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Maguindanao massacre witness recants testimony, apologizes to families of victims

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

Eight years since he faced the court, prosecution witness Lagudin Alfonso offered his apologies to the families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre.

This was after he recanted the testimonies he made eight years ago wherein he claimed to witness the events leading to the said crime.

In his sworn testimony, Alfonso claimed, “What I said in court in November 2011 is not true. I was only forced to say what I had said in court because there was a threat in my life and my family.”

With the retraction, Alfonso also apologized to those whose lives got affected with what he stated then.

“I am very sorry for those who suffered because of the lie I said. I only did and said those because of my fear of my life and that of my family,” he added.

The families of the massacre victims were shocked by this turn of event.

One of them is Juliet Evardo, mother of UNTV editor Julito Evardo

“Nagsisinungaling iyan ngayon. Kung anuman ang kadahilanan siya lang ang nakakaalam baka may pera iyan diyan. Hindi natin alam [He is lying now. Whatever his reasons are, only he knows. There might be money involved now. We do not know],” said Mrs. Evardo.

She also appealed to Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes for justice.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice, in a text message, expressed hope that the hearing on the case will be finished within this year.

“Trial will end this year. Promulgation maybe next year,” said DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

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DOJ, NBI ready to probe law enforcers over violations in drug operations

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, July 8th, 2019

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are ready to probe law enforcers who may have committed violations during drug operations.

According to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra they are prepared to investigate authorities who may have committed violations of law related to the government’s anti-drug war campaign.

“The DOJ and the NBI are ready and willing to investigate and prosecute law enforcement agents upon proper complaint by people who have personal knowledge of any wrongdoing by police officers during drug operations until witnesses come forward and testify,” he said in a statement.

This is Guevarra’s response when the Amnesty International called on the Justice department to conduct an investigation related to violations on drug operations.

“There’s no need for Amnesty International to urge us to investigate possible violations of law by  law enforcement agents in the conduct of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign,” he said.

Guevarra reiterated that the police should respect the ‘presumption of regularity’ while performing their duties.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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DOF, expected to earn P2-B monthly tax from POGO industry foreign workers

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Courtesy: Pixabay

The Department of Finance (DOF) has created an inter-agency task force with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in intensifying the imposition of taxes on foreign workers in the country.

DOF Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino noted the increasing number of foreign workers in the country who do not pay taxes.

“It’s not fair to the Filipino worker who is paying taxes regularly when we have foreign nationals working here and not paying taxes. Because they use the same roads. Nakikinabang naman sila sa mga ilaw sa gabi, sa ating mga kalsada, kung anu-ano pang services na meron [They benefit from the electricity, from our roads, and from other services we have],” Lambino said.

The DOF official also said the country can earn 32 billion pesos every year from the tax that can be collected from 138,000 foreign workers in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (POGO) industry.

A data from DOLE shows that 84% of employees of the 182 POGOs that are registered in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) are foreign nationals, most of which are Chinese.

This prompted the task force to come up with a joint memorandum circular which states that the DOLE will not release an alien employment permit to a foreign national who has no tax identification number issued by the BIR.

The DOLE and the BIR will also come up with a database that will set a solid data on the total number of foreign workers in the country and to have a strict monitoring in the taxation of these workers.

The BIR has also issued notices to other POGO providers to remind them to pay taxes that have now reached P4-Billion. (with reports from Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

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Court issues precautionary hold departure order vs Kapa officials

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 1st, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A Davao City court has issued a precautionary hold departure order (PHDO) against the officials of the Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc., the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Monday.

The Davao City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16 granted the request of the prosecutors to bar eight Kapa officials, including its Founder and President Joel Apolinario and other board members, from leaving the Philippines.

A PHDO is a written order issued by a court commanding the Bureau of Immigration to prevent any attempt by a person suspected of a crime to depart from the Philippines. It is issued in cases involving crimes where the minimum of penalty prescribed by law is at least six years and one day.

The DOJ filed the request after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lodged a criminal complaint against Kapa officers over an alleged investment scam.

President Rodrigo Duterte last month issued a closure order against Kapa for operating an investment scheme without the proper license.

Last June 4, the Court of Appeals (CA) ordered the freezing of several bank accounts and other assets linked to Kapa upon the petition of the SEC and the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

Kapa officials have long denied the allegations and protested the government crackdown.

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