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#ThewRap: Things you need to know, February 28, 2018

Hello Rappler readers,

We continue to closely monitor developments at the Supreme Court. Here's the inside story on magistrates forcing Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to go on leave, and what triggered this move.

President Rodrigo Duterte's PDP-Laban, meanwhile, sees nothing wrong with having ties with China's Communist Party.

In the US, President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner lost his top security clearance.

Below are the big stories you shouldn't miss.

SC justices pressure Sereno to go on leave

Here's the inside story on the leave of absence taken by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Pimentel: Nothing wrong with PDP-Laban's China ties

The ruling PDP-Laban defended its ties with China's Communist Party. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, also the PDP-Laban president, said, "Isn't this a free country?"

DBM: Gov't underspending down to 3% in 2017

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said underspending was down to 3% in 2017 from 3.6% in 2016. The Philippine government underspent by P85.2 billion, while spending reached P2.824 trillion last year.

Acosta hit over 'pseudo-forensic intervention'

House opposition lawmakers want President Rodrigo Duterte to stop what they call the "pseudo-forensic intervention" of Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta in the Dengvaxia probe.

Trump son-in-law loses top security clearance

Jared Kushner, son-in-law of US President Donald Trump and husband of Ivanka Trump, lost his top-level security clearance, according to sources. Officials claimed this wouldn't have any impact on Kushner's role as a senior aide of the US president.

Fresh violence mars Syria enclave 'truce'

Fresh bloodshed was reported in Syria's Eastern Ghouta region despite a 5-hour "humanitarian pause" announced by Russia. There was also no sign of aid deliveries being made to trapped residents.

PH to sweeten auction terms for 3rd telco

For the auction to become the Philippines' 3rd major telecommunications player, the government is no longer requiring interested bidders to have a minimum net worth of P10 billion. Instead, it plans to award the 3rd telco slot to the participant with the "highest committed level of service."