Rappler Newscast | December 14, 2012
Today on Rappler.
- President Aquino certifies the Reproductive Health bill urgent.
- Senator Santiago calls President Aquino her ‘hero’ and says he has ‘slain the monster.’
- The company of businessman Kazuo Okada sues former business partner Steve Wynn for Internet libel in Manila.
Story 1: AQUINO CERTIFIES RH BILL AS URGENT
President Benigno Aquino gives the Reproductive Health bill another boost by certifying it urgent Thursday.
Aquino says he wants the bill passed before Christmas.
He adds, “[I'd like] to put an end to this divisive issue before we start the new year.”
The House of Representatives passes the bill on 2nd reading early Thursday.
Aquino’s move allows Congress to pass the bill on third and final reading as early as December 17.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill on 2nd reading Monday.
If it succeeds, the president’s certification allows the Senate to immediately vote on the measure on final reading.
Despite Aquino's declaration of support for the bill, he hesitated to certify it urgent.
Earlier this week, Aquino's Liberal issued a statement saying the LP leadership wants the bill passed.
Despite this, 26 LP members in the House voted no to the bill on 2nd reading.
Story 2: MIRIAM ON RH: AQUINO SLEW MONSTER; SOTTO: POOR PH!
Senator Miriam Santiago welcomes President Aquino's move on the RH bill.
She praises the President's support for the controversial bill.
In a statement Friday, Santiago says -quote- ,"President Aquino is my hero! He has cut the Gordian knot! This is manifest proof of executive leadership."
Santiago adds, "President Aquino rose to meet the challenge, and he has slain the monster."
With the RH bill certified urgent, Santiago says both houses of Congress can ratify a bicameral conference committee report on the bill before going on Christmas break.
But not all Senators are happy about Aquino's move.
Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto expresses his disappointment saying -quote- "Poor Philippines."
He asks, "Why certify as urgent the bill dividing the country? Why not FOI?"
Sotto plans to introduce 25 amendments to the RH bill before the vote on 2nd reading on Monday.
Story 3: OKADA SUES WYNN FOR INTERNET LIBEL IN MANILA
The company of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada files an Internet libel case in Manila against former business partner Steve Wynn.
The Okada-led Universal Entertainment Corp. files a criminal complaint against Wynn for "maliciously" leaking to the press a report adversarial to Okada.
The group says Internet libel may be prosecuted and cites the Justice Department’s primer on the cybercrime law.
The group also cites a press release posted by Wynn Resorts based on an investigation report by former FBI chief Louis Freeh.
The Freeh report traced the alleged illicit payments the Okada group gave officials of casino regulator Philippine Gaming Corp for incentives regarding Okada's Manila casino venture.
Story 4: ASEAN ANALYST LAUDS PH STAND VS CHINA
Ernest Bower from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC says he believes the Philippines' can sustain its surging economy.
He talks about President Aquino's efforts to clamp down on corruption and how it's contributing to increasing investor confidence.
ERNEST BOWER, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I think he's laid out a, he's done well in communicating that he's serious about governance and I think, this still hasn't been communicated well the world. I think this could be sustained. Really it's a question about governance, though. Is the president gonna be able to carry this or is it, sort of, a short term burst of fighting corruption and is it a quick pump in the arm. It feels real to me, but we'll see.
Bower also praises the Philippines' stand in the territorial disputes in the South China sea.
He lauds Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario for calling out China’s aggressiveness.
ERNEST BOWER, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: It's hard to understand why the Chinese are being so aggressive. It's undercutting their own interests, long term interests in Southeast Asia. I really do feel like, the Philippines standing up and sort of calling them on it and saying look, we wanna be friends, we wanna do business with China but look, you can't play the game this way. This level of aggression is not gonna be acceptable to anybody in Asia.
Story 5: GLOBE AND SMART HOLD EVENTS TO WELCOME IPHONE5 IN PH
The iPhone 5 is in the Philippines and in separate launch events the eve of December 14, both Globe and Smart welcome what Apple calls -quote- ‘the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone.”
Katherine Visconti reports.
Globe and Smart face off again.
They throw launch parties for the iPhone 5 on the same night.
The events are low key.
Both say it’s not the party but the sales that matter.
NOEL LORENZANA, SMART, WIRELESS CONSUMER DIVISION HEAD: What we wanted to do this year was to make it a big event but we want people to buy the iPhone 5.
Since Smart started carrying the iPhone last year, rivalry has been fierce.
PETER BITHOS, GLOBE, HEAD OF CONSUMER BUSINESS: It’s a very, very intense competition and that means benefit for customers.
Both brand wants to appeal to postpaid consumers, a small but affluent demographic.
GIL B. GENIO, GLOBE, INTERNATIONAL AND BUSINESS MARKETS: 95% is prepaid yet that 5% of our sims generated 32% of our total mobile revenues, that’s a staggering difference between postpaid and prepaid.
Globe is traditionally strong with postpaid users and wants to keep them.
At the launch, Globe rewarded longtime consumers with giveaways, handing out its first iPhone 5 to a postpaid plan user who’s been with the telco for 18 years.
LEO DOMINGUEZ, GLOBE USER: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, I’ve never had a problem to drive me away from the Globe service.
At the same time, Smart is luring customers in with slightly lower priced iPhone 5s and will continue the assault with inexpensive
RAMON ISBERTO, SMART SPOKESPERSON: For a market like ours I think the android will still occupy a very prominent place.
The iOS platform tends to be available on higher price levels. But the nice thing is smart is active on all of those levels.
The Philippines has the fastest smartphone growth in Southeast Asia.
With the top two brands busy slugging it out, there seems to be only one clear winner – the customer.
Katherine Visconti, Rappler Manila.
Story 6: CHINA DEFIES U.S. SANCTIONS PRESSURE OVER N. KOREA
China resists US-led pressure to condemn its ally North Korea for launching a long-range rocket Wednesday.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei says China "regrets" the rocket launch.
But he says China believes any UN response "should be prudent...conducive to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and avoid the escalation of the situation".
North Korea says it placed a satellite in orbit for peaceful research.
Washington warns Pyongyang must face consequences for violating UN resolutions by firing the rocket.
Story 7: POLICE: DEATH THREATS FOR ROYAL PRANK CALL HOSTS
Police say Australian radio hosts who made a prank call to a London hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife Catherine receive death threats after the nurse who answered their call killed herself.
Police launch a probe after a letter targeting presenter Michael Christian is seized, warning him there are "bullets out there with your name on it.”
The Telegraph reports about a dozen staff members are moved to hotels for their safety and up to 10 executives have been assigned bodyguards.
Story 8: SUSAN RICE OUT OF SECRETARY OF STATE RACE
US envoy to the United Nations Susan Rice declines President Obama’s possible appointment as the next secretary of state.
The Republicans criticized her behavior after the raid on the US consulate in Benghazi.
Rice said the September 11 attack, which killed the US ambassador to Libya, was a "spontaneous" reaction to an anti-Muslim video.
Extremists linked to Al-Qaeda are now blamed for the raid.
Republicans say the White House misled the US public because it didn’t admit a terror attack weeks before the presidential election.
In a letter to Obama, Rice says: "If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly."
Obama accepts her decision Thursday.
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, In a landmark judgment, the European court of human rights says the CIA tortured a German citizen linked to terrorists - sodomizing and beating him.
The Guardian reports the court also finds the Macedonian police guilty of abusing Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin who is suspected of having links with terrorist organizations.
The newspaper says, "It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture."
Masri was arrested in Macedonia in December 2003 and transferred to the custody of the CIA who flew him secretly to Afghanistan.
At number 6, Saying it's "only a question of time," NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen predicts the Assad regime is "approaching collapse," according to CNN.
Opposition groups in Syria earlier said it captured a military base near the capital, Damascus.
Rasmussen's remarks come days after President Barack Obama officially recognizes to Syria's rebel coalition.
The regime is not backing down, as US officials accuse it of firing ballistic missiles at rebel camps.
On December 13, at least 24 civilians, including a large number of children, are killed in two separate car bombings southwest of Damascus.
At number 8, The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines asks Manny Pacquiao to take action against his aides who reportedly assaulted Getty-Images photographer Al Bello when he was trying to take photos of Pacquiao in his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
The NUJP says Pacquiao's trainer, Buboy Fernandez, and his adviser, Michael Koncz, were angered by Bello's attempts to take photos of Pacquiao knocked out on the canvas.
Photos from Yahoo! Sports show Koncz grabbing Bello by the shirt and Fernandez going after him at ringside.
Bello says the pair punched and kicked him.
The NUJP says Bello was “merely performing his obligations as a photojournalist and had every right to take pictures of the fallen Pacquiao.”
And at number 10, Steven Spielberg's presidential drama "Lincoln" tops the Golden Globes nominations in 7 categories, followed by "Argo" and "Django Unchained" with 5 each.
Spielberg hopes to fare better with "Lincoln" than he did with last year's epic "War Horse," which was nominated for 6 Oscars and two Globes but went home empty-handed.
The Golden Globe winners will be announced in January.