IBP: ‘Bikoy’ not under our custody

Robie de Guzman   •   May 7, 2019   •   1987

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Tuesday belied rumors that Peter Joemel Advincula, the man claiming to be ‘Bikoy’ in the video series called “Ang Totoong Narco List,” is under their custody following his press conference at its headquarters in Ortigas.

On Monday, Advincula went to IBP to seek legal assistance to file charges against presidential son Paolo Duterte; Lawyer Manases Carpio, the husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte; and Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former aide of President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Man claiming to be Bikoy asks help from IBP

He claimed he was the hooded figure in the video series implicating some members of the Duterte family and their close allies to the narcotics trade.

“We would like to dispel rumors that Mr. Peter Joemel Advincula is in the custody and care of the IBP. The IBP leadership is unaware of his current whereabouts,” the IBP said in a statement released late Tuesday.

The IBP issued the statement following speculations that Advincula is under its care.

It also maintained that it did not organize Advincula’s press briefing, and it has nothing to do with the statement that he read before the media.

“The presence of media outfits was not upon the invitation nor direction of the IBP, ” it said.

“IBP did not craft Mr. Advincula’s statement, and/or sworn statement,” it added.

The IBP also reiterated that Advincula was received at their office on Monday like any other applicant seeking legal assistance from its National Center for Legal Aid.

“Right now, his application for legal aid is still under the evaluation by the NCLA,” the group said.

The IBP reiterated it continues to the sentinel of the rule of law in the country, which has a “mandate to maintain independence and credibility as the umbrella organization of all lawyers in the Philippines.”

In response to Advincula’s appearance at the IBP and drug allegations against the Duterte family and their close allies, Senator Panfilo Lacson said his committee has invited the former to attend its hearing on Friday.

Lacson said the formal invitation to Advincula will be sent out through the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) since it was the last place where he was seen.

READ: Senate to probe ‘Bikoy’ claims this week

Malacañang, meanwhile, expressed doubt on Advincula’s credibility, noting that he is currently facing multiple criminal cases.

READ: NBI to summon man claiming to be ‘Bikoy’

The National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police earlier said they will summon Advincula to answer questions pertaining to his identity and his allegations against the Dutertes.

Duterte to insist arbitral ruling to China: ‘Whether you like it or not’

Marje Pelayo   •   August 22, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte, Pag-asa Island and Chinese President Xi Jinping

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he will raise the arbitral ruling that favors the Philippines in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea when he visits China next week.

Duterte is scheduled to fly to China for a working visit from August 28 to September 3.

He will meet Chinese president Xi Jinping and talk about the Hague ruling, the code of conduct, as well as the proposed joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

“So whether you like it or not, would it make you happy or not, angry or otherwise. Sorry, but we have to talk the arbitral ruling, then what we get, if there is a start of the exploration and extraction of whatever there is in the bowels of the earth,” the President said during the inauguration of the 7.5 megawatt peak solar power project in the municipality of Odiongan, Tablas Island in Romblon on Wednesday (August 21).

“The proposal of 60-40 in our favor, would be a good start. I hope it would graduate to something like towards how do we solve the arbitral ruling peacefully,” he added.

The event was the President’s first public engagement after being out of the public eye for more than a week. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to decide on banning online gambling in PH amid China’s call – Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   August 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Wednesday (August 21) said it is up to President Rodrigo Duterte to decide on the operations of online gambling in the country.

“We have to ask the President on this policy or issue,” Panelo told reporters.

“Hindi natin alam kung may possibility or wala. We have to ask the President,” he added.

On Tuesday (August 20), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has called on the Philippine government to ban all forms of online gambling.

“We have also taken note of the Philippine government’s announcement and appreciate it,” he said in a press conference in Beijing.

“We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling,” he added.

Defense officials expressed concern over proximity of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) near military camps arguing the possibility of Chinese workers becoming spies for Beijing.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), meanwhile, has already stopped accepting applications for POGO licenses in the country unless underlying issues are settled.

But Panelo noted that online gambling remains legal under Philippine law.

Defense chief lauds Duterte order on foreign vessels entering PH waters

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

One of the anti-submarine vessels which docked at Pier 15 South Harbor, Manila.

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to require foreign vessels to first secure a clearance from the government before entering the Philippine waters.

“That is a very good development. At least now we have some authority to enforce our laws within our territorial waters,” Lorenzana said Tuesday.

Earlier, Duterte, through spokesman Salvador Panelo, issued a directive for all foreign vessels to provide notification and get clearance from proper government authority in advance of the actual passage. He also warned foreign vessels that Manila will either get compliance in a friendly manner or enforce it in an unfriendly manner.

READ: Duterte warns foreign ships to get clearance before entering PH waters

When asked to elaborate, Panelo explained that by saying ‘unfriendly,’ it means blocking entry to any foreign vessels intruding in the Philippine territory.

He, however, clarified that the President’s order didn’t mean an automatic use of force against intruders.

“By that it means that we will ask them to move out of the place, that’s unfriendly, because before we never said anything, we just allow them, we just make protest, but this time, we will tell them, please get out of our territorial waters,” Panelo said.

Duterte’s order came after reports of Chinese warships that allegedly entered the Philippine territory, particularly in Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi, without permission from the government.

Lorenzana, for his part, could not say yet the “unfriendly option” the Philippine Military could use to ward of intruders into the country’s waters. The Defense chief said he will defer the matter to the Philippine Navy. (RRD with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

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