Rappler Newscast | May 10, 2012


Today on Rappler.

  • Dean Jose Manuel Diokno says it’s legal suicide to summon the Ombudsman as a hostile witness.
  • The MTRCB suspends the Tulfos show T3 for 20 days.
  • And, Jessica Sanchez takes gives a stunning performance as she fights to move to top 3 on American Idol.

Why would Chief Justice Renato Corona want the Ombudsman – a former colleague at the Supreme Court – to testify against him in his own impeachment trial?
On May 8, the defense asked the Senate to subpoena Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
The Senate signed the subpoena Wednesday, May 9, ordering her to appear on Monday, May 14.
The Ombudsman asked Corona to explain an alleged 10 million US dollars which were not declared in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN.
Lawyers tell Rappler, letting the Ombudsman talk could help build the defense of Corona on two fronts.
One, by tainting her image as an independent public official,and, two, by weakening the credibility of her investigation.
Ateneo School of Government dean Antonio La Viña thinks the Corona camp wants Carpio-Morales to testify because his lawyers are certain these bank deposits are “non-existent.”
Christian Monsod, a member of the 1987 Constitutional Convention, says the Ombudsman has to show the basis of her claim.
Monsod tells Rappler, “One would expect preliminary work from her, so that she will not be accused of doing this for political harassment.”
But here’s Corona’s problem when the Ombudsman testifies: despite the restraining order from the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman can access the dollar accounts through the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
Lawyers we consulted also say Corona can use other strategies: He could say the $10-million is not his, but money he held in trust.
He used that defense for about P34 million peso in deposits, which he says he did not declare because it belongs to a family-owned corporation, the Basa Guidote Enterprises.
Another lawyer says the defense can harp on the “conspiracy” angle.
Corona has repeatedly said the Aquino administration is prosecuting him because he voted against the President’s interests in Hacienda Luisita.

Dean of De La Salle Law School Jose Manuel Diokno says the defense is taking a large risk by asking Ombudsman Carpio-Morales to take the stand as a hostile witness.
Diokno says this may be legal suicide.

It’s very interesting from a legal perspective, many of us are in a quandary what the defense is trying to do. Its very risky to call a hostile witness, even just one of them, to call 10 hostile witnesses to me is like legal suicide. And I’m not exactly sure what the strategy of the defense here is. The problem with calling a hostile witness is you have no control over what they will say, and by characterizing them as hostile, we already know that they are not for you, that means that when they are cross-examined by the prosecution, the prosecution could have a field day. They could easily get admissions from the witnesses that otherwise they wouldn’t be able to get.

Diokno adds Carpio-Morales is a fighter and she won’t be intimidated by lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas.
He also says Carpio-Morales will present a solid case.
Diokno also disputes Cuevas’ warning that Corona plans to drag President Aquino into the fray.
He says Corona did that as soon as he was impeached by Congress.

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board suspends the show T3 for 20 days after it aired the Tulfo brothers cursing and threatening Claudine Baretto and Raymart Satiago with bodily harm Monday May 7.
The hosts’ eldest brother, Ramon Tulfo, fought with Santiago and Barretto at the airport last Sunday.
TV5 CEO Rey Espinosa says the station will contest the decision and ask for a temporary restraining order.
Espinosa says while the Tulfo brothers deserve to be suspended, the show should not be sanctioned.

Filipinos have an uncanny ability to make fun of the latest scandal in amusing and creative ways.
A day after the Tulfo and Santiagos’ fight, pictures began to spread online.
Here’s what Rappler found on Facebook.
(Memes of Tulfos run.)
In 2011, Filipinos made fun of a DPWH photo release that turned out to be ‘photoshopped’ or digitally altered.
Users put the officials in different scenes including the balcony in Prince William & Kate Middleton’s wedding, the Last Supper, and the UAAP Cheerdance competition.
Earlier, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos proposed a Hollywood-like sign of Batangas on the Taal Volcano – and this is what happened.
And there’s the photo of private prosecutor Vitaliano Aguirre covering his ears during the monologue of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago which turned into the famous painting “The Scream.”

Indonesian rescuers Thursday spotted the wreckage of Russia’s first post-Soviet civilian jet that disappeared in mountainous terrain during a demonstration flight Wednesday.
The plane had about 45 people on board.
An Indonesian military helicopter spotted the wreckage near the dormant volcano Mount Salak, close to the city of Bogor in West Java.
The Superjet 100, a new passenger aircraft, is crucial to Russia’s hopes of becoming a player in the aviation industry.
This is the first disaster to involve the Superjet 100.
Rescuers find no survivors.

Gay rights groups cheer US President Barack Obama’s announcement he supports same-sex marriage, while conservatives swiftly denounced his landmark stance.
Gay groups say Obama made history by being the first sitting US president to explicitly support marriage for same-sex couples.
They add its a great day for America.
Groups who oppose same-sex marriage say Obama now made the definition of marriage “a defining issue” in the upcoming elections.
The groups vow to prevent Obama who is “beholden to gay activists”, from turning marriage into something political.

I’ve always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. When I think about members of my own staff who are incredibly committed in monogamous relationships, same sex relationships, who are raising kids together.
For me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm, that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.

Story 7: THE wRap
Let’s now look at Rappler’s “wRap” for today…
a list of the ten most important events around the world you shouldn’t miss.

At number 4, The Philippine internet community sparks a buzz over media cases on television, radio, and print.
TV5 suspends the Tulfo brothers from Wednesday to Friday.
On radio, Magic 89.9 suspends DJ Mo Twister and his co-hosts for two weeks for a tasteless joke against singer Charice Pempengco on Twitter.
And in print, the Philippine Daily Inquirer is criticized for its caption on a photo of a Muslim woman in a burkha shaking hands with President Aquino.
The caption underneath said: Security risk?

At number 5, an anchor on China’s state-run television network mistakenly announces the Philippines is part of China during an ongoing conflict between the two countries over a shoal in the South China Sea.  
That triggers bombastic statements on China’s micro-blogging site, including this one, “if every Chinese spat once, we could drown the Philippines.”
China warns its citizens in Manila to stay off the streets during planned protests on Friday.

At number 7, a hospital in Houston broadcasts the removal of a brain tumor from a 21-year-old patient.
Hospital staff live-tweeted from the operating room.
Video and photos are available on Twitter and on YouTube.

At number 8, Ustream claims it was shut down by Russia to prevent citizen journalists from distributing videos of protests against its President Vladimir Putin.
Ustream’s CEO calls this an attack on the freedom of the internet – shutting down the US online video streaming service for 9 hours.
This actually affected Rappler’s stream last night.

And finally, a survey of youths between ages 19 and 26 from Singapore, China and the US, shows more than half of them found their social media obligations too demanding.
Some of them felt they had to ‘like’ their friends’ photos and status updates to keep up and show they care.
Do you feel the same pressure from your friends on Facebook?  Tweet us @rapplerdotcom.

Let’s to Pangasinan for an update on the Palarong Pambansa.
Natashya Gutierrez is there live.
(Live point from Pangasinan.)
MARIA RESSA: Natashya, yesterday, you spoke about the larger goals of the games – helping these young athletes reach their dreams.  Any more inspiring stories like that?
One of them is the daughter of a former Olympic swimmer who is trying to leave her own mark on Palarong Pambasa, but more than winning medals or setting records, native Tausug Shermalyn Jalmaani’s most important goal right now, is to stay in school by being a sports scholar.

13 year old swimmer Shermalyn Jalmaani was raised in a poor community in Zamboanga City and dreams of becoming a nurse.
Her dad, a 3-time olympian swimmer, encouraged her to try competitive swimming and be a state scholar.
Shermalyn is part of the elementary girl’s swimming team of the Zamboanga Peninsula.
Like many athletes from poor families, she sees sports as the key to staying in school.
Her dad, she says, is both her critic and fan.
Sabi nya mag swim ka na para makapunta ka sa ibat ibang lugar. Lagi nya sinabsabi sa akin, dapat daw ipokus-ipokus ang breast, kasi daw mahilig sya sa breast stroke.
Region 9 Swimming Team-Elementary
Shermalyn’s coach, Goff Leroy is also a  former Olympian.
He and Shermalyn’s dad were both part of the legendary Jolo swimmers who representing the country in the Olympics in the 60s and 70s.

The story in the early 60s, to go to the Manila, it’s a magical, magical name to us, Manila. Because even then it was hard to go to Manila. Like old swimmers who have been to Manila, telling us this and that, we were enganyo (encouraged) to train. So train hard and make it to Manila. From Jolo, swimmers go straight to Manila. And most of us training 2-3 years, Olympian immediately.

But with the infamous 1974 Jolo burning, the careers of the home-grown swimmers also ended.
Leroy poured his frustration into training new swimmers hoping the new generation would live up to their legacy.
But the lack of support remains a major setback.
The local culture also gets in the way of discovering athletes.

LEROY: I’m not sure of the date, DepEd of ARMM forbid Muslim swimmers to compete.
LEROY: Because un-Muslim daw mga dresses.
SANTOS: Swimsuits.
LEROY: Until now there is no swimmer from ARMM.
SANTOS: For girls?
LEROY: Both boys and girls.

Shermalyn is a Muslim, but she joined Zamboanga Peninsula where the outfit is not an issue.
A Manila school has offered her a scholarship but her dad reportedly turned it down.
Shermalyn won a silver in last year’s Palaro and hopes to do better this year.
Coach Goff is banking on her skills, and her genes, to bring honor to her region.
David Santos, Rappler, Pangasinan.

GUTIERREZ: We’re all inspired by stories like Shermalyn’s, Maria, that remind us that there’s so much more to these games, Maria.
RESSA: Fantastic, Natashya. There were some records broken today as well, right? Tell us what happened today.
GUTIERREZ : Yes, actually a few records were broken, and at last there’s a new secondary girls’ high jump record. It was broken by NCR’s Maureen Emily Schrivjers. And in swimming, NCR broke yet another record in secondary girls’ 4×15 meter freestyle relay. In volleyball, secondary girls’ arch rivals Western Visayas and NCR, Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao advance to the semis. And in basketball, secondary boys’ two-time defending Champion Calabarzon, NCR, Davao and Western Visayas will move on as well. We’ll be expecting an eventful day tomorrow, Maria.
RESSA: Fantastic, thank you, Natashya Gutierrez live from Pangasinan.

Story 9: JESSICA
Singer Jessica Sanchez steps up in the final stretches of the popular show American Idol with only 4 remaining contestants.
A teary-eyed Sanchez receives a standing ovation from the judges after singing And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going from the Broadway musical Dreamgirls.
That marks the 6th time the judges gave the 16-year-old a standing ovation.
Judge Jennifer Lopez calls her performance, “A real moment” while Randy Jackson says she is “in it to win.”
Sanchez began by singing Etta James’ Steal Away.
Judge Steven Tyler says he loves the performance because it shows a different side of her voice.