DOJ defers investigation on narco-prosecutors

Maris Federez   •   April 9, 2019   •   1323

MANILA, Philippines –  The Department of Justice (DOJ) has deferred its investigation into the 10 public prosecutors who were included in the so-called narco-list of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that while the department is bent on conducting a probe on these alleged narco fiscals, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) had been reluctant in revealing the names of the prosecutors and in sharing information with the DOJ.

“It is regretful that PDEA announced it before validation because everyone in the prosecution service as well as judges in the judiciary became a suspect at this point when the names are being withheld,” Guevarra added.

Guevarra said PDEA’s decision to withhold the names of the prosecutors could place the whole National Prosecution Service (NPS) in bad light.

The DOJ chief said that he has already prepared a letter requesting the names of the 10 prosecutors.

He added, however, that PDEA DG Aaron Aquino has said that they cannot share the information yet pending the drug agency’s validation of their report.

This prompted Guevarra to hold the transmittal of the letter and to just await the results of their validation.  – Maris Federez

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DOJ asks PNP to suspend re-arrest of GCTA-freed heinous crimes convicts

Robie de Guzman   •   September 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has requested the Philippine National Police (PNP) to temporarily suspend the operation to re-arrest heinous crimes convicts wrongly released under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law after the deadline for them to surrender lapsed.

In a radio interview on Friday, Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said they made the request on Thursday night in order to thoroughly check the list of heinous crime convicts submitted by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Perete noted the list contains some errors which could pose possible violence and other problems such as mistaken identity during the manhunt operation.

Also included in the list were some names of prisoners released under parole and pardon.

At least 1,950 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) surrendered to authorities as of midnight of Thursday when President Rodrigo Duterte’s 15-day deadline ended.

The number of surrenderers is higher than the 1,914 heinous crime convicts on the original list given by BuCor.

Perete said they already ordered BuCor to immediately release the persons who turned themselves in even if they are not included in the list.

The 1,914 heinous criminals were freed earlier because their sentences were shortened for good behavior under the Republic Act 10592.

Duterte earlier ordered these convicts to surrender within 15 days for the recomputation of their good conduct credits or be treated as fugitives from justice after the deadline.

He also offered P1 million bounty for the capture of each freed heinous crime convicts.

PDEA probes online shop for selling ‘tooters’

Marje Pelayo   •   September 19, 2019

PASIG CITY, Philippines – Drug operatives discovered that some drug paraphernalia could be easily bought through online shops.

On Thursday (September 19), agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) seized over P600,000 worth of illegal drugs in two separate buy-bust operations in Pasig and Quezon City.

Juan Carlos Reyes Antonio, a licensed pharmacist, was caught in possession of suspected marijuana and ecstasy tablets along with other drug paraphernalia inside a hotel in Pasig City around 2:30 AM on Thursday (September 19).

The illegal drugs were valued at P483,000.

Meanwhile, another suspect Nilo Manipon Ramirez Jr., a registered nurse, was nabbed at around 4:20AM along Kamuning Road in Quezon City.

Ramirez was caught in possession of P142,000-worth of suspected shabu and drug paraphernalia.

Antonio bought his ‘tooters’ through an online shop.

“Dalawang transaksyon. Either iyong kliyente [ang] pumupunta sa hotel at doon na sila nagja-jamming or they just buy online (Two possibilities. Either the client goes to the hotel where they jam or they just buy online). explained PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.

The official assured to subject the said shop to an investigation before they act on the matter.

Aquino noted that it is prohibited to sell ‘tooters’ may it be in stores or online because it is an item being used solely in illegal drugs.

“I’ll just wait for their explanation first and then kung ano’t-ano man ang kalalabasan (whatever comes out of the investigation) then we will file a case against them,” Aquino said.

A delivery company is currently being investigated by PDEA on reports that it caters delivery of illegal drugs. — MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

DOJ orders warrantless arrest of GCTA-freed PDLs who won’t surrender by Sept 19

Maris Federez   •   September 17, 2019

Two days more to go before the expiration of the deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte for the persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who were freed by virtue of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA).

In the latest Department of Justice (DOJ) data, only around 700 of them have surrendered and are now under the custody of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

This prompted the DOJ to mull over coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in capturing these freed PDLs even without warrants of arrest, should they fail to surrender after the September 19 deadline.

“Each minute, each hour, each day that you refuse to turn yourself in is a continuing commission of an offense and for that reason, law enforcement agencies may arrest you even without a warrant,” DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

The DOJ said they are ready to face anyone who will elevate the matter to the court.

“He may go to court and ask for any relief you wish to obtain from the court, but for now that is how we intend to (do it) and the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) through the PNP (Philippine National Police) is ready to do so after the 19th,” said Guevarra.

Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Law Dean Attorney George Erwin Garcia, however, said this is a blatant violation of the Constitution.

Garcia said that based on the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, every individual has the right to due process and can only be detained if there is court-issued warrant of arrest or if he is caught in the act of committing a crime.

Garcia said any convict who wishes to challenge this government’s move may file a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus before the Supreme Court.

The Writ of Habeas Corpus orders an individual or government official who has custody of a person to bring that person to the Court to determine if his detention was legally done.

The latest DOJ data shows that of the 1,914 PDLs freed under the CGTA, 692 have already surrendered and are now under the custody of BuCor. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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