Rappler Newscast | May 15, 2012


Today on Rappler.

OMBUDSMAN MORALES: If indeed he made those charges… there are other lanterns of lies… this was delivered to me by the exec sec of the AMLAC. 

  • Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales dismisses Chief Justice Renato Corona’s accusations- her testimony is a ‘lantern of lies’.

OMBUDSMAN MORALES: Mr Senator i will not jeopardize my 40 years of goverment service… in order to get back… i will assure you that.

  • Morales says she will not throw away years of government service and a spotless record for any administration’s political vendetta.
  • And Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario is the richest cabinet member… while DepEd’s Brother Armin Luistro is the poorest.

The cross-examination of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales by the prosecution continues today.
May i invite your honors to the image on the screen… you add this to bring total of 12million… There were significant deposits and withdrawals… 2004 elections, 2007 elections & during the impeachment proceedings.

She also denies accusations made by Chief Justice Renato Corona Monday that her testimony was “malicious” and a “lantern of lies”.

MARIO BAUTISTA: Last night and this morning the chief justice has been telling the media… hoax… what can you say about that?
MORALES: If indeed he made those charges… there are other lanterns of lies… this was delivered to me by the exec sec of the amlac. who is that, that was answered yesterday Cic Aquino.

Senator Judge Miriam Defensor Santiago grilled Ombudsman Morales about the purpose for the probe, noting that a case cannot be filed against the Chief Justice while the impeachment is ongoing.

SEN. MIRIAM SANTIAGO: our sole purpose could be to fill another… do you intend to file another impeachment case against him after the one year ban…
Morales: answers… Then Miriam says: i’m sorry i don’t get your answer… Miriam: allright thank you that is the only question

After that reply, Senator Santiago gives this warning to Corona.

SEN. SANTIAGO: So we are placing the defendant on notice if he is acquitted … you are so warned.”

Senator-Judges grilled the Ombudsman today over the powers of her office to go after erring officials of government.
Miriam Defensor Santiago even accused Morales of fudging her answers, when asked what justifies her move to directly go to AMLC without first going to the courts.

MIRIAM: Are you of the opinion therefore that should somebody file any complaint against any of us senators, you can just go straight to AMLC and ask for our records without going to the court? MORALES: that would depend on the complaint… MIRIAM: You’re fudging your answer Mea culpa, I accept your apology 

Senator Jinggoy Estrada didn’t beat around the bush. He asks the Ombudsman, will she use her powers to get back at critics of the Aquino administration.

JINGGOY ESTRADA: Sana wag naman pong mangyari na balikan o gamitin ang office of ombdsman AMLAC, can you assure us of that madame ombudsman… MORALES: mr senator i will not jeopardize… in order to get back… i will assure you that. JINGGOY: kaya nga ako hangang-hanga sa inyo ginang ombudsman.

Ombudsman Morales also crosses swords with lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas under re-direct by the Defense.
Corona’s counsel tries to discredit the Ombudsman’s credibility to testify on the 17-page AMLC report.

OMBUDSMAN: Beyond my competence but not beyond my comprehension OMB: the presumption is that the amlc would give me correct information

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr says “The moment of truth is here. This is the end game.”
Belmonte is referring to the report submitted by the Ombudsman to the house on its probe on Corona’s assets, including his dollar accounts.
The House Speaker also expresses surprise over 705 dollar transactions documented by the AMLC.
He says “There is a puzzle. What the heck are they doing with all those movement of money?”
Belmonte adds he expects Corona to ‘show up’ in court this week.

Story 6: DAY 38 ANALYSIS
Let’s go over to the Senate where our Rappler team has been reporting on the Corona Trial for 38 days now…
Ayee Macaraig joins us live…

(Senate live point.)

RESSA: what’s important about today?
MACARAIG: An important question that’s raised today…
What exactly are the powers of the Ombudsman.
the defense panel and the senator-judges seem to be surprised with Morales’s probe saying it’s something out of the usual.
Senator alan peter cayetano points out that in past controversies involving the Arroyo Administration the AMLC never divulged information on bank record and the Ombudsman wasn’t proactive in seeking out that data.
This time, we have an Ombudsman who is willing to exhaust all means to fulfill her mandate to investigate public officials.
This is important because the Ombudsman, although not one of the prominent government officials, is crucial in ensuring transparency and accountability.
The ombudsman is the country’s top graft buster and is mandated to hold to account government officials.
Lawyers we’ve talked to previously say, it is the Ombudsman who is the primary government official who should use the SALN as an anti-corruption measure.
So it’s interesting to see now how Ombudsman Morales is redefining the powers of her office and the scrutiny that public officials should expect while holding power.

RESSA: What do we expect to happen tomorrow?
MACARAIG: tomorrow, we expect the defense to present the complainants – Harvey Keh of kaya natin, former akbayan representative risa hontiveros- baraquel and emmanuel tiu santos.
the defense is pushing through with their testimonies even if they already said they knew nothing about the 10 million dollars.
So this is actually just what the defense wants to establish that they had no personal knowledge and their claims were baseless.
This will end up lengthening the trial as senators point out that we can already dispose of their testimonies.
But it seems Corona’s lawyers are bent on using this strategy also to establish the so-called conspiracy plot by linking them to the Aquino administration.
They will likely point out that Harvey Keh, Kaya Natin, and Akbayan are all allies of President Aquino.

With a net worth of over 657 Million pesos, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario remains the richest cabinet member of the Aquino administration.
GRAPHICS: 2011 NET WORTH = P 657,834,755
Del Rosario has no liabilities and is thirty one million pesos richer in 2011 compared to 2010.
GRAPHICS: 2011 NET WORTH = P 739,006.14
Education secretary Brother Armin Luistro is the poorest member of Aquino’s cabinet with a net worth of over seven hundred thirty nine thousand pesos.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima is the second richest cabinet official with a net worth of over two hundred and 61 million pesos followed by Tourism Secretary Mon Jimenez, Transportation secretary Mar Roxas and Trade secretary Gregory Domingo.
Joining Luistro in the bottom three of the Aquino cabinet in terms of net worth are Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

Story 7: THE wRap
Let’s now look at Rappler’s “wRap” for today…
a list of the ten most important events around the world you shouldn’t miss.

At number 5, fears over the euro increase as the possibility of a Greece exit and political uncertainty grows.
Investors dumped European stocks, sold the bonds of Spain and Italy and pushed the euro down after the collapse of weekend coalition talks in Greece.
Fears of a market contagion are growing but some good news – US stock futures rose Tuesday night Manila time.

At number 6, China pulls out tourists and trade as conflict over the Scarborough Shoal continues.
Entering the 5th week of a diplomatic standoff, China asks its tourists to avoid the Philippines, strands shipments of bananas at its shores and bans fishing in the South China Sea.

At number 7, a US poll shows a majority of Americans support legal recognition of same-sex couples – though not necessarily through marriage – and that a significantly higher number of youth support full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.
This comes after President Barack Obama supported same-sex marriage last week, dividing churches in the US.

At number 9, there’s great anticipation for Facebook’s coming IPO on Friday.
Everyone seems to want a share, pushing the social network to raise its price range to $34 to $38 a share, giving a target valuation of up to $104 billion – incredible for a company that didn’t exist 8 years ago.
For more visit, www.rappler.com.

Hackers tried to crash government websites from Sunday to Monday.
The government’s Information and Communication Technology Office or ICTO says several members of the Philippine Research, Education and Government Network were the target of distributed denial-of-service or DDOS attacks.
A DDOS attack overloads a server with requests for information until it crashes.
Reports say the server was located the U.S., but the ICTO says it may not have been caused by a US citizen.
The ICTO says the incident is under investigation in cooperation with “overseas partners.”
Philippine-based sites have recently been targets of cyber attacks in the past few weeks.
Most of these incidents have been connected to the ongoing dispute between the philippines and china over scarborough shoal.

– Rappler.com