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As predicted, Pres. Duterte is bent on extending the martial law period in Mindanao. Along that line, he has called for a special session of Congress on Saturday.

This comes following the submission to the President of the recommendation of the Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine National Police (PNP) on the matter.

Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216, , was signed  on May 23, 2017 while on an official visit to Russia, and under the 1987 Constitution, is set to expire on Saturday, July 22.

House Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas, and Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto had said that Duterte called for the special session to seek to extend martial law in Mindanao for another 60 days.

Duterte made it clear he will abide whatever recommendation the security forces would say.

AFP Chief-of-Staff Eduardo Año said that while he cannot disclose the contents of the AFP’s recommendation, the AFP will support whatever decision the President makes.

He he he, and the decision is - Go!. Keep watch.

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After suffering a slump in his approval and trust ratings in the first quarter of 2017, President Duterte’s ratings have bounced back to 82 percent and 81 percent, respectively, in the second quarter, based on the latest Pulse Asia survey results released on Monday.

Using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 respondents, the June 24-29 nationwide survey found that 82 percent of Filipinos approve of President Duterte’s work in the past three months. Only 5 percent expressed disapproval, while 13 percent were undecided.

Eighty-one percent of Filipinos also expressed their trust on the President, while 14 percent were undecided and 5 percent have little or no trust in him.

President Duterte’s latest approval and trust ratings are higher than the 78 percent and 76 percent, respectively, he got in the March, 2017, survey.

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The Inquirer Group of Companies announced the Prieto family’s move to sell its controlling stake in the media conglomerate to businessman Ramon S. Ang, ending a quarter-of-a-century stewardship of the country’s top newspaper led by its chair, Marixi Rufino-Prieto.

Ang - who heads San Miguel Corp., the Philippines’ largest conglomerate with interests spanning the industries of food, energy and infrastructure - said he had “accepted the offer of the Prieto family” to invest in the Inquirer.

The changing of the guard at the Inquirer, which has played a key role in the country’s history since its founding in 1985, comes as the company is repositioning itself amid a rapidly evolving media landscape that has seen traditional print advertising revenues struggle to keep pace with operating costs.

Prieto said that it was “business as usual” at the Inquirer, reassuring employees that “jobs and all existing employment contracts of the Inquirer Group will remain in effect.”

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Describing as “silly” the charges against former President Benigno Aquino III recommended by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales over the 2015 Mamasapano massacre, Pres. Duterte lamented, “The charges are there to ensure failure.”

He pictured the charge of usurpation of authority at one point as bugok and all wrong.

He said the Mamasapano raid was “not a misadventure” but a case of Murphy’s Law, which says that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

Asked who was at fault, he said: “Fate.”

As to just what he meant is beyond the comprehension of SS. But bottom line is pictured to be - Noynoy, for Duterte has openly criticized the Ombudsman for the “bugok” charges versus Aquino.

Meanwhile, former President Benigno Aquino III is unfazed by his indictment in the Mamasapano debacle, vowing that his political detractors will not be able to bring him down for the bungled police counterterrorism operation that led to the massacre of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos.

But of course, “Charlie,” Aquino can always rely on the “silly” charges.

On another point of interest, recall that it was Gen. Alan Purisima who reportedly directed the Special Action Force (SAF) operation, supervised on the ground by then SAF Director Getulio Napeñas, against Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

While international terrorist Marwan was killed during the operation, the commandos paid dearly, losing 44 men.

Security analyst Ashley Acedillo says, “... It was (Aquino’s) failure of judgment that he put himself in that position”

“From a nonlegal perspective, I think (Aquino’s) problem was the communication with Purisima - how, despite suspension, the latter was able to have some degree of control or supervision of the SAF operation,” added Acedillo, a former Philippine Air Force pilot.

“As to the carnage, it was squarely on Napeñas who refused to coordinate and even blinded those who should have known (about the operation],” Acedillo voiced.

That necessarily had the blessings of Aquino.

More on he Mamasapano debacle. This time from columnist Emil Jurado, en toto. “With the filing of criminal charges - usurpation of authority and graft and corruption by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales against former President Benigno Aquino III for the Mamasapano massacre, where 44 members of the Special Action Force were killed, two questions come to mind:

Will Aquino get his comeuppance as the one who had ultimate responsibility for the death of the men?

More importantly, will the families of the fallen 44 finally get justice?

It was BS Aquino who made former Police Chief Alan Purisima the chief architect of Oplan Exodus, where the men were supposed to serve an arrest warrant on Malaysian terrorist Marwan. He was killed, but another bomber, a Filipino, escaped.

At that time, Purisima was suspended for another case - an anomalous deal with a courier for licenses!

How can a suspended police officer be in charge of such a sensitive operation? Did not BS Aquino know this was a violation of the law?

This is the reason I ask: if Purisima and then-SAF chief Getulio Napenas were charged, why is Aquino, who was giving the orders, any less culpable? It defies reason and logic!

BS Aquino may now be facing criminal charges, but I still cannot understand why Morales is so hesitant to charge Aquino with homicide through reckless imprudence. As a Senate probe found, Aquino is accountable and culpable for the men’s deaths!

For the Ombudsman to simply say that the former President may be guilty of usurpation of authority and graft and corruption is a recipe for dismissal! Who could Aquino have usurped authority from when he is the President? Sounds stupid, if you ask me.

If Morales must be credible, considering that she was appointed by Aquino himself, she should charge him with homicide through reckless imprudence. Nothing less would suffice!

Another question is why the SAF men did not get help from the army, who were near them at the time.

This question has not been answered until now. Who told the military to stand down? I can see no other with the authority to do it than the commander-in-chief, Mr. Aquino himself.

Until Aquino is indicted for homicide, I cannot see justice for the SAF 44. Will the administration of President Duterte finally give it to them?

Aquino should go to jail. It’s karma for someone who was so incompetent and vindictive and hypocritical.”

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Pres. Duterte is in a word war with Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who he asked “not to play God  and shut up” after she accused him of encouraging people to kill drug offenders.

Duterte scored Morales for appointing herself as the “spokesman of the criminals” even though she was unaware of the magnitude of the country’s drug problem.

He also insisted there was no law against threatening criminals.

“Do not (be) the conscience of the community. You do not even know that the illegal drug trade has returned,” Duterte said, directing his words to Morales.

“Since when did you anoint yourself the spokesman of the criminals? Shut your mouth because there’s a problem. I am really infuriated.”

He also urged Morales, who is related to him by affinity, to be “circumspect.”

“Don’t act like a saint. Do not play God and shut up. I am avoiding confrontations because your brother is the parent of my son-in-law,” Duterte said.

Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Inday Duterte is married to lawyer Mans Carpio, whose father Lucas is the brother of the sitting Ombudsman.  (By Jimmy Cabato)

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