Today on Rappler.
Story 1: UNA JUNKS CHIZ, LOREN, GRACE POE
United Nationalist Alliance cut ties with 3 senatorial candidates it shares with Team PNoy.
Ayee Macaraig follows their sorties in Zambales and files this report.
Are they with us or against us?
The status of Senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero and Grace Poe has been a long-running issue.
For months now, the 3 benefit from endorsements from both the ruling Liberal Party and the opposition United Nationalist Alliance or UNA.
It’s an odd arrangement that sparked a tug-of-war, and questions on where their loyalties really lie.
Finally, UNA calls it quits.
UNA Campaign Manager Toby Tiangco announces the alliance is junking the three from its list of candidates.
Tiangco says UNA exhausted all means to accommodate them, but they failed to live up to their commitment to also join UNA events.
For UNA, the last straw is their decision to choose the LP proclamation in Manila last week over its rally in Cebu.
While campaigning in Zambales, UNA’s senatorial bets explain the decision as a response to what they call the “unfair treatment” the 3 gave UNA.
JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI, UNA SENATORIAL BET: Like any lover that you have, if you love somebody, dapat magpakita ka rin para tuloy-tuloy ang pagmamahal pero pag na-snub ang mahal sa buhay, talagang magagalit din iyon and that’s what happened.
Yet San Juan Representative JV Ejercito says it wasn’t an easy decision to make considering the three’s history with UNA.
Poe is the daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr, the best friend of Ejercito’s father and UNA stalwart, former President Joseph Estrada.
Legarda was Poe’s running mate in 2004 while Escudero was their spokesperson in the opposition.
JV EJERCITO, UNA SENATORIAL BET: Si Grace, alam niya kung sino ang nagpakahirap para kay FPJ nung 2004, nung panahong ang LP ay ‘di naniniwala sa kanyang tatay. Kami ay buong puso, dugo’t pawis ang aming binigay para kay FPJ, former President Erap, VP Binay at kami.
Despite UNA’s decision, Ejercito and his father say they will still personally campaign for Poe because of their families’ close ties.
This early, talk is already rife of possible replacements for the 3 including evangelist Brother Eddie Villanueva, Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño.
At some point, all 3 had discussions with Estrada.
For UNA’s candidates, it’s not an issue if they’re only 9 in the slate.
TINGTING COJUANGCO, UNA SENATORIAL BET: That’s not my decision to make but I think with 9, UNA already has its hands full so tingin ko di na kailangan.
UNA’s top leaders, Estrada, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will have to decide whether or not to replace the three.
AYEE MACARAIG, REPORTING: Shared, guest, adopted candidates.
For UNA, it’s time to draw the line and make a choice.
Yet the case of the common candidates shows that in the Philippines, party affiliations are not so much about differences in ideologies but personal relationships.
Ayee Macaraig, Rappler, Zambales.
Story 2: CHIZ, GRACE, LOREN: SAD, HURT, RELIEVED
Team PNoy senatorial bets Escudero, Legarda and Poe respect UNA's decision to remove them from its senatorial list.
But Escudero and Poe say they are a little confused.
They say UNA set no conditions when they were invited to join the coalition.
The candidates say they were surprised when UNA attacked them for skipping their rallies.
But Escudero says it's just politics.
He says in Filipino, "I still consider them friends."
Poe says she was not surprised by the decision but was hurt by UNA's attacks.
She says she cannot be accused of abandoning UNA because they did not offer her a slot in its senatorial ticket until two days before the filing of candidacies.
Poe says in Filipino, "They might have been nervous because I was a neophyte."
"I'm an underdog. I'm not famous like them."
In a statement, Legarda says she regrets the decision but says she maintains her --quote "high regard for the leadership of UNA.”
Story 3: TEAM PNOY IN ILOILO
Team PNoy campaigns in Iloilo - a vote-rich province and home to one of the coalition’s loyal members, former Governor Niel Tupas Sr.
But does he have the coalition’s support?
Carmela Fonbuena reports.
Senators Chiz Escudero, Loren Legarda, and Grace Poe are all here in Iloilo province for Team PNoy's campaign the same day rival senatorial slate United Nationalist Alliance announces it is junking them as common candidates.
They are sad, hurt, a little confused but also relieved.
But none of these emotions matter or at least show as President Aquino presents the Team PNoy slate here in Iloilo - a province with more than 1 million voters-- and strange bedfellows as allies.
The Liberal Party here sacrificed the ambition of its loyal member former Iloilo Gov Niel Tupas Sr to return to the Capitol.
It is instead throwing its support behind his political rival incumbent Gov Art Defensor.
It's a move that the Liberal Party is willing to make to get on its side two powerful political clans here - the Defensors and the Garins. Local political observers here say it's also a strategic alliance to secure the province for the 2016 presidential elections.
They always say, politics is addition. It's the same politics that Escudero, Legarda, and Poe were banking on when UNA adopted them. But that didn’t work out.
Carmela Fonbuena, Rappler. Iloilo.
Story 4: QUIMBO: UNA DECISION AN 'INEVITABLE CONCLUSION'
Liberal Party spokesman Miro Quimbo says Team PNoy sees UNA’s decision to drop the 3 common candidates as an “inevitable conclusion.”
Quimbo says with the lines drawn, platforms will be more clear to voters.
MIRO QUIMBO, LP SPOKESMAN: The good thing about it is it now makes these elections clear because the 3 candidates being shared or at least having the perception of being shared muddled the debate because it is difficult to stand on two separate platforms.
Quimbo says Philippine politics is personality-oriented.
But he says anchoring Team PNoy on President Benigno Aquino reflects the president’s good governance agenda.
MIRO QUIMBO, LP SPOKESMAN: It is called Team PNoy and it is the President's name. But unlike any other president for that matter the president speaks volumes in carrying out a particular agenda and that's governance, meaning accountability, it's human capital investments, meaning investing in our people and reforming the entire investment infrastructure to make the country more attractive. Those are the three things that really the President wants to focus on.
Quimbo also addresses questions about possible cracks in the Liberal Party’s partnership with the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
The NPC admits having “issues” with LP at the local level.
MIRO QUIMBO, LP SPOKESMAN: No coalition will be problem-free. As a whole the party, NPC has already spoken through its officials there's no truth to that. As far as we're concerned their commitment to the president and to the coalition is not only for this election but in fact up until the end of the term of the president.
Story 5: LP OUTSPENDS UNA IN KICKOFF SORTIES
The ruling Liberal Party spent a lot more than the opposition group UNA in their proclamation rallies.
Topbilled by President Aquino, the kickoff sortie by the LP-led Team PNoy cost P1.8 million, according to a document submitted by LP to Comelec Manila office.
UNA's kickoff sortie in Cebu – topbilling Vice President Binay, former President Joseph Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile – cost less than half of this amount.
UNA spent only around P800,000 for its kickoff sortie in Plaza Independencia, Cebu, based on the report it submitted to Comelec's local Cebu office.
If both camps' expense reports are to be believed, UNA spent only 44.5% of LP's expenses last February 12.
But a separate item in UNA's report shows businessman William Gatchalian shouldered over P900,000 in hotel accommodations and various contributions.
Both camps meet the deadline set by the law for the submission of a statement of expenses for their public rallies.
Story 6: HOW MUCH IS YOUR VOTE?
How much will it take for voters to sell their votes?
Katherine Visconti goes around Quezon City and files this report.
I'm here outside Quezon City hall. With more than one million votes, this vote-rich city represents an attractive prize for politicians. A slim margin of more than 700,000 votes made all the difference when he was elected vice president in 2010.
But how valuable are these votes really?
I decided to ask residents here outside Quezon City hall, just how much they would sell their votes for.
KATHERINE VISCONTI: If someone offered you Php500, that's more than a day's wage, or Php1,000 would you consider it?
CONSTRUCTION WORKER: Okay.
CONSTRUCTION WORKER: Para masuportohan ko yung akin…yung pamilya ko. Pag yung 350 di pa rin makakasuporta kundi mag-sideline pa kami.
PERMIN AGKANG, ICE CREAM VENDOR: Kaya na. 800, e di parehas.
VISCONTI: How much would someone have to pay you to sway your vote?
REGELYN SALVADOR, VENDOR: No, I don't like.
VISCONTI: Any amount that someone could give that could change your mind?
SALVADOR: Kung pwede sabihin niya araw-araw, maaari pa.
Most residents were shy to admit it but they would sell their votes for the right price. It's a fact of elections that pour money into campaigns to influence voters.
The recent US elections cost roughly $6-billion but candidates are forced to buy ads to push their platforms. The problem with vote-buying is that it doesn't force candidates to discuss their ideas. The country can end up with not the best man for the position, but the wealthiest.
Katherine Visconti, Rappler. Manila.
Story 7: LEWIS: CHINA CLAIM ON SOUTH CHINA SEA 'IRRATIONAL'
US Pinoys for Good Governance chair Loida Nicolas-Lewis calls China’s claims over the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea quote- “irrational”.
Lewis’s group of US-based Filipinos organized a rally last year in front of the Chinese embassy in the United States.
They also called for a boycott of Chinese products in response to China’s “bullying” in maritime disputes in the South China Sea.
LOIDA NICOLAS-LEWIS, CHAIR, US PINOYS FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE: Why did I fight against China? Not because I have businesses there but because they are doing something so irrational claiming that the sea that contains billions of barrels of oil that belongs to us according to the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea is theirs. Why? Because there's black gold there and they want it for themselves.
Lewis says their protests send a message they will not take the China maritime dispute lightly.
LOIDA NICOLAS-LEWIS, CHAIR, US PINOYS FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE: I think they know that Filipinos overseas are not going to sit pat. I don't really expect much of the Filipino community in the Philippines. Because we are so intertwined here with China -- tourism, exports, imports. It's understandable that we here in the Philippines will not be that vociferous against this.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 4, Sony announces its next generation platform - the PlayStation 4.
Sony's new console will take advantage of a --quote "supercharged PC architecture," an X-86 processor, and Gaikai streaming technology to provide a faster, robust gaming network with better online play and streaming play while downloading games from the PlayStation store.
While no prices have been listed for the new console, it is expected to become available during the 2013 holiday season.
At number 5, NASA says on Thursday its Curiosity rover scooped up a sample from the interior of a Martian rock and found that the powdery soil beneath the planet's rust-colored exterior is actually a light gray color.
NASA scientists say the hue of the Martian rock may reveal intriguing clues about the history and composition of Earth's closest neighbor.
At number 6, Prosecution witnesses tell investigators they heard screams and gunshots from the house of athlete Oscar Pistorius on the night his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was killed.
During Pistorius’ bail hearing, prosecutors say witnesses testified hearing screams and gunshots in the early morning of February 14.
This contradicts claims by Pistorius he was asleep until moments before the shooting, and that there was no argument between him and Steenkamp.
And at number 7, Pope Benedict XVI may decide to call for an earlier election of his successor.
On Wednesday, the Vatican says this could happen in March by virtue of a decree issued by the pope.
But he may stop short of setting a formal framework for future resignations.
Benedict is only the second pope to resign in the Church’s 2,000-year history.
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|