Things you need to know today: July 21, 2016

It’s Thursday! Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss.










Hello, Rappler readers! We are 4 days away from President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation, and our feeds are dominated by news on his administration’s war on illegal drugs and its ugly relative called extrajudicial killings by various types of perpetrators.

Our maritime dispute with China, in the aftermath of the international tribunal’s ruling favoring the Philippines, remains a hot issue, and everybody awaits what policy pronouncement the Chief Executive will make about it in his speech.

Speaking of SONA, Move, in its yearly #StoryOfTheNation crowdsourcing campaign, wants you to tell the President about your daily hopes and struggles.

How do you address a president like Duterte?

First, he wants to be called, verbally, as “President Mayor” (or maybe plain “Mayor” if you’re Davaoeño-level close enough to him). Now, in writing, he wants to do away with the monarchial “His Excellency.” He is simply “President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.” Note the middle name – he specifically wants it there, as his tribute to his late mother.

Guess where the Ombudsman wants Gloria Arroyo after release

Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has not even gotten out of her hospital jail, despite the Supreme Court order to have her released immediately, and the Ombudsman already envisions her back in detention. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales says that even as her office will contest the SC ruling dismissing the plunder case against Arroyo, it is looking into a new plunder complaint against the ex-president – again involving state charity funds but covering a different period. Meanwhile, we are on Arroyo Release Watch, wondering if she, now congresswoman of Pampanga, will be able to attend President Duterte’s first SONA.

Somebody pays drug lords a visit at the maximum security prison

Should the drug lords, who continue to, well, lord it over the maximum security compound of the national penitentiary, be “honored” that Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa came over to have a chit-chat with them? What do you think? What we’re sure of is, the drug lords’ protectors at Bilibid who have allowed them to continue running their illegal drug operations from prison, aren’t exactly comfortable – Dela Rosa has just escorted the police’s elite striking force who will now man the prison. Meanwhile, the PNP chief agrees extrajudicial killing is a tempting option he tries very hard not to resort to.

South China Sea becomes stage for US-China rivalry

A week after the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that China’s “nine-dash-line” claiming the entire South China Sea is actually a none-dash-line, a top American navy commander announced that “The US Navy will continue to conduct routine and lawful operations around the world, including in the South China Sea.” Of course, Beijing is endless provoked. In the Philippines, it turned out two former solicitors general under the Aquino administration moved for the exclusion of the Recto Bank in the claim submitted to the tribunal.

Fund linked to Malaysian PM’s laundering case might just lose $1B

Will efforts to bring Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to justice finally bear fruit? In July 2015, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Najib had received payments totaling $681 million in his personal bank accounts in 2013. Subsequent reports said the money originated from 1MDB, Malaysia’s state investment fund, and may have exceeded $1 billion. Now, the United States’ justice department is moving to seize more than $1 billion in assets linked to 1MDB – assets that it says are “associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds.”

The revenge of Hong Kong book sellers

To date, 5 book sellers in Hong Kong have disappeared, and the only thing common among them is, they had sold publications considered anti-China. As a major annual book fair opens in the city, the publishing industry vows to take on China – they will be all the more selling books critical of Beijing.

What are your daily hopes and struggles? Tell President Duterte

Move, the civic engagement arm of Rappler, opens its annual crowdsourcing campaign called #StoryOfTheNation, in time for President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address. Take photos of your place and your community, and caption them with the issues you face, the solutions you have in mind, or simply with a plea that you want to make government.

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