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  • Bersamin named new chief justice President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin as the new chief justice (CJ). CJ Bersamin edged out Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, as well as Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Andres Reyes, Jr. who were included in the shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council, the body that vets judiciary nominees. He is the country’s 25th chief justice, replacing Teresita Leonardo de Castro who retired after serving only 41 days as the top magistrate following the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno through quo warranto proceedings. CJ Bersamin is the 3rd most senior among Supreme Court justices but is considered the most senior in terms of service rendered in courts, with a career spanning 32 years.
  • MB cites ebbing price pressures Inflation pressures have subsided after overall price increases hit a 9-year peak the last 2 months, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) or central bank’s policy-making Monetary Board (MB). MB member Bruce Tolentino explained that meat, vegetables, and fish harvests being in season and the declining oil price continue to put the pressure down. Inflation steadied at 6.7% in October from the previous month’s level, which was a 9-year peak, driven largely by food and oil costs. Prices rose by 5.1% overall in January-October, well beyond the central bank’s original 2-4% target set by the for 2018. That prompted BSP to carry out 5 consecutive rate hikes totaling 175 basis points (bp) to rein in inflation expectations, in hopes of bringing full-year inflation down to a 3.5% average in 2019. Lifting of rice import restrictions coupled with investment in climate-resilient crops will help sustain the long-term reduction of rice prices.

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