Daily News Highlights – January 19, 2016 Edition

Gwen De La Cruz

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

  1. Strange bedfellows in 2016

    Administration standard-bearer Mar Roxas gains a key ally in the tight 2016 presidential race: San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez. The lady mayor from the influential Ejercito-Estrada clan praised Roxas for helping San Juan city when he was interior secretary adding he transcended party lines. Gomez added that Roxas considers her son, Senator JV Ejercito, his younger brother even if Ejercito “keeps on toeing the line of loyal opposition.” Despite the nod from the Ejercitos of San Juan, former president now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada still does not say whom he’ll support in 2016. Gomez is one of Estrada’s many girl friends. Estrada has name-dropped nearly all leading candidates including Roxas, Senator Grace Poe, and Vice President Jejomar Binay. Estrada was best friends with Poe’s father Fernando Poe Jr and ran with Binay in the 2010 elections. Gomez will be facing a tough 2016 battle against ally turned foe Vice Mayor Francis Zamora who is running against her.

    Read more on the Mar Roxas-Guia Gomez alliance.

  2. What’s at stake for Poe in Tuesday’s Supreme Court hearing?

    On Tuesday, January 19, Grace Poe will face the Supreme Court in the oral arguments of two of her 3 pending cases. These two cases originated from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), with both decisions cancelling her certificate of candidacy (COC) for president. The other one, filed by Rizalito David, originated from the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

    These 3 cases are crucial to Poe. At stake is not only her candidacy for president but also her Senate seat, which she won in 2013 and is set to serve until 2019.

    Read more on the explainer on Poe’s legal issues.

  3. Napoles’ libel case vs Rappler reported dismissed

    More than two years after it was filed, the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office dismissed for lack of probable cause the libel complaint of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles against Rappler reporter Natashya Gutierrez, now Rappler Indonesia’s bureau chief. In November 16, 2015 resolution, Taguig City prosecutor Laarni Fabella said the stories written by Gutierrez in July 2013 were “neither defamatory nor malicious.” “Respondent merely made a factual statement based on available informations, without even giving her opinion and the source of which are from Jean’s own blog which were made available to the public in the first place,” the prosecutor said. She added, “There being no element of malice, we find that there is no probable cause to charge respondent with libel.”

    Read more on the libel case resolution.

  4. Enrile to prove Aquino negligence in SAF deaths

    Senator Juan Ponce Enrile will single out President Benigno Aquino III and what he apparently failed to do during the controversial police operation when the Senate re-open its probe into the Mamasapano blood bath on January 27. Enrile said he has “evidence” of President Benigno Aquino III’s involvement – or apparent lack thereof – in “Oplan Exodus,” from when it was planned to its actual implementation. Enrile added Aquino was “actively and directly” involved in the planning of the operation, was “monitoring the operation” real-time en route to Zamboanga, and “didn’t do anything” to save elite police troopers caught in fierce gun battles with Muslim rebels in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao. On January 25, 2015, a Special Action Force (SAF) operation targeting terrorists wanted by both the Philippines and the United States led to the death of 44 SAF members, 18 rebels and civilians.

    Read more on Mamasapano senate probe.

  5. Justice Secretary leads shortlist for SC vacancy

    Justice Secretary Benjamin Caguioa, a former classmate of President Benigno Aquino III, leads the shortlist of candidates for the vacant Supreme Court seat. The rest are Court of Appeals Presiding Justice Andres Reyes, Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jose Reyes, former Commission on Audit Chairperson Maria Gracia Pulido-Tan and Court of Appeals Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas. Caguioa, leads the JBC nominations along with the two Reyeses at 7 votes. The JBC, led by SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, cut down the list of possible replacements for retired Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr from a long list of 16.

    Read more on the candidates for SC vacancy.

  6. New MRT3 train to start running by March 2016

    Users of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT3) may soon see an improvement in their riding experience by March, with one new train expected to be up and running to ease the daily load. The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) started tests on the second MRT3 coach imported from China, which arrived in the Philippines in December. The coach will undergo a 5,000-km test run. DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said passengers may expect the new coach to be up on the MRT3 line by the end of the first quarter of 2016, once the coach has been tested and certified for safety. The MRT3 is expected to run 48 new train cars by January 2017. The new coaches are part of the MRT3 expansion project, which aims to decongest the MRT system. The MRT3 suffered breakdowns and technical glitches since August 2014 due to its broken rails and signalling systems.

    Read more on the new MRT3 trains.

  7. World at risk: WEF, China warns vs chaos, turmoil, economic crisis

    Current global trends could see the world facing an uncertain future dominated by fractured states, a volatile global economy, and an increasingly inhospitable climate. The biggest concern this year is large-scale involuntary migration, followed by state collapse or crisis, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum ahead of its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland this week. The report is based on the findings of almost 750 experts who did a year-long review of 29 global risks, assessing them for likelihood, impact and concern.

    Read more on the 2016 World Economic Forum.

  8. ISIS builds messaging app for Android

    After getting pushed out of various messaging services such as Whatsapp and Telegram, the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group appears to be communicating through its own secure chat app. The DefenseOne website says counter-terrorism network Ghost Security Group reported that ISIS had developed its own Android app – called AlRawi – for exchanging secure communications. Aside from AlRawi, another app called Amaq Agency, serves as a propaganda distribution app for ISIS. TechCrunch added the AlRawi app can’t be downloaded via Google Play. Instead, the AlRawi Android application package, or .apk, has to be actively searched for on the Dark Web and must be installed into an Android device manually.

    Read more on ISIS messaging app.

  9. Federer breezes past rival at Australian Open

    Grand Slam record-holder Roger Federer gave himself a confidence boost in taking just 72 minutes to win his opening match at the Australian Open, breezing past Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in straight sets on Monday, January 18.The Swiss third seed wasted little time in disposing of the Georgian 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in a night match on Rod Laver Arena.

    The 17-time Grand Slam champion showcased his full arsenal of shots against Basilashvili in their first meeting. Federer said, “That was a good match. I’m really pleased how I was able to play.”

    Read more on Federer win.

  10. ‘High School Musical’ cast reunites for 10th anniversary special

    It’s been a while since fans last saw Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, and the rest of the ‘High School Musical’ gang on TV, but it won’t be long before they catch their favorite high school gang again. The cast from the Disney Channel Original Movie got together to film segments celebrating the movie’s 10th anniversary. ‘High School Musical’ premiered back in 2006, with sequels released in 2007 and 2008. The film told the story of Troy and Gabriella, students from very different cliques whose paths cross when they audition for the high school musical. The special will air in the US Wednesday, January 20, but the stars have already posted photos from their reunion. Lead star Zac Efron, who played Troy, will reportedly be present via a pre-taped message for viewers.

    Read more on the High School Musical reunion special.

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