News Roundup 28 July 2022

News and Updates

Jul 28, 20225 min Read

US carrier strike group returns to South China Sea amid Taiwan tensions | INQUIRER.NETA U.S. aircraft carrier and its strike group have returned to the South China Sea after a port call in Singapore, deploying in the disputed region as tensions with China rise over a possible visit to Taiwan by congressional leader Nancy Pelosi. Officials with the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet confirmed the deployment of the USS Ronald Reagan to the vital trade route but did not comment on questions about tensions over the trip by Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. “USS Ronald Reagan and her strike group are underway, operating in the South China Sea following a successful port visit to Singapore,” Commander Hayley Sims said in a statement to Reuters. Sims added that the Reagan “is continuing normal, scheduled operations as part of her routine patrol in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.” News of the deployment of the Japanese-based carrier come as Beijing and Washington trade diplomatic blows over Pelosi’s visit, reportedly due to take place next month after being postponed earlier in the year. Pelosi has not confirmed the possible trip. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday he had spoken with Pelosi and given her a security assessment but any comments about a trip she might make to Taiwan would have to come from her office. Read full story Tensions over democratically-ruled Taiwan are expected to be discussed when U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold their fifth phone call, which could take place as soon as Thursday. Read full story China has issued stern warnings to U.S. officials about Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday. Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and has never renounced using force to bring the island under its control. The Reagan strike group had been operating in the South China Sea earlier in the month before heading for a five-day rest stop in Singapore at the weekend.

Marcos, Philippine legal execs meet on ICC situation, but mum on details | PHILSTAR.COMPresident Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has met with his administration’s top lawyers to discuss the International Criminal Court investigation into the former administration’s bloody “war on drugs.” But the officials who attended the meeting remain mum on details or the decision they have agreed upon. Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra told reporters that the “only agenda was the government’s position on the ICC investigation.” But Guevarra deferred to the disclosure of the meeting’s details to Marcos. “I’d rather leave it to the president to make any disclosure at this time,” he added. Guevarra said other executives who attended the meeting are Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, Foreign Affairs Secretary Eduardo Manalo and Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile. Asked about the meeting, Remulla only initially replied: “No comment.” But at a chance interview with reporters later Thursday, he echoed the stance that the Philippines has already withdrawn from the ICC yet they want to investigate crimes here in the country even though the country has a functioning judicial system.  While he also refused to divulge the Palace’s stand on the matter, Remulla continued: “My personal opinion and it can be shared by some members or some people I met with yesterday, in my opinion, they have no jurisdiction over our country when it comes to these things they want to investigate because we are not anymore members of the ICC. if we are still part of the treaty, then we acede to the treaty, but we are not anymore part of the treaty, we have withdrawn from it.” It is unclear when the meeting was held by private lawyer Harry Roque, who ran but lost as senator under Marcos’ ticket. He also posted a photo of the meeting on Wednesday saying he was there as a “private counsel.” Remulla said he was at the meeting as a consultant. This was days after Marcos’ State of the Nation Address where he left out the human rights situation of the country and the ICC probe. In a separate press briefing at the Department of the Foreign Affairs, they acknowledged they are aware of the latest development in the ongoing preliminary investigation into the Philippines. ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan in a document dated July 14 has invited the Philippines to “provide observations” on his request to resume the investigation into the Situation in the Philippines. Guevarra said then that the OSG is considering options including challenging the jurisdiction of the case or its admissibility, or continuing to leave the communication lines with the ICC open.

LTO summons SUV owner, escort in viral video | PHILSTAR.COMThe Land Transportation Office (LTO) has issued show cause orders in connection with a video that went viral showing a vehicle being escorted by a motorcycle using blinkers in Silang, Cavite. The owner of a black Toyota Prado and the motorcycle rider were ordered to appear at the LTO office to respond to complaints before the agency’s Intelligence and Investigation Division (IID), documents obtained by The STAR showed. A video of the SUV on illegal counterflow while being escorted by a motorcycle was uploaded on social media on July 22. Acting LTO IID chief Renante Melitante said the act was in violation of Presidential Decree 96, which prohibits the “unregulated” use of blinkers or sirens. He said the license of the owner of the vehicle may be revoked for obstruction of traffic. The driver faces charges for reckless driving while the escort faces revocation of his license for violating the Land Transportation and Traffic Code Police Highway Patrol Group director Brig. Gen. Rommel Francisco Marbil said charges of usurpation of authority or use of official function and illegal use of uniform or insignia were filed against the security escort before the Cavite prosecutor’s office on Tuesday.

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