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European legislators call for De Lima’s release

PHILSTAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

EIGHTEEN members of the European Parliament have called for more pressure on the Philippine government to release opposition Senator Leila M. De Lima In a letter dated Feb. 24 addressing the European Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini, the European legislators called for an official statement from the body to reinforce pressure on Philippine authorities to free the detained senator. “The charges against our colleague Ms. De Lima seem to have been fabricated and everything points out to her case being politically motivated….We therefore urge you and the EEAS (European External Action Service) to issue a statement calling for her release, since a fair trial in today’s Philippines is impossible, and to reinforce pressure on the Philippine authorities,” the letter reads. In a related development, the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 34 on Wednesday cited for indirect contempt Ms. De Lima’s former driver Ronnie Dayan for refusing to testify against the senator in her disobedience to summons case. The next hearing is scheduled on May 15. — Camille A. Aguinaldo

PNP to go after ‘wang-wang’ candidates

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) may recommend the disqualification of candidates who use “wang-wang” or sirens during the campaign period. PNP Chief Director-General Oscar D. Albayalde said the PNP’s Highway Patrol Group might also confiscate a candidate’s vehicle if he is found violating Presidential Decree No. 96 which prohibits the use of sirens and other similar devices. “Then probably we can recommend…his disqualification (before the) Comelec,” Mr. Albayalde said. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

Duterte links anew Trillanes’s mother to alleged anomalies in Navy

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday said he will summon opposition Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV’s mother, Estelita, as part of the government’s inquiry into her alleged anomalous transactions with the Philippine Navy. “Sumobra ka (You went overboard). We will initiate an investigation…and I will subpoena your mother sa ayaw mo at sa hindi (whether you like it or not),” the President said in his speech on Tuesday night at the League of Municipalities of the Philippines General Assembly 2019 in Manila. “Baka sabihin mo walang power (Maybe you say we do not have a power to do so). There is. We also have the contempt power, but we have to go to court,” Mr. Duterte said. — Arjay L. Balinbin

PDP-Laban eyes retaking House speakership

THE ruling PDP-Laban is gunning for the House speakership in the 18th Congress. In a statement, the party’s campaign spokesperson Ronwald Munsayac said 130 party members seeking reelection are enough to retake the speakership. He said Davao Rep. Pantaleon D. Alvarez, who was ousted after the President’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA), leads the possible candidates for the top post of the House. The other possible candidates are Representatives Lord Allan Q. Velasco of Marinduque, Ronaldo B. Zamora of San Juan, Alex L. Advincula and Abraham N. Tolentino of Cavite, Federico S. Sandoval of Malabon, Aurelio D. Gonzales, Jr. of Pampanga, Lucy T. Gomez of Leyte, an Ferdinand L. Hernandez of South Cotabato. “We are very confident that, just like the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, we have the ‘strength in numbers’ in the House to regain the Speakership,” Mr. Munsayac said. — Camille A. Aguinaldo

Otso Diretso insists on public debate

SENATORIAL candidates under the opposition Otso Diretso slate are pushing for a public debate against candidates under the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) slate. In a press conference in Intramuros on Wednesday, election lawyer Romulo B. Macalintal called on Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio to lay down the rules, the time, and the venue for the public debate. “We just want a discussion….We thought of the debate as a way for the people to know the issues and the candidates’ position,” former solicitor-general Florin T. Hilbay said for his part. Ms. Duterte-Carpio, who is also HNP’s campaign manager, earlier said she wanted a more organized debate wherein agreements are laid down between the two parties. Last Monday, HNP senatorial candidates did not show up at Plaza Miranda for a public debate challenged by the Otso Diretso candidates. — Camille A. Aguinaldo

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