Rappler Newscast | January 11, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- 7,000 flee their homes as rivers swell in the Southern Philippines.
- Senator Santiago challenges Senate President Enrile's selective gift-giving from Senate funds.
- Justice Secretary de Lima will probe officials who authorized the police operation in Quezon.
Story 1: POTENTIAL STORM FORCES 7,000 TO FLEE HOMES
Rivers rise as rain falls from a potential storm in the southern Philippines Friday, forcing more than 7,000 people to flee their homes.
The low pressure area brings heavy rain to the Caraga region in Mindanao, an area reeling from Typhoon Bopha, called Pablo in the Philippines.
The Adlayan and Hubang Rivers, both in Agusan del Sur overflow.
In Butuan, the Agusan River rIses to 2.8 meters above sea level, prompting the local government to raise alert level 3.
Most evacuees – 1,628 families – come from Butuan.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council says it remains on red alert due to the low pressure area.
The agency recently announced the resignation of its head, Retired Army general Benito Ramos.
Ramos is resigning to take care of his ailing wife.
His resignation takes effect February 1.
State weather bureau PAGASA warns against rain in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, the two provinces hardest hit by Pablo in December 2012.
Story 2: MIRIAM WANTS TO TAKE ENRILE TO COURT, BUT…
Sen Miriam Santiago challenges Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s arbitrary gift-giving from the Senate’s savings.
But the senator says she might be called to duty at the International Criminal Court any time, where she was elected as a judge in December 2011.
She calls on lawyers' groups to challenge Enrile in court.
On Thursday, Enrile dares critics to sue him if he violated the law in selectively giving additional operating funds to all senators except 4.
Enrile only gave Santiago, and Senators Pia Cayetano, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV 850,000 thousand pesos each by December.
18 other senators got 1.6 million pesos each.
Santiago questions the constitutionality of Enrile's move, saying the Commission on Audit should define the meaning of "savings" to avoid abuse.
COA says it is within Enrile’s authority to decide how to use Senate savings.
Story 3: DE LIMA VOWS TO PROBE OFFICIALS BEHIND QUEZON 'MISSION'
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says the National Bureau of Investigation will probe officials who authorized the operation in Atimonan, Quezon.
13 people-- allegedly members of an illegal drugs and robbery gang-- were killed by police Sunday.
The incident was initially reported as a shootout.
There are reports it was a police operation codenamed "Coplan Armado" that targeted Victor Siman, who is allegedly involved in illegal gambling.
The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission allegedly authorized the operation.
De Lima says the NBI will check whether PAOCC Executive Director Reginald Villasanta and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa had given it their approval.
The two deny they had greenlighted the operation.
Quezon police chief Senior Supt. Valeriano de Leon also denies he knew anything about the operation.
Story 4: BRILLANTES: AQUINO EXEMPTED FROM ELECTION GUN BAN
Commission on Elections chair Sixto Brillantes Jr says President Benigno Aquino does not need to apply for an exemption from the gun ban because he leads the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Brillantes says it is a "given" that Aquino is excluded from Comelec Resolution No. 9561, which prohibits anyone from carrying a gun during the election period.
The ban takes effect Sunday.
Aquino applied for an exemption Thursday for the revolver he uses for target-shooting.
Story 5: VITUG VLOGS: WILL BAG-AO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN DINAGAT?
Rappler’s editor at large Marites Vitug talks about the challenges facing Akbayan Partylist Rep Kaka Bag-ao as she assumes her role as caretaker of Dinagat province, the home of a powerful cult group.
Here’s her video blog.
Amid the brouhaha over party-list Representative Kaka Bag-ao’s designation as caretaker of Dinagat province, a more serious question arises.
Can a reform-minded politician make a difference in a closed society using a traditional tool of patronage, the pork barrel?
Bag-ao faces a tough challenge.
For almost 50 years, the Ecleos have dominated the politics of Dinagat, one of the poorest provinces in the country. They used religion and patronage to entrench themselves.
The charismatic Ecleo patriarch, the late Ruben Sr., founded the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association. Most of the province’s residents belong to this cult and are loyal to the Ecleos.
Bag-ao received P137 million in development funds for the province. Much later, she decided to run for Congress against a member of the Ecleo family, Gwendolyn, who is mayor of Dinagat, one of the towns in the island province.
Bag-ao has allied herself with Jade, the vice governor who has openly parted ways with her mother, Glenda, the Dinagat governor, and her siblings who hold various elective posts in the province.
Jade styles herself as an alternative leader who will say no to excesses, referring, among others, to her mom’s P350-million fairy-tale castle at the peak of the province.
Jade has announced that she will run for governor—against her mom. It will be Ecleo v. Ecleo.
Bag-ao has found an opening, thanks to the cracks in the Ecleo armor caused by the family feud.
It will be up to her to navigate this tricky territory and make a difference in this island of stark contrasts, of extreme wealth and poverty.
Story 6: SWEDE JAILED FOR INCITING CHILD RAPE IN PH
A Swedish court jails a 52-year-old man for paying poor women in the Philippines to rape young kids as he watched on a videolink from Sweden.
On Thursday, the Haessleholm district court in southern Sweden finds the man, whose name was not disclosed, guilty of 11 charges of inciting aggravated rape and one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated rape.
The man contacted the women in 2009 on Internet chat sites.
The women are either relatives or acquaintances of the children, who are between the ages of 5 and 8
Story 7: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, At least 115 people are killed in a single day -- January 10 -- in Pakistan after a series of bombings.
The Associated Press reports a militant Sunni group claims responsibility for the attacks, which include twin blasts in a billiards hall near the city of Quetta.
Radical Sunnis are targeting minority Shiite Muslims in the country.
At least 120 people are wounded in the blasts, including police, journalists and rescue workers who responded to the initial explosion.
At number 7, A high school student in California walks into class Thursday with a shotgun, shoots a classmate and misses another.
A teacher and a campus supervisor talk to the 16-year-old gunman, allowing the rest of the class to get out safely.
The suspect is taken into custody about 20 minutes later.
The shooting comes weeks after the massacre of 20 first graders and 6 teaching staff at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, which revives America's debate about gun control.
And at number 9, Steven Spielberg's political drama "Lincoln" leads the Academy Awards with 12 nominations.
Taiwanese-born director Ang Lee's visually stunning 3D adventure "Life of Pi," based on the novel by Yann Martel, bags 11 nominations.
David Russell’s "Silver Linings Playbook" becomes the first film since 1981 to win nominations in all 4 acting categories plus best film, best director and best writer.
Spielberg's latest film recounts Abraham Lincoln's scheming to secure votes in Congress to abolish slavery.
This year's surprise is fantasy-drama film Beasts of the Southern Wild, which earns four nominations, including a best actress nod for 9-year-old actress Quvenzhane Wallis.
But the Academy snubs Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, and Ben Affleck in the best director category.
Story 8: A TICKET HOME FOR MAN STUCK IN NAIA
Thursday we told you the story of a British man stuck in a Manila international airport throughout Christmas.
His prospects of going home soon were bleak, until social media came to his rescue.
Katherine Visconti reports.
52 year old British jockey Gary Austin is excited as he finally checks in for his flight.
In his departure slip he lists his address in the Philippines as the airport.
This past Christmas his home has been terminal 1 in Manila's International Airport.
More than 3 weeks ago he tried to check in for his flight but the airline rejected his ticket.
He suspects his former employer who bought the ticket, cancelled it.
Penniless, he decides to live in the airport.
Now he admits he's actually sad to leave the friends he made there.
Janitor Hannah Bulabon struck up a friendship with Gary while she was cleaning and brought him food every day.
She stays by his side, walking him all the way to the departure lounge where they finally say goodbye.
HANNAH BULABON, AIRPORT JANITOR: I don't think i'll ever see him again but I will keep in touch.
Apparently getting stranded in the International airport is a common occurrence.
DANTE B. BASANTA, TERMINAL MANAGER, NAIA 1: We have about 3 cases a year.
Gary got lucky because help found him through social media.
A blogger and her husband, Cecil and Jeroen van Straten see Gary's story on Rappler.
In her blog she asks "How to help a Man Stuck in Naia" and tweets it to @rapplerdotcom.
Our social media manager sends them Gary's phone number.
Within a few hours they buy him a ticket home.
In a phone interview Jeroen tells Rappler "I think if somebody is stuck in an airport that's a bad situation no one would like to be in. I think he deserved to be helped."
Gary had such a great time in the Philippines he says he wouldn't rule out a return trip.
But next time he says he'll make sure he pays for his own ticket.
Katherine Visconti, Rappler Manila
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|