Rappler Newscast | July 3, 2013

Rappler.com
SC stops plea bargain deal between former comptroller and Ombudsman. Chinese gov executes Filipino drug mule. Canada and Australia warn against travel in Mindanao.

Today on Rappler.

  • The Supreme Court stops the plea bargain deal between former military comptroller Carlos Garcia and the Ombudsman.
  • The Chinese government executes a Filipino for drug trafficking.
  • Canada and Australia warn against travel in Mindanao, citing new terrorist threats.

Story 1: SC STOPS GARCIA PLEA BARGAIN DEAL
The Supreme Court issues a temporary restraining order on the plea bargain deal between the Ombudsman and former military comptroller Maj Gen Carlos Garcia.
Garcia is accused of converting millions of military funds into cash that he embezzled.
The temporary restraining order is based on a petition last week by the Office of the Solicitor General, which questioned the Sandiganbayan’s April decision upholding the validity of the Garcia plea bargain.
The deal allows Garcia to plead guilty to lesser offenses of direct bribery and facilitating money laundering, in exchange for the withdrawal of plunder charges.
The High Court’s order stops the implementation of the controversial deal and the bail Garcia was allowed to post.
The 2010 deal Garcia signed with the Ombudsman was widely criticized, and triggered the resignation of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in May 2011. 

Story 2: FILIPINA DRUG MULE IN CHINA EXECUTED
The Chinese government on Wednesday executes a 35-year-old Filipino for drug trafficking.
Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez does not divulge other details of the woman’s identity, as requested by her family.
China executed the Filipina despite an appeal by Philippine President Benigno Aquino.
4 other Filipinos were executed for drug trafficking over the past two years.
The Filipina was convicted for smuggling 6.198 kilos of heroin into China.
Chinese courts say she earned up to P3 million from drug trafficking.
But in an interview with GMA News, the Filipina’s father claims his daughter was the victim of a drug syndicate.
Malacañang sends its condolences to the family.
Hernandez adds, “We certainly do not want other Filipino families to go through the same experience…We renew our call to our countrymen to avoid involvement with drug syndicates.”

Story 3: DFA CHIEF BREAKS ‘NICETIES’ TO DEFEND PH – REPORT
Defending the Philippines’ territorial claims, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario rebuts China’s allegations on the South China Sea dispute during a regional forum.
In a report by Reuters, the Singapore foreign minister is quoted as saying Del Rosario engaged in –quote– “testy exchanges” with his Chinese counterpart during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum in Brunei.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi had reportedly delivered a litany of complaints against the Philippines.
The exchange between the two diplomats was described as a –quote– “departure from the usual diplomatic niceties.”

Story 4: BINAY VS E-VIOLENCE, MIRIAM FOR NET FREEDOM
Senators Nancy Binay and Miriam Santiago file separate bills on Internet policy.
Binay files the Electronic Violence Against Women or E-VAW bill, which aims to protect victims of online violence.
She cites cyberbullying and cyberstalking as examples of digital harassment.
Binay says her bill aims to regulate the –quote– “exploitative and irresponsible use of social media that has become a mode of disseminating scandals.”
While Binay’s bill focuses on online violence, Santiago refiles a bill that aims to establish a framework for information and communication technology in the Philippines.
That’s the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom for the 16th Congress, a measure she first filed in November 2012.
Santiago filed the bill to repeal the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which human rights groups criticize for violating freedom of expression.
She says unlike the cybercrime law, the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom treats libel as a civil liability rather than a criminal act.

Story 5: COA: CAGAYAN DE ORO MISSPENT P11M OF PNOY’S PDAF
The Commission on Audit reports the Cagayan de Oro city government misspent P11.5 million from President Benigno Aquino’s pork barrel.
COA’s 2012 audit report shows the amount was spent on the construction of Indahag Water System Phase 2, which was not among the list of relief and rehabilitation projects approved by the budget department.
Aquino set P50 million from the Priority Development Assistance Funds for Cagayan de Oro City, which was one of the hardest-hit areas by flooding because of Typhoon Sendong in December 2011.
700 city residents died during the calamity.
Government auditors say the funds are earmarked for the repair of school buildings, irrigation systems, and roads in areas affected by calamities.
The city government viewed the fund allocation as a lump-sum subsidy, so it did not wait for the President’s approval when it implemented the water system project.

Story 6: CANADA, AUSTRALIA ISSUE TRAVEL WARNINGS VS MINDANAO
Canada and Australia advise their citizens to avoid all travel to parts of Mindanao, citing fresh threats of terrorism.
On Wednesday, the Canadian embassy says there are –quote– “serious threats of terrorist attacks and kidnapping” in most parts of the region.
The travel warning comes a day after Australia also bars its diplomats from traveling to Davao, Cotabato and Zamboanga.
In May, the UK, Australia, and the United States also issued travel warnings over supposed security threats.
The Philippine government refuted their warnings.

Story 7: GUN ATTACK ON CAIRO PRO-MORSI RALLY KILLS 16
Health ministry officials say unidentified gunmen kill 16 people and wound 200 others when they opened fire at a Cairo rally supporting embattled Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
On Tuesday, seven people are killed and dozens wounded during clashes which included gunfire between supporters and opponents of Morsi.
Morsi’s opponents took to the streets of Cairo Tuesday, urging him to quit.
Military leaders earlier urged him to agree to the “people’s demands” or the army will step in to restore order.
Late Tuesday, Morsi says he will not bow to mass protests calling on him to step down.
He says –quote– “The people chose me in free and fair elections.”

Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, The Vatican recognizes a second miracle by John Paul II, putting him firmly in the path for sainthood.
The only thing missing? A papal signature to authorize the beloved former pope’s canonization.
In June, Vatican theologians attribute a second miracle, which reportedly took place the same day he was beatified in St. Peter’s Square on May 1, 2011.

At number 4, The United States government announces the enforcement of a part of the federal health care law will be delayed by a year.
The provision in question penalizes employers who don’t provide health insurance.
The Treasury Department says they heard complaints over the –quote– “complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.”
Employers with more than 50 workers need to give employees health coverage from 2014.

And at number 10, American and proud – that’s the message Motorola is sending out for its Moto X smartphone campaign, which is also their first after being acquired by Google early this year.
In time for July 4 festivities in the United States, Motorola promises a “smartphone that you can design yourself.”
The ad, though, didn’t show the phone itself. 

Team working at desks image via Shutterstock


Story 9: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT FILIPINO MOBILE USERS
Speaking of mobile, a survey reveals the Philippines is now considered the fastest-growing smartphone market in Southeast Asia, with smartphone sales in the Philippines increasing by 326% in 2012.
The survey also reveals five findings about Filipino users.
First, Filipinos are social.
The survey says Filipinos use their smartphones for SMS or text messaging, listening to music, taking photos or videos, and playing games.
44% of Metro Manila respondents access social networking sites.
TNS managing director Gary de Ocampo says –quote–, “It’s all about sharing.”
Second, Filipinos care more about use than looks.
De Ocampo says Filipinos want to –quote–, “own phones that offer features beyond just calling and texting functions.”
Third, Filipinos find data plans too expensive.
About 35% of Metro Manila respondents say they surf the web using public wi-fi.
Fourth, Filipinos are still wary about buying online.
TNS head of digital Joseph Webb says –quote– “Security is primary concern of Manila residents when it comes to mobile banking.”
Lastly, Filipinos prefer Samsung over Apple.
Samsung is more popular in Manila than Apple mostly because it’s more affordable.
But the survey indicates Apple’s iPad remains to be an aspirational product as consumers prefer it more than any other brand in the market. 

Online Shopping image via Shutterstock


Story 10: FILIPINO TEACHERS EDUCATE VIETNAMESE STUDENTS IN ENGLISH
In Vietnam, Filipinos help fill the need for English teachers. Kim Rocafor is one of them.
David Lozada reports.

Sundays are special days for Kim Rocafor.  
After attending mass in Notre Dame cathedral, he hangs out with overseas Filipino workers in the city.
Kim is an English teacher in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
A former government employee in Quezon, 26-year-old Kim has been working in Vietnam for four years.
He is a pioneer Filipino English teacher in a Vietnamese public school.
Due to the large number of tourists entering the country, English is slowly being favored as a second language in Vietnam.
Philippine Overseas Employment and Administration official Liberty Casco says the Vietnamese government acknowledges the need for English competency.
That’s where the Filipino teachers come in.

LIBERTY CASCO, POEA DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR: The Filipinos has the edge in English proficiency in the sense that in the Philippines we’re educated in the English language apart from our mother tongue.

From January to April 2013, English teachers were the top in-demand job in Vietnam for Filipinos.

DAVID LOZADA, REPORTING: Benh Thanh Park is a famous recreational place for tourists and vietnamese alike. Every afternoon, university and college students gather here to look for foreigners they can converse with. This is their way of practicing their English.

University of Economics student Chore-Chore goes to Ben Thanh Park every day to improve his communication skills.
He believes English will help him land a good job.

CHORE-CHORE, ECONOMICS STUDENT: Communication skills is very important now. Every student in Vietnamese study English because they want to find a good job in their future, you know.

According to Kim, teaching English to Vietnamese students is quite a challenge.

KIM ROCAFOR, ENGLISH TEACHER: It’s hard to connect with the students because of the culture number one, and communication.

But he says the working conditions are ideal for Filipinos.

KIM ROCAFOR, ENGLISH TEACHER: I’m sending my older sister to school so she can finish her studies. She’s taking up education. Maybe after a year, she’ll be able to go here to Ho Chi Minh.

Kim says living in Vietnam has opened his eyes to the world.
To him, it’s a piece of home away from home.
David Lozada, Rappler Ho Chi Minh.

– Rappler.com

Newscast production staff

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER Lilibeth Frondoso
DIRECTOR Rupert Ambil
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER Rodneil Quiteles
  Dindin Reyes
HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER Katerina Francisco
MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK Vicente Roxas
  Exxon Ruebe
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN Charlie Salazar
  Adrian Portugal
  Francis Lopez
  Naoki Mengua
GRAPHICS Jessica Lazaro
  Matthew Hebrona

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