Items filtered by date: Sunday, 07 January 2018

Sereno least trusted, approved gov’t official – Pulse Asia

LEAST TRUSTED. A Pulse Asia survey shows that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is the least trusted government official. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler 

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno got the highest disapproval and distrust rating in Pulse Asia’s latest survey on top government officials.

She got a disapproval rating of 26% and a distrust rating of 33% in the survey conducted from December 10-15, and December 17, 2017 – the same time when the House of Representatives was hearing the impeachment complaint against her.


The percentage of those ambivalent toward her performance and trustworthiness were, in fact, higher than those who either viewed these positively or negatively.

Sereno got the biggest distrust and disapproval ratings among the ABC class at 38% and 30%, respectively.

Most people in class E were undecided about their perception towards the top magistrate. (READ: Sereno impeachment: Summary of the Chief Justice's earnings, expenses

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte remains the most trusted top government official. He was followed by Vice President Leni Robredo and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III who "continue to enjoy majority approval and trust ratings at the national level.”

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez saw almost equal figures for those who approved of his performance and trusted him, and those who were undecided.


Government offices

Of the 3 key government institutions, the Senate had the highest approval rating, followed by the House of Representatives and the SC.

The 3 offices got the approval ratings of 55%, 50%, and 48%, respectively. The highest rating recorded was in Mindanao where the Senate got an approval rating of 60%. The House and the SC both got 57% in the southern area.

Among the institutions, the SC, too, had the highest disapproval rating at 15% and distrust rating at 16%.

Appreciation and trust in the institutions were almost at the same level across all socioeconomic classes. Among the ABC classes, however, the SC had the most disapproval and distrust.

A quarter of the sector did not approve of the SC’s performance while 26% said they did not trust the High Court.

Despite lawmakers' occasional maneuverings, more people across classes A to E approved and trusted the House more than the SC.

The survey, which covered 1,200 respondents aged 18 years old and above, had a margin of error of +/- 3% at the 95% confidence level. –


'Pahalik': The less tiring path to a Nazareno prayer come true

HOLY KISS. Devotees reach for the foot of the dark-skinned Jesus and plant their prayer with a kiss. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler 

MANILA, Philippines – Touch, perhaps, is the most central experience in the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Millions every year attempt touch the image of a dark-skinned Jesus Christ, brought from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church in downtown Manila. It is an exhausting pilgrimage, leaving authorities to care each year for devotees who faint because of the heat and the crowds.


But there's another way of reaching the image, as other believers have learned, a path that's less crowded, less exhausting, and far safer than joining the procession: the Pahalik.

It is a tradition that requires the devotees' patience, with some camping out for over 20 hours in Luneta Park to secure a spot in a line leading to the image.

It consists of at least two things: waiting in line with a prayer, then literally planting it through a kiss on or touch of the dark-skinned image of Jesus Christ.

"Itong gagawing Pahalik ay isang tradisyon at kultura ng mga hindi lamang ng mga Katoliko lalo't higit ng mga deboto ng Nazareno, na gusto nilang nahahawakan ang Diyos," Quiapo Church Vicar Douglas Badong told Rappler in an interview on January 8, when the image was opened for public visitation a day before the popular procession.

(This Pahalik is a tradition and part of a culture not only of Catholics and especially devotees of the Nazarene who want to touch the Lord.)

According to Badong, the image is always open for touching from visitors all year round, but January 8 is a special day as it directly precedes the day of the feast.

It is so special or "holy" in fact, that people fall in line longer than 24 hours before the image is made available to them to touch. Like the believers who struggle to climb the image on January 9, people who wait and get a touch or kiss have stories of miracles of their own.

Early comers

EARLY BIRD. Sagada is jubilant about leading the line at the Pahalik. Rappler screengrab

EARLY BIRD. Sagada is jubilant about leading the line at the Pahalik. Rappler screengrab 

Among the first in the thousands-long lines of devotees was Arnel Sagada, a believer from Trece Martires, Cavite. He came on January 7 at 4 am and had waited for 28 hours before he was able to kiss the wooden statue.

Sagada first went to the Pahalik 13 years ago, during one of the lowest points of his life. He lost his parents and his job in 2004 and had no one to turn to.

He found refuge within the cemented walls of Quiapo Church, devoted himself to the Black Nazarene, and quickly recovered from the crisis. Besides helping him stand again, the visit in 2005 brought him blessings up until the present.

"Mahigit 24 hours na, pero okay lang, hindi kami nagsisisi, hindi kami napapagod kasi nandyan din ang pagsuporta sa amin ng Poong Nazareno (I have been here for more than 24 hours, but it's okay, we do not regret anything because the Holy Nazarene has supported us)," he said.

Friends in faith

A few people ahead of Sagada were Richard Songalia and Tess San Agustin, friends whose bond was strengthened by their waiting in line to touch the image. They met in 2017.

"Meron kaming samahan sa Pahalik Nazareno (We have an organization for the Pahalik for the Nazarene)," said a proud San Agustin, pointing to people wearing maroon-colored shirts painted with the same design as hers.

San Agustin visited earlier, participating in the Pahalik ever since she was 7 years old. She was brought by her parents, who could not take her with them to the more chaotic procession, she said.

Now she has two kids of her own – the answer to her prayers from years of waiting to touch and kiss the image.

BEDECKED. Songalia wears necklaces and handkerchiefs dedicated to the Black Nazarene. Rappler screengrab

BEDECKED. Songalia wears necklaces and handkerchiefs dedicated to the Black Nazarene. Rappler screengrab 

Songalia, on the other hand, became a believer when a wish came true after he went home to Caloocan City after working abroad for 5 years.

"Nagstart po ako 1992, ang hiningi ko po ng awa, bigyan niya po ako ng lakas ng katawan, tibay ng pag-iisip, linisin niya ang aking puso para matuto ako na magmahal ng kapwa ko," he said.

(I started in 1992, I asked for strength in body and mind, and a clean heart to let me love my neighbors.)

About 26 years later, he waited for over 20 hours, and found acquaintances along the way.

Late yet hopeful

31-year-old Pasay resident Gio Elano was already late. He came at 7 am and stood at the end of the line of devotees slithering from the Quirino Grandstand to the giant Philippine flagpole along Roxas Boulevard.

"Late na nga ako eh. Dapat nga 5 am. Ganyan kasi, ganyan yung punta ko talaga. Galing ako ng work after shift, tapos 6 am diretso ako dito (I'm actually already late. I should've arrived at 5 am, my usual arrival time. It's because I came from work before I came here at 6 am)," he said, explaining that he works at a call center.

He started to line up for the Pahalik out of necessity, he said. He wanted to join a procession years before but was unable to hold on to the ropes that led to the image. There were simply too many people who competed for a grip.

"No'ng una, hindi ako naniniwala, pero tinry ko. Once, nag-wish ako so natupad siya and every year mostly thank you na lang (At first, I did not believe it, but I tried. Once, I wished and it came true and it's mostly thank yous after that)," he said.

Asked what his granted prayer was, Elano said he simply asked for a stable job and happiness for him and his siblings – prayers already answered.

With patience comes grace

ORGANIZER. Father Douglas Badong heads the volunteers for the Feast of the Black Nazarene 2018. Rappler screengrab

ORGANIZER. Father Douglas Badong heads the volunteers for the Feast of the Black Nazarene 2018. Rappler screengrab 

Given that the Pahalik requires less effort, it's easy to dismiss the tradition as a lesser version of joining the crawling march from Quiapo Church to the Quirino Grandstand.

Father Badong warned believers against thinking of their devotion this way.

"Isang grasya na ang matuto kang maghintay, nagtiis ka (It's already grace that you learned to wait, that you endured)," Badong said, pointing to devotees like Sagada, Songalia, San Agustin, and Elano who waited for hours and will continue to wait for hours in the name of their faith.

While the Pahalik is less tiring, the wait can get exhausting too. Some devotees back out of the wait mid-way out of impatience or exhaustion.

"So sa bawa't naghihintay, may kapalit na gantimpala (So each one who waits, receives something in return)," Badong added.

As done every year, the image of the Black Nazarene will be left open to the public until the early hours of January 9, when the tame Pahalik lines turn to a raging sea of people once the procession begins. –


Authorities flag down smoke-belching, dilapidated vehicles

DILAPIDATED. The Inter-Agency Council on Traffic's Task Force Alamid conducts its Tanggal Usok, Tanggal Bulok campaign on January 8, 2018. Photo by Eloisa Lopez/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities flagged down public utility vehicles (PUVs) and private cars in parts of Metro Manila on Monday, January 8, for the Tanggal Usok, Tanggal Bulok campaign of the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (i-ACT).

The campaign, run by i-ACT's Task Force Alamid, aims to get rid of smoke-belching, dilapidated, and other "road-unworthy" vehicles, as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Among the vehicles flagged down on Monday were buses along EDSA and jeepneys along Agham Road in Quezon City, for smoke-belching, damaged wheels, unhinged screws, broken side mirrors, and rusty auto parts.

"Supposedly this 'road-unworthy' [bus] should already be impounded, but there's no order for that yet," Task Force Alamid officer Teddy Barandino said after flagging down a dilapidated Stella Mae bus.

"Hindi na siya worthy magdala ng buhay ng mga pasahero (It's not worthy to carry passengers). But we will follow the procedure na i-summon muna sila (which states they must be summoned first) to LTO where they will be tested," he added.

Once flagged down, the vehicles and their owners or drivers are given subpoenas to report to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) within 24 hours for tests on smoke emission and roadworthiness.

Only those who pass will be allowed back on the road, while those who fail will be impounded. Failure to appear before the LTO within 24 hours will also put the vehicle on Task Force Alamid's "hunted" list.

Rodjan Obdosantos, a driver whose jeepney has damaged wheels, was among the motorists flagged down along Agham Road. He explained that he does not own the jeepney, and was instructed to have it fixed on its number coding day.

Although bothered by the damage, Obdosantos said he must earn a living.

"Wala po kasi akong panggastos, kaya kailangan ko din bumiyahe (I don't have enough money, so I also have to continue working)," he added. (READ: 'Penalize owner, not driver, for smoke-belching vehicles')

The campaign is expected to run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in Mega Manila, which includes Metro Manila cities, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite.

Task Force Alamid includes enforcers from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine National Police (PNP) Highway Patrol Group (HPG), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and local government units (LGUs).

The task force was initially formed in preparation for heavier traffic last Christmas season. –


Sereno camp: We expect an ‘intensified’ smear campaign in 2018

IMPEACHMENT. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno braces for the resumption of the House impeachment hearings expected to expose the issues that several justices have against her. Photo by Lian Buan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – A week before the impeachment hearings resume at the House committee on justice, the camp of Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said they expect an "intensified" smear campaign against her.
“We expect her detractors to intensify their smear campaign against the Chief Justice to cover up for the fatally defective impeachment case. It is our position that if there is a strong case against the Chief Justice, it should have long been elevated to the Senate for trial,” Sereno’s spokesperson lawyer Jojo Lacanilao said in a statement on Monday, January 8.

Lacanilao also responded to reports that 10 justices in total will testify "against" Sereno. Lacanilao said a testimony is not necessarily against Sereno. (READ: Sereno impeachment: Cracks in the Supreme Court)

“Given the possible nature of their testimonies, it is unfair to conclude that the justices who are invited to the coming hearings are testifying against the Chief Justice,” Lacanilao said.

After retired justice Arturo Brion and Associate Justices Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam and Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Andres Reyes, and Samuel Martires will supposedly also testify.

Carpio has asked the justice committee for a specified list of topics should he testify.

Lacanilao said Carpio may testify on the allegation that Sereno manipulated the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) shortlist to exclude Jardeleza, then a solicitor general.

Lacanilao pointed out that it was Carpio’s issue with Jardeleza which led Sereno to invoke the unanimity rule in coming up with the JBC shortlist.

“Carpio’s main contention was that Jardeleza had seriously compromised the Philippine interests in deleting the country’s position that Itu Aba is not an island but a rock. If the arbitral tribunal did not rule on this, Itu Aba would be the basis for China to encroach on Philippine territory,” Lacanilao said.

When the hearings concluded for 2017 last December, committee chairman Reynaldo Umali said that the testimonies raise the question of whether Sereno is still fit to hold public office.

Lacanilao maintained that all the information threshed out so far do not constitute an impeachable offense.

Complainant Larry Gadon is confident he has accusations to unleash against Sereno.

"Sila na lang ang hindi nakakaalam na malapit na ma-impeach si CJ Sereno (They are the only ones who don't know that Sereno will soon be impeached and convicted) because of their denials and refusal to see and hear the truth," Gadon said. –


Police name suspects in Pasay hotel robbery

The images of the suspects in the Mabuhay Manor robbery (Gary de Leon, News5)

MANILA, Philippines — Police have released the identities of four men they believe pulled off last week’s armed robbery at the Mabuhay Manor Hotel in Pasay City.

The suspects were identified through footage captured by the hotel’s closed circuit television cameras during the January 2 holdup and photos picked out by witnesses from the rogue’s gallery of the Pasay City police.

Authorities also released photos of the four — Daniel Constantino, James Carl Palomo, Brent Michael Bravo and Norman Deyta — all of whom have previous records for robbery and murder.

The manhunt continues for the suspects, who seized P53,000 in cash and some P1.5 million worth of valuables from guests after they failed to force the duty manager of show them and open the hotel vault.


Activists, lawmakers question yearlong martial law extension before SC

(left to right) NUPL chairman Neri Colmenares, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr., ACT Rep. France Castro, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, ACT Rep. Antonio Tinio and lawyers Minverva Lopez and Kathy Panguban after filing the petition questioning the yearlong of extension of martial law in Mindanao at the Supreme Court. (Bayan photo)
MANILA, Philippines — Activists, including lawmakers, human rights lawyers and lumad and peasant leaders, petitioned the Supreme Court on Monday, January 8, for a temporary restraining order and an “inclusive and thorough judicial query” into the yearlong extension of martial law in Mindanao.

The petition, filed with the assistance of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, claimed the extension of martial law “is actually more a threat against dissenters and activists than armed rebels” aside from lacking “the factual basis required by the Constitution.”

It accused the executive and legislative branches of government of an “unholy alliance to summon (the) specter” of martial law by “peddling imagined fears of the persistence of enemies the government had claimed to have already vanquished, whimsically shifting the discourse on a decades-old armed struggle rooted in prevailing poverty and social inequality towards a nebulous narrative of ‘terrorism’,” none of which, it said, “serves as basis for the extension of martial law.”

Whatever the reason for the extension, it said, whether “fear, fancy, or plain and simple malevolence, its effects on people’s rights, lives and liberties are all too real,” thus the need to petition the high court as part of “every Filipino’s sworn duty to guard against and oppose any attempt, any threat and any transgression to our vital freedoms and democracy. “

The petitioners are lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat, Compostela Farmers’ Association chairman Noli Villanueva, Rius Valle of the Save Our Schools Network, NUPL chairman Neri Colmenares, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chairperson Carol Araullo, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr., Karapatan secretary general Cristina E. Palabay, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate, Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Emi De Jesus and Arlene Brosas, Anakpawis Representative Ariel B. Casilao, Act Teachers’ Representatives Antonio Tinio And France Castro, and Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Jane I. Elago.

Respondents are President Rodrigo Duterte, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, and Philippine National Police Director General Ronaldo Dela Rosa.

Duterte first declared martial law in Mindanao for 60 days, as provided by the Constitution, on May 23 last year after fighting broke out between government forces and extremist gunmen in Marawi City.

When this period lapsed, he asked for and got Congress’ concurrence to extend it until the end of 2017.

However, despite declaring Marawi “liberated” in late October, Duterte, ostensibly on the recommendation of the military and police, again sought and got Congress’ approval for another yearlong extension, this time citing not only the continuing threat from extremists who survived the fighting in Marawi and were supposedly seeking new recruits and plotting more attacks, bu also the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf and communist rebels.

Before this, Duterte had terminated peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which represents the communists.

The petition before the Supreme Court invoked “the power of judicial review to determine the sufficiency of the factual basis for the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus (or any extension thereof) under the aforesaid constitutional provision which states that:


Section 18. xxx.


The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.”

The petition said extending martial even after declaring the fighting in Marawi over “is a violation of the Constitution, which only allows the imposition of martial law when there is actual rebellion and when the operations of civilian government are substantially impaired that public safety should be preserved.”

“In seeking an open, inclusive, thorough judicial determination of the sufficiency of the factual basis for such extension or suspension,” the petitioners asked:

“What is the cogent basis for extending Martial Law for a full year, way longer than the original declaration and first extension when fighting in Marawi was still ongoing?
“Is it not strange that the second extension is set for a period that is much longer than the period when fighting was still ongoing, there being no fighting in Marawi now?
“What are the parameters for setting the time frame? What would be the parameters for the possible earlier lifting of Martial Law?
“How will the AFP gauge their success?
“Or is this arbitrary or subjective and left entirely to the absolute discretion beyond the pale of legislative query or judicial review?
“Is Martial Law intended to quell a rebellion or is it just intended to restore public order and make government function again?
“If there are no parameters, then Martial Law can exist until there are rebels in Mindanao, even if such rebels do not pose a threat to public safety. These are nagging questions begging for satisfactory constitutional and factual answers.”

They asked the Supreme Court to “to correctly check and balance excesses of governmental authority of the governors with the more fundamental and rights and liberties of the governed.”

“The government is functioning in Davao City and the entire country, so why replace it with martial rule?” Colmenares asked in a statement from the NUPL ahead of the petition’s filing.

“Justifying martial law on grounds such as the rehabilitation of Marawi, or to ‘completely’ eradicate the rebels are not grounds under the Constitution,” he added. “Allowing these dangerously vague grounds will pave the way for President Rodrigo Duterte’s imposition of martial law in the entire county since he can claim that there are rebels even in Metro Manila. We will have a ‘24/7 convenience store martial law’ that is imposed at all hours every day of the week in the entire country. This cannot be allowed.”

As for using the fight against the New People’s Army as one of the bases for the extension, NUPL secretary general Ephraim Cortez noted: “The military does not need martial law to shoot and arrest armed groups such as the NPA. The real targets here are ordinary activists and dissenters who are critical of President Duterte’s human rights record and anti-people policies such as people’s organizations, the church, media and independent government bodies.”

He predicted that “the massive human rights violations in Mindanao will be extended with the extension of martial law.”

The NUPL also said the government’s failure “to explain what specific martial law powers it really needs against the armed groups is because their real agenda is nationwide martial law against critics.”

“This martial law is nothing more than to give President Duterte broad powers to attack those who disagree with him,” the human rights lawyers said. As they called on “members of the legal profession and the Filipino people to oppose martial law and a return to dark days of the Marcos dictatorship.”


Speaker’s ‘slow Senate’ quip earns rebuke from Ping but pits Koko vs Drilon

Senator Panfilo Lacson, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Senator Franklin Drilon. (file photos from InterAksyon and PhilStar)
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson lashed at Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for what he described as an “assault” that “is at the very least uncalled for and smacks of unparliamentary conduct.”

Lacson was hitting back at Alvarez for calling the Senate “mabagal na kapulungan” or the “slow chamber,” referring to its supposed failure to act on measures approved by the House of Representatives, such as the bill restoring the death penalty, which is opposed by several senators.

Ironically, Alvarez’s remarks also pitted Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III against the minority leader, Senator Franklin Drilon, who had urged him to “rise above partisan political interest to defend the Senate regardless of his political affiliation.”

“I have already defended the Senate by responding to what the Speaker has said,” Pimentel said in a message. “Why does he (Drilon) want me to continue (the) word war with the Speaker??? He (Drilon) belongs to (the) LP (Liberal Party) while the speaker and I belong to PDP (Laban). Hence, why should I do that?

Pimentel is president of the pro-administration PDP-Laban, Alvarez its secretary general. President Rodrigo Duterte is the party chairman.

Reacting earlier to Alvarez’s criticism, Pimentel reminded the Speaker that the Senate was not subordinate to the House and vice versa.

“A measure before it becomes law must pass both chambers. That is the basic principle. We have to respect the decision of each chamber,” he said.

In his reply to Alvarez, Lacson said: “The Senate works differently from the House in that we think and act more independently as individual members.”

“Nobody, not the Senate president and even the president of the Republic can dictate on us,” he stressed.

Alvarez, however, stood pat on his assertion, saying he and Lacson “are both entitled to our own opinions.”


Duterte keeps highest trust, approval rating among key govt officials: Pulse Asia survey

The latest Pulse Asia survey, which had President Duterte maintaining the highest trust and approval ratings among key officials, also showed that most Filipinos remain appreciative of the work of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III. INTERAKSYON COMBO IMAGE
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte maintained the highest trust and approval rating from among the top government officials, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.

In its December 10 to 15 and 17, 2017 survey, Duterte received an approval rating of 80 percent and a trust rating of 82 percent.

The survey also showed that most Filipinos remain appreciative of the work of Vice President Leni Robredo (59 percent approval rating; 58 percent trust rating) and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (57 percent approval rating; 53 percent trust rating).

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has an approval rating of 42 percent and trust rating of 37 percent, while Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who is facing an impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives obtained only 31 percent approval rating and 27 percent trust rating.

As in its previous Ulat ng Bayan surveys, Pulse Asia’s nationwide survey was based on a sample 1,200 respondents. It has a +/-3% error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.

Of the three key institutions of government, only the Senate registered majority approval and trust scores in the survey (55 percent and 56 percent, respectively). Approval for and trust in the House of Representatives were expressed by a near majority of Filipinos (50 percent and 49 percent, respectively).

The Supreme Court got 48 percent approval rating and 45 percent trust rating.

Among the news developments which preoccupied the Filipinos in the weeks prior to and during the conduct of the survey are:

• The ratification by Congress of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill which seeks to raise more revenues for the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program, among others, and its approval of the P 3.7 T national budget for 2018;

• The approval by Congress of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s request to extend the declaration of martial law in Mindanao for a year or until 31 December 2018;

• The hearings being conducted by the House Committee on Justice on the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno;

• The suspension of the Department of Health’s (DOH) dengue immunization program following the admission of Sanofi, the manufacturer of the Dengvaxia vaccine, that it would have severe oreven fatal effects on those who have no prior dengue virus infection;

• The return of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the Duterte administration, with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) remaining as the lead agency;

• President Duterte’s issuance of a proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organization.

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