Rappler Newscast | June 20, 2014

Today on Rappler.

REVILLA SURRENDERS TO ANTI-GRAFT COURT

Senator Bong Revilla is now in jail.

As Revilla makes his way to the court, it issues his warrant of arrest.

He is now detained in Camp Crame.

Angela Casauay reports.

Taking everything he learned from acting and politics, Senator Bong Revilla surrenders to the authorities, but not before putting on a show for his fans.

Before leaving for Sandiganbayan, Revilla's family and supporters pray over him in a mini rally in front of his house in Bacoor, Cavite. 

He waves at them, shakes their hands, and promises a happy ending. 

BONG REVILLA JR, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Huwag kayong mag-alala. Hindi naman po ako mawawala. Nandito pa rin ako at babangon pa rin. Maaaring maikulong nila si Bong Revilla ngunit hindi nila makukulong ang pagmamahal ko sa inyong lahat. 

(Don't worry, I won’t be gone. I’ll still be here and I will rise again. They may jail Bong Revilla, but they can never imprison my love for you.)

When he leaves, a convoy of 10 cars trail behind him. 

In the background, a mobile sound system plays his original song “Salamat, Kaibigan.”

His next stop before Sandiganbayan: the Bacoor church. 

Surrounded by family, he hears a short mass especially held for him.

Revilla turns himself in to the anti-graft court. 

He says he is ready to go to jail. 

BONG REVILLA JR, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Magbabasa tayo ng Bible, exercise. Sit ups, push ups para paglabas ko cute pa rin ako. Pogi pa rin. 

(I will read the Bible, exercise. I’ll do push ups, sit ups so that when I come out, I’ll still look good.) 

Revilla is the first senator to go to jail over the pork barrel scam. 

Prosecutors say he is the senator who bagged the largest amount of public funds.

Revilla says this does not spell the end of his political career. 

Nor will it dampen his hopes of a presidential run in 2016.  

BONG REVILLA JR, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Kung hilingin ng taumbayan, tumakbo tayo, tatakbo ako. Malay mo first time nasa loob ng kulungan, maging pangulo. 

 (If the people wish for me to run, I will run. You never know, it might be the first time we elect a President who is in jail.)

ANGELA CASAUAY, REPORTING: In his movies, Revilla always turns in the bad guys to the police. 

In this real life drama, he ends up turning himself in. 

Despite the twists in the plot, Revilla stays on top of the situation – an actor for all seasons. 

How he'll manage to keep up the gimmicks in jail is another matter.

Angela Casauay, Rappler.

Revilla is one of 3 senators accused of participating in a long-running scam, where lawmakers allegedly diverted funds meant for development projects.

Senators Revilla, Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada all insist they are innocent.

The three say they were targeted because they are members of the opposition.

But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima lauds the arrest as a "milestone."

She tells Agence France-Presse, "We're accomplishing what some people said was a near impossible task to have these big personalities who are perceived as untouchable finally prosecuted."

So far, only Revilla and his staff Richard Cambe have been detained.

Twenty of the 54 accused in the scam post bail, including the children of alleged mastermind Janet Napoles, former Technology Resource Center head Dennis Cunanan, and Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA POST OF THE DAY

Philippine social media has a field day generating memes on Senator Revilla’s arrest.

There’s the Panday mugshot, a meme of Napoles, Enrile, Estrada and Revilla singing along to “Salamat Kaibigan,”

a Game of Thrones-inspired meme with the famous line “I Demand Trial By Combat,” 

and a photo of Revilla wearing a shirt with a Biblical quote side by side Jesus Christ. 

The caption reads “You already used me as a reason -- you had to print it on your T-shirt.”

  

FOR NOW, NO JAIL FOR JINGGOY

While Senator Revilla is already detained at Camp Crame, the arrest warrant for Senator Jinggoy Estrada has yet to be signed. 

Like Revilla, Estrada says he’s also willing to surrender. 

But his lawyer Alexis Abastillas says the senator will file a motion for bail if an arrest warrant is issued. 

They will also question before the Supreme Court the Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause.

In a radio interview, Estrada says he will wait and see how things go Monday morning. 

Reports say he will drop by Polk Street in Greenhills to meet with his parents, former President Joseph Estrada and former Senator Loi Ejercito, before heading to Camp Crame.

This will not be his first time in jail.

In 2001, he was arrested for plunder along with his father for receiving payoffs from illegal numbers game jueteng.

The younger Estrada was later acquitted.

  

ENRILE STAYS CALM, KEEPS LEGAL STRATEGY A MYSTERY

Facing his third arrest in a long and rocky political career, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile remains calm.

The 90-year-old senator is accused of pocketing P172 million or almost $4 million worth of development funds in the biggest corruption scandal in recent history. 

Enrile says he believes in a justice system adhering to the “straight and narrow path.”

He says he is confident the Supreme Court will rule in his favor, as other courts did in his other criminal cases.

Enrile was first arrested in 1990 for his alleged participation in the 1989 coup attempt against former president Cory Aquino.

He was arrested again in 2001, for the charge of inciting to sedition.

Supporters of his ally, deposed President Joseph Estrada had launched a siege on the Palace in an attempt to remove then president Gloria Arroyo from power.

Enrile opts to keep his legal strategy a mystery, saying he takes trials in stride.

He says as a lawyer, it’s his policy not to discuss his case in public.

  

NAPOLES CHILDREN POST BAIL

The court’s 3rd division orders Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles to post a bail bond of P450,000 or about $10,000 each.

The Napoles children earlier asked the court to defer the issuance of arrest warrants in relation to the graft charges against them over the fund diversion scandal.

Whistleblowers say the Napoles children were involved in the siphoning of the Malampaya fund worth P900 million or $20.5 million.

The special fund was meant for help farmers who lost their livelihood in 2009 because of typhoons. 

 

AQUINO FAILS TO PICK ANTI-GRAFT COURT JUSTICE WITHIN DEADLINE 

On Thursday, Malacanang returned the shortlist of candidates to the Judicial and Bar Council, the body that vets nominees to Philippine courts.

But the council stood its ground, saying it will not change any of the names they already gave the President.

On Friday, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno insisted the list is final.

Court watchers say the vacancy could affect the plunder and graft trials of 3 senators and around 50 others tagged in a fund diversion scandal.

The vacancy is in the Sandiganbayan’s 5th division, which is hearing the cases against Senator Jinggoy Estrada. 

 

BEIJING SENDS ANOTHER OIL RIG TO SOUTH CHINA SEA

Talks in Hanoi between Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Tan Dung ended in a deadlock Wednesday.

In a statement, the China Maritime Safety Administration says the new rig was dispatched that same day.

It’s not clear whether the rig will be deployed in disputed waters.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated after China deployed an oil rig last month in waters near the Paracel Islands claimed by Vietnam.

Beijing also accused Vietnamese ships of ramming Chinese vessels more than 1,500 times while Vietnam released footage showing a large Chinese ship near the rig chasing and ramming one of its fishing boats.

 

OBAMA TO SEND ADVISORS TO IRAQ, OPEN TO MILITARY ACTION

After meeting with his top security officials, US President Barack Obama approves sending up to 300 US advisers to help the embattled Iraqi government in response to the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS. 

Over the past week, the Sunni jihadists seized several key cities, left an unknown number of people dead, 

and alarmed Western nations who fear the establishment of a vast new "terror" haven. 

Obama says the American advisers will train and support Iraq’s military.

But he insists the US won’t send troops to Iraq again.

BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: We’re prepared to send a small number of additional American military advisors -- up to 300 -- to assess how we can best train, advise, and support Iraqi security forces going forward. American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region, and American interests as well.

  

THE wRap: YOUR WORLD IN ONE READ

wRap #7: PHILIPPINES LODGES COMPLAINT VS RACIST SINGAPORE BLOG

Singapore police investigate an anonymous blog, which lists ways to target and alienate Filipinos in the city-state. 

The post was titled “Filipino infestation in Singapore – 5 point guide to showing displeasure without breaking the law.”

It was published in May on a blog called "Blood Stained Singapore.”

Google has taken down the blog. 

The Philippine embassy in Singapore urged Singaporean authorities to take action against the blogger. 

wRap #8: DID PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL ORDER KIDNAPPING OF STUDENT ACTIVISTS?

Former military chief Wiranto confirms Indonesian presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto ordered the kidnapping of student activists between December 1997 and March 1998. 

Twenty-three student activists were kidnapped at the height of a movement to topple the 3-decade Suharto dictatorship. 

Wiranto released a document allegedly disputing Prabowo’s claims that he was acting on orders from higher-ups when he had the activists kidnapped. 

The document says Prabowo ignored the military's protocol and ordered a team to kidnap the activists.

wRap #10: NEANDERTHALS AS VICIOUS AS GEORGE RR MARTIN’S CHARACTERS

What do real-life scenarios from thousands of years ago have in common with popular TV series Game of Thrones? 

A lot, it seems, if we go by a recent study of Neanderthals.

New research on 430,000-year-old remains found in Spain suggests big jaws were the first prominent feature of pre-Neanderthals. 

These helped them adapt to a harsh, cold environment and indicated the humanoids were engaged in vicious fights for survival and power among kingdoms and clans.  

For the full top 10 visit Rappler.com’s ‘the wRap.’

 

CHILE HILLTOP FLATTENED FOR WORLD'S LARGEST TELESCOPE

The European Southern Observatory or ESO builds the European Extremely Large Telescope, in Chile's Atacama desert.

The ESO operates a number of high-powered telescopes in Chile because of the country’s dry and cold climate, and the lack of light pollution from cities.

Construction will take an estimated 10 years.

The first step involves razing around 5,000 cubic meters of rock off the top of Mount Armazones in the Atacama desert.

The telescope aims to give astronomers new insight into the origins of the universe and help search for potentially habitable planets elsewhere in the galaxy.

 

– Rappler.com

Newscast Production Staff