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Duterte on a ‘firing mode’ against erring officials

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, May 21st, 2018

 

President Rodrigo Duterte during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Vista Alegre Homes in Talisay City, Negros Occidental on May 20, 2018

 

CEBU CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte hinted at firing another set of government officials including a “head of an agency” in the coming days due to allegations of corruption.

“I have fired and will fire tomorrow some more people. Mayroon pang isang head of agency,” he said.

The President made the announcement on Sunday, May 20, during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Vista Alegre Homes in Barangay Dos Hermanas in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

“When you are granted itong mga (these) free ports, then you begin to abuse by issuing so many franchises of gambling because it is in the franchise. Correct, it is in the franchise, but everything goes under a regulation. It’s just the right for you to operate within your directorate. But when you begin to issue gambling permits outside of your … mahirap iyong ganun (therein lies the problem),” Duterte added.

The President reiterated his dislike for gambling that’s why he wants to limit its operations in the country.

“Ako ayaw ko niyan kaya (I don’t like it) as much as possible we limit it. I do not want to quarrel with anybody. And I said that when you begin to do that, you insist on something which is wrong,” he said.

Mr. Duterte also warned against approaching his family members to gain favor. If that’s the case, the President stressed “consider it denied.” He cited an instance where he fired one official for consulting his sister about a transaction.

During his speech at the opening of the Philippine National Games 2018 at Cebu City Sports Center on Saturday, he mentioned that  two officials were using his name and the names of his common-law wife and children to solicit funds.

In a separate speech during the ceremonial groundbreaking of the oil and gas production facility of the Alegria oil field in Cebu last Saturday, the President said he might also fire the government corporate counsel but did not give further details.

“I just fired the — maybe I’ll fire the corporate counsel tomorrow,” he said.

Atty. Rudolf Philip Jurado is the current government corporate counsel whom the President appointed in April 2017. – Lalaine Moreno / Marje Pelayo

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Foreigners joining SONA rally will face deportation, BI warns

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Different militant groups merged at Liwasan Bonifacio to air their concern in improving the workforce and better labor conditions. (Ramir Tilaon/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminds foreigners to refrain from joining any political activity as they are not allowed under Philippine law.

On its Facebook page, the BI warned legal aliens that they may face deportation if they do so as political protests are expected during the fourth state of the nation address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (July 22).

“We are sending this warning to avoid a repeat of the cases wherein we had to deport foreign protesters,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said following incidents of deportation of foreign nationals who took part previous mass actions.

The BI Chief said foreigners who are visitors in the Philippines are not given political rights and privileges of Filipino citizens.

“Follow our laws. It is very simple and clear. Foreign visitors are not allowed to partake in political demonstrations. We allowed your stay in the Philippines, please respect our government and our laws,” he added.

Several foreign nationals have been deported for joining and supporting political events in the past.

The most prominent was Australian nun Patricia Fox who, in 2018, was denied renewal of missionary visa for violating the conditions of her stay and participating in partisan politics.

“If found guilty, we will blacklist these foreigners, effectively barring them from re-entering the Philippines,” Morente warned.

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Opposition groups vow peaceful demonstrations in Duterte’s 4th SONA

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Militant groups march with banners carrying message of peace in support of President Rodrigo Duterte during his first state of the nation address in 2016 | Courtesy: Kenji Hasegawa/Photoville International

MANILA, Philippines – Days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth state of the nation address (SONA), the Quezon City Police District has met with representatives of different agencies and the local government as well as with groups of protesters to discuss the plan of events on Monday (July 22).

Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar said the demonstrators vowed to carry out peaceful assembly at designated protest areas on the day of the President’s SONA.

“Ituloy po natin ito dahil ang gusto nating mangyari nga, magkaroon ng tahimik at maayos na SONA na lahat naman po ng gusto nating mangyari base sa ating karapatan ay ating magagawa, (Let’s us accomplish this as all of us aspire for an orderly and peaceful SONA. This is what we want to accomplish based on our rights,)” Eleazar said.

Protesters’ assembly area will be at Agham Road, U.P. Diliman, and Tandang Sora Avenue.

All groups will then meet at Commonwealth Avenue.

The eastbound lane will be closed to give way to the groups’ program of activities starting from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Authorities are expecting about 15,000 individuals joining the rally on Monday.

Groups under United People’s SONA including Laban ng Masa, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Pasang Masda and Movement Against Tyranny agreed with authorities to maintain peace and order during their assembly.

“Kaya po kami nandito (ay) para tiyakin na magiging maayos at ilang taon na rin po kaming nag-uusap ni General Eleazar. Mayroon na tayong tried-and-tested na formula,” said Bayan’s Secretary General Renato Reyes.

“We would like to assure everybody, as we have just assured our Philippine National Police, that our rally will definitely be a very, very peaceful and organized rally,” added Laban ng Masa national Coordinator Rasti Delizo.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said they are ready to provide security to the President in case he decides to go out and address the protesters like he did in 2017.

“Mas challenging for us kung lalapit pa siya doon, (That would be more challenging to us if he goes out),” Eleazar said.

“Kung kami ang tatanungin, mas maganda na hindi na lang siya pumunta roon in so far as security is concerned. Pero kung ano ang gagawin niya, nakahanda tayo doon, (If it were up to us, it would be better if he refrains from going out in so far as security is concerned. But if that’s what he wants, we are ready),” he added.

But if worse comes to worst, Eleazar said, they will be compelled to use force to disperse the rallyists if in case they sow violence during the event.

“That’s a violation already of our agreement,” he said.

After meeting with concerned groups, Eleazar will meet with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) next to discuss the implementation of a temporary signal jamming within the vicinity during the President’s SONA proper.

Meanwhile the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is appealing to the protesters to maintain cleanliness in the protest area throughout the demonstration.

“Sana po maging responsable po tayo, (Let us be responsible),” appealed Jojo Garcia, MMDA general manager.

“Ang maaapektuhan niyan (ay ang) mga kababayan din natin, kapag iniwan niyo ‘yung kalat na ‘yan at iyan ay nagbara sa ating mga drainage, (If you leave your garbage there and clog the drainage, that would affect the general public),” he added.

Overall, the NCRPO will deploy a total of 15,000 cops in addition to the 9,000 policemen from the QCPD to secure the President’s SONA. – with details from Harlene Delgado

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Duterte will be the first to obey the ‘Anti-Bastos Law’ – Malacañang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte | ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured that President Rodrigo Duterte will be the first to obey the newly-signed Republic Act 11313 also known as the Safe Spaces Act or ‘Anti-Bastos Law’.

“Since the president signed that law, it means he recognizes the need for that law and since he is the chief enforcer of all the laws of the Philippines, he will be the first one to obey the law,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Signed on April 17, 2019, the new law imposes stiffer penalties to crimes “committed through any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person regardless of the motive for committing such action or remarks.”

Among these acts include:

  • catcalling
  • stalking 
  • cyberstalking  
  • wolf-whistling 
  • leering
  • intrusive gazing 
  • online sexual harassment 
  • sexist slurs 
  • persistent unwanted comments on one’s appearance 
  • relentless requests for one’s personal details

Likewise, the law prevents gender-based sexual harassment such as use of words, gestures or actions that ridicule sexual orientation, identity and/or expression from occurring in streets, public places, online workplaces, and educational and training institutions.

Penalties range from P1,000 to P500,000 fine, community service, and imprisonment of six days up to six months.

President Duterte has been criticized many times for his controversial remarks against women, but Panelo said those were all jokes, and definitely not sexual harassment against women.

“That particular law is penal in nature, meaning criminal in nature. In other words, the subject offended party must be offended personally by an offender,” the Presidential Legal Counsel explained.

“Pero kung general na nagkukwento, mao-offend ka? Paano mo sasabihing ikaw ang tinutukoy noon? May problema ka doon. (But he is just telling a story, in general, will you be offended? How can you tell that he was referring to you? Do you have problems with that?) How can you even charge him with what? How did they offend you? Did I refer to you? Papaano ka na? Dismiss agad iyon (How about you then? [The case] will be dismissed right away). Crime is personal to the offender,” he added.

Panelo added that persons who think they were offended by the President are always free to file a complaint once the President steps down from office.

“Any person can sue him for that violation. If you argue that, well, he is immune. Well, you can sue him after the presidency. No one is above the law, including this president and he always tells us that,” Panelo concluded. – with reports from Rosalie Coz

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