH advocacy network says the money from international groups are used to help Filipino women through information campaigns and RH kits.
ELIZABETH ANGSIOCO, DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST WOMEN OF THE PHILIPPINES CHAIRPERSON: Mahiya siya. If he wants to save women's lives, sabi niya kanina ayaw niya ng may namamatay then maglabas ng pondo and gobyerno para sagipin ang mga kababaihan.
RH bill sponsor Senator Pia Cayetano says Sotto's argument that the pro-RH NGOs are not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission is irrelevant.
While she is frustrated, Cayetano says she will let Sotto continue his speech next week out of courtesy.
PIA CAYETANO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Kung ikaw supporter kailangan ba registered ka sa SEC? That's an irrelevant argument if you ask me. The important thing to remember as a senator, as a sponsor of the measure, I have gone through the whole process and it's very clear to me and even the surveys would show that this is a need of the Filipino people.
Story 4: MEDIA: PASS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
A collective editorial by various media organizations calls on the Aquino administration to pass the Freedom of Information Act which remains stuck in Congress.
The media statement says the FOI act “long promised by the Constitution to this day remains just a promise.”
It calls the right to information "a protection against government abuse" and that "It is our power to make government accountable."
The statement calls on the President, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr to exercise leadership and turn FOI into law.
Story 5: ANTI-RH SOLONS CONTINUE TO PREVAIL IN THE HOUSE
The House of Representatives fails again to tackle the Reproductive Health bill Wednesday as more anti-RH lawmakers filibuster.
Under House rules, motions to deliver privilege speeches take precedence over motions to amend bills.
The House leadership has no choice but to entertain them.
PABLO GARCIA, CEBU REPRESENTATIVE: Of course we are happy. We will use all means, legal means, of course to block this bill.
One of RH bill's staunchest supporter in the lower House, Iloilo Rep Janette Garin, says the privilege speeches were mere "excuses" to block the controversial measure.
But Garin remains confident that there's time to pass the bill.
The RH bill is now under the period of amendments, where lawmakers can delete, add, or amend provisions to the bill.
JANETTE GARIN, ILOILO REPRESENTATIVE: Obvious naman na palusot. Merong iba na gustong hindi pag-usapan…We still believe that there's still a good chance, with the President who has a strong political will.
Story 6: YELLOW WARNING SIGNAL OVER METRO MANILA
Tropical storm Helen (international name Kai-tak) maintains its strength after weakening this morning as it moves toward the South China Sea.
State weather bureau PAGASA issues a yellow warning signal over Metro Manila as of 5:30 p.m Wednesday.
Moderate to heavy rain is expected in the early evening.
Storm signal no. 2 is up over Cagayan, including Calayan and Babuyan Islands; Batanes group of islands; Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Kalinga, Apayao and Abra.
Storm signal no. 1 is up over Isabela, Northern Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Pangasinan, and La Union.
Northern Luzon will have stormy weather while the rest of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon and Western Visayas will have occasional to frequent rain.
Mindanao and the rest of the Visayas will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain and thunderstorms.
The storm is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Thursday.
Story 7: PAGASA EMPLOYEES TO GET BENEFITS
Employees of state weather bureau PAGASA will receive their benefits for the first half of the year.
The Department of Budget and Management says it will provide the budget to cover allowances for PAGASA employees.
It says it will "strictly enforce" rules on the Magna Carta for government science personnel.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad says PAGASA is frequently violating provisions of the Magna Carta.
He says the agency gives hazard allowances to all employees regardless of the nature of work.
Abad says the changes will benefit the entire Department of Science and Technology and its 18 other attached agencies.
On Tuesday, the bureau's employees staged a protest over the unpaid benefits, prompting a visit by President Aquino himself.
Story 8: JUN LOZADA CHARGED WITH GRAFT
Whistle-blower Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada is charged with two counts of graft for his decisions as CEO of government-run Philippine Forest Corp in 2007 and 2008.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales approves the filing of the graft charges with the Sandiganbayan on July 31.
Lozada blew the whistle in 2008 on Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, former Commission on Elections chair Benjamin Abalos, and former Cabinet officials.
He accused the three of taking bribes from Chinese officials in the NBN-ZTE deal to computerize the bureaucracy.
His testimony in the Senate triggered a probe and the filing of charges against Abalos and former Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri.
Lozada is accused of granting unlawful leasehold rights to Transforma Quinta Inc, in which he and wife are allegedly connected as representatives.
He is also accused of awarding leasehold rights over public land to his brother.
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, the Pentagon’s new technology could bring missiles or airplanes to the other side of the planet in minutes instead of hours.
The Pentagon tests an unmanned 25-foot-long vehicle that will try to fly at over 4,500 mph, fast enough to get to London from New York in less than an hour.
It is part of hypersonic flight tests that do not leave the atmosphere.
The technology is significant to the Pentagon as other countries develop technology that render stealth technology useless.
At number 6, the Curiosity rover appears as a double dot in a new satellite image released by NASA.
NASA officials say “We can clearly see Curiosity – it’s like two bright spots that we see, and their shadows."
Curiosity is supposed to go to the base of the big mountain at the center of Gale known as Mount Sharp.
There it will examine rocks for proof of previous microbial life.
At number 9, the New York Times names Mark Thompson, outgoing director general of the BBC, as its new president and chief executive, indicating a push towards a digital future.
The 55-year-old Thompson was responsible for the BBC’s TV, radio and online services.
NYT chairman Arthur Sulzberger says in a statement, “Mark is a gifted executive with strong credentials whose leadership at the BBC helped it to extend its trusted brand identity into new digital products and services.”
And at number 10, NBC says the London Olympics is the most watched event ever in US television history.
The Olympics draws more than 219 million American viewers, setting a new record that surpasses the 2008 Beijing Olympics which attracted 215 million viewers.
NBC has sole rights to broadcast the Games in the US.