Aguirre discards panel’s dismissal of drug charges vs Espinosa,  et al.

admin   •   March 20, 2018   •   3309

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre

FILE PHOTO: Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has scrapped the dismissal of drug charges against self-confessed drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa and other alleged drug lords such as Peter Lim, Peter Co, and others.

For now, the justice department is giving the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the accused, enough time to submit new sets of evidence.

Among those that can be submitted to the DOJ are the transcript of Espinosa’s travel records and his admission before the Senate hearing that he is a drug dealer.

“The motion for reconsideration pending before I assumed the power of automatic review is now deemed moot and academic,” Aguirre said.

The official added that he will have a lawyer that will focus on the gathering of evidence and the investigation of the PNP on the cases.

PNP said they are preparing the evidence that will pin down Espinosa on his involvement in illegal drug operations.

PNP Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) Director PCSupt. Albert Ferro said that the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has already obtained a copy of the extrajudicial confession or the evidence of Espinosa’s admission in November 2016 that he is involved in the illegal drug operations.

“The Senate transcript is actually same with the extrajudicial confession of Kerwin because when it was presented, Kerwin had no prepared speech so his judicial affidavit was presented,” said PNP-DEG Legal and Investigation Division chief PSupt. Enrico Rigor.

Meanwhile, Aguirre admitted that some prosecutors were unhappy about his order to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe on those who are involved in the case dismissal.

Despite this, the official said that he will not stop the investigations.

“Naiintindihan ko iyong (I understand) where they are coming from. But they should also understand that because of the backlash caused by some people with ill-motives coupled with politics, nagkaroon po ng hindi magandang perception ang public dito sa isyung ito (the public had a negative perception on this issue),” Aguirre said. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

Police units join pursuit against Maguindanao bombers

Maris Federez   •   September 19, 2020

Map of Maguindanao

MANILA, Philippines — Police special fighters backed by light armor units have joined the pursuit operations against the suspects behind a roadside bombing in Maguindanao on Friday night (September 18).

According to a statement sent by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to the media on Saturday, the bombing resulted in the death of a Marine personnel and the wounding of four other military men.

The report said that personnel of the Maguindanao Police Provincial Office, the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company, the 404th Special Action Company, and the Light Armor Unit of the PNP-SAF were first to respond to the scene of explosion at 7:50 PM on Friday along the provincial road near the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Shariff Aguak.

Police post-blast investigators have likewise sifted through the debris around the seat of explosion of the suspected improvised explosive device (IED).

The report also said that PNP Chief, PGen. Camilo Pancratrius P Cascolan, was informed of the incident thru the PNP Command Center.

Cascolan then immediately alerted newly-installed PRO-BAR Regional Director, PBGen. Samuel Rodriguez to mobilize maneuver units for tactical operations against the suspects.

The personnel of the Philippine Marines on board a troop carrier were reportedly coming from a military operation against BIFF elements in Barangay Salman when the bombing happened.

They were immediately rushed to the nearby IPHO by the responding PNP personnel. — /mbmf

PNP chief Cascolan eyes Danao as next NCRPO head

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Camilo Cascolan on Wednesday said he is considering Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr to be the next head of the Metro Manila police.

In a TV interview, Cascolan said Danao is competent and suited to lead the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

“Well, whether NCRPO or CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) is good but I would rather choose him for NCRPO because he is much better in the NCRPO,” he said.

Danao is the current chief of the Police Regional Office 4A and served as former head of the Manila Police District.

In response to Cascolan’s remark, Danao said he is ready to serve and do his best in whatever capacity.

“Rest assured that in whatever capacity I will be in, this representation, will always do its best to enforce the law without fear and favor, maintain peace & order, prevent and control crimes, and ensure public safety & internal security with the active support of the Community,” he said in a message to UNTV News.

Meanwhile, Cascolan said he is still evaluating the performance of current NCRPO director Major General Debold Sinas, adding that he could possibly be promoted to a higher position.

“Of course, the guy deserves also an evaluation and of course a promotion too. He has done good things and that’s all I can really say,” he said.

The PNP chief Sinas could be designated as directorial staff where he can put to use his expertise in training and recruitment of police personnel.

“I think he needs to be up to the directorial staff or in a certain position that is fit mostespecially for it. I believe he is an expert most especially with regard to training to personnel and training of recruits,” he said. “Debold is also a seasoned officer wherein he experienced a lot of things.”

Cascolan also revealed that he canceled the ‘midnight’ appointment of several PNP officials, which he said were made by former PNP chief Archie Gamboa a few days before his mandatory retirement.

He, however, refused to provide any details about the concerned officials and their positions. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Composite teams given 30 days to further probe PhilHealth mess – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The composite teams conducting investigation into the allegations of corruption within the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) have been given 30 days to further probe the issue, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Wednesday.

In a statement, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they will ask the teams to finish their investigations into PhilHealth’s IT and legal sectors in a month.

“Then we’ll prepare the complaints if there’s enough evidentiary basis,” he added.

The composite teams consist of members from the DOJ, National Bureau of Investigation, Anti-Corruption Commission, Anti-Money Laundering Council, and Office of the Special Assistant to the President, with the help of the Commission on Audit.

Guevarra said the timeline will begin when recently-installed PhilHealth president and CEO Atty. Dante Gierran formally assumes his post after he takes his oath on Wednesday.

The Task Force PhilHealth led by Guevarra already handed its probe results to President Rodrigo Duterte last Monday.

The report contained findings into the thousands of unfiled cases against erring PhilHealth employees and health care institutions, as well as recommendations on the filing of complaints against several officials of the agency, including its former chief Ricardo Morales.

Some lawmakers have expressed dismay over the exclusion of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who sits as PhilHealth chairman by virtue of his position, from the list of officials liable for the PhilHealth mess.

But Guevarra earlier stressed that other officials were spared from the list because the investigation is still ongoing.

Meanwhile, the camp of Morales assured that the former PhilHealth chief is ready to face the complaints relating to issues hounding the state insurer.

They also maintained that Morales had no hand in the alleged corruption within the agency.

“Our client is a man of integrity and completely denies any wrongdoings and the criminal charges against him,” Atty. Arnedo Valera, Morales’ legal spokesperson, said.

“His attorneys… will vigorously defend Gen. Morales and will appropriately respond to the criminal complaints either before the Department of Justice and or before the Ombudsman,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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