Duterte wants to speed up release of sickly, aging prisoners

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2019   •   250

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to speed up the release of sickly and aging prisoners at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Duterte specifically wants to fast-track the release of inmates who are 70 years old and above.

“I’ll ask the administration, whoever will take over or the Secretary of Justice to fast-track ‘yung mga may sakit na at talagang matatanda na. Ako mag-set ako, 70 years old or 75, 70,” he told reporters in an interview in Malacañang.

The chief executive pointed out that elderly and sick prisoners within the said age bracket can no longer run nor commit criminal acts. Most of them also do not want to be released anymore.

“Hindi na marunong mag-holdup ‘yan. Hindi na makatakbo ‘yan,” he said.

Duterte made the statement in the wake of the controversy on the early release of heinous crime convicts from the NBP through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

The president earlier set a 15-day deadline for some 1,914 heinous criminals freed due to the GCTA rule to surrender or face re-arrest.

READ: Duterte orders freed heinous crime convicts to surrender

READ: Duterte offers P1M bounty for capture of GCTA-freed heinous crime convicts

Two days before the ultimatum lapses on Sept. 19, Duterte offered a P1 million bounty for each heinous crime convict who failed to comply with the order. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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)

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)

Duterte on ‘ninja cops’ case linking Albayalde: ‘Give me clear proof’

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech upon his arrival at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on October 6, 2019 following his successful official visit to the Russian Federation. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday stressed the importance of following the due process in the ‘ninja cops’ issue, which allegedly involves several policemen, including the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), General Oscar Albayalde.

Duterte made the statement amid calls for Albayalde to resign over his purported link to illegal drugs.

Eh kung mga ‘yung criminal binibigyan mo ng (Even criminals are given) presumption of innocence. You know, Albayalde is the PNP chief. Give me a clear proof that he was there on the take or was in the trafficking of drugs. Just because he was the… Tapos may tinawagan siya (he called someone),” he said after his arrival from Russia.

“I could not just do it in a knee jerk. I have to follow procedural due process and allow him time to answer,” he added. “The right to be heard – it’s given to criminals, to kidnappers. It should be given to a general of the Philippine National Police.”

When asked if he still trusts Albayalde, Duterte replied with: “Well, he is still there.  Otherwise, I would have you know just — I would have told him to just go out.”

The issue on ‘ninja cops’ 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 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.

Aquino, who was then the chief of Central Luzon Regional Police Office, claimed Albayalde called him to ask not to enforce the dismissal order against the 13 cops.

The PNP chief has repeatedly denied the allegation. He insisted during a 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.

Duterte earlier said he will 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.RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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