#ThewRap: Things you need to know, November 24, 2016

Hello, Rappler readers! 

The peso has just hit P50:$1 this morning. The Philippine central bank says it is ready to intervene if the forex rate becomes too volatile in the face of a strong greenback. Tomorrow, those protesting the surreptitious burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos will hold a grand rally, and President Duterte gave them assurances that they will be safe – in fact, they will be exempted from having to secure rally permits from local government units. In December, lawmakers and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority are mulling a 3-digit coding scheme that will ban cars from the streets twice a week, instead of just once a week. 

Here are the big stories you shouldn't miss: 


Military chief to protesters: Ok, jail us for Marcos burial 

Philippine military chief General Ricardo Visaya defended the military’s cooperation with the family of Ferdinand Marcos to keep secret to the last minute the burial of the dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Former Bayan Muna representatives Satur Ocampo and Neri Colmenares filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to cite in contempt the Marcos family and the military for the burial that surprised the nation. “We respect everybody. Their complaints about us where they would like us to be seen in jail? So be it. We respect also the Marcoses. The Marcoses would like the former president to be buried solemnly and privately. We have to respect that,” Visaya said. 

Meanwhile President Duterte suspended the requirement of local government units for protesters to get rally permits before marching and gathering on November 25 in protest of the Marcos burial. He assured protesters that only minimal number of policemen will be deployed and only to manage the traffic. 


Drug hearings: Are the testimonies holding up?  

Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the committee on peace and order, is not convinced about testimony of alleged Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa before his panel on Wednesday, saying it has “many loose ends”; the evidence presented “is not really solid.” Kerwin has accused regional police and Senator Leila de Lima of receiving protection bribe from him. On Thursday, it is the turn of De Lima’s former driver and boyfriend, Ronnie Dayan, to face the House of Representatives, which is probing into the proliferation of drugs at the national penitentiary during De Lima’s time as justice secretary. Follow the live blog and broadcast here.


Stronger US dollar: BSP to intervene if forex gets out of line 

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinasis ready to step in and intervene in the foreign exchange market if there is excess volatility in the movement of the peso against the US dollar. BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr said that the weakness of the peso is not unique to the Philippines as other emerging market currencies are also weakening due to the strength of the greenback. “We are sticking to our current foreign exchange policy of allowing market forces of basically determine the exchange rate…. But at the same time we also do not want to see the exchange rate becoming out of line and we don’t want to see too much volatility in exchange rate movements such that this can cause the disanchoring of the expectations.” 


NoKor is common enemy: South Korea, Japan sign intelligence deal 

Japan and South Korea signed a controversial agreement to share defense intelligence on North Korea, despite protests from opposition parties and activists in Seoul. South Korea’s defense ministry said the accord was “necessary” in the face of growing military threats from Pyongyang, which has conducted two nuclear tests and more than 20 missile launches this year. “Since we can now utilize Japan’s intelligence capability to effectively deal with North Korea’s escalating nuclear and missile threats, it will enhance our security interests.”


Clinton head of Trump by over 2M in popular vote 

Hillary Clinton is now more than two million votes ahead of President-elect Donald Trump in the popular vote count for the US presidential elections, a tally compiled by the Cook Political Report showed on November 23. The Democratic candidate’s 1.5% lead in the popular vote makes no difference to the outcome of the November 8 election, which Trump won by taking a majority of electoral votes. Clinton conceded the following day. It is the second time this century that a Democrat has won the popular vote but lost the presidential election. Clinton has received 64,227,373 votes to Trump’s 62,212,752 million, according to the Cook Political Report’s latest tally, which was compiled from official sources.


Justice chief assures conviction of Ampatuans in Maguindanao massacre 

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II assured the families of victims in the Maguindanao massacre that the principal accused in the case will be convicted “in the next few years.” On the 7th anniversary of the politically-motivated murders on Wednesday, the secretary told reporters that the team of prosecutors from the Department of Justice was doing its best to speed up the proceedings and make sure former mayor Andal “Datu Unsay” Ampatuan Jr and his brother former governor Zaldy Ampatuan are convicted. 197 persons have been accused, including Ampatuan Sr who since died; 106 are on trial. No one has been convicted. See Newsbreak’s comprehensive update on the case here. 


Christmas season scheme: Cars to be banned from streets twice a week 

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Tim Orbos favors the 3-digit coding scheme being proposed for December. The idea was first suggested by House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, who said adding one more number per day to the coding scheme as Metro Manila expects even worse traffic during the Christmas season. “We need to have that supreme sacrifice of adding one more number to the coding. Dalawang araw sa isang linggo (Two days in a week), you are practically removing 30% of vehicles in our major roads. With the no window hours policy, we already reduced to 20%,” Suarez said.  The current 2-digit coding scheme bans vehicles based on the last digit of their license plates from Mondays to Fridays, from 7 am to 8 pm. If the 3-digit scheme is approved, vehicles with plate numbers ending in 3 will also be banned on Mondays; those ending with 4, 5 and 6 will be banned on Tuesdays, and so on.