Rappler Newscast | August 31, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- Mar Roxas is the new Interior Government secretary while congressman Jun Abaya takes over the Transportation and Communications post.
- The Court of Appeals upholds President Aquino's order revoking the Arroyo administration's midnight appointments.
- CBCP hits Jesuit constitutionalist Joaquin Bernas over the Reproductive Health bill.
Breaking news, a quake just hit the Philippines with a magnitude of 7.9 at around 8:47 tonight.
Tweets from all over the country, from as far as Cagayan De Oro and General Santos City in Mindanao, Negros Occidental, Negros, Bohol in the Visayas, Naga and Ilocos Sur in Luzon, and Taguig in Metro Manila.
Tsunami warnings are up over Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Guam, Northern Marianas and Papua New Guinea.
Rappler.com will give you updates as they come.
Story 1: NEW DILG CHIEF ROXAS: I HAVE BIG 'TSINELAS' TO FILL
Transportation Secretary and Liberal Party president Mar Roxas will be the next Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, taking over from the late Jesse Robredo.
Cavite Rep. Jun Abaya replaces Roxas as Transportation Secretary.
Last Wednesday, a senior government official told Rappler Roxas appeared to be the choice of President Benigno Aquino III and other LP officials.
Asked if he had a hard time finding Robredo’s replacement, Aquino says Roxas was always on the top of his shortlist.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Nung missing si secretary Robredo siyempre kailangan na nating i-entertain yung possiblility na lalo na nung Sabado nawala, Linggo nung tumuloy kami sa Masbate doon kinausap si Secretary Roxas sabi ko, "Pare ikaw ang una sa aking shortlist in case we have to replace Jesse."
Accepting the position, Roxas thanks the President for the trust and Leni Robredo for the support.
MAR ROXAS, DILG SECRETARY: I have big shoes, or big tsinelas, to fill. Hindi po ako si Jesse Robredo. Kumpara sa kanya, marami po akong mga kakulangan. Subalit maaasahan po na gagawin ko ang lahat, sa abot nang aking makakaya, upang bigyang respeto ang legasiya ni Sec. Jesse…Nagpapasalamat po ako sa Pangulong PNoy sa patuloy na tiwala na ipinagkaloob niya sa akin. Nagpapasamat din ako kay Ma’am Leni sa suporta at kumpiyansa na ipinaabot niya sa akin.
President Aquino appeals to the Commission on Appointments to immediately confirm Roxas and Abaya.
Story 2: ABAYA: DOTC CAN WAIT, BUDGET FIRST
Cavite Rep. Jun Abaya says his new task as Transportation Secretary will have to wait.
Abaya is chairman of the House appropriations committee, tasked to make sure the House passes the budget bill on time.
This means the earliest that Abaya could assume the DOTC post is October, based on the budget timetable.
The House of Representatives will finish committee deliberations on the budget bill next week.
Accepting the DOTC appointment, Abaya says succeeding Roxas is also no easy task and he intends to continue the work that he has done.
JUN ABAYA, DOTC SECRETARY: Succeeding Secretary Mar and continuing his programs are tough shoes to fill too. Hindi rin po ako si Mar Roxas. I look forward to working with the current DOTC teams. Continuity is a key component in achieving the reforms and change we want to accomplish.
Story 3: COURT UPHOLDS AQUINO'S REVOCATION OF MIDNIGHT APPOINTMENTS
The Court of Appeals upholds the constitutionality of an executive order revoking the midnight appointments made by former President Gloria Arroyo.
The court says President Benigno Aquino did not commit grave abuse of discretion when he issued EO 2 which annulled the appointments Arroyo made during the appointment ban.
A Philippine president cannot make any appointments two months before the elections.
Six "midnight" appointees asked the Supreme Court in 2010 to invalidate EO 2.
The appointment of now dismissed Chief Justice Renato Corona was also criticized, but the Supreme Court said the judiciary is exempted from the appointment ban.
Story 4: CBCP HITS BERNAS OVER RH BILL
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines hits Jesuit constitutionalist Fr Joaquin Bernas in a published statement on the Reproductive Health bill.
The CBCP does not name Bernas, but cites direct quotes from Bernas' column published on August 6.
In his column, Bernas says he adheres to Catholic teaching against contraceptives, but respects the freedom of others to believe otherwise.
In the CBCP's paid ad, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes says the CBCP is not moving to ban contraceptives in opposing the RH bill but says the Church will be “happy” if the government bans these.
Reyes says the Church's opposition to the bill appeals to natural law, which he says "is valid for all, the minority as well as the majority.”
Story 5: PRESIDENT AQUINO'S HALF-AND-HALF LEADERSHIP
Rappler’s Editor-at-large Marites Vitug comments on the President’s half-hearted support of the RH bill. Let’s watch this.
When President Aquino met with congressmen to rally them behind the RH bill, he was quoted as saying, “We were elected to make tough decisions.”
But what followed this rhetoric was a message to his allies simply to end the debates on the controversial bill.
And what comes after ending the debates? The logical next step is: pass the bill.
But the President was silent on this. In effect, his support for the RH bill—a measure that is fiercely opposed by the Catholic Church—is tentative.
Half boldness, half caution. In equal parts.
In other words, the RH bill may just be a historical footnote. We will simply remember it as the bill that reached the plenary under Aquino’s watch—a first in 14 years.
A half-and-half leadership will not change the status quo. It will keep us where we are, a country wherein the state succumbs to the church.
Whatever happened to transformative leadership, Aquino’s buzzword during the campaign?
That, too, has gone the half-and-half way: half rhetoric, half forgotten.
Story 6: SIN TAX BILL FACES UPHILL BATTLE IN SENATE
The Palace-backed "sin" tax bill may not survive deliberations at the Senate without being watered down.
Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Senator Ralph Recto says its plan to raise P33 billion pesos in additional taxes may not be "realistic."
Recto says it’s ironic that the government is expecting additional revenues from the bill, which aims to reduce consumption of sin products - tobacco and alcohol.
In a landslide vote in June, 210 lawmakers voted to pass amended House Bill 5727, authored by Cavite Rep Jun Abaya.
In the Senate, Sen Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed Senate Bill 3249, which is close to the original bill filed in the House.
During the Senate hearing, Recto asked Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares to submit a detailed report of where the P30-P60 billion additional revenues will come from.
But Action for Economic Reform economist Filomeno Sta Ana says demand for sin products will not drastically change with their price because of their addictive nature.
The group also argues, the amount of tax to be collected will offset lower sales in sin products.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 2, Mitt Romney vowed to rescue the US economy and create jobs Thursday as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention.
The former Massachusetts governor told Americans Barack Obama failed to deliver the "hope and change" he promised and that the country must elect him to save an economy crippled by wrong-headed policies.
At number 3, World Trade Organization head Pascal Lamy confirms growth in global trade would remain below 4% this year and urged governments against protectionism.
Annual growth in world trade has averaged 6% over the past 15 years.
Lamy blames the sluggish world economy.
He adds this should be no excuse for political leaders to give in to protectionist policies.
AT number 5, the Asian Development Bank says the Philippines' goal of attaining rice self-sufficiency in 2013 may harm the international rice market and cause price shocks.
The Philippines was cited as one of the main reasons for the world rice price crisis in 2008.
The ADB says Philippines is one of the 3 biggest rice importers in the world aside from Nigeria and Indonesia.
At number 7, the maker of an application that would alert iPhone users to US military drone strikes says Apple has repeatedly shot down his efforts to get it into the App Store.
App developer Josh Begley says "I was thinking about how hidden the drone war is and about ways to play with what happens in the pockets of smartphone users."
And at number 9, Pacquiao's lawyer, Franklin Gacal Jr says Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent has been narrowed down to two choices-- Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Angel Cotto.
Gacal says Timothy Bradley, who defeated Pacquiao via a controversial split decision in June, is definitely out.
Bradley is reportedly asking for a ridiculous guaranteed purse.
Story 8: JAPAN COURT REJECTS APPLE PATENT CLAIMS VS SAMSUNG
A Japanese court rejects Apple's claim that Samsung stole its technology in the latest chapter of a global patent war between the two smartphone giants.
The Tokyo District Court says Samsung did not infringe on Apple's iPhone and iPad patents for some of its own Galaxy smartphones and tablet computer.
Analysts say the ruling will help Samsung pick itself up after the defeat in the United States.
Apple won 1.05 billion dollars in damages from Samsung last week in a US ruling.
Story 9: TENORIO TRADED TO GINEBRA, WILL PLAY IN FIBA ASIA CUP
After helping the Philippine team win the gold medal in the recently concluded Jones Cup, the tournament's MVP, L.A. Tenorio gets traded from Alaska to Ginebra.
Earlier reports say Tenorio was traded because he insists on playing for Smart-Gilas Pilipinas instead of focusing on the upcoming PBA Season.
But Alaska Aces owner Fred Uytengsu says the trade was for the good of the team.
He also says, the team willingly lends its players to the National team.
Coach Chot Reyes has included Tenorio in the final 12-man roster for the FIBA Asia Cup that will be held in Tokyo, Japan.