Daily News Highlights – March 18, 2015 Edition

CJ Maglunog

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

  1. Aquino’s trust, approval ratings fall over Mamasapano

    The public approval and trust ratings of President Benigno Aquino III have hit an all-time low, largely due to the President’s role in the botched Mamasapano operation, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey. In the March 2015 Ulat ng Bayan Survey, Aquino’s approval rating plunged by 21 percentage points to 38% in March from 59% in November 2014. His trust rating dropped 20 percentage points to 36% from 56% over the same period. Pulse Asia said this is the first time the President has posted non-majority national approval and trust ratings since he became President. The survey findings come just after the Philippine National Police and a Senate panel released their findings on the Mamasapano operation.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  2. Duterte top 3 in presidential polls

    The public now considers Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte as a possible presidential contender, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey on presidential preferences. Duterte, along with Manila Mayor and former President Joseph Estrada, tied for the third place with 12% of respondents saying they would vote for them as president. At the top of the survey is Vice President Jejomar Binay, with 29% saying they would vote for him; followed by Senator Grace Poe, who got 14%. 

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  3. ‘Aquino must bear responsibility’ – Senate report

    President Benigno Aquino III must bear the responsibility for Oplan Exodus. This was the key message of the report of a Senate probe into the botched Mamasapano operation that lead to the death of 67 people, including 44 elite cops. The report, a draft executive summary of which was released on Tuesday March 17, called on President Aquino to take accountability for “giving consent to and failing to prevent the unlawful exercise of official functions” in reference to the role of then PNP Director General Alan Purisima in the operation. Purisima was serving a suspension order at the time of the operation but continued to oversee preparations and advise the President. The report also called on Aquino to explain why he did not use the resources available to him as commander-in-chief to do more to save the lives of the SAF operatives in Mamasapano. Malacañang said on Tuesday, March 17, the President has taken responsibility for what happened in Mamasapano.


    Read the full story on Rappler.

  4. Military not legally liable for Mamasapano – Poe

    A Senate investigation cleared the military of any legal liability in failing to rescue elite cops entrapped in the Mamasapano operation, Oplan Exodus. Senator Grace Poe, head of the senate panel that investigated Oplan Exodus, said on Tuesday, March 17, the lack of coordination by the Philippine National Police with the Armed Forces of the Philippines was the “biggest factor” that botched the operation conducted by the PNP’s Special Action Force (SAF). Poe released to the media an executive summary of a draft report by the joint senate investigation panel. Poe said, however, that some questions were raised as to the military’s reluctance to fire what phosphorous into the operation area that could have scared away the MILF and BIFF fighters.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

  5. DOJ, Ombudsman say Mayor Binay still suspended

    Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay remains suspended. This is the position of Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima who echoed the positions of the Ombudsman and the DILG. De Lima, in a legal opinion issued Tuesday, March 17, said the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Court of Appeals was already “moot and academic” since it was issued hours after the suspension order was served by the Department of the Interior and Local Government. De Lima added that a TRO can only prevent a future act from taking place. The Binay camp, however, disagrees. Binay’s legal counsel, Claro Certeza, said that only the court can decide who is the mayor, and not the DILG. Mayor Binay, under investigation for corruption charges, was suspended by the Ombudsman for six months on Wednesday, March 11.

    Read the full story on Rappler.


  6. Huge damage in Vanuatu brings fears of food shortages

    Vanuatu warned Tuesday, March 17, it faces imminent food shortages as accounts emerged of huge damage to a large outer island, days after one of the fiercest cyclones on record pummeled the sprawling Pacific nation. At least 24 people are confirmed dead. Relief agencies said the conditions are very challenging as reports of the extent of the devastation come into the capital Port Villa, itself badly damaged. President Baldwin Lonsdale has appealed for the world to help after Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam roared ashore on Friday night. Providing food, water, and shelter are the immediate concerns of the government and relief agencies.

    Read the full story on Rappler:


  7. Storm Betty weakens, soon to become LPA

    The weather system named Betty (international codename: Bavi) entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) as a tropical depression on Tuesday evening, March 17, according to state weather bureau PAGASA. The weakened system has sustained winds of up to 45 km/h as of 11 am Wednesday, March 18. The storm is expected to weaken into a low pressure area in the next 24 hours. Meteorologists say colder ocean surface temperatures and the strong vertical wind sheer contribute to the weakening of the tropical storm.

    Read the full story on Rappler.

    Think a storm in March is strange? Think again.



  8. Netanyahu claims victory in neck and neck election

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory in elections Tuesday, March 17, as exit polls put him neck-and-neck with center-left rivals after a late fightback in his bid for a third straight term. Analysts said Netanyahu was in a stronger position to forge a coalition with his rightwing allies that would extend his 6 years in power. But rival party Zionist Union said they would wait for the official results before conceding victory. Either way, whoever wins will need to form a coalition government in Israel, with the power to determine who gets the prime minister’s seat falling on smaller political parties.

    Read the full story on Rappler.


  9. Shops, schools close in India in protest over gang rape

    Schools and shops in the town of Ranaghat in West Bengal state closed on Tuesday, March 17, in protest over perceived police inaction to arrest those behind the gang-rape of an elderly nun at a convent school. Police have detained around 10 people for questioning but no arrests have been made over the March 13 attack. The nun, aged in her 70s, was gang-raped by a group of 6 men who also robbed the convent. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed deep concern over the attack. Several high-profile rape incidents have cast a shadow on women’s safety and rights in India. The government recently banned a BBC documentary on a 2012 gang-rape out of fear it would spark violence and cast India in a bad light.


    Read the full story on Rappler here and here.




  10. Prince Harry to quit British army

    Prince Harry announced on Tuesday, March 17 he will leave the British army after serving 10 years and two tours of duty in Afghanistan. The 30-year-old said it had been a “really tough decision” to end his military service, but added he was looking forward to the next chapter in his life. The Prince is fourth in line to the throne, but will soon be fifth in line, after Prince William’s second child is born. He will take a four-week secondment to the Australian Defense Force in April and May before quitting in June.

    Read the full story on Rappler.


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CJ Maglunog

CJ Maglunog has been a content strategist for Rappler since 2015. Her work includes optimizing stories for various platforms. She’s a journalism graduate from Centro Escolar University.