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  • Pres. Aquino seeks understanding on Mamasapano incident  There was no apology, but President Aquino yesterday expressed regret, took “full responsibility” and appealed to the nation for “deepest understanding” for the January 25 Mamasapano raid in which dozens died, including 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. “To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation, it is with abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” Pres. Aquino said in a speech before the 246 new graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). He said he is “also human” and commits mistakes, but that he was speaking the truth with God as his witness. “I am aware of this: that no words will suffice to explain the deaths of our brave policemen. A report or a speech can never reflect the entirety of what is felt by a parent who lost a good child. All I can do, after saying all that must be said and after doing all that must be done, is to ask for your deep understanding,” the President said. The Mamasapano crisis has pulled down Aquino’s approval and trust ratings to record lows. 
  • Share prices hit new record high                                    After weeks of staying below the radar, the Philippine Stock Exchange index surged yesterday to another all-time high ahead of the Monetary Board’s policy setting meeting. The PSEi gained 0.44% or 34.76 points to zoom to its 20th record close for the year at 7,871.10. Yesterday’s finish eclipsed the PSEi’s previous all-time high of 7,861.33 recorded on March 6. The index started out slow due to the downtrend seen in markets abroad but  slowly picked up pace in positive anticipation of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) or central bank’s policy meeting, which was held yesterday. Most Asian stocks fell following declines in Wall Street and rising tensions in the Middle East. In Wall Street, all 3 indexes were in the red, with the Nasdaq sliding 2.37%, the Dow losing 1.62%, and the S&P 500 falling 1.46%. 
  • SC asks Comelec for statement on Smartmatic deal  The Supreme Court ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and automated counting machines-provider Smartmatic to comment on the petition filed by a former official that seeks to stop the bidding for optical scan machines (PCOS) for the 2016 presidential elections. The petition, earlier filed by former immigration Commissioner Homobono Adaza said the high court should stop the December 4 bidding due to the Comelec’s failure to resolve issues on the performance of Smartmatic in the 2010 and 2013 elections. Among the purportedly unresolved issues are the 82,000 PCOS machines unaccounted for since the last election. The high court has given Comelec 10 days to comment upon receipt of the court’s resolution.

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