Rappler Newscast | July 25, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- Photos obtained by Rappler show the woman at the center of the alleged pork barrel scam parties with lawmakers.
- A survey shows President Aquino gets a “barely passing” grade in reducing poverty.
- Science and technology secretary Montejo projects 99% connectivity nationwide by 2015.
Story 1: PORK BARREL 'QUEEN' PARTIES WITH LAWMAKERS
Photos obtained by Rappler show the woman at the center of the alleged pork barrel scam parties with lawmakers, indicating she's more than an acquaintance to them.
In the photos, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, owner of the JLN Group of Companies, attends a party apparently hosted by Sen Jinggoy Estrada.
A smiling Napoles is seen table-hopping and posing for the cameras.
One of the photos shows 2 of Estrada’s friends -- Sen Bong Revilla and actor Phillip Salvador -- posing with Napoles.
Estrada and Revilla are among 28 lawmakers tagged by whistleblowers as sources of the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel, released to Napoles’ fake non-governmental organizations.
The witnesses say they got pork barrel from the lawmakers, in exchange for lawmakers getting commissions.
Reports of the Commission on Audit appear to back up these claims.
COA notes many of the NGOs that received pork barrel failed to submit their list of beneficiaries.
The National Bureau of Investigation is now probing the allegations.
Malacañang vows to spare no one in the probe, after 15 administration lawmakers are also linked to the scam.
On Monday, Estrada admits knowing Napoles “through a friend.”
In an ABS CBN report, lawyer Bruce Rivera says Napoles is --quote-- “not personally acquainted” with any of the lawmakers.
Rivera also acknowledges there may have been occasions that Napoles had her photo taken with some lawmakers but only for the sake of photo opportunities.
Story 2: PULSE: AQUINO GETS 'BARELY PASSING' GRADE IN REDUCING POVERTY
A new survey shows President Benigno Aquino gets a “barely passing” grade of 75% for his efforts in reducing poverty.
In a Pulse Asia survey released Thursday, only 3% of respondents give the president a 100% rating on reducing poverty, while 24% say Aquino “completely failed.”
The rest of the respondents give Aquino a grade of barely passing, good, or very good.
The President gets the best score, 80% or "good," for managing the economy, with 5% giving Aquino a perfect score.
The survey asks respondents to grade the President's performance on 11 national issues.
He gets a passing grade in all, but receives the lowest score on poverty reduction.
Story 3: SENATE TO CUT FUNDING FOR OVERSIGHT PANELS
The Senate will cut down funding for oversight committees as a short-term solution while they file bills to remove redundant panels created by law.
Oversight committees are special panels that monitor the implementation of specific laws.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto says the Senate may fund only 20 or 24 out of 35 oversight committees.
Recto says, “It is hard to immediately [abolish them]. You have to pass these laws taking away the oversight committees.”
Recto says having only 24 oversight committees is enough, with each senator heading one.
He adds, the budget for the oversight committees will be made equal.
The current panels have budgets ranging from P5 million to P37.879 million.
Recto says the objective is to lower the Senate’s budget after the chamber recently drew criticism for the Senate fund controversy and the alleged multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam.
Senate sources earlier told Rappler oversight committees are only necessary for landmark laws or highly technical measures.
Story 4: 99% CONNECTIVITY BY 2015
Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo discusses the department’s flood-control projects and bringing government services to rural areas.
Montejo says the government’s early warning system, Project Noah, is designed to show simulations in flood-prone areas.
The project came about after Typhoon Sendong battered Mindanao in 2011.
MARIO MONTEJO, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY SECRETARY: It's sometimes very hard to appreciate weather forecasts, what it can do. But if it's in the form of maps, visual, they can now really appreciate what will happen…What Project NOAH will be presenting is, say 6 hours from now, assuming there might be flood events, the area where there will be flooding, even the depth. People can now appreciate...where the flood will be...What will happen if another Pablo will occur in Compostela? And we made simulations...It clearly shows the areas wherein it will be safe if another Pablo happens.
Montejo says the department also wants to improve connectivity to provide government services to rural areas.
MARIO MONTEJO, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY SECRETARY: We're looking at TV whitespace. This is very cost-effective at being able to reach out to unserved or underserved areas which don't have the connectivity.
MARIA RESSA: 100% connectivity by 2015, 2016.
MONTEJO: Let's say 99%...All other government services can be made available because of improvement of connectivity and we're talking nationwide.
Story 5: ABAD: TOO EARLY TO EVALUATE BOTTOM-UP BUDGETING
Budget Secretary Butch Abad says the government’s budget for 2014 focuses on continuing the growth of the economy.
The P2.268-trillion proposed budget is 13.06% higher than this year’s budget allocation.
In 2013, the government initiated a bottom-up budget approach involving local government units and communities in drafting their projects and programs.
Abad says it’s too early to evaluate the success of the approach.
BUTCH ABAD, BUDGET SECRETARY: It's still early to make conclusions about it but it's certainly creating a lot of excitement on the ground because the idea of bottom-up budgeting is really to promote genuine devolution, particularly in the way the government prepares its budget, especially in the social services part of the budget…We thought it was a good idea to start the process where the budget preparation also can proceed from the ground.
For 2014, Abad says the government plans to focus on social services and continuing the growth of the economy.
BUTCH ABAD, BUDGET SECRETARY: We have chosen industries and social services that focus on very specific sectors and geographical areas where the incidence of poverty is high or the magnitude of poor households is high so that truly you can achieve continuing expansion of the economy but at the same time impacting on the problem of joblessness.
Story 6: PHILPOP MUSIC FESTIVAL 2013
12 songs stand out at the Philpop Music Festival, a competition that showcases Filipino songwriting talent.
Pia Ranada reports.
In music-loving Philippines, singers claim the spotlight.
But with the second Philpop Music Festival songwriters take centerstage.
from over 3,000 entries come the 12 finalists.
Their songs are interpreted by artists Karylle, Christian Bautista, and Yael Yuzon of Sponge Cola.
The songs range from the danceable and comic, "Askal" written by Ganny Brown and performed by Jose and Wally to the heartbreaking and slightly morbid "Sana Pinatay Mo Na Lang Ako" by Myrus Apacible, performed by Kimpoy Feliciano.
Hosts Ogie Alcasid and Jasmine Curtis Smith entertain the audience with jokes and even beatboxing.
An all-star performance by the Ryan Cayabyab singers, Regine Velasquez, Martin Nievera, Ogie Alcasid, and Charice bring the house down.
A CD album of the 12 songs is available in music stores.
Next level: the five finalists.
2nd runner up goes to Jungee Marcelo for his jazzy song about waiting, 'Pansamantagal' performed by Sitti and Julianne Tarroja.
Johnoy Danao's lovesong 'Kung 'Di Man,' is 1st runner up with Ney Dimaculangan interpreting.
The grand prize of one million pesos goes to Thyro Alfaro and Yumi Lacsamana's ode to first love, "Dati," performed by Sam Concepcion and Tippy Dos Santos.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Manila.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 2, A train derails in northwestern Spain Wednesday, killing at least 78 passengers and injuring more than 100.
Disaster strikes as the train was about to enter Santiago de Compostela station in the northwestern region of Galicia.
The accident happens on a stretch of high-speed track about 4 kilometers from the main train station in Santiago de Compostela, destination of the famous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.
At number 3, Chinese news agency Xinhua reports politician Bo Xilai is indicted for bribery, corruption and abuse of power.
The former party chief of the city of Chongqing has not been seen in public for more than a year since the controversy was exposed.
Bo is accused of accepting "massive" bribes and bending the law, following his wife’s conviction for the murder of a British business associate.
The scandal came ahead of a leadership transition last November.
Bo had been considered a candidate for the Politburo Standing Committee.
At number 4, The US House of Representatives rejects a move to cut funding to National Security Agency programs that scoop up telephone data on millions of Americans.
The White House and several key members of Congress reject the legislation introduced by Michigan Republican Justin Amash.
But it forces lawmakers to go on record on a sensitive security issue.
The debate revolves around whether the NSA program breaches constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
At number 6, Pope Francis warns Catholics against "ephemeral idols" like money, at his first public mass in his native Latin America as huge crowds line the streets to cheer him.
More than 200,000 pilgrims brave cold rain to welcome the Pope as he enters the basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Sao Paulo.
In his homily, Pope Francis urges parents and educators to teach young people values that can --quote--“help them build a nation and a world which are more just, united and fraternal.”
And at number 8, Prince William and his wife Kate name their newborn son George Alexander Louis.
Kensington Palace announces the royal baby will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.
The name pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’s father King George VI.
Earlier, the 87-year-old Queen visited Kensington Palace to visit her new great-grandson.
Prince George of Cambridge is third in line to the British throne.
He will be George VII whenever he becomes king.
Story 8: APPLE TOPS WALL ST FORECASTS
Apple beats Wall Street earnings expectations thanks to strong sales of iPhones.
The California tech giant reports revenues of $35.3 billion in the quarter ending June 30, powered by sales of 31.2 million iPhones.
But the quarterly data show iPad sales down at 14.6 million, compared with 17 million in the same period a year ago.
Apple is poised to release new versions of its operating systems for mobile devices and Mac computers.
Rumors of new Apple products include an "iWatch" wrist computer; an improved Apple TV, and lower-priced version of iPhone.
The company is expected to roll out smartphones and tablets with bigger screens in a move analysts say is an attempt to catch up with a trend set by its major rival Samsung.
Story 9: HARDEN, GORDON IN MANILA FOR NBA 3X
NBA Stars can't seem to get enough of the Philippines.
Just 2 days after a visit from LeBron James, the country hosts 2 young stars for the NBA 3X event.
Shooting guards James Harden and Eric Gordon arrive in Manila Thursday for the NBA 3X event at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The NBA 3X is a 3-on-3 tournament for teenagers hosted by NBA Philippines.
This is not Harden's only visit in the Philippines in 2013.
He will be back in October together with his team Houston Rockets to play a pre-season game against the Indiana pacers at the Mall of Asia Arena.
JAMES HARDEN, NBA PLAYER: We're just excited to come here and play the game, give you guys a show. Give you guys the opportunity to see us first-hand.
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|