February 13, 2015 Edition

Valerie Castro

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

  1. Aquino, 3 police officials responsible for death of 44 commandos, says senator

    Four people, including Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, are liable for the death of 44 police commandos in the hands of Muslim armed groups during an anti-terrorist operation in Maguindanao, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said. On January 9, when the decision was finalized to launch “Oplan Exodus,” the President was briefed by 3 police officials who broke the chain of command of the Philippine National Police: then-suspended PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, then-PNP Special Action Force commander Police Director Getulio Napeñas, and PNP Intelligence Group chief Senior Superintendent Fernando Mendez. “Their own admission,” the senator said, “constitutes as strong evidence” against them. The 3 police officials should be placed under “court martial” or sued before civilian courts, she said. “I am naming President Aquino because I don’t think it serves the public interest to fudge the issue, as if he’s some sacred cow. I don’t think he needs my protection. He can stand for himself,” said Santiago.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Here are the highlights, in photos, of the 3rd day of the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano clash.

    Rappler also has the transcripts of Day 1 and Day 2 of the Senate hearings.

  2. Muslim group in PH vows to help gov’t find terrorist

    The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, one of the armed groups accused of killing police commandos who were on an anti-terrorist mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, gave its commitment to help the Philippine government find terrorist Abdul Basit Usman. It was a key request of President Benigno Aquino III for the rebel group to restore trust in the peace process. MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal made the commitment as he appeared for the first time at the Senate hearing on the incident, after skipping 3 congressional hearings. However, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, who has maintained that the proposed Bangsamoro law that would create an autonomous Muslim state is unconstitutional, said that it was a sign of “bad faith” when Iqbal asked for an executive session on the details of what the MILF knew about Usman and Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as Marwan. Marwan was killed in the January 25 encounter with elite cops, but Usman escaped. Iqbal said they realized the sincerity of the administration in pursuing peace after the President refused to condemn the MILF for the incident.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. Gov’t raises tax exemption cap for bonuses

    Lawmakers intended it as a Christmas gifts to public and private employees last December, but delays made this new law a Valentine’s Day gift instead. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III signed the law raising to P82,000 the cap for 13th month pay and other workers’ benefits that will be exempted from taxes. Before this, only workers receiving P30,000 ($665) in 13th month pay and other workers’ benefits got their bonuses in full.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Last missing TransAsia crash victim recovered

    The remains of the last missing passengers in the TransAsia plane that crashed last week was recovered by rescuers. The body of a Chinese national identified as Chen Rentai was located still attached to his seat about three kilometres from the site where the plane plunged into a river in Taipei, said the national fire agency. TransAsia Airways Flight GE235 crashed shortly last Wednesday after take-off from Songshan airport with 53 passengers and five crew on board. Fifteen people survived. It was the airline’s second fatal accident in 7 months. The airline will cancel another 44 flights on Friday after 10 of its pilots failed a flight skills test imposed by the authorities.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. PH Congress seeks to put on hold integration of airport fees in plane tickets

    The Senate and a House of Representatives committee have passed resolutions urging the Manila International Airport Authority to temporarily stop the merging of terminal fees in airline tickets. Groups supporting overseas Filipino workers have opposed the MIAA policy, which has been implemented since February 1. A law exempts OFWs from paying terminal fees at the airport, and this policy will make them pay for it online when they purchse their tickets, and get reimbursement later. The Senate wants to ensure that a technology be developed first to secure the exemption of OFWs from terminal fee payment even in plane tickets bought online and abroad. The House committee said it will “exercise all possible legal remedies, including the filing of appropriate charges” if MIAA “will persist in its implementation.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  6. Indonesia to execute Australians for drug smuggling soon

    Indonesia has transferred to another jail the two Australians on death row for drug smuggling, an indication the two will be executed soon outside of Bali. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” heroin smuggling gang, were arrested in 2005 and sentenced to death the following year. Indonesian President Joko Widodo rejected their appeal for clemency, despite Australia’s insistence that executing them would be a “grave injustice.” They could face the firing squad.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  7. Ukraine, pro-Moscow rebels agree to a ceasefire

    A ceasefire between Ukraine and pro-Moscow rebels was announced Thursday after marathon talks in Belarus, but Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that “big hurdles” remained. Russian President Vladimir Putin emerged from the summit, saying he, Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had agreed on the “main” points. The ceasefire would take effect on Sunday, February 15, and that heavy weapons would be withdrawn from frontlines of the conflict, which has already killed at least 5,300 people and driven a million people from their homes. The truce – meant to ease a crisis that has plunged the West and Russia into their bitterest dispute since the Cold War – was signed by the so-called “contact group.”

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  8. Bob Simon of ’60 Minutes’ killed in car crash

    Award-winning war reporter Bob Simon died in a car accident in New York City on Wednesday. He was 73. He was a longtime correspondent for the 60 Minutes news show. “It is such a tragedy made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who has escaped more difficult situations than almost any journalist in modern times,” said CBS News Chairman and 60 Minutes executive producer Jeffrey Fager. Simon covered the Vietnam War, and was on one of the last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975. He won many awards for his work – including 27 Emmys – and covered a slew of stories, including the violence in Northern Ireland from 1969-1971, as well as from war zones across the globe including Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, the Gulf War, and former Yugoslavia.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  9. Court finds guilty airline heiress who held up flight over nuts

    The daughter of Korean Air’s chairman will spend time in jail after a court found her guilty of violating aviation safety law in a now notorious on-board “nut rage” incident. Cho, who was a Korean Air executive vice president at the time, is also charged with obstructing justice and assaulting a member of the cabin crew. On a December 5 flight, the 40-year-old executive had taken exception to being served macadamia nuts she had not asked for – and in a bag, not a bowl. She forced the chief purser off the New York-Seoul KAL flight, forcing the taxiing plane to return to the gate so he could disembark.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  10. Apple partners with Pinterest for app download

    If you’re a Pinterest users who have recently updated your Pinterest app on an iPad or iPhone, you will see a new kind of Pin on your feed: the app Pins. It will allow you to download new applications straight from within the Pinterest app on iPads and iPhones.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

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