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Today on Rappler.
- President Aquino will not apologize to Hong Kong over the 2010 hostage crisis.
- A survey shows the Senate, House of Representatives, and Bureau of Customs rate poorly in fighting corruption.
- Bill Gates steps down as Microsoft chair names a new CEO.
Story 1: AQUINO TO HK: NO APOLOGIES
In his first public response to Hong Kong’s sanctions against the Philippines, President Benigno Aquino reiterates his stance: there will be no apology to Hong Kong from the Philippines.
In an article in the New York Times published Wednesday, Aquino says the Philippines will not apologize for a 2010 hostage crisis in Manila that led to the deaths of 8 Hong Kong tourists.
This comes the same day Hong Kong implements its sanction – taking away visa-free entry for Philippine government officials and diplomats.
Red and blue official passport holders will have to apply for visas to visit Hong Kong starting Wednesday.
Aquino says an apology to Hong Kong could create a legal liability.
He adds, China has not paid compensation to the families of Filipino victims who died in the mainland.
Earlier this week, the Palace said it will continue to work with Hong Kong to find a solution acceptable to both sides.
In the interview, Aquino also asks for international support against China in a dispute over territories in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.
China’s 9-dash line, which it uses to claim virtually the whole South China Sea, overlaps with the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
Aquino says the Philippines will not surrender its territory to China, adding, “If we say yes to something we believe is wrong now, what guarantee is there that the wrong will not be further exacerbated down the line?”
The Times calls Aquino’s statement “among the strongest indications yet of alarm among Asian heads of state about China’s military buildup and territorial ambitions.”
In 2012, Aquino warned Asian neighbors they should fear Beijing’s growing aggressiveness in the South China Sea.
Story 2: JINGGOY: TUASON WON’T INCRIMINATE ME
Senator Jinggoy Estrada downplays the possible testimony of his father’s former social secretary who allegedly received millions of pesos in kickbacks in the pork barrel scam.
Ruby Tuason faces plunder charges over the pork barrel scam, where lawmakers, including Sen Estrada, allegedly channeled their discretionary funds to fake NGOs of alleged mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
Whistleblowers say Tuason received rebates intended for Estrada and co-accused Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
A Rappler exclusive report stated Tuason is reportedly under pressure to turn herself in.
Sen Estrada says, “She can testify as long as she wants. I am very confident she will not say anything against me. I can fight it out in court.”
In the Rappler report, a source familiar with the case says, “[Tuason] wants to come clean and divulge what she knew on the scam. It’s the social stigma and the shame to her family.”
Story 3: SENATE, HOUSE, AND CUSTOMS RATE POORLY IN ANTI-CORRUPTION SURVEY
The latest Social Weather Stations or SWS survey shows the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Land Transportation Office and the Bureau of Customs rate poorly in fighting corruption.
In the 2013 Enterprise Survey on Corruption, the 4 government institutions received the largest downgrades in sincerity ratings in fighting corruption between 2012 and 2013.
The study shows the Senate had the largest drop: from +36 or good, to -8 or neutral.
The House of Representatives also went from -6 or neutral to -28 or poor while the LTO went from -26 or poor in 2012, to -32 or bad in 2013.
The Customs bureau remains the worst perceived agency in the fight against corruption. It went from -46 or poor in 2012 to -63 or very bad in 2013.
National Competitiveness Council co-chairman Guillermo Luz says the findings should be used by these agencies to help institute reforms.
He adds, “The Senate, House and Customs need a lot of soul searching.”
Story 4: PALACE DISAPPROVES OF MERALCO TRO PLEA
Malacanang says it disapproves of the request by Manila Electric Company or Meralco asking the Supreme Court to lift the temporary restraining order on its power rate hike.
On Wednesday, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma says, “The government believes that unjustifiable price hikes should not be passed on to the people. Therefore, the proposed petition for the lifting of the TRO is not consistent with the public interest.”
Coloma adds collusion among power players can be considered abuse of market power.
Meralco was set to implement a rate increase of P4.15 per kilowatt-hour rate after simultaneous shutdowns of its power suppliers forced it to buy more expensive power from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.
Despite strong Palace statements against Meralco, Coloma says it is not pre-empting or interfering with the probes of the justice and energy departments on the power rate hike.
Story 5: PH NAVY RECRUITING 4,000 TROOPS
The Philippine Navy is recruiting at least 4,000 new members in the next two years to address the lack of personnel at a time of maritime disputes in the West Philippines Sea.
There are about 20,000 enlisted Navy personnel.
Navy spokesperson Gregory Fabic says the recruitment will also provide manpower for newly-acquired warships and fighter jets.
The procurement of new vessels is part of the Navy’s efforts to monitor disputed waters.
The Navy will conduct mobile recruitments in La Union, Legaspi, Cebu, Palawan, Davao and Zamboanga.
Story 6: UN BLASTS CATHOLIC CHURCH FOR INACTION VS CHILD ABUSE
The United Nations wants the Vatican to remove all child sexual abusers from their posts and turn them over to the police.
In a hard-hitting report, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child slams the Roman Catholic Church for not doing enough to stamp out child abuse by priests and lay employees worldwide.
The committee says the Vatican has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes and “has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”
The UN committee criticizes the practice of transferring child abusers from parish to parish within countries in an attempt to cover up their crimes.
The report comes after a landmark hearing last month, where UN members grilled senior Churchmen and called into question the Vatican’s resolve.
Story 7: GATES SHIFTS ROLE AT MICROSOFT, NEW CEO NAMED
Microsoft on Tuesday announces the promotion of Satya Nadella as its new chief executive officer.
Indian-born Nadella was formerly the executive vice president of its Cloud and Enterprise group.
He takes over from retiring CEO Steve Ballmer.
The tech giant also announced its founder Bill Gates would step down as chairman to become a technology adviser.
Taking his place is John Thompson, a lead independent director.
The moves come with Microsoft losing ground to rivals like Apple and Google as users shift from the traditional personal computer to mobile devices.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, the landmark trial of a former Rwandan army captain charged with complicity in the 1994 genocide opens Tuesday in Paris.
Simbikangwa is accused of inciting and aiding massacres during the 100-day genocide that left 800,000 people dead.
He is accused of supplying arms to militia who were manning road blocks and killing Tutsi men, women and children.
Simbikangwa denies the charges.
At number 5, Queen Elizabeth II will meet Pope Francis when she visits Rome, Italy in April.
The queen and her husband Prince Philip will have an audience with the pope after attending a lunch hosted by Italian president Giorgio Napolitano.
It will be the first time for the British monarch to meet the Roman Catholic leader since his election in March 2013.
And at number 8, the United States urges Japan, South Korea and China to work together, saying it was in the interest of all three to overcome historical animosity.
Danny Russel, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, says he held talks on growing tensions during recent stops in Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo.
He says China and Japan, as Asia’s two largest economies, “can and must work together” in the interests of their citizens.
Story 9: PACQUIAO PROMISES TO BE AGGRESSIVE IN BRADLEY REMATCH
World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao vows to be aggressive again in his rematch against the undefeated Timothy Bradley.
Promoting the rematch in Los Angeles, Pacquiao promises it’s going to be a good fight.
He says “Both of us have something to prove.”
“The aggressiveness and the young Manny Pacquiao you will see on April 12 [is] by God’s grace.”
Pacquiao lost to Bradley in their first meeting in 2012 by a controversial split decision.
Many boxing experts and fans argue Pacquiao should have won the fight.
Bradley believes the rematch will be his redemption.
He says ” I’m going to beat Manny Pacquiao to get the credit that I didn’t get in the first fight.”
Newscast Production Staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Vicente Roxas|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|
|3D GRAPHICS||Sten Bautista|