Duterte stuns by naming 46 politicians on new ‘narco-list’
Marje Pelayo • March 15, 2019 • 4653
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte yet again surprised the public by revealing the names of politicians on his narco-list.
On national TV, the firebrand president read several names of politicians including 35 mayors, seven vice mayors, one provincial board member, and three congressmen.
Some of them are elected officials and election candidates for the upcoming May midterm polls.
President Duterte denied undermining the politicians’ bid ahead of the elections, but insisted that the list has been validated by government agents.
He added that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has already filed administrative cases against government officials on the list before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The President said the government’s Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) are both investigating the officials to build criminal cases against them.
“The results of which will aid us in filing airtight cases against them,” the President said.
“Remember that ‘public office is a public trust’; an official’s right to privacy is not absolute and there is a compelling reason to prioritize the interest of the state and the people,” he stressed. – Marje Pelayo
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is letting Atty. Persida Acosta to decide on whether or not to resign as Chief of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) following complaints of corruption.
PAO lawyers filed the complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman accusing the PAO Chief and forensics chief Erwin Erfe of corrupt practices in relation to the disbursements and allocation of the PAO budget.
Acosta and Erfe allegedly committed a ‘systematic scheme’ in diverting P13 million of the agency’s budget for office supplies for drafting Dengvaxia-related cases.
Presidential Spokesman Secretary Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, said that knowing President Rodrigo Duterte, his trust in his officials remains unless reports of irregularities are proven.
“Si President, hangga’t walang findings of probable cause, palaging andun ang trust (President (Duterte’s) trust on a person remains unless there is no finding of a probable cause),” Panelo said.
“Pero kung may probable cause na, ibang usapan iyon, then there will be suspension galing sa Ombudsman. Hindi naman teritoryo ni president iyon (But once a probable cause is established, that’s a different story. There will be suspension coming from the Ombudsman. It is no longer the President’s territory),” the Palace Spokesman concluded. – MNP (with details from Mai Bermudez)
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang wants Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua to explain the unauthorized passage of Chinese warships in Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi which the Philippine government considers as “offending”.
The Philippine military couldn’t consider it an ‘innocent passage’ because the vessel maneuvered and the crew turned off the vessel’s automatic identification systems (AIS) perhaps to avoid being noticed.
Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo said he will definitely raise the matter to Ambassador Zhao.
“We will call their attention,” he said.
“The Chinese ambassador invited me for a dinner one of these days and maybe I will raise that to him,” he added.
The Palace stressed such unauthorized move was a clear violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“Violation ng UNCLOS iyan kung dumaraan sa ating EEZ (That’s violation of the UNCLOS if they pass/enter our EEZ),” Panelo said.
“I’m sure the DFA Secretary will do something about that,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte is set to travel to China later this month and according to Panelo, President Duterte maintains he will insist The Hague’s arbitral ruling with Chinese President Xi Jinping even if China is not accepting the decision. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
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