February 10, 2015 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. MILF says it will return SAF arms

    The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Tuesday, February 10, said it will be returning the arms and “retrievable personal effects” of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force seized in an encounter that left 44 elite cops dead. In a letter to Senator Grace Poe, chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said they are doing this “in deference to the peace process.” Read by MILF representative Rasid Ladiasan during the second hearing Tuesday, the letter said the return of the items by the MILF shows it “never wanted the unfortunate incident in Mamasapano to happen.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Probe: SAF had to contend with ‘unfavorable terrain’

    Special Action Force (SAF) troopers had to contend with “unfavorable terrain,” according to preliminary findings of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BOI). Probe chief Police Director Benjamin Magalong described the terrain as a “marshland, criss-crossed by rivers, with wide open cornfields and irrigation canals.” This difficult terrain and the “strong river current near the target” delayed movements of the US-trained Seaborne Unit, which was tasked to kill wanted top terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan. The BOI is expected to release findings in less than a month.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. House to delay passage of Bangsamoro law

    File photo by Robert Viñas/Malacañang Photo Bureau

    Deliberations in the House of Representatives on the Bangsamoro Basic Law are suspended indefinitely to give way to a probe into the Mamasapano operation that resulted in the death of 44 elite cops. Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez, chair of the ad hoc committee tackling the proposed bill, said the resumption of deliberations will depend on probe findings. Prior to the clash, the committee was eyeing February 9 for the passage of the bill at committee level, and February 16 for discussion in plenary. Left hanging are key provisions on transition, and 4 others related to security: public order, the army, the police, and how troops will return to post-war life.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Poe: Napeñas could be liable for insubordination

    Insubordination and grave misconduct. These are what dismissed Special Action Force (SAF) commander Director Getulio Napeñas may be liable for, for following orders from resigned Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, Senator Grace Poe said on Monday, February 9. The Senate probe showed that Napeñas himself briefed President Benigno Aquino III and Purisima at the President’s official residence in January 2015, by which time Purisima was already serving a 6-month suspension order.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    A related story on the briefing at the President’s official residence is also on Rappler.


  5. Malaysia court confirms Anwar conviction

    Malaysia’s highest court has upheld the sodomy conviction of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. A conviction threatens his political career and the Malaysian opposition he has energized. Following his conviction, the 67-year-old opposition leader will be imprisoned again and remain locked up until the age of 72. He loses his parliament seat and will be disqualified from the next elections in 2018.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Police, military generals face off

    The bloody January 25 operation of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Forces (PNP-SAF) could have ended differently if the military, which had superior equipment than the police, provided timely reinforcement. This is what relieved SAF commander Police Director Getulio Napeñas told the Senate on Monday, February 9. Armed Forces chief of staff General Gregorio Catapang Jr however said they needed 3 crucial information before they could provide artillery fire, of which the SAF was able to provide only one: location of troops. He also said there was a danger of a full-scale war if the military hastily joined the firefight.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    A timeline or chronology of events was also pieced together by Rappler.

  7. Obama considering arming Ukraine

    Screengrab from the video on the Washington Post

    If diplomatic options fail, the United States may provide Ukraine with lethal weapons for its defense against Russian aggression. In a press briefing, German Chancellor Angela Merkel however said she and French President Francois Hollande will give a peaceful resolution another try. If it fails, the US and Europe will provide a unified response, both leaders said. Obama accused Russia of violating “every commitment” made in the Minsk agreement, a ceasefire signed by Ukraine and pro-Russian separatist rebels in September 2014.

    Read the full story on the Washington Post.

    A related story is on the BBC.

  8. Aquino, Jokowi ink illegal drug trafficking agreement

    President Benigno Aquino III and Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo signed 4 agreements when they met in Malacañang on Monday, February 9. Among these was a Memorandum of Understanding involving the fight against illegal drug trafficking. The signing of the agreement comes as the Philippines requests for a judicial review of the case of 30-year-old Mary Jane Veloso, sentenced to death in October 2010 for attempting to smuggle 2.6 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia from Malaysia in April of the same year. The clemency request was among the 16 rejected by Jokowi on January 9, 2015.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Samsung warns against ‘listening’ TV

    Be careful what you say before your smart television set. Samsung has warned its customers about discussing personal information in front of their TV sets as this may be shared with Samsung or third parties. The warning applies to those who choose to control their smart TV using Samsung’s voice activation feature. The third party, which Samsung did not name, could be a company providing speech-to-text conversion for Samsung itself.

    Read the full story on the BBC.

    Smart TV image from Shutterstock.

  10. Sam Smith leads Grammys 2015 winners

    A thrilled Sam Smith won in the 2015 Grammys the Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album awards. His pop album, In the Lonely Hour, was recognized as best, as was Stay With Me (Darkchild version), which was awarded Record of the Year and Song of the Year, too. Pharrell Williams won his 3rd Grammy after winning Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video for “Happy.” Like Beyonce, Williams incorporated activism in his performance during the annual awards night.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    A related story on how activism was incorporated into some performances is also on Rappler.

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