#ThewRap: Things you need to know, February 28, 2017

Hello! Here's a round-up of news you need to know this Tuesday

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Hello!

Dear Rappler reader,

It's the last day of the month of love, and oh boy, love's certainly out the door. Pro-Duterte senators just kicked out their Liberal Party colleagues from chairmanships in select committees. Duterte Youth are out to sue Jim Paredes for berating its members in a rally. Commission on Appointments officials say Perfecto Yasay's imperfect lie may amount to perjury. War is in the air – Oplan TokHang may just make a comeback, that is until this administration decides who makes that decision. And the Oscars was a mess.

Below are the big stories we think you shouldn't miss.

Liberal Party senators cry persecution

Liberal Party senators see Malacañang's hand in their ouster from key Senate posts. LP President Senator Francis Pangilinan said he was no longer surprised after the arrest and detention of party mate Senator Leila de Lima. "It is disturbing... They jailed Senator De Lima, then they stripped us of our committee chairmanships." Vice President Leni Robredo lashed out against the Duterte administration for being "obsessed with monopolizing power and intent on marginalizing those who have opposing views." The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, meantime, say it will file contempt of court charges against Robredo, Pangilinan and Drilon for making statements that disrespect the court.

Duterte Youth to sue Jim Paredes with SolGen's backing

Members of the group "Duterte Youth" will file cases of unjust vexation and theft against musician Jim Paredes over their tense confrontation during the celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution. The Duterte Youth members say Paredes' companions hit them in their stomachs and took their tarpaulins. The group enjoys the support of Solicitor General Jose Calida who commended them in a news conference Monday. And speaking of the SolGen, Calida is also after Senator Sonny Trillanes for "coddling" self-confessed hitman Arthur Lascañas.

War on drugs, TokHang to return?

President Rodrigo Duterte and national police chief Ronald dela Rosa pointed to each other when asked if the war on drugs is about to make a comeback. Dela Rosa said, “We can't do anything but to wait for his reinstatement orders.” But Duterte said, “I don’t know. I would leave it to the PNP to decide... I do not meddle in the mechanism there.” Duterte ally Alan Peter Cayetano earlier called for the relaunch of the Oplan TokHang saying drug pushers are back. Calls for the return of the war on drugs coincide with renewed efforts to probe the President's role in the deadly Davao Death Squad during his term as mayor. The Senate summoned retired policeman Arthur Lascañas to attend the investigation into the death squad, following his murder allegations against the former mayor. Duterte, meantime, admitted he knew Lascañas but denied he was close to him.

Yasay liable for perjury

CA foreign affairs committee chairman Senator Panfilo Lacson said Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr could be liable for perjury after he told the Commission on Appointments under oath that he never became a US citizen. Evidence surfaced that Yasay became a US citizen on November 26, 1986, and renounced it only June 28, 2016, almost 3 decades later. Yasay himself provided a CA member with a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States, showing that he renounced his US citizenship June last year, contrary to repeated claims in a February 22, 2017 hearing that he "never legally acquired US citizenship."

Filipino Scarborough fishermen now train in China

Filipino fishermen in Scarborough shoal used to fear the Chinese ships that chased them away, sometimes with water canons. But in January 2017, the fishermen were not sent away, instead a Chinese ship took them to fishing havens in China to expose them to Beijing’s fisheries technology. But there's a catch – the techniques taught were focused on the use of fish cages that made the water murky, a practice which is discouraged and restricted by law in the Philippines.

Philippine peso continues to dip, hits new 10-year low

The Philippine peso hits a new 10-year low of P50.27 to $1, shedding 5.5 centavos from Friday’s P50.215 amid the expected rate hike by the United States Federal Reserve next month and ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech before the American Congress. The peso closed at its lowest level since P50.32 to $1 in September 2006. Risk analyst Bob Herrera-Lim told Rappler tax reform will determine the peso's long term fate. According to data from the Department of Finance, high-income earners shoulder only 28.4% of the tax burden while low-income earners bear most of the country's tax burden.

Duterte: Bongbong Marcos not interested in DILG post

President Rodrigo Duterte killed speculations that defeated vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos will soon be named secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. Asked by reporters in Malacañang about rumors, he said, “He’s not interested.” Duterte is known for his close ties with the Marcoses, and was instrumental in the burial of the strongman, Ferdinand Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last year.

Pork barrel scam defendant Gigi Reyes dismissed from service

The Office of the Ombudsman dismissed from service Gigi Reyes and 11 other officials charged for the misuse of former senator Juan Ponce Enrile's Priority Development Assistance Fund in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam. Reyes was Enrile's former chief of staff. The 12 officials are also on trial for graft and plunder before the Sandiganbayan along with Enrile. Meantime, President Duterte on Monday, said he supports the recommendation of the Solicitor General to acquit alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles in her serious illegal detention case. He said, "I myself would move for the dismissal [of] the case, especially one that is fabricated, [with] planted evidence."

Abu Sayyaf frees Filipino hostage after beheading German

Local terrorist group Abu Sayyaf beheaded its German hostage Juergen Kantner as the deadline set for a P30 million ($600,000) ransom lapsed. The German embassy in the Philippines confirmed it was Kantner in the beheading video that circulated on social media Monday. The video came out the same day another victim, Ricson Romoc, was released. Ricson is the son of a captive released earlier, Elmer Romoc. The family of the victim allegedly paid P3 million for his safe release.

Trump blames Oscars fail on show's political tone

US President Donald Trump blamed Hollywood's obsession with him for the chaos that erupted at the end of the Oscars. Trump said Oscars organizers had taken their eyes off the ball because they "were focused so hard on politics." He added, "It was a little sad. It took away from the glamour of the Oscars." Trump's comments came after Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty mistakenly presented the best picture to La La Land, when Moonlight was the real winner. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for tabulating Oscar ballots, apologized for the error, admitting Beatty and Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope. The mix-up wasn't the only Oscars night flub. During the event's "In Memoriam" segment honoring film industry figures who died the past year, the show mistakenly flashed a photo of a woman who is still alive. Here's a full list of the night's winners.

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