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Palace blocks EU politician’s entry; stresses right to blacklist

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, April 16th, 2018

Giacomo Filibeck Twitter profile

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang insisted on the government’s right to bar Giacomo Filibeck from entering the Philippines.

Filibeck, a secretary-general of European socialists is a critic of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

The EU political party official was invited by the Akbayan Party-list Congress, but was denied access to the country upon his arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

“We are not obliged to allow anyone into our territory if we do not want them in our territory. Unfortunately, the socialist leader was one of those that we determine as a person that we don’t want to be in our territory. There is no rule under international law that will compel us to admit anyone whom we do not want to admit in our territory. That’s the exercise of sovereignty,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing. — UNTV News & Rescue

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PDEA nabs DOH doctor, 6 others in drug buy-bust

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Thursday nabbed a medical officer of the Department of Health (DOH) and six others in a buy-bust operation conducted at a Condominium unit in Mandaluyong.

In a report on UNTV News and Rescue’s Ito Ang Balita by JL Asayo, PDEA identified the suspects as licensed physician Dr. Vanjoe de Guzman, Keanu Andrea Flores, Mark Echauz, Gerald Fajardo, Michael Tan and an alias Boy Kulot.

Authorities recovered from the suspects six sachets of suspected shabu with an estimated street value of P340,000 and several bottles containing suspected liquid ecstasy approximately worth P30,000; drug paraphernalia, marked money and a mobile phone.

PDEA agents first arrested De Guzman, Flores and Echauz when they conducted an operation around 12 midnight at the condominium unit turned drug den, allegedly operated by De Guzman.

De Guzman denied the accusation.

“So tingnan niyo, parang kahihiyan sa work ko. I’m from the government, government employee ako tapos [I] will do that, parang… uhm I’m a user, nag-use po ako pero I don’t,” de Guzman said.

DOH said in a statement that De Guzman has been a regular employee since 2015. However, he has not been coming to work since November 2018 despite orders to report to the office.

“Dr. Vanjoe de Guzman is a regular DOH employee from February 2015, however, he has been on AWOL (Absence Without Leave) status since November 26, 2018. Despite written directives to report immediately to the office, Dr. de Guzman has failed to comply. This has prompted for DOH-MMCHD to issue an Order of Separation and commence disciplinary proceedings, in consultation with the Civil Service Commission, for his eventual dismissal from the service,” DOH said.

The other three suspects were nabbed when they showed up at the condo unit during a follow-up operation when PDEA agents contacted them using the seized mobile phone. The three were accused of peddling illegal drugs.

“Oo, inaamin ko gumagamit po ako pero not palagi po (anong trabaho mo?) nagpa-part time po ako [as an] ambassador sa isang club po and then nag-freelance model, talent/extra sa mga tapings,” Flores, a college student, admitted when asked about her involvement in the pot session.

PDEA Agent Winifredo Alagabia Jr. told reporters after the operation what they have recovered from the suspects.

“May nakuha tayong pictures, may mga hubo’t hubad na tao sa cellphone. So, may mga possibility na after using the drugs, nag o-orgy na sila, nag se-sexual orgy na sila. So, maliban sa delikado na ma-overdose, baka delikado din sa spread ng HIV yung ginagawa nila,”

Suspects are detained at PDEA main office for violating the Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. – Robie de Guzman

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No more Harry Roque in 2019 senatorial race

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, February 1st, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque speaks after filing his certificate of candidacy on October 17, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday (February 1) withdrew his bid for the 2019 midterm elections.

In his official statement of withdrawal, Roque cited health reasons specifically “an unstable angina coronary disease” and needed to undergo heart surgery.

“The recovery process needed by my heart and body will not be compatible with the physical rigors of an earnest and sustained election campaign,” he said.

Roque said that while he decided to finally set aside his senatorial plans, he said he still hopes to return to public service and vows to remain in support of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration even as a private individual.

“Ako po ay umaasa na muling darating pra sa akin ang karangalan na maglingkod sa mamamayang Pilipino bilang isang mambabatas, o sa anumang kapasidad na maari akong makapaglingkod,” Roque said in a message posted on his Twitter account.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), meanwhile, confirmed receipt of Roque’s withdrawal letter and said that once the formal and procedural requirements are fulfilled, Roque’s name will be removed from the official ballot for the 2019 polls. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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GIS EXCLUSIVE: Atty. Harry Roque eyes reform in PH judicial system if elected

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

(L-R) Talk show host, Daniel Razon and former presidential spokesperson, Atty. Harry Roque on the set of Get It Straight with Daniel Razon

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque wants reforms in the country’s judicial system.

If given the chance in the Senate in the upcoming May midterm elections, Roque said he will push for the inquisitorial system in court trials.

The inquisitorial system, as opposed to the other method which is the adversarial system, is a legal practice of exposing evidence in court where the judge acts not only as a passive recipient of information but is primary responsible for gathering the pieces of evidence needed in the case while simultaneously representing the interest of the state.

In an interview with Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, Roque explained that under the inquisitorial method, court proceedings will be expedited, unlike the adversarial system currently adopted in the Philippines where the court only acts as a referee between the prosecution and the defense.

Roque was among the legal counsels of the victims in the long-standing Maguindanao Massacre which remain unsolved since it happened in November 2009.

“Bulok ang sistema natin. Hindi gumagana. Hindi katanggap-tanggap. Ang aking solusyon dyan, ibalik natin sa inquisitorial (system) gawin natin na ang huwes na ang kukuha sa ebidensya hindi na magaantay ng pagsusumite ng mga ebidensya sa korte. Kunin na niya at siya na ang magdesisyon sa lalong mabilis na panahon,” Roque explained.

He would also push for amendment in the existing Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

He would propose to lower the oil price ceiling of US$80 to US$60 as basis for suspending the excise tax on oil.

Despite the fact that his views sometimes oppose that of President Rodrigo Duterte, Roque said he still supports the President’s war on drugs and his policies regarding West Philippine Sea.

He believes it is better for the Philippines to be friends with China to be able to negotiate matters lightly and easily.

“Mas importante na makipagkaibigan tayo. Bakit? Kapag kaibigan mo ang isang bansa mas madali kang magkaroon ng areglo. Wala namang pinagkaiba iyan sa kaso sa Pilipinas na kapag mabuti ang relasyon doon sa mga nagdedemandahan mas maaga at mas malakas ang possibility na magkakaroon ng compromise agreement,” the human rights lawyer said.

Roque thanked Kuya Daniel Razon for opening his program to election hopefuls like him so that they are able to introduce their platform of government without spending a centavo.

“Ang mga walang perang gaya ko ang pagasa lamang ang mga programang gaya nito,” he concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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