Dela Rosa eyes probe on leftist groups’ recruitment of minors

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2019   •   1540

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has filed a resolution seeking to conduct a thorough investigation into the cases of minors who went missing after they were allegedly recruited as members and fighters of leftist groups.

Dela Rosa said he filed on Monday the Senate Resolution No. 38 which sought an inquiry into the issue by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, which he chairs; and the Committee on National Security.

“We really wanted to know the real score behind this issue. An investigation on this case could ferret out the truth, and in the end, we could also recommend actions that will ensure the peace in the country as well as protect and preserve the welfare of our children,” Dela Rosa said.

The neophyte senator said that on July 23, he was visited by some parents of the alleged victims to relay their predicament. The parents said the alleged recruitment has purportedly induced their children, who were all minors, “to leave and abandon their homes permanently.”

Dela Rosa said the parents even reported incidents of alleged “indoctrination and recruitment of their missing children by members of the left-leaning organizations.”

The former chief of Philippine National Police said one parent even claimed to have seen his 16-year old daughter joining a political rally in Quezon City nearly a week after she left for a “leadership training” without their consent.

Another parent claimed that his child was convinced to leave their home for three days to attend a seminar in a state university. The mother reportedly failed to locate her child after learning that the said seminar did not exist.

“There was an alarming report that communist terrorists are recruiting minors as their fighters as young as 10 years old,” Dela Rosa said.

“Same news report also claimed that the communist group has been doing this for decades but their recruitment efforts were intensified now because their armed group have been depleted due to frequent clash with government troops,” he added.

The lawmaker cited a recent statement by the Department of the Interior and Local Government on the Communist Party of the Philippines’ activities to “poison the minds of the children to take up arms against the government,” and teaching them to “join rallies calling for the overthrow of government.”

READ: DILG to Reds: Spare the youth from lies, deception

In an effort to protect the interest and welfare of the children, Dela Rosa underscored the need for urgent investigation into the disturbing reports of the alleged recruitment of minors as rebel fighters.

The senator also noted that the said allegations would be detrimental to government’s efforts in achieving lasting peace in the country.

Senate OKs bill lowering height requirement for cops, other uniformed personnel

Robie de Guzman   •   September 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate bill seeking to lower the minimum height requirement for aspiring law enforcers has been approved on third and final reading.

Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1563 or the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Height Equality Act was approved with 23 affirmative votes, zero negative votes, and zero abstention.

The proposed PNP, BFP, BJMP, and BuCor Height Equality law seeks to amend the minimum height requirement for male applicants to five feet and two inches from the current 5’3; and five feet tall from the current 5’2 requirement for females.

The measure also proposes to waive the height requirements for applicants belonging to the cultural communities or the indigenous people.

Senator Ronald dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and sponsor of the measure, said the approval of the bill would allow the PNP, BFP, BJMP and BuCor to accept applicants who have not been gifted with towering height.

“I still believe that sacrifice, dedication and service to the country cannot be measured by height nor by any physical characteristics given by the unseen hand of our Supreme Being,” Dela Rosa said in his explanatory note.

The Senator explained that given the required mandate of uniformed personnel, and for practicality in accomplishing tasks, there is still the need to retain a minimum height requirement for them to be able perform their duties and responsibilities exceptionally.

During his manifestation after the approval, Dela Rosa cited the late President Ramon Magsaysay’s credo: “He who has less in life should have more in law.”

Dela Rosa thanked his colleagues for supporting the measure.

The bill is in substitution of SBN 312 introduced by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Panfilo Lacson; SBN 405 filed by Sen. Francis Tolentino; and SBN 871 authored by Dela Rosa.

A counterpart bill in the House of Representatives remains pending.

Bato, Pacquiao support reimposition of death penalty for heinous crimes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 30, 2020

Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Manny Pacquiao reiterated their support for the reimposition of death penalty for heinous crimes.

During Senate’s regular session on Wednesday (July 29), Pacquiao said reinstating death penalty in the country will not be illegal in the eyes of God.

The Senator previously filed a bill that would impose death penalty on heinous crimes which include manufacturing and trafficking dangerous drugs.

Hindi po labag sa mata ng gobyerno, sa mata ng Panginoon. Dahil biblically po, allowed po ang gobyerno (It is not illegal in the eyes of the government, in the eyes of the Lord. Because, biblically, the government is allowed to do so) the authority, which is established by God to impose heinous crimes especially death penalty,” Pacquiao said.

Meanwhile, during his privilege speech, Dela Rosa reiterated that reimposing death penalty would be the solution in stopping drug lords and the continuing drug activities inside detention facilities.

The Senator also noted that crime rate has dropped when death penalty was imposed in 1993. He also said that the drug problem is also considered as a global pandemic which should also be prioritized.

“It is also considered a global pandemic itong drug problem. So, hindi naman siguro ibig sabihin na porke tayo may kinakaharap na global pandemic na COVID-19, hihinto na lang tayo sa paggawa ng ibang batas para sa ibang mga issues na kinakaharap ng ating lipunan (This drug problem is also considered as a global pandemic. Just because we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic does not mean we would stop making laws for other issues faced by society),” he said.

Dela Rosa was appointed as a member of a Senate panel under the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian relinquished his seat.

The said Senate panel will vote on bills including the reimposition of death penalty in the country. However, panel chairman Senator Richard Gordon said the bill should be discussed at the proper time.

“I will not sponsor it because I do not believe in it. We will take it up at the proper time,” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Duterte ends peace talks with Reds for killing soldiers in relief missions

Marje Pelayo   •   April 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The series of attacks against government forces on humanitarian missions during this time of crisis is the final straw for President Rodrigo Duterte to end peace talks with the communist rebels. 

“I’m so sad about this development but there will always be a time for reckoning. There is no more peace talks to talk about,” the Chief Executive said in his late night address on Monday (April 27).

A number of soldiers were killed and wounded in several encounters with members of the New People’s Army — the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing — throughout the month of April. 

Three soldiers died and four others were hurt in an encounter with the NPA while conducting security patrol during the distribution of the social amelioration grant in Sitio Tugas, Barangay Carabalan in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental on April 19. 

An Army soldier was also killed in a remote village in San Jacinto town, Masbate province on the same day.

Two soldiers, meanwhile, were killed while three others were wounded in an attack by communist rebels in Aurora province on April 21. The soldiers were stationed in the area guarding the conduct of aid distribution. 

Two more soldiers were injured in an attack by NPA rebels in Victorias City, Negros Occidental on April 24. 

The Philippine Army said the soldiers, together with members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were conducting a security patrol and information dissemination about COVID-19 in the area.

“I am not and I will never be ready for any rounds of peace talks simply because the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines, has no respect either for their spoken works or in their deeds of killing soldiers who are on humanitarian missions,” President Duterte stressed.

READ: Duterte threatens to declare martial law if NPA attacks continue

The President earlier threatened to declare martial law if atrocities against government forces engaged in relief distribution continue. 

READ: Duterte’s new martial law threat, a cover-up for failed COVID-19 response — CPP

But the CPP, unfazed by the President’s warning, responded by accusing him of using the NPA as an excuse ‘to cover up’ the administration’s failed response against the COVID-19 crisis and to carry out his agenda of imposing martial law. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

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