Rappler Newscast | March 22, 2013

Malaysia gives PH access to detainees. One of the 8 Filipinos charged over the Sabah standoff says he was paid. 3 US warships sail to PH ports.

Today on Rappler. 

  • Malaysia gives the Philippines access to Filipinos detained in Sabah.
  • One of the 8 Filipinos charged over the Sabah standoff says he was paid.
  • 3 US warships are deployed to the Philippines – part of its strategy pivot to Asia.

After more than two weeks, Malaysia finally gives the Philippines access to more than a hundred Filipinos detained in Sabah.
8 Filipinos face charges of terrorism and waging war against the King of Malaysia.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez says –quote, “We want to give consular assistance to our people there.
That’s why we have been insisting that Malaysia give access to these Filipinos under the Vienna Convention.”
Malaysian news agency Bernama says as of Tuesday, a total of 107 Filipinos were arrested under Malaysia’s Security Offenses Act while 243 people are detained for immigration offenses.

One of 8 Filipinos facing charges over the Sabah standoff tells the Malaysian High Court he was paid by “someone.”
Filipino Holland Kalbi says he regrets being involved in the Sabah incursion.
Malaysia’s state news agency Bernama reports a Judge of the High Court did not allow Kalbi’s statements to be included in official proceedings because he appeared in court without a lawyer.
Bernama identifies the 8 suspects.
They are Holland Kalbi, Timhar Hadir, Habil Suhalili, Lin Mad Salleh, Basad Manuel, and Atik Hussain Abu Bakar who are facing charges for either engaging in terrorism or waging a war against the Malaysian king.
The remaining two, Kadir Uyung and Lating Tiong are charged with “protecting the terrorist group.”
Hadir admits entering Malaysia last February using an international passport, but was prevented by the judge from elaborating further without a lawyer.
The 8 are among 200 members of the Sultanate of Sulu’s Royal Security Force who sailed to Lahad Datu, Sabah in February from Simunul, Tawi-Tawi.

In the middle of the conflict between Malaysian authorities and Filipino followers of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III a love story endures.
Carmela Fonbuena reports.

Ridwan Idris is Malaysian.
He arrives in Tawi-Tawi via the Mid East Express, a fast craft vessel that carries mostly traders to and from Semporna in Sabah and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi.
Waiting in Tawi-Tawi is Filipino Fatima Sulayman, his wife of 6 months.
FATIMA SULAYMAN: Asawa ko siya. Galing siya Malaysia. (He’s my husband. He’s from Malaysia.)
Their love story started before the bloody standoff in Malaysia. They met in a restaurant in Malaysia where Fatima works. They got married October 2012.
But they were separated when Fatima was arrested and deported.
FATIMA SULAYMAN: Na-jail ako. Two months. Maayos naman. Kain lang doon. Upo. Wala din. Nahuli ako kasi wala akong passport. (I was sent to jail. Two moths. It was okay. You just eat, sit. They caught me because I didn’t have a passport.)
But is Idris safe in Tawi-Tawi? Immigration officer Ibrahim Lim is confident he will be treated well.
IBRAHIM LIM, IMMIGRATION OFFICER: We are treating, sobra pa siguro sa mabuti, sobra sa napaka bait. Napakahospitable nga tayo Pilipinos. (We are treating him more than good, better than the kindest people. We filipinos are very hospitable.)
Fatima and Idris plan to go back to Sabah as soon as the situation there improves.
FATIMA SULAYMAN: Kung maayos sabah uwi din kami doon. kuha din ako passport. (If things are okay in Sabah, we can go home. I will get a passport.)
But for now, it doesn’t matter to them if they live in Sabah or Tawi-Tawi. As long as they are together.
Carmela Fonbuena, Rappler, Tawi-Tawi.

3 United States Navy warships dock in the Philippines today– part of the strategy shift of the US to redeploy most of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020.
The destroyer USS Decatur will dock in Manila, the submarine tender USS Frank Cable in Cebu and the submarine Ohio in Subic.
The US embassy says the 3 ships will go through routine maintenance, replenish its supplies, rest and recreation, and do community assistance and outreach activities.
The ships bring with them over 1,900 crew members and soldiers
The US embassy emphasizes the ships’ visit will “highlight the strong historic, community and military relations between the US and Philippines.”
The Philippines and the US agree to strengthen maritime presence in Philippine waters in talks that coincided with the Scarborough Shoal standoff in 2012.
The US is implementing a strategic “pivot” to Asia while the Philippines and China fight over South China Sea territories.

Will the Supreme Court be a force for change? The jury is still out, but we may not have long to wait– as it faces a milestone decision on the reproductive health law.
Looking at its composition, Rappler’s editor at large Marites Vitug has this to say.

Here we go again.
The Supreme Court temporarily stopped the executive department from doing its job: to carry out the reproductive health law.
In the past, it did the same to other co-equal bodies.
Remember that the Court prevented Congress from holding hearings…
on the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
Later, many of the justices changed their minds.
They were on tenuous ground.
After all, Congress has the sole power to impeach officials.
Public opinion was also against the Court.
When the justices vote on the RH law, they will find themselves in a similar situation.
What strong legal arguments could be on the side of those who oppose the RH law which, in fact, has already been diluted?
A number of the justices who voted to halt the law are basically conservative while the rest want to hear both sides first.
Expect a close vote. In the end, the RH law may yet prevail.
This is Marites Vitug for VitugVlogs.

The late secretary Jesse Robredo left his mark in Naga City.
In Team PNoy’s sorties, they tell Naga’s people they are like Robredo.
Natashya Gutierrez files this video blog.

Rains here in Naga City don’t stop supporters from coming out to see president Benigno Aquino III and his slate, Team PNOy.
A number of bets visit the province of Camarines Sur, one of the poorest in the country. Here, they talk about their programs for health, education and job generation, all of which are problems in the province.
But the slate also focuses on one important topic: the legacy of Jesse Robredo. Bets praise Robredo’s work in Naga and asks voters to pick leaders who will follow his example.
They say they will emulate his good governance if elected.
BAM AQUINO, TEAM PNOY SENATORIAL BET: At yung lagi ko pong naalala kay secretary Jess, ang sinasabi niyang ang piliin nating kandidato mga matitino at mahuhusay. At masasabi ko po na buong-loob na itong mga kasamahan ko po sa Team PNoy ay mga taong pasok na pasok po sa ganoong depinisyon
(What I always remember from secretary Jesse Robredo is him saying that we should choose candidates that are both honorable and skilled. I can confidently say that my colleagues in Team PNoy are people that fit that definition.)
Robredo too was a member of the Liberal party of the President. His wife Leni is also running for Congress under the LP.
Camarines sur has 979,387 registered voters for 2013
Between Aquino’s popularity and Robredo’s legacy, Team Pnoy has the backing it needs to win Camarines Sur.
It is up to voters to decide now whether they believe the coalition will follow the straight and narrow path Robredo has carved.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler. Naga City.

Cardinal Tagle is back in the Philippines, after being catapulted to world fame during the search for a new pope.
He tells graduates, it was a journey of enlightenment for him too.
Katherine Visconti reports.

Australian police say they took down a crime syndicate operating across China, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Myanmar, leading to 27 arrests.
Authorities say the drug syndicate was targeting Australia as a market for its heroin and methamphetamine trade.
Australian Federal Police say their operation, called Operation Volante seized some 42 kilograms of drugs along with 4.2 million US dollars in cash.
Police in the state of Victoria arrested 5 men and one woman.
Five are Vietnamese-born Australian citizens and the 6th is a Malaysian, who is a permanent Australian resident. 21 more were arrested during the course of the probe.

Story 9: THE wRap
At number 1, A phishing attempt disguised as an email document, may have been the catalyst for the recent cyber attack on a number of broadcasting stations and banks in South Korea.
A report from internet security company Trend Micro says the phishing attempt was disguised as an email from a bank.
The malware is designed to download 9 files from different addresses while masking the download routines on a fake webpage.
At number 4, the gap between the profits of the two largest media groups in the Philippines is closing in.
There is a slim 91 million peso difference between ABS-CBN’s 1.708 billion pesos net income for 2012 and GMA Network’s P1.617 billion pesos.
For years, the gap were in billions of pesos. Both networks report lower profits.
GMA-7’s was down 5% largely due to soaring costs, while ABS-CBN’s was down 29% largely due to the absence of one-time gains from cable unit SkyCable.
Both expect better performance in 2013, an election year, which means more revenues from political ads.
At number 6, in a powerful direct appeal to Israelis, President Barack Obama says a two-state peace with the Palestinians could still be forged.
He adds, it is the Israeli’s only hope of true security. In a trademark address, Obama also builds on his vow of a quote — “eternal” defense of the Jewish state in the face of Iran’s nuclear program, saying, “Peace is necessary. Indeed it is the only path to true security.”
At number 7, US officials say they’re concerned about human rights in Southeast Asia, pointing to a lack of progress in many places and a deteriorating situation in some.
State Department officials tell lawmakers it is also paying greater attention to human rights in countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs, Joseph Yun says, “Human rights is one of the more difficult issues we raise with our partners, but we must raise them.”
And at number 8, The European Space Agency or ESA releases the map of the early Universe, which shows the most detailed plot of cosmic microwave background radiation.
Cosmic microwave is a type of radiation that dates back to the forming years of the Universe immediately after the Big Bang.
Data on this new map was based on data collected over 15 months by the Planck space telescope.
ESA says this gives scientists quote — “excellent confirmation” of the standard model of cosmology, with “unprecedented accuracy.”

– Rappler.com 

Newscast production staff

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

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