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Witness links Duterte to death squad, De Lima questions judges' authority + other objectionable news

Objection sustained.
ILLUSTRATOR Jasrelle Serrano
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Retired policeman admits to killing for Duterte.    

In a stunning reversal of his previous court testimony, former police officer Arthur Lascañas admitted to being a member of the Davao Death Squad, testifying that he killing people for then Davao mayor Rodrigo Duterte. While he denied any involvement during last year’s hearing after being implicated by another witness, Edgar Matobato, Lascañas stated that he was driven by a desire to confess his involvement in the killing of his two drug-dealing brothers. He also laid out the details of several killings he alleges Duterte ordered such as the murders of religious leader Jun Barsabal and Duterte critic and radio host Jun Pala, as well as a retaliatory grenade strike against a Davao mosque following the San Pedro Cathedral bombing.

De Lima drug cases raffled off to trial court judges.

The Department of Justice has handed each of the charges Senator De Lima will face to a separate judge working at the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court, who will then determine whether probable cause exists to issue an arrest warrant. After the raffling off of the drug cases, De Lima filed motions before the individual branches in order to question their jurisdiction, arguing that charges should instead be filed before the Ombudsman to ensure fair treatment.

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ASEAN, China to discuss code of conduct in South China Sea.

As ASEAN foreign ministers meet in Boracay today for this year’s first high-level meeting, there appears to be momentum in determining a framework for the code of conduct in the disputed South China Sea. The discussions, which have been ongoing for ten years, may have additional impetus due to China’s apparent willingness to agree on a framework by mid-year, according to DFA spokesman Charles Jose. In the first high-level meeting since the election of Donald Trump, the foreign ministers will also discuss the implications of Trump’s presidency for the ASEAN members.

Diplomatic row after assassination of Kim Jong-un’s brother.

The murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother continues to cause controversy as the communist nation accuses Malaysia of acting against North Korea’s interests. Kim Jong-nam, who lived in exile in Macau for over decade, was awaiting a return flight to Macau at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last week when he was assassinated by a woman forcefully placing a fast-acting poison on Kim Jong-nam's face. North Korea demanded the immediate return of the body, alleging that Malaysian authorities cannot be trusted with the investigation of the murder.

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