Foreigners joining SONA rally will face deportation, BI warns

Marje Pelayo   •   July 18, 2019   •   1054

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.

Palace opposes Urban Dictionary definition of ‘Duterte’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

The Malacañang refuted the Urban Dictionary for defining ‘Duterte’ as ‘to scam, trick, or con.

During a press briefing on Tuesday (Aug 20), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo will seek to counter the definition on the website.

“‘Duterte’ to us means honest, incorruptible, politically-willed person, courageous, selfless, honest, transparent and all good things…and other synonymous terms,” Panelo said.

The definition was uploaded by an unknown internet user one month ago. Urban Dictionary is crowd-sourced online dictionary for slang words and phrases.

Panelo suspects, the uploader might be a member of anti-Duterte groups.—AAC

Malacañang leaves it to PAO Chief to decide on resigning amid corruption complaint

Marje Pelayo   •   August 15, 2019

Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta

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)

Malacañang wants China to explain ‘offending passage’ of warships in Sibutu Strait

Marje Pelayo   •   August 15, 2019

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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