Duterte to await Senate, DILG probe results before deciding on Albayalde, ‘ninja cop’ issues

Robie de Guzman   •   October 2, 2019   •   200

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde (left) and President Rodrigo Duterte (right)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he would opt to wait for the Senate and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to end their respective probes on the case of the so-called ‘ninja cops’ before deciding what action to take on them and on Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde who was linked to the controversy.

“So, the most proper thing to do, which is in line with procedural due process, is to wait for the closure of the investigation by the Senate,” Duterte told reporters on Tuesday evening (Oct. 1) during a press conference before departing for Russia for an official visit.

The president expects the DILG to come up with a report which will be his basis whether to “dismiss, discharge, terminate” any cop involved in the issue. He also assured he would be fair.

“When it is forwarded to me since the police is under DILG. It’s a bureau under Secretary (Eduardo) Año. So, I will forward it to him, give him specific period to complete his investigation,” he said.

When pressed for his comment on the possibility of dismissing Albayalde, Duterte said it he would do so only if he has sufficient proof of wrong doing.

“If it comes to a serious thing as dismissing a top official here and there, it has to be for a good reason and there must be enough proof,” he said.

The Senate on Tuesday resumed its inquiry on the alleged existence of ‘ninja cops’ in the force or those police officers engaged in the recycling or reselling of illegal drugs seized from operations.

The issue was revived when Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino bared during a 2020 budget hearing about the continued activities of ‘ninja cops’ and their link to the so-called Manila ‘drug queen,’ later identified as former village chief Guia Gomez Castro.

Albayalde’s name was dragged into the issue after former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief and now Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong mentioned a controversial 2013 anti-drug operation carried out by cops under Albayalde who was then the head of Pampanga police provincial office.

Albayalde was relieved from his post in 2014 for command responsibility while the involved operatives were charged and ordered dismissed.

The dismissal order, however, was not implemented as the police officers were only demoted in 2017.

Magalong accused Albayalde of intervening in the case of his former men, which the PNP chief denied. He insisted during the Senate hearing that he only called then Central Luzon Regional police director Aquino in 2016 to ask about the status of his former men’s case.

Prior to facing the Senate probe, Aquino, Magalong and Albayalde met separately with Duterte to discuss the matter.

Although the PNP continues to cleanse its ranks of corrupt cops, Duterte said it has yet to fully rid of police scalawags in the force.

“Alam mo ang PNP is not that bad. By and large, we have a very good PNP working for our country. Iyong scalawags diyan sa ‘yung ninja cops have been there in Manila, one or two in Davao, and everywhere,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to attend ASEAN-ROK summit in South Korea

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 11, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Commemorative Summit in South Korea from November 25 to 27.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed on Sunday (November 10) that the president will be attending the summit in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the dialogue partnership between the regional bloc and South Korea.

“He will push through with the trip,” Panelo said.

President Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-In are also expected to have a bilateral meeting to discuss trade and security issues.

The Philippines and South Korea have recently celebrated its 70th bilateral relations.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte eyes ban on use of plastic

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2019

Plastic along coastline in Cap-Haitien, Haiti | REUTERS

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to ban the use of plastics in a bid to mitigate the effects of climate change, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president mentioned the idea during a discussion on climate change in a Cabinet meeting last Wednesday.

“The president floated the idea to ban the use of plastics, which according to him would require legislative action,” Panelo told reporters but said he is not sure if Duterte was referring to single-use plastics.

There are bills filed in Congress seeking to ban the use of single-use plastics that are currently pending at a committee level.

These measures seek to prohibit food establishments, stores, and markets from issuing single-use plastics, and task manufacturers to control the circulation and disposal of these materials. It also encourages consumers to instead use reusable or other alternative materials.

The Philippines has been listed in a 2015 report as one of the biggest sources of plastic leaking into the oceans, after China and Indonesia.

A recent study by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) revealed that Filipinos use more than 163 million plastic sachet packets, 48 million shopping bags and 45 million thin film bags daily.

The report called “Plastics exposed: How waste assessments and brand audits are helping Philippine cities fight plastic pollution,” used data from household waste assessments and brand audits conducted by Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) in six cities and seven municipalities across the country in the past five years.

The organization extrapolated the data to calculate daily and yearly plastic usage throughout the country in order to provide new quantitative evidence about plastic pollution in the Philippines.

GAIA said that findings in the report show how cities and municipalities in the Philippines are struggling against plastic residuals despite efforts of many localities to institute Zero Waste programs.

With the projected increase in plastic production worldwide, including in the Philippines, the group said that national governments, as well as local government authorities need robust data and effective strategies to address the looming plastic pollution crisis.

It also called on manufacturers to regulate, and stop producing, single-use plastics.

“We would appreciate kung ang Pangulo will tell Congress na iprioritize nga itong bill on single-use plastic,” Beau Baconguis, an Asia Pacific Plastics Campaigner of GAIA said.

“Dapat hindi lang tignan as a waste disposal issue at waste management issue pero titingnan ang buong life cycle ng plastic at buong problemang kaakibat ng different stages ng production ng plastic,” Baconguis added.

The House of Representatives, for its part, assured it will continue to conduct inquiries on proposals to ban the use of plastics in the country.

“There will be a hearing before the committee level, all the stakeholders shall be heard, and ultimately we shall decide the course,” Cavite Fourth District Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, said.

“The decision of the President will carry much weight in so far as the action of the House of representatives is concerned,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

LOOK: Robredo’s memo to Duterte on acceptance of anti-drug post designation

Robie de Guzman   •   November 6, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday sent a memorandum to Malacañang stating her acceptance of President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer for her to become co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

Robredo’s spokesperson, Barry Gutierrez posted a photo of the memorandum on his Twitter account with the caption, “Handa na ba kayo para sa akin?”

The vice president on Wednesday said she has accepted the designation in hopes of stopping the killing of innocent lives under the administration’s anti-drug war.

Duterte made the offer following Robredo’s call to allow the United Nations to investigate his war on drugs, which she said was “not working.”

She later clarified that she meant to urge the administration to assess its campaign.

In a briefing with Malacanang Press Corps, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Robredo is welcome to attend the meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday.

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