Rappler Newscast | June 6, 2014
Today on Rappler.
- The Ombudsman charges Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and scam mastermind Janet Napoles with plunder.
- Senator Franklin Drilon will not allow senators to be arrested in the Senate once an arrest warrant is issued.
- Egyptian prosecutors demand "maximum" penalty for Al-Jazeera journalists.
PLUNDER FILED VS NAPOLES, 3 SENATORS
It’s plunder charges for Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and alleged public fund theft mastermind Janet Napoles.
The Ombudsman filed the charges before anti-graft court Sandiganbayan Friday.
Plunder is a non-bailable offense.
Trolleys of documents in boxes were brought by Ombudsman personnel to the Sandiganbayan Friday afternoon.
The 3 cases against the 3 senators all include Napoles as co-accused.
The cases expected to be raffled off next Friday, June 13, to determine the justices who will handle the cases.
Copies of the complaint will then be distributed to the 3 Sandiganbayan justices who will conduct a judicial determination to determine probable cause.
Once probable cause is established, the justices can issue arrest warrants.
The arrests will be carried out by Sandiganbayan sheriffs.
Three separate denials of motions for reconsideration Wednesday paved the way for the filing of the plunder cases.
The Ombudsman denied the motions of the 3 senators, Napoles, and others saying they were “rehashes” of old arguments already resolved by the office.
The 3 senators allegedly pocketed a total of P597 million in kickbacks from discretionary funds known as “pork barrel,” with Revilla getting the biggest kickback at P242 million, followed by Estrada at P183 million, and Enrile at P172 million.
NGOs associated with Napoles were allegedly used as beneficiaries to siphon funds.
The Ombudsman says the evidence is sufficient to prove a crime has been committed, with the respondent’s guilt highly probable.
On Thursday, Napoles’ lawyer Bruce Rivera said his client, whose request to turn state witness was denied by the same court, will not divulge what she knows without immunity.
He added, Napoles knows much more than whistleblower Benhur Luy.
(Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article attributed the P183 million amount to Sen Enrile. This has been corrected.)
AHEAD OF ARREST, REVILLA SETS PRIVILEGE SPEECH
While his lawyers are exhausting legal means to stop his arrest, Senator Revilla will again try to prove his innocence in the court of public opinion.
Revilla will deliver a privilege speech Monday after the Ombudsman denies his appeal to stop the filing of the plunder case.
Revilla’s media relations officer says the senator will make a “revelation” in his privilege speech.
Revilla’s lawyer Joel Bodegon says the senator will again go to the Supreme Court and file a petition for certiorari and prohibition against the Ombudsman.
DRILON ASKS FOR COURTESY: DON'T MAKE ARRESTS AT THE SENATE
Senator Frank Drilon says he will not allow Senators Revilla, Enrile, and Estrada to be arrested in the Senate building once the graft court issues an arrest warrant.
Drilon says it’s “a matter of institutional courtesy.”
The arrest warrants are expected to be issued within the next two weeks.
Drilon clarifies the arrest of the 3 senators will have no impact on legislation and there’s no need for a Senate reorganization.
He adds the Senate will comply once the Sandiganbayan orders the suspension of the senators.
They will be under preventive suspension for 90 days.
Drilon says, “After 90 days, they can file bills and hold hearings, even in detention.”
He cites the case of Senator Antonio Trillanes, who filed bills and held hearings in detention.
If jailed, the senators will not be able to vote on measures because they have to be physically present in session.
MERALCO’S POWER RATES TO DECREASE JULY
After public anger last December for the highest rate hike in history, power distributor Meralco’s power rates will go down July.
In an order released Thursday, the Energy Regulatory Commission or ERC provisionally approved Meralco’s maximum average price for regulatory year 2015 of P1.56 per kilowatt hour.
The rate is lower than last year’s P1.65 per kilowatt hour.
The approved application will reduce customers’ distribution, supply, and metering charges by around 5% to 7%.
FILIPINO, VIETNAMESE TROOPS TO HOLD SPORTS SHOWDOWN ON SPRATLYS
Sports diplomacy - that’s what Filipino and Vietnamese troops will do over the weekend.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says the troops will hold friendly matches in basketball, beach volleyball and tug-of-war to show rivals can still be friends.
This weekend's games will be held at the widely-disputed Spratly Islands.
del Rosario says, "This is camaraderie. That is a friendly gesture."
As the Philippines and Vietnam foster warm relations, disputes with China intensify as it grows aggressive in claiming most of the South China Sea.
The Philippines and Vietnam lead claimant nations in denouncing what they called China’s bully tactics.
THAILAND'S JUNTA DETAINS ANTI-COUP LEADER
Thailand's junta arrests fugitive anti-coup leader Sombat Boonngamanong Thursday.
He faces imprisonment as the ruling generals seek to stamp out criticism.
An army spokesperson says Sombat was tracked through the Internet.
Sombat is one of several hundreds summoned by the military following its May 22 coup.
Those who obeyed were detained in secret locations for up to a week and ordered to cease political activities.
Sombat refused to turn himself in, instead posting a message on Facebook saying: "Catch me if you can."
Sombat urged followers to stage peaceful public demonstrations, flashing the three-finger salute from the "Hunger Games" films signifying defiance against the junta.
Sombat is the leader of a faction of the "Red Shirts" movement,
which supports former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck, who was deposed as prime minister last month.
The junta, saying it wants to end political violence, imposed martial law, media censorship and a curfew.
The junta says elections are not expected to be held for at least a year.
EGYPT PROSECUTORS DEMAND 'MAXIMUM' JAIL TERM FOR JAZEERA REPORTERS
Egyptian prosecutors demand the "maximum" penalty for all 20 Al-Jazeera journalists accused of aiding the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Australian journalist Peter Greste and two other reporters face 15 to 25 years in jail.
Prosecutor Mohamed Barakat tells the court, "Mercy for such people will bring the entire society close to darkness.”
He adds, “Al-Jazeera is the master in the art of fraud."
The four foreign defendants in the case, including Greste, are charged with assisting the Brotherhood in their crimes
by covering and publishing so-called false news on the Internet and Al-Jazeera.
The authorities previously said the accused were operating in Egypt without valid media accreditation.
The trial is part of a relentless crackdown by authorities against the Brotherhood
since Egyptian president-elect Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Egypt's interim government accuses Doha of backing the Brotherhood.
It considers Al-Jazeera as the voice of Qatar.
Doha openly denounces the repression of Morsi supporters.
THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
wRap #4: ELITES IN PACIFIC RIM COUNTRIES BACK AMERICA’S PRESENCE
A survey by the Center for Strategic and International Studies show policymakers in 11 Asia-Pacific nations support a robust US role in the region.
Japan was the most enthusiastic about a dominant US position.
Tokyo’s relations with Beijing had rapidly deteriorated the past year over territory disputes.
Southeast Asian nations prefer a "quiet, persistent presence" of the US, preferring not to see confrontation between the US and China.
Despite favoring the US, most of those surveyed predict China would be the dominant power in East Asia within the next 10 years.
wRap #6: POPE FIRES ENTIRE FINANCIAL WATCHDOG BOARD
Pope Francis fires all 5 members of the Financial Information Authority or AIF, the regulator of the corruption-ridden Vatican Bank.
The board members were supposed to serve until 2016.
A Harvard analyst compares the Vatican Bank’s operations to that of a Dan Brown novel.
There are “whispers of money laundering and connections to the mafia.”
The AIF reportedly operates like an ‘offshore’ banking haven similar to the Grand Cayman or Bermuda.
wRap #8: QUEBEC LEGALIZES DOCTOR-ASSISTED SUICIDE
Canada's Quebec province adopts a law allowing terminally ill patients to kill themselves with a doctor's help.
The move sets the stage for a judicial row with the Canadian federal government which forbids euthanasia even with a person's consent.
Critics warn, the move could lead to abuses and unnecessary deaths.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard defends the bill, saying the law would allow residents to face "their final days in a more serene way, and in accordance with their wishes."
For the full top 10 visit Rappler.com’s ‘the wRap.’
KONCZ WANTS TO BLOCK DONAIRE FROM PACQUIAO UNDERCARD
Canadian boxing adviser Michael Koncz blocks Nonito Donaire Jr from fighting on Manny Pacquiao's undercard on November 23.
Koncz says putting a Macau card together with Donaire doesn't make sense business-wise.
He doubts it will bring in a substantial Philippine audience.
Koncz had earlier pulled out General Santos native Ernie Sanchez from a fight against Diego Magdaleno in February 2014.
Sanchez missed out on a $6,000 payday and has not fought since December.
Last February, Donaire’s wife Rachel said on social media Koncz prevented Donaire from fighting on one of Pacquiao's undercards in 2011.
Rachel also lambasted the Canadian for “pulling out fighters whom he isn't collecting money from."
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|