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DILG to pursue raps against winning narco-politicians

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 24th, 2019

Campaign posters and flyers are left scattered after people voted for their candidates during the election on May 13, 2013 at the Tabuk Central School, Tabuk City, Kalinga. The same scenario is seen on other precincts, posters and flyers are seen scattered on entrances of precincts. (Gaye Fritz Ofilas/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – The government will pursue the administrative charges filed against the politicians named on the narco-list who won in the 2019 midterm elections, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Friday.

“Kahit na pinalad silang manalo, tuloy pa rin ang administrative cases laban sa kanila. Hindi pa rin sila makakalusot kung sila ay mapapatunayang sangkot talaga sa iligal na droga,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a press statement.

Año said that the government still considers as victory the defeat of some narco-politicians in the recent polls.

“The purpose of President Duterte in releasing the names was to inform the public of the local officials who are linked to the drug trade. The fact that some of them lost is already a substantial victory for us because if we didn’t release the names, more, if not all, could have won the election,” he said.

The DILG in March filed administrative charges against 46 suspected narco-politicians. Of this number, 37 ran for public office and 26 won a fresh term despite the release of the narco-list two months prior to the polls.

Among them were two congressmen, one vice-governor, 18 mayors, three vice-mayors, one councilor and one board member. These suspected narco-politicians were from Calabarzon, BARMM, Eastern Visayas, Ilocos Region, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, SOCCKSARGEN, and Caraga.

Año said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will file the criminal cases against the said politicians linked to narcotics trade.

He added that the DILG is in close coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), PDEA, and other national government agencies tasked in the illegal drugs war for the continued pursuit of all cases against the winning narco-politicians.

Año said there is a possibility that drug money was used during the election campaign.

“It’s not impossible that drug money was used in the campaign so that could have been a factor in their victory considering the prevalence of vote buying in the last election,” he said.

He further stated that the DILG is in close coordination with the National Police Commission for the removal of police deputation powers of the winning narco-politicians ahead of their official assumption to office on June 30.

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Solon: Duterte expected to bare House Speaker bet on June 28

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte during a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 | RTVM

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may reveal his preferred candidate for the speakership post in the House of Representatives on June 28, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Masbate Representative-elect Wilcon Kho said Duterte announced this during a dinner meeting with several congressmen at Malacañang on Tuesday night.

“Ang sabi ni Presidente, hintayin na lang namin ang June 28 para sa desisyon… may pinapahiwatig siya na iniendorso pero hintayin na lang natin sa 28,” Kho told reporters in a chance interview.

Five congressmen have expressed interest in gunning for the top post in the Lower House, namely Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, Taguig City Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano, Pampanga Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales and Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

Romualdez, Velasco and Cayetano earlier met with Duterte during his official visit to Japan to ask for the president’s endorsement. The chief executive has yet to pick a candidate although he earlier said he will be neutral on the issue.

Cayetano earlier said he is open to sharing a term with Velasco and that the arrangement has been mentioned by the president himself during their meeting in Japan.

READ: Cayetano open to House Speakership term-sharing

Velasco, however, rejected the idea.

Velasco and Gonzales were among the attendees at Tuesday’s dinner meeting with Duterte’s son, Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte.

Kho said that during the meeting, Velasco also laid out his legislative agenda should he be voted as the next speaker when the 18th Congress opens in July.

The neophyte congressman, however, clarified that it is still up to the solons to decide who to vote for the speakership post.

Meanwhile, Velasco thanked the chief executive for joining the dinner reception to welcome the 124 neophyte congressmen in an aim to “foster camaraderie among the incoming members of the 18th Congress to work harmoniously and forward our legislative agenda.” (with details from Grace Casin)

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New PH law requires free internet, clean restrooms in terminals

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Transport terminals in the country are now required to have clean sanitary facilities and free internet services for passengers after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act 11311.

Duterte signed the law on April 17, a copy of which was released by Malacañang on Wednesday.

The law mandates the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), in coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and other concerned stakeholders, to ensure that free internet services are provided in land transportation stations and roll-on/roll-off (RORO) terminals.

Terminal owners, operators or administrators are also ordered to have separate restrooms for persons with disabilities, male and female passengers, as well as lactation station for breastfeeding mothers.

The law also states that collecting fees from passengers for the use of regular sanitary facilities is unlawful. A passenger must also show the paid bus ticket for the day in order to avail of the free use of sanitary facilities.

The measure, however, does not cover well-appointed or deluxe sanitary facilities that are operated solely for commercial purposes and for the convenience of passengers who require and prefer such terminal facilities.

Terminal operators and administrators who fail to comply with the law shall be fined with P5,000 for each day of violation; another P5,000 each day for collecting fees from passengers for the use of sanitary facilities.

Another P5,000 fine each day will also be imposed if operators fail to provide and maintain a lactation station in transport terminals.

The fines will be subject for review every five years by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). Any necessary adjustments on the amount will be subject to the approval of the DOTr Secretary.

The measure mandates the DOTr, in coordination with the DICT, LTFRB, Department of Health, the Philippine Ports Authority and other stakeholders, to release the implementing rules and regulations within 60 days that the law has become effective.

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Over 6,000 killed in government’s war on drugs; over 12,000 barangays drug cleared

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has reported over 6,000 deaths in the government’s war on drugs.

Based on the initial data released by the PNP, 6,600 individuals had been killed from July 1, 2016 to to May 31, 2019.

According to PNP Spokesperson PCol. Bernard Banac, around 1.5 million drug personalities surrendered while over 200,000 were arrested.

The PNP has conducted 150,000 drug operations since the start of the government’s campaign in 2016. Banac said that the PNP will continue to strengthen the campaign against illegal drugs.

“Of course ang pakikipagtulungan ng mga government units kailangang palakasin ang mga barangay o anti-drug abuse council, municipal at provincial anti-drug abuse council ay pakikipag-uganyan sa local na pamahalaan, (Of course the assistance of government units should also be strengthened. The barangay or the anti-drug abuse council, municipal, and provincial anti-drug abuse council should coordinate with the local government)” he said.

Meanwhile, authorities also reported that over 12,000 barangays are drug-free. Region 1 leads the highest number of drug-cleared barangays followed by Region 8, and Region 6.

Regions NCR, Region 3, Region 5, and Region 7 are the most affected by the illegal drug trade.

Banac reiterated the importance of family in curbing illegal drugs.

“Lahat ng pamilya ay dapat sumali dito dahil ang unang depensa natin dito laban sa ilegal na droga ay ang pamilya. Doon po magsisimula ang laban at kapag hindi ito kinaya ay doon na po papasok ang komunidad, (All families should join because they are the first defense against illegal drugs. The first fight begins there because the problem will enter into the community if they cannot solve it within the family)” he said.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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