DOJ begins reinvestigation on 2013 drug raid

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 16, 2019   •   482

DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra

The Department of Justice has begun reinvestigation of the 2013 Pampanga drug raid involving 13 cops allegedly involved in illegal drug recycling.

The 13 cops were ordered to attend the investigation and submit additional evidence.

DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra previously formed a three-member panel to reinvestigate the case where around 160 kilos of suspected illegal drugs were seized during an operation in Pampanga.

The Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), meanwhile, requested the DOJ panel for more time to submit records about alleged drug lord Johnson Lee and Ding Wengkun.

The DOJ panel will give the PNP-CIDG five days to submit additional evidence and supplemental affidavit.

Meanwhile, PMaj. Rodney Baloyo was given a subpoena by the DOJ for not attending the preliminary investigation.

Baloyo is currently at New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa after the Senate cited him in contempt for allegedly lying during a hearing.

“We still issued subpoena to the said respondent and even wrote a letter to the Senate president asking permission for him to be allowed in this proceedings,” according to state prosecutor Senior Assistant Atty. Alexander Suarez. —AAC (with reports from April Cenedoza)

DOJ to issue legal opinion on PhilHealth-Red Cross deal this week – Guevarra

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) assured it will render this week a legal opinion on the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and state insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for the conduct of COVID-19 tests.

“The DOJ is reviewing the MOA between the Philippine Red Cross and PhilHealth and will render an opinion within the week,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

“We’re giving this our preferential attention,” he added.

Guevarra said the review is in response to the request of PhilHealth President and CEO Dante Gierran.

PhilHealth and PRC entered into a deal in May this year for the conduct of COVID-19 tests which will be charged to the state insurer.

The Red Cross, however, suspended the testing last week due to PhilHealth’s mounting debts.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself, in a televised speech Monday, assured to pay off the P930 million debt of PhilHealth to the PRC.

Meanwhile, PhilHealth spokesperson Rey Baleña reiterated that the agency has the funds to pay its obligations to the PRC.

The state insurer, however, wants to thresh out some issues on how to move forward with its partnership with Red Cross to ensure that members’ funds are properly handled and disbursed.

“Nais lamang nito na makatiyak na ang lahat ay nasa ayos bilang bahagi ng pangangalaga sa pondo ng mga miyembro,” Baleña said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

ATC approves IRR for Anti-Terrorism Law

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2020

The Anti-Terrorism Council has approved the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Guevarra said they will provide Congress and law enforcement agencies copies of the IRR. They will also release a copy online and in other publications.

“We will disseminate copies to Congress and to law enforcement agencies as required under the law, and will publish the IRR online and in a newspaper of general circulation in the next few days,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law last July 3 which repeals the Human Security Act of 2007.

The DOJ started drafting the IRR of the law last August.

Meanwhile, there are currently 30 petitions filed before the Supreme Court requesting to halt the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Law questioning its constitutionality.

The Office of the Solicitor General, however, has already asked the high tribunal to dismiss the petitions. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Tensions still high at New Bilibid Prison after gang riot – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Tensions remain high between prison gang members at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) following Friday’s riot that left at least several inmates dead, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.

In a statement, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the situation at the NBP is still tense but the violence has been contained with the help of the police and prison authorities.

“There were intelligence reports that one group was amassing to strike back at the rival group,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

At least nine inmates who are members of the rival Sputnik ang Commando Gangs were killed in a brawl that broke out before dawn Friday in one quadrant of NBP’s maximum security compound.

Guevarra said he has yet to get an update from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on the situation.

BuCor director general Gerald Bantag earlier said an investigation into the cause of the incident is underway.

The National Bureau of Investigation was also directed to conduct a separate investigation and file charges against anyone involved in the riot. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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