Duterte appoints Robredo as co-chair of Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs

Robie de Guzman   •   November 5, 2019   •   806

Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has formally appointed Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), Malacañang announced on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president has signed Robredo’s appointment paper, and a copy of which will be released to the media in due time.

The Palace also released a document signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Oct. 31 which states the transmission of the designation letter to the Office of the Vice President.

“I am pleased to transmit herewith your designation letter, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, as co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs,” the letter read.

Panelo said the position gives Robredo authority over drug enforcement agencies and offices, such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Philippine National Police, and the Dangerous Drugs Board until the end of her term on June 30, 2022.

With this development, Malacañang expressed hopes that members of the opposition group and other critics of the administration would see that Duterte is sincere in making such offer to Robredo.

“Understand that the Chief Executive’s ultimate motivation in making the same is the welfare of the Filipino people, with the hope that the government be successful in combatting the atrocity caused by the use and trade of illegal narcotics, regardless of who greatly contributed to such success,” Panelo said.

Robredo has yet to issue a statement, as of writing.

Last October 28, Duterte said he wanted to commission Robredo as drug czar, covering all of government’s anti-drug operations for six months.

He later amended it until the end of his term after opposition members questioned the offer.

Robredo, however, opted not to react on Duterte’s challenge.

Senate OKs bill giving Duterte power to delay class opening during public crisis

Robie de Guzman   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to grant President Rodrigo Duterte ‘flexibility’ to schedule the opening of classes in schools during a state of emergency.

Voting 23-0, senators on Monday unanimously passed Senate Bill 1541, which proposes to amend Section 3 of the Republic Act 7797, a law which sets the opening of school-year as early as the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.

The measure covers all basic education schools, including foreign or international schools in the country.

Once enacted into law, the bill would authorize the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of Education, to set the opening of classes nationwide or in selected areas at any date during a state of emergency or calamity.

A similar measure has been approved in the committee level in the House of Representatives on Saturday.

The approval of the proposed measure comes amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which has affected millions of people worldwide. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Duterte certifies as urgent bill seeking to toughen PH anti-terror law

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent a bill that seeks to strengthen the country’s anti-terrorism law.

In a letter to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, Duterte certified as urgent House Bill No. 6785, which seeks to amend and toughen the Human Security Act of 2007.

In his letter, Duterte said the immediate enactment of the measure is to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”

The House Bill reportedly adopted the Senate version which passed on third and final reading in February.

Under the bill, anyone who threatens to commit terrorism, propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall mete out a penalty of 12 years of imprisonment.

It also introduces provisions penalizing those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.

The measure also includes a new section on foreign terrorist fighters to cover Filipino nationals who commit terrorist offenses abroad.

It also aims to provide law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from terrorism threat and, at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.

Once a bill is certified as urgent, the Senate and the House of Representatives can immediately pass a measure on second and third reading on the same day.

Rights advocates had earlier warned that the bill’s enactment would worsen the human rights situation in the country.

Duterte fires OCD Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Kristoffer James Purisima as deputy administrator assistant secretary of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, the President decided to remove Purisima from office due to “loss of trust and confidence.”

Roque could not tell, however, under what circumstance prompted the President to fire Purisima.

Wala na po akong ibang impormasyon (I don’t have additional information) other than he was terminated due to loss of trust and confidence,” Roque confirmed.

The OCD is the government’s main unit responsible for disaster preparedness and response in times of calamity.

Prior to his position in OCD, Purisima served as spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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