Rappler Newscast | July 16, 2013

Rappler.com
Supreme Court extends order stopping RH law. Ombudsman investigates pork barrel scam. International tribunal beings hearing PH case vs China.

Today on Rappler.

  • The Supreme Court extends the suspension of the Reproductive Health law.
  • The Ombudsman investigates an alleged $230 million pork barrel scam.
  • An international tribunal begins hearings on the Philippines’ case against China in the South China Sea dispute.


Story 1: SC EXTENDS ORDER STOPPING RH LAW
The Supreme Court extends the status quo ante order stopping the implementation of the controversial Reproductive Health law.
The order is supposed to end Wednesday.
Voting 8-7, the High Court extends the order “effective immediately until further orders.”

TED TE, SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: The vote, I am told, is 8-7. I have not been told who voted for which position.

On March 19, the law’s critics won a temporary victory when the High Court stopped the implementation of the RH law for 120 days.
The law was supposed to take effect last March 30.
On July 9, anti-RH advocates question the constitutionality of the law in oral arguments before Supreme Court justices.
The next round of oral arguments for and against the controversial measure is on July 23.
The RH law funds the distribution of free contraceptives and requires government hospitals to provide reproductive health services.

Story 2: COURT: NATIONAL ARTIST AWARD FOR 4 INVALID
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court overturns a presidential order conferring the National Artist award on 4 individuals.
The Court says the July 2009 proclamation signed by then President Gloria Arroyo is “invalid” and must be “set aside.”
The order declares Cecille Guidote-Alvarez, filmmaker Carlo Caparas, architect Bobby Mañosa, and fashion designer Pitoy Moreno as National Artists.
In August 2009, the High Court suspends the conferment of the National Artist Award on the 4, following a petition by Virgilio Almario and Bienvenido Lumbera and many others.
The petitioners say the award was illegal because the 4 were not among the nominees shortlisted by the National Commission on Culture and Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The council chose 4 awardees for 2009—the late filmmaker Manuel Conde, writer Lazaro Francisco, musician Ramon Santos, and painter Federico Aguilar Alcuaz.
The petitioners say Arroyo removed Santos from the list and inserted the 4.
The Order of National Artists is the highest national recognition given to individuals who made significant contributions to Philippine arts and culture.

Story 3: OMBUDSMAN TO INVESTIGATE PORK BARREL SCAM
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales creates a 6-person team to probe an alleged P10 billion peso or $230 million pork barrel scam supposedly hatched by Janet Lim Napoles.
The expose by Benhur Luy reveals huge amounts of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) were used in “ghost projects” by alleged fake non-governmental organizations or NGOs.
Ombudsman records show Napoles, Luy and other NGO officers face complaints in the “fertilizer fund scam” cases pending in this office.
Records also show the office is investigating apparent anomalies…
in the implementation of livelihood projects funded by the PDAF of 3 senators and one representative.

Story 4: ANTI-CORRUPTION CZAR? MIRIAM LAUGHS AT LACSON’S ‘ILLEGAL’ POST
Sen Miriam Santiago and former Sen Panfilo Lacson take their hostility to another level, this time focusing on Lacson’s impending appointment as anti-corruption czar.
Lacson says he submitted to Malacañang a draft executive order that will create an anti-corruption agency he will head.
He says the new anti-corruption agency has operational capabilities and a law enforcement arm.
But in a statement Tuesday, Santiago calls Lacson’s proposed position “unconstitutional, illegal, immoral and egotistic.”
She adds, “His plan is laughable and ridiculous. [It] is unintelligent.”
Santiago says Congress, not the President, can create a public office.
In response, Lacson says, “Only the corrupt and the corruptible will resent the creation of an anti-corruption body.”
Santiago says she is scandalized that Lacson, a non-lawyer, drafted the proposed executive order.
She also accuses Lacson of seeking to undermine other Cabinet officials.

Story 5: IMMIGRATION CHIEF QUITS
Immigration chief Ricardo David Jr quits his post.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte says President Benigno Aquino accepts David’s resignation dated July 12.
Valte does not say why David resigned, but various immigration officials have complained about David’s lackluster performance in the agency.

ABIGAIL VALTE, DEPUTY PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON: I have not seen the exact contents of the resignation letter. What was communicated to me was that Commissioner David felt that he—it was but proper for him to take full responsibility for events that may have transpired under his leadership of the bureau.

In September 2012, President Aquino scolded the Bureau of Immigration for failing to prevent the escape of the Reyes brothers, the suspects in the murder of broadcaster Gerry Ortega in January 2011.
Aquino also cites the case of Korean national Kim Tae Dong, who was wanted by the South Korean government.
Kim escaped from a hospital where he was confined while immigration BI personnel were guarding him.
David, a retired Army general, was the first Armed Forces chief of staff to be appointed by Aquino.
He served as Armed Forces chief for 9 months.

Story 6: PALACE HAPPY WITH SURVEY ON PH DEMOCRACY
Malacañang welcomes survey results showing Filipinos are satisfied with how democracy works under the administration of President Benigno Aquino.
In the 1st quarter 2013 Social Weather Stations Survey, satisfaction with the way democracy works reaches a record level of 74%.
SWS says the record-high rating was reached in March 2013, before the May midterm polls.
The Palace says in the 4 surveys conducted yearly under the Aquino administration, the satisfaction rating does not dip below 64%.
It is the longest period of sustained satisfaction since 1986.
The Palace says the 74% satisfaction rating is the highest figure since the polling firm began running the survey in 1991.

Story 7: HEARINGS ON PH, CHINA DISPUTE BEGIN
Despite opposition from Beijing, an international tribunal begins to hear the Philippines’ case against China over the West Philippine Sea, or South China Sea.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Solicitor General jointly make the announcement, days after another heated exchange between the Philippines and China.
In a press briefing, DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez says the tribunal “was formally constituted and held its first meeting on July 11 at the Hague, the Netherlands.”
China repeatedly rejected the proceedings the Philippines initiated under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.
Despite this, Hernandez says the process will continue, with the tribunal consulting both parties “every step of the way.”
Asked if the Philippines will win the case by default because of China’s snub, Hernandez says the Philippines has a big advantage and that the case will be –quote– “heard on its merits.”
He adds, “It has always been our position that the 9-dash line claim of China has been expansive, excessive, and illegal.”
The West Philippine Sea dispute heated up again the past few days, after the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Philippine officials lied in Belgium about the territorial row.

Story 8: ISANG CLOSES IN ON CAGAYAN, ISABELA
Tropical depression Isang intensifies Tuesday afternoon as it continues to move towards northwest Luzon.
As of 4pm, Isang is located 230 km east northeast of Baler, Aurora, carrying maximum winds of 55 kph.
Storm signal number 1 is up over Aurora, Quirino, Isabela, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Cagayan, including Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands; and Batanes.
The tropical depression will enhance the southwest monsoon, bringing light to moderate rain and thunderstorms over Mimaropa, Calabarzon, Bicol, and Western Visayas.

Story 9: PANAMA STOPS N. KOREAN SHIP, SAYS MISSILE MATERIAL FOUND
Panama’s president says officials stopped a North Korean vessel en route from Cuba and found missile equipment on board.
President Ricardo Martinelli says drug enforcement officials monitored the ship as it approached the Panama Canal and was taken into port.
He says officials found containers believed to be “sophisticated missile equipment.”
In the past year, North Korea threatened nuclear war against its enemies, after its third nuclear weapons test in February.

Story 10: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 4, Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada, 8 Japanese casino executives, and 16 Filipinos face charges for violating the Philippines’ Anti-Dummy Law.
Investigators from the Justice Department say that in 2007, 25 individuals and 10 companies made the Okada group appear qualified to acquire the land where its $2-billion Manila Bay Resorts casino-entertainment project is located.
The Justice Department adds, “Right from the beginning, (Okada-led) Universal (Entertainment) is behind the operations of the 3 (dummy) corporations.”
Philippine laws do not allow foreigners to own land.

At number 5, officials from five Southeast Asian nations meet to discuss the hazardous smog that affects the region every year, but the worst-hit countries hold out little hope of an early solution.
In June, forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra left neighboring Singapore and Malaysia choking on the worst haze in more than a decade.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says the forest fires will require –quote– “the best will in the world” to stop.
Singapore and Malaysia want Indonesia to punish those behind the blazes, but Jakarta says some fires started in plantations owned by Malaysian palm oil firms.

At number 8, Filipino Android users can start using Filipino search terms with the built in Google search app starting July 15.
The service works on Android smartphones running OS 2.0 Eclair or higher.
Google engineers build a Filipino speech language model with the help of volunteers who provided voice samples.
Google’s voice search for Filipino isn’t going to be perfect, but as more people use the new service, the ability of voice search to get it right also improves.

At number 9, Apple faces another social media-led issue in its second largest market in China.
On July 15, Apple says it will investigate claims an iPhone electrocuted a 23-year old Chinese woman who was making a call while charging the device.
The case draws attention after it was posted on China’s popular microblog service Sina Weibo.
Apple’s Beijing-based spokeswoman offers condolences to the family and says the company will investigate the issue and cooperate with authorities.

And at number 10, A tiny new moon is spotted circling Neptune — the 14th known to be orbiting the farthest planet from the Sun.
US space agency NASA says the moon is the smallest ever glimpsed around Neptune and measures just 19 kilometers across.
Astronomers found the moon by tracking a white dot that appeared repeatedly in more than 150 photos taken by the Hubble telescope from 2004 to 2009.

– 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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