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“My brother is jobless and he is eager to go back to work with the government, even without any title,” said Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.

Rumors have been circulating that former Sen. Bongbong Marcos might be named interior and local government secretary after Ismael Sueno was sacked amid allegations of corruption and other abuses.

The President, however, said he is still scouting for people to fill positions in his Cabinet.

Lo and behold! If that presidential avowal is true, the next DILG secretary just might be a Zamboanga neighbor.

So whispered to me a friend. If when that happens, remember it was on the 11th of April that this saw print.

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Since the resumption on March 6 of the anti-drug campaign, dubbed as “Double Barrel Reloaded,” 564 drug personalities have been neutralized, bared Police Regional Office-Zamboanga Peninsula Director Billy Beltran. He said that 227 of the 564 neutralized drug personalities were arrested in separate anti-drug operations across the region, and 26 of the 227 arrested were drug pushers and 201 were users. Beltran said 334 of the 564 neutralized drug personalities appeared and surrendered to the different police stations in Zamboanga Peninsula. Beltran’s office has jurisdiction over the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, and the cities of Zamboanga and Isabela.

Of the 334, Beltran added 319 were drug users and the remaining 15 were pushers. He said three of the total 564 neutralized drug personalities were killed as they resisted the lawmen during anti-drug operations. He said they have so far seized 432 sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as “shabu,” and eight firearms during the conduct of the Double Barrel Reloaded.

He then urged the public to continuously support the anti-drug campaign of the government initiated and spearheaded by President Rodrigo Duterte. He said they have so far conducted 9,886 house visitations in the entire region since the resumption of the anti-drug campaign.

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A fifth of the Damascus regime’s remaining warplanes were destroyed when the US missile strike was launched on a Syrian air base, Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said Monday as Washington fired a fresh salvo of warnings at President Bashar al-Assad.

The public assessment of Friday’s missile strike and the forceful rhetoric came as G7 ministers met in Italy to

send a “clear and coordinated” message to Russia over its support for Damascus.

The United States on Friday blasted 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat air base near Homs, which the Pentagon said Assad’s jets had used to launch a deadly chemical attack on rebel-held Idlib province.

Mattis warned in a statement, noting that 20 percent of Assad’s “operational” aircraft were destroyed, “The United States will not passively stand by while Assad murders innocent people with chemical weapons, which are prohibited by international law and which were declared destroyed...The Syrian government would be ill-advised ever again to use chemical weapons.”

The warning came as White House spokesman Sean Spicer appeared to lower the threshold for new US action against Assad to include barrel bombs, a crude yet hugely destructive weapon of choice for the Syrian leader.

“If you gas a baby or drop a barrel bomb onto innocent people, you will see a response from” President Donald Trump, Spicer said.

But US officials later walked back Spicer’s remarks. “Nothing has changed in our posture,” a senior administration official said, adding “... the president has repeatedly made clear, he will not be telegraphing his military responses,”

Trump discussed Syria during a telephone call Monday with British Prime Minister Theresa May and “agreed that a window of opportunity now exists in which to persuade Russia that its alliance with Assad is no longer in its strategic interest,” Downing Street said in a statement.

The two leaders were looking to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s trip to Moscow this week as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a “lasting political settlement.”

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Retired police officer Arturo Lascañas, who fled the Philippines on Saturday, said on Monday he would testify against President Duterte once a complaint is filed against him in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“Wherever I am, I will stand by everything that I said (during) my second appearance (in) the Senate. Everything I said was the truth,” Lascañas told the Inquirer.

The confessed leader of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) that killed drug users and pushers and other criminal suspects allegedly on orders from Mr. Duterte, when the President was the mayor of Davao City, is now in Singapore.

He told the Inquirer on Saturday that he was leaving the Philippines because he had received information that people who wanted him dead had learned where his safe house was located. He did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said it may be interesting to find out who are spending for the trips and accommodations of retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas and his family who are reportedly staying in Singapore.

In a text message to reporters, Lacson said Lascañas’  family left for Singapore even before he testified at the Senate hearing on March 6.

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The owner of ABS-CBN Corp. brushed aside President Duterte’s latest criticism of bias against the media giant, saying it came with the territory.

“It’s part and parcel of our work being a media institution,” Eugenio “Gabby” L. Lopez III, ABS-CBN chair, told a worried shareholder during the company’s annual meeting on Thursday.

“Worried?” Were they during the Marcos when the giant TV network feasted then on the strongman?

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Among the top government officials in government, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo bore the biggest drop in net satisfaction rating for the first quarter of 2017, suffering an 11-point drop, according to the latest survey by Social Weather Stations.

The survey, was conducted from March 25 to 28.

Pres. Duterte did slip a little but his net satisfaction rating still remains high.

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said that he will offer to sell islands that Manila controls in the South China Sea to Beijing, but only when maritime tensions in the region dissipate.

After ordering the military to fortify islands already held by the Philippines, Duterte said he had no plans of getting involved in another bitter feud with Beijing. (By Jimmy Cabato)




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