Rappler Newscast | June 30, 2014
Today on Rappler.
- A graft court enters a "not guilty" plea for Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
- Sandiganbayan Justice Gregory Ong faces dismissal for his links to Janet Napoles.
- Terrorist group ISIS declares a caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
Story 1: COURT ENTERS 'NOT GUILTY' PLEA FOR ESTRADA
Senator Jinggoy Estrada refuses to enter a plea during his arraignment at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan Monday.
This prompts justices to plead "not guilty" on his behalf.
His co-accused in the pork barrel scam, Janet Napoles, pleaded not guilty.
Both arrived at the Sandiganbayan shortly past 8 am for their arraignment in the graft and plunder cases against them.
Estrada's lawyers cited his pending petition before the Supreme Court to stop his indictment.
Estrada says the Ombudsman violated his rights to due process when it refused to provide him documents relevant to his case.
Estrada, Napoles, Revilla, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and several others are accused of siphoning public funds coursed through fake NGOs.
Estrada and Revilla are already detained, while Enrile has yet to be served with an arrest warrant.
This is the second time Estrada is indicted for plunder.
He was jailed in 2001 along with his father for acquiring ill-gotten wealth through the illegal numbers game jueteng.
The elder Estrada was found guilty, while his son was acquitted.
Story 2: JINGGOY: OMBUDSMAN BLUNDERS SHOW PDAF CASES FILED IN HASTE
Senator Estrada says the Ombudsman's attempts to amend the charge sheet proves the cases against the lawmakers were railroaded.
In a statement, the senator says the Ombudsman's --quote-- "haphazard" filing of charges was motivated by an “overzealousness to be glorified as heroes.”
JINGGOY ESTRADA, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Gusto kasi nila magpasikat at ipakita sa taumbayan na kaya nilang magpakulong ng 3 senador kaya naghain agad sila ng information kahit na alam nilang wala naman talagang kaso at walang matibay na ebidensya laban sa akin. (They want to glorify themselves and show the people that they can jail 3 senators. That’s why they filed the charges even though they know there really is no case and no strong evidence against me.) If there are ‘truckloads of evidence’ against us and the case is ‘airtight’ as they initially say, why is there a need to amend the information?
On Wednesday, prosecutors sought to amend the information in the cases filed against Estrada and Revilla.
They wanted to strike out the phrase that says businesswoman Janet Napoles siphoned the funds for her own personal gain.
Napoles earlier argued she cannot be charged with plunder, because her actions were meant to enrich herself as a private individual.
The Sandiganbayan junked the motion to amend the information against Revilla Thursday.
Last week, prosecutors withdrew their motion to amend Estrada's charge sheet, after the court warned that Estrada could be released from detention if the amendments were admitted.
Prosecutors also ask the court to suspend Estrada and Revilla from the Senate while their trial for plunder is ongoing.
Story 3: VISITORS, FOOD GALORE IN JAIL: THE PERKS OF SENATORS
More on senators Estrada and Revilla: The two senators aren’t your typical detainees.
Instead of cramped quarters, they are detained in newly-renovated rooms initially designed for police officers.
Police watch over them 24/7, but the senators are not required to wear handcuffs or jail uniforms.
Eyewitnesses outside the custodial center say visitors are free to come and go way beyond visiting hours.
Visitors also brought roasted pig and Chinese takeout.
Police say it was lenient in imposing visiting hours during Estrada and Revilla’s first few days in detention give them time to "adjust.”
Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Theodore Sindac denies there is any special treatment. He explains Estrada requested for more lenient visiting hours due to his 25th wedding anniversary.
Sindac also says the two aren’t handcuffed or required to wear jail uniform because they had willingly surrendered.
He says a surrender means it’s highly unlikely a detainee will attempt an escape.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas says the Philippine National Police was following set rules, but admits handling a detention center is not the core competency of the police.
Story 4: SOLICITOR GENERAL OUT OF SC JUSTICE RACE
The Judicial and Bar Council or JBC excludes Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza from its shortlist of nominees for the position of Supreme Court Associate Justice.
Jardeleza is reportedly a Palace favorite for the post.
Four make it to the JBC shortlist: Court of Appeals Associate Justices Apolinario Bruselas and Jose Reyes; Commission on Audit chair Grace Pulido-Tan, and Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Reynaldo Daway.
Jardeleza’s exclusion came as a result of the move by a JBC member to invoke a rule that states “Votes [are] required when [the] integrity of a qualified applicant is challenged."
The JBC did not identify who invoked this rule.
In an unprecedented move, Jardeleza last week wrote a scathing letter to the Supreme Court accusing Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of bias, and asked her to inhibit from the voting process.
Jardeleza said that during two JBC meetings, Sereno raised integrity issues against him that have long been cleared.
He added, Sereno’s participation in the voting process presents a conflict of interest.
It is Jardeleza's 3rd attempt to join the Supreme Court.
Story 5: WILL SC DISMISS ANTI-GRAFT COURT JUSTICE?
A probe body recommends the dismissal of Sandiganbayan Justice Gregory Ong for his links to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles.
In January, the Supreme Court asked the justice to explain his alleged ties to Napoles after his name was mentioned in various affidavits submitted by pork scam whistleblowers Benhur Luy and Marina Sula.
Rappler exposed Ong's links to Napoles in August 2013, by showing a photo of Ong with Napoles and Senator Estrada.
As part of her investigation into Ong, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez summoned the justice.
Ong denied any wrongdoing, but admitted knowing Napoles.
Gutierrez also summoned Rappler's investigative reporter Aries Rufo about the photo.
Gutierrez recommended the filing of administrative charges against Ong for gross misconduct, dishonesty and impropriety.
The report also concluded Ong allowed himself to be Napoles’ contact in the Sandiganbayan and that he accepted money from her for fixing a case.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide on the recommendation Tuesday.
Ong chairs the Sandiganbayan 4th Division, which acquitted Napoles in 2010 in a graft case involving the purchase of substandard Kevlar helmets by the Philippine Marines.
Story 6: ST. BENILDE STUDENT DIES IN SUSPECTED HAZING INCIDENT
Police investigate the death of a college student due to a hazing incident in Manila.
The victim is 18 year-old Guillo Cesar Servando, a sophomore at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde or CSB.
Servando was found unresponsive inside a condominium unit near the campus.
He was pronounced dead on arrival.
Servando and 3 schoolmates were rushed to the hospital after what police suspect was a hazing ritual.
Police say the students were trying to join the Alpha Kappa Rho fraternity.
In a statement, the school mourned the student’s death and reiterates its prohibition of fraternity-related violence.
Story 7: PHILIPPINES TO PROBE 'BUDGET' MAIDS IN SINGAPORE
The Philippines will investigate reports of Singaporean agencies offering Filipino maids at “discounted” rates.
The maids are reportedly put on display in shopping malls and treated like commodities.
First reported by news agency Al Jazeera on Friday, Filipino maids are said to be “smarter” compared to -quote- “less smart” Indonesians and -quote- “compliant” Burmese.
In a TV interview Sunday, Philippine Labor Attaché to Singapore Vincent Cabe warns the accreditation of the agencies will be suspended.
But he adds, “If there is physical or verbal abuse or maltreatment, then we will have to refer them to the police.”
Singapore remains a top destination of Filipino domestic workers with estimates as high as 65,000.
Story 8: WIDODO LEAD CUT IN PRESIDENTIAL RACE
From 25 points down to 4, Indonesian elections frontrunner Jakarta governor Joko Widodo cuts his edge over main rival, former general Prabowo Subianto.
Widodo’s fall comes after rumors circulate he is ethnic Chinese and a Christian, not a Muslim.
Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population where ethnic Chinese faced persecution in the past.
Widodo refutes the claims, but lackluster support and questions about his leadership added to the decrease in his popularity.
The Wall Street Journal reports, the presidential race fuels uncertainty for investors in Southeast Asia's largest economy.
Widodo is a plain-talking former furniture exporter rated as one of Indonesia's best mayors.
His rival Prabowo is reeling from the backlash of a music video, featuring an Indonesian rock star wearing a Nazi-style uniform, opening up a sensitivity over his military record.
Prabowo earlier admitted he ordered the kidnapping of democracy activists during the Suharto dictatorship.
Story 9: ISIS DECLARES CALIPHATE AS IRAQ PRESSES COUNTER-OFFENSIVE
Jihadists in Syria and Iraq announce the establishment of a "caliphate," an Islamic state led by a supreme religious leader.
In an audio recording distributed online, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS declared its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "the caliph."
The group has seized parts of five Iraqi provinces this month as government forces fight to retake Saddam Hussein's hometown Tikrit, about 140 kilometers northwest of the capital Baghdad.
Story 10: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 5, nearly 800,000 people in Hong Kong take part in an unofficial vote on electoral reform, a quarter of registered voters in the 2012 polls.
The referendum offered voters options on how the next chief executive should be chosen.
China promised universal suffrage by 2017, but has ruled out voters choosing candidates.
Democracy advocates fear only those sympathetic to Beijing will be allowed to run as Chinese state media dismisses the ballot as "an illegal farce."
At number 6, For the first time in history, a Vatican ambassador is defrocked for sexual abuse.
Former Vatican envoy to the Dominican Republic Josef Wesolowski is stripped of his priesthood after he was found guilty of abusing children in the slums of Santo Domingo.
Once his canonical conviction is definitive, he will face the Vatican's criminal tribunal, which could sentence him to prison.
In January, the United Nations condemned the Vatican for tolerating cover-ups by reassigning priests suspected of child abuse to other posts.
Pope Francis has vowed to crack down on abuse in the Catholic Church.
And at number 10, a report detailing how Facebook secretly manipulated the news feed of some 700,000 users to study "emotional contagion" draws anger on social media.
In 2012, the social network tampered with the news feed algorithm to study how positive and negative posts affected users' mood.
Results of the study spread when news sites Slate and The Atlantic wrote about it Saturday.
The authors of the study said their research was approved "on the grounds that Facebook apparently manipulates people's News Feeds all the time."
Story 11: SERENA UPSET AT WIMBLEDON IN EARLIEST EXIT IN NINE YEARS
World number one and five-time champion Serena Williams crashed to her earliest defeat at Wimbledon in nine years.
The top seed Williams lost her third round tie to 25th seed Alize Cornet.
Williams continues her disappointing run in 2014 where she has failed to get beyond the fourth round at any of the three majors so far.
In the men's division, Novak Djokovic and defending champion Andy Murray sail smoothly through their third round matches to advance to the last 16.
Story 12: BRAZIL, NETHERLANDS SCORE DRAMATIC WINS
Brazilian football star Neymar drops to his knees and cries tears of joy after scoring the winning goal in penalty against Chile.
Brazil beat Chile, 3-2, on penalties to reach the World Cup quarter finals Saturday.
Both teams managed only two goals in the first 120 minutes.
Brazil's Julio Cesar made crucial saves while David Luiz, Marcelo and Neymar scored in penalty.
In a game Sunday, Netherlands scores twice in the dying minutes to pull off a 2-1 victory over Mexico and enter the quarterfinals.
Down 0-1, Wesley Sneijder scores with two minutes remaining then Klaas Jan Huntelaar scores another goal in penalty.
Story 13: SOCIAL MEDIA POST OF THE DAY
It’s social media day today, June 30.
For our social media post of the day: Shortly after the high-octane World Cup match where the Netherlands won against Mexico, Dutch air carrier KLM posts on its Twitter account “Adios, amigos” along with a photo of an airport’s departure sign beside a Mexican sombrero.
This did not sit well with Mexicans and some football fans.
Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal angrily tweeted expletives in response, saying he will never fly the airline again.
KLM deleted its tweet, but has yet to issue an apology.
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|