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30 Days Till the Death Penalty, a Continued Spat Over the Spratlys + Other Nice News  

It’s not so nice.
ILLUSTRATOR Jasrelle Serrano
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Debate on re-instatement of death penalty to begin.

Two decades after the 1987 abolition of the death penalty, criminal punishment may soon return to the Philippines, according to House Speaker Alvarez, who believes the House of Representatives will pass the proposed bill in 30 days or less. Campaigners for and against re-implementation are split between the major political camps, however there are expected to be defections by pro-administration lawmakers due to religious and ethical concerns.

Diplomatic exchange on disputed islands continues amid global power shift.

As U.S. President-elect Trump is set to be inaugurated this Friday, uncertainty over future relations between the Western power and China adds further ambiguity to a contentious situation in the West Philippine Sea. While Malacañang has employed a conciliatory approach towards Beijing as of lately, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recently raised concerns over China’s continued militarization of the disputed islands.

House Speaker Alvarez open to presidential term limit change.

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With an Executive Order already issued by the President, one of the to-be-convened Constitutional Commission’s tasks may be a proposal to change the presidential term limit. In an interview, House Speaker Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez expressed confidence that the limit would be lifted but noted that any proposal would have to be initiated by the commission itself, which will present its proposed changes to Congress after a six-month period of deliberation.  

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One million drug users, pushers surrender to police.

Within President Duterte’s stated time frame of six months to solve the national drug problem, one million alleged drug users and dealers have reportedly turned themselves in to the authorities. As noted by PNP spokesperson Dionardo Carlos, 2,000 suspected drug criminals have been killed during the course of coordinated police operations. Meanwhile, almost 200 officers are facing summary dismissal proceedings and are likely to be expelled permanently due to suspected illegal drug use.

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Christopher Puhm
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