Officials of the Duterte administration blow hot and cold on China. Here are the big stories making the headlines on ANC today:
Blowing hot and cold
Officials of the Duterte administration seem to have a problem with consistency when it comes to China and the West Philippine Sea. Sometimes, they defend the president when he pivots to China. But there are times they can be critical of China especially when it comes to the West Philippine Sea. On Wednesday, officials confirmed diplomatic protests have been “fired” at China for the passage of Chinese warships through the Sibutu Strait without prior clearance and the swarm of 113 Chinese vessels around the Filipino-occupied Pag-asa Island. Meanwhile, two Chinese “tourists” were caught taking pictures inside a military camp in Palawan, which is facing the West Philippine Sea. National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said he sees the influx of Chinese tourists in the country as a “security risk.” Foreign Affairs Sec. Teddy Locsin Jr. also wants to end “visa on entry” for Chinese tourists. But all this tough talk can amount to nothing when the president reinforces his pivot to China in his speeches.
That’s how much the Philippine Charity and Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) lost during the shutdown of lotto operations. PCSO Gen. Manager Royina Garma said there was “something wrong” with the operations of their Small Town Lottery (STL) because of a drop in revenues. But she didn’t offer any other details and answer the questions related to the shutdown. Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) said they would conduct lifestyle checks on the PCSO board and ex-General Manager Alex Balutan.
The Palace said it is open to making Dengvaxia available as the country reels from the rise in dengue cases. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president is open to the return of Dengvaxia as long as it would “benefit the Filipino people.” He said “experts” must weigh in and show there is benefit in using the vaccine. Whatever happened to the high-profile detractors of the vaccine now that the country’s public health infrastructure is scrambling to deal with the spread of dengue?
Revising the bar exams
If Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen had his way, the bar exams would be a “pass-or-fail” affair, with no mention of the score. He also said past bar questions should be posted on the Supreme Court’s website. But Leonen, who will chair the 2020 bar examination, will have to defend his suggestions before the 15-member Supreme Court which has the power to approve the proposals.
Ten years after she passed away, former President Cory Aquino’s closest aides talks to ANCX about the final hours of the country’s icon of democracy. All of them—from her PSG and food taster to her press secretary—stayed close to her even after she left Malacañang.