Word war over war on drugs
Who is in the right and who is wrong on the controversial shabu shipment? Meanwhile, the government struggles and scrambles for its next move against Sen. Antonio Trillanes. Here are the stories on ANC’s newscasts today:
Word war worsens
The word war on the controversial P6.8-billion shabu shipment is heating up. Customs Commission Isidro Lapena held a press conference and claimed that drug syndicates have launched a hatchet job against him. He also said the presscon of PDEA chief Aaron Aquino after the recovery of the magnetic lifters "burned" follow-up operations. PDEA, meanwhile, said it has no intent to discredit any agency in the probe on the shabu shipment. Whistleblower Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang said Lapena is covering up for drug smugglers by denying that magnetic lifters seized in Cavite in August did not contain illegal drugs. Who will be proven right here? The House will hold an inquiry 10 a.m. into why the BOC can’t seem to prevent large-scale drug smuggling in the country. Lapena will be on ANC’s Headstart.
Where the President stands
On which side of the shabu shipment controversy is the Palace and the President taking? Conventional wisdom says he should be taking a side here since this involves his war on drugs, a campaign promise, and his pet project. In his last statement on the matter in August, President Duterte said the PDEA’s claim that the shabu inside the magnetic lifters was “pure speculation.” The President is due to give out awards at 3:30 pm in the Palace. Then he will confer the National Artist awards at 4:30 pm. ANC will be alert to any speech the President might give.
Struggling and scrambling
The government looks like its scrambling for a strategy in dealing with Monday’s decision on the Trillanes case. Presidential spokesperson Sal Panelo earlier said Solicitor General Jose Calida will file an appeal before the Court of Appeals. But later in the day, DOJ Sec. Menardo Guevarra said they will file a petition for partial reconsideration of the Makati RTC decision. According to Guevarra, they will contest the factual findings of Judge Andres Soriano that Trillanes indeed filed an application for amnesty and admitted his guilt for the crime of coup d’etat.
President Duterte has approved the telecom franchise of the Villar family-owned Streamtech Systems Technologies Inc. Is this the third telco? The Villar matriarch is one of the President’s allies in Senate. Another Villar is the President’s secretary for Public Works and Highways.
Joint military exercises
The navies of China and ASEAN countries began their joint maritime exercise in Zhanjiang, Guangdong. The Philippines sent the BRP Dagupan City, mainly an amphibious transport and logistics support ship. The point of the exercises is to practice the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, as well as advance defense cooperation and maritime security. This is the first military exercises for ASEAN and the first with China. The exercises are being conducted as China tangles with some ASEAN countries over claims in the South China Sea.