Today on Rappler.
Story 1: USS GUARDIAN SALVAGE TO COST ALMOST $25-M
The salvage company hired by the US Navy to remove the USS Guardian from the Tubbataha Reef will be paid nearly $25 million or about 1.2 billion pesos.
The US Department of Defense publishes details of the contract on Wednesday.
SMIT Salvage Singapore is hired to provide the personnel, vessels and equipment needed for the recovery of the ship.
The US Defense Department says the operation will be completed December, not April or May as earlier announced by the Philippine Coast Guard.
On Wednesday, the Coast Guard approves the US Navy's plan of cutting the ship into pieces and lifting each section onto a barge with floating cranes.
World Wildlife Fund Philippines spokesman Gregg Yan says the fines the US Navy will have to pay are "just a drop in the bucket for [their] coffers" if they can afford $25-M to remove the ship.
Former Philippine ambassador Roberto Romulo believes it’s appropriate for the US to compensate the Philippines but says they should do more.
ROBERTO ROMULO, FORMER PHILIPPINE AMBASSADOR: How will they prevent this in the future? I really cannot understand how a superpower has the wrong navy charts that they go to Tubbataha the way they did.
Story 2: BRILLANTES ALMOST WALKS OUT OF CONGRESS HEARING
Commissions on Elections chair Sixto Brillantes Jr threatens to walk out of a congressional hearing Wednesday after a poll watchdog raised issues over ballot-counting machines.
Brillantes says he has heard the criticism "about 100 times."
Center for People Empowerment in Governance executive director Evita Jimenez questions the security of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
She cites the issue between Smartmatic, which sold Comelec the machines, and Dominion Voting Systems, which owns the system used by Smartmatic.
The fight between the two companies prevents SLI Global Solutions from releasing its certification of its source code review.
The source code refers to human readable instructions that define what the computer equipment will do.
Jimenez says without the certification, the poll watchdog would expect preloading, multiple transmissions, and other problems with the machines.
She adds, "We are not doomsaying, but we want proof that the machines will be functioning well."
Brillantes says he will address the issues after SLI and Comelec’s technical evaluation committee release their report next week.
Story 3: AQUINO: MNLF OPERATIONS NOT SANCTIONED
President Benigno Aquino says the government did not sanction the recent operation of the Moro National Liberation Front against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.
In a press conference in Davao, Aquino clarifies the MNLF did not inform the government about the attack.
The military says more than 26 people were killed after violence erupted between the MNLF and the Abu Sayyaf on Sunday, hours after the bandit group released two of their kidnap victims in Patikul, Sulu.
Aquino says the government's priority is securing the civilians in the area.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: We directed both the security services, meaning the AFP and the PNP and also Secretary Soliman of DSWD to ensure that civilians who might be caught up in the areas are evacuated to safe areas and are taken cared of.
He adds the government wants to prevent the fighting from spreading.
Story 4: CONGRESS RATIFIES AMLA AMENDMENTS
Congress ratifies on Wednesday the final version of a measure seeking to expand the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
The measure expands the list of unlawful activities and the list of institutions covered by the law.
Under the bill, foreign exchange corporations, money changers, and pre-need companies will be required to report transactions of P500,000 and above to the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
Precious stones and metal dealers will be required to report transactions of P1 million and above.
The measure is required by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force for the Philippines to avoid a blacklist.
Story 5: SC UPHOLDS DISMISSAL OF MALVERSATION RAPS VS ARROYO
The Supreme Court upholds the Ombudsman’s dismissal of the malversation charges filed against Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo.
The SC third division rules the transfer of some P530 million in Overseas Workers Welfare Administration funds to Philhealth in 2004 was valid and legal.
The resolution is dated January 17 but is made public Wednesday.
The Ombudsman also says Arroyo's transfer of $350,000 in OWWA Capital Funds to labor attaches in the Middle East is legal.
Ombudsman Conchita Morales approves the dismissal of the charges against Arroyo and 11 other officials from Philhealth and OWWA in 2012.
Solicitor general Francisco Chavez filed the plunder case in 2011.
He says he will file a motion for reconsideration.
Story 6: WITNESS IN ORTEGA CASE FOUND DEAD IN JAIL
One of the witnesses in the Gerry Ortega murder case is found dead in jail Tuesday.
Dennis Aranas was found in his cell at the Lucena Provincial Jail with a bag strap around his neck.
Jail officials call it a suicide.
Aranas is one of the alleged hitmen in the case.
The Ortega family says Aranas' wife --quote "does not believe" he committed suicide.
The family says in a statement --quote, "We are just worried because as witnesses die, the case may weaken in the long run."
Story 7: GLOBE SEES NO HINDRANCE TO BAYAN TAKEOVER
Globe Telecom expects its planned acquisition of cash-strapped Bayan Telecommunications Inc. to go smoothly.
He says an equity deal might happen within the first quarter of 2013.
Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu says the company plans to merge with Bayan, after successfully buying out 96.5% of Bayan's outstanding bondholders.
Globe paid a discounted $130 million for the $430-million worth of debt Bayan and unit Radio Communications of the Philippines Inc. owed creditors.
Since Bayan’s corporate rehabilitation in 2004, the debt-ridden telco has reportedly settled P8.19 billion in debt.
Cu also reveals plans to file for an amendment of Bayan’s rehabilitation plan to ensure its long-term viability.
In a statement Wednesday, Globe says its net income fell 30% to P6.9 billion in 2012 from P9.8 billion in 2011.
Globe says network modernization program expenses pulled down the company’s profit.
Story 8: SOLOMONS QUAKE TRIGGERS PH TSUNAMI WATCH
A major 8.0 magnitude earthquake hits the Solomon Islands Wednesday, triggering a tsunami that kills five people in the eastern area of the islands.
Phivolcs raises Tsunami Alert Level 1 for communities in the Philippines' east coast after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center generates a tsunami warning affecting large parts of the Pacific.
The alert is lifted past noon Philippine time after tsunami warnings are also lifted for affected areas in the Pacific basin.
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, British lawmakers vote Tuesday to allow gay marriage, despite fierce opposition from members of Prime Minister David Cameron's own party.
Voting 400-175, the vote puts Britain on track to join the ten countries that allow same-sex couples to marry.
But to become a law, it still needs to clear the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Cameron allowed lawmakers a free vote on the issue, meaning they are not directed by party managers.
At number 6, Dell unveils plans to go private, giving founder Michael Dell a chance to reshape the former number one PC maker.
Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake strike a 24.4-billion dollar deal to take the company private.
The move will delist the company from stock markets and could ease some pressure on Dell, which is cash-rich but has seen profits slump.
At number 7, A new propaganda video released by an official North Korean agency becomes the talk of the Internet community.
The video, set to the song “We Are The World,” shows a dream sequence where a young Korean man envisions a future of rocket launches and a reunified Korean peninsula.
But the video changes tone with images of stars and stripes, and a city in flames.
Conspiracy theorists say it hints of North Korea’s plans of a nuclear attack on America.
And at number 9, Spanish tennis champ Rafael Nadal launches his return from a seven-month injury break by teaming up with Argentina's Juan Monaco for a doubles victory in the ATP clay court event in Chile Tuesday.
All eyes are on the return of the world number five who plays his first tournament since he was beaten at Wimbledon in June 2012.
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|