Rappler Newscast | April 2, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- The Supreme Court says the order against the implementation of the reproductive health law stays.
- The Commission on Elections junks a bid to disqualify former president Estrada from running for Manila mayor.
- The United States deploys a destroyer off South Korea to defend against a possible strike from the North.
Story 1: SUPREME COURT: ORDER VS RH LAW STAYS
The Supreme Court says the order stopping the implementation of the reproductive health law will stay.
Voting 10-4, the Court junks a motion filed by former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros for the lifting of the status quo ante order against the law.
The 10 justices who vote to dismiss the motion are: Presbitero Velasco Jr, Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Roberto Abad, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, and Bienvenido Reyes.
Those who agreed with Hontiveros are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Justices Antonio Carpio, Marvic Leonen and Mariano del Castillo.
On March 19, the Supreme Court voted 10-5 to stop the government from implementing the law, which funds the distribution of contraceptives.
The order will take effect for 120 days.
The Supreme Court is set to hold oral arguments on the case in June.
The law is staunchly opposed by the Catholic church and other groups questioning its constitutionality.
Hontiveros says the RH law should be implemented because every legislative measure has the presumption of constitutionality.
She adds, "The suspension...reinforces a status quo where 11 women die everyday due to lack of access to reproductive health services."
Story 2: COMELEC JUNKS BID TO DISQUALIFY ERAP
The Commission on Elections junks a bid to disqualify former President Joseph Estrada from running for Manila mayor.
The Comelec second division dismisses the disqualification case against Estrada for --quote "utter lack of merit."
In the Comelec case, petitioners say the pardon Estrada got from former President Gloria Arroyo prohibits him from running for public office.
The second division junks the case, citing the Comelec's standing pronouncement "declaring categorically that respondent's right to seek public office has been effectively restored by the pardon vested upon him by former President Gloria Arroyo."
Estrada's lawyer, Frank Chavez, earlier argued the Comelec is bound by its 2010 ruling that allowed Estrada to run for president again.
Story 3: MARCOS COUSIN QUITS MAYORAL RACE
Former Ilocos Norte Governor Michael Marcos Keon withdraws from the Laoag City race for mayor.
Keon's withdrawal brings the race to a virtual one-on-one fight between two Fariñases: former Laoag City Mayor Roger Fariñas and Chevylle Fariñas, wife of the incumbent mayor Michael Fariñas.
Michael is the nephew of Roger.
The third candidate for the race is former Laoag City Mayor Cesar Ventura, who lost previous election bids.
Keon is the nephew of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and cousin of incumbent Governor Imee Marcos.
Had he pushed through with his bid, Keon would have been the first Marcos to challenge the Fariñases in their own turf.
Story 4: MALAYSIA CHARGES 7 MORE PINOYS OVER STANDOFF
Malaysian authorities charge seven Filipinos over their alleged participation in the Sabah standoff.
State news agency Bernama describes the Filipinos as aged 20 to 63, coming "from the Southern Philippines."
Five of the accused face charges for waging war against the Malaysian king, which carries a death penalty and for joining a "terrorist" group, which carries a life sentence.
One Filipino faces 4 charges: waging war, joining a terrorist group, recruiting terrorists and harboring terrorists.
On Monday, the prosecution requested for the case to be transferred to the Tawau High Court, where 8 more Filipinos also face charges over their alleged involvement in the standoff.
The next hearing for their cases at the Tawau High Court is set on April 12.
A total of 15 Filipinos are charged over the Sabah standoff.
Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez says the government is still gathering more information to confirm the reports.
Hernandez adds, "We are ready to extend consular and legal assistance to our nationals who are facing charges in connection with the Lahad Datu incident."
Story 5: GREENER TRANSPORT OFFERS HOPE FOR METRO MANILA
One bus company offers something never before seen on Philippine roads: a world-class city bus that runs on hybrid technology.
Zak Yuson reports.
Taking public transportation in Metro Manila is no easy ride.
The crowd, the noise and the black smoke assault the senses and make commuting a drag.
But a new bus company is hoping to change that negative image.
Green Frog Transport will soon roll out the country’s first hybrid diesel-electric buses in Makati City.
Passenger comfort and safety are top priority in a Green Frog bus, with many features not found on typical buses that ply the metropolis.
But what makes it special? The buses will offer commuters a greener alternative.
PHILIP APOSTOL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, GREEN FROG: Five of my buses would emit the same pollution as one normal bus. So, will you need a car? I don’t think so. Our buses are air-conditioned there are security cameras, they have very, very, low pollution, we will have tap payment cards -- significant junk from what we have now.
Apostol also claims that his buses meet the higher Euro-4 emissions standard in contrast to typical buses that are only Euro-1 or Euro-2 compliant.
According to a government study, at least 65% of air pollution comes from mobile sources.
Reina Garcia, of the non-profit Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities or ICSC, says air pollution remains a serious problem in Metro Manila.
REINA GARCIA, INSTITUTE FOR CLIMATE AND SUSTAINABLE CITIES: So the effect is not only what we see in the air like smog, or black smoke. There are also the effects to our health, meaning the health of the residents. This costs Metro Manila, alone, about 400 million dollars a year for health costs for health care. Lost revenue's about 20 million dollars and 5,000 premature deaths.
The ICSC hopes that President Aquino will sign the recently passed Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentives Bill which will spur the adaptation of greener technology.
For Apostol, there is little time left to make the shift.
PHILIP APOSTOL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, GREEN FROG: I think pollution is like cancer. You don’t die right away from it, you die sometime in the future, and until you feel the pain you don’t do anything about it...We have to act now, and maybe we can turn this whole situation around.
Apostol is already looking at another package of incentives being offered by the Board of Investments.
ZAK YUSON, REPORTING: Hybrid technology has yet to gain widespread acceptance in the country, mostly because it doesn’t come cheap.
But companies such as Green Frog are betting that hybrid is the future. And they’re hoping that the government will hop in on the bus.
Zak Yuson, Rappler, Makati City.
Story 6: U.S. DEPLOYS DESTROYER OFF SOUTH KOREA
The United States places destroyer USS Fitzgerald off the South Korean coast to defend against a possible missile strike from North Korea.
After taking part in its annual military exercises, the USS Fitzgerald is deployed to the southwestern coast instead of returning to its home port in Japan.
The deployment comes hours after North Korea adopted a law formalizing the country's status as a nuclear weapons state.
An anonymous US defense official says it was a quote -- "prudent move" that would offer "greater missile defense options should that become necessary."
The move also comes after the US military announced it had deployed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to South Korea as part of the ongoing "Foal Eagle" joint military exercise.
Pentagon spokesman George Little says, "The North Koreans have a choice. They can continue to engage in provocations or they can choose the path of peace."
Story 7: NORTH KOREA TO RESTART NUCLEAR REACTOR
North Korea intends to restart a closed nuclear reactor to feed its nuclear arms program.
It hints it may begin openly enriching weapons-grade uranium.
The announcement is the latest provocation at a time of soaring military tensions.
It also follows a US decision to place a destroyer off the South Korean coast to defend against a possible missile strike from the North.
A government nuclear energy spokesman says the move will involve "readjusting and restarting" all facilities at the North's Yongbyon nuclear complex.
It includes a uranium enrichment plant and a five megawatt reactor.
The spokesman says they are doing it to boost their nuclear armed force and address electricity shortages.
The North shut down the Yongbyon reactor in July 2007 under a six-nation aid-for-disarmament accord.
The following summer, it destroyed the cooling tower.
North Korea and South Korea Flag images via Shutterstock
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 2, At least 3 people attempt to flee Cyprus in recent weeks with more than 200,000 euros.
Individuals are only allowed to take 1,000 euros a day out of the country since banks reopened on March 28.
But depositors are looking for ways to circumnavigate the new capital controls that came after the European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout.
There are concerns large sums flowed out of banks just before the first bailout package was signed on March 16.
At number 6, an official says Caroline Kennedy, the 55-year-old daughter of assassinated president John F. Kennedy, is about to be named ambassador to Japan.
Kennedy's appointment for the Tokyo post has long been rumored.
Her chances may have been enhanced by the arrival of secretary of state John Kerry, who was close to Caroline Kennedy's uncle.
Kennedy would fit the long tradition of presidents naming high profile envoys to the key US ally.
And at number 9, Tony Hall takes over as the new director general of BBC on April 2 and will begin the job of repairing the media group's battered reputation.
Hall replaces George Entwistle, who stepped down in November after a Tory peer was mistakenly implicated in child abuse claims in a Newsnight report.
Hall, a former BBC news executive, has to deal with low staff morale – highlighted by last week's strike in a row over jobs and claims of bullying.
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|