George Floyd said officers would ‘kill’ him in new recording transcript


POLICE BRUTALITY. This still image taken from a May 25, 2020, video courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, shows a Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer arresting George Floyd. Photo by Darnella Frazier/AFP

POLICE BRUTALITY. This still image taken from a May 25, 2020, video courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, shows a Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer arresting George Floyd. Photo by Darnella Frazier/AFP

WASHINGTON, DC, USA – George Floyd said he couldn’t breathe more than 20 times, called out for his children and late mother and said officers would “kill” him before he died in Minneapolis police custody, new evidence showed.

Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 when a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. His death has unleashed a massive wave of protests against systemic racism and police brutality in the United States and inspired demos across the world.

Video of his death went viral and showed Floyd shouting “I can’t breathe” and calling for his mother as he suffocated.

But transcripts of the police officers’ body camera footage, filed Tuesday in Minnesota state court by Thomas Lane, one of the officers involved in Floyd’s death, has revealed new details about his final moments.

When the officers first arrested him, Floyd begged them not to put him in the police car, telling them he was claustrophobic and in physical distress.

As they tried to force him into the car, Floyd cried out that he couldn’t breathe and was “going to die in here.”

Later, according to the transcript, he said, “Momma, I love you. Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead.” He called for his mother and children several more times.

Throughout his arrest, Floyd said “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. The officers can be heard telling him to “relax,” and that he was doing “fine” and “talking fine.”

At one point, as Floyd insisted they were going to kill him, officer Derek Chauvin shouted, “Then stop talking, stop yelling, it takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.”

‘I can’t breathe’

According to the transcript, Floyd’s last words were, “They’re going to kill me. They’re going to kill me. I can’t breathe.”

The transcript was submitted Tuesday by Lane to have the charges that he aided and abetted in Floyd’s murder thrown out by a judge.

He and the other 3 officers involved – Chauvin, Tou Thao, and Alexander Kueng – were all fired from the Minneapolis police force one day after Floyd’s death and charged in his murder. They each face up to 40 years behind bars.

Chauvin, who knelt on the handcuffed 46-year-old’s neck, faces second and third-degree murder charges.

Thao and Kueng, like Lane, have been charged with aiding and abetting a murder.

The bystander video of Floyd’s death stunned and horrified Americans, igniting protests and riots in cities across the country and sparking a national debate on racism and police violence. (READ: ‘You changed the world George,’ rights leader tells Floyd memorial)

Floyd was detained for the minor charge of attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill, and while in handcuffs, two of the officers held him down on the street while Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck and the fourth officer stood watch. – Rappler.com





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Snowboard world champion Chumpy Pullin dies at 32


Alex Pullin, Australia’s flag bearer in the 2014 Winter Olympics, dies in a spearfishing accident

Published 10:12 AM, July 09, 2020

Updated 10:12 AM, July 09, 2020

TRAGEDY. Three-time Olympian Alex Pullin was also a spearfishing enthusiast. Photo by Javier Soriano/AFP

TRAGEDY. Three-time Olympian Alex Pullin was also a spearfishing enthusiast. Photo by Javier Soriano/AFP

SYDNEY, Australia – Two-time world snowboarding champion Alex “Chumpy” Pullin died Wednesday, July 8, aged 32, reportedly while spearfishing off the Australian coast, Olympic officials said.

Pullin, who was the Australian team flag bearer at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, was found unresponsive on the ocean floor while spearfishing on the Gold Coast in Queensland, apparently after losing consciousness, local press reports said.

“This is an incredibly sad day for us all,” said Ian Chesterman, the Australian chef de mission at the Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014) and Pyeongchang (2018) Winter Olympics, where Pullin competed.

“Chumpy was a champion bloke as well as being a champion athlete. He had great charisma that allowed him to be a natural leader.

“He was always prepared to give his time to build winter sport in this country because he was so passionate about what he did. His enthusiasm was infectious and his impact on Olympic sport can’t be overstated.”

Pullin twice won world championship gold in the snowboard cross and took part in 3 Winter Olympics, with 6th in Pyeongchang his best result.

Olympic Winter Institute of Australia chief Geoff Lipshut called him “Australia’s great snowboard male pioneer.”

Along with his love of the snow, Pullin was a keen spearfisherman and diving enthusiast.

A fortnight ago, he posted a picture of himself spearfishing on Instagram.

“Unreal day in the ocean!,” he said. “Whales singing & breaching all around us, hanging with great people, plus bringing home plenty of fish for the week.” – Rappler.com





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Britain focuses on youth in $37-billion virus package


REOPENING. Pedestrians walk past clothing stalls at Petticoat Lane Market in London on June 7, 2020, as lockdown measures are partially eased. Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP

REOPENING. Pedestrians walk past clothing stalls at Petticoat Lane Market in London on June 7, 2020, as lockdown measures are partially eased. Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP

LONDON, United Kingdom – The United Kingdom government on Wednesday, July 8, committed £30 billion ($37 billion, 33 billion euros) to saving jobs and helping the young find work in an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

Delivering a mini-budget to parliament, finance minister Rishi Sunak announced bonuses to companies retaining staff and taking on apprentices, investment in eco-friendly jobs, and even allowing Britons to enjoy discounted meals in some restaurants.

“People need to know that although hardship lies ahead, no one will be left without hope,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak said.

Noting that “people are anxious about losing their jobs, about unemployment rising,” Sunak said, “We’re not just going to accept this.”

The budget pledges £1,000 for firms to take on trainees, and £2 billion to subsidize placements for 16- to 24-year-olds from lower-income families.

But Sunak insisted that the government’s furlough scheme already in operation to protect millions of private-sector jobs had to end in October as planned.

18 years of growth

Britain has suffered Europe’s deadliest virus outbreak, with nearly 45,000 deaths, and the worst economic downturn among the G7 leading industrialized states.

Sunak – a 40-year-old former Goldman Sachs analyst just 5 months into the second most powerful job in government – said the UK economy had contracted by 25% from one of Europe’s longest lockdowns, “the same amount it grew in the previous 18 years.”

The chancellor also confirmed £3 billion of green investment.

The package includes £2 billion in grants for households to insulate homes and make them more energy efficient, and £1 billion for public sector buildings, including hospitals.

The plan is part of Britain’s long-term pledge to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Greenpeace UK called the new money an “important start,” but noted that it was “dwarfed by green recovery commitments in Germany and France.”

Britain is in the final stages of rolling back nationwide coronavirus restrictions imposed on March 23, starting with the hospitality and tourism industries.

Since the crisis began, the Bank of England has pumped cash stimulus worth £300 billion into Britain’s economy and slashed its main interest rate to a record-low 0.1%.

Experts estimate the total cost of government emergency measures could run as high as £300 billion.

Not enough?

The crisis has forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make spending commitments usually favored by the left-leaning Labour party rather than his own Conservatives.

But Labour’s finance spokeswoman Anneliese Dodds said the economy would be stronger had Johnson made fewer mistakes fighting the outbreak.

“The best the government can do to boost demand is to give consumers and workers the confidence and psychological security that they can go out to work, to shop, and to socialize in safety,” Dodds said in her official response.

The head of Britain’s CBI business lobby said the job retention plan will help some workers.

“But with nearly 70% of firms running low on cash…more immediate direct support for firms, from grants to further business rates relief, is still urgently needed,” Carolyn Fairbairn said.

The government is paying up to 80% of salaries for some 9 million workers under a furlough scheme that will start being wound down at the end of August.

Sunak on Wednesday said the furlough scheme “cannot and should not go on forever.”

“I know that when furlough ends it will be a difficult moment…. But the truth is, calling for endless extensions to the furlough is just as irresponsible as it would have been, back in June, to end the scheme overnight.

“We have to be honest,” he said. – Rappler.com





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What happens to ABS-CBN franchise after House panel vote?


DEFEND PRESS FREEDOM. ABS-CBN employees and supporters light candles outside the network's Quezon City office on June 30, 2020 to call for the passage of its franchise in Congress. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

DEFEND PRESS FREEDOM. ABS-CBN employees and supporters light candles outside the network’s Quezon City office on June 30, 2020 to call for the passage of its franchise in Congress. File photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – After 12 hearings spanning over a month, the House committees on legislative franchises, along with good government and public accountability, are set to wrap up deliberations on ABS-CBN’s franchise application on Thursday, July 9.

Legislative franchises committee chair and Palawan 1st District Representative Franz Alvarez said those who are lobbying for and against ABS-CBN will be given a chance to summarize all their arguments on Thursday before the franchise approval is put to a vote.

Only the legislative franchises panel members can cast their vote, but Alvarez said they are not expected to hand down their verdict on Thursday. No exact date for the voting has been scheduled yet.

The network’s future rests on the hands of 92 legislators: 46 members of the legislative franchises panel and 46 House leaders who are ex-officio members of the panel. The Speaker, the Majority and Minority Leaders, and their deputies have voting powers in all House committees by virtue of their ranks in the leadership.

When the committee decides to vote on ABS-CBN’s franchise, a quorum must be established, meaning 1/5 of all members of the panel must be present at the hearing.

The House rules state that if there are ex-officio members present, they will be included in the total number of members that will be used to determine quorum.

ABS-CBN – which the National Telecommunications Commission already shut down after the network’s old franchise lapsed last May 4 – needs to get a majority vote if it wants to get a reprieve from the House panel.

What are the possible scenarios? There are 3 possible scenarios that will come out of the House committee’s vote. These are:

Scenario 1: ABS-CBN’s franchise application goes to the House plenary for debates.

This will happen if the legislative franchises committee members decide in favor of the embattled network. This is the best scenario for ABS-CBN.

The committee-approved bill granting the embattled network a fresh franchise would then be sponsored in the plenary, where the entire 302-chamber can debate on its merits.

But if this happens, it will still be a long way to go before ABS-CBN can go back on air. The House needs to approve the bill on 2nd and 3rd readings before it can be transmitted to the Senate.

House approval of the franchise can happen in August at the earliest, however, since Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said the lower chamber would decide on ABS-CBN’s fate by that month.

The measure also needs to go through another 3 readings in the Senate before it can successfully hurdle Congress.

Senators can do this in a matter of days, considering that it took them only between 11 to 20 days to approve the franchises of other major broadcasting networks.

But if ABS-CBN is met with strong opposition in the Senate as much as it did in the House, then senators can refuse to schedule their franchise hearings for months – much like what happened in the lower chamber.

The first House bill that would have renewed ABS-CBN’s now-expired franchise was filed on July 23, 2019, yet the House committee on legislative franchises started its hearings only on March 10, 2020. (READ: What’s taking Congress so long to tackle ABS-CBN’s franchise?)

ABS-CBN earlier told senators they may have to begin retrenching workers starting August if their franchise is not granted by then.

Scenario 2: There will be more hearings on ABS-CBN’s franchise.

This will happen if the committee rejects ABS-CBN’s franchise. In this case, House committee on good government and public accountability chair Jose Sy-Alvarado told Rappler ABS-CBN can file a motion for reconsideration or refile its franchise application.

“They can make a motion for reconsideration or re-file their application. Marami namang paraan (There are a lot of ways), and I am very sure, ABS knows it all,” Sy-Alvarado said.

Alvarez also told Rappler his panel would be forced to hold another hearing to discuss ABS-CBN’s appeal.

“Puwede mag-appeal once within that hearing or within 24 hours… [Magkakaroon ng] hearing ulit [ang] members para ma-consider [ang] appeal,” Alvarez said.

(They can make an appeal once within that hearing or within 24 hours… There will be another hearing so members can consider the appeal.)

Any House member can also choose to file another bill granting ABS-CBN a new franchise, challenging the decision of the committee.

“Puwede po. Pero hahaba na naman ‘yan,” Alvarez said. (That is also possible. But the process will again take long.)

There is no guarantee, however, that the legislative franchises committee will immediately hear this newly-filed bill. It is possible for the measure to remain pending at this level until the end of Duterte’s term.

Scenario 3: ABS-CBN stays closed for the remaining two years of the Duterte presidency.

If ABS-CBN exhausts all of its possible options and the House – either the committee or the plenary – still rejects or refuses to act on its franchise, the Philippines’ largest media network will remain off-air for the remainder of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

ABS-CBN can try again in 2022, when Duterte is no longer president – assuming elections are held and he steps down in accordance with constitutional processes.

It will be a severe blow to press freedom, which has long been under siege under the Duterte administration.

The last time ABS-CBN was shut down was in 1972, the beginning of 21-year martial rule under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. It would reopen only in 1986, when the strongman was ousted by the EDSA People Power Revolution. (READ: Enrile echoes ABS-CBN: Lopezes did not lose ownership during Martial Law takeover)

What are the accusations lodged against ABS-CBN? The President himself has long been out to see the fall of ABS-CBN, which displeased him after the network failed to air around P6.6 million worth of political advertisements that the Duterte campaign had paid for.

In the 12th House hearing on Monday, July 6, ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak explained they were unable to broadcast these Duterte ads because of a lack of air time, since campaign ads are regulated in the country.

Katigbak added that ABS-CBN failed to air the ads of many other candidates in 2016, including those of defeated presidential bet Mar Roxas.

The network has already returned P4 million to the Duterte camp. Katigbak admitted ABS-CBN was late in processing the refund for the remaining P2.6 million and apologized to Duterte for this. The President, however, refused to accept the balance and instead asked ABS-CBN to donate the money to charity.

In the past month, legislators had grilled ABS-CBN’s executives and lawyers over the network’s supposed violations of the terms of its franchise. These included allegations of foreign ownership through the Philippine Depository Receipts that ABS-CBN had sold, possible violations of labor laws, and the network’s alleged ploy to use its subsidiaries as tax shields.

ABS-CBN had denied all the allegations and maintained its operations in the past two decades were above-board.

The House panels, however, are now asking the National Bureau of Investigation to probe into the network’s supposed “deception” during the hearings.

The dual citizenship of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III was also questioned, with several legislators arguing he cannot own ABS-CBN since he is allegedly a foreigner. This is false, as Lopez is a Filipino since birth because he was born to Filipino parents. He is also American because he was born in the United States.

ABS-CBN also endured 11 hours of grilling on Monday after several lawmakers accused the network of irresponsible coverage of issues – from the Dengvaxia scandal to the network’s own franchise hearings.

No less than Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano himself – Duterte’s running mate in 2016 – has accused ABS-CBN of unfair election coverage, though he did not show up during Monday’s hearing and instead submitted a written testimony against the network to the House committees.

ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs chief Regina “Ging” Reyes defended the network against accusations of political bias, saying their journalists strive to keep their biases in check and correct mistakes as needed. – Rappler.com





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Ceres-Negros FC to revamp with new investor talks


TOP CLUB. Bienvenido Marañon gives Ceres-Negros FC a strong start to its 2020 AFC Cup campaign against Svay Rieng FC. Photo from Ceres-Negros FC

TOP CLUB. Bienvenido Marañon gives Ceres-Negros FC a strong start to its 2020 AFC Cup campaign against Svay Rieng FC. Photo from Ceres-Negros FC

MANILA, Philippines – Three-time Philippines Football League (PFL) champion Ceres-Negros FC is currently in talks with new investors who are set to take over the club’s management and ownership.

In an official statement released on Wednesday, July 8, the club said it will also undergo a name revamp as Ceres Liner chairman Leo Rey Yanson will not be involved in the future affairs of the club.

“This is one of the toughest decisions made by Mr Yanson, whose passion for football was reflected at the way he poured his personal resources and steered the club to unprecedented heights since it was formed 8 years ago,” read the statement.

“While the pandemic has struck hard on businesses all over the world, Ceres has made its best efforts to compensate its players and staff.”

Philippine Football Federation (PFF) secretary-general Edwin Gastanes said the club’s 2020 AFC Cup slot will not be affected as the national federation will assist them with the necessary procedures required by the Asian Footall Confederation.

“The slot belongs to the club. PFF will make the appropriate representation to AFC that it’s a change of ownership but the slot belongs to the country,” explained Gastanes in the PFF press conference.

The Busmen are currently on top of Group G in the tournament where they last drubbed Bali United 4-0 in a closed-door match.

The 2020 AFC Cup is slated to resume in September in a bubble setup in Vietnam and the finals are targeted to be held on November.

The fourth season of the Philippines Football League (PFL), on the other hand, will have to wait for further directives from the country’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) as the body only gave a green light to resume training for professional basketball and football teams.

Despite the situation of Ceres, which has made 3 AFC Champions League appearances, PFL commissioner Coco Torre remains optimistic that the upcoming season will start with 7 teams this year.

“Throughout the years, there were observations on what worked and didn’t seem to work. We are putting together the best strategies to move forward to have a more competitive and exciting league,” said Torre.

Before the pandemic, the 2020 PFL season was slated to be held on March 21. – Rappler.com





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Ringo Starr marks 80th birthday at online gig with Paul McCartney


BIRTHDAY. Beatles drummer Ringo Starr is set to celebrate his 80th birthday via an online bash. Photo from Shutterstock

BIRTHDAY. Beatles drummer Ringo Starr is set to celebrate his 80th birthday via an online bash. Photo from Shutterstock

LOS ANGELES, USA – With a little help from his friends, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was set to hold an online 80th birthday bash Tuesday featuring former bandmate Paul McCartney, in aid of charities including Black Lives Matter.

Normally the British musician marks each passing year with performances including fellow musicians and hundreds of fans – but the pandemic forced a rethink this time.

“I love birthdays,” Starr told Rolling Stone recently. “This year is going to be a little different. There’s no big get-together, there’s no brunch for 100.

“But we’re putting this show together – an hour of music and chat. It’s quite a big birthday.”

The show will see a virtual reunion between Starr and McCartney, who play together on occasion and last year united for a surprise performance in Los Angeles as part of McCartney’s Freshen Up tour.

“I love playing with Paul,” Starr told the magazine in an interview published Tuesday. “He’s still for me, the finest, most melodic bass player in the world, and I love what he does.

“But, you see, this is when you realize I’ve said that for 40 years. I’m still saying the same line!”

Ben Harper, Dave Grohl, Sheila E., and Sheryl Crow also are set to be among the celebrities joining Starr – who lives in Los Angeles – at 5 pm local time (0000 GMT) for the online party.

The event is encouraging donations to the Black Lives Matter Global Network, The David Lynch Foundation, MusiCares, and WaterAid, according to Starr’s website.

Ahead of the bash NASA’s Curiosity Rover tweeted Starr birthday wishes from space.

‘Peace and Love’

“Happy 80th, Ringo! Here’s my view of Earth (and Venus) from the surface of Mars where I’m thinking about your message of Peace and Love, and how in good times and in tough ones, we all get by with a little help from our friends,” it said.

Known for his easy-going personality and humor, Starr rocketed to global fame in the early 1960s and helped change the face of pop music forever as part of the Beatles – still perhaps the world’s most famous band.

After the group’s break-up, Starr emerged as a band leader in the late 1980s with his All Starr Band, a collaboration that is still active today with various artists that played hits from the Beatles and other ensembles.

In his wide-ranging discussion with Rolling Stone, the newly-minted octogenarian talked about his recent turn to health as he heads into his 9th decade.

Starr said he works out anywhere from three to 6 times a week, goes for long walks, and maintains a vegetarian diet – eating “broccoli with everything and blueberries every morning.”

He said he hasn’t really left his LA home in some 11 weeks during the pandemic, inviting an engineer over just once for a jam session.

“I do a bit of that and I have a paint room, a little art room. And I’m going in there, painting and doing stuff. And I love to sit in the sun. I love LA. I love the brightness and hanging out.

“That’s all we’re doing.” – Rappler.com





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OFW mom of slain 15-year-old girl seeks help to attend daughter’s burial


The mother, who is based in Kuwait, was allowed to go home for her daughter’s burial in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, but she doesn’t have enough money for a plane ticket

Published 4:54 PM, July 08, 2020

Updated 4:57 PM, July 08, 2020

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The mother of the 15-year-old girl who was shot dead in Ilocos Sur last week is asking for financial help so she can return home from Kuwait and attend her daughter’s burial.

The mother, who is working in Kuwait, said in an interview on local radio that her employers allowed her to attend her daughter’s burial but they will not pay for her trip back home.

She directed her plea to the government and to Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Singson, who was very instrumental in bringing justice to her daughter.

Singson had asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to step in to investigate the killing of the minor, who was killed by riding-in-tandem gunmen on her way home from the Cabugao police station where she had just filed a molestation complaint against Staff Sergeant Marawi Torda.

Staff Sergeant Randy Ramos allegedly raped the girl’s cousin. The two cops arrested them after they were caught violating the province-wide curfew in late June.

The two cops detained on July 5. Investigators are also looking into accusations that the two were the same masked men who shot the minor.

The police chiefs of both San Juan and Cabugao towns were also relieved on Monday. Captain Benjamin Raquedan of San Juan and Captain Ramil Llarenas of Cabugao will also be facing administrative cases regarding the murder of the 15-year-old girl, a spokesperson of the regional police said. – Rappler.com





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Constitution framers, Ateneo professors file 6th petition vs anti-terror law


6TH PETITION. Ateneo Human Rights Center lawyers Marianne Agunoy, Paula Villarin and Paula Estrella, also co-petitioners, file the 6th petition vs the anti-terror law before the Supreme Court on July 8, 2020. Photo courtesy of AHRC

6TH PETITION. Ateneo Human Rights Center lawyers Marianne Agunoy, Paula Villarin and Paula Estrella, also co-petitioners, file the 6th petition vs the anti-terror law before the Supreme Court on July 8, 2020. Photo courtesy of AHRC

MANILA, Philippines – Constitution framers Christian Monsod and Felicitas Arroyo filed on Wednesday, July 8, the 6th petition against the Duterte administration’s anti-terror law.

They are joined by Ateneo and Xavier Law professors, the Ateneo Human Rights Center, jesuit priest Albert Alejo and the labor federation Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO).

Based on Rappler’s information as of Wednesday, there are at least 7 more petitioner groups to file before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court en banc, in its session on Tuesday, July 7, asked the government respondents to submit their comments to the first 4 petitions within 10 calendar days from notice. The en banc also consolidated the first 4 petitions.

The 5th petition was filed Wednesday by Rudolf Jurado, President Rodrigo Duterte’s former government corporate counsel.

The anti-terror council

The petition of the Constitution framers focuses on what it says is the unconstitutional powers of the anti-terror council (ATC), which is an executive body to be headed by the executive secretary and the national security adviser.

Section 29 which gives the council the power to order arrests and detention without court warrants are a consistent argument of petitioners and critics alike.

“Section 29 offends the Constitution on multiple fronts,” said the petition.

But aside from that, the petition also cites Section 25, which gives the council the power to designate people as terrorists upon its finding of probable cause. Section 25 authorizes the council to request the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the assets of the designated people.

Note that the council’s designation is a separate process from the proscription or the declaration of a court. (READ: EXPLAINER: Comparing dangers in old law and anti-terror bill)

“In addition, it must be highlighted that the provision on the power to designate provides no parameters for the ATC to follow and factors to consider in making a designation,” said the petition.

The petition said there is no mechanism under the law that provides for a judicial scrutiny of the council’s designation process. It is similar to the administration’s compilation of drug lists, which provide no process for those included to take their names off.

“This provision imposes a penal sanction without subjecting the ATC’s suspicion to judicial scrutiny. All this gives unbridled power to the ATC to decide who, what, when and how citizens may be identified as terrorists,” said the petition.

The government’s record

The petition lists incidents where the Duterte administration charged critics with offenses like inciting to sedition, published matrices of alleged Oust Duterte or Red October plots, and red-tagged activists.

One of the petitioners, jesuit priest Alejo, is facing a complaint on conspiracy to commit sedition over the Bikoy videos, and is awaiting resolution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on charges he allegedly kidnapped a businesswoman to testify against Duterte.

“Given the pattern of imputation by the executive and the nature of accusations, the exercise of our fundamental freedom of expression and freedom of association has to be protected,” said the petition.

The petition took notice of the statement by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra that the Department of Justice will “define more clearly in the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) the parameters which the law will be implemented and enforced, in order to erase any latitude for misapplication or abuse.”

“Again, the parameters and the standards must be laid down in the law itself, not in succeeding Implementing Rules and Regulations. As RA No.11479 does not set these standards and will have to rely on the IRR for more clearly-defined parameters, it must be struck down as unconstitutional,” said the petition. Rappler.com





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Duterte replaces PH Commission on Women chairperson


CHANGES IN PCW. Philippine Commission on Women Rhodora Bucoy is getting replaced. Malacañang photo

CHANGES IN PCW. Philippine Commission on Women Rhodora Bucoy is getting replaced. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte is replacing Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) chairperson Rhodora Masilang Bucoy with another commissioner from the agency.

This was confirmed by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) spokesman Jonathan Malaya to Rappler on Wednesday, July 8.

“Her term expired and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte appointed a new chair in the person of Sandy Montano, a former commissioner,” he said.

He later clarified the DILG is yet to receive formal appointment papers from Malacañang.

Bucoy was told of the decision on Tuesday, July 7, according to a source. But the PCW, in a press release, said Bucoy had resigned the same day.

Montano, Bucoy’s replacement, is currently PCW commissioner representing the science and health sector. Her oath-taking is expected to take place on Friday, July 10, according to an insider.

In response to Bucoy’s departure, 3 other PCW commissioners have supposedly tendered their resignation – media and arts representative Noreen Capili, urban poor representative Corazon Espinoza, and labor representative Emma Ricaforte. Malaya was unable to confirm this.

Insiders say Bucoy has been “outspoken” about Duterte’s rape jokes since the beginning of his administration. Bucoy was appointed to the post because of her good ties with former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr who resigned in 2019 to run for Bohol governor.

Bucoy is widely respected and has a stellar background. She’s been in the PCW since 2013, when she was appointed commissioner representing the academe. She was also an associate professor for political science and gender studies at the University of the Philippines Cebu.

An active advocate for women’s empowerment, Bucoy put up the Sidlak Gender Resource Center in Central Visayas in 2003.

Bucoy is multi-awarded, with the Tatak UP Alumni Award for Outstanding Public Service in Women Empowerment and Justice German Lee Award on Transformative Leadership under her belt. – Rappler.com





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Quick economic rebound possible for France – stats office


REBOUND. People ride their bicycles on Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, France, on May 11, 2020. Photo by Bertrand Guay/AFP

REBOUND. People ride their bicycles on Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, France, on May 11, 2020. Photo by Bertrand Guay/AFP

PARIS, France – France’s statistics office unveiled on Wednesday, July 8, survey data that shows there is a chance the country’s economy could return to near pre-coronavirus levels by the end of the year.

INSEE released updated economic forecasts for the year that see a strong 19% rebound in gross domestic product in the quarter that begins in July and then a small increase in the 4th quarter.

Nevertheless, with the output lost during the lockdown that stretched from March into May, the French economy is heading for a 9% drop for the year, “the strongest contraction since national accounts began to be compiled in 1948.”

That forecast is nevertheless more optimistic than the French government’s prediction of 11%, the French central bank’s 10%, and the European Commission’s 10.6%.

INSEE noted, however, that given the uncertainty about the evolution of the health situation as well further impacts on the economy, the forecasts should be considered with caution.

The statistics office surveyed some 38,000 companies in the first half of June about when they expect their business activity to return to pre-crisis levels. And these showed France’s economy could recover most of the lost ground by the end of the year.

Under the central scenario, economic activity will have returned to a level of around 4% below normal at the end of the year.

Under the optimistic scenario, economic activity may be down around just 2%.

When the French economy was under lockdown for the entire month of April, economic activity was down an estimated 30%. INSEE says that around three-fifths of that drop had been recovered in June.

The pessimistic scenario has French economic activity 6% below normal at the end of the year.

INSEE said the “strength of the rebound is to a large extent a reflection of the weakness of the point of departure, that is to say the level of economic activity during the lockdown period.”

It said the measures the government adopted to support workers staying on payrolls has apparently helped facilitate facilitate the quick recovery, but pointed to industrial firms reporting weak orders, especially from international clients.

“This does not augur well for an immediate return to normal,” said INSEE. – Rappler.com





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