Today's Headlines in the Philippines

President responsible for SAF 44 deaths, says House bloc
MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino bears responsibility for the massacre of 44 Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25 last year, lawmakers belonging to the independent bloc of the House of Representatives said yesterday. “Taken in its totality, the onus of responsibility for the Mamasapano massacre falls squarely in the hands of President Aquino,” the bloc said in its report on the incident.

Anti-political dynasty bill dead
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. declared yesterday that the proposal seeking to end political dynasties is dead in the 16th Congress. The House chief admitted that the Lower Chamber will not be able to pass the measure before Congress adjourns on today to pave way for the national election campaign, which starts next week. “It is dead for now. But, with the anti-dynasty provisions of the SK law, susunod na din ito. This is the first serious step ...

Health Department says the Philippines still free of Zika virus
THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DOH) on Tuesday assured the public that the Philippines was still free of the Zika virus as it announced measures, including increasing the number of testing kits, to address the disease should cases turn up in the country. In a press briefing, Health Secretary Janette Garin said the government remained vigilant against the disease since the mosquito carrying the virus was present in the country.

Napoles asks Sandiganbayan to reconsider bail plea
MANILA, Philippines — Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles on Wednesday filed a motion for reconsideration before the Sandiganbayan to reverse its decision to junk her bail petition. The camp of Napoles, who is facing plunder charges, asked the anti-graft court to take a second look at the facts governing the case. "The Honorable Court seriously erred in resolving that there is a strong evidence showing that accused Napoles together ...

PDEA chief confirms narcopolitics in some provinces
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Arturo Cacdac issued the statement as two senators raised the issue that drug money is used to finance the candidacy of some candidates in the coming elections. "'Yung narcopolitics 'pag may nahuli ka, 'di ba? Kino-confirm ko sa Masbate (mayroon) dahil may nahuli tayong board member. Aside from that hanggang dun lang tayo," he told reporters.

Philippine Red Cross asks people who came from Zika-affected countries not to donate blood
MANILA — Individuals who recently visited Zika virus-affected countries and intend to donate blood would have to defer their plans for now to prevent any spread of the virus in the country, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said. PRC Chair Richard Gordon said late Monday afternoon that their decision not to accept blood donation from those who arrived from countries affected by the virus, such as Brazil and Colombia, has become one of the PRC’s precautions ...

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach begins US hosting gig for Super Bowl 50
Fresh from her successful homecoming trip to the Philippines, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach started last Monday her special correspondent duties at Super Bowl 50 for the magazine talk show “The Inside Edition.” Yesterday, she posted photos of her appearance in Super Bowl 50 on the official Miss Universe Instagram. Her duties started at Super Bowl’s Media Day and continue reporting through game day on Sunday, February 7. The event is already sold out.

Poe hopes Sereno view on foundlings would inspire SC justices
Presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe expressed hope on Wednesday that Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno’s strong position on the rights of foundlings like her would ring “loud and clear” not only to the public, but also to other Supreme Court justices, who will make a final decision whether or not she is qualified to run for president in May. “We take refuge in the statement of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno fighting hard for the rights of foundlings like me.

If elected, Duterte says daughter Sara will be first lady
MANILA, Philippines – Former Davao City mayor Sara Duterte would act as first lady if her father, Rodrigo Duterte, is elected president. Naming his daughter first lady would make things less complicated, Duterte said in an interview over radio dzBB’s “Ikaw Na Ba?” “There would be no trouble if Inday Sara is picked,” he said in Filipino. Duterte was once married to Elizabeth Zimmerman, a flight attendant from Davao City.

Goodbye, surot: Genome secrets could help beat the bedbug's bite
WASHINGTON - They emerge from their hiding places at night, driven to slake their thirst for human blood. Vampires? No. Bedbugs! These tiny insects have staged a global resurgence in the past two decades after being nearly eradicated in many regions, but scientists on Tuesday unveiled a complete genetic map of the bedbug that could guide efforts to foil the resilient parasite.

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