MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has summoned Vice President Leni Robredo and other respondents of criminal charges in relation to the “Bikoy” narco-list video series.
In a statement, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed that subpoenas have been sent out to respondents on Friday for the preliminary investigation set on August 9 at 10 a.m.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) last week filed charges of sedition, cyber libel, estafa, harboring of a criminal, and obstruction of justice against Robredo and other opposition members based on the affidavit of Peter Joemel Advincula, who claimed to be the hooded figure ‘Bikoy’ in a series of videos dubbed as “Ang Totoong Narcolist.”
Robredo and other opposition members have been accused of orchestrating the videos as part of an alleged ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.
Guevarra has assured the public of a fair resolution to the complaint.
“I assure everyone of utmost fairness in the resolution of this case. The evidence, or the lack of it, will speak for itself,” he said.
The camp of Robredo had earlier said the vice president is prepared to face her accusers.
They also called the allegations as “politically-motivated,” and was only filed in an aim to impeach the vice president.
The remarks of Robredo’s camp follows the statement of Atty. Larry Gadon, lawyer of Advincula, on filing an impeachment case against Robredo if she is indicted for sedition and inciting to sedition charges.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the killing of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) legal division chief Atty. Frederic Anthony Santos.
In a directive issued on Wednesday, February 19, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra ordered and granted authority to NBI director Dante Gierran to conduct an investigation and case build-up against those behind the murder.
Santos was shot dead on Wednesday afternoon by unidentified gunmen while waiting to pick up his child in front of a school in Muntinlupa City, just a few meters away from the gate of the New Bilibid Prison.
He died instantly after sustaining gunshot wounds to head, neck and left arm based on an autopsy conducted by authorities.
Guevarra also ordered the NBI to file appropriate charges against persons found responsible for the crime if evidence warrants.
He also directed Gierran to submit to his office reports on the progress of the subject investigation and case build-up within 30 days.
In a separate statement, the DOJ chief said that Santos’ fatal shooting is still under investigation but is “very likely” connected to the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) issue.
Santos was suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman last September 2019 in relation to the alleged misapplication of the GCTA law and other time credits to prisoners.
He was supposed to return to work in March after serving six months of suspension.
Santos was among the resource persons in a Senate Investigation into the GCTA mess.
Irregularities in the GCTA law application grabbed headlines following reports on the possible early release of former mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and her companion, Allan Sanchez in 1993 after his sentence of 7-term Reclusion Perpetua was shortened.
The issue led to the revelations of the release of some heinous crime convicts and the anomalies in the BuCor. It also led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as BuCor chief, and President Duterte to set a deadline for the surrender of nearly 2,000 GCTA-freed convicts or be hunted down by police.
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday revealed that at least P80 billion in congressional realignments have been withheld by President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
In a statement, Lacson said some lawmakers tried to realign at least P80 billion from the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program to their districts’ “pet projects” under the P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget.
But instead of exercising his veto power over the line items which could stall the approval of the budget, the lawmaker said Duterte decided to just block the release of the budget by way of a DBM circular now called “for later release,” which has the same effect of a veto.
“I support the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management to withhold the release of these congressional realignments,” he said.
“This is one reason why I continue to support the leadership of President Duterte in spite of some disagreements with him over some policy issues: He has time and again displayed the strong political will, even against many self-proclaimed allies in Congress whose loyalty clearly lies where the money lies,” he added.
Lacson advised the president to “always be wary of these so-called allies” who have the propensity to praise him to high heavens and never criticize him but with self-aggrandizement and greed as their only motivation and nothing else.
The House of Representatives has yet to issue a comment on Lacson’s claim. – RRD (with details form Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has called on Filipinos to visit local tourism sites amid fears of international travel and restrictions due to the threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a taped message posted on social media, Duterte urged the public to help boost local tourism by visiting the country’s scenic spots and discovering other awe-inspiring hidden gem attractions.
“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you to travel with me around the Philippines. I assure you that everything is safe in our country, be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order and be it an issue of accessibility,” the President said.
“Come with me and be my travel companion. I’ll be traveling around the Philippines. Pasyal tayo dito sa atin. Unahin natin ‘yung atin. Mabuhay ang Pilipino. Mabuhay ang turismo ng Pilipinas,” he added.
The chief executive issued the call after the tourism sector reported at least P10 billion in revenue losses due to an entry ban on travelers to and from China, the country’s largest tourism market, after it was hit by coronavirus outbreak.
Duterte said local airline companies and hotel operators have agreed to offer discounted rates to counter the negative effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, and to promote the country’s tourism sector to local tourists.
“Maraming magagandang mapuntahan sa Pilipinas, wala kayong dapat alalahanin,” he said.
The Philippines has imposed an entry ban on foreigners who travelled from China, Hong Kong and Macau within 14 days in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus strain. It later expanded the ban’s coverage to include Taiwan.
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