Rappler Newscast | April 21, 2014

Today on Rappler.

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Story 1: TELL ALL? DOJ MORE KEEN ON NAPOLES THAN GIGI REYES
Does the return of Gigi Reyes, implicated in the pork barrel scam, mean more concrete evidence against Senator Juan Ponce Enrile?
Whistleblowers say Reyes received kickbacks on behalf of her former boss, Enrile, who is accused, along with other lawmakers, of diverting public money to fake NGOs in exchange for kickbacks.
But for Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, the most valuable testimony comes from alleged scam mastermind Janet Napoles.
De Lima says even if Reyes admits her role in the corruption scandal, it won't automatically qualify her as state witness.
She adds, “If there's anybody who would tell all, it would be Mrs Napoles…I would be more interested in her more than anyone else.”
Reyes arrived in the Philippines from San Francisco Saturday.
She says she’s ready to face the charges filed against her.
She left the country in 2013, shortly after being implicated in the scandal.

Story 2: MIRIAM TO SENATE: SUMMON GIGI, REOPEN PROBE
Senator Miriam Santiago asks the Senate to summon Gigi Reyes and reopen its probe into the pork barrel scam.
Senate Blue Ribbon committee chair TG Guingona earlier released a partial report recommending plunder charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada for allegedly stealing millions of public money.
On Monday, Santiago asks Guingona to invite Reyes to a Senate hearing and reopen the probe. Reyes is Enrile’s former chief of staff.
The senator adds, “I believe that the testimony of Atty Reyes would serve to round off and clarify certain aspects of the partial report.”
But Santiago warns, Enrile could be quietly moving to convince Reyes not to betray him.
Enrile critic Senator Sonny Trillanes says --quote-- “love and loyalty” may prevent Reyes from turning against her former boss.
Reyes is accused of signing documents to facilitate the release of Enrile's public funds to fake NGOs.

Story 3: DRILON REGAINS APPROVAL AFTER PORK PROBE DEBACLE
Senate President Franklin Drilon’s approval ratings dramatically improve in a new survey by Pulse Asia.
From 43% in December, Drilon’s ratings jump 15 percentage points to 58% in March.
Pulse Asia chief research fellow Ana Tabunda says Drilon is only regaining points he lost in the December survey, where he dropped 7 percentage points from September.
Tabunda says this was because of Drilon's hesitation to call alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles to a Senate investigation.
While Drilon's ratings improved, the Senate drops 4 percentage points, from 45% in December to 41% in March.
The same survey shows President Benigno Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay continue to enjoy approval of the majority.
Aquino’s approval rating is at 70%, while Binay gets 87%.

Story 4: BANGSAMORO DRAFT LAW 'COMPLETE'
The Bangsamoro Transition Commission completes the final draft of the proposed law for a new political region in Mindanao.
But not all commissioners sign the draft law -- two did not attend the signing ceremony, while Mindanews reports two others signed the draft law with reservations.
The basic law will be submitted to President Benigno Aquino for review before it is is sent to Congress for deliberations.
Rappler earlier reported some members nominated by the government were unhappy that some protocols were ignored.
A source says one of the issues involved transparency on how the commission decides on the contents of the basic law.
But in an interview with Mindanews, commission chair Mohagher Iqbal denies the basic law was railroaded.
He says the document --quote--  "passed through all levels of deliberations and decision-making.”
The crafting of the basic law marks the implementation phase of the peace process in Mindanao, following the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on March 27.

Story 5: PALACE PREPS BEGIN FOR OBAMA VISIT
Malacanang begins preparations for the official visit of US President Barack Obama to the Philippines.
The world leader will visit Manila from April 28 to 29-- part of his trip to 4 Asian nations.
A week before the visit, Palace Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma says Obama's itinerary is still being discussed with the US State Department.
Defense and security are expected to be on top of the agenda during the meeting between Obama and Aquino.
The visit comes in the middle of the Philippines' territorial dispute with China and as the Philippines and the US finalize a deal that would give Americans greater access to Philippine military bases.

Story 6: MALAYSIAN AIRLINES PLANE MALFUNCTIONS ON TAKE-OFF
The bad news keep coming for Malaysia Airlines.
On Monday, a plane with 166 people on board was forced to make an emergency landing after its landing gear malfunctioned on take-off.
Flight MH192, bound for Bangalore, India, turned back to Kuala Lumpur after a tire burst on take-off.
Malaysia Airlines faced its worst crisis with the disappearance of Flight MH 370 last month.
The search for the plane’s wreckage continues in the Indian Ocean.
Australian officials say two-thirds of the underwater search has been completed, with still no signs of the jet.

Story 7: PRESIDENT SAYS FERRY CREW'S ACTIONS 'TANTAMOUNT TO MURDER'
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye blames the crew of the ferry that sank with more than 400 people on board last week.
Park hits the failure of the captain and crew to act quickly when the ferry listed and capsized, a decision that she calls is --quote-- “tantamount to murder.
The president says Captain Lee Joon-Seok unnecessarily delayed the evacuation of passengers and then --quote-- “deserted them” by escaping with the crew members.
Lee and several crew members face charges of criminal negligence and deserting passengers.
Divers recover at least 64 bodies, but at least 238 people remain missing.
Anger grows in South Korea after a transcript of radio communications between the ferry and marine traffic control is released Sunday.
The transcript suggests the evacuation was delayed by panic and indecision as the crew and marine traffic control debated evacuating the sinking ferry.
The evacuation order was given 40 minutes after the ship ran into trouble.

Story 8: MOUNT EVEREST TRAGEDY TRIGGERS EXPEDITION CANCELLATIONS
Nepalese guides cancel expeditions on Mount Everest after at least 13 colleagues died in an avalanche Friday.
Grief-stricken guides, or sherpas, stop summit expeditions Monday to protest poor pay and welfare provisions.
Among the cancelled expeditions include the first winged jumpsuit flight off the summit.
The avalanche is the worst single accident in the history of the world’s highest peak.
Tragedy struck as a group of sherpas hauled gear up the mountain for international climbers waiting at base camp.
Another nine were rescued alive from the avalanche.
The cancellations will likely impact Nepal’s economy.
It relies on tourism for revenue, earning millions of dollars in annual climbing fees from Everest alone.

Story 9: THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ
At number 8, the luxurious apartment of Catholic cardinal Tarcisio Bertone raises eyebrows in the Vatican.
Italian daily La Repubblica reports Bertone’s move into a 600-square-meter
apartment with a 100 square-meter roof terrace contradicts Pope Francis’ call for a "poor Church."
Bertone's flat would be about 10 times bigger than the Pope’s apartment next door.
Bertone is the Vatican's former Secretary of State.
His term under Benedict XVI was highly divisive and marred with calls for his dismissal.
Pope Francis dismissed him October 2013.

At number 9, Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky takes his comments a little too far.
Agitated by a female journalist’s question during a press conference, Zhirinovsky reportedly pushed his aide toward the journalist, and told him to -quote- “start raping her hard” and to “go kiss her.”
The Russian parliament's ethics committee says it will investigate Zhirinovsky.

And at number 10, good news for Harry Potter fans.
In July, Japan is set to open its Harry Potter theme park.
It will feature attractions like the Hogwarts castle and Hogsmeade – similar to the one in Universal Studios, Florida.
Universal Studios Hollywood is also set to open the Wizarding World attraction in 2016.

Story 10: BRITAIN'S BABY PRINCE GEORGE VISITS AUSTRALIAN ZOO
For our social media post of the day:
Britain’s Prince George is fast becoming an internet darling.
In a trip to an Australian zoo with parents Prince William and Duchess Kate, the royal baby plays with an Australian bilby named after him.
Bilbies are desert-dwelling marsupials on the endangered wildlife list.
This marks George’s first public appearance in Australia, five days into the family's 10-day tour.

– Rappler.com

Newscast Production Staff