Rappler Newscast | February 26, 2014
Today on Rappler.
- China offers incentives to stop the Philippines’ case over disputed territories in the South China Sea.
- Alleged pork barrel queen Janet Napoles gets her medical tests - doctors say her condition isn’t alarming.
- Gunmen open fire near several opposition protest sites in Bangkok.
Story 1: CHINA OFFERS PH ‘CARROT’ TO QUIT CASE
China offers the Philippines incentives to derail its case against China over disputed territories in the South China Sea.
Sources say China wants to stop the Philippines from submitting its written pleading, called a memorial to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea or ITLOS by March 30.
Former national security adviser Roilo Golez says China offered incentives like the mutual withdrawal of ships from the disputed Panatag or Scarborough Shoal.
Panatag is now practically occupied by Chinese ships following a tense standoff in 2012 where the Philippines withdrew its ship.
A government source says China offered more investments through a lawmaker who acted as a backdoor negotiator.
The Palace source says President Benigno Aquino convened his Cabinet to discuss the offer.
It divided the Cabinet, with Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario standing by his position to pursue the case.
In a briefing Tuesday, foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez says the Philippines is bent on submitting its written pleading by March 30.
Golez says China's offer is “a sign of weakness.”
He adds, “Why should we reward them for withdrawing from our own territory, from our own exclusive economic zone?”
Asked for comment, the Chinese Embassy says it has “no information to offer” about this.
Story 2: NAPOLES CONDITION 'NOTHING ALARMING' – PNP DOCTORS
Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles gets a day out of detention: to take her medical tests in a police hospital.
She earlier filed a motion for medical examination following the discovery of a 3-cm ovarian cyst in September 2013.
Are the results alarming?
Bea Cupin reports.
The woman at the center of the pork barrel scam steps out of her detention center for the first time this year.
Two convoys bring Janet Lim Napoles,
to the Camp Crame General Hospital where she takes a battery of tests.
Napoles is the alleged mastermind in the country's biggest corruption scandal to date.
A Makati court grants Napoles' motion to conduct a medical examination
after she complains of hypoglycemia, drastic weight loss, chest pains, severe abdominal pains, and profuse menstrual bleeding.
Napoles is currently detained in a Laguna police camp for the illegal detention of a former aide who blew the whistle on her - Benhur Luy.
She also faces plunder charges for the pork barrel scam.
Tests taken in October 2013 showed an ovarian tumor and a drop in Napoles' hemoglobin count.
Blood tests also show elevated levels of CA 125, a biomarker for ovarian cancer.
Napoles has been denied bail twice, and her camp says this short trip out of Fort Sto Domingo is crucial to her well-being.
In Camp Crame, the physical examination takes over 2 hours -- blood extractions, a transvaginal ultrasound, and a pap smear.
The results of the ultrasound contradict the October 2013 CT Scan.
CHIEF SUPT ALEJANDRO ADVINCULA, HEALTH SERVICES DIRECTOR: Kung babasihan natin yung resulta noong last year at yung resulta this year, magkaiba… Para lang may kuan kayo. Initially ang impression noon is right ovarian cyst. Ngayon naman may bukol, pero hindi naman sa ovary sa may uterus naman.
(If we compare last year’s results and this year’s results - they are different… Initially the results showed an impression of a right ovarian cyst. Now, there’s a lump, but it’s in the uterus, not the ovary.)
PNP doctors say Napoles "has an idea" of the results of the ultrasound but refuse to give details.
DR. MICHELLE DAGUNO, CAMP CRAME GENERAL HOSPITAL OB-GYN: Noong nalaman po niya, medyo concerned lang po siya. Okay naman po na nawala yung bukol sa ovary na nakita, I believe noong September. So ngayon po, ina-no naman namin siya na hindi naman po siya ganoon ka-alarming.
(When she found out, she was concerned. But we told her that it wasn’t that alarming.)
PNP doctors emphasize: there is no imminent threat to her life.
CHIEF SUPT ALEJANDRO ADVINCULA, HEALTH SERVICES DIRECTOR: Iisa lang naman ibig sabihin noon. Hindi alarming at this point of time, walang problema… Hindi po, hindi po siya icoconfine. As a matter of fact, siya po ang ibabalik na doon sa kanyang lugar sa 4-A
(The test results only mean one thing: it’s not alarming at this point in time, there are no problems… She will not be confined. As a matter of fact, she is on her way back to her detention center in Laguna.)
Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 allows Napoles' camp
to take the test results to a different hospital for a second opinion.
Her lawyers say they may ask the court to let her take another a "special test" to better understand her medical condition.
But another trip out of Laguna won't come cheap.
With 100 members of the PNP deployed, officials estimate Napoles' trips from Laguna to Manila costs P120,000 each.
The results of the exam come out Wednesday afternoon but the PNP says they will not release the results to the public.
If the alleged pork barrel queen has an illness, how will it impact on her detention, and more importantly, her case?
Will this be a turning point in the saga of the poster-girl for corruption?
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Manila.
Story 3: SOCIAL MEDIA POST OF THE DAY
It costs a lot to shuttle Janet Lim Napoles to Camp Crame and Fort Sto Domingo and back.
The amount of effort and money given to her check ups leave netizens angry -- they say the situation is unfair.
Mikel Caringal says, “So many of our countrymen can’t get check ups because they don’t have the money.
This swindler gets an escort, a convoy, and a check up at an expensive facility.
And what money do they use to spend on her? Taxpayer’s money.”
Metalfonso Uriarte says, “She’s probably getting sick because she’s so depressed that she’s not living the "high life" with our taxes. She’s so used to it that when she was put in her place, the sadness of losing all our money compromised her health.”
Story 4: PDAF SCAM WITNESS CUNANAN WILLING TO UNDERGO LIFESTYLE CHECK
Pork barrel scam witness Dennis Cunanan says he has nothing to hide, and says he’s willing to go through a lifestyle check.
Cunanan is the provisional state witness in the case against senators linked to the multi-billion peso scam where senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile along with several others allegedly siphoned funds to fake NGOs in exchange for kickbacks.
The 3 senators, along with Cunanan, face plunder complaints before the Ombudsman in relation to the scam.
Cunanan says he did not receive kickbacks from the projects funded by pork barrel funds that were coursed through the Technology Resource Center or TRC.
He is currently on indefinite leave as TRC head.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says Cunanan’s testimony debunks the senators’ claims that they did not choose the NGOs that received their funds.
Story 5: PETILLA VOWS POWER IN PABLO-HIT AREAS AFTER AQUINO SCOLDING
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla promises to restore electricity in all areas hit by 2012’s Typhoon Pablo within 45 days.
This comes after President Benigno Aquino scolded his Cabinet for failing to restore energy over a year since the typhoon.
On a visit to Cateel in Davao Oriental Monday, Aquino learned 57% of the barangays affected by Typhoon Pablo still had no electricity.
Aquino says “By the next time I follow up with them, there needs to be electricity to most areas
or they'll need to submit their resignations… We all have work, so do your work or sorry."
Petilla promised in late 2013 to restore power in areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda by Christmas or he would resign.
Aquino praised him for supposedly being able to do that.
But Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez says the supposed 99% restoration of electricity in Yolanda-hit areas is not true.
He says about 50% are still without power in Tacloban alone until now.
Story 6: SOON: EARLY WARNING DISASTER ALERTS VIA SMS
Getting disaster warnings can soon be as easy as reading a text message.
The Senate endorses a House bill requiring telecommunication companies to send free mobile alerts in times of disasters.
Senate President Franklin Drilon says the Senate might be able to pass the Free SMS Disaster Alerts Act before March 15.
The House of Representatives approved it early February.
Drilon says the free service will become “a required additional service of telecommunication companies.”
Under the bill, telcos will be required to send text messages that contain crucial information and contact numbers of disaster agencies.
On Monday, the National Telecommunications Commission says the telcos agreed to comply with the bill because the alerts won’t require additional cost on their operations.
In supporting the bill, lawmakers say past disasters showed many victims did not get enough warnings about the typhoon, rain, or floods.
Story 7: RAPPLER EXCLUSIVE: SEMIRARA MINING ATTEMPTS TO BULLDOZE RICE FIELDS
Farmers barricade their rice fields in Barangay Poocan in Semirara Island, Antique province after Semirara Mining Corporation or SMC tried to bulldoze their crops Tuesday.
Theo Mateo of the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka says
two trucks, a bulldozer and 4 security guards tried to enter the village around 4:30pm.
The guards say Caluya Mayor Genevieve Lim-Reyes ordered the bulldozing.
Reyes plans to turn the land into a relocation site for around 100 families from the nearby village of Sabang where a waste facility for their coal power plant will allegedly be built.
An SMC assistant administrator who requested anonymity tells Rappler their company dispatched the bulldozing group but says it was the mayor’s project.
Rappler texted Lim-Reyes for a statement but received no reply.
Around 70 people will be affected if the demolition is given the go signal.
Most are farmers who have been toiling the land for more than 30 years.
SMC is the biggest coal producer in the country.
The energy department extended SMC’s rights to mine coal and conduct explorations in Semirara until 2027, but locals oppose the extension.
Story 8: MOST DANGEROUS BUSES DIDN’T PAY TAXES
Seven bus companies involved in the deadliest accidents turn out to be tax evaders.
Based on data from the finance department and the Bureau of Internal Revenue these bus operators either did not file income tax returns in 2012 or did not have tax identification numbers at all.
11 other bus companies on the most dangerous list declared earnings of P737 million, but paid only P5.48 million in taxes.
This represents less than 1% of total reported gross receipts.
Don Mariano Transit tops the list of the Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board’s “most dangerous” bus operators.
In December last year, one of its buses plunged off the elevated Skyway in Paranaque City, killing at least 18.
Transport officials cancelled the bus franchise after the incident but its owner, Melissa Lim, owns 6 other bus companies, 3 of which are also in the "most dangerous" list: Admiral Transport, Nova Auto Transport and Roval Transport.
Story 9: GUNSHOTS RATTLE THAI CAPITAL AS YINGLUCK FLIES TO BAILIWICK
Gunmen open fire near several opposition protest sites in Bangkok Wednesday, increasing tensions as Thailand's embattled prime minister goes to her political stronghold in the north.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is under intense pressure to step down, with protesters demanding an unelected "people's council" to take her place.
Yingluck flew to the northern city of Chiang Rai Wednesday to inspect government-backed projects, but officials deny she’s on the run from protesters.
More than 700 people are injured in street violence since protests began late October.
Four children were among the victims of two separate grenade and gun attacks on opposition rallies over the weekend.
Hundreds of protesters gather outside the police headquarters in Bangkok on Wednesday demanding justice for the children.
Story 10: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 3, At least 43 people died Tuesday in an attack at a Nigerian school.
The attackers throw explosives and fire guns into students’ rooms at a residential building.
Male students were targeted, while female students were spared.
The attackers are suspected to be Boko Haram Islamists, who are against Western education.
At number 6, a report reveals a million babies didn’t survive their first 24 hours of life in 2012.
International charity Save the Children urges governments to address preventable deaths.
The report says 6.6 million children around the world die before their 5th birthday, mostly from preventable causes.
The charity says 2 million babies could be saved each year.
And at number 9, The Bitcoin community is in turmoil.
The crash of Tokyo-based exchange MtGox and the apparent loss of $300 million worth of Bitcoins shakes confidence in the fast-growing virtual currency.
Bitcoin has no managing central bank.
Critics say the MtGox highlighted Bitcoin’s structural flaws while others say the closure of MtGox would not stop the growth of the virtual currency.
For the full top 10 visit Rappler.com’s ‘the wRap.’
Newscast Production Staff
|EXECUTIVE PRODUCER / WRITER||Lilibeth Frondoso|
|ASSOCIATE PRODUCER / PUBLISHER||Rodneil Quiteles|
|HEAD WRITER / PROMPTER||Katerina Francisco|
|MASTER EDITOR / PLAYBACK||Exxon Ruebe|
|TECHNICAL DIRECTOR / CAMERAMAN||Charlie Salazar|
|Raffy de Guzman|
|3D GRAPHICS||Sten Bautista|