Rappler Newscast | June 5, 2013

JPE resigns as Senate President. Trillanes, Cayetano: Enrile’s resignation doesn't address handling of funds. Serendra residents raise concerns about safety.

Today on Rappler.

  • Juan Ponce Enrile irrevocably resigns as Senate President.
  • Senators Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano say Enrile’s resignation does not address his handling of Senate funds.
  • Serendra residents raise concerns about safety in the aftermath of the blast.

Juan Ponce Enrile “irrevocably” resigns as Senate president Wednesday, the second to the last session day of the chamber, at the end of a privilege speech.
Enrile says critics used his handling of Senate funds to destroy his name and work against his son, Jack, who ran but lost in the 2013 senatorial race.
Enrile says criticism against him centered on his handling of Senate funds, particularly his alleged favoritism in allocating additional operating funds.
In December, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Sonny Trillanes,  Trillanes, and Miriam Santiago received only P250,000 each in additional Senate funds while 18 senators received P1.6 million each.
In his speech, Enrile says, “I carried the brunt of the public’s ire over an infamous one-page certification, prevailing system of liquidation, [which were] not my creation.”
He also hit colleagues who stayed silent while he was –quote– “publicly pilloried and crucified” over the fund issue.

JUAN PONCE ENRILE, RESIGNED SENATE PRESIDENT: The budgets for these committees are charged against the Senate’s budget, but the truth is that these committees operate and spend funds autonomously. Yet, I was left all alone to explain as the Minority Floor Leader questioned the increasing budget of the Senate from the time I assumed the Senate Presidency in November 2008.

Enrile says he wants to defend himself against the attacks of his critics.

JUAN PONCE ENRILE, RESIGNED SENATE PRESIDENT: I lay claim to nothing more than the right to vindicate my sullied name…I refuse to be anyone’s scapegoat and everyone’s whipping boy…Let us all be men and women worthy of being called “Honorable Senators.” And let the chips fall where they may. And so, as a matter of personal honor and dignity, I hereby irrevocably resign as Senate President.

With Enrile’s resignation, Senate Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada is now the acting Senate President.

Sen Sonny Trillanes and Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano describe Senate President Enrile’s resignation quote ‘theatrics,’ saying it does not answer questions about how he spent and liquidated Senate funds.
Lacson, who defended Enrile at the height of the controversy, says Enrile’s resignation was a long time coming.

TRILLANES: Para sa akin, just like all previous interviews, I’m looking at this as more theatrical than anything…It’s not graceful, kasi inevitable na papalitan siya, it’s inevitable that he will be replaced, so whether unahan mo o hindi, mangyayari yan, let’s move on. ‘Yan lang ang inaantabayanan natin…Alam naman natin kung ano ang kasaysayan, so all these rants, sa akin, is just coming from a bitter man…Walang na-accomplish, it just provided drama for the day para sa ating media, but the country will move forward with or without him.

CAYETANO: By resigning, he has not answered the issue.In fact there are more questions now than answers. What about the money of the Senate, di naman kami ang gumamit nun. Paano yung P250,000 na pinamigay, hindi tama na sabihin — so ibig sabihin ngayon, lahat ng pondo ko sa opisina ibinigay ko sa ibang tao, sabihin ko sila magpaliwanag? Ikaw may hawak nun, ikaw nagpamigay nun eh. So may liability ka rin kung mali ang paggamit mo dun. So hindi ko matatanggap na pwedeng pang-Christmas gift yung P250,000 tapos sasabihin mo bahala na yung senador kung paano niya ililiquidate yun.

LACSON: It’s always a personal decision, kasi noon pa niya gusto mag-resign, kaya lang na-prevail-an siya ng mga kasamahan na hindi ituloy. Ngayon, very firm siya, ginawa niyang irrevocable. Sama ng loob. Matagal nang masama ang loob niya dahil sa nangyari sa Senado. Nagsimula, siya ang personally ina-attack, nadamay pa ang kanyang anak. Nasama rin sa batikos kaya, unfortunately, ‘di rin nanalo.

Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says the results of the government’s investigation of the deadly blast in Serendra are expected Friday.
On May 31, a strong explosion rocked the high-end condominium in Taguig, killing 3 and injuring 4 others.
Analysts say they don’t expect any long term negative impact on the property market in Taguig, but residents say they are concerned about perceived lapses in safety protocol.
Serendra residents tell Rappler electrical supply was cut off from some buildings on the day of the blast for a scheduled preventive maintenance.
The power interruption turned off the units’ gas detectors, which were attached to electric outlets.
But one resident says his gas stove continued to work despite the electricity interruption, confirming gas continued to flow.
He adds, the gas detector that detects leaks was not working.
But Serendra’s maintenance office says the gas detectors should have continued to work because they are powered by the generator.

The Supreme Court overturns Comelec’s decision disqualifying partylist groups.
The status quo ante order will affect party-list groups Abang Lingkod and Senior Citizens from the May 13 polls.
The Court also orders Comelec to reserve a seat in the House of Representatives for Senior Citizens party list.
The two groups are among the 12 disqualified by Comelec after the Court belatedly issued a new set of criteria for party list accreditation.
Supreme Court spokesman Ted Te says the Court leaves it to the Comelec –quote– “to interpret” the court order on whether to resume the proclamation of party list winners.
On May 29, the Court stopped the proclamation of remaining party-list winners following the petition of the senior citizens’ group.
Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes says the poll body will study the impact of the new court order.

Something wonderful is happening in some of the worst performing public schools in Quezon City.
53 idealistic achievers are devoting 2 years of their lives there.
Rappler looks at a Filipino-American’s first day in class.
David Lozada reports.

It was a day of firsts.
For these kids, it’s the first day of class.
For Filipino-American Kilo Chuidian, it’s the first day he teaches a class.
A graduate of Boston University, Kilo could have landed a well-paying job anywhere in the world.
Instead, he’s here teaching public school at the Holy Spirit Elementary School in the Philippines.
Kilo is one of the fifty-three fellows of Teach for the Philippines deployed in ten public schools in Quezon City.
He pledges to teach for two years.
Passionate about education, Kilo initially thought of joining Teach for America.
An invitation from his mom to teach in the Philippines instead, changed his plans.

KILO CHUIDIAN, TEACH FOR THE PHILIPPINES FELLOW: Why in the Philippines? Because the Philippines is a country that for many years I had ignored my ethnicity to. I had figured that it was time to finally go back to my cultural roots and find out what it meant to be Filipino.

After his first class, Kilo says everything turned out as expected.

KILO CHUIDIAN, TEACH FOR THE PHILIPPINES FELLOW: I thought I had a six hour lesson plan but it came out to only three. It made me remember that teaching is really about thinking on your feet…and being able to adjust to how quickly your students learn.

Growing up in America, Kilo is not fluent in Filipino.
He admits language makes it difficult for him to communicate with his students.
He employs a technique to overcome this weakness.

KILO CHUIDIAN, TEACH FOR THE PHILIPPINES FELLOW: I guess it’s really interesting considering my students cause half the time we don’t really understand each other. What I have to do is to wait for one of them to finish the task then tell them, ‘Okay, you go teach everybody else.’

Department of Education superintendent Dr. Betty Cavo expects the fellows to bring a new perspective to the public school system.

BETTY CAVO, DEPED SUPERINTEDENT: We wanted to expose our students, give opportunities to our students to be trained under best teachers… These are not the typical public school teachers. So this is a new experience for our children. As the principal was saying, the students were very excited when they saw their teachers; they were young, full of idealism.

The TFP partner schools scored lowest in last year’s National Achievement Test.
As for teacher Kilo, he knows that he is up for an exciting year.

KILO CHUIDIAN, TEACH FOR THE PHILIPPINES FELLOW: Also found out that a couple of my students really wanna be doctors and engineers. They’re trying really hard to learn Math and Science… I’m pretty sure I’ll keep reinforcing all the good behaviors I want to see in them throughout the year.

Kilo wants his students to achieve their dreams.
This is a dream he shares with the 52 other fellows of Teach for the Philippines.
David Lozada, Rappler, Manila

At number 1, France’s foreign minister says French lab tests confirm the Syrian Government used nerve gas “multiple times” to fight opposition rebels.
The tests were based on samples of body fluids taken from victims in Syria including urine samples carried out by French reporters.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls the new report on growing atrocities in Syria’s civil war –quote– “sickening and staggering.”

At number 5, Thousands of Hong Kong residents hold a candlelight vigil, Tuesday, to mark the 24th anniversary of China’s bloody Tiananmen crackdown despite Beijing blocking commemoration attempts.
Mainland authorities block online searches for a variety of keywords and patrol landmarks of the crackdown.
This didn’t stop Hong Kong residents from gathering in Victoria Park where 150,000 people attended the vigil.

And at number 10, American Comedienne Dorothy Custer celebrates her 102nd birthday by base jumping from a bridge in Idaho.
Base jumping is an extreme sport where people jump off Buildings, Antennas, Spans and Earth and parachute before landing on the ground.
After her jump she was quoted saying, “There’s nothing left to do now but live.”

Philippine National Football team mainstays James Younghusband and Neil Etheridge help lift the Azkals past Hong Kong, 1-nil, in their FIFA International Friendly game on Tuesday.
Younghusband put the Azkals ahead scoring on a header at the 33rd minute.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge plays hero in the dying minutes as he comes up with multiple saves in the 86th, 88th, 91st and 92nd minutes.
The 1 to nothing win marks the Philippines’ first victory against Hong Kong in recent football history.

The Azkals-Hong Kong football match takes an ugly turn as fans of the home team in the stadium started yelling racial slurs at the Philippine national football team and its fans.
News website South China Morning Post reports some of the Hong Kong supporters yelled to Filipino fans –quote– “you’re all just slaves.”
Sports writer Cedelf Tupas, who was at Mong Kok Stadium, tweets the hostile atmosphere started early on with Hong Kong fans booing the Philippine National anthem.
Filipina fan @andiness who was also at the stadium to watch the game tweets, “When the Azkals went to our area, the home fans were throwing bottles at them. Hitting their own securities.”
Thankfully, the Filipino fans did not retaliate. Ysabel Villaflor tweets, “So PROUD of the PINOY fans in Hong Kong. Classy even in the face of disrespect.”
There’s been no comment from the Hong Kong Football Association.

On World Environment Day, advocates aim to promote awareness about the alarming situation of food consumption and waste.
Voltaire Tupaz reports.

Food blogger Erwan Heussaff dines in fancy restaurants.
But at home, he still prefers to buy and cook his own food.

ERWAN HEUSSAFF, FOOD BLOGGER: I’m very efficient in terms of whatever I’m eating that day…I go to restaurants a lot – multiple times – but during the work week I try as much as possible to cook for myself. Once you have an understanding of the food you’re eating then it becomes more intimate, more educational.

It is the kind of awareness on food consumption the United Nations Environment Program is promoting on World Environment Day.  
The situation on the ground is alarming.
The UN says nearly a third of global food production is either wasted or lost.
Food waste is a huge drain on natural resources, hurting the environment.
Having worked in food industries here and abroad, Erwan feels the prevailing behavior on food consumption must change in the country.

ERWAN HEUSSAFF, FOOD BLOGGER: People need to realize the effects that they have on both the environment – the more food you waste, the more food you buy or crops are being taken and everything – it has a massive impact.

While some people waste food, the poor, who have little access to resources, go hungry.
Everyday, one in 8 people sleeps on an empty stomach.
There are about 870 million people in the world who suffer from hunger.
For Denise Celdran, owner of a restaurant that serves organic food, the problem lies in food production and distribution.

DENISE CELDRAN, EDGY VEGGY RESTAURANT OWNER: We are so disconnected from the source of our food. For us, if we want to eat we got to the supermarket.  So of course it’s become a business, it’s big industry involved. So they produce a lot of food a lot of it is going to waste.

Denise and other advocates of healthy food are building a movement.
They are innovating a system of bringing food from the farm to the table.
Their strategy: get rid of the middlemen.
Denise serves food in her restaurant that comes directly from Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya’s  organic farm in Tarlac.

SANTIAGO LATO, SIBOL PEOPLE”S STORE MANAGER: Hanggat maari, bumababa kami sa middle at sa lower…Karamihan kase pag sinabing organic high-end na masyado kase.  Ang SIBAT binaba sa antas ng mga masa. Hanggat maari, ma-afford nila bilhin ang organic vegetable. (As much as possible we cater to the middle and lower segments of the market. Many think organic products are high-end or only for the rich. SIBAT  brings organic products to the masses. They should be able to afford organic vegetable.)

According to Lato, it is a practice of food production in which farmers can also consume the organic goods that they produce and sell in the cities.
On World Environment Day, food consumers are encouraged to think, eat and save. It is a campaign to change the imbalance in individual lifestyles that impact the environment.  But the bigger pressure is on the food industry to feed more and waste less.
Voltaire Tupaz, Rappler, Manila

– Rappler.com

Newscast production staff

DIRECTOR Rupert Ambil
  Dindin Reyes
HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER Katerina Francisco
  Exxon Ruebe
  Adrian Portugal
  Francis Lopez
GRAPHICS Jessica Lazaro

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