Rappler Newscast | April 4, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- An investigative report says Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is a beneficiary of a secret offshore trust.
- Moro Islamic Liberation Front negotiator Mohagher Iqbal says the Sabah standoff will not affect peace talks between the government and the MILF.
- The United States prepares its missile defenses after North Korea says it approved nuclear strikes on US targets.
Story 1: IMEE MARCOS TIED TO SECRET OFFSHORE TRUST
The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism says Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos is a beneficiary of a secret offshore trust called Sintra Trust.
Imee is the eldest child of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Sintra Trust was formed in June 2002 in the British Virgin Islands.
Documents also show Imee was a financial advisor for Sintra Trust and ComCentre Corporation, in which Sintra Trust was a beneficial shareholder.
Imee was also a “master client” for the M trust, formed in Malaysia and closed in July 2009.
Philippine law requires government officials to disclose their assets no matter where they are held.
Marcos’ disclosure statements do not list the three offshore entities.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government wants to find out if the offshore accounts contain some of the estimated 5 billion dollars her father allegedly amassed.
Ferdinand Marcos also held offshore accounts, which the Philippine government wants to freeze.
PCGG commissioner Maita Chan-Gonzaga says, "If funds came from the pre-1986 Marcos secret deposits, then those responsible for moving the funds around could be committing money laundering."
Imee Marcos’s offshore assets are unknown, but the statements she filed show wealth that’s significant by Philippine standards.
PCIJ examined 12 of the 15 statements she filed when she was a member of Congress and as provincial governor.
The statements showed that her assets, consisting mostly of inherited jewelry, paintings and artifacts, rose in value from about 170,000 dollars or 6.72 million pesos in December 1998 to about 640,000 dollars or P27.9 million pesos in December 2011.
The PCIJ also reports most of the statements it examined were not specific in listing her business connections and financial interests.
When asked by the PCIJ to comment, Marcos did not respond.
She is running unopposed for a second term as governor in May.
Story 2: PH TO PROBE MARCOS OFFSHORE TRUST
The Philippine government says it plans to investigate an allegation that Imee Marcos is the beneficiary of a secret offshore trust.
PCGG chairman Andres Bautista says ---quote-- "We are duty bound to investigate and, depending upon informed preliminary findings decide whether to pursue the matter."
The PCGG is a presidential body tasked to recover the billions of dollars the Marcos family allegedly stole from government coffers during the late president’s 20-year rule.
The PCGG has recovered 4 billion dollars in assets the Marcoses illegally acquired.
Bautista previously said the commission was considering giving up the chase for the hidden billions.
He adds, "It's been 26 years and people you are after are back in power.
At some point, you just have to say, 'We've done our best."
Story 3: IQBAL: SABAH CONFLICT DOES NOT AFFECT PEACE PROCESS
Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal says the Sabah standoff will not have a major effect on the peace process between the MILF and the Philippine government.
In October 2012, the government and the MILF signed the Framework Agreement, which will establish the Bangsamoro as an autonomous political entity.
The peace talks will resume next week, after it was postponed on March 25.
CHAY HOFILEÑA: Do you think this will ultimately have an effect on the peace process? How the Sabah standoff...
MOHAGHER IQBAL, PEACE PANEL CHAIR, MILF: Minor effects yes. But I think major effect, I don't imagine because the position of the Malaysian government is that the Sabah conflict does not affect the peace process. President Aquino's position is that the Sabah conflict does not affect the negotiation. That is also the position of the MILF.
Iqbal also comments on the sultanate system.
He says the MILF is in favor of preserving the sultanate, but it will not revive it.
Malaysia is the facilitator of the peace talks.
The country is gearing up for general elections, with Prime Minister Najib Razak dissolving parliament in preparation for the polls.
Singapore Management University political science professor Bridget Welsh says whoever wins the polls will have to face the Sabah issue.
BRIDGET WELSH, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: The problem in Sabah has really left an imprint among Filipino societies and Filipinos about how Filipinos have been treated. Whoever takes over power in government will have to face the problem of solving the question of immigration in the area of Sabah and dealing with some of the security questions that have come up.
Story 4: US NAVY SACKS 4 OFFICERS OVER TUBBATAHA GROUNDING
The United States Pacific Fleet fires 4 officers of the USS Guardian for failing to --quote "adhere to standard US Navy navigation procedures" when the minesweeper ran aground the Tubbataha Reef in January.
Navytimes.com reports the relieved officers include commanding officer Lieutenant Mark Rice, navigator and assistant navigator Lieutenant Daniel Tyler, and an unnamed officer of the deck.
The names of other sailors involved were not released.
The 4 officers are temporarily reassigned to other duties.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez welcomes the report.
He says, "We respect the decision of the relief of the officers and crew members by the US Navy."
A team from the Philippine government and major universities are conducting a probe to assess the damage caused by the incident.
Hernandez says the results of the investigation will be independent from the US Navy findings.
Salvage teams removed the last piece of the USS Guardian March 30.
Story 5: WHERE TO RETIRE? CEBU!
Cebu’s real estate market has a new growing niche, thanks to its slower pace of life.
Aya Lowe reports.
Cebu’s reputation as Manila's quieter, more relaxed sister city has earned it a new niche in the real estate market – retirees.
Quality of life is what Cebu offers the best.
LITO MADERAZO, CEBU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT: Retirement villages are something in the horizon. Cebu is positioned as one where the quality of life is better than the other cities. It’s at the center of sport. If you want to go to the beaches its a few minute away, play golf just 5 minutes away. It’s a very livable city and it’s easy for you to move around. It’s more productive to live here than other cities I know. It’s easy to be hopping from one place to another.
To bring in foreign tourists, Cebu Mactan is expanding its terminals and adding international routes.
Cebu offers a slower pace of life, proximity to beaches, and manageable distances compared to the more hectic Manila.
Marko Sarmiento is one developer who's set to take advantage of this.
His latest development is a 14-unit retirement village catering to the Japanese.
MARKO SARMIENTO, COO JEG DEVELOPMENT CORP: We definitely think Cebu will attract that market. Cebu is a lot slower paced, it’s cheaper.
The Japanese have been coming here as tourists for many years. They look at Cebu as a separate destination, a tourist spot, a hub for beach, golf, just to get away from the fast-paced lifestyle of japan.
Each unit is designed to appeal to Japanese aesthetics. Adjustments are made for older residents.
MARKO SARMIENTO, COO JEG DEVELOPMENT CORP: We worked with our architect on really developing something that caters to the Japanese market that had to be implemented to the units...We noticed that when you enter there’s a section where you put the shoes. Japanese don’t have shoes in their house...Since it’s focused on the retirees one of the biggest factors is the bathroom, which is really catered to the Japanese where we have a separate shower and bath tub. Japanese spend the majority of their time in the living room and in the bathroom so we catered to that.
As the Philippine’s real estate industry booms, Cebu is jumping on the bandwagon using its laid back image to rope in the demand.
Aya Lowe, Rappler, Cebu
Story 6: NORTH KOREA APPROVES NUCLEAR STRIKE ON U.S.
The United States prepares its Pacific missile defenses after North Korea says it authorized plans for nuclear strikes on US targets.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Pyongyang's threats represent a --quote-- "real and clear danger" to the US and its allies South Korea and Japan.
Hagel says, "They have nuclear capacity now, they have missile delivery capacity now. We take those threats seriously."
The Pentagon says it will send ground-based missile-interceptor batteries to protect military bases in Guam.
On Thursday, the North Korean military says it received final approval to launch "merciless" military strikes on the US.
The General Staff of the Korean People's Army says US threats will be "smashed by cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means."
Story 7: U.S. TELLS NORTH KOREA TO DROP THREATS
The White House tells North Korea to stop making threats after the hermit state approves nuclear strikes on the US.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says --quote, "We've seen today's statement by North Korea again making unhelpful and unconstructive threats."
She adds, "North Korea should stop its provocative threats and instead concentrate on abiding by its international obligations."
Last month, North Korea threatened a "pre-emptive" nuclear strike against the US.
Pyongyang successfully carried out nuclear tests, but most experts think it is not yet capable of striking US bases or territory.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, The youngest daughter of Spain’s King Juan Carlos is summoned to court over allegations her husband misused public funds.
Princess Cristina’s husband, Inaki Urdangarin, denies any wrongdoing.
The BBC reports he is suspected of having massively overcharged local authorities for organizing sporting events.
There are allegations millions of euros ended up in offshore bank accounts of companies he controlled.
Princess Cristina is alleged to have been involved as she supposedly knew about her husband’s financial affairs.
At number 8, Following reports of 3 deaths in China due to a new strain of bird flu, the World Health Organization curbs fears of a pandemic.
The number of cases of H7N9 bird flu in China looks set to climb as experts identify previously unexplained infections.
But a WHO representative says lack of evidence of human-to-human transmission means the risk of pandemic is low.
And at number 10, Veteran US late-night TV host Jay Leno bows out after 22 years on the iconic "Tonight Show,” clearing the way for young star Jimmy Fallon to take the show to New York.
Leno's relations with NBC have been strained, as he made a series of gags in his opening monologues about the network's poor ratings and his bosses.
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|