Palace reminds local officials to enforce quarantine rules according to law

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2020   •   332

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday, April 29, reminded local authorities, as well as those manning checkpoints to enforce the quarantine rules according to law.

“Nananawagan po ako sa lahat ng mga tagapagpatupad ng ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine), kinakailangan po na gawin natin ‘yan na sang-ayon sa batas,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Roque issued the statement when asked for reaction over an incident in Quezon City where some members of the city’s Task Force Disiplina and officials of Barangay South Triangle allegedly beat up a man accused of violating the community quarantine guidelines.

READ: QC task force members involved in hitting of fish vendor to face suspension

The Quezon City government earlier said it will investigate the incident and stressed that it does not condone any acts of violence.

Roque urged the city government to punish those involved if they are proven guilty of wrongdoing.

“Naniniwala ako na iimbestigahan ng patas yan ni Mayor Joy Belmonte at papatawan ng parusa ang barangay officials kung napatunayan na nagkasala sila,” he said.

The Palace official also urged those manning quarantine control points to assess and decide on who should or should not be allowed to pass on case-to-case basis, stressing that those in need of medical attention should be permitted immediately. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

MWSS orders Maynilad, Manila Water to implement 30-day grace period, installment plan for ECQ, MECQ bills

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) on Wednesday told concessionaires, Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. to grant their customers a 30-day grace period and three-month installment plan to settle bills that fall due within the tighter community quarantine periods.

In a press release, the MWSS Regulatory Office (RO) said the directive is “in solidarity with the spirit and intentions of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).”

The grace period will cover bills that fall due within the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ periods.

The MWSS RO also directed water distributors to implement a three-month installment scheme for all cooperatives; micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME); and domestic customers after the grace period.

“The said directives will provide customers ample time to update payments for water bills that fell due within the 04 to 18 August 2020 MECQ period without incurring interests, penalties and other charges,” the agency said.

It can be recalled that Metro Manila and nearby areas were reverted to MECQ in August in response to the call of the medical community for a “time out” amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country.

“The MWSS RO assures the public that it will do everything in its mandate to protect their welfare and provide the assistance they need to alleviate the financial burden brought about by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” the MWSS said.

Palace calls proposed Philippine Human Rights Act filed in US Congress a very ‘wild suggestion’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 24, 2020

Malacañang has slammed a proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress that seeks to suspend the security assistance provided by the United States of America to the Philippines.

Pennsylvania Representative Susan Wild sponsored the Philippine Human Rights Act last September 17 as she criticized the alleged human rights abuses in the Philippines and “brutal” regime under President Rodrigo Duterte through the Anti-Terrorism Law. Wild is pushing to halt U.S. funding for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“That’s a very ‘wild’ suggestion. Hayaan na po natin. Iyan po ay personal na opinion ni Congresswoman Wild (We should just let it go. That is the personal opinion of Congresswoman Wild),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, adding that the proposed act has little chance of getting approved.

He also reiterated that Malacañang is confident that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump will uphold Philippine-US relations.

Roque said the Philippines will not interfere with U.S sovereignty and will not stop the proposed act from progressing through the legislative process. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Roque questions court order to release Pemberton

Robie de Guzman   •   September 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has questioned a local court’s decision to grant the appeal of US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton for an early release through good conduct time allowance (GCTA) credits.

Roque, who was the former private legal counsel of Filipino transgender Jennifer Laude’s family, said the Bureau of Corrections, which has the authority to grant GCTA credits, did not recommend any allowance for good conduct for Pemberton.

“Yung ginawa po ni Judge na siya na ang nagdesisyon kung paano siya bibigyan ng credit for good conduct is an instance of judicial overreach,” he said.

The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 in an order dated September 1 said Pemberton should be released over good behavior.

Pemberton was sentenced six to 10 years in prison for homicide over the slay of Laude at a motel in Olongapo City in 2014. He has been held at a facility in Camp Aguinaldo pursuant to provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the United States and the Philippines.

The court credited to him a good conduct time allowance (GCTA) of 1,548 days or more than 4 years plus a total of 2,142 days in detention which amounts to more than 10 years of the maximum penalty imposed on him.

The Palace official said that the court’s decision on Pemberton’s release is unjust.

“Very bad po, kasi parang pinapakita na di mahalaga ang buhay ng Pilipino. 5 taon lang sa ginuntuang hawla ang pwedeng maging parusa. Huwag naman po,” he said.

He also denied the claim of Pemberton’s lawyer that he and Laude’s family agreed to release the convicted American soldier on parole.

Roque added that the motion for reconsideration filed by Laude’s family should be resolved first, as well as the appeal that will be lodged by the government’s prosecutors.

The Department of Justice said it has directed the Bureau of Corrections to wait for the court’s resolution on the Laude family’s motion for reconsideration. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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