Rappler Newscast | October 1, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- The US government shuts down for the first time in 17 years, as Congress misses its deadline to pass the budget.
- Will the Senate summon Janet Napoles? The tug-of-war will be settled in a caucus.
- Former Senator Joker Arroyo says Malacanang’s program that released funds to select lawmakers is illegal.
Story 1: WITH NO BUDGET, US GOV'T SHUTS DOWN
For the first time in 17 years, the United States government shuts down early Tuesday as Congress misses the deadline to pass a budget.
Lawmakers could not agree on a spending bill to fund the government, with House Republicans continuing to oppose President Barack Obama's signature health reform law.
Around 800,000 government workers are expected to be sent home.
Government services will be slashed and monuments and national parks closed.
Military personnel though remain on duty.
Only workers deemed essential will be at their desks from Tuesday onwards, leaving government departments like the White House with skeletal staff.
Just hours before the deadline, the Democratic-led Senate rejected the bill passed by the House, which would delay Obama's healthcare law for a year.
The law requires all Americans to buy health insurance.
Obama warns the shutdown could badly damage an economy struggling to recover from the worst recession in decades.
He earlier accused Republicans of holding America at ransom with their "extreme" political demands, while his opponents strike back at his party's supposed arrogance.
BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government doesn't get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election…You don't get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you're supposed to be doing anyway.
A two-week shutdown would cut 0.3 percentage points off of gross domestic production.
On Monday, stocks retreated as traders braced for the shutdown.
A CNN poll shows more Americans would blame Republicans for the shutdown than Democrats.
Story 2: CONSULTING AGAIN: DRILON TO ASK SENATORS ON NAPOLES
After much debate, the entire Senate will now decide on whether or not to summon alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles to the blue ribbon committee hearings.
Senate President Franklin Drilon says he will call for a senators’ caucus to discuss the issue when session resumes on October 14.
This comes after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales says she -- quote -- “submits to the collective wisdom” of the Senate’s members, but maintains Napoles’ testimony is -- quote -- “not advisable.”
Drilon says he’s confident his colleagues will support his decision not to summon Napoles, saying, “We consider it a matter of prime importance that we should allow the Ombudsman to complete its initial fact-finding evaluation of the plunder case filed before it.”
The Ombudsman is handling a plunder complaint filed by the justice department against Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Bong Revilla Jr, and 35 other individuals for the pork barrel scam.
Blue Ribbon Committee Chair TG Guingona wants Napoles to appear in the Senate, saying her testimony is the “only thing lacking to complete the story.”
But Sen Sergio Osmeña III says summoning her will be ‘useless’ because her lawyer already said Napoles will just invoke her right to remain silent during the Senate probe.
Story 3: PALACE SPENDING PROGRAM 'ILLEGAL'
Former Senator Joker Arroyo says Malacañang’s release of P1.107 billion to select lawmakers supposedly to boost government spending is illegal.
In a press conference Tuesday, Arroyo hits the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP as an "invention of the Department of Budget and Management."
JOKER ARROYO, FORMER PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Being a creation only of a department, that is illegal. Disbursements of DAP also illegal. This is a crime, releasing money without any legal support.
The budget department identified the DAP as the source of funds released to select senators following the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in May 2012, but Budget Secretary Butch Abad says the money was not a bribe.
Senate President Franklin Drilon admits receiving P100 million, while Speaker Sonny Belmonte says congressmen got P10 million each.
Both denied the releases were related to the Corona trial.
Story 4: COA CHECKING PALACE'S SPENDING BOOSTER PROGRAM
Commission on Audit chair Grace Pulido Tan says her agency is now auditing the fund meant to boost government spending after it became controversial because of allegations of misuse.
In a privilege speech last week, Sen Jinggoy Estrada insinuated Malacanang released an extra P50 million in pork barrel to senators in 2012 as a reward for convicting former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
In a television interview, Tan says COA is getting the list of recipients of the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP from the budget department.
Tan announces the audit after Sen Miriam Santiago asked COA to conduct a special audit on the DAP.
In a letter to Tan, Santiago says she wants to know the legal explanation for --quote-- “giving special treatment” to Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, and Sen Chiz Escudero, who reportedly got P100 million instead of P50 million.
Story 5: NABCOR EXECS, 'NGOS' TOLD TO REFUND P1.45B
The Commission on Audit or COA wants officials of a government corporation and the fake non-governmental organizations it accredited to return billions in lawmakers’ pork barrel that were misused over 5 years.
The National Agri-Business Corporation or Nabcor was found to have released around P1.45 billion to NGOs from 2007 to 2011.
A COA special report says Nabcor released the most amount of misused pork barrel during the time of former President Gloria Arroyo.
In a testimony before the Senate, former Nabcor president Alan Javellana admits his agency funded NGOs without vetting them.
According to COA’s latest report, 19 of its recommendations to avoid further misuse of the pork barrel were “not implemented” by Nabcor.
COA now wants Nabcor and the NGOs to return all questioned fund releases.
Covered by the initial Notices of Disallowance are P470.32 million worth of transactions.
Another P866.94 million is still undergoing evaluation.
Story 6: USAID LAUNCHES PHILIPPINE AMERICAN FUND FOR NGOs
The pork barrel fund scam rocked the nation’s faith in public officials in high places.
But another sector is also feeling the backlash: real NGOs.
A new fund infusion from US-AID not only wants to trigger inclusive growth, it also wants to help rehabilitate the reputation of NGOs.
David Lozada reports.
GRACE PULIDO TAN, COA CHAIR: A total of 6.156 billion was transferred by the agencies to 82 Non-government organizations.
Nowadays, NGO-- which stands for non-governmental organization-- is a dirty acronym.
After the Napoles scam, legitimate organizations lost a lot of credibility and it’s hitting the groups where it hurts the most-- funding.
CHRISTINE DE VILLA, CODE NGO: When our member NGOs interact with people, they are always asked, ‘Are you not one of those Napoles type NGOs?’ We always have to explain that we’re not that kind of NGO.
NGO worker Christine de Villa says its going to take a lot of work recovering from the stigma.
CHRISTINE DE VILLA, CODE NGO: There are a great number of credible and legitimate NGOs out there but their reputation is being tarnished because of the Napoles group of NGOs.
Outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr says civil society will always play a role in development.
He says he believes in the basic honesty of Filipinos.
HARRY THOMAS JR, OUTGOING US AMBASSADOR: We must never use a broad brush to generalize any individuals or organizations. After all, most of the Filipino people are honest just as most of the American people are honest.
The United States Agency for International Development or US-AID launches the Philippine American Fund -- a five-year grant facility amounting to twenty-four million dollars-- roughly P1.04 billion -- just a little bit more than the money siphoned off by Napoles NGOs in the Malampaya fund scam.
Thomas assures the public the funds will be closely monitored.
HARRY THOMAS JR, OUTGOING US AMBASSADOR: SGV (Sycip Gorres Velayo & Co) lead accounting firm is involved. I’m sure their accounting practices will ensure that the money is well-utilized.
The fund aims to finance activities at the grass-roots that will lead to sustainable growth.
The Phil-Am Fund focuses on five strategic priorities: anti-human trafficking, promoting businesses, government transparency, education and biodiversity.
Chief of Party Victoria Garchitorena says the fund welcomes new ideas in terms of programs and will be very flexible.
VICKY GARCHITORENA, PHIL-AM FUND CHIEF OF PARTY: We’re not risk averse. Because we’re looking for new solutions, we would be open to ideas that maybe we’re not sure if it will succeed. Nothing is sure in this life...As long as you have the capacity, you have the competence and you have the governance in place to make sure that you’ll give it our best shot.
The grants range from two million to twenty million pesos.
More information can be found in the Gerry Roxas Foundation website.
There are real NGOs out there carrying out the spade work of development, and with the help of reputable funds, these groups don’t have to be the national symbol of corruption alongside the pork barrel.
David Lozada, Rappler, Manila.
Story 7: CA AFFIRMS VERDICT CLEARING REYES IN ORTEGA SLAY CASE
The Court of Appeals affirms its earlier decision clearing former Palawan Gov Joel Reyes in the 2011 killing of broadcaster Gerry Ortega.
Voting 3-2, the Court rejects Justice Secretary Leila de Lima's appeal for the court to reverse its March ruling junking the murder case against Reyes.
The court says in recommending Reyes' indictment, De Lima failed to observe protocol governing investigations of cases.
The court earlier nullified De Lima’s Department Order No. 710 which created the second panel that reviewed and found probable cause to indict Reyes and his brother Mario for murder.
In her motion for reconsideration, De Lima says the CA decision was “erroneous" and the court “grossly misappreciated” the facts of the case.
The Reyes brothers are accused of plotting the murder of Ortega, who exposed corruption in the province and accused the former governor of misusing the Malampaya Fund.
Story 8: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 7, A study says the global war on heroin, cocaine and cannabis fails to stem supply as prices of these drugs fall even as authorities confiscate more supplies in the illegal trade.
The price of heroin drops 81%, cocaine prices fall 80% and cannabis prices fall 86% between 1990 and 2007 in the United States.
Over the same period, the average purity of these drugs rise: heroin by 60%, cocaine by 11% and cannabis by 161%.
The findings coincide with debate in several countries about whether to loosen laws on certain drugs.
At number 8, Coca-Cola loses its crown as the world's best brand, as iconic iPhone and iPad maker Apple takes the number 1 spot.
This marks the first time the soft drink company missed the top spot on the "best global brand report," a line-up created in 2000 by marketing consultancy Interbrand.
Coca-Cola drops two places in 2013, also losing to search giant Google, which came in second.
Apple has slowly climbed the ranks since beginning at #36 in 2000.
And at number 9, After CNN cancelled plans for a documentary on former US State Secretary Hillary Clinton, NBC also drops a miniseries about her.
The Republican party earlier voted to ban CNN and NBC from sponsoring Republican primary debates unless they cancelled their Clinton projects.
The Clinton camp also pressured NBC to drop the show.
The Democrats are eyeing Hillary Clinton as their possible standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential race.
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|