A new China-backed trade pact is up for discussion at the ASEAN Summit in Singapore. And another case before Sandiganbayan could spell doom for the Marcoses, or vindicate them. These are the stories making the headlines on ANC today:
President Duterte is in Singapore for the ASEAN Summit. In his remarks on Monday, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, hosts of this round of the summits, made a call for open markets amid rising protectionism. He made the statement as a trade dispute rages between Beijing and Washington. World leaders are also expecting updates on the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that includes the 10 ASEAN members, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand but excludes the U.S. Many see the RCEP as a rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump’s increasing unilateralist approach, adopting an “America first” or “America only” stance when it comes to international trade. Trump skipped the summit, sending US Vice President Mike Pence. Observers see this as a withdrawal from any involvement in shaping world trade and raises questions about U.S. commitment to Asia. After Singapore, the president will fly to Papua New Guinea for the APEC Summit.
Age of criminals
PNP Chief Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde said they would consider the age and health of former First Lady Imelda Marcos in her looming arrest. Netizens are contrasting this with other elderly criminals who have been arrested and jailed, like the 79-year old man who was caught for allegedly stealing a bag of chocolates in 2012. Also, the Marcos family’s massive P200 billion forfeiture case is up for decision by the Sandiganbayan. If this case goes against the Marcoses, it could deal the death blow to any more of their political aspirations in the coming elections. Or vindicate them before the electorate. Sen. Chiz Escudero, whose father served under Marcos as agriculture secretary, will be on ANC’s Headstart. He earlier said one of the grounds for a pardon is that there should be no pending case or appeal for her conviction and that the conviction should be final before she can be considered for a pardon. He also said the conviction won’t affect her candidacy for 2019 polls. Activists also want to take the body of Ferdinand Marcos out of the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Powwow for peace
Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process Jesus Dureza guaranteed there would be no arrest for NDF negotiators Luis Jalandoni and Fidel Agcaoili if they come home to talk to President Duterte. Dureza is hopeful the talk would yield positive results. But this will all depend on the president. Expect the president to talk more about this meeting in the days to come.
The budget of the DOH will be deliberated at a Senate hearing at 10 am. The controversy over Dengvaxia could be discussed. More are said to have died of dengue than those who allegedly died from Dengvaxia. This may be one of the points raised in the hearing.
SC en banc
There will be the usual Tuesday briefing on the SC’s en banc session. A decision could possibly come out on the challenge to the Bangsamoro Organic Law.