#ThewRap: Things you need to know, January 31, 2018

Hello! Here's a roundup of news you need to know this Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump smiles during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the US House of Representatives on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Win McNamee

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Hello!

Hello Rappler readers,

After drawing flak for seemingly justifying the spread of misinformation, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued a statement denying that he ever encouraged fake news.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, meanwhile, faced the Commission on Appointments and denied that there's a "DOH mafia."

In the US, President Donald Trump called for unity in his first-ever State of the Union address.

Below are the big stories you shouldn't miss.

Roque denies encouraging fake news

Though he said "lies are part of the free marketplace of ideas," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied he ever encouraged fake news. He also said he was a "victim" of fake news himself.

Duque: No 'DOH mafia'

At the Commission on Appointments hearing of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, he denied there's a so-called "DOH mafia." Duque's confirmation hearing has since been suspended.

Dengvaxia 'panic' harms other vaccination programs – experts

Nearly 60 doctors and experts, in a statement, slammed the "unsubstantiated" claims being made against the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine. They said these claims are causing the public to lose faith in other vaccination programs.

Lawyer to De Castro: Raise Sereno issues with JBC

The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro should raise issues she has with Sereno's qualifications before the Judicial and Bar Council. Sereno's camp pointed out that it was the JBC which shortlisted Sereno for the post of Chief Justice.

Trump calls for unity in 1st SOTU address

US President Donald Trump called for national unity and strong borders in his first State of the Union address. The full text and video of Trump's speech can be accessed here.

Hawaii fires officer who sent missile alert

Hawaii fired the officer who triggered mass panic with a false alert of a ballistic missile headed for the Pacific islands. The fired employee has reportedly been a "source of concern" for 10 years because of his "poor performance."

'Glee' actor Mark Salling dies at 35

Glee actor Mark Salling died at the age of 35. He was said to have committed suicide weeks before his sentencing for possession of child pornography.

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