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Lacson cancels Senate probe on ‘Bikoy’ narco videos

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson (left), “Bikoy” (upper right), Peter Joemel Advincula (lower right)

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate panel on Wednesday cancelled its scheduled investigation on the allegations of Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be ‘Bikoy’ in the video series entitled “Ang Totoong Narco List,” which linked some members of the Duterte family and their close allies to the illegal drug trade.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, made the announcement shortly after the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) announced that they have declined Advincula’s request for legal assistance.

READ: IBP declines ‘Bikoy’ request for legal help

Lacson made the decision after Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Advincula was the same person who linked former President Benigno Aquino III and former government officials in illegal drugs in 2016.

SP Sotto said it all. We are now recalling the letter of invitation sent to Advincula yesterday,” Lacson wrote on his Twitter account.

“Notices will be sent out for the cancellation of the committee hearing on Friday. Enough of this nonsense,” he added.

“The problem with asking Bikoy who are the people behind him is if we will believe him,” he continued.

READ: Senate to probe ‘Bikoy’ claims this week

Lacson earlier said his committee could schedule a hearing on Friday if Advincula will accept the invitation, and present a sworn statement and evidence to back his claims. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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Official count gives Widodo election victory in Indonesia

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Indonesian president Joko Widodo speaking during a field visit, interview with Widodo’s supporters | Courtesy: (c) 2019 Thomson Reuters

Incumbent President Joko Widodo won last month’s Indonesian election with 55.5 percent of votes against 44.5 percent for his challenger, retired General Prabowo Subianto, the election commission’s official count announced early on Tuesday (May 21).

“The valid ballots voted for presidential candidate number one, Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, is 68,650,239 or 44.5 percent of the total national votes,” said Commissioner Evi Novida Ginting of Indonesia’s National Election Commission.

The official result released by the General Election Commission (KPU) confirms unofficial counts by private pollsters of the April 17 election, giving Widodo a comfortable victory, though it could trigger a legal challenge and potential street protests after Prabowo claimed widespread cheating.

Widodo won with over 85 million of the total 154 million votes cast in the world’s third-largest democracy.

“The valid ballots voted for presidential candidate number one, Joko Widodo and Maruf Amin, is 85,607,362 or 55.5 percent of the total national votes,” Ginting said.

An election supervisory agency earlier on Monday (May 20) dismissed claims of systematic cheating because of a lack of evidence and independent observers and analysts have said the poll was free and fair.

The losing party can lodge a legal challenge at the constitutional court. Otherwise, the commission will officially declare the winner by May 28. (REUTERS)

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Ex-Ombudsman Morales temporarily held at HK airport

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales
FILE PHOTO: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales

MANILA, Philippines – Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales was temporarily held at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday (May 21).

According to Deputy Consul General Germinia Aguilar-Usudan, Morales arrived at 12:20 p.m. along with her family for a vacation.

Her family was allowed entry but the Hong Kong Immigration Officials stopped her and held her at the airport.

With assistance from Philippine Consulate officials, Morales was allowed entry at around 3:00 p.m but she decided to just take a flight back to the Philippines.

Aguilar-Usudan said, however, they were not informed of the exact reason why Morales was held.

The former Ombudsman and her family will take Philippine Airlines flight PR307 to Manila.

In March, Morales along with former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, filed a complaint of crimes against humanity against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for purportedly damaging the resources at the disputed territory in West Philippine Sea through China’s ongoing reclamation activities in the area. —Marje Pelayo (with details from Ferdie Petalio | UNTV Hong Kong)

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Blast hits tourist bus, injuring over 10 in Cairo

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2019

An explosion hit a tourist bus near Cairo, Egypt that left 10 people injured. | Image grabbed from Reuters footage

An explosion hit a tourist bus near the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Sunday, injuring at least 10 people.

The blast occurred in the afternoon when the bus carrying 25 foreign tourists was hit by an explosive device near the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Some witnesses heard a huge sound at that time and state-run Nile TV said the blast shattered the glass windows of the bus and other nearby vehicles.

According to Egypt’s security department, the blast was caused by unknown explosive put outside the fence of the museum. Preliminary investigation shows that the blast was triggered by a remote-controlled device.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities said the blast didn’t cause damage to the museum, which is under repair and scheduled to open to the public next year.

As of now, no individual or organization has claimed responsibility for the blast. (REUTERS)

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