AFP dismayed over the release of nine cops involved in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 12, 2021   •   847

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines has expressed dismay after the Philippine National Police released the nine cops involved in the shooting of four army men in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said that AFP Chief General Gilbert Gapay lamented the decision to release the involved cops and the lack of arrest warrants despite the charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“It is only unfortunate that despite the DOJ’s filing online of a multiple murder case before the Regional Trial Court in Jolo last 04 January 2021, no Warrants of Arrest have been issued by the court,” he said.

The nine cops are facing multiple murder charges in the Regional Trial Court in Jolo after the DOJ found probable cause for an indictment.

On Monday (January 11), PNP Chief Police General Debold Sinas announced that they have turned over the nine cops to the lawyers and their relatives since the national police no longer have the authority to detain them. Sinas also announced that the nine cops had been dismissed from police service.

Na-release na kasi walang warrant of arrest na binigay samin. We have coordinated with the DOJ at saka sa lahat hanggang ngayon wala po. So, ayaw po namin na ma charge kami ng arbitrary detention at tsaka pinirmahan ko pong dismissal ay implementable na po iyon. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers (They have been released because there is no warrant of arrest. We have coordinated with the DOJ and until now, now warrant was issued. So we don’t want to be charged with arbitrary detention and I already signed the dismissal, it is already implementable. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers), Sinas said. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Sinas says PNP won’t interfere with ‘private sector initiatives’

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Debold Sinas has assured the public that police will not interfere with any ‘voluntary private sector initiative’ that seek to provide for the basic needs of people severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sinas did not explicitly mention community pantries in various parts of the country but he said the PNP “fully supports such expression of Bayanihan culture and Filipino spirit of compassion.”

“Hindi makikialam ang PNP sa aktibidad ng mga pribadong grupo na mamahagi ng ayuda sa mga tao,” he said in a statement.

“[W]e will continue to extend utmost assistance to ensure smooth and orderly operations of private sector outreach activities with greater emphasis on the health and safety of both benefactors and beneficiaries of these public endeavors,” he added.

The PNP chief, however, slammed “apparent attempts by certain quarters to create mass hysteria by propagating falsehood and fake news over cyberspace.”

“These persons will be unmasked, investigated and their motives probed,” he said.

“Hindi namin palalampasin ang ganitong pagpapalaganap ng kasinungalingan upang magsulong ng kanilang layunin,” he added.

Sinas’ statement comes after an organizer of a community pantry in Quezon City claimed of being “red-tagged” by government authorities.

The PNP chief also promoted their similar efforts in giving to those in need, saying the continuing implementation of the PNP Food Bank Project has benefitted some 35,512 families and 8,511 other individuals.

Vera Cruz named new JTF COVID-19 shield chief

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

Police Lieutenant General Joselito Vera Cruz

MANILA, Philippines — Police Lieutenant General Joselito Vera Cruz has been designated as the new commander of Joint Task Force COVID Shield, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced Wednesday.

“Effective on Tuesday, April 20, Vera Cruz was designated as the Deputy Chief for Operations and Task Force Commander of the enforcement arm of the national government in the implementation of quarantine rules and health protocols,” PNP chief General Debold Sinas said in a statement.

Vera Cruz replaced Police Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag, who will retire on April 24 and whose designation has been terminated effective April 20, 2021.

“As the new commander of this task force, I expect PLtGen Vera Cruz will continue the plans and programs of the previous commander and enforce strict quarantine rules in the country to mitigate the spread of the virus while waiting for the available vaccines,” Sinas said.

The JTF Covid-19 Shield is composed of members of the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

PNP should not interfere with community pantry, DILG’s Año says

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

 

Community pantry

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday said that police and local government executives should not interfere with community pantries and other similar initiatives organized by private groups.

Año issued the statement following reports that some of the community pantry organizers were being red-tagged and profiled by alleged government authorities.

The DILG chief said police and local government interference should only be limited to ensuring that health protocols are being implemented.

“Since this is a purely voluntary and private initiative, we should not interfere except to ensure that minimum health standards are complied with,” Año said.

“Hence, organizers must adhere to existing laws and local ordinances especially those issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” he added.

Año also clarified that he did not order the Philippine National Police (PNP) to look into the community pantries around the country.

“The community pantry has been a traditional practice in our country as part of Bayanihan culture and spirit specially in the times of calamities and disasters,” he said.

“In the spirit of Bayanihan, many Filipinos have been doing selfless acts of kindness since last year.

As long as the intention is good and without political color, it should be encouraged and supported,” he added.

As to the issue of whether organizers are required to secure barangay permits, the DILG chief said that organizers should “consult with the concerned barangays if such is required.”

“The PNP and/or local officials may just come in if there is any violation of law, if there are complaints from the community, or if the organizers seek their help,” he said.

“The LGUs, barangays and the PNP are ready to provide utmost assistance to ensure orderly distribution to the public,” he added.

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