Rappler Newscast | August 27, 2014

Today on Rappler.

Vice President Jejomar Binay faces allegations he received kickbacks from the construction of an allegedly overpriced parking building in Makati.
But he does it on his own terms.
Instead of facing a Senate probe, Binay holds a press conference Wednesday.
The vice president claims Makati even saved P200 million or $4.57 million.
He calls the testimony of disgruntled former ally Ernesto Mercado and statements of political rivals in the Senate, a “badly written telenovela.”

JEJOMAR BINAY, VICE PRESIDENT: Telenovelang testimony na masama ang pagkakasulat.

A testimony that’s a badly written soap opera.

Binay says the price of the 11-storey building was not P2.7 billion or $61.8 million as claimed by Senator Antonio Trillanes, but P2.4 billion or almost $55 million.
The actual cost turned out to be only P2.2 billion or just a little over $50 million.
Binay did not present documents but says the city government’s records are the “the best evidence.”
Binay also hits accuser Senator Alan Cayetano, who said phasing of the Makati buildings are irregular because phases were added without knowing the final cost.
Phasing refers to the staggered construction of building projects.

JEJOMAR BINAY, VICE PRESIDENT: Sabi mo, according to Senator Cayetano. Sila mismo nagphe-phasing ah, baka akala mo. Sila rin nagpagawa sa kontratista namin. Hindi naman bawal iyon in the first place ang phasing.

You said, according to Senator Cayetano. They themselves do phasing, you know. They used our same contractor. In the first place, phasing is not illegal.

Binay and his son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay are accused of overpricing Makati City Hall Building 2 by almost P2 billion or $45.8 million.
The building was first constructed in 2007, when the elder Binay was mayor, and was finished in 2013 when his son took over.
Binay is the leading candidate for the 2016 presidential elections.
Cayetano and Trillanes are also eyeing the presidency.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says as a member of Aquino’s “official family…”
the Vice President still enjoys the trust and confidence of the President.

Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla is Vice President Jejomar Binay’s new spokesperson for political affairs.
Remulla says he already told Nacionalista Party president and former Senator Manny Villar he’s leaving NP to join Binay's new political party.

JONVIC REMULLA, CAVITE GOVERNOR: I believe in the Vice President, his vision in the country, what he can do in Makati, he can do for the country. I believe in his sincerity, integrity. I believe he is most qualified to be president in 2016.

Remulla adds, he will push for vote-rich Cavite to support Binay in 2016.
He says there will be no conflict between his role as governor and as Binay's spokesman.
Remulla says he will talk about Binay's views while UNA spokesman Toby Tiangco will be discussing the broader political spectrum.
Binay retains his "overall spokesman" Joey Salgado, whom Remulla calls "the guidance counselor."
Remulla says the Senate probe led by former partymates Antonio Trillanes and Alan Cayetano is not credible.

JONVIC REMULLA, CAVITE GOVERNOR: It's 100% politically motivated. It's part of their political plans. This helps their ambitions. They are using the Senate as unfair advantage.

More than a month after announcing she has stage 4 lung cancer,
Senator Miriam Santiago says she might seek the presidency for the second time.
Santiago took her cue from constitutional expert Father Joaquin Bernas, who said in a TV interview that President Benigno Aquino should no longer seek a second term and give Santiago a chance.
Santiago says she will run if there are enough supporters such as Bernas.
Santiago also says latest results show her tumor is shrinking and her cancer cells are “waving the white flag.”
Santiago ran for president in 1992 and lost to Fidel Ramos.
In a Pulse Asia survey conducted June 24 to July 2, Santiago ranked 4th among possible presidential contenders, tied with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Senator Chiz Escudero with 7%.
Vice president Jejomar Binay led the poll with a 41% rating.

Senator Pia Cayetano slams real estate developer DMCI Homes Wednesday during an on-site inquiry on the controversial Torre de Manila.
Cultural activists say the high rise building would ruin the view of the Rizal Monument from the bayside.
Legal counsel Roel Pacio explains DMCI Homes obtained zoning and building permits from the Manila City government in 2012.
Critics say the construction violates the city’s zoning law which requires a floor to area ratio of only 4.
The Torre de Manila has a floor to area ratio of 7.79.
Pacio says DMCI assumed the building permit was enough.
But Cayetano says she doubts DMCI Homes is a “builder in good faith.”
Cayetano chairs the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.
She says the ongoing Torre de Manila construction is “disrespectful to the historic and cultural.”
Even with the suspension of the construction in November 2013, the Manila City government green-lighted the project in January 2014.
City officials say the go signal was given because Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada did not want to antagonize investors.
Cayetano says she may recommend the demolition of Torre de Manila.

An independent team tapped to do a safety audit on the MRT3 will start work on Wednesday.
Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya said the independent team from Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway
will inspect the physical structure, rolling stock, and performance of the existing maintenance provider.
The safety audit will not cover MRT3’s manpower, which was blamed for the train derailing that injured at least 36 people last August 13.
The foreign team will be conducting the audit for a month.
The safety audit stalled under former general manager Al Vitangcol, who did not approve the proposed audit.
Major problems plagued the MRT for the past month.
On August 13, an MRT3 train bulldozed through the Taft Station’s safety barriers.
On August 15, a power supply problem stalled train operations.
On August 23, MRT3 suspended operations due to a breakdown of its radio communications system.
On August 27, it was forced to revert to partial operations due to a flooding problem between two train stations.
Abaya says the government is spending P836.5 million or $19.12 million for the upgrade of the MRT3, including rails and some trains.

Filipino businessmen take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS.
Billionaire Andrew Tan goes first.

ANDREW TAN, ALLIANCE GLOBAL GROUP INC. CEO: I support the important cause of the ALS Association to promote awareness about Lou Gehrig's Disease that is a threat to humanity. That is why I'm here to take this Ice Bucket Challenge, and at the same time, I will make a donation to the movement.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge requires participants to pour ice-cold water on their heads, pledge to donate to the ALS Association, and challenge someone else – all recorded on video.
Tan challenged 3 personalities from the business community:
Manolito Tayag, country head of Accenture Philippines, Dr. Steven DeKrey of the Asian Institute of Management, and Kenneth Yang of McDonald’s Philippines.
DeKrey accepted Tan’s challenge and so did Yang, with Ronald McDonald pouring ice water on him.

After several truce attempts, Gaza celebrates as Israel and Palestine enter a long-term ceasefire Tuesday ending 50 days of violence.
The agreement brokered by Egypt, calls for the end of violence in Gaza which claimed thousands of lives.
The Palestinians call it a "permanent" truce, while an Israeli official describes it as "unconditional and unlimited in time."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he hopes the ceasefire will to set the stage for a final Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Thousands took to the streets of Gaza in celebration with chants, cheers, and claps.
Negotiators say the truce will allow food, medical supplies, and materials for infrastructure repair to enter Gaza.
Both sides also promise to discuss the exchange of Palestinian prisoners and the bodies of Israeli soldiers killed in the conflict.

Tragedy-stricken Malaysia Airlines says 186 cabin crew resigned out of fear for their safety.
Malaysia’s flag carrier took the spotlight in the past six months when flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 and flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine on July 17.
The airline says 186 crew left in the first seven months of 2014, many citing family pressure due to the tragedies.
An employee says some are now afraid to fly.
A report from a Malaysian daily says crew shortages force staff to work up to 12 hours a day.
At least 27 crew members died in the ill-fated flights.
The carrier says it continues to provide emotional and psychological support to its staff.


The World Health Organization or WHO urge governments to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors saying it poses a “serious threat” to fetuses and young people.
Manufacturers claim e-cigarettes are safe and can help smokers quit tobacco cigarettes.
E-cigarettes heat flavored nicotine liquid into vapor that is inhaled.
But the WHO says there’s evidence e-cigarette aerosol is not merely vapor.
WHO also recommends the ban of e-cigarettes from public indoor spaces.

Water-starved South Asian nations devise their own answer to the Ice Bucket Challenge, which is taking the social media world by storm.
In India, an advocate launched #RiceBucketChallenge, a campaign to donate a bucket or bowl of rice, saying it helps the needy and doesn’t waste water.
In Nepal, #FillTheBucket challenge fills buckets with food and medical supplies to help displaced families.
At least 250 people died and over 14,000 families are displaced in Nepal after monsoon rains triggered landslides and flooding in early August.

Rappler Profiles presents model and advocate Geena Rocero’s struggles and triumphs as a transgender woman.
For the past decade, Rocero kept her secret as she lived her dream of being a fashion model in New York City.
When she turned 30she found the courage to break free from the fear – and help others like her.

For the full top 10 visit Rappler.com’s ‘the wRap.’

Instagram announces new app Hyperlapse that lets users make their own timelapse video.
The app allows users to create the same cinematic timelapses without the need for expensive software.
Hyperlapse currently only works for Apple users with iOS7 and up.

– Rappler.com

Newscast Production Staff