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Duterte suspends business operations of Chuzon stores in Pampanga

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019


President Rodrigo Duterte visits quake-hit areas in Pampanga. | Photo from MPC Pool

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the suspension of business operations of Chuzon Supermarkets in Pampanga following the collapse of one of its buildings in the town of Porac during the magnitude 6.1 earthquake on Monday.

The President made the order during a situation briefing held at the Pampanga Provincial Hall on the effects of the strong temblor that rattled parts of Luzon.

“Well, in probability, the one who constructs the supermarket here could also be the one who constructed the others. I’d like to presume that, although I stand corrected,” Duterte said.

“So it would be a good time to just give them the advise to stop, cease and desist in doing business until such time that the clearance [is] given by government, whether city engineer or whoever is competent to review the planning, ” he added.

Duterte’s order came after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recommended the issuance of an order for the suspension of the supermarket chain’s business permit.

The President said it was “appalling” that the grocery branch collapsed, considering that the building was just four years old.

The earthquake hit Pampanga the hardest, although its epicenter was located in Castillejos, Zambales.

READ: Phivolcs explains why Pampanga was hit hardest by Luzon quake

Several structures and roads in the province sustained damages after an earthquake rocked parts of Luzon late Monday afternoon.

Earlier on Tuesday, Duterte visited the quake-hit areas in Pampanga, including the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket in Porac.

Based on the latest data released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday, 16 people were killed in Monday’s quake.

READ: Luzon quake death toll rises to 16

Of the 16 reported fatalities, 12 were from Porac, two from Lubao and one from Angeles in Pampanga. One fatality was also reported in San Marcelino, Zambales.

The NDRRMC also said that 81 people were injured and 14 remain missing. — Robie de Guzman

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PNP identify 11 suspects in Negros cops slay

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said it has identified at least 11 suspects in the brutal killing of four police officers in Ayungon town in Negros Oriental.

“Yes, we have identified, kung hindi ako nagkakamali ang report ng RD (regional director) doon at least 11 of them,” PNP chief Police General Oscar Albayalde told reporters in an interview.

Albayalde said murder charges will be filed against the suspects who are believed to members of the New People’s Army (NPA). The chief of Barangay Mabato in Ayungon where the crime took place will also face charges.

“Cases will be filed against this people… whether yung sa amin ay may reward or none, we are duty-bound to go after these people dahil pinatay nila no less than our men,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier offered a P1.3 million bounty for any information and the capture of those behind the crime, adding that he prefers to see them dead.

READ: Duterte offers P1.3-M reward for killers of 4 Negros cops

Albayalde said the reward would encourage witnesses to come forward and report to authorities what really transpired.

Reports said the four police officers were allegedly killed and tortured by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) last Thursday in Ayungon.

The victims were supposed to meet an informant who was believed to have set them up with the NPA for an ambush.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Office 7 said the four cops were “dragged, hogtied,” and “ganged up” by about 30 to 40 men. One officer even suffered a broken rib before they were shot kneeling down, “resembling a summary execution, more than an ambush.”

The slain cops, Cpl. Relebert Beronio and Patrolmen Raffy Callo, Roel Cabellon and Marquino de Leon were intelligence personnel from the 704th Mobile Force Company Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the PNP Central Visayas.

Albayalde said they are delving deeper into the case following initial reports that the chief of Mabato village met with the victims several hours before they were killed on July 18.

The PNP chief also doubts the local chief’s claim that he knows nothing of the communist rebels’ activities in his area of jurisdiction.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier said that police and military troops are now working to capture the alleged NPA members who were behind the crime. (with details from Lea Ylagan & Victor Cosare)

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Duterte offers P1.3-M reward for killers of 4 Negros cops

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte visits the wake of 4 cops who were allegedly killed and tortured by members of the communist New People’s Army last Thursday, July 18, in Ayungon, Negros Oriental. Photo Courtesy of Sen. Bong Go

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to give P1.3-million reward for those behind the brutal killing of four police officers in Negros Oriental.

Duterte initially offered P1-million bounty for the capture of the perpetrators of the crime that happened in Ayungon town on July 18. But on Monday (July 22), he raised the amount of the reward, adding that he prefers to see the killers dead.

“Mas gusto kong patay sila. Kung patay sila, magdagdag pa ako ng 300 [P300,000]. So, it’s one million three hundred [P1.3 million]. Just bring me the head of that idiot leader there,” the president told reporters after his fourth State of the Nation Address at the Batasang Pambansa Complex.

(I prefer them dead. If they are dead, I would add P300,000. So, it’s P1.3 million.)

Reports said the four police officers were allegedly killed and tortured by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) last Thursday in Ayungon.

The victims were supposed to meet an informant who was believed to have set them up with the NPA for an ambush.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Office 7 said the four cops were “dragged, hogtied,” and “ganged up” by about 30 to 40 men. One officer also suffered a broken rib before they were shot kneeling down, “resembling a summary execution, more than an ambush.”

The president has expressed outrage over the incident.

“Kasi masama ang loob ko kung bakit ganoon? For all of the years… I’ve been mayor in Davao and for the many times that I went to the mountains to retrieve captured soldiers and policemen, ni wala akong nakita ni isang trauma sa. Ito dito, pinatay nila, pinaghampas-hampas nila at ginulgol ‘yung leeg. Kaya galit ako,” he said.

The slain cops, Cpl. Relebert Beronio and Patrolmen Raffy Callo, Roel Cabellon and Marquino de Leon were intelligence personnel from the 704th Mobile Force Company Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the PNP Central Visayas.

The president visited their wake last Saturday and conferred them with the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kalasag medals. This award is bestowed to government officials and private individuals who lost their lives as a direct result of their participation in the campaign or advocacy of the President.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), for its part, said the PNP is now working with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the capture of the alleged NPA members who were behind the crime.

The DILG also assured to extend financial assistance to the family of the slain cops. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Duterte laid proposed charter change to rest – Drilon

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon believes that President Rodrigo Duterte has already laid the proposed Charter change to rest when he left it out of his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Drilon said the president’s silence on federalism indicates that charter change is not a priority of the Duterte administration anymore.

“What’s more telling in the President’s speech is not what he said but what he did not say. That speaks volumes. For me, the non-inclusion of federalism indicates that the Cha-cha was laid to rest yesterday. The SONA became Cha-cha’s ‘final resting place,'” Drilon said in a statement on Tuesday.

Duterte has been pushing for federalism and charter change since he came to power in 2016. But during his media interview after the SONA on Monday night, the president said federalism and the proposal to amend the 1987 Constitution may not happen during his term.

READ: Duterte leaves out Cha-cha, federalism in 4th SONA

House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano earlier said he would push to extend the term of office of lawmakers.

But based on the chief executive’s statement, Drilon said those who have plans to revive Charter change in the 18th Congress “should better think twice.”

“It will be an exercise in futility,” he said.

Meanwhile, the senator also expressed support to some of Duterte’s “wish-list” to Congress, except for his call to reimpose the death penalty in the country.

“We do not agree that death penalty is the solution to our illegal drugs and corruption problems. Death penalty is anti-poor,” Drilon said, adding that what needs to be done is strengthen the country’s justice system which he describes as “weak,” and “very prone to error.”

“We may not always see eye to eye with the President on certain issues, but in terms of legislation that will benefit the country, we are always ready to support him,” he further said.

The lawmaker said he is supporting Duterte’s proposed salary standardization law, the increase in teacher’s salary and the creation of a water department.

He said two of his pet bills call for the increase in the salary of teachers and the creation of the Philippine Water Commission to manage and regulate the country’s water resources.

Drilon also said they are also ready to examine all the other measures stated in the SONA.

“We are willing to listen and take a look at the proposals on the proposed tax reform law, the Land Use Act and the creation of the disaster management department,” he said.

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