Rappler Newscast | August 29, 2013

Pork barrel queen Napoles is now in police custody. Santiago: Napoles does not qualify as state witness. PH sustains its growth with 7.5% GDP for 2nd quarter.

Today on Rappler.

  • Pork barrel queen Janet Napoles is now in police custody.
  • Senator Santiago says Napoles does not qualify as state witness.
  • The Philippines sustains its stellar growth with 7.5% GDP for the 2nd quarter.

The two week search for the woman tagged in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam is over.
Just hours after a bounty is placed on her head, Janet Napoles surrenders.
Bea Cupin reports.

The saga of pork barrel queen Janet Napoles reaches its lowest point: police custody.
For two weeks, officials went on a manhunt for the woman at the center of the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
On August 14, a Makati court orders the arrest of Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim for illegally detaining their cousin-turned-whistleblower Benhur Luy.
On Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino puts up a P10-million reward for information on the fugitive.
Hours later, she surrenders to the president.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas says it was Napoles’ lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, who sent surrender feelers to Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.
Lacierda met Kapunan and Napoles’ husband at Whitespace in Makati before proceeding to meet Napoles herself at a cemetery in Taguig.
At 9:37 pm, she arrives in Malacañang.
There, she comes face to face with Aquino, who spoke with her and her lawyer for 10 minutes.
Napoles says she fears for her life, but Malacañang does not explain the special treatment it gives the country’s most notorious fugitive.
Wednesday night, Roxas drops hints she could turn into a state witness — a proposal that stirs anger in social media.
Opposition lawmakers fear Malacañang will use Napoles against the administration’s critics.
On Thursday, Roxas clarifies there are no discussions yet.

MAR ROXAS, INTERIOR SECRETARY: No, that would be pursuant to any legal process that will happen.

Napoles spends the night in Camp Crame, in an office the President himself checked to make sure it was secure.
A Makati court is now ordering her transfer to the Makati City Jail, although her lawyers ask the court to stop the transfer, citing dangers to her life.

SR SUPT REUBEN THEODORE SINDAC, PNP INFORMATION CHIEF: Yes, nandito pa si Janet Napoles sa Crame, and in a few, about five minutes, may isang team ng CIDG na luluwas papuntang Makati City Jail para i-survey at mag-conduct ng security survey and inspection doon sa projected na paglilipatan ni Janet Napoles. (Yes, Janet Napoles is still in Camp Crame. And in about five minutes, a team from CIDG will leave for the Makati City Jail to conduct a security survey and inspection there.)

Napoles’ brother remains at large, with a P5 million bounty on his head.
Bea Cupin Rappler Manila.

Janet Lim Napoles is asking a Makati court to stop her transfer from Camp Crame to the Makati City jail.
The motion was filed past court hours, but the court accommodated it due to a prior call from the Napoles camp.
Hours earlier, the Regional Trial Court Branch 150 of Makati issued a commitment order to Napoles, which was delivered to her in Camp Crame.
The order paves the way for her transfer to the Makati City jail.
Napoles lawyer Ina Zamora cites security reasons for opposing the transfer.

In an unprecedented move, no less than the chief of the Philippine National Police and at least 3 Cabinet Secretaries visit the Makati City jail, where Napoles will be transferred from Camp Crame.
PNP Director General Alan Purisima arrives at the city jail 6 pm Thursday, saying he wants to make sure the area is safe for Napoles.
An hour later, Interior Secretary Roxas, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang arrive at the jail.
Roxas says Aquino sent them to ensure the safety of Napoles.

MAR ROXAS, INTERIOR SECRETARY: Kaya siguraduhin mo na ligtas yan kaya personal, ako mismo, at tiyaka si chief PNP ang nandito. Yung chief ng CIDG nandito para siguraduhin yung kanyang kaligtasan. (We had to personally ensure safety, so the PNP chief and I are here. The CIDG chief is here as well to ensure [Napoles’] safety.)

On Wednesday, Napoles surrenders to President Aquino, saying she feared for her life. 

Sen Miriam Santiago says Janet Napoles cannot turn state witness just to escape prosecution.
In a press statement, Santiago lists 5 requirements for an accused to become a state witness.
Among these requirements: don’t appear to be the most guilty.
Santiago says Napoles will find it –quote– “extremely difficult to prove her claim that she is not the most guilty.”
If Napoles is charged with plunder, her lawyer must file a motion for discharge to be a state witness.
A hearing will have to be held to support the discharge and will require the prosecution to present evidence and sworn statements of witnesses.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano says he finds talk of Napoles becoming state witness –quote– “sickening.”
He adds, “We should get the testimony from her but not in exchange for becoming a state witness which is unnecessary. Otherwise, how will we hold accountable individuals abusing government funds if we will always offer this?”

On the first day of the Senate probe into the pork barrel scam, the Commission on Audit or COA says 2 more senators misused their Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF.
COA chair Grace Pulido Tan says details will be released in an upcoming audit report on the government controlled Philippine Forest Corporation.
Pressed to name names, Tan says she could not do so because of protocol but drops hints about their identities.
She says the 2 senators were not present in the Thursday hearing.
The senators who did not attend the hearing are Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, Gringo Honasan, Miriam Santiago, Loren Legarda, Lito Lapid, Bongbong Marcos, Tito Sotto and Cynthia Villar.
In a report released two weeks ago, COA tagged 192 solons in the misuse of the pork barrel.
COA says fund releases from 2007 to 2009 show Senators Enrile, Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada allocated funds to NGOs linked to Janet Napoles.
The report also found at least P6.156 billion was released to 82 dubious NGOs.
Of these, 10 are “presently linked” to Napoles.

The Philippines saw what a Facebook post can do on Monday, after tens of thousands of people held nationwide rallies against pork barrel abuse in what came to be known as the #MillionPeopleMarch.
Ateneo School of Government Dean Tony La Viña and UP Diliman sociology professor Nicole Curato say the leaderless nature of the event — organized around issues and ideas instead of personalities — was a historic first.

NICOLE CURATO, PROFESSOR IN SOCIOLOGY, UP DILIMAN: What’s interesting here is how social media became a platform for all of these funny and playful ways of articulating dissent, and to me that’s a very unique function when a protest event is not centralized but mediated through social media.

La Viña says news of the pork barrel scam drove people to the streets, but adds the Napoleses’ lifestyle also contributed to the anger.

TONY LA VIÑA , ATENEO SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT DEAN: What united the people? I think it’s Jeane Napoles…Visuals agitate people more than anything…When people see how they compare their own…they work hard, they pay taxes, and people suffer, people are hungry and they see this, that’s what really angers them.

Following Monday’s movement, people are now asking: what happens next?
Curato says the challenge now is to identify concrete objectives.

NICOLE CURATO, PROFESSOR IN SOCIOLOGY, UP DILIMAN: One of the challenges here is how we move forward. Because once we have registered dissent in this manner, it now becomes more challenging in terms of organizing what kinds of demands we want to articulate, what kinds of proposals we want to push for.

La Viña adds the latest developments — including the surrender of Janet Napoles — provide a clearer focus.

TONY LA VIÑA, ATENEO SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT DEAN: In a way it’s not very difficult for us because there’s a part of this drama that’s unfolding that has a very clear focus, prosecution, conviction. It becomes very focused on who can be held liable…I would venture to say that it’s easier to target than try to target something very abstract like PDAF or pork barrel, but here you’re actually directing your energy and your efforts at getting some very high up personalities to be snared in this.

The Philippines remains the best performing country in Southeast Asia, matching only China’s 7.5% GDP in the second quarter. How will this trickle down?
Cherrie Regalado reports.

The Philippines is still on a roll.
Amid lingering risks and uncertainties abroad, the Philippines grows an impressive 7.5% in the second quarter — slightly lower than the first quarter.
The country is poised to exceed the target of  6 to 7% full year growth for 2013.
The Philippines continues to beat Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
The best performing country in the ASEAN, it matches the growth of powerhouse China, even surpassing more advanced economies in Asia.
The country remains dependent on the services sector, which accounts for more than half of the gross domestic product.
But the most encouraging growth comes from the industry sector, which recorded a 10.3% growth this quarter.
The rise of the industry sector, particularly manufacturing, is seen as the answer to poverty.
The government is banking on sustained growth in the industrial sector to solve joblessness among workers in the agriculture sector.

ARSENIO BALISACAN, SOCIOECONOMIC SECRETARY: To improve productivity of labor, we have to create jobs, invest in other sectors in the economy. That’s why our focus is reviving industry, reviving manufacturing. Let’s create jobs there as we improve productivity of agriculture.

Agriculture employs one third of the labor force, but has performed dismally, even shrinking in the 2nd quarter.
Data from last April’s 2013 Labor Force Survey shows unemployment increased in April this year to 7.5%.
640,000 lost their jobs in agriculture.

ARSENIO BALISACAN, SOCIOECONOMIC SECRETARY: We need to diversify the economy. We need to diversify agriculture.

Economic managers say it is important to keep on growing, more than 7% in the coming years to make this stellar growth trickle down to those who need it most.
Cherrie Regalado, Rappler, Manila.

At number 7, Scientists say a slowing in global warming is simply a “hiatus” from higher temperatures.
Climate skeptics say this undermines the greenhouse theory, but researchers say the slowdown is because of a natural but temporary cooling in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
Over the last 50 years, temperatures rise by an average of 0.12 degrees Celsius per decade.
But over the last 15 years, the increase slowed to a rate of 0.05 degrees Celsius per decade, even though fossil-fuel carbon emissions continue to break new records. 

At number 8, The World Health Organization says 8 new cases of the deadly coronavirus Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS are registered in Saudi Arabia.
WHO reports 2 men from the capital Riyadh died.
MERS still has no vaccine and has a high fatality rate of more than 51 percent.
Coronavirus MERS is considered a cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003.

And at number 9, Twitter acquires a start-up specializing in tuning into online banter by TV viewers.
Trendrr chief executive Mark Ghuneim announces the New York-based firm is becoming part of the popular micro-blogging site.
Trendrr tracks and analyzes social network exchanges about television shows to provide insights about what viewers think of programming.

Pacific Ocean globe image from Shutterstock

Global Warming, temperature rising image from Shutterstock

Effect of Climate change image from Shutterstock

Toxic Emission image from Shutterstock

– Rappler.com

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