It's the first day of the filing of candidacies for next year’s elections. Lawmakers, meanwhile, are calling on the President to suspend excise taxes on fuel. These are the top stories ANC will be covering today:
On the world stage
President Duterte landed in Bali, Indonesia at around 9:09 p.m. Wednesday night for the ASEAN Leaders Conference on Thursday. He will get the chance to address leaders of the meeting to talk about sustainable growth and global cooperation, which are the themes of the gathering. Other topics include greater regional security and stability. Let’s see what he will bring to the table. Will he lapse into his old themes of the war on drugs, criminality and corruption? Will he mention the disputes in the South China Sea? He is slated to have several “pull-aside” meetings with other leaders including Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The two will be talking about terrorism. Duterte will also hand over a $300,000 donation for the recovery and rehabilitation of Palu, which was struck by an earthquake and tsunami two weeks ago. The President is scheduled to arrive back in Davao at 11:50 p.m. ANC will air any arrival statement and press conference the Chief Executive might give.
Referendum of the administration
Today is the start of the period for the filing of candidacies for the 2019 national and local elections. Midterm elections are considered a referendum on the current administration. How well or bad the administration candidates do in the polls may reflect approval or disapproval of the administration and its policies. The country’s major political parties are keeping their cards close to their chest by not revealing their line-ups yet. Notable early birds include Neri Colmenares who will file his COC under the Makabayan bloc at 10:30 a.m. He ran for senator in 2016 but landed in 20th place. In the latest Pulse Asia survey, he ranked between 28 to 35. Marawi Bakwit leader Samira Gutoc is also set to file her COC. ANC will be reporting on the proceedings right from the Comelec headquarters in Intramuros, Manila. Meanwhile, on ANC’s Early Edition, Roger Do of Q Search will be guest to talk about data analytics and elections. Also on Early Edition is Gregorio Larrazabal on the start of filing of COCs. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa will also be on ANC’s Headstart to talk about his political plans. He has confirmed his plan to run for senator.
Biting the bullet
The pressure is on for the Duterte administration to suspend excise taxes on fuel in an attempt to bring down the prices of goods and rein in inflation. The President himself said that he may do just that. Minority senators are calling on the President to suspend the tax as soon as possible. Will the Duterte government bite the bullet and suspend the taxes? Will they tarry or delay and what are the costs? Meanwhile, the PSE is languishing in the 7000 level with inflation as the dominating narrative of market movement. But can the suspension of fuel excise taxes be the shot in the arm the market has been waiting for?
Matrix of the drug trade
President Duterte released a “secret special report” that included a matrix of lawmen allegedly involved in the drug trade. One of the officers named in the matrix, former Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto, has denied any involvement in the drug trade. The PNP has also filed cases against 10 suspects allegedly involved in the ambush of PDEA agents in Lanao del Sur which led to the deaths of five agents.
Focus returns to the Makati RTC branch 148 which might issue a resolution on Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ coup d’etat case. This is a non-bailable offense and an arrest warrant could be issued for the lawmaker. Meanwhile, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana was quoted as saying they don’t know where amnesty documents of the Magdalo soldiers are. This puts the Magdalo soldiers in a precarious situation. Will they find themselves in the same boat as Trillanes whose amnesty was revoked by the President?
Court of Appeals Associate Justice Ramon Hernando has been appointed to the Supreme Court by President Duterte. He will also be the youngest justice on the court and will serve until 2036. Hernando is also a graduate of San Beda College of Law like President Duterte. ANC will continue to provide background on Hernando to familiarize ourselves with this newest member of the High Court.