How's Tuesday, Rappler readers?
On Monday, February 19, the controversies surrounding the billion-peso Philippine Navy frigate project was the center of a jam-packed Senate hearing. Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go told senators that his office "endorsed" a complaint from frigates supplier Hyundai Heavy Industries to the Defense department. At the same hearing, the Defense chief and the Navy's ex-chief said they both support the proposal to pay extra to acquire the the best Combat Management System (CMS) for Philippine warships – the system at the heart of the issue.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte said that negotiations for joint exploration of disputed maritime territories between China and the Philippines are underway. At the same time, he reiterated that the Philippine Rise is Filipino territory.
Abroad, in the aftermath of the Valentine's Day school shooting in Florida, US President Donald Trump is said to back improved background checks for gun buyers, as pressure builds to implement stricter gun control policies in the United States.
These and more stories are in today's wRap.
Bong Go says his office 'endorsed' frigate supplier's complaint to DND
Reports that claim his involvement in the warships deal are only meant to bring down the Duterte administration, says Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
Duterte jokes: Why not make Philippines a province of China?
The President says negotiations for joint exploration with China are underway. He suggests a sharing scheme of two-thirds for the Philippines and one-third for China.
Much ado about calls: Judges hit for ‘late’ warrants vs De Lima
House justice committee chairman Reynaldo Umali allows the hearing of the impeachment complaint against Sereno to drag on for hours circling on the same issues.
For 2nd time, Sanofi declines PH demand for full P3B Dengvaxia refund
Sanofi once again argues complying with the PH government's demand for a full refund "would imply that the vaccine is ineffective, which is not the case."
Trump backs improved background checks on gun buys
US President Donald Trump signaled support Monday, February 19, for improving background gun checks amid mounting pressure for reform in the wake of the Florida school shooting, as the accused gunman appeared in court.
13 years of decline: PH sports nose-dives under Peping Cojuangco
As elections for the Philippine Olympic Committee presidency draw near, Cojuangco aims to hold on to a 4th term despite the country's disappointing performances in international competitions.
PH gov't releases draft guidelines for 3rd telco auction
The Department of Information and Communications Technology and the National Telecommunications Commission come up with draft guidelines on the selection of a new major telco player.
Top photo: Smoke rises from buildings following bombardment on the village of Mesraba in the rebel-held besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus, on February 19, 2018. Hamza Al-Ajweh/AFP