Rappler Newscast | July 31, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- A Rappler exclusive: Records show the daughter of the pork barrel queen owns a 2-million dollar apartment in LA.
- Sen Santiago wants to phase out lawmakers’ pork barrel by 2016.
- A new survey shows 4 in 10 Filipinos say do not feel progress in the economy.
Story 1: NAPOLES DAUGHTER OWNS P80M LA PROPERTY
Here’s a Rappler exclusive.
Records from the Los Angeles County assessors show the daughter of Janet Lim-Napoles owns an apartment at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, the home of Hollywood celebrities.
Janet Lim-Napoles is allegedly the head of a syndicate which fakes NGOs that corner multi-million development assistance funds from lawmakers.
The lifestyle of Napoles’ youngest daughter Jeane came under the spotlight after her mother was linked to the scheme.
Records show Jeane is the registered owner of Unit 37I of the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Los Angeles.
The documents do not mention the price of the unit, but its estimated market price is pegged at P80-M or almost $2-M.
The Ritz-Carlton Residence website describes its apartment units as “luxury residences.”
The Residences boasts of 5-star amenities like valet service, high-class restaurants and panoramic views of the city.
While the elder Napoles admits owning a P7-million hotel in LA, she never mentioned her daughter's P80-M apartment.
Napoles admits funding her daughter's lavish lifestyle, but says their money comes from legitimate businesses.
In an interview with Korina Sanchez for ABS-CBN, Janet Napoles says her family earned their money from coal-trading in China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia since the 1990s.
Story 2: MIRIAM TO CONGRESS: PHASE OUT PORK BY 2016
Sen Miriam Santiago wants Congress to phase out the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF of lawmakers by 2016.
On Wednesday, Santiago files a resolution urging the Senate to gradually phase out the PDAF as “the second best solution” to immediately abolishing the pork barrel.
Senators receive P200 million each year in development funds, while members of the House of Representatives get P70 million each.
Santiago’s resolution follows reports of a multi-million peso scam, where some lawmakers allow their pork barrel to be used for ghost projects in exchange for commissions.
In an interview Wednesday, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano say they support Santiago's proposal.
But several lawmakers oppose the abolition of the pork barrel.
Speaker Sonny Belmonte says House members need the pork barrel to funnel projects to their constituents.
But Santiago says, “We are legislators, not public works contractors. People look up to us to make serious laws that could change the lives of a great number of people.”
Story 3: METRO MANILA LESS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT PH ECONOMY
A new survey shows Filipinos say they don’t feel the economic growth hailed by international credit rating agencies.
In a Pulse Asia survey released Wednesday, 4 in 10 Filipinos or 43% say the Philippine economy is "unchanged."
28% of the respondents say it is "better now" and 29% say it is "worse now."
The national averages in the new survey hardly changed since the last survey in March, but it shows residents of Metro Manila are less optimistic about the economy.
The number of Metro Manila residents who say the economy is “better now” than the previous year drop 15 percentage points -- from 40% in March to 25% in June.
Numbers for Luzon also show respondents saying economy is better decreased... while those saying the economy got worse increased.
Numbers for the Visayas and Mindanao barely changed the last three months.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says the economic growth is not about trickling down but enabling ordinary workers to help lift the economy.
EDWIN LACIERDA, PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON: One very factual thing is that our numbers improved. The economy has improved. This is not about trickle down. This is about making them—our farmers, the fisherfolk, the ordinary workers [that we] have [to] be part of the tide that lifts us all.
Story 4: SEX-FOR-FLIGHT PROBERS TARGET HALFWAY HOUSES
Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario says investigators focus on halfway houses to prevent the alleged sex-for-flight scam by predatory officials.
In a press briefing, Del Rosario says, “The common denominator in terms of these harassment cases seems to have been the halfway houses.”
He says they recommend “tightening” policies and procedures in halfway houses to minimize similar incidents.
In June, Del Rosario said the Philippine government eyes “institutional changes” in halfway houses for distressed overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East.
The halfway houses are supposed to be havens for abused OFWs but also serve as the staging point for the sex-for-flight scams and other abuses.
Story 5: AKMAD AMPATUAN SR DUE IN COURT AFTER SC JUNKS PLEA
Datu Akmad "Tato" Ampatuan Sr is due to appear in court after failing to get a status quo ante order from the Supreme Court for his role in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.
Tato Ampatuan, son-in-law and nephew of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr, will be arraigned along with other suspects in the killing of 58 people.
The arraignment of Tato Ampatuan and Sajid Islam Ampatuan were deferred last June after they filed motions questioning their inclusion in the list of those accused in the massacre.
The Maguindanao massacre is the worst case of election-related violence in Philippine history and the worst case of violence against journalists in the world.
About 90 other suspects remain at large almost 4 years after the killings.
Story 6: STAMPEDE MARS LAST DAY OF BARANGAY, SK POLL REGISTRATION
A stampede mars the last day of voters’ registration for the village and youth council elections as hundreds try to beat the 5pm Wednesday deadline.
The registration period started July 22.
Commission on Elections chair Sixto Brillantes earlier said the deadline will not be extended.
GMA Online reports chaos at the Comelec office in Manila, with people shoving each other to force their way inside the office.
The Inquirer reports the Comelec was surprised at the huge turnout of registrants.
Brillantes says the poll body will determine whether the registrants were actual first-time voters or were mobilized by politicians.
He also chastises people for waiting until the last day to register.
Story 7: ALBAY ELECTRICITY RECONNECTION
Electricity is back in the province of Albay as of 5pm Wednesday, more than 24 hours after the entire province was disconnected from the grid.
In a message to Albay Gov Joey Salceda, Energy Sec Jericho Petilla orders the reconnection of the province after the Albay Electric Cooperative or Aleco disconnected its top 100 nonpaying customers.
On Tuesday, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines or NGCP cuts power in Albay because of P4 billion debts Aleco owed creditors.
The blackout affects at least 160,000 households.
The energy department says the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation or PEMC ordered the disconnection after Aleco failed to pay its P56-million bill for June.
Out of the cooperative's total debt, around P1 billion is owed to PEMC, while around P3 billion is owed to the NGCP, TransCo, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp, and the National Electrification Administration.
In June, Aleco failed to pay P170 million worth of bills, but successfully staved off a province-wide disconnection after the provinces’ mayors asked the energy department to give the cooperative more time to raise money.
Photo of Mt. Mayon at twilight from Shutterstock
Story 8: NHC HONORS MABINI, BONIFACIO ON HEROES DAY
The Philippines celebrates National Heroes day August 26.
This year, the focus is on two heroes who lived exactly 150 years ago, Apolinario Mabini and Andres Bonifacio and how they remain relevant to a country in search of its identity.
Pia Ranada reports.
Inside the Polytechnic University of the Philippines stands an old house made of wood.
But it isn't just an old house.
This is where the hero Apolinario Mabini lived and died.
ROSE GARCIA, CURATOR OF MABINI MUSEUM AND SHRINE: Galing lang siya sa mahirap na pamilya pero nag-struggle siya, nagpursige siya para maabot yung kanyang pangarap. Magbibigay inspirasyon yun lalo na sa kabataan. (He comes from a poor family. He struggled and strove to reach his dreams. That should inspire the youth.)
Called the "Sublime Paralytic," his polio was not a hindrance to serving his country.
ROSE GARCIA, CURATOR OF MABINI MUSEUM AND SHRINE: Isa siya sa mga founder ng ating Philippine government. Unang una, naging adviser siya ni General Emilio Aguinaldo. Si Mabini rin naging cabinet secretary and then eventually he held the position of secretary of foreign affairs. (He was one of the founders of the Philippine government. He was the adviser of General Emilio Aguinaldo. Mabini was also a cabinet secretary and later held the position of Secretary of Foreign Affairs.)
Next door, visitors can explore the Mabini Museum.
PIA RANADA, REPORTING: The museum introduces new ways of telling Apolinario Mabini's story. Kids will enjoy flipping through this pop-up book that tells Mabini's story one colorful page at a time.
There’s an animated video, Interactive touchscreen, and cardboard cutouts.
Andres Bonifacio, a man of the masses, has always been the icon of the working man.
He led the Katipuneros in a revolution against the colonizer Spain.
BENIGNO AQUINO III, PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT: Kasabay nito, tila mapanghamon din ang titig ni Bonifacio: Ikaw, Pilipino, ano na ang nagawa mo para sa iyong bandila at kapwa? (At the same time, Bonifacio's gaze poses a challenge: You, Filipino, what have you done for your flag and your neighbor?)
With two heroes about to celebrate their 150th birth anniversaries, it's time to think about what heroism means.
Gary Bonifacio, a great great grandnephew says heroism is about ordinary people answering the call of the times.
GARY BONIFACIO, BONIFACIO’S DESCENDANT: The modern heroes today are the ordinary people that do their work in extraordinary means…Bonifacio being an ordinary individual at that time, became a hero because he did an extraordinary act which is to sacrifice his life for the freedom of our country.
National Historical Commission Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno says there are plenty of modern Bonifacios today.
MARIA SERENA DIOKNO, CHAIRPERSON, NATIONAL HISTORICAL COMMISSION: You know Andres Bonifacio, he wasn't the sort who demanded publicity or media mileage or that kind of public recognition. He believed in what he did and he did it. And I think there are still many Filipinos who are that way.
It's not hard to find selflessness and courage in the heroes of our past.
The big challenge for the historical commission: connecting them to the Filipinos of today.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Manila.
Story 9: ANGELINA JOLIE HIGHEST PAID ACTRESS
One of Hollywood's highly regarded beauties is also the richest.
Angelina Jolie tops this year's Forbes Highest Paid Hollywood Actresses list with her $33 million paycheck earned between June 2012 and June 2013.
After Jolie's last blockbuster "The Tourist" in 2010, the actress went off the radar until her surprising disclosure of her double mastectomy this year.
Jennifer Lawrence comes in at second place with $26 million.
She’s best known for her role as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” and her Oscar-winning lead role in “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Last year's highest paid actress, Kristen Stewart, is now in 3rd place at $22 million.
Story 10: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 2, American soldier Bradley Manning is found guilty of espionage Tuesday for leaking US government secrets, but he is cleared of the most serious charge: that he willfully helped Al-Qaeda.
Manning, an intelligence analyst, could face up to 136 years in jail for handing classified information to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
Tuesday's verdict follows an exhaustive two-month court martial at the Fort Meade military base in Maryland.
At number 7, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators set an ambitious goal to reach an elusive peace deal within 9 months.
Standing side-by-side with US Secretary of State John Kerry, officials from both sides say it’s time to end their decades-old conflict.
Both sides agree to meet in two weeks to begin formal bilateral negotiations.
US officials praise the leadership and courage shown by Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
And at number 8, Tech giant Google invites the public to try out its wearable computer, Google Glass.
The company sends email messages to existing Google Glass partners to invite a friend to try out the device.
The catch? Testers need to be in the United States, are at least 18 years old, and can pick up Glass in San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles.
Many geeks are excited over Glass, hoping it will be as ubiquitous as the cellphone.
But others say the clunky eyewear won’t catch on unless Google can make it look sleek and cool.
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|