#ThewRap: Things you need to know, May 4, 2017

Hello! Here are the stories you shouldn't miss this Thursday.

REJECTED. DENR secretary Gina Lopez during her confirmation hearing at the Senate in Pasay City on March 8, 2017. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler










Hello, Rappler readers!

Two women Cabinet members took a beating at their confirmation hearings before the Commission on Appointments on Wednesday, May 3. Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, who ordered some big mining sites closed, was rejected by the CA, sending miners rejoicing and environmentalists fuming. Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo's confirmation was deferred due to questions on her communist links, and later insulted by Senator Vicente Sotto III for being a single mother: Netizens, including celebrities, were all over social media, raging and horrified at the lawmaker's you-just-got-knocked-up remark. Meanwhile, investigations are being initiated in the Senate and by the Commission on Human Rights into the involvement of a Manila cop in the summary execution of drug suspects, as revealed in a Rappler investigative report. Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, meanwhile, is being asked by the House of Representatives to explain what appears to be a misuse of P66.45 million in funds meant to assist tobacco farmers.

Here are the big stories in the Philippines and around the world you shouldn't miss.

Senator, rights commission seek probe into cops' summary killing of drug suspects

Minority Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is seeking a Senate investigation into some policemen's killing of drug suspects, citing accounts gathered by foreign and local media, including Rappler. His Senate Resolution Number 353 urges the committee on public order and dangerous drugs to probe the “systemic problem” in the Philippine National Police’s implementation of the war on drugs. The Commission on Human Rights also said it will most definitely look into the claims of summary killings under the guise of legitimate police operations in Tondo, Manila. However, CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon said they are hoping there would be a "concerted effort" among institutions to bring justice to the victims.

Mine-closing environment secretary rejected by Commission on Appointments

The Commission on Appointments on Wednesday, May 3, rejected the ad interim appointment of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez after 3 confirmation hearings, causing mining stocks to surge. Mining companies rejoiced, while environmentalists were outraged, saying the CA decisionshowed the true colors of the Duterte administration in relation to mining. During Lopez's first two confirmation hearings in March, lawmakers quizzed her on her technical knowledge of the job as environment secretary. This, after her controversial orders in February to close down or suspend mining operations in the country, and to cancel mineral production sharing agreements. Lopez expressed sadness that "business interests have run the day." Attempts to tally the results of the CA's secret voting reveal that one extra lawmaker is claiming to have voted for Lopez's confirmation but the final tally does not reflect that.

PH social welfare chief questioned for Leftist link, insulted for being single mother

The Commission on Appointments on Wednesday, May 3, deferred the confirmation of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo after grilling her over her links to the Communist Party of the Philippines. Responding to a question from Senator Panfilo Lacson, Taguiwalo admitted that the CPP recommended her for the Cabinet position but clarified that she is not a member of the group. What triggered online rage, however, was the insult that the secretary – a former activist and university professor – received from Senator Vicente Sotto III, who referred to her being a single mother: "In the street language, when you have children and you are single, ang tawag do'n ay na-ano lang (we call that you just got knocked up)." Sotto later apologized that his "joke" offended "overly sensitive" people, pointing out that "almost everybody [in the room] laughed."

Marcos daughter to be investigated for misuse of funds for tobacco farmers

The House committee on good government and public accountability wants Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos to personally explain why the capitol used P66.45 million in tobacco funds to purchase motor vehicles. The panel on Tuesday, May 2, began its probe into the province's use of its shares from the excise taxes imposed on locally manufactured Virginia-type cigarettes. Under Republic Act Number 7171, 15% of cigarette excise taxes shall be allotted for a special support fund for tobacco farmers, who may use the money for cooperative, livelihood, agro-industrial, and infrastructure projects.

Century Properties ties up with Bakrie Group of Indonesia for themed developments in PH

Century Properties Group has agreed on a joint venture with one of Indonesia's largest conglomerates, the Bakrie Group, in a deal seen to bring about the rise of 3 new themed developments in the country: a Media City, a Sports City, and a Technology Corridor. Century Properties announced in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday, May 3, that its chairman and CEO Jose EB Antonio signed a memorandum of understanding with Bakrie Global Ventura (Bakrie Global) CEO Anindya Novyan Bakrie on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit last Friday, April 28.

3,000 more staff to root violent content out of Facebook

Facebook said on Wednesday, May 3, it is hiring an extra 3,000 staff to root out violent content as the social media giant faces scrutiny for a series of killings and suicides broadcast on its platform. "We're working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner – whether that's responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down," chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page. His announcement came a week after a 20-year-old Thai man broadcast live video on the world's most popular social media platform, showing him killing his baby daughter before committing suicide.

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