Rappler Newscast | December 12, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- Under intense lobby from bishops, the vote on the Reproductive Health bill begins.
- After 3 years, Zaldy Ampatuan is finally arraigned for the murder of 58 people in the Maguindanao massacre.
- Manny Pacquiao is back in the country, down but not out, determined to redeem himself.
Story 1: JUDGMENT DAY: HOUSE VOTES ON RH BILL
Under intense lobby from bishops, the vote on the Reproductive Health bill begins.
217 out of 287 House members are present Wednesday as the lower chamber votes on the controversial measure.
The gallery of the Batasang Pambansa is packed with supporters and opponents of the bill.
The anti-RH side is led by leaders of the Catholic Church.
At least 8 members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, including Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes and Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, sit in the gallery to watch lawmakers cast their votes.
Retired bishop Teodoro Bacani earlier slammed Malacañang for allegedly using pork barrel to pressure congressmen to vote for the bill.
The 2nd reading is the most difficult stage of the legislative process.
If it passes, it brings the divisive bill closer to becoming a law.
If approved, the RH Bill only needs to pass 3rd and final reading to completely hurdle the House.
The Senate is expected to vote on the measure on second reading on Monday, December 17, and if passed, on third reading on Thursday, December 20.
Legislators are now explaining their votes. They are given 3 minutes.
Story 3: BISHOPS TO SOLONS: DON'T SELL YOUR SOULS
Catholic bishops hold masses hours before the House of Representatives votes on the Reproductive Health bill.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle holds a Mass at the Guadalupe Church.
He urges Filipinos to protect and preserve human life, which Catholic bishops believe would be put at risk by the RH bill.
At the St Peter's Church in Quezon City, Bishop Ramon Arguelles calls on lawmakers "not to sell their souls for P280-M."
He adds, "You are worth more than that. Your eternity is at stake."
Arguelles is referring to speculations President Benigno Aquino used pork barrel to compel House members to vote in favor of the measure.
At least 21 lawmakers opposed to the RH bill are present at the mass in St Peter's.
Story 3: ZALDY AMPATUAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY
It took 3 years, but former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan is finally arraigned for the gruesome Maguindanao massacre that killed 58 people, including 30 media workers.
Carlos Santamaria reports.
A defiant Ampatuan pleaded not guilty to charges that he was part of a conspiracy to kill the victims.
Three years after he was arrested for the Maguindanao massacre, principal suspect Zaldy Ampatuan is finally arraigned.
The former ARMM governor pleads not guilty to charges of conspiring to murder 58 people in November 23, 2009.
Zaldy Ampatuan shows no remorse and even gave threatening looks to the families of the victims.
CATHERINE NUNEZ, MOTHER OF VICTIM: He was defiant, even in sunglasses. He doesn't want to remove his shades. We are happy that he finally got arraigned. It's for our new year. In the span of three years, this is what we have been waiting for. He pleaded not guilty, but we know that's not true.
Zaldy is the fourth member of the Ampatuan clan to be formally charged.
Out of the 198 accused, 103 have been arrested and 82 arraigned -- among them Andal Ampatuan and his other son, Andal Junior, the alleged mastermind of the killing.
Maguindanao Governor Ismael Mangudadatu lost eleven family members in the tragedy.
He is satisfied but complains about the slow course of justice.
ESMAEL MANGUDADATU, MAGUINDANAO GOVERNOR: You know, when my wife died, our baby was 10 months old, and now he's almost 4 years old. He can talk already and is looking for his mommy (…) It's really painful.
Zaldy Ampatuan has been behind bars for 3 years along with his father and brother.
The process of his arraignment, according to the prosecution, should have taken only 90 days.
ATTY. HARRY ROQUE, PROSECUTION LAWYER: He did exhaust all legal remedies, up until the Supreme Court. And, of course, he attempted a lot of things about him to be removed from the case, But to me, in whichever way you see it, this length of time can never be justified. This case, which is so prominent, the 90 days turned to 3 years, what else then would happen to those other cases that never reach the news because there are no media men involved? So, in order to prevent further miscarriage of justice, let's make sure that the rules are implemented whoever is the victim.
Governor Mangudadatu's brother helped the military find the site where the victims were buried in mass graves.
He will never forget that day and will never forgive the Ampatuans for what they did to his family.
DATU KHADAFEH MANGUDADATU, ASSEMBLYMAN, MAGUINDANAO 2nd DISTRICT: Our sentiment within the immediate family is at least (anger) still in our hearts. If you talk of our feelings, half is happy and some anger [towards the] accused who slaughtered our loved ones.
Since the trial began in January 2010, the prosecution has presented 101 witnesses and 264 hearings have been conducted.
But 93 suspects remain at large and no one has been convicted of a crime.
3 years after the Maguindanao massacre, Zaldy Ampatuan is arraigned. It's an important step towards bringing justice to the families of the 58 victims, closing one of the darkest chapters in Philippine history.
Carlos Santamaria, Rappler, Manila.
Story 4: PACQUIAO: WE WILL RISE AGAIN
Manny Pacquiao comes home to the Philippines days after the stunning loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
Will he listen to sports analysts who say he should retire?
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
The People's Champ is back in Manila.
Fresh off a knockout defeat, world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao arrives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal around 6 in the morning.
With wife Jinkee and members of his entourage, Pacquiao is in a happy mood despite his second consecutive loss.
He says thank you for the warm welcome, and talks about his 6th round knockout loss to arch rival Juan Manuel Marquez.
MANNY PACQUIAO, BOXER: I didn't know I fell face first because when I woke, I was already on my back (jump cut) when I fell I didn't move, that's why my wife panicked.
He is jovial at first, but turns serious when he talks about the effect of his loss on his countrymen.
PACQUIAO: I saw a lot of Filipinos sad on TV after my loss. That's what makes me sad. Because I want to make Filipinos happy.
But supporters assure him he is still their champ.
Among the fans who trooped to the airport at dawn are colleagues in Congress, politicians and actors.
They say they will be there for Pacquiao through thick and thin.
BONG REVILLA, SENATOR: Suporta natin nasa kanya parin, hindi natin siya pwedeng pabayaan pag bagsak na bagsak ang nararamdaman niya…Babangon tayo muli.
From the airport, Pacquiao and his crew head to Midas hotel where another welcome awaits.
There, he is more subdued as friends heap praises on him and assure him of their support.
He admits he is embarrassed.
PACQUIAO: Nahihiya ako… pagkakataon ito mapasaya kayo at hindi ko nagawa… tanggap ko na pero paminsan nagiging emosyonal parin ako.
He reiterates this is not the end of his boxing career.
Pacquiao's loss by knockout is his first since 1999.
He insists this has only made him more determined, and is nothing but a stumbling block.
Whether the stunning defeat was a coincidence or a sign of decline remains to be seen.
He promises, he will be back in the ring and will regain his glory.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler Manila.
Story 5: #TALKTHURSDAY: GSIS AND GOOD GOVERNANCE
Government Service Insurance System president Roberto Vergara speaks about managing the pension funds of government employees.
GSIS has over P600 billion in assets.
Vergara was fund manager of investment house Lionhart Ltd. before taking the government post in September 2010.
He says resolving problems for the members is their top priority for two years.
ROBERT VERGARA, GSIS PRESIDENT: Our attention has been focused on trying to resolve the problems at GSIS, especially as it relates to members' services and that was our priority that we should try to put our house in order, that we should try to address the concerns, frustrations for our members. And that's what we embarked on for the first two years.
Vergara shares leadership lessons from his experiences in both the public and private sector.
ROBERT VERGARA, GSIS PRESIDENT: You have to articulate your vision, you have to be very clear about where you want to go. And the next thing is the recognition that you can't do it on your own, make sure you pick good people, and that you empower them and that you encourage them to take risks.
Story 6: SMART, GLOBE, SUN TO NTC: WHY SLASH TEXT FEES?
Local mobile phone companies ask the National Telecommunications Commission to reconsider its order to slash text messaging fees and refund subscribers.
In separate motions, Smart Communications Inc., Sun Cellular and Globe Telecom, Inc. also question the authority of the NTC, saying the industry has long been deregulated.
The telcos say NTC issued a circular requiring the phone companies to reduce interconnection charges from P0.35 to P0.15 per SMS.
The companies say the order to lower the regular SMS rate was not included in the circular, but was merely a "request."
Story 7: NORTH KOREA SUPRISES WORLD, FIRES ROCKET
North Korea successfully launches a long-range rocket Wednesday, defying the United Nations’ threats of sanctions.
North Korea says the three-stage rocket, which Pyongyang insists is aimed at placing a satellite in orbit, achieved all its objectives.
Officials in South Korea and Japan say all three stages of the rocket appear to have separated as scheduled.
The first and second stages fall in the sea west and southwest of the Korean Peninsula while the third falls 300 kilometers east of the Philippines.
North Korea originally gave a December 10 to 22 launch window, but extended that by a week when a "technical deficiency" is discovered Monday.
Washington and its allies say the launch is a disguised ballistic missile test that violates UN resolutions.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 2, In a long-awaited move, US President Barack Obama recognizes Syria's opposition as the -quote- "legitimate" representative of the nation's people.
The US joins France, Britain, Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council in recognizing the recently reconstituted opposition Syrian National Coalition.
In an interview with ABC News Obama says, "The Syrian opposition coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population."
At number 5, Thousands continue to rally in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, days before a scheduled referendum to ratify a new constitution.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi wants the referendum on Saturday, but opposition leaders want it scrapped, saying it is drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly.
Opposition forces converge outside the presidential palace now guarded by tanks and hundreds of soldiers while supporters of Morsi rally at Tahrir Square.
And at number 9, Earlier this month the Vatican announced Pope Benedict the 16th will begin tweeting from his own personal account @pontifex.
The pope's first tweet happens today.
The pope personally hits the send button on his first tweet, written in his own words but pre-drafted in 8 languages.
In his first tweet he says -quote- “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”
Twitter Innovation chief Claire Diaz-Ortiz is in Rome to personally oversee the historic event.