Rappler Newscast | August 14, 2013

Exclusive: How is Janet Napoles connected to the family of Senator Bong Revilla. Talks on US access to PH bases kick off. Eurozone climbs out of recession.

Today on Rappler.

  • Exclusive on Rappler: find out how the family of pork barrel queen Janet Napoles is connected to the family of Senator Bong Revilla.
  • Talks on greater US access to Philippine military bases kick off.
  • The eurozone climbs out of recession with better-than-expected growth.

Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind behind the multi-million peso pork barrel scam is ordered arrested in connection with the kidnapping of whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says a Makati court issued the warrants of arrest against Napoles and her brother, Reynald Lim, for serious illegal detention.
Luy says the two detained him for months when they found out he wanted to set up his own operations based on Napoles’ scheme.
Napoles and Luy are cousins.
Luy said he was Napoles’ longtime employee.
De Lima says the case is non-bailable.

A Rappler exclusive: Documents show the eldest son of Sen Bong Revilla is a partner of the son of alleged pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles.
It also shows the extent of Napoles’ alliance with at least one senator, something she had tried to downplay at the start of the controversy.
A search with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Leonard Bryan Bautista co-owns a business with Napoles’ son, James Christopher Napoles, and her nephew Ronald Lim Jr.
The company, PB & J Corp, was incorporated on January 1, 2011 or 6 months after Revilla was re-elected senator.
The SEC registration shows the company is engaged in “wholesale and trade.”
Its office is at the Mezzanine Cavite Coliseum, which is within the commercial complex owned by the Revilla family in Bacoor, Cavite.
Scam whistleblower Benhur Luy says P1.017 billion of Sen Revilla’s pork barrel from 2006-2011 went to non-governmental organizations Napoles formed.
Rappler checked state audit reports for 2007-2011 on the government-owned National Agri-Business Corporation, one of the agencies tagged in the scam.
The Commission on Audit found questionable the release of P9.7 million of Revilla’s pork barrel to the St James the Apostle Multi-Purpose Cooperative.
The group though could not be immediately linked to Napoles as there are no SEC records of its creation.

For the first time ever, Former Marine Col Ariel Querubin talks to Rappler about a pyramid-like scheme alleged pork barrel queen Janet Napoles offered his wife.
Querubin’s wife died 19 years ago. A day before her death, he spoke to Janet Napoles to ask her to return his wife’s investment.
In a phone interview with Rappler, Querubin recalls saying, “I asked her, please, just return the money. That’s the money of my wife and her sister.”
It was 1993, and Querubin was rebuilding his life after spending jail time for his involvement in the December 1989 coup against Cory Aquino.
Querubin knew Janet and her husband, Jaime, a captain in the Philippine Marines.
After Querubin’s release from jail, Janet persuaded his wife, Loreta, and a military doctor-friend to invest in a supposed shipyard in Cebu.
Napoles promised a 5% monthly interest payment.
Mrs Querubin took the risk, but by late 1993, the checks Napoles issued began bouncing and she had become difficult to find.
The couple soon found out that Mrs Napoles apparently invested their money in a military wife, who says she had been paying Mrs Napoles the interest.
A meeting was set on Aug 18, 1994 between the military wife, Mrs Napoles, Mrs Querubin and her doctor-friend.
The doctor-friend recalls, “[Loreta] manifested her disgust several times during the course of our conversation with [military wife].”
Loreta Querubin died the following day, Aug 19, 1994, of unexplained pulmonary hypertension.
Querubin says it’s tough to recall the events with his wife’s death anniversary approaching.
He says he is telling the story because it would be a “disservice to the nation” if he stayed silent.
He adds, “She just needs to prove how they were able to amass such wealth in such a short span of time…I knew her to be a struggling supplier. How did she grow rich?”

Will the justice department’s probe on the pork barrel scam affect the confirmation of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima?
De Lima was appointed justice secretary in 2010, but the bicameral Commission on Appointments has yet to confirm her nomination.
On Wednesday, Senate President Franklin Drilon says the probe on the scam won’t affect De Lima’s confirmation.
Drilon says, “I am confident that this will not affect the judgment of the members of the Commission on the qualifications and competence of the nominees.”
The Senate President says he expects De Lima’s nomination and the nominations of other cabinet secretaries to be addressed in September.
The Palace also dismisses concerns De Lima’s probe will be affected by the fact that she has not been confirmed.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says De Lima will –quote– “do her job regardless of who gets affected.”

The Philippines and US panels hold the first round of talks on a new agreement that will allow increased presence of US troops in the Philippines and boost maritime security.
In June, the Philippines announced plans to give the US wider access to Philippine military bases in the wake of tensions between the Philippines and China over territories in the South China Sea.
Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Sonny Belmonte support the plan, as long as it won’t violate the Constitution and the Visiting Forces Agreement.
But some political activists oppose the talks, saying bringing the United States into the South China Sea conflict will complicate the dispute.
Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes adds, “The US has huge debts to the Chinese government. How can we expect the US to defend us…
when their economy is closely tied up to the economy of China?”
Akbayan Rep Walden Bello calls the talks a –quote– “pact with the devil.”
He adds, “It is the height of irony that in our collective campaign to secure our sovereignty against China and other foreign aggressors, the very same sovereignty that we try to protect would be the first casualty.”

The toll from Typhoon Labuyo — international name Utor — rises to 7, with damage reaching P932-M.
Aurora and Quirino, and the municipalities of Candelaria, Sta Cruz and Masinloc in Zambales, are all under a state of calamity.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reports more than 40,000 families or 186,000 people are affected by the typhoon.

The oil spill from a Petron pipeline continues to cripple the fishing industry in Cavite.
Pia Ranada reports.

PIA RANADA, REPORTING: In Barangay Wawa One, Philippine Coast Guard divers are about to go under water to find the source of the leak in the pipeline behind me. But while the investigation continues, the fishermen are eager to move on and return to their livelihood.

On August 8, 500,000 liters of diesel leaked into Manila Bay from a Petron pipeline.
Four days after, red oil slicks still stain the shoreline.
Acrid fumes still invade the homes of fishermen.

MAVY AMOTO, FISHERMAN: Hindi kami makalaot dahil sa oil spill tsaka nagkaroon din ng bagyo. Hindi kami makalaot. Apektado talaga kami dito. (We can’t go off shore because of the oil spill. Then we had a typhoon. We really can’t go off shore. This really affects our livelihood.)

The oil spill paralyzes Cavite’s fishing industry.
In Rosario’s fishing depot, home of the famous Salinas tinapa, buyers continue to snub fish from Cavite.

REBECCA SAGPAO, OWNER OF FISHING COMMISSION: Dati mga 1,300 o 1,200 ngayon naging 700 na lang, 600 eh naging masyado nang malaking epekto na nakakaano dito sa ating fishport. (We use to be able to sell at P1,300 to P1,200. Now we’re down to P700 to P600. It has really affected the sale here in our fish port.)

In the town’s market, vendors are losing money with fish sales at bottom prices.

IRENE PUGAY, FISH VENDOR: Bagsak presyo na, nabebenta na namin nang 80 isang kilo. Syempre, imbis na kami ay kumikita araw-araw pambili ng bigas, wala kaming pambili kasi nga hindi nakakatubo. Laging nalulugi. (We have really brought the prices down. We sell for P80 per kilo. We’re unable to earn enough to buy rice. We don’t get enough profit.)

They claim the fish is as good as ever.

IRENE PUGAY, FISH VENDOR: Sariling huli namin kinakain namin. Talagang walang apektado yan dito…Eh ngayon, hindi pa rin tumataas ang presyo ng isda. Kaya nakakaawa na ang mga mangingisda. (We eat the fish we catch. The oil spill didn’t really have an effect but price of fish has yet to go up. It’s really unfortunate for the fishermen.)

Rosario mayor Jose Ricafrente files a cease and desist order against the Petron oil depot.

JOSE RICAFRENTE, ROSARIO MAYOR: Sabi ko sa Petron, covered na nang order na iyan, hindi niyo pwedeng gamitin yung pipelines na yan kahit irepair niyo, kahit palitan niyo. (We told Petron the order is already covered. They can’t use the pipelines even if they repair or replace it.)

Coast guard divers have yet to find the leak.
But the people of Cavite can’t wait for things to go back to normal.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Cavite

The eurozone climbs out of recession with better-than-expected growth of 0.3% in the second quarter.
Analysts forecast a 0.2% increase for the 17-nation bloc.
Data agency Eurostat says the 18-month downturn ends thanks to surprise gains of 0.7% in Germany and 0.5% in France.
The eurozone debt crisis cost millions of jobs and crushed debt-laden governments.

‘The Maids,’ a play, hopes to force society to open its eyes about the gap between classes.
G Tongi reports.

G TONGI, REPORTING: I’m here at the Mirror Studio Theatre for the opening weekend of Jean Genets’ “The Maids”, concept and direction by Anton Juan.

First performed in 1947, Director Anton Juan finds the material particularly relevant to Philippine society today.
“The Maids” delves into the role reversal of characters, an allegory for the reversal of fortunes Filipinos know all too well.

ANTON JUAN, DIRECTOR/ ACTOR: We mimic our conquerors, we mimic our subjugators so we end up becoming like them and we are cruel to our own kin and our own citizens, “yaya”… That “yaya” culture, yaya bring me this, you know? It was the overseas workers who upheld our economy, you see? And that’s the double irony because we don’t treat them well.

Juan says the Philippines as a nation should be very grateful to our countrymen who became domestic helpers abroad.
They send in the dollars that sustain the Philippine economy.
Theater Actor Topper Fabregas says this is the kind of theater production that educates by holding up a mirror to high society.

TOPPER FABREGAS, THEATER ACTOR: If you see the play, you’ll just really see the difference and the excess again, the excess of this class…That’s their only world and they don’t know anything beyond that.

Juan & Fabregas play the the lead roles of women characters- Solange and Claire.
Interestingly, the role of the Madame rotates among the cast every night, giving a unique performance every show.

JENNY JAMORA, ACTOR/RED TURNIP PRODUCER: Surprisingly, it was a very generous process with all the Madames and we each found our own groove.

PAUL SERRANO, ACTOR: The concept of having ten madams, supposedly for ten shows, one thing that came into my mind was “What I’m going to play it once? Really? But thinking about the concept again. It’s Brilliant!

MERYLL SORIANO, TV ACTRESS: I was very scared to say yes, but the process, I’ve learned so much from this production, from all the Madames who have helped me understand everything coz I’m not really from theater.

Mirror Studio Theater Founder Jay Glorioso says straight plays such as “The Maids” offer the audience a respite from the more commercial musical theatre.

JAY GLORIOSO, ACTRESS/ FOUNDER, MIRROR STUDIO THEATER: This is an opportunity to portray different works which are explorative, introspective, very sharp into issues of society of class struggles which are not usually portrayed in bigger venues.

“The Maids” delves into the depths of the class divide, a fantasy that gives power to powerless through the ceremonial killing of the master.

G TONGI, REPORTING: Anton Juans’ take on Jean Genet’s “The Maids” is a classic example of introspective theater. It makes one question their own concept of “servitude”. Don’t miss this show!

G Töngi- Rappler Manila.

Swedish researchers say heavy drinking and drug use in teenage years may boost chances of developing dementia before the age of 65.
In a study of more than 480,000 Swedish men conscripted for military service between 1969 and 1979, alcohol abuse emerges the strongest of 9 risk factors.
In the 37 years following their conscription, 487 of the men are diagnosed with young-onset dementia at a median age of 54 years.
Other risk factors include a stroke, drug use, depression, having a father with dementia, a short stature, and high blood pressure.

Scientists say there may be a scientific explanation for the vivid near-death experiences that some people report after surviving a heart attack.
A study reports the brain keeps working for up to 30 seconds after blood flow stops.
In an experiment, scientists subject lab rats to induced cardiac arrest.
In the first 30 seconds after their hearts are stopped, the rats show a surge of brain activity.
Scientists say this suggests the brain is capable of –quote– “well-organized electrical activity during the early stage of clinical death.”
They add, this also provides the first scientific framework for the near-death experiences reported by cardiac arrest survivors.

At number 2, Israel frees 26 Palestinian prisoners hours before the two sides hold new peace talks.
15 people cross into the Gaza Strip and are greeted by relatives as they got out of a bus next to the border.
Another 11 prisoners arrive in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The 26 prisoners are the first batch of some 104 detainees who will be freed as part of a US-brokered deal which brought Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table on July 30 for the first time in nearly three years.

At number 5, Tensions increase in Cairo as police move in on 2 protest camps in a crackdown on supporters of ousted Egypt president Mohamed Morsi.
The Muslim Brotherhood says at least 200 protesters are killed.
The violence comes after a government ultimatum to dismantle the protest camps ends.

And at number 6, North Korea unveils what it says is a domestically-produced smartphone.
But industry analysts say the “Arirang” built around Google’s Android OS, is likely manufactured in neighboring China.
The existence of the phone surfaces during a factory inspection by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Some analysts suggest the “Arirang” phone is aimed at getting North Koreans to use an officially-approved phone that can be properly monitored.

– 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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