Today on Rappler.
- The fiery word war between Senators Santiago and Enrile continues. Santiago calls Enrile a liar, a womanizer, and the drama king of corrupt politics.
- A US lawmaker warns against human trafficking and opportunists in areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda.
- Embassy officials tell Filipinos in Hong Kong to protect themselves against the bird flu.
Story 1: MIRIAM: ENRILE LIAR, WOMANIZER, KING OF CORRUPT POLITICS
Senator Miriam Santiago adds another chapter to her colorful rivalry with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
She asks the Justice department to probe Enrile’s 7 crimes, calling the Senate Minority leader a liar, womanizer, and the drama king of corrupt politics.
Ayee Macaraig reports.
This girl is on fire.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago burns with rage in her counter-privilege speech against her arch-enemy Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.
Santiago blasts Enrile for resorting to personal attacks instead of addressing her allegation that he is the brains behind the pork barrel scam.
But Santiago also fires her own ad hominem attacks.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: He looks like a female llama surprised in her bath. He reminds me of nothing so much as a dead fish, before it has time to stiffen. If he has the courage, he should switch place with me: He should be funny, and I’ll be the asshole.
Santiago calls on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to investigate the supposed sins of the man she calls the prince of darkness.
She charges him with 7 crimes, including supposedly running a smuggling and gambling empire.
She hits him for 2 turn-arounds on his supposed ambush before the declaration of Martial Law.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: My attacker is the icon of shameless lying…Enrile with his eternal philandering and unexplained wealth desperately needs a shrink, as a mental health measure. His mind is sick, sick, sick.
If Enrile dug up her low bar exam grades, Santiago pries into Enrile’s supposed affair with his resigned chief of staff, Gigi Reyes.
She cites a 1998 news report quoting Enrile’s wife.
MIRIAM SANTIAGO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Cristina was reported as saying ‘that she no longer could tolerate his chasing after other women, including domestic helpers, cooks, and assistants…Walang pinapatawad! Kaya ayokong tumabi sa kanya eh! (He chases after everyone! That’s why I don’t want to go near him!) Nagpa-birthday party para sa querida niya…and this libertine pontificates about morality? (He held a birthday party for his mistress…and this libertine pontificates about morality?)
Enrile says Santiago’s speech only confirmed what he said about her mental health.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: I’m sad she attacked innocent people, especially my chief of staff, even my maids, security, I treat them like my buddies. Siya mismo nagsabi ako ay maasim kaya baka kung may napilantikan lang sa akin asim, siguro dahil may magandang tindig pa ako. (She said it herself, I’m still attractive. If someone is attracted to me, it’s probably because I still have appeal.)
The spat isn’t over, with Santiago challenging Enrile to a televised debate.
AYEE MACARAIG, REPORTING: Who will stop the clash of the titans?
Senate President Franklin Drilon refuses to comment on the worsening word war between Senators Santiago and Enrile. With the leadership failing to intervene, the big question is how this institution battered by the pork barrel scam and now this bitter feud will ever be able to serve the interest of dismayed taxpayers. Ayee Macaraig, Rappler.
Story 2: HUMAN TRAFFICKING A WORRY POST-YOLANDA
Lawmakers and a US aid agency warn against human trafficking in areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda — known internationally as Haiyan.
Speaking to the US House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, Republican congressman Chris Smith says thousands of women and children in the Philippines risk becoming victims of human traffickers.
Smith led the three-member delegation to disaster areas last week.
He says that while authorities are helping survivors, more attention is needed to stop opportunists from taking advantage of the chaos after the typhoon.
Smith adds, “The most vulnerable — women, children, the elderly, and those with special needs — always fare worst during disasters.”
The US State Department’s 2013 trafficking report says the Philippines is a source country for sex trafficking and forced labor.
The US Agency for International Development or USAID also says it is monitoring the situation in the Philippines.
Nancy Lindborg of the USAID adds protective services need to be strengthened to –quote– “protect the children… during this time of heightened vulnerability.”
Story 3: 72% OF VISAYAS POWER LOAD RESTORED
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines or NGCP says 72% of the power load in the Visayas is now restored.
In a statement Tuesday, the NGCP says 5 out of 8 priority transmission grid “backbones” damaged by the typhoon are operational.
The restoration of energy lines restores power back to more cities in the Visayas, including Maasin in Southern Leyte, Roxas in Capiz, and Catbalogan in Samar.
But the NGCP spokesperson says some municipalities may still get rotational brownouts because there’s a lack of supply.
NGCP earlier said it would take more than a month to restore power in all areas affected by the typhoon.
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla also promised to resign if his department fails to restore power in typhoon-stricken areas by Christmas eve.
But on Monday, Petilla admitted some hard-hit areas in Visayas might not have power by December 25.
Story 4: HOUSE, SENATE BOLSTER CALAMITY BUDGET
More sources of funds to complete the P38.8 billion needed for the government’s reconstruction program are now available after the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the P14.6 billion supplemental budget for the executive’s disaster fund.
The amount will be sourced from the unused portion of lawmakers’ pork barrel, which was earlier declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, the Senate passed a joint resolution that extends the validity of the President’s calamity fund and Quick Response Funds in the 2013 budget for calamity-related purposes.
Story 5: PH, US RESUME BASES ACCESS TALKS AFTER IMPASSE
After a difficult 4th round in October, the Philippines and the United States resume talks for an agreement that will allow more American troops in the Philippines and give them greater access to military bases.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario says a fifth round of talks is ongoing in the United States.
The negotiations resume after the US military’s response to the Philippines’ call for help after the super typhoon ravaged the Visayas.
Talks between the two parties stalled because of disagreements on –quote– “critical provisions.”
The Philippine panel allows the US to construct “temporary” facilities in the Philippines, but the US wants to limit Filipino troops’ access to these facilities.
Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said in November, “We want access to both. It should not be limited to them. We want equal opportunity and equal access.”
The negotiations between the two countries come in the middle of the Philippines’ maritime dispute with China over territories in the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea.
Story 6: FILIPINOS IN HK WARNED VS BIRD FLU
The Consulate General of the Philippines warns Filipinos living in Hong Kong about bird flu after Hong Kong confirms its first human case of the deadly virus.
The consulate advises Filipinos to observe health precautions like washing the hands and wearing surgical masks when going to cramped places with poor ventilation.
On Monday, Hong Kong’s health secretary Ko Wing-man confirms its first human case of the deadly H7N9 bird flu in a 36-year-old Indonesian domestic helper with a history of traveling to the city of Shenzhen and coming into contact with live poultry.
The patient was admitted to hospital on November 27 after developing a cough and shortness of breath.
Hong Kong says it will quarantine at least 17 people after this case for “medical surveillance.”
The World Health Organizations says 137 human cases of H7N9 have been reported in mainland China since February
with 45 deaths.
This comes 10 years after the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak swept through Hong Kong, killing 299 people and infecting around 1,800.
Story 7: BIDEN IN CHINA AS AIR ZONE TENSIONS SIMMER
US Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Beijing Wednesday to raise concerns over a Chinese air zone creating tensions in the region.
China provoked anger last month by declaring an “air defense identification zone” or ADIZ over East China Sea islands disputed with Japan.
Under China’s rules, all aircraft passing into the zone had to obey Chinese orders or face unspecified “defensive emergency measures.”
Washington, Tokyo and Seoul all sent military or paramilitary planes into the zone in defiance of Beijing’s rules.
At a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Biden says he will raise Washington’s concerns over the air zone when he meets with Chinese leadership.
Biden says the US is –quote– “deeply concerned by the attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea.”
An editorial in the state-run China Daily says Biden’s backing of Japan would undermine his credibility in China.
It says, “He should not expect any substantial headway if he comes simply to repeat his government’s previous erroneous and one-sided remarks.”
Story 8: TEMPORARY THAI TRUCE ON EVE OF KING’S BIRTHDAY
Thailand’s anti-government protesters and security forces observe a temporary truce Wednesday.
Thailand prepares to mark the birthday of its revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Thursday.
King Bhumibol is treated as a near-deity by many in Thailand.
Violence on his birthday would be viewed as a serious sign of disrespect.
The mood is calm in the capital, with protesters helping clean up the area around the Democracy Monument.
This is where thousands camped out during a month of rallies against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
In a bid to calm violent clashes, the police on Tuesday pulled down barricades and allowed protesters to enter government headquarters.
This came after days of violent clashes aimed at toppling the government and replacing it with a “people’s council.”
But protest leaders say the fight against the government is not over.
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, Asian nations get the top positions in a report on global education, with Asian students beating their Western counterparts in math, science and reading.
Shanghai again ranks first in math, science and reading.
Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea round out the top 5 in math skills.
At number 6, French experts rule out a theory that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned.
The French experts’ findings differ significantly from those of Swiss scientists, who said last month that Arafat may have been killed by polonium poisoning.
Arafat died on November 11, 2004, with doctors unable to say what killed him. At the time, an autopsy was not carried out.
In August 2012, France opened a formal murder inquiry after an Al-Jazeera documentary linked Arafat’s death to polonium poisoning.
And at number 8, A comet described as a massive snowball in space did not survive its brush with the Sun last week.
NASA says all that’s left of Comet ISON is –quote– “a cloud of debris without a nucleus.”
Dubbed the “Christmas Comet,” the icy giant skimmed past the Sun at a distance of just 1.17 million kilometers on November 27.
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|
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