Davao City gov’t welcomes conviction of suspects in Roxas Night Market blast

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2020   •   272

The local government of Davao City has lauded the conviction of seven individuals involved in the bombing of Roxas Night Market in 2016, saying “it underscores the delivery of justice to the victims.”

“[The verdict] underscores the delivery of justice for the fatalities of the bomb attack, the survivors, their loved ones, the entire City of Davao and all the Dabawenyos who endured the impact of the said terror attack,” acting Mayor Sebastian Duterte said in a statement on Tuesday.

Duterte issued the statement after the Taguig City Regional Trial Court Branch 266 on Monday convicted Tj Tagabaya Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Urbano Mustapha, Jessy Vincent Guinto Original, Zack Haron Lopez, Jackson Mangulamas Usi, and Ausa Abdullah Mamasapano for the complex crime of multiple murder and attempted multiple murder.

The decision was handed down by Taguig City RTC Judge Marivic Vitor.

The accused were sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay the heirs of each 15 deceased victims the amounts of P 100,000 as civil indemnity, P 100,000 moral damages, P 100,000 exemplary damages, and P 50,000 temperate damages. They are also directed to compensate the 69 injured victims the amount of P 50,000 as civil indemnity, P 50,000 moral damages, and P 50 exemplary damages. 

The Roxas night market bombing incident occurred on September 2, 2016. The blast claimed the lives of 15 people and injured 69 others.

But despite these developments, Duterte expressed dismay over the court’s decision to acquit the seven from the crime of terrorism in the absence of a stronger law for such act.

He said the accused could have been convicted of the crime of terrorism if only the Philippines has a good anti-terror law.

The law amending the Human Security Act of 2007 – the controversial Anti-Terrorism Law – was only passed this year.

“Although the perpetrators were convicted as murderers, they would have been convicted as terrorists as well – if only the Philippines has a good anti-terror law,” he said.

“If only the Philippines has a good anti-terror law, the kind of justice for the victims of that terror attack would have been even more meaningful not only to their families but also to the peace-loving Dabawenyos who want to ensure that their future is free from the threats of terrorism,” he added.

The vice mayor added that the court’s decision underlines the urgency to enforce strong laws against people and groups espousing terrorism. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Marisol Montaño)

Davao City prohibits trick-or-treat, other holiday events amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2020

No community events, parties, and other similar gatherings in all government and private offices and establishments will be held in Davao City especially during the holiday season, the local government announced Thursday.

In an advisory, the city government said the prohibition includes trick-or-treating, which is a traditional event of western countries adopted by some Filipinos during Undas period.

The measure will be implemented after health officials and infectious disease experts noted that conducting office or community events increase the transmission and risk of contracting the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Davao City, just like the rest of the world, continues to face the threat of the pandemic. Cases are still surging and it is feared that more and more deaths will happen if the unnecessary gathering of people is allowed,” the advisory read.

The city government reiterated its appeal to residents to stay home and avoid areas where people converge to avoid exposure and transmission of COVID-19.

It also encouraged residents to celebrate the holidays with their families intimately, use online shopping for groceries, food delivery services, and other contactless services to avoid unnecessary exposure. 

Instead of spending money on a grand party celebration and risk contracting the virus, residents are urged to share grocery items with a family in need, the city government added.

“This year, celebrations will only be truly special and meaningful if you, your family, and everyone in our communities are healthy and safe,” it added. 

The city government likewise advised residents to think twice before leaving their homes to attend parties, dinners, and other events that are not necessary or urgent, and always consider their own families’ safety and other people in the community.

As of Oct. 21, Davao City has recorded a total of 2,851 COVID-19 infections, of which, 671 are active cases. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lucille Lloren)

P2.4-million worth of illegal drugs seized at Davao checkpoint

Robie de Guzman   •   October 16, 2020

Some P2.4-million worth of illegal drugs were seized by authorities at the Sirawan checkpoint in Toril, the Davao City government said.

In a news release, the city government said the dangerous drugs were confiscated by membes of the Task Force Davao on Monday from a vehicle traveling from Cotabato City.

Task Force Davao Commander Col. Consolito Yecla said one of the two suspects aboard the vehicle was also arrested. He was identified as Ronnie Martinez Jr., a resident of Koronadal City, South Cotabato.

“The suspect was checked at the light vehicle inspection area and requested to open his small sling bag. The duty inspector requested the driver to park at the side, but he drove away from the checkpoint leaving behind his small sling bag at the inspection area,” he said.

Martinez yielded three jumbo size heat-sealed, transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu with an estimated weight of 150.43 grams valued at P2,406,880.

According to Yecla, the suspects drove away when asked to get off from the vehicle for inspection. The vehicle was later found abandoned in front of Gaisano Grand Mall in Toril.

One of the suspects reportedly rode a tricycle while the other ran towards Barangay Marapangi, he said.

One of them was later caught with the help of some residents who found him drenched after crossing a river. The other suspect appeared to have gotten away but left behind his wallet, which was turned over by the tricycle driver who gave him a ride.

Yecla expressed gratitude to those who helped in the apprehension of the suspect.

“We would like to give thanks and attribute this successful apprehension of the suspect to the tanods and residents of Brgy Marapangi. Indeed, they participated in our anti-terror campaign “May Nakita? Dapat Magsalita,” Yecla said, referring to the city’s public campaign against terrorism.

“We accomplished this without a fatality, and zero human rights violation,” he added.

Davao City to re-impose curfew hours starting Oct. 15

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2020

The Davao City government has announced it will re-impose curfew hours amid the continuing threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In an advisory, the city government said curfew hours from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be re-implemented starting Oct. 15 until Dec. 31, 2020 as part of its efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said the measure is based on interviews with patients infected with COVID-19.

“Base ni siya sa mga interviews sa confirmed COVID-19 patients, nakita nato ang mga lihok and we deemed it na kinahanglan na iregulate ang mga activities nga ginabuhat sa mga tao nga dili essential,” she said on Monday’s broadcast of the Davao City Disaster Radio.

(This is based on interviews of confirmed COVID-19 patients. We have seen their movement and deemed it necessary to regulate the non-essential activities of the people.)

Mayor Sara noted that the surge in the number of coronavirus cases continued after the relaxation of movement restrictions under the current Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) and the lifting of the curfew hours in July.

She stressed the need to control the cases in the city because of the critical status of the number of beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients in the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).

Duterte also said the re-implementation of the curfew aims to pre-empt the possible increase of cases due to after-work non-essential activities ahead of the holiday season.

In an Executive Order No. 55 issued on Monday, Duterte said the following are exempted from the curfew hours:

  • All government workers who are on duty during curfew hours;
  • All private offices and establishments employees who time in and time out of work within the curfew hours, this shall mean to include their travel to and from their residence;
  • All medical doctors and veterinarians who need to work;
  • Workers of public utility companies (energy, water, internet, etc.) conducting construction, maintenance, or emergency activities

The following are also exempted from the curfew:

  • Subsistence and business fishing activities, their vessels are subject to lawful inspection by the Maritime Police, Task Force Davao, Navy or Coast Guard, if there is a reasonable belief that there is an illegal activity or unlawful materials in the vessel;
  • Individuals attending the wake of a family member;
  • All medical, emergency, and disaster cases.

Individuals who are inspected on the streets or stopped in checkpoints are required to present an employee’s ID of an establishment operating within the curfew hours.

Mayor Sara stressed that the curfew shall cover only individuals but offices, establishments, places of worship, and other institutions are encouraged to adjust their operating hours.

Duterte also tasked the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) to monitor and provide transportation augmentation for passengers who will be stranded during the curfew hours.

Buying liquors and other intoxicating drinks is also banned from 7 pm to 5 am every day. Drinking in public places such as roads, alleys, open spaces, and other similar places is prohibited every day at any given time.

Also, all videoke and karaoke sessions inside private property shall be prohibited from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.

All public venues and establishments that do not have a business permit to operate as a videoke, karaoke, or sing-along place are prohibited to operate their equipment 24 hours a day.

The city government warned to impose sanctions against those who will violate the rules.

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