Hello, Rappler readers!
Manila hosts the 30th ASEAN Summit April 26-29, and President Rodrigo Duterte is expecting to host 9 leaders from the region. Follow Rappler’s live blog for updates on Day 2 of the event, as well as our ASEAN page for special reports. The regional event is taking place as the President and 11 other Philippine officials are named in a communication filed with the International Criminal Court, accusing them of mass killings in relation to the government’s anti-drugs campaign. The New York Times immediately ran an editorial, urging the ICC to start a probe, which could convince other countries to impose economic sanctions on the Philippines. Back home, a survey shows that 6 in 10 Filipinos favor the reimposition of the death penalty on 7 drug-related crimes. In the United States, the Trump’s administration calls on other countries to increase pressure on North Korea, which has continued to build its nuclear and missile capabilities.
The United States pledged Wednesday, April 26, to step up sanctions to force North Korea to resume dialogue over its nuclear program, but said it was not looking to bring Kim Jong-Un’s regime to its knees. After briefing senators at the White House, top US officials said President Donald Trump also aimed to pursue diplomatic measures with allies and regional partners: “We are engaging responsible members of the international community to increase pressure on (North Korea) in order to convince the regime to de-escalate and return to the path of dialogue.”
Today is Day 2 of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 30th Summit in Manila, which is being held April 26-29. President Rodrigo Duterte is expecting to host the following leaders:
- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen
- Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
- Indonesian President Joko Widodo
- Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak
- Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
- Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc
- Laos President Bounnhang Vorachith
- Myanmar State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi
A day after Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio filed a communication with the International Criminal Court, accusing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other officials of mass murder, the New York Times released an editorial on Tuesday, April 25, supporting Sabio’s effort. Calling Duterte the “man who must be stopped,” the op-ed said the ICC should go after Duterte as “there is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods.” Meanwhile, Philippine Solicitor General Jose Calida, wants lawyer Jude Sabio disbarred for filing “baseless suits” before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Rodrigo Duterte and other administration officials. Solicitor General Jose C. Calida, who is among those named in the communication, said he will initiate the filing of a disbarment charge against Jude Jose Sabio, the lawyer for self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, for filing baseless suits.”
Philippine human rights lawyers have challenged the Duterte administration’s war on drugs by asking the Supreme Court to issue a new writ that they hope would prevent extrajudicial killings in police operations. In its petition before the High Court on Wednesday, April 26, the Center for International Law (CenterLaw) asked for a “Writ Contra Homo Sacer” that would institute mandatory investigative procedures in the aftermath of police operations. A writ is a new or revised set of rules issued by the court to fit a present context or situation. “Homo Sacer” is a Latin term for an individual who may be killed by anybody at any time. “[Our] proposal aims to prevent drug suspects or any other criminal suspects for that matter, from being treated as homo sacer and from being subject to banishment to the realm of uncertain fate,” CenterLaw said in a statement.
A majority of Filipinos are supportive of the measure seeking to reimpose the death penalty for 7 drug offenses, a survey by the Social Weather Stations revealed. According to the First Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey released on Tuesday, April 25, 61% of Filipinos gave their nod to the controversial House Bill (HB) Number 4727, which gives judges the option to punish drug convicts with either life imprisonment or death. The same survey also showed that only 13% of Filipinos have “extensive” knowledge about the bill, while 35% said they have “partial but sufficient” knowledge. Another 43% of Filipinos said they only know “a little” about House Bill 4727, while 10% said they know “almost nothing or nothing” at all.
Rappler has been running a series of video interviews with national artists for literature and other influential writers in April, which is Buwan ng Wika (National Literature Month). The interviews are conducted by colleagues or young writers who have studied the writers’ works or whom they have mentored. Akdang-Buhay is a joint project between the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Philippine Children’s Puppet Theater, Likhaan: The University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing, and the University of the Philippines Open University. Rappler obtained permission to republish the series. Watch the interviews with national artists the late Edith Tiempo, Bienvenido Lumbera, Virgilio Almario (Rio Alma), F. Sionil Jose, Cirilo Bautista, and writers Gilda Cordero Fernando and Gemino Abad.