Duterte distances self from Napoles witness protection issue

admin   •   March 19, 2018   •   3080

FILE PHOTOS: President Rodrigo Duterte and Janet Lim Napoles

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte refused to comment on the decision of the justice department to place pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles under the witness protection program.

The chief executive said the government follows a certain process and that he is leaving the decision on the case of Napoles to the prosecution panel of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explained that the protection offered to Napoles is just a provisional admission and can still be changed depending on the result of the investigation of the justice department on pork barrel cases.

Amid the dismissal of the drug cases against self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and  alleged drug dealer Peter Lim, as well as the placing of Napoles under the witness protection program, Roque noted that the President’s trust in  DOJ Secretary Vitallano Aguirre II remains. — UNTV News & Rescue

Duterte orders gov’t agencies to respond to quake-affected residents in Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   October 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed sympathy to those who were affected by the earthquake in several parts of Mindanao, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

In a statement, Panelo said the administration is asking the public to refrain from spreading disinformation which may cause undue alarm, panic, and stress to many.

In view of possible aftershocks, the Palace asks the public to remain calm and vigilant.

Panelo also gave the assurance that the national government, through the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), is closely monitoring the situation and that the President has already ordered concerned agencies to act appropriately in assisting those who were affected.

“The Office of the President has already tasked all concerned agencies of the government to mobilize, respond and provide immediate assistance to those in need, as well as to study plans on how to rehabilitate the damaged areas,” Panelo concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Senate asks DOJ for protection of witnesses vs. ‘ninja cops’

Maris Federez   •   October 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Wednesday (Oct. 16) requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) to give protection to the witnesses in the Agaw-Bato operations of the so-called “ninja cops”.

In a phone interview, Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon said they want to ensure that the testimonies of the witnesses are filed before the Court.

“[It] means that they will go to the court and they will execute an affidavit there. And in which case, if anything happens, hopefully not, that will be admissible in court,” Gordon added.

Among the witnesses that Gordon was referring to were the barangay officials that Johnson Lee sought help from when he was arrested in the police buy-bust operation in November 2010 in the province of Pampanga.

Other witnesses were the police personnel in Mexico, Pampanga, where the alleged cover-up took place when the barangay officials brought Lee to the station.

Lee reportedly paid P50-M to the police for his release.

After releasing Lee, the police arrested another Chinese suspect.

Gordon said they will leave it to the DOJ to determine whether these officers deserve to be under the government’s witness protection program (WPP).

The senator also said they will let Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, retired police Rudy Lacadin, and the other police officers decide if they want to undergo the said process.

Justice Sec. Guevarra said they shall await the Senate’s formal request before they set into action.

Meanwhile, Gordon said they will try their best to complete the committee report on their investigation on the said illegal operation in the police force.

The Blue Ribbon Committee chairman said that included in the report are the possible recommendations as to who must be held liable on the said illegal activity.

He stressed that resigned-Philippine National Police (PNP) chief PGen. Oscar Albayalde will still be facing charges relative to the said controversy.

“Tanungin ninyo ako kung pwede pa siyang kasuhan (Ask me if he can be charged). The answer is yes. Tanungin ninyo ko kung criminal. (Ask me if it’s a criminal [case]).  The answer could be yes, kung may enough evidence kami (if we have enough evidence). And I think we do,” Gordon said. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Duterte names former House Speaker Belmonte special envoy to Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   October 16, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte (L) raises the hand of former House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte in an undated photo that was released on May 10, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has named former House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte as Special Envoy to Japan.

Based on a document from Malacañang released on Wednesday, Belmonte was appointed as special envoy to Japan for trade and market access.

Belmonte was appointed by Duterte on Oct. 15, Tuesday.

He served as Representative of the 4th District of Quezon City for three terms, and was elected as House speaker of the 15th and 16th Congress during the time of former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III, respectively.

Belmonte was Liberal Party’s former vice chairman before he resigned in September last year. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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