Duterte Cabinet to discuss POGO hubs near military camps

Marje Pelayo   •   August 20, 2019   •   226

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is not bothered by Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) hubs constructed near military camps nor by allegations that Chinese nationals could be spying against the government.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the government has enough intelligence gathering and the President believes that the proximity of POGO hubs to military camps is not a matter of concern since the practice of spying has been brought to a higher level with the introduction of high technology.

“He’s not worried because we have the intelligence capability of knowing what they are doing. We have that capability sabi nga ni Presidente (as what the President said),” Panelo noted.

President Duterte also believes, according to Panelo, that all countries have long been spying on one another.

Also, Panelo cited the position of the National Security Adviser that the Philippine government would be able to monitor closely the activities of such POGO hubs if they are near military camps.

Nevertheless, Malacañang made certain that the matter will be discussed during the upcoming meeting of Cabinet officials especially since Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed concern about it.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has stopped accepting license applications for POGO firms which the President supports.

“Until the President reverses the stand of PAGCOR, that remains to be the policy, because the President always respects heads of departments and offices to do their duty and undertaking,” Panelo concluded. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

31 arrested, over 50 Chinese women rescued in Parañaque ‘sex den’ raid

Robie de Guzman   •   September 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Some 21 Chinese women were rescued from an alleged sex den in Baclaran, Parañaque City in an operation conducted by authorities early Thursday (Sept. 19).

Operatives of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and Bureau of Immigration raided a wellness spa inside a building after they received information it was allegedly offering an “extra service” to its clients.

The operation yielded the arrest of around 13 individuals who allegedly operated the business and 18 of its Chinese customers.

Seven Filipinos who worked as maintenance personnel were also nabbed.

“Prostitution den ito na napag-alaman natin na wala pala itong busines permit at wala ring itong occupancy permit. Ibig sabihin, itong building na ito ay hindi pa tapos and yet ito ay ginagamit na for prostitution,” NCRPO director Major General Guillermo Eleazar said.

Authorities also recovered pieces of evidence relating to the business’ operation, including P1.8 million earnings of the said spa.Police said the 13 den operators will be charged with violation of the Republic Act 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

7 Chinese nationals arrested for illegal sand dredging in Zambales

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Seven male Chinese nationals were arrested in Masinloc, Zambales for allegedly working without proper visas and engaging in illegal sand dredging activities, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported.

The Chinese nationals arrested were identified as Chen Shiniu, Chen Shaoshao, Xu Xiansheng, Jiang Xin, Zhao Yihong, Gong Yaan and Xie Yuhong.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said these individuals were arrested on Sept. 11 by BI intelligence agents in coordination with the Philippine National Police.

Information from the BI Intelligence Office says the Chinese workers were found after searching six vessels including “Sand Carrier Horner 1” and Dredger Warrior 6.”

Upon initial questioning, the arrested foreigners presented their passports with tourist visas. They were found to be overstaying and working without proper permits.

“The subject arrested foreigners violated not only our immigration Laws but also the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and Executive Order 292,” Morente said.

“They are seriously threatening national security and interest by stealing our minerals and resources,” he added.

The illegal Chinese workers were brought to the Immigration’s main office for further verification and proper inquest proceedings.

BPP: Panelo referred Sanchez’s clemency application

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 3, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has referred the request of former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez’ family for executive clemency, according to the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP).

During the Senate hearing about the controversial good conduct time allowance (GCTA) on Tuesday (Sept 3), BPP Executive Director Atty. Reynaldo Bayang said Panelo wrote a letter referring to the said request.

“Sumulat siya kung pwedeng with reference lang po sa letter ni (He wrote if he can refer the letter of) Marie Anthonette [Antonnelvie] Sanchez for Antonio Sanchez’s executive clemency,” he said.

Bayang also read what was stated in the letter which was dated February 19, 2019.

The letter reads, “We write in reference to the letter dated February 8, 2019, from Ms. Marie Antonelvie Sanchez regarding the application of her father, Mr. Antonino L. Sanchez, for executive clemency.”

“In line with the President’s commitment for good governance, transparency and immediate action on matters that affect the welfare of the people, we are referring this matter to your good office for evaluation, and whatever appropriate action you may want to undertake under the premises,” the letter concludes.

Sanchez’s family also talked with Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Chief Nicanor Faeldon when they heard reports of Sanchez’s impending release.

The ex-mayor’s common-law wife, Elvira Sanchez said someone texted her about the release of her husband so she wanted to talk to Faeldon about the said report.

“Ang sagot niya sa amin, ‘Mrs. Sanchez hindi ko alam iyan pero hinold ko iyong proseso ng pagpapalabas kasi may bago akong direktiba sa baba na 1st in 1st out (He told us, ‘Mrs. Sanchez, I do not know about that but I put the release process on hold because there was a new directive of first in, first out’),” she said.

Senators are now curious about who sent the said text message. The senators will order the retrieval of Mrs. Sanchez’s sim card to determine who sent the text message.

Meanwhile, the presidential spokesperson reiterated he is not involved in the said issue and said that the letter was not personal.

“We read the letter and then if the letter refers to the Bureau of Pardons and Parole we refer to the Bureau of Pardons and Parole. Lagi lang kaming referral. We do not have the authority. Our job is to refer it to the proper agencies for their action in accordance to law,” he said. “Walang personal sa mga letter na ito, lahat official (There is nothing personal in the said letter. Everythng is official). It’s all recorded, there is nothing there.”—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

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