Rappler Newscast | November 21, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- Government peace panel chief Marvic Leonen is the new Supreme Court justice.
- The Ampatuans remain a power bloc in Maguindanao - 74 clan members are running in 14 municipalities.
- HIV cases in the Philippines rise as number of cases fall for the rest of the world.
Story 1: MARVIC LEONEN IS NEW SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
President Benigno Aquino appoints government peace panel chief Marvic Leonen to the Supreme Court Wednesday.
He takes over the seat left vacant in August by now Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda says Aquino considers Leonen's appointment a "contribution to his vision of an empowered and independent" judiciary.
Leonen will now be working with Justice Mariano del Castillo.
In 2010, the Supreme Court admonished Leonen and 37 faculty members of the UP College of Law for asking del Castillo to resign following allegations he plagiarized parts of his decision on a case involving comfort women.
As government peace panel chief, Leonen oversaw the drafting of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement.
From 2008 to 2011, Leonen served as dean of the UP College of Law.
Under his term, the college denounced the flip-flopping of the Supreme Court in various cases.
It also castigated the court for allowing then President Gloria Arroyo to name a chief justice despite the 2010 election appointment ban.
When he was interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council, Leonen says he will be independent of Malacañang.
Leonen got 7 of the total 8 votes from the JBC.
Story 2: 74 MEMBERS OF AMPATUAN CLAN RUNNING IN 2013
The patriarch and prominent clan members of the Ampatuan clan may be in jail, but the Ampatuans remain a power bloc in Maguindano.
The Ampatuans became notorious worldwide after the single deadliest event for journalists in history-- the November 2009 massacre of 58 mediamen and family members of a rival clan.
Proof that this political clan with a violent past is consolidating its power--- 74 members in 14 municipalities are running in 2013.
Of the 74 who filed their candidacy, 17 are incumbent.
Two will run for higher office, while 15 will run for reelection.
This increased from the 68 Ampatuans who ran in the 2010 polls.
In fact, there are so many family members running in 2013, some will actually run against each other!
The clan is not expanding into other towns, but fighting it out in the turf they now control.
Rival Esmael Mangudadatu, the man the Ampatuans were trying to stop from running in 2010 is now the provincial governor, and even he is trying to build a dynasty.
17 members of his clan have filed their candidacy for 2013 from just one candidate in the last elections.
Like the Ampatuans, the Mangudadatus are running in the same 4 municipalities they dominate.
Story 3: 100 IMPUNITY CASES IN ASEAN: PH STILL MOST DEADLY FOR MEDIA
The Southeast Asian Press Alliance or SEAPA says the Philippines is the deadliest place in Southeast Asia for journalists.
At least a hundred cases related to impunity against the exercise of freedom of expression are recorded in Southeast Asia for 2012.
The Philippines accounts for a full third or 36 of the 100 cases of impunity that SEAPA recorded in the first 10 months of 2012 alone.
These 36 cases include nine murders, 17 cases of threats, and 10 cases of attacks.
All the cases recorded in the Philippines involve journalists, and two activists, including one witness to a media murder case.
Story 4: RISING HIV CASES IN PH BUCK GLOBAL DECLINE
The 2012 global report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS shows new incidents of HIV infections drop by more than 50% in a decade.
But findings show the opposite in the Philippines, with a 25% increase bucking the global trend.
In 2012 in the Philippines, at least 9 new cases of HIV or AIDS are reported everyday, compared to only 1 new case every three days in 2000.
If the trend continues, the health department projects up to 37,000 new cases of HIV in 2015.
Story 5: AYALA, LUCIO TAN GROUPS IN TALKS TO CREATE PH TOP BANK
The Ayala group's Bank of the Philippine Islands confirms it is talking with the Lucio Tan group to create what is potentially the country's largest financial institution.
The two groups on Wednesday disclose negotiations about BPI's possible acquisition of a majority stake in Philippine National Bank.
BPI says it will make the quote “appropriate disclosures” according to PSE rules.
In a separate announcement, PNB says a disclosure on the details of the transaction may be made after obtaining necessary approvals.
The deal between two of the country's biggest conglomerates may result in a combined entity that will unseat Banco de Oro Unibank as the country's largest bank by assets.
Story 6: HAMAS: CEASEFIRE WITH ISRAEL TO HAPPEN SOON
A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants remains elusive after seven days of war and a death toll of over a hundred.
Egypt is leading efforts to secure a truce between the two warring nations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, "Our hand is outstretched in peace to those of our neighbors who want to make peace with us."
"And the other hand is firmly grasping the sword of David."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemns Palestinian rocket attacks and urges Israel to show “maximum restraint.”
Story 7: PH SAYS FILIPINOS NOT ‘HUMAN SHIELDS’ IN GAZA
The Philippines denies a claim by Israel that Filipinos in Gaza are being used as "human shields" by militant group Hamas.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario says he doesn’t think its true.
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO, DFA SECRETARY: I could be wrong but that indication has not been conveyed to us by our people there.
Del Rosario says the Philippines does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization...
DEL ROSARIO: We actually are dealing with them as a political group and we’re trying to establish contacts with them so that we can properly protect our people there.
Del Rosario reports on the situation of 120 Filipinos in Gaza--4 requested to leave and return to the Philippines and another 8 want to stay in Egypt until the fighting stops.
The Israeli Embassy in Manila earlier said Filipinos and other foreigners residing in Gaza were being used as "human shields" against the Israeli military.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 7, top executives of media groups owned by mogul Rupert Murdoch are charged for allegedly bribing British officials for stories that appeared in the group's print publications.
Murdoch protégé Rebekah Brooks is charged with conspiracy over alleged illegal payments to a Ministry of Defense employee while Andy Coulson, another former Murdoch employee, is charged with bribing officials for information about the royal family.
The charges against Coulson, Brooks and other suspects come from a Metropolitan Police investigation into alleged phone and computer hacking which led to the closing of Murdoch's News of the World in 2011.
At number 9, the verdict is out on rogue trader Kweku Adoboli, the man behind Swiss banking giant UBS’s"staggering" $2.3 billion loss.
Adoboli was found guilty of two counts of fraud in unauthorized trading and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
UBS says it is pleased the case is over and thanked authorities.
It says none of its clients' funds were affected.
The scandal led to the resignation of a UBS chief executive in September.
And at number 10, Public nudity is outlawed by lawmakers in liberal San Francisco City.
The law bans anyone over 5 years old from exposing his or her "genitals, perineum, or anal region” on any public place.
Fines start at $100 for a first offense, but rise to $500 and a year in jail for a 3rd offense.
There are exceptions, including the annual Pride Parade, the bondage and leather Folsom Street Fair, and the Bay to Breakers run, a historic costume-optional race, as well as on San Francisco's beaches.