Things you need to know today: July 20, 2016

Hello! Here's a round-up of news you need to know this Wednesday










Hello Rappler readers,

Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is set to walk free after being acquitted of plunder, and as seen in one photo, she's all smiles. President Rodrigo Duterte was also on her "thank you" list, because he let her case "take its course totally unhampered." Duterte hasn't personally reacted to the acquittal yet, but he just went on national TV to defend his foreign affairs chief. The President, a new survey also showed, is trusted by nearly all Filipinos as he begins his term.

Below are the big stories we think you shouldn't miss.

Arroyo set to walk free

President Rodrigo Duterte doesn't need to pardon former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, after all. Arroyo already got what she wanted from the Supreme Court – freedom. We still don't know how her successor and number one critic Benigno Aquino III is taking the news, but it's safe to say he's probably far from pleased.

Duterte defends Yasay

Barely 3 weeks into his term, President Rodrigo Duterte is already fending off criticism and speculations about one of his men: Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. While Yasay has drawn flak for what he's been saying – and not saying – about the Philippines' maritime dispute with China, Duterte's still got his back.

Duterte, Yasay to meet with Kerry

Speaking of President Duterte and Foreign Secretary Yasay, they'll be meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry here in Manila. Kerry's visit happens July 26 to 27, and comes shortly after the Hague ruling on Manila and Beijing's dispute.

Duterte enjoys record-high trust rating

A new Pulse Asia survey showed that 91% of Filipinos trust President Duterte, the highest ever trust rating since the survey was first conducted in 1999. A "sizeable majority" also trust Vice President Leni Robredo.

Tugade sorry for NAIA runway closure

Transportation chief Arthur Tugade apologized for the emergency closure of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) runway, which was a major headache for airlines and passengers. Tugade promised it'll never happen again.

Did Jose David Lapuz plagiarize?

Editors of an academic journal are claiming that Jose David Lapuz – who's reportedly in the running to head the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – committed plagiarism in his book, Perspectives in Politics: Public and Foreign; Rationalizing the Irrationalities of Politics. Rappler has been trying to get the side of both Lapuz and the UST Publishing House.

Republicans nominate Trump

It's official – controversial billionaire Donald Trump is the Republican Party nominee for US president. Just the other day, though, his wife Melania was accused of plagiarism – spurring countless jokes and criticism online and offline.

Last month was hottest June

Last month was actually the hottest June in modern history, according to US scientists. It was also the 14th straight month that the global temperature record was shattered – the longest streak in 137 years.

Freddie Aguilar has Torre de Manila 'solution'

The Torre de Manila condo project, perhaps the most (in)famous photobomber, was debated all the way to the Supreme Court. But music icon Freddie Aguilar said the solution is pretty simple, and we quote: "Para wala nang gulo, pagpapalitin ko po yung puwesto ng kalabaw tsaka ni Rizal (So there'll be no more problem, I'll just switch the position of the carabao and Rizal)."

...You be the judge.

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