Today on Rappler.
Story 1: AQUINO REFUTES CAMBODIA'S CLAIM OF ASEAN UNITY
President Benigno Aquino refutes Cambodia’s claim that ASEAN members agree not to bring the South China Sea dispute to an international court.
Speaking at the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Aquino insists the Philippines has the right to engage all concerned parties to resolve the dispute.
Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario adds that, while ASEAN unity is important, the Philippines must defend its sovereign interests.
The Philippines and one other country -- identified by diplomats as Vietnam -- did not agree to Cambodia’s proposal.
Should ASEAN reach such a consensus, analysts say it would amount to a diplomatic victory for China and block out any opportunity for other parties to intervene.
An ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting in Phnom Penh ended in July without a joint communique for the first time in the bloc's 45-year history.
Story 2: SENATE REMOVES RH MANDATE FROM LGUS, PRIVATE HOSPITALS
The Senate accepts an amendment to the Reproductive Health bill that no longer mandates local government units and private health care facilities to provide RH services.
Senator Ralph Recto says LGUs are hard pressed to fund various programs.
RH bill principal sponsor Pia Cayetano rejects it but the Senate votes 13 to 7 to adopt the change.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile also introduces 6 of his 17 amendments.
The most contentious one is an amendment defining conception.
The bill's principal sponsors say Enrile's definition is not supported by scientific evidence.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Conception – refers to the successful penetration of an ovum by a spermatozoa in the fallopian tube, otherwise known as fertilization when new life begins to form in the mother’s womb.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: There will be many complications if our law will state categorically that life begins at fertilization. We have to deal in that case with the abnormal pregnancies…But the constitution does not tell us what is the definition of conception. Why not? Because it would be tantamount to legislating an uncertain and contended position. The Constitution cannot dictate to science.
Cayetano says defining when life begins implies senators are smarter than experts, a comment that draws a sharp reaction from Enrile.
PIA CAYETANO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: We cannot define as I have repeatedly said, we cannot take the place of experts and decide that we are now the experts and suddenly become the scientific gods and say when life begins, we cannot even answer the question of Senator Chiz when pregnancy begins and here we are saying smarter than all these experts and that is absurd, Mr. President.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SENATE PRESIDENT: I'm not saying that I'm smarter than anyone else. I think the lady is presuming too much.
Story 3: LEONEN: BANGSAMORO AGREEMENT DETAILS COMPLETE BY DECEMBER
Chief Government peace negotiator Marvic Leonen says the annexes of the historic peace agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government will be completed in December.
Leonen says the government and the MILF peace panels have reached "substantial common points."
He is confident all 3 annexes on wealth-sharing, power-sharing, and normalization on the framework agreement will be finalized before the year ends.
MILF Panel head Mohagher Iqbal says there are remaining issues which he believes they will overcome given the commitment and determination of both parties.
In a related development, the Philippine National Police is “validating” information some suspects in the Nov 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre sought refuge with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Maguindanao Governor Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu says the suspects were seen in MILF areas, but insists he is not saying the MILF is coddling the suspects.
Story 4: AFTER AMAN FUTURES GROUP, ANOTHER SCAMMER IN MINDANAO?
The police raids another company allegedly engaged in a pyramid scam in Mindanao.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says Visioner 20/20 in Pagadian City promises a 20 percent to 30 percent interest rate to investors.
The victims number 20 to 30, mostly Maranaws in Lanao del Sur.
The justice department went after 2 other investment companies in November--Aman Futures Group and Coco Rasuman.
The Aman Futures Group allegedly duped around 15,000 people in the Visayas and Mindanao, promising them a return rate of 30 percent to 60 percent on their investments.
The Rasuman Group offered a return rate of up to 70 percent.
Story 5: MIRIAM URGES SENATE TO PROBE PAGCOR 'BRIBES'
Senator Miriam Santiago files a Senate resolution to investigate former Pagcor consultant Rodolfo Soriano.
Soriano allegedly received about $5 million from Universal Entertainment Corporation - a firm led by Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada.
Universal is one of the 4 groups awarded the right to develop and operate casino and entertainment operations in the planned Manila Bay complex.
Santiago says the probe was triggered by news reports that Soriano was allegedly the -quote "bagman" of former Pagcor chair Ephraim Genuino.
The Okada-led firm was lobbying the government for tax breaks and ownership-related concessions at the time Soriano allegedly received the millions.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda says the government will revoke the casino license of the Okada group if the reports are proven true.
Story 6: ISRAEL: HAMAS BARS FILIPINOS FROM LEAVING GAZA
The Israeli Embassy says the Hamas group is blocking nearly 100 Filipinos from leaving conflict-torn Gaza.
An embassy official says the Philippines should use a third party negotiator to talk to Hamas because Israel "won't be able to negotiate" with the militant group.
The Department of Foreign Affairs deploys teams from Cairo and Tel Aviv to ensure the safety of Filipinos in Gaza.
On Monday, Israeli air strikes push the death toll to 80 Palestinians, after multiple raids on Sunday that killed 31.
The violence has also killed three Israelis.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 1, During his Asian tour, US President Barack Obama praises Myanmar’s reforms but urges the regime under President Thein Sein to do more.
Obama says that while the Myanmar president is taking steps in a better direction, “The country has a long way to go.”
On Monday, Obama becomes the first sitting American president to visit Myanmar which had been isolated because of its repressive military junta rule.
His speech at Yangon University, a site of protest, is symbolic.
At number 8, A study by the New England Journal of Medicine finds an “incredibly close relationship” between chocolate consumption and the number of Nobel prize laureates per capita.
A professor from Colombia University says “there is less than one-in-10-thousand probability” that the correlation between the two is only by chance.
Switzerland has the highest chocolate consumption per head and the highest number of Nobel Prize winners per capita.
Sweden does not follow the trend-- the Swedes ate much less chocolate but still produced a high number of Nobel laureates.
And at number 9, In the last quarter, the Android operating system powered almost 3 of 4 smartphones shipped worldwide, threatening Apple’s hold on the mobile gadget market.
Industry trackers say the Android software has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since its launch in 2008.
Shipments of Android smartphones rose to 136 million, higher by a little over 90% compared to the second quarter of 2011.
A research firm says Apple’s iPhone 4S was overtaken by Samsung’s Galaxy S3 in the 3rd quarter of the year-- a first for Samsung.
Story 8: VILORIA OUTLASTS MARQUEZ FOR BIGGEST WIN OF HIS CAREER
Brian 'Hawaiian Punch' Viloria overwhelms Hernan 'Tyson' Marquez in the 10th round to win their unification bout at the LA Sports Arena in California.
The fight unifies the World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Association Flyweight titles for the first time since 1965.
Viloria finished the fight with a quick flurry following a vicious right hand.
The win puts the 'Hawaiian Punch' in serious talks of entering the top 10 mythical pound-for-pound list.