Panelo tells Swedish Envoy: Judge Duterte by his deeds, not words

Robie de Guzman   •   July 11, 2019   •   1161

(L-R) Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries and President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang defended President Rodrigo Duterte against the remarks of Swedish Ambassador Harald Fries who said the chief executive’s jokes about rape and women were not funny.

In a statement on Wednesday night, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Fries should judge Duterte by his deeds rather than his words.

He also stressed that while they understand the sentiments of the Swedish envoy, the context of Duterte’s jests should also be considered.

“We have to see the context of the President’s jokes, where these were told before local audience, which may not have the same acceptance with a foreign audience,” he said.

“The good Sweden Envoy should judge the President, not by his words but by his deeds,” he added.

Panelo’s statement was in response to a remark made by Fries when he guested the forum on “#RespetoNaman: A Nationwide Campaign Against Gender-Based Violence.”

The Palace official also emphasized how Duterte for several times had placed great importance on ensuring the protection of women’s rights.

“President Duterte has shown respect and admiration to women and their abilities and competencies. He has appointed numerous women to high government positions in the Cabinet and executive offices and the Judiciary,” he said.

Panelo noted that Duterte signed landmark pro-women pieces of legislation, including Republic Act No. 11210, or the Expanded Maternity Leave Act, which grants 105 days of paid maternity leave credits to working mothers; and the Republic Act 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act, which mandates the development of a strategy for the first 1,000 days of life to address the health, nutrition, and developmental problems affecting infants, young children, adolescent females, pregnant and lactating women, teenage mothers, and women of reproductive age.

The presidential spokesman further noted that under the Duterte Administration, the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018 placed the Philippines as the most gender equal nation in Asia.

The Philippines received high Global Gender Gap scores in the areas of educational attainment (ranked #1), political empowerment (ranked #13), and economic participation and opportunity (ranked #14).

“These findings highlight the government’s commitment to give Filipino women the recognition that they properly deserve, particularly their contributions in the home, in the workplace, in the community, and in nation-building,” Panelo said.

Albayalde, Panelo say hazing should be considered a heinous crime

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde on Monday said that hazing should be considered a heinous crime and should never be tolerated.

Albayalde made the statement following the death of fourth-class cadet Darwin Dormitorio at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) due to hazing last Sept. 18.

“Hazing is a heinous crime,” Albayalde told reporters in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

The PNP chief added that hazing is a planned activity usually conducted as a rite of passage to a certain group.

“Hazing is basically plain and simple murder,” he said.

Albayalde also admitted during the press briefing that he himself was subjected to hazing when he was also a PMA cadet. Albayalde is a member of the PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986.

However, the PNP chief stressed that hazing should never be tolerated and is punishable under the Republic Act No. 11053 or the Anti-Hazing law.

“Hazing was never tolerated especially now that we have hazing laws,” he said.

Albayalde’s remarks follow the statement of Cagayan de Oro District Representative Rufus Rodriguez that there is a possibility that hazing will be included in the list of heinous crimes to prevent further incidents.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo agreed with the proposal, saying this will stop the culture of hazing.

“I’m suggesting that there must be a law that will make the heads like the PMA accountable criminally, tigil yan, alam mo pag ginawa mong criminally subject sila sa prosecution, I don’t think magkakaroon pa ng hazing kahit sa mga fraternity,” he said.

The issue of hazing in some organizations had been put under spotlight again following the death of Dormitorio.

Authorities have identified three suspects in the crime, two were considered persons of interest while nine others were named witnesses.

The Philippine Military Police and the PNP-Baguio have assured to file appropriate charges against the suspects when their investigation is concluded. – RRD (with details from Correspondent April Cenedoza)

Duterte wants to speed up release of sickly, aging prisoners

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to speed up the release of sickly and aging prisoners at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Duterte specifically wants to fast-track the release of inmates who are 70 years old and above.

“I’ll ask the administration, whoever will take over or the Secretary of Justice to fast-track ‘yung mga may sakit na at talagang matatanda na. Ako mag-set ako, 70 years old or 75, 70,” he told reporters in an interview in Malacañang.

The chief executive pointed out that elderly and sick prisoners within the said age bracket can no longer run nor commit criminal acts. Most of them also do not want to be released anymore.

“Hindi na marunong mag-holdup ‘yan. Hindi na makatakbo ‘yan,” he said.

Duterte made the statement in the wake of the controversy on the early release of heinous crime convicts from the NBP through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

The president earlier set a 15-day deadline for some 1,914 heinous criminals freed due to the GCTA rule to surrender or face re-arrest.

READ: Duterte orders freed heinous crime convicts to surrender

READ: Duterte offers P1M bounty for capture of GCTA-freed heinous crime convicts

Two days before the ultimatum lapses on Sept. 19, Duterte offered a P1 million bounty for each heinous crime convict who failed to comply with the order. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte offers P1M bounty for capture of GCTA-freed heinous crime convicts

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is offering a P1 million bounty for the capture of each heinous crime convict released through Republic Act 10592 or the expanded good conduct time allowance (GCTA)law who will fail to surrender to authorities before or on Sept. 19.

Duterte made the announcement two days before his 15-day ultimatum for GCTA-freed convicts to surrender lapses.

“Basta ako sinabi ko, I will just set the timeline and then the P1 million prize is available to those who can capture them dead or alive. But maybe dead would be a better option,” the president told reporters in an interview on Tuesday.

“I will pay you smiling. Ibalik ko ‘yan preso, makakain pa ‘yang p***** i**** ‘yan. Gagastos pa ako,” he added.

Last Sept. 4, Duterte ordered convicts who were freed early for good behavior to present themselves within 15 days to the nearest police or military camp for the investigation and recomputation of their good conduct credits.

He warned that those who will fail to comply with the order would be treated as fugitives.

As of Wednesday (Sept. 18), a total of 964 GCTA-freed convicts have surrendered to authorities and are now under the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) custody, according to the Department of Justice.

This number is more than half of the 1,914 heinous criminals who were released for good behavior under the expanded GCTA rule.

The controversy began after news broke out that former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez could be among the 11,000 persons deprived with liberty (PDL) who may be eligible for the expanded GCTA given to inmates.

Sanchez was sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez in 1995.

The controversy led to the dismissal of Nicanor Faeldon as Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief and a Senate inquiry into the issue revealed the alleged modes of corruption in the national penitentiary involving several BuCor employees.

It also prompted the present government to revise the implementing rules and regulations of the law, which was enacted in 2013 during the time of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, to specifically state who among the convicts are ineligible from availing GCTA grants. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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