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MANILA, Philippines — State prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman have asked the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to uphold its decision to proceed with the trial of former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. for a graft case in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of service vehicles in 2003.

President Rodrigo Duterte is working and attending to paperwork, his presidential aide said on Monday, the sixth day since the chief executive last appeared in public.

Six people, including a 79-year-old civilian, were rescued during the eight-hour humanitarian pause in Marawi City on Sunday, Malacañang said.

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Torture remains a means by government security forces to extract information from suspects, human rights group Karapatan said on the eve of Monday's International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

A military spokesman claimed on Monday that Islamist fighters still entrenched in Marawi have beheaded several individuals based on accounts of rescued civilians, although it has not yet recovered any decapitated body.

After five weeks of fighting against local terror groups, the Armed Forces of the Philippines expressed confidence that offensive operations will be over soon and victory will be at hand.

The Philippine military said on Monday that a priest held captive by Islamist militants in Marawi is still alive, as rescue operations continue to reduce the number of hostages trapped in the city to several hundreds.

The military said on Monday that it is open to dialog with Islamist militants still entrenched in parts of Marawi to save civilians trapped in the fighting.

Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, one of the world's most wanted terrorists, may have already abandoned the Maute group which has laid siege in Marawi City, the military said on Monday.

A defense analyst said on Monday that the battle between Philippine security forces and Islamist militants in Marawi City which had left hundreds dead and scores injured could be considered a case of “pintakasi.”

The Filipino artist behind the floating “female Oblation” sculpture inside the University of the Philippines Diliman has denied allegations that he copied the idea from a public art installation in the Netherlands, but the Dutch sculptress believes it is plagiarism.

The Office of Vice President Leni Robredo will set up temporary learning spaces for children displaced by the ongoing clashes between government forces and the Islamic State-linked Maute terror group in Marawi City.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday reported that close to 70,000 workers employed under so-called “end of contract” (endo) scheme have been regularized almost a year under the Duterte presidency.


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