Rappler Newscast | December 11, 2013
Today on Rappler.
- Interior Secretary Roxas says the release of the Romualdez video is misleading and malicious.
- Alleged pork barrel queen Janet Napoles and her husband file their counter-affidavit for a tax evasion case.
- US lawmakers reach a two-year budget deal to avoid a new government shutdown.
Story 1: MAR ROXAS SAYS ROMUALDEZ VIDEO MALICIOUS
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas hits Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez for releasing what he called an "edited" video of a meeting held after Typhoon Yolanda -- known internationally as Haiyan.
The video was released on social media after an emotional Romualdez said national government refused to take over rescue efforts in Tacloban unless he signed an ordinance to allow it.
MAR ROXAS, INTERIOR SECRETARY: You have to understand, you’re a Romualdez. The President is an Aquino. We just want to legalize this. Now if it’s not legalized, then okay, you’re in charge and we will help you so that's it, it’s up to you.
Romualdez is a relative of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, whose husband jailed the father of President Benigno Aquino.
In a press conference, Roxas says he only wanted to clarify the division of work between the national government and local officials to avoid finger-pointing.
Roxas adds, “Huge chunks of the conversation were removed on purpose…This malicious video was released to cover up Romualdez' own mistakes.”
Roxas says Aquino is careful about being “misconstrued” because people might think politics was involved in post-typhoon efforts.
The government drew flak for slow relief operations in the hours immediately after the typhoon, but Roxas blames it on local governments who failed to explain what they needed from national government.
The conflict between Roxas and Romualdez is the latest in a growing list of squabbles between national and local government over typhoon relief efforts.
Aquino and Romualdez traded accusations after the President said the Tacloban government did not prepare for the typhoon.
Story 2: NAPOLES, HUSBAND FILE COUNTER-AFFIDAVIT IN TAX EVASION RAPS
Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles and her husband Jaime submit their counter-affidavit more than two months after the Bureau of Internal Revenue or BIR filed tax evasion charges against them.
The BIR says Napoles’ liability stands at P44.68 million, while Jaime's liability is at P16.43 million.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares earlier said the couple failed to file proper income taxes based on the properties and investments under their names.
A Rappler report based on the financial declarations of Napoles' registered business shows these earned less than P1 million a year.
Napoles’ daughter Jeane also faces charges for failing to pay taxes worth P32 million for the million-peso properties listed under her name.
Napoles' wealth came under closer scrutiny after netizens discovered Jeane's posts on social media detailing her lavish lifestyle.
Story 3: PACQUIAO: UNPAID $18.3M TAXES IN THE US?
A report says the US Internal Revenue Service is running after Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao for unpaid taxes amounting to $18.3 million or over P770 million.
Celebrity news website TMZ says it obtained documents showing Pacquiao’s camp failed to settle tax obligations in the US despite a statement by Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum that these have been paid.
The report does not include the P2.2 billion or $50 million that the Philippines’ Bureau of Internal Revenue or BIR is seeking from him for 2009 and 2010.
But Pacquiao’s financial adviser Mike Koncz says the $18 million sought by the IRS is for the deductions it reportedly didn’t allow.
After his win over Brandon Rios in November, Pacquiao complained after the BIR froze his bank accounts in connection with a P2.2-billion tax evasion case.
Story 4: PH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPS
The number of unemployed Filipinos drops to 2.6 million in October from 2.76 million a year ago.
Based on the latest Labor Force Survey, the unemployment rate is at 6.5%, lower than the 6.8% recorded in October 2012.
The unemployment rate is a key indicator of whether or not economic growth is trickling down.
In a statement, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan attributes the decline to robust hiring in the industry and services sectors.
The Philippines’ employment rate rises to 93.5% from 93.2%.
There were 37.73 million individuals with jobs in October, higher than last year's figure of 37.67 million.
Story 5: DOE TO PROBE MERALCO POWER RATE HIKE
The Department of Energy or DOE will look into how Manila Electric Company or Meralco computed its power rate increase December.
At the hearing of the House committee on Energy Tuesday, DOE Undersecretary Raul Aguilos says the department will investigate Meralco's P4.15 per kilowatt-hour rate hike.
Aguilos says the rate increase was much higher than the P1.58 per kWh the department anticipated.
Meralco earlier explained the rate increase is because of the maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility and outages of other power plants.
On Monday, the Energy Regulatory Commission approved Meralco's plan to implement the rate hike on staggered basis.
Story 6: US LAWMAKERS ANNOUNCE BUDGET DEAL TO AVOID NEW SHUTDOWN
US lawmakers reach a two-year budget deal that would avoid a repeat of October’s partial government shutdown.
US President Barack Obama called the agreement a sign of bipartisan cooperation. It was brokered by Democratic Senator Patty Murray and House Republican Paul Ryan.
The new deal sets annual budget caps for the next two years at just over $1 trillion, partially repeals automatic budget cuts known as "sequestration,” and provides for about $22 billion in deficit reduction.
The deal also avoids another possible shutdown in January, when government funding is scheduled to run out following the October deal.
Story 7: NELSON MANDELA LIES IN STATE
Nelson Mandela's flag-draped casket makes its way through the streets of Pretoria Wednesday, arriving at the seat of South Africa's government where he will lie in state for 3 days.
A black hearse travels through streets lined with flag-waving South Africans, all honoring the late anti-apartheid icon, who died at age 95 after a long battle with respiratory illness.
The lying in state is expected to be somber, compared to Tuesday's celebratory memorial service in Soweto.
Thousands of people attended the event in Soweto's World Cup stadium, where US President Barack Obama led foreign tributes to Mandela.
It also featured a historic moment: a handshake between Obama and Raul Castro, leader of long-time Cold War foe Cuba.
Story 8: OBAMA, CAMERON 'SELFIE' AT MANDELA MEMORIAL CREATES STIR
For our social media post of the day: US President Barack Obama’s grinning "selfie" with the Danish and British premiers sets social networks abuzz.
In a candid moment, Denmark's Helle Thorning-Schmidt holds up her smartphone as she and Obama pose for a picture with David Cameron, all 3 of them smiling broadly in their seats at Soweto's World Cup stadium.
First Lady Michelle Obama, sitting to the left of her husband, does not join them, keeping her eyes on the ceremony where world leaders pay tribute to South Africa's anti-apartheid hero.
The selfie – short for self-portrait – went viral on social media sites.
Many question if the moment of mirth was appropriate for the occasion.
@JeffryHalverson tweeted, "There should be a moratorium on 'selfies' during memorials and funerals, no?"
Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 7, pop megastar Justin Bieber sings Christmas carols and plays basketball with young survivors of super typhoon Yolanda in a trip to Tacloban City to boost an international relief effort.
The United Nations Children’s Fund says the fund raiser would give child survivors access to education, vaccinations, clean water and sanitation.
In a tweet, Bieber calls his performance the last and “most important” show of his Believe World Tour.
At number 8, Myanmar welcomes thousands of athletes Wednesday for the Southeast Asian Games.
The opening ceremony is held in a 30,000-capacity stadium in Naypyidaw.
The former pariah nation last hosted the games more than 4 decades ago.
The return of the multi-sport event comes as political and economic reforms sweep Myanmar following the dissolution of the ruling junta in 2011.
And at number 10, Uruguay legalizes marijuana, becoming the first nation in the world to oversee its production and sale.
After a marathon debate, 16 leftist senators out of 29 lawmakers vote in favor of the legislation championed by President Jose Mujica.
The law authorizes the production, distribution and sale of cannabis and allows individuals to grow their own on a small scale– all under state control.
The legislation causes unease in neighboring Brazil and Argentina.
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|
|3D GRAPHICS||Sten Bautista|