Rappler Newscast | August 16, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- Convicted killer Rolito Go is back in police custody after disappearing from prison Wednesday.
- A US blogger calls Senator Tito Sotto a "lying thief" after he denies plagiarizing parts of her blog for his anti-RH speech.
- MWSS employees get as much as 32 months of bonuses.
Story 1: CONVICT ROLITO GO NOW IN POLICE CUSTODY
Convicted killer Rolito Go is back in police custody after he was discovered missing from prison early Wednesday morning.
PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome says Go was found with nephew Clemence Yu, his nurse.
They were supposedly released by their "kidnappers" in Tanauan, Batangas.
The report says Go and Yu took a bus to Muntinlupa, where police and Go’s family fetched them.
Go was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1993 after he was convicted for the death of a student in 1991.
Bureau of Corrections chief Gaudencio Pangilinan Jr. says he doubts Go was kidnapped.
Pangilinan goes on indefinite leave following the incident.
In May 2011, he replaced Ernesto Diokno, who quit after an expose revealed how detained former Batangas Gov Antonio Leviste left Bilibid without a pass.
Pangilinan headed the military's counter-intelligence unit under the Arroyo administration.
His unit was responsible for the arrest of military mutineers Danilo Lim, now Customs intelligence chief, and Antonio Trillanes IV, now a senator.
Story 2: SOTTO: WHY SHOULD I QUOTE A BLOGGER?
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III denies lifting passages written by a blogger who calls herself “Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist.”
In an interview, Sotto says he did not plagiarize in his speech against the Reproductive Health bill.
He says both he and blogger Sarah Pope quoted information from the same source, Natasha Campbell-McBride, the doctor he cited as an expert on the damaging effects of contraception.
Sotto says, "Why should I quote a blogger? She’s just a blogger."
He says his staff did not use blogs for research to debunk arguments of the RH advocates.
The similar passages were spotted by Alfredo Melgar in a post on the website of the Filipino Freethinkers, a pro-RH group.
Melgar says Sotto "ignored decades of studies by the World Health Organization and the Department of Health that contraceptives are safe."
On Thursday, Pope confirms Sotto used her work without permission.
In a Facebook post, she says, “Are people that hard up for something original to say?”
She adds in her blog post, “A thief is a thief, Mr. Senator. Denying it doesn’t get you off the hook; it just makes you a lying thief.”
Pope says she doesn't intend to sue Sotto.
Story 3: RH ACTIVIST: SOTTO SPEECH IRRESPONSIBLE
Reproductive Health activist Beth Angsioco says the privilege speech of Senator Tito Sotto painting a picture of an international conspiracy to peddle abortion and contraceptives using doctored statistics is quote- “very irresponsible.”
Angsioco adds, the foreign conspiracy angle loses coherence when taken within the context of global health initiatives like anti-malaria and anti-tuberculosis campaigns.
Story 4: GWEN GARCIA STOPPED FROM LEAVING THE COUNTRY
The Sandiganbayan stops Cebu Gov Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia from leaving the country because of her graft cases.
The anti-graft court’s second division issues the hold departure order Thursday.
It also orders the Bureau of Immigration to put her name on its Departure List.
The governor is running for senator in 2013 under Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance.
Garcia faces two counts of graft and one count of technical malversation.
The cases revolve around the city government’s allegedly anomalous purchase of a 98.9-million pesos property that is allegedly under seawater.
Garcia denies the charges saying they are politically motivated.
Story 5: MWSS EMPLOYEES GOT 32 MONTHS OF BONUS
Employees of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System get as much as 32 months of bonuses despite a directive from the Commission on Audit to end the practice.
MWSS Chairman Ramon Alikpala says if there is no legal basis for the bonuses, they must be removed.
He says, "I really don't know how employees were able to do it all these years."
Some of the 'illegal' bonuses include birthday and State of the Nation Address bonuses.
Alikpala says the MWSS Board is reviewing employee benefits.
This could mean salary reductions.
MWSS drivers took home up to 97,000 pesos a month.
This was slashed to P38,000, and could further be reduced.
Story 6: COURT AWARDS MARCOS' $23-M TO PH BANK
Singapore's High Court awards $23 million dollars or 974.29 million pesos seized from the estate of late Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos to a Philippine bank.
Justice Andrew Ang says the money, deposited in the German bank WestLB, belongs to the Philippine National Bank.
The funds are part of the alleged illicit fortune that Marcos stashed away in various Swiss bank accounts.
Swiss authorities released the money to PNB In 1998, which transferred it to various banks in Singapore including WestLB.
WestLB went to court in 2004 to determine the owner of the money after several groups staked claims, including the Philippine government, which cites a Philippine Supreme Court decision ruling in its favor.
The Singapore judge also says the Philippine Supreme Court decision could not be enforced in the city-state.
Story 7: THE WOMAN WHO STAYED
A week after the floods, places like Calumpit, Bulacan are still under water.
But as rescue workers find out, some residents do NOT want to evacuate to dry ground.
Patricia Evangelista tells the story of the woman who chose to stay.
Her name is Lina Nabong, 65 years old, a Tondo native until the man she married brought her to the small town of Corazon in Calumpit, Bulacan.
For 43 years she watched storm after storm flood the home where she raised her five children.
At the first hint of a storm, the Nabongs move to a house on the dike, where the mayor has allowed houses to be built as a response to the flood.
The recent storm forced her family out again.
Most of the homes have no electricity, many are still flooded in. Lina is used to this, and has put aside what is important.
Lina has moved their market stall from the flooded market to the street.
Her husband is ill, and unable to move his legs. It is Lina who continues to work at 65, not just for herself, but for her child.
A total of 109 people died in the floods that affect over 4 million citizens in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces. Bulacan, is still under a state of calamity.
Many areas, including Calumpit, still remain flooded due to poor urban planning, spillover from the dams and breached dikes.
Today Lina will take a jeep to Manila to buy fruits and borrow money from her Tondo family.
Then she will go back to the dike, to watch over the home that drowned in the flood.
LINA NABONG: Hindi ko maiiwanan ang aming bahay dahil yun ang pinagsimulan namin. Kasi ganun ang isang bagay. Pag minahal mo, ayaw mo mawala. May katandaan na kami, andito trabaho ko. Andito pamilya ko. Andito anak ko. Di ako makakaalis.
She is not afraid. Floods have come and gone, but her family is yet to be washed away.
Patricia Evangelista, Rappler, Bulacan.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, Violence sparks more uncertainty in the Middle East. More shelling, killing at least 20 people in a rebel stronghold in Syria, and kidnappings in neighboring Lebanon ignite fears the nearly 18 month old rebel uprising against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is spreading.
The Organization of Islamic Conference, a 57 member grouping is the world's largest Islamic bloc.
During an emergency meeting, it censures the al-Assad regime and suspends Syria because of "the massacres and inhuman acts suffered by the Syrian people."
On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council, highly polarized on Syria, meets to formally end the UN observer mission in the country, even as violence spreads.
At number 6, remittances from Filipino workers overseas remain the Philippines' largest dollar earner.
Despite a global economic downturn and the Euro crisis, overseas Filipinos send $11.3 billion from January to June this year, up 5.3% from last year.
The only sign of the global economy: the rate of growth of remittances slows down.
At number 9, It's the new bayanihan: when disaster strikes, civic duty kicks in, and Filipinos volunteer for action - whether it's in the virtual world or the real world.
In the case of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, it's both.
An online appeal through social network sites Facebook, YouTube and Twitter bring in the volunteers the DSWD needs to help with relief operations.
More than 3,000 volunteers responded by Monday, most of them students.
Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman says she’s “overwhelmed by the enthusaistic response.”
And at number 10, Vogue says Chelsea Clinton combines her father's magnetism and her mother's discipline.
The only child of former US President Bill Clinton and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chelsea is now 32 years old, married and a special correspondent for NBC.
Fiercely private, Chelsea says she has been asked about whether she'd go into politics since she was 4 years old.
She says "before my mom's campaign, I would have said no."
But an aide to Secretary Clinton notes it is "Chelsea's responsibility to carry that torch."
Chelsea also says she and her husband are thinking of having children in a few years and "hopes my mother can wait that long."
Story 9: SPOELSTRA VISITS SMART-GILAS TRAINING
Miami Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra did what he does best while in Manila-- coach.
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
Even the country's biggest basketball stars are excited to see Miami Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra.
When he enters the men's national basketball team's practice, energy rises.
During a recent visit to the Philippines for the NBA Trophy Tour, the Filipino-American world champion coach drops by Smart-Gilas' second day of training.
He talks to head coach Chot Reyes, and they exchange ideas and tips to help the team reach their ultimate goal: qualify for the 2014 FIBA world championships in Spain.
Reyes says Spoelstra thinks he is on the right path.
CHOT REYES, SMART-GILAS HEAD COACH: He says he is impressed, this is the type of offense the Philippines needs.
Speolstra's assistant Dan Craig gets on the court and leads a drill with Smart-Gilas that Miami Heat starts every practice with.
It trains the team to make the easy play, to keep the ball moving, and be quick on offense.
He likes what he sees.
For the players, having Spoelstra visit is more than they can ask for.
They play a little harder when he comes, eager to showcase their skills.
They know Spoelstra dropping by is rare, and they are grateful.
For the Philippine athletes who will carry the flag, Spoelstra's support is monumental.
Spoelstra's prominence in basketball gives Pinoys something to be proud of, an inspiration to a team who wants to accomplish the exact same thing.
Smart-Gilas will have their first test on Saturday, when they play Jordan in Taipei for the annual Jones Cup.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler Manila.