Rappler Newscast | August 30, 2013

A court orders Napoles transferred. New testimonies link a Sandiganbayan judge to Napoles. British lawmakers reject a proposal for military action against Syria.

Today on Rappler.

  • A court orders pork barrel queen Janet Napoles transferred from the Makati City jail to Fort Sto Domingo in Laguna.
  • More witnesses surface – new testimonies link a Sandiganbayan judge to Napoles.
  • British lawmakers reject a proposal for military action against Syria leaving the United States alone.

From Camp Crame to the Makati City Jail and now to Laguna.
The courts grant the petition of pork barrel queen Janet Napoles for a transfer of detention center.  
Paterno Esmaquel reports.

What Janet Lim-Napoles wants, she somehow still gets.
Late Thursday, more than 25 hours after she surrendered to the President himself, Napoles is moved from Camp Crame in Quezon City to the Makati City Jail.
The full force of the President’s men come to make sure the jail is ready for Napoles.
A little past 11 in the evening on Thursday, a smiling Napoles is transferred to the Makati City jail.
It’s the same place Napoles’ former maid is detained in after Napoles allegedly framed her for robbery.
But Napoles does not stay in the prison’s female dormitories.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas says this is to ensure her security.
Napoles’ lawyer, Lorna Kapunan tells media: Napoles will face any investigating body.
She adds, Napoles will tell the truth.

LORNA KAPUNAN, LAWYER FOR NAPOLES: We’re also thankful sa prosecution na nag-agree naman sila sa judge on condition that we can assure daw that ‘pag naghi-hearing dito sa korte e mag-a-appear siya sa court. (We’re also thankful to the prosecution for agreeing with the judge on condition that we can assure Mrs. Napoles will appear in the court during hearings.)

It turns out, the city jail is not secure enough.
In a testimony before the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, Makati City Jail Warden Chief Inspector Fermin Enriquez recommends Napoles’ transfer to either Camp Crame or Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
He says he cannot provide “100%” protection to his “high profile” and “high-risk” inmate.
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Head Senior Superintendent Roberto Fajardo recommends Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna.
The court decides to grant Napoles’ petition to be transferred.
Filipinos decry the “special treatment” she gets.
But her lawyer, Lorna Kapunan says comfort is the least of Napoles’ concerns.

LORNA KAPUNAN, LAWYER FOR NAPOLES: Anywhere where it’s safe, kasi ang consideration niya hindi naman comfort eh, security.

The question on everyone’s minds now: what’s next?
Legislators rule out declaring her state witness.
But Palace officials hint otherwise.
Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Manila.

The Court of Appeals orders the Anti-Money Laundering Council or AMLC to examine the reported 430 bank accounts of pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles, her family members and conduits.
In a 24-page resolution, the court’s second division gives the AMLC 5 months to examine Napoles’ accounts and those of fake corporations linked to her.
The court earlier issued a 6-month freeze order on Napoles’ bank accounts.
The bank scrutiny order also covers the accounts of her husband Jaime Napoles, children Jo Christine, James Christopher, John Christian, Jeane and Jane Napoles, and her brother Reynald Lim.
Also covered are the accounts of whistleblower Benhur Luy, his mother Gertrudes and Arthur Luy, and several other individuals.
The court says the decision is based on allegations Napoles is behind the multi-billion peso scam involving lawmakers’ pork barrel.

More witnesses with personal knowledge of transactions involving Janet Napoles surface.
Lawyers say the witnesses will provide corroborating testimony about people involved in the intricate web of corruption.
Chay Hofileña reports.

GRACE PULIDO TAN, COA CHAIRMAN: Ten of the NGOs which received a total of P2.157 billion are presently linked to Janet Lim Napoles.

What we’ve seen and heard so far is just the tip of the iceberg.
Lawyers of witnesses against alleged pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles say their testimonies will complete the picture.
It’s a tale of how billions of pesos in public funds were lost to anomalous deals involving lawmakers, fictitious NGOs, and government officials.

LOURDES BENIPAYO, VOLUNTEER LAWYER FOR WITNESSES: There’s a new group of witnesses who have come forward with their own testimonies and they’re willing to cooperate with the NBI and the DOJ, full cooperation.

There are at least 4 new witnesses, some employees of JLN Corporation, the flagship company of the Napoleses.
New testimony links a Sandiganbayan justice to Napoles and Sen Jinggoy Estrada.
The sworn statements are submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation Thursday.

LEVITO BALIGOD, LAWYER: Ang bagong information lamang doon ay yung sinasabi ng isang witness na merong isang justice ng Sandiganbayan na laging dumadalo sa mga parties, private parties ni Ginang Napoles. At alam naman natin na kung ikaw ay isang hukom ay mahigpit na ipinagbabawal yan na sumali ka mga ganyang aktibidad, lalung-lalo na kung yung dinadaluhan mo ng party ay mayroong kaso sa iyo. (The only new information from one of the witnesses is the Sandiganbayan justice who always attends the private parties of Mrs. Napoles. We all know if you’re a justice, it is strictly prohibited for you to attend these activities especially if you’re handling a case involving the host of the party.)

Though unnamed by Baligod, Rappler finds out Associate Justice Gregory Ong is among the justices, whose division handled the Kevlar helmet case.
Janet Napoles was acquitted in the case.
A photo obtained by Rappler shows Ong with Napoles and Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
Ong denies knowing Napoles and says it is a mere photo opportunity.
Baligod says it proves the extent of Napoles’ influence.
The justice department is preparing a plunder case against Napoles and her accomplices.

LOURDES BENIPAYO, VOLUNTEER LAWYER FOR WITNESSES: A lot of people are saying she could be given plush accommodations, yun yung fear ng iba, mapa-pamper siya. And the remaining group honestly believe that she’s so powerful that eventually this will all go away. (That’s what some people fear – that she will be pampered.)

Benipayo says her clients are coming forward as a sign of goodwill.
Having worked with Janet Napoles for about 10 years, her employees have a strong sense of loyalty and fear of the woman they call Madame.
One of them backs out when Janet Napoles surfaces to surrender Wednesday.

LOURDES BENIPAYO, VOLUNTEER LAWYER FOR WITNESSES: It’s best if they just cooperated and volunteered their testimonies because isa lang yan eh, para sa bayan. We have to put a stop to this.

Chay Hofileña, Rappler, Manila.

The incoming head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines or CBCP says churchmen share the blame for the –quote– “shameless corruption” in government.
In a letter Saturday, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas says the issue is “beyond pork barrel,” adding, “The issue could be the diminishing relevance and eroding credibility of moral shepherds.”
Villegas was one of the first Church leaders who spoke against the pork barrel.
In a statement in July, Villegas criticized the pork barrel as a tool to advance political interests.

Filipinos are quick to poke fun at newsmakers and Janet Napoles isn’t spared.
Ever since the issue of the pork barrel scam broke out, countless memes have been posted on social media.
This one shows a payslip with a deduction going straight to Janet Napoles.
When Napoles surrendered to President Aquino, parody Facebook page BV patrol quickly came up with mugshots, while singer Jim Paredes and basketball team Ginebra fan account made shout outs and fan signs out of the real mugshots.
With reports saying Napoles has diabetes, others assume she will do what former president Gloria Arroyo and impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona did and show up in a wheelchair, something BV Patrol also thought of, showing Napoles in a Louis Vuitton wheelchair.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says the United States is not asking for permanent bases in the Philippines.
Manila and Washington are negotiating a new military agreement that will allow increased rotational presence of US troops and access to Philippine bases.
Critics call the new agreement a ploy to circumvent constitutional ban on permanent bases in the Philippines.
In a press conference in Malacañang Friday, Hagel says, “It is an outdated cold war mentality…We are using a new model of military to military cooperation.”
This comes in the middle of tension between the Philippines and China over the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.
Hagel concludes in Manila his week-long Southeast Asian trip meant to stress Washington’s strategic “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific.

A Hong Kong High Court judge rules the victims of the 2010 Manila bus hostage crisis cannot sue the Philippines because sovereign states cannot be sued in their court.
The South China Morning Post reports Justice Mohan Bharwaney of the Hong Kong Court of First Instance as saying: “I strike out the claim against the Republic of the Philippines on the grounds of sovereign immunity.”
In 2010, 8 Hong Kong nationals were killed in a hostage-taking incident.
Two survivors and the mother of a slain tour guide ask for millions of dollars in compensation for the tragedy.
They said they — quote — “suffered injury and loss as a result of the negligence or breach of duty by the Philippines and the eight officials involved in the rescue attempt.”

British lawmakers reject their government’s call for strikes against the chemical-armed Syrian regime Thursday, leaving the United States to act alone.
The House of Commons vote to defy British Prime Minister David Cameron’s bid to win support for military intervention.
Following the vote, Cameron says, “It is clear to me that the British parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action.”
But the White House says US President Barack Obama’s decision on Syria will be –quote– “guided by what is in the best interests of the United States.”
Earlier in the week, reports suggested a Western strike against Syria was imminent, following allegations Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons against its own citizens.
US warships armed with cruise missiles converge on the eastern Mediterranean, and US military officials say they are ready to strike if Obama gives the order.

At number 8, A new theory says life on Earth was kick-started because of a key mineral deposited by a meteorite from Mars.
The vital ingredient: an oxidized mineral form of the element molybdenum, which helps prevent carbon molecules — the building blocks of life — from degrading.
Professor Steven Benner says the oxidized form of molybdenum couldn’t have been available on Earth at the time life first began, but Mars did.
The impact of comets hitting planets in the early days would have caused Martian rubble to bounce into space and be captured by Earth’s gravity.
Benner says, “The evidence seems to be building that we are actually all Martians, that life started on Mars and came to Earth on a rock.”

At number 9, An Indonesian rights commissioner joins the opposition against hosting the Miss World contest, saying the country should protect youth from being “poisoned” by foreign influences.
The UK-based organizers of the contest face opposition from Islamic hardline groups, even after they agreed to scrap bikinis in the beachwear round.
But the governor of Bali defends the event, saying it would promote tourism.
Police deploy 1,000 officers to secure the event, which starts September 8.
The finals will be held September 28 in the outskirts of the capital Jakarta.

And at number 10, Google co-founder Sergey Brin splits up with his wife Anne Wojcicki after 6 years of marriage.
Stories of the split circulate after technology news website AllThingsD first reported the couple was living apart.
The website says Brin is romantically involved with a 26-year-old member of the Google Glass team, who was previously in a relationship with Hugo Barra, one of Google’s faces for its Android initiatives.
Barra announced he would leave Google for China’s Xiaomi, but the BBC reports his move is unrelated to personal issue.

Comet about to hit planet image from Shutterstock


California lawmakers debate a bill proposing to make what’s known as ‘revenge porn’ a criminal offense.
‘Revenge porn’ refers to sexually explicit photos or videos posted by jilted lovers after a failed relationship.
The proposed bill, which already passed the state Senate, makes the distribution of these photos illegal.
But the bill poses legal questions, because it deals with the distribution of photos previously taken with permission.

– Rappler.com

Newscast production staff


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

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