Today on Rappler.
- The diocese of Bacolod campaigns against 7 senatorial candidates for supporting the Reproductive Health law.
- United Nationalist Alliance says it won’t replace 3 candidates it dropped– Escudero, Legarda and Poe.
- 4 suspects in the murder of a US Marine post bail.
Story 1: TEAM PNOY TO COUNTER CHURCH CAMPAIGN VS PRO-RH BETS
The diocese of Bacolod on Thursday urges voters not to choose seven senatorial candidates for supporting the Reproductive Health law.
Calling them “Team Patay” or the “Death Team,” the diocese names Senators Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, former Akbayan representative Risa Hontiveros, Cagayan representatives Jack Enrile, Aurora representative Sonny Angara, and Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casiño in its campaign.
5 of the candidates are from administration slate Team PNoy.
Carmela Fonbuena files this video blog.
Team PNoy is here in Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, a vote-rich province with about 1.5 million voters.
The province is known as Danding country, the territory of Nationalist People’s Coalition or NPC founder Danding Cojuangco.
Five of the 7 legislative districts here are controlled by his partymates.
The other 2 belong to the Liberal Party.
While the Liberal Party and the NPC are coalition allies, this province cannot be expected to deliver 12-0 victory for the Team PNoy slate.
Two NPC members are running for the Senate.
Re-electionist Senator Loren Legarda is running under Team PNoy, but Cagayan Representative Jack Enrile is running under rival slate United Nationalist Alliance or UNA.
This province is expected to carry both Legarda and Enrile.
But there’s a new development that could threaten Legarda and Enrile’s advantage in this vote-rich province.
The Diocese of Bacolod City urged voters here to junk 7 senatorial candidates – including Senator Legarda and Representative Enrile – for supporting the Reproductive Health law – a measure that the Catholic Church vigorously opposed.
It’s going to be a battle between the powerful political party and the influential Catholic Church. Negros Occidental could prove or disprove if the Catholic vote exists.
Carmela Fonbuena, Rappler, Negros Occidental.
Story 2: NEGROS HACIENDEROS STILL CONTROL POLLS
The Church is not the only voice that’s in the ear of Negros voters.
In Negros Occidental, landlords are the power brokers who can make or break a candidate.
Voltaire Tupaz reports.
48-year old Jun Garzon, a sugar worker in Negros Occidental, says landlords influence the outcome of the local elections.
Landlords and political clans are natural allies in the province.
VOLTAIRE TUPAZ, REPORTING: Built in 1927, the provincial capitol is not only a historical landmark in Bacolod. Those who get to rule from this building are often anointed by landlords, particularly by Danding Cojuangco, considered the political kingpin of Negros Occidental.
In Negros, the old feudal system that dates back to the Spanish colonial times still hold true: the hacienderos whose power comes from the land, dictate who wins in elections.
MATE ESPINA, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Negros is still very clannish. Most of the haciendas are still owned by big families, the Lacsons, the Ledesmas. Cojuangco is a major factor in Negros politics.
Through their encargados or hacienda administrators, landlords mobilize hacienda votes, a form of bloc voting in Negros.
But politics are evolving in Negros.
For the first time, the political dynasties are not on the same side.
Cojuangco’s NPC has split from the ruling United Negros Alliance.
Civil society groups and young voters in Bacolod believe it’s a mere crack on the political ceiling of the elite.
They say alternative and independent candidates cannot match the resources and machinery of candidates backed by hacienderos.
The Constitution bans political dynasties.
But the Supreme Court won’t act against dynasties in the absence of an enabling law.
Bayan Muna’s anti-dynasty bill has been gathering dust in the Lower House since 2004.
REP. TEDDY CASIÑO, BAYAN MUNA PARTYLIST: Ito ang klase ng pulitika na ang nakakaangat lang at parang ang nabibigyan lang ng pagkakataon na mapunta sa pwesto ay yung mga dati nang nandiyan o kaya yung kanilang mga kamag-anak.
Without a law that discourages political dynasties, emerging clans merely challenge old ones.
Advocates for new politics in Negros say a law will be a good start in ending the dynasties’ monopoly on power.
Voltaire Tupaz, Rappler, Bacolod.
Story 3: UNA WON’T REPLACE CHIZ, LOREN, GRACE
Opposition United Nationalist Alliance will stick to its slate of 9 senatorial candidates, a day after it dropped Senators Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero, and former censors chief Grace Poe in its ticket for snubbing UNA sorties.
The three are candidates UNA shared with administration slate Team PNoy.
In a statement Friday, UNA campaign manager Toby Tiangco says, “We freed ourselves from our obligation to campaign for the 3 former guest candidates not so we can replace them but so we can move on.”
Tiangco also denies reports UNA may fill the vacated three slots with evangelist Bro Eddie Villanueva, Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn, and Bayan Muna Rep Teddy Casiño.
Tiangco says UNA prefers they stick to the 9 exclusive candidates.
UNA candidate Nancy Binay adds, “9-0 is more doable than 12-0.”
Story 4: BAIL FOR MAKATI MURDER SUSPECTS GRANTED
4 suspects in the high-profile murder of a US Marine post bail at 300,000 peso each.
Juan Alfonso Abastillas, Osric Cabrera, Crispin de la Paz and Galicano Datu III were arrested November 24 for the murder of George Anikow in Makati, the husband of an American diplomat.
The defendants say they should be granted bail because there was no intent to kill and no abuse of superior strength.
Both intent and abuse of superior strength are needed to uphold the murder charge.
Expert analysis of CCTV video points to Abastillas as the one who stabbed the American.
But prosecutors say they will maintain charges for the 4 suspects.
Story 5: VITUG VLOGS: SABAH ON OUR MINDS
The Philippines’ claim to Sabah has been dormant since 1964.
Rappler’s editor at large Marites Vitug asks, is this a battle we should fight now?
Here’s her video blog.
The ragtag group of armed men from Mindanao who entered Sabah to reclaim– what they say– is their homeland achieved one thing.
They have called attention to our country’s lingering claim to Sabah.
In the ‘70s, President Marcos announced he was taking steps to drop this claim.
Succeeding leaders tried to improve relations with our neighbor who hosts about half a million OFWs.
To make things easier for OFWs in Sabah, President Ramos wanted to set up a consulate in Kota Kinabalu.
But Ramos was advised that this would mean a recognition that Sabah belonged to Malaysia.
It would have undermined our country’s claim.
Under President Arroyo, Malaysia became a significant actor in our domestic politics.
It brokered peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which continues till today.
Now is not the time to create tension with Malaysia.
Besides, focus should be on China whom we have challenged in an international tribunal.
This remains yet to be our biggest diplomatic challenge.
This is Marites Vitug for Vitug Vlogs.
Story 6: ‘CRISING’ SUBMERGES DAVAO DEL NORTE IN FLOODWATER
A resident drowns and thousands are displaced after tropical depression Crising leaves several towns in Davao Del Norte flooded.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council identifies the casualty as Nelson Jimenez, who died while trying to rescue and warn his workmates in a banana plantation.
NDRRMC reports over 14,235 families or 70,432 residents were affected by the flooding.
Banana plantations, still recovering from Typhoon Pablo last December, are also submerged in waist-deep floodwater.
Residents take shelter in makeshift tents along the road.
The local government mobilizes rescue units and volunteers for relief operations.
On Friday, NDRRMC reports the tropical depression leaves at least 4 dead and 2 missing.
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, A Pew Research Center poll shows 60% of Catholics in the United States think it would be a good idea if Pope Benedict’s successor comes from South America, Asia or Africa.
20 percent didn’t care if the new pope comes from a developing region of the world.
Just 14% thought it was a bad idea.
Pope Benedict XVII resigned February 11.
At number 5, the European Space Agency says Europe must beef up surveillance for dangerous space rocks.
This comes a week after a meteor struck Russia in a blinding fireball.
The head of ESA’s asteroid surveillance program says they will inaugurate a center in Rome to coordinate observatories’ sightings of passing asteroids.
At number 9, Three British Muslim men are found guilty Thursday of being “central figures” in an Islamist extremist plot to set off 8 rucksack bombs in crowded areas.
British police say it is the most significant terror plot to be uncovered since the 2006 conspiracy to blow up transatlantic airliners.
Story 8: HOT AIR BALLOON FEST PUTS PH ON AERIAL TOURISM MAP
Dubbed the “weekend of everything that flies,” the annual hot air balloon festival in Clark is a crowd pleaser.
Katherine Visconti reports.
It’s like walking into a dream world. The bus floats. The sun wears cool shades. And Humpty Dumpty is upside down.
This is the 4-day annual hot air balloon festival in Pampanga.
With balloons from 15 countries, it’s putting the Philippines squarely on the aerial tourism map.
RAMON JIMENEZ JR, DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM SECRETARY: It says that the Philippines is, in fact, quite literally moving up in the world.
The big crowd pleasers at these festivals are the funny shaped balloons. They take on a spirit of their own.
This pink elephant balloon named Nelly B is dedicated to a crewmember who passed away.
PETER VAN OVERWALLE, BALLOONIST, BELGIUM: He’s flying with us every flight so that’s good.
Humpty Dumpty is owned by a school teacher.
Balloonists say the specialty balloons cost well over 1 million pesos.
What people may not know about hot air balloons is that they float thanks to pure physics. The hot air filling them is lighter than cool air so it rises.
It’s also the ultimate go with the flow sport.
You can’t really steer the balloons which are taller than 2 story buildings. They travel with the wind.
The wind is too strong the first day for many specialty balloons to get off the ground but 26 other balloons take flight.
Still the festival is well worth seeing since there are more than enough aerial delights to fill the skies.
This is a festival where everything flies from kites to jets to hot air balloons.
One thing’s for sure, Filipinos know how to celebrate on land and in the air.
Katherine Visconti, Rappler, Angeles City.
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|