MANILA – The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, is set to conduct a public hearing on the series of killings in the country.On January 18, Gordon delivered a privilege speech at the plenary and condemned the continued acts of violence perpetrated… Read More
ZAMBOANGA CITY–Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has acknowledged rising cases of suicides in the city, blaming it partly on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.Salazar said Wednesday she has instructed Dr. Dulce Amor Miravite, City Health Office chief, and City Social Welfare officer… Read More
Based on the available information on hand, the manner of death is classified as natural death
Flight attendant Christine Dacera died of natural causes, said a medico-legal report.
Dacera was found dead in a Makati City hotel room after celebrating New Year’s Day with her friends.
The report was submitted to the prosecution at the resumption on Wednesday, January 27,of of the preliminary investigation into the rape with homicide complaint filed by the Philippine National Police against the 11 known companions of Dacera in a New Year’s Eve party.
“Manner of death as homicide is ruled out in Dacera’s case because the aortic aneurysm is considered a medical condition. Rape and/or drug overdose will not result to the development of aneurysms,” the medico-legal report, signed by Police Lt. Gen. Joseph Palmero, read.
“No alcohol or recreational drugs taken the night prior to her death will case that kind of dilatation or defect on her aorta. That dilatation is a chronic condition and was present long before she died,” it added.
The report said that Dacera’s heart had an abnormal weight, which “supports [her] apparently undiagnosed hypertension.”
“Based on the available information on hand, the manner of death is classified as natural death,” the report stated.Read More
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Sunday called for heightened protection of students against sexual exploitation and other forms of child abuse as the world celebrates the International Day of Education.”Protection of young people from all forms of abuse is among the obligations… Read More
COTABATO CITY – More bodies of suspects belonging to a local armed group have been found during clearing operations following a five-hour encounter with the police in the Maguindanao town of Sultan Kudarat on Saturday. Maj. Ismael Madin, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in… Read More
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III wants to help the suspects who snatched his mobile phone last week by providing them jobs.Maj. Joselito de Ocampo of the Manila Police District presented the suspects to the DOLE chief on Monday in his office in… Read More
Senator Richard Gordon said money laundering by Chinese nationals is a “threat to national security” because the fund can be used to destabilize the Philippine government.
He warned that money laundering is a “threat to national security” because it can be used to fund organized crimes, destabilize governments and erode the integrity of the nation’s financial institutions.
Gordon raised the fear as he revealed that some of those found involved in money laundering were identified as members of China’s Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), who could be gathering vital intelligence information on the Philippines.
The PLA is the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and of its founding and ruling political party, the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The Chinese Embassy in Manila described as “isolated incidents” illegal and criminal cases involving its nationals in the Philippines and warned those spreading fake news against China.
In a privilege speech Tuesday, Gordon raised issues on money laundering related to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).
Gordon earlier said some US$446 million (P22.69 billion) was “smuggled” by 47 individuals, mostly Chinese money launderers, into the country in a span of 5 months.
The Philippine National Police reported a growing number of kidnapping cases involving Chinese victims and kidnappers due to the influx of Chinese working for the POGO.
Police said they were investigating 2 Chinese murder suspects who were caught with identification cards allegedly from the PLA.
The government is also investigating immigration officials who allowed POGO workers, including PLA elements, to sneak into the country easily by paying bribes.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said there are PLA members in the country, based on intelligence information he received.
He urged authorities to validate information that some 3,000 members of the PLA are in the Philippines.
We need to validate this, this is not yet confirmed. I urge the intelligence community to confirm. Maybe they’re here for an immersion mission, we don’t know. For what purpose, we don’t know, said Lacson.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila described as “isolated incidents” illegal and criminal cases involving its nationals in the Philippines.
In a statement reported by the government-owned Philippine News Agency (PNA), the Chinese embassy said the Chinese government attaches “great importance to combating all kinds of illegal and criminal activities” and has been in close cooperation with relevant agencies in the country.
The statement came in the wake of reports that Chinese nationals are allegedly associated with money laundering, prostitution, kidnapping, and even bribing of Philippine authorities in the country.
The embassy dished out a harsh warning against those spreading false information against China.
The embassy said it opposes “any irresponsible remarks based on fake news and condemns any groundless allegations against China out of ulterior political motives.”
Citing the cases as isolated, the embassy said these should not represent the whole picture of China-Philippines relations.
“The Chinese Embassy has always been committed to safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in the Philippines and has been providing consular service and protection for them to the best of its ability. The Embassy is willing to continue to strengthen communication and cooperation with the Philippine side in this regard,” the statement read.
“The China-Philippines relations have maintained a good momentum of development, which serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples,” it said.
Everything that he has started is still constant. It’s still the same. Nothing has changed
Braving strong opposition from his critics, President Rodrigo Duterte has kept his promise to protect his fellow Filipinos by continuing his “relentless” campaign against illegal drugs, corruption in government, and criminality in 2019.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President’s resolve to rid the country of drug offenders, corrupt government workers, and criminals remains “constant.”
“Constant pa rin kung ano ang kanyang sinimulan. Ganoon pa rin. Walang pagbabago. Patuloy ‘yun. Lahat iyan, walang pagbabago. Paulit-ulit lang sinasabi ni Presidente iyan (Everything that he has started is still constant. It’s still the same. Nothing has changed. It continues. There are no changes in all that he does. That’s what the President is repeatedly saying),” Panelo said Sunday in an interview with dzIQ.
The anti-narcotics campaign, which tops the President’s agenda, has so far come to fruition following the seizure of a total of PHP40.39 billion worth of illegal drugs from the start of the drug war on July 1, 2016 to Nov. 31, 2019, according to the government’s latest data released on December 12.
A total of 151,601 legitimate anti-drug operations conducted since Duterte assumed office until November 30 this year have also led to the arrest of 220,728 drug personalities and the deaths of 5,552 drug suspects.
Around 726 of 220,728 arrested individuals due to supposed links to rampant narcotics trade are government workers. Eighty-two of them are uniformed personnel, 297 are elected officials, and 347 are public employees.
About 485,295 drug offenders, meantime, have voluntarily surrendered to authorities and are now benefitting from the recovery and wellness program initiated by the Philippine National Police and other supportive community reformation centers.
The Duterte administration has also cleared 16,706 drug-affected villages nationwide. However, there are still 17,175 villages that need to be cleared of illegal drugs.
In a speech delivered on Dec. 20, the President said he needs to wage a war on drug offenders, whose goal is to “destroy the country.”
“My country is being flooded with drugs and I have to protect the next generation,” Duterte said. “I told you do not destroy my country because I will kill you. Nothing can be [clearer] than that.”
On Oct. 31, the President tapped Vice President Leni Robredo, leader of the opposition, as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), following the latter’s claim that the drug war is “obviously not working.”
Robredo, who was supposed to serve as ICAD co-chair when her term ends on June 30, 2022, was fired by Duterte 19 days after her appointment due to her alleged “missteps” after meetings with foreign personalities and groups that have prejudged the drug war and her failure to present new measures in curbing the drug menace in the country.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said the government’s anti-narcotics drive has the backing of most Filipinos.
“These undertakings [against illegal drugs] are backed and supported by 82 percent of Filipinos [who] view our campaign against illegal drugs as highly satisfactory,” the Communications chief said, referring to Social Weather Stations’ (SWS) June 22 to 26 survey which showed that 82 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs.
To disprove the “inaccurate narratives” about Duterte’s drug war, the PCOO released a one-hour documentary film titled “Gramo,” which tackles the accomplishments gained by the current administration in addressing the drug problem in the country.
Andanar’s office also produced a 57-paged magazine titled “Saving the Future of A Nation: Countering Hard Drugs that features the key performance indicators on the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign.
The public can expect Duterte doubling his efforts to stamp out the drug proliferation in his remaining years in office, Panelo said.
“Kung ano ang sinimulan ni Pangulong Presidente sa kanyang presidency ay itutuloy niya ‘yun. Kagaya ng paulit-ulit niyang sinasabi, hindi siya titigil hanggang sa huling araw ng kanyang pamunuan, ang kaniyang pakikipag-digmaan sa droga dito sa ating bayan (President Duterte will continue what he has started. He has repeatedly said his war on illegal drugs will be relentless until his last day in office),” Panelo said.
Drug war lowers crime incidence
Andanar believed that the war on illegal drugs has contributed to the significant drop in crime incidence in the country.
“With the campaign, crimes rates have also gone down, with 5.6 percent of Filipino families being victimized by common crimes,” he said.
The SWS’ September 27 to 30 poll revealed that families victimized by common crimes in the third quarter of 2019 fell to 5.6 percent or an estimated 1.4 million from June’s 7 percent or an estimated 1.7 million posted.
The latest crime rate is the “lowest” registered since the 5.3 percent post in June, the SWS noted.
Andanar said Duterte’s administration has also pushed for an “integrated and lasting means of achieving peace and order and countering insurgents, separatists, and terrorists.”
He said other government’s initiatives to combat crimes include the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the planned revival of peace negotiations with the communists.
“The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) has been a means of institutionalizing governance in Muslim Mindanao and has empirically provided peace and order and development in Mindanao,” the PCOO Secretary said.
“Peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines – National Democratic Front has always been an option sought by President Duterte to halt armed conflicts. While relevant defense agencies continue to address threats and terrorism, we have also employed a whole-of-nation approach to end conflicts by addressing its root causes at the local level,” he added.
The BOL creates the BARMM which replaces the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The new Bangsamoro Region enjoys expanded land and water jurisdiction, greater fiscal autonomy, and increased share in national government resources, among others.
Meantime, the President on Dec. 3 sent Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, former state chief peace negotiator, to the Netherlands to relay to communist founder Jose Maria Sison the government’s plan to revive the moribund negotiations with communist leaders.
Pending the resumption of talks with the communist movement, local peace bodies are tasked by Duterte to negotiate with the insurgents in their respective areas.
‘Firing spree’ continues
Apart from his fight against illegal drugs and criminality, the Chief Executive has repeatedly ensured that zero tolerance for corruption remains the key policy of his administration.
Duterte’s crackdown on corruption in government waged since he assumed office in July 2016 has either led to the firing or forced resignation of more than a 100 officials and employees suspected of graft and corruption.
One of Duterte’s remarkable moves was the firing of over 60 corrupt personnel of the Bureau of Customs in August 2019 to clean the bureau mired in controversies.
The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission has likewise investigated two Cabinet secretaries accused of being involved in corruption.
Duterte, however, has launched another probe against the two members of his Cabinet, but promised to fire them if evidence proves their involvement in corrupt activities.
Some of the public officials fired by Duterte due to corruption issues were friends and companions who helped him win during the 2016 presidential race.
On Dec. 20, Duterte maintained that he would not give any preferential treatment to erring public officials and employees.
“I have fired about five whose friendship dates back to 1988 when I first became the mayor of Davao. These guys were with me and who helped me all throughout,” the President recounted.
“Pero ang sinabi ko, ‘pagka magsama tayo sa gobyerno and I have the power to appoint you, huwag mo akong hiyain because ayaw ko talaga ng corruption, ‘yung corruption sa gobyerno (But I said, when we are in the government and I have the power to appoint you, do not bring shame upon me because I do not really tolerate corruption, the corruption in government),” he added.
Andanar emphasized that the government’s actions of investigating, suspending, and arresting corrupt government officials helped the country earned its “highest rank since 2013” in the latest Global Corruption Perception Index.
“This administration’s tough stance on weeding out corruption and other forms of criminality have put our rank in the 99th place of the Global Corruption Perception Index,” he said.
‘Comfortable life’ for Filipinos
Andanar was elated that Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs, corruption in government, and criminality has gained support from Filipinos, as reflected by the President’s “very high satisfaction and trust ratings.”
“These consistent high marks from the public come from this administration’s policy decisions and pronouncements, government programs, social services, and other political and societal milestones,” he said.
“These accomplishments have succeeded in making the life of every Filipino better each year, and 2019 is no exception,” the Communications chief added.
Pulse Asia’s latest poll this month showed that public satisfaction with Duterte’s work performance rose to 87 percent in December from 78 percent in September. Only 5 percent expressed disapproval over Duterte’s work ethic.
Panelo believed that the “5 percent” who expressed dissatisfaction with Duterte’s performance are “the opposition, the President’s political enemies, and the state enemies.”
In a statement on Sunday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Duterte’s high approval score is a “welcome news,” as it shows that “the people are feeling the positive effects of government programs and projects.”
Panelo said it was the President’s desire to bring “lasting peace” in the country.
“Eh ang wish list ni Presidente, ever since ay bigyan ng kapayapaan, lasting peace ang ating bayan. ‘Yung mga kumokontra sa estado ay sumali na sa agos ng pag-akyat ng ating lipunan sa mataas na antas ng progress (The President’s wish list ever since is to attain lasting peace in the country. So to the critics of this government, just join us in attaining the progress for the nation),” he said.
“Pangalawa, gusto niyang magkaroon ng kumportableng buhay ang bawat Pilipino. ‘Yun ang palaging wish ng Presidente taun-taon (Secondly, the President wants every Filipino to enjoy a comfortable life. That’s the President’s wish list every year),” Panelo added. (PNA)
President Rodrigo Duterte will release information on the alleged ninja cops syndicate as promised, Malacañang assured Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this assurance after Senator Richard Gordon said the Senate will let the President do the honor of being the first to bare information on ninja cops ahead of the joint committee hearing on the recycling of illegal drugs.
Panelo, however, said he had no knowledge about when Duterte would release information regarding police personnel involved in the recycling of seized illegal drugs.
Duterte is scheduled to visit Moscow, Russia for a second time this week upon the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Ah, hindi ko alam. Basta (I don’t know. But) he said he will, so he will,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, is authorized to divulge information disclosed by Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on the list of policemen involved in drug recycling.
Magalong is former chief of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
Last week, Panelo said that the ninja cops syndicate has been dismantled, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Panelo said PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde, bared this after briefing President Duterte on the status of the campaign against illegal drugs.
“He (Albayalde) told me that he updated the President on the status of the drug war; he told him about the so-called ninja cops syndicate and revealed to the President that that ninja cops syndicate is a thing of the past – that happened during the previous years of the previous administration,” Panelo said.
“That has been dismantled during the term of former PNP Chief General, now Senator Ronald dela Rosa and during his term,” he added.
While the ninja cops syndicate has been wiped out, Panelo said police scalawags remain. (PNA)
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said it has asked the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to issue a ‘red notice’ to expedite the arrest of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison for his alleged involvement in the so-called Inopacan massacre in Leyte.
PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde said they are now coordinating with the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC) to start the process against Sison who is currently in self-exile in Utrecht, Netherlands.
“The PNP, thru the PCTC, is making representations with the Interpol for the issuance of a red notice for the arrest of Jose Maria Sison to face trial in the Philippines for the crime of murder,” Albayalde told reporters during the press briefing held at Camp Crame.
A red notice forces police worldwide to go after fugitives who are hiding in their respective countries.
The PCTC is the Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) in the Philippines.
“Sison is in self-exile in Utrecht, The Netherlands from where he continues to exercise command and control of the New People’s Army, the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines under the umbrella of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines that is waging a terrorist campaign in some parts of the Philippines,” Albayalde said.
“His wife and co-accused Juliet De Lima Sison is with him in the Netherlands,” he added.
The PNP chief said the legal basis for an Interpol red notice is an arrest warrant or court order issued by judicial authorities in a country.
On Aug. 28, the Regional Trial Court Branch 32 in Manila issued the warrant of arrest against self-exiled Sison and 37 individuals including National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants Luis Jalandoni, Prudencio Calubid, and Geronimo Pasetes.
RTC Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina ordered the arrest of the 38 individuals for their alleged involvement in the so-called Inopacan massacre in Leyte on Sept. 2, 1985. No bail was recommended.
Based on estimates of former rebels and the victims’ relatives, the Inopacan massacre, dubbed by the New People’s Army as “Oplan Venereal Disease”, claimed the lives of about 300 residents in Leyte province.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)