Rappler Newscast | June 18, 2012
Exclusive: Priests and lay leaders accuse Bishop Jesse Mercado of Paranaque of diverting multi-million funds meant for calamity victims. | The JBC extends the nomination for Chief Justice. | New weather disturbance “Talim” may enter the Philippines Wednesday.

Today on Rappler.

  • Exclusive: Priests and lay leaders accuse Bishop Jesse Mercado of Paranaque of diverting multi-million funds meant for calamity victims.
  • The JBC extends the nomination for Chief Justice.
  • And, new weather disturbance “Talim” may enter the Philippines Wednesday.


Story 1
Priests and lay leaders in one of the richest dioceses in the Philippines ask the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines to look into the finances of Bishop Jesse Mercado of the Diocese of Parañaque.
The bishop is accused of diverting multi-million donations for calamity victims.
Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppi Pinto says he will refer the complaint to the Curia in Rome.
Church law states donations must be used for their intended purpose.
The diocese covers Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa– among the richest, and some of the most generous donors for the Church.
At the height of Typhoon Ondoy the diocese collected P1.6 million pesos.
1.3 million is unremmited.
For the Haiti earthquake, the Parañaque diocese collected over a million pesos, of which
168-thousand pesos was not turned over.
For Typhoon Sendong, donations reached P3.4 million pesos.
The diocese kept 970 thousand pesos.
After a fire in Muntinlupa, the diocese gathered P129-thousand pesos.
None was released to the fire victims.
As of the latest report, the money is invested in a special deposit account at the Bank of the Philippine Islands now amounting to 91 million pesos.
Priests from the diocese tell Rappler, 5 of their colleagues have already left the priesthood, out of frustration and desperation.
Bishop Mercado has ignored Rappler’s requests for interviews, either by text or by email, and has not answered our phone calls.
Read more on this exclusive story “Bishops accused of diverting millions” in full on

Story 2
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda confirms reports Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani, missing in Jolo, Sulu is with the Abu Sayyaf Group but it is still unclear whether the team has been abducted or is conducting an interview.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo says one of two Filipino crew members called up authorities to confirm they were not being held against their will.
Robredo says Atyani left his hostel on June 12, Tuesday, to do interviews without notifying the city government of Jolo.

Story 3
The Judicial and Bar Council is extending the nomination for Chief Justice to July 2.
The nomination period is supposed to end Monday, June 18.
There are 40 nominations and applications so far.
Two are not eligible – teacher-nurse Jocelyn Esquivel because she is not a lawyer, and Court of Appeals Justice Hilarion Aquino who is 80 years old, way past the 70 year mandatory retirement age of Supreme Court justices.
Two others declined their nominations – Former energy secretary Raphael “Popo” Lotilla and assistant provincial prosecutor Marianito Sasondoncillo.
The 5 most senior justices who are automatically nominated to the post include acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, and Presbitero Velasco Jr.
Four other SC justices are nominated – Justices Jose Perez, Lourdes Sereno, Roberto Abad, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.
other outsiders to the SC are also in the running to replace Renato Corona who was convicted last May.
Four accepted their nominations: Supreme Court Associate Justice Roberto Abad, UP law professors Katrina Legarda, Raul Pangalangan, and Rafael Morales.
Whether or not Carpio, the most senior among the SC justices and current acting Chief Justice, will accept the nomination, remains to be seen.
The post of Chief Justice is the 4th highest ranking post in the land.
In related news, former senator Rene Saguisag proposes the appointment of an interim chief justice, one who will occupy the post for only 2 years.
Saguisag says the Supreme Court needs a calming -quote- “cooling-off period.”
He says Former San Juan representative Ronaldo Zamora or SC justice Roberto Abad, both 68 years old this year “can help the judiciary survive its crises, mend the ruptures of its discords and continue to live and function as a unit in our institutional arrangements, more vibrant and professional than ever.”
Saguisag nominated Zamora and Justice Abad Monday.

Story 4
The latest nominee to the post of Chief Justice is Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the most junior SC magistrate.
Bernabe was appointed to the high court in 2011.
If appointed, the 60-year-old magistrate will serve as chief justice for 10 years.
In related news, Former energy secretary Raphael ‘Popo’ Lotilla declines his nomination saying the tradition of appointing the leader of the high tribunal based on seniority should be restored.
Lotilla says an appointment based on seniority minimizes the jockeying for appointment from within and outside the Court.
Lotilla also pushes for the appointment of an SC insider saying appointing an outsider to the highest court should only be done “for overwhelming reasons such as the inability of the incumbent members of the Court to redeem themselves and the institution.”
Here’s the latest on the selection process.
The public can now watch the candidates for chief justice being interviewed on television.
In an unprecedented move, the Judicial and Bar Council allows the live coverage of its interviews.
JBC member representative Niel Tupas tells Rappler the members reach the decision after numerous requests.
Tupas says the JBC wants to be liberal and transparent on the selection process.
It’s another matter if the 8-member panel will allow live coverage of its voting and deliberations.

Story 5
After pulling out its ships from the Scarborough Shoal due to Typhoon Butchoy the Philippine government is evaluating whether or not it should redeploy the vessels back to the disputed area.
Amid tensions with China arising from a territorial conflict over the mineral-rich shoal, President Benigno Aquino III orders the pull out of a Coast Guard patrol vessel and a Bureau of Fisheries survey ship Friday night.
China welcomes the development, saying it hopes the action eases tensions between the two countries.
But palace officials stress the pullout is only meant to protect the vessels and their crew during cyclone season and does not mean the country is giving up the shoal.
A statement on the Chinese Embassy website says Beijing is deploying a vessel to the shoal to help its fishermen pull out due to bad weather and a strong tide.

Story 6:
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 2, the euro soars as Asian markets close Monday after Greeks vote in favor of two political parties that support staying with the European Union.
The Sunday vote, seen as a proxy vote on whether cash-strapped Greece will honor its debt commitments and heed the austerity measures prescribed by the International Monetary Fund gave investors and market watchers a respite.
At number 4, Saudi Arabia buried Crown Prince Nayef, the former heir to the throne of 89-year-old King Abdullah.

Nayef’s death, just 8 months after he replaced his late brother Sultan as crown prince, raises the issue of succession because of the advanced age of the first line of heirs.
Eyed as a possible candidate is 76-year-old Prince Salman, another son of Saudi Arabia’s founder, Abdul-aziz.

At number 5, the Muslim Brotherhood claims victory in historic presidential polls on Monday even if official results are not expected until June 21.
The election is  seen as a culmination of a long political struggle for the once-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
The vote comes as military generals prepare to define the next president’s authority in an interim constitutional declaration which would likely preserve the military’s sweeping powers even after nominal handover of authority to civilians by July 1.
The new president will inherit a struggling economy, deteriorating security, and the challenge of uniting a divided nation.

At number 7, the Rio+20 conference kicks off in Rio de Janeiro 20 years after the Earth Summit took place in the Brazilian city.
The conference aims to establish global partnerships to protect the environment amidst sustainable growth.
World leaders US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are conspicuously absent.
For the full top 10 visit’s ‘the wRap.’

Story 7
LeBron James powers the Miami Heat to a second straight victory against the Oklahoma Thunder at the NBA Finals Monday morning, Manila time.
Their 91-85 win gives them a two-one lead over Oklahoma in their best-of-seven series for the coveted NBA Championship title.
With 29 points and 14 rebounds, James is the highest scorer of the match.
Teammate Dwayne Wade finishes with 25 points.
Starting strong, the Oklahoma Thunder does not sustain the momentum going into the fourth quarter.
Both teams make crucial mistakes in the fourth, but the Heat finds the composure to close the game in their favor.  
This is the second straight appearance of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
In 2011 they lost the crown to the Dallas Mavericks.
The next two games will be held in Miami.

Story 8
Typhoon Butchoy continues to weaken as it moves away from the Philippine Area of  Responsibility.
According to the latest report by PAG-ASA, the typhoon is currently  moving towards Japan and is about 700km northeast of Basco, Batanes with maximum winds of 150kph near its center.
No public storm signals are raised in any part of the country.
Areas of Luzon and Western Visayas will still experience rain showers.
But we still won’t enjoy clear skies, another weather disturbance is nearby.
Tropical Depression “Talim”, is forming in the West Philippine sea and may enter the Philippines on Wednesday.
It is currently located 800 km west of Extreme Northern Luzon.
If Talim enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility it will be called Carina.