President Aquino’s party is being accused of using the flagship poverty alleviation program of the government during the campaign period
Today on Rappler.
Story 1: AQUINO TO COMELEC: SPARE ME FROM GUN BAN
President Benigno Aquino on Thursday files an application to carry a gun from January 13 to June 12-- the election period.
The President’s hobbies include target-shooting.
Comelec Commissioner Elias Yusoph says Aquino wants the Comelec to exempt the revolver he uses for target shooting.
Comelec Resolution No. 9561 prohibits anyone from carrying a gun during the election period.
38 groups are exempt from the ban.
The President is not among them.
But the Comelec spares Aquino's Presidential Security Group from the gun ban.
In the resolution, the Comelec continues to provide security to candidates facing death threats.
The Comelec limits exemptions to candidates and their family members within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity.
The Comelec assigns only up to two bodyguards.
Story 2: STOP SIN TAX LAW, COMPANIES ASK COURT
Liquor makers seek a temporary restraining order to stop the government from implementing the Sin Tax Law.
The new law, which prescribes higher tax rates on tobacco and alcohol products, takes effect January 1.
The Distilled Spirits Association of the Philippines says distilled spirits makers will be under double taxation because there are taxes imposed on the raw material -- ethyl alcohol -- and on compounded liquors produced from ethyl alcohol.
DSAP says some companies already paid P1.7 billion in excise taxes for its ethyl alcohol inventory.
Members of DSAP include Destileria Limtuaco, San Miguel Corp., Ginebra San Miguel Inc., Tanduay Distillers Inc., Emperador Distillers, and Alcohol Distilleries-Absolute Chemicals Inc.
Story 3: UST CANCELS SENATORIAL FORUM OVER RH ISSUE
The Philippines may already have a Reproductive Health law, but the animosity continues.
On Thursday, the University of Santo Tomas cancels a senatorial candidates' forum because pro-RH law candidates are in the panel.
The forum on health, population and development was organized to discuss issues surrounding the May polls.
In a statement, the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines says UST decided to stop the event for "fear" the RH law will be discussed in the forum.
Participants and netizens react to the news on Twitter.
Bayan Muna Rep Teddy Casiño says, "There goes academic freedom.”
Leslie Dela Cruz says, “To think UST's an authority in health and medicine, what the admin did was a clear disrespect to students' right to informed choice.”
LP candidate Risa Hontiveros says the Universities should be a platform for education, not a breeding ground for ignorance and intolerance.
Story 4: GARIN: PASSAGE OF RH DUE TO AQUINO'S HIGH RATING
Iloilo Rep Janette Garin talks about the long road to get the controversial reproductive health bill passed into law.
Garin is the co-author of the bill in the Lower House.
She says misinformation and Church pressure delayed the bill’s passage.
She also says legislators tended to make safe decisions for political survival.
REP. JANETTE GARIN, CO-AUTHOR OF RH LAW IN THE LOWER HOUSE: I realized that the main problem was political survival for many of our colleagues...Even if the advocacy is there, it all boils down to political survival at the constituency level.
Garin says the bill passed after 14 years because of President Aquino’s political will shored up by his high popularity ratings.
REP. JANETTE GARIN, CO-AUTHOR OF RH LAW IN THE LOWER HOUSE: I would attribute it to a very popular president with a high satisfaction rating who has no plans of running again…He wouldn't care if it dips a little because he is confident and we are confident that when people look at what he has implemented, people would realize that it was actually for our common good.
Story 6: DEFENSE IN US MARINE KILLING CASE WANTS GAG ORDER
Four young Filipinos stand trial for the murder of a US Marine in Makati.
Now, their lawyer wants a gag order on the media.
Carlos Santamaria reports.
Six weeks after a US Marine was killed in an upscale subdivision in Makati, 4 Filipinos stand trial for murder.
The defendants plead guilty and claim they acted in self defense.
The incident was caught by the security cameras, but the defense says the footage may have been tampered with.
The lawyers want a gag order on the video.
JAY DE CASTRO, DEFENSE COUNSEL: From day one of the incident, the CCTV came out in the social media, particularly Facebook and YouTube. This is not good for the accused. Had the full CCTV been shown, especially the unlawful aggression on the part of the victim George Anikow, then the people would know that there is actually no case of murder, no case of homicide, just a pure act of self defense on the part of the accused.
Defense lawyers suggest the media are biased towards the prosecution.
Regional Trial Court Judge Winlove Dumayas is willing to hear the gag request.
The prosecution is not worried.
HANNAH ARRIOLA, ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR, MAKATI CITY: We will study it more in depth when the motion is filed.
George Anikow was a US Marine who served in Afghansitan and the husband of a diplomat.
American officials are attending the trial as observers, but so far they have not brought in their own prosecutor.
MICHAEL SCHIMMEL, CONSUL GENERAL, US EMBASSY: The victim of the murder was an American citizen and a member of the embassy community, so we have a very solid reason to be very interested in the prosecution of the suspects. Whenever an American citizen is victimized, we are interested in the prosecution. Mr. Anikow left behind 3 small children, a grieving wife and a very wounded community, so we are very interested in the outcome of this case.
The trial resumes January 17, when the accused will face the security guard who witnessed the incident.
The guard is expected to identify the 4 suspects as the men he saw stabbing the victim after the American engaged them in a fistfight.
CARLOS SANTAMARIA, REPORTING: Whether or not there is a gag order, both sides expect a long trial to determine if in fact, the Filipinos murdered the American.
Carlos Santamaria, Rappler, Manila.
Story 7: A FILIPINO IN SPACE BY 2014
In 2014, the first Filipino is flying to space.
American astronaut Buzz Aldrin kicks off the AXE Apollo Space Academy in New York, Thursday.
Astronomy site Space.com says the Academy is an online contest that will send 22 civilian winners -quote "to the edge of space and back aboard a private spaceship."
They will be on board the Lynx space plane built by X-COR Aerospace.
The contest is organized globally by Unilever and Space XC.
Unilever Philippines is taking part in the contest, so a Filipino will definitely be space-bound in 2014.
Story 8: ROGUE ASTEROID A FIFTH BIGGER THAN THOUGHT
The European Space Agency says an asteroid believed to pose a remote risk of colliding with Earth is 20 percent bigger than previously thought.
Previous estimates put the diameter of asteroid 99942 Apophis at 270 meters.
But the agency's deep-space telescope shows the asteroid's diameter is 325 meters.
NASA says there is a tiny impact risk of about one in 250,000 when the asteroid passes closer to the Earth on April 13, 2036.
Story 10: GOOGLE CHAIR WANTS N. KOREA TO EMBRACE INTERNET FREEDOM
Google chairman Eric Schmidt tells North Korean officials the country would "remain behind" unless it opened up its Internet.
Speaking after the mysterious four-day trip, Schmidt says North Korea's decision to be "virtually isolated" is going to affect its economic growth.
He adds, "North Korea has to make it possible for people to use the Internet which the government has not yet done."
Other members of the trip describes it as a "private humanitarian mission."
It was thought that the delegation would try and negotiate the release of an American, Kenneth Bae, who had been detained in North Korea.
The delegation did not meet the country's young leader Kim Jong Un, and the most senior official to meet with the group was a vice minister.
Many North Korea watchers are puzzled by the presence of Google's top executive in the delegation.
The trip was made over the objections of the State Department which said it was ill-timed.
Story 11: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 2, Is there a national flu epidemic in the United States? On Wednesday, Boston declares a public health emergency after the flu virus kills more than a dozen people.
Authorities in Boston confirm more than 700 cases, compared to just 70 at this time last year.
On Thursday, at least three more states, Montana, South Dakota and Arizona, report widespread flu, bringing the outbreak to 44 states.
The CDC says the percentage of people going to the hospital for the flu doubled in the past month.
At number 5, Rappler's Natashya Gutierrez shows how easy it is to get a gun legally, with merchants offering to file fake papers needed for a license.
She takes a look at the government agencies who issue the licenses and the reforms needed to prevent outbreaks of violence.
Read the full story on Rappler.com
At number 6, US Vice President Joe Biden tells interest groups, including victims of recent shootings, the White House may step in if Congress won't push tougher gun control measures.
Biden is assigned by President Obama to draw up proposals to respond to the elementary school shootings in Newton, Connecticut.
He will also meet with the National Rifle Association, the nation's most powerful gun lobby, and other gun-rights groups.
And at number 8, Speaking your mind out online is common, but in China, where censorship and spin sometimes go hand in hand, discussions on censorship are rare.
Some users of Chinese microblogging site Weibo criticize the service's web managers.
But one web manager posts an explanation of the service’s practices that allows people to speak freely without making the government angry.
The post by @Genuine_Yu_Yang explains, "At its very early stages, we were under a lot of pressure. We tried to resist and let the messages spread. This is our accomplishment already.”
The post has since been deleted.
Story 12: ‘THE TERMINAL,’ PH VERSION: MAN STUCK IN NAIA 1 SINCE DECEMBER
A British man is stranded in a Manila airport with no money for a plane ride home.
Katherine Visconti tells about his misadventures and the friends he makes along the way.
A man stuck in an airport terminal for days.
It sounds like the plot of the Tom Hanks movie The Terminal.
But life imitates art here at terminal 1 of Manila's international airport.
This departure lounge is where 52 year old British Gary Austin has been waiting for over 3 weeks.
GARY AUSTIN, STRANDED TRAVELER: The worst part is waiting.
Gary flew to the Philippines to visit a woman he met online.
Checking in for his flight out of the country, he found out the e-ticket he thought was paid for had been cancelled.
Out of money from his trip to Cebu, he decided to wait in the airport.
While he was there he made friends with airport janitor Hannah Bulabon.
She and other cleaners bring him food during the morning and evening shifts.
When Rappler catches up with Gary, he had finally visited the British Embassy but says he is no closer to getting home.
The embassy tells Rappler they are providing assistance but Gary says that is limited to a phone call and Internet access.
Gary says he plans to return to terminal 1, which has become his temporary home.
Unlike a Hollywood movie, this story doesn't have a happy ending yet.
Katherine Visconti, Rappler Manila.
Newscast production staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Vicente Roxas|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|