Today on Rappler.
Story 1: AFTER PLENARY, CBCP BLASTS AQUINO GOV'T
Bishops tell the public not to vote for pro-RH candidates.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines also criticizes the Aquino government and warns Filipinos of "social and political storms" ahead.
In a statement after their bi-annual plenary, the bishops hit the passage of the Reproductive Health law, which mandates government financing for the distribution of contraceptives.
Previous attempts to pass an RH law were defeated largely on account of the Church's political power.
The statement also thanks lawmakers who opposed the passage of the law.
GABRIEL REYES, ANTIPOLO BISHOP: We denounce the passage of the Reproductive Health Law, the political and financial pressures imposed on lawmakers, and the imperialism exercised by secularistic international organizations in the legislative process. We admire and commend the valiant efforts of lay people and lawgivers to prevent the passage of the law.
The CBCP also asks Filipinos to vote for “morally upright candidates.”
Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes says those who voted for the RH bill should be marked unfit for public office.
It's the strongest CBCP statement against the Aquino administration.
The bishops say the government betrayed its campaign against corruption by not pushing for the approval of Freedom of Information bill.
They also downplay the country's strong economic performance, saying this has not trickled down to the poor.
The CBCP though praises the government’s work on the peace process.
The Aquino government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed a framework agreement in October 2012.
Story 2: CELDRAN READY FOR 'BIG LEGAL BATTLE'
Outspoken reproductive health advocate Carlos Celdran is not only willing to challenge institutions and ideas, but the law itself.
Celdran believes his guilty verdict and the jail sentence threatens his right to free speech and everyone else’s.
Celdran was convicted of violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code after he interrupted a service at the Manila Cathedral.
He held up a placard with the word “Damaso”, referring to the villainous priest in Jose Rizal’s famous novel “Noli Me Tangere.”
Celdran will appeal the guilty verdict and hopes he may overturn Article 133 in the process.
Celdran says if necessary, they are ready to take the fight to the Supreme Court.
CARLOS CELDRAN, RH ADVOCATE: It's gonna be a big fight so I'm keeping as calm as I can, bracing myself for what comes ahead…It's gonna be a big legal battle as we figure out what our strategies are. Well, if it is an activity of worship, the Manila Cathedral is a public place. They use that pulpit for politics as well. So, by them also using that, it essentially makes the Manila Cathedral -- who doesn’t pay taxes, which is open supposedly to the entire public -- just as much an open space as Plaza Miranda or anything else.
President Aquino weighs in on the charge and says Celdran deserves forgiveness.
He says, "If our priests and members of religious orders follow the example of the Holy Pope, the Church could forgive Mr. Celdran so that we can move on.”
Story 3: COMELEC PREPARES TO DISQUALIFY 'EPALS'
After disqualifying party-list groups, the Commission on Elections will soon disqualify "epals" or attention grabbing politicians from the 2013 polls.
Comelec warns re-electionist officials who paint, carve, or plaster their names on public structures they will not think twice about tearing down "epal" signs.
Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim says the poll body is ordering the Department of Public Works and Highways to take down signs.
Lim adds, they are serious about implementing the rules.
CHRISTIAN LIM, COMELEC COMMISSIONER: Matagal na yan. I mean, siguro we're just more on expanding it. Wala namang bago dito e, hindi lang ine-enforce talaga dati. Like merong re-electionist, pero sa may city hall merong malaking poster ng mga incumbent. Ang ginawa nun, pininturahan ung mga mukha nun kasi may unfair ano yun e… 'Pag may dadaan sa mind mo ito si Mayor so pagdating sa balota ito pa rin si Mayor ang bobotohin ko.
Resolution No. 9615, which sets the campaign rules, prohibits posting ads outside common poster areas, in private properties without the owners' consent, and in public places.
Candidates have until February 11, a day before the campaign period, to remove prohibited signs.
Story 4: CAN AQUINO SELL HIS SENATORS?
The administration ticket starts airing its TV and radio commercials on Monday, 3 weeks behind its rival United Nationalist Alliance.
The ad reveals its strategy to win: capitalize on Aquino's popularity and hope this will transfer to his candidates.
The 45-second ad introduces the administration ticket as "Team PNoy."
A voice over from President Aquino names the candidates as they appear on camera.
The ad is produced by the same team behind the president's ads in 2010 and continues the "Tuwid na daan" narrative.
Communications secretary Ricky Carandang says the president's endorsement is significant.
He says --quote, "When you are a President with high approval rating, that's very good. When you tell people these are the people who will help me continue what I've started. I think that's going to mean a lot to the voters.”
Story 5: UNA ON TEAM PNOY SLOGAN: IRONIC
A day after the Liberal Party aired its slate commercial, opposition United Nationalist Alliance says the TV ad may "open old wounds" in the coalition.
In a statement, UNA secretary general Toby Tiangco says "UNA today compliments the Liberal Party for finally airing its TV ad, but warns it may also open old wounds that could put the whole coalition in jeopardy."
Tiangco questions the use of President Aquino's slogan "Daang Matuwid," which he used in the 2010 presidential elections.
He says the slogan was a symbolism of the C-5 road controversy that accused his then rival Senator Manuel Villar Jr of corruption.
Villar's wife, former Las Piñas Rep Cynthia Villar is running under the Team PNoy banner.
The Villars say they have buried past issues with the Aquino campaign.
Story 6: LP SCIONS TO VOTERS: LOOK BEYOND SURNAMES
What’s in a name?
Descendants of prominent names in politics admit its an advantage.
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
Aquino. Angara. Poe.
All familiar last names. All senatorial candidates.
Bam Aquino is the cousin of the President.
Aurora Rep Sonny Angara is the son of Senator Edgardo Angara, and Grace Poe is the daughter of the late actor and former Presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.
All three are running for Senate for the first time under the ticket of the administration.
But all three want voters to look at their track records, not their surnames.
BAM AQUINO, SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Kung titingnan niyo naman po ang among track record, bago kami pumasok sa pulitika. In the case of Sonny, nung sumali siya sa pulitika, eh makikita naman po na mapagkakatiwalaan naman po kami kahit noon po. Sana po hindi niyo lang ako sasamahan dahil pinsan ko po si PNoy. Opo, pinsan ko po siya pero sana hindi lang po yun ang rason ninyo.
Former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairperson Poe jumped from rank 20 to rank 10-11 in the latest surveys.
Poe knows it is because of her last name, but says it's okay.
She plans to push for the advocacies her late father never had the chance to do, but is also confident of her own achievements at the MTRCB.
GRACE POE, SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Ako ay naghanda rin. Hindi naman porke't ako ay anak ni FPJ kaya lang ako tumatakbo. Sa MTRCB, kahit dalawang taon lang po ang aking trabaho doon, naging malaman at marami po tayong mga nagawa hindi lamang sa mga manonood kung hindi para rin sa mga industriya ng telebisyon at pelikula.
They are among the youngest candidates in the race.
Speaking to college students at the Universidad de Manila, they share their plans for the youth.
A common goal? Education reform and job generation.
Poe wants students to be able to avail of loans to fund their education.
Aquino says the educational system should not just include enrollment to graduation, but enrollment to job placement.
Angara continues to push for a bill of rights for new graduates.
SONNY ANGARA, SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Biro ninyo, isang taon kayo nagfifill up ng application, pumipila, naghahanap ng trabaho. ito sa Bill of Rights for new graduates, nais po natin yan paiksiin, yung period na yun, yung panahon na yun na pumipila kayo sa gobyerno.
While Poe soars in ratings, Angara sits precariously at 13th place.
Aquino rose from 17th to 15th place.
But with the campaign season just about to start, the rankings could well change.
Proud of their own accomplishments, they hope voters see beyond their names, although surnames like theirs won't hurt.
And could be the boost they need to stay in the Magic 12.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila.
Story 7: AQUINO: PH GREW FASTER THAN 6% IN 2012
President Aquino says the Philippines grew faster than 6% in 2012, ahead of the January 31 official announcement of the country’s 2012 gross domestic product performance.
Aquino says the GDP growth for the year will exceed the higher end of the 5% to 6% target for 2012.
National Economic Development AuthorityDirector General Arsenio Balisacan says it is possible the economy grew 6.5% in the 4th quarter and "at least 6%" for the entire year.
Data from the National Statistical Coordination Board show the economy grew 6.5% in the first 3 quarters of 2012.
Balisacan says, "Anything above 6% is impressive considering that we are only targeting 5% to 6%, and the global uncertainties are still there."
Story 8: NEW PHOTO OF KIDNAPPED AUSTRALIAN
A photo of kidnapped Australian Warren Rodwell was posted on Facebook Tuesday, Jan. 29.
Claiming to be from Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyah - the formal name of the Abu Sayyaf -- the photo shows a visibly thinner Rodwell, who has been held for ransom in the jungles of Basilan in the southern Philippines for more than a year.
Three armed, masked men stand to his left and right.
Rodwell is holding a newspaper, apparently from January 25.
Filipino intelligence sources contacted by Rappler verify the photograph is real.
Negotiations for Rodwell’s release is ongoing.
The post tells the Australian government, “We will give you a chance to save his life before it’s too late.”
Behind Rodwell is the black flag, a symbolic link to al-Qaeda.
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, friends and family members say farewell to 231 killed in the January 27 nightclub fire in south Brazil.
On Monday, police arrested two owners of the Kiss club and a pair of musicians who starred in the pyrotechnic show.
The fireworks are blamed for sparking the inferno in the university town of Santa Maria.
The club did not have valid operating permits and its emergency exits led only to the main entrance, which became a deadly bottleneck.
Most of the victims died of smoke inhalation.
At number 6, after 33 years in power, 75-year-old Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announces she will abdicate in favor of her son, Crown Prince Willem Alexander, at the end of April.
In a televised address, she says the country should be in the hands of a new generation.
This would end more than 100 years of female reign on the Dutch throne.
Future king Willem Alexander has worked hard to polish his image since his beer-drinking student days when he was known as "Prince Pils."
He is a trained hydrological engineer and is involved in development aid.
At number 8, fans of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" mark the yearlong celebration of the novel’s 200th year of publication on January 28.
One of fiction’s most popular couples are commemorated in a 12-hour read-a-thon, BBC's reconstruction of the Netherfield Ball, and Twitter posts of favorite lines from the book.
The Economist measures the frequency of mention of both well-loved characters.
It found that heroine Elizabeth Bennet is seen as the "world's sweetheart," giving her a steady mention in books and journals through the decades.
Mr. Darcy dipped in popularity during the second-wave of feminism, then bounced back in the 1990's, thanks to a BBC television series and Helen Fielding's "Bridget Jones's Diary."
And at number 10, Research In Motion is trying to find a new lease on life with BlackBerry 10, which is already creating Apple-level buzz in the run up to its January 30 delivery.
Those who saw a sample unit say the new keyboardless smartphone is "truly beautiful, elegant hardware.”
A Gizmodo writer says, “It looks a lot like an iPhone 5 from some angles but at the same time, feels decidedly BlackBerry.”
Fortune says RIM's goal is not to out-innovate the iPhone.
In a market controlled by Apple and Google, RIM is in a battle with Microsoft for 3rd spot.
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|