Rappler Newscast | February 3, 2014

Alleged rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan arrested & released. Gov't, MILF start implementing peace deal provisions. Protesters block voting stations in Thailand

Today on Rappler.

  • An alleged rice smuggler is arrested for power pilferage but released after posting bail.
  • The groundwork begins for the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front after signing a peace deal.
  • Protesters block voting at thousands of polling stations in Thailand.

The National Bureau of Investigation or NBI arrests alleged rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan – also known as David Tan –  Monday, right after a Senate hearing on his illegal operations.
Ayee Macaraig reports.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, DAVAO CITY MAYOR: There is no doubt in this room. He is really the one.

The noose tightens on businessman Davidson Bangayan.
After the Senate established that he used dummies in importing rice, Bangayan faces a new accuser, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.         
Duterte presents a photo from Davao intelligence officials of notorious rice smuggler David Tan.
The mayor says Tan’s name came up in his investigation as the go-to guy for rice smuggling in Davao, Manila, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.
Before lawmakers and law enforcers on live television, the notorious mayor threatens the man supposedly in the photo.

JUAN PONCE ENRILE: Sino siya? Ito? Si David Bangayan?

RODRIGO DUTERTE, DAVAO CITY MAYOR: Yeah. Sabi ko ayaw ko simula ngayon sa lahat na may bumaba dito na smuggled goods, Sabi ko pagbabarilin ko kayo. (I said, starting now, for all you who come to town carrying smuggled goods, I’ll shoot all of you.) And if this guy would go to to Davao and start to goes unloading I will gladly kill him! I’m old, And so we go to prison. I’m old your honor, I could spend the remaining days of my life in prison. I can do away with the stress by read books, while away my time.

Duterte says Bangayan has many modes of smuggling rice, including using poor farmers as fronts.
Like Duterte, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile is convinced Bangayan and Tan are the same person.
He moves to cite Bangayan in contempt for lying, citing his affidavit in a libel case saying he is “aka David Tan.”

DAVIDSON BANGAYAN, ALLEGED RICE SMUGGLER: Yes I’m denying because I signed Davidson Bangayan, not David Tan. Maybe my lawyer did not correct it. I saw my name, my company that’s why he said walang ibang nire-refer. (That’s why he said, they’re not referring to anyone else.)

JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Hindi lang ito ang ebidensya kontra sa iyo na ikaw si David Tan. Maawa ka sa sarili mo. Ayaw kita saktan ayaw kong manakit ng tao. Sa committee sa Senado may reglamento dito di ka pwedeng magsinungaling. Kung nagsinungaling ka mapipilitan kaming  parusahan ka ng contempt. (This is not the only evidence proving that you are David Tan. Have pity on yourself. I don’t want to hurt you. You can’t lie here in the Senate. You’ll be punished for contempt.)

The Senate cites Bangayan in contempt, recommending the filing of a perjury case against him, and the cancellation of the passport.
But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has a surprise announcement of her own.

LEILA DE LIMA, JUSTICE SECRETARY: The NBI is ready to implement arrest warrant vs Bangayan as issued by RTC.

Investigators arrest Bangayan for a separate electricity pilferage case.
Just hours later, he walks free after posting bail.
De Lima admits the bureau has yet to file an airtight case against Bangayan for rice smuggling, but insists it has evidence and witnesses.
The justice chief draws flak from her fierce critic.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, DAVAO CITY MAYOR: The trouble with us in government is that we talk too much, act too slow and do too little. Let me ask. Don’t we? I heard it once said that what the country needs given these conditions is not more laws but more good men in public service. Let me ask again, do we subscribe to that?

De Lima shrugs off the criticism, vowing to pursue Bangayan, and other big-time rice smugglers.

AYEE MACARAIG, REPORTING: Senators say their findings and the testimony of Mayor Duterte raise the pressure on the justice department to sue Bangayan for rice smuggling. But the committee says the bigger challenge is to find and punish the customs and agriculture officials who connived with these big-time smugglers, and profited from this long-running problem.
Ayee Macaraig, Rappler.

Tropical Storm Basyang — international codename Kajiki — leaves 6 people dead and 5 others missing.
The storm hit land over Siargao Island on Friday and crossed Central Visayas, bringing heavy rain to areas still reeling from the effects of Tropical Depression Agaton in January, and Super Typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan in November last year.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council or NDRRMC says 5 people died in Cebu and one in Southern Leyte.
Four Filipinos and one Korean are missing in Cebu.
The NDRRMC also reports 13 landslides, four incidents of flooding, and two sea accidents.
The storm affects more than 42,000 people across the Visayas and the Caraga region.

On January 25, the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF signed the final annex that paves the way for a peace deal to end decades of fighting in Mindanao.
Both sides now enter the crucial phase of ground implementation.
Government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer says the next challenges include creating terms of reference for the different bodies involved in the implementation of the agreement and fast-tracking the creation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Ferrer says setting the foundation for lasting peace in Mindanao will take some time, but peace panel member Senen Bacani says it’s important to address immediate needs as a short-term goal.

SENEN BACANI, GOVERNMENT PEACE PANEL MEMBER: Although it takes time, I think it’s good to show something quickly, because there’s a lot of hope, there’s a lot of optimism, that’s why a follow-through in terms of at least some feeling that there is a change for the better. I guess we have to look at possibly low-hanging fruits there, those which we can do quickly. I suspect like basic necessities like potable water and electricity.

Hours after the final annex was signed, fighting broke out between the military and members of the MILF breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters or BIFF.
The military earlier promised it would go after what it called ‘spoilers’ in the peace process.
Ferrer says dealing with other groups is part of the challenges they have to address.

MIRIAM CORONEL-FERRER, GOVERNMENT PEACE PANEL CHAIR: This is part of the process, trying to sort it out, where they will fit in, what kind of roles they will play along the way. That’s why I said we avoid using the word ‘spoilers’ because we did have so-called spoilers in 2008 during the MOA-AD and most of them are on board now. They are supporting us.

The negotiators say they are optimistic about the benefits the law can provide the people of Mindanao.
Panel member Yasmin Lao says one of the key achievements is a recognition of the Bangsamoro identity.

YASMIN LAO, GOVERNMENT PEACE PANEL MEMBER: The acknowledgement of Bangsamoro as an identity is already a very big…from a derogatory Moro to a Bangsamoro people with their dignity, history…it’s already a big big achievement in itself.

Opposition protesters blocked voters in thousands of polling stations in Thailand during its highly-anticipated polls.
Protesters want to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down, saying she is a puppet for elder brother Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.
Millions of Thais failed to cast their votes Sunday, with protest groups forcing about 10% of polling stations to close.
The disruption means there may not be enough parliament members to convene legislation.
Even if Yingluck wins, she will remain in a caretaker role with limited power over government policy until elections are held in the problem areas.
The protests have left at least 10 people dead over months of unrest.

At number 7, Some mothers are looking to medical marijuana as the last hope to help their children suffering from seizures.
Thousands of parents in the Philippines Moms for Marijuana Facebook page ask lawmakers to review marijuana’s medicinal value.
They also want government to begin formal research so cannabis oil can be used with food for their children.
54-year-old Cynthia Algas-Vargas says she hopes mothers would not have to go to Colorado in the US for treatment, where cannabis is legal.

At number 8, Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of a suspected drug overdose in his New York apartment Sunday.
He was 46.
He was found on the bathroom floor wearing shorts and a T-shirt, with a syringe in his arm.
Police find a substance thought to be heroin at the scene.
Hoffman, whom some call the finest character actor of his generation, won an Oscar in 2006 as best actor for “Capote” and was nominated for three more Academy Awards.

And at number 9, Dylan Farrow, the daughter of actress Mia Farrow, speaks for the first time about allegations her adoptive father, film director Woody Allen, sexually abused her at the age of 7.
Allen strongly rejects the accusation that first came out in 1992.
Investigated over claims of abuse, Allen was not charged after psychologists found Dylan had not been molested.
Allen also accuses Dylan’s mother Mia of lying and fabricating the accusations after their bitter separation.

Defense wins championships.
The Seattle Seahawks hold down the Denver Broncos to just 8 points while scoring 43 to win Super Bowl 48.
This is the Seahawks’ first-ever Vince Lombardi trophy.
Seattle also makes history making the fastest score in Super Bowl after securing two points on a safety 12 seconds into the game.
Linebacker Malcolm Smith bags MVP honors for picking off a Peyton Manning pass and racing 69 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Fil-Am Douglas Baldwin Jr also scored a touchdown for the Seahawks.
Bruno Mars performs at halftime singing his hit songs “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Treasure,” and “Just The Way You Are.”

– Rappler.com

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