PNP chief Eleazar orders probe on slay of Cebu radio commentator Cortes
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar on Friday said he has directed the Cebu Provincial Police Office to conduct a thorough investigation into the killing of radio commentator Reynante “Rey” Cortes.
Eleazar said police investigators will look into the killing of Cortes, including threats that the victim may have had received.
“All angles will be investigated to determine the motive in the crime, especially if this was related to his profession,” the PNP chief said in a statement.
“The local police will also investigate if there were threats to his life prior to the incident,” he added.
Initial investigation showed that Cortes was shot dead on July 22 by an unidentified gunman after his radio program.
He was killed in front of the station DYRB Radyo Pilipino along N. Bacalso Avenue in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City.
Cortes was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
Eleazar said investigators are coordinating with Cortes’ family, friends, and colleagues for information that could help the probe.
He also joined calls for justice in the killing of Cortes and underscored that threats and attacks against journalists have no space in a democratic country.
“Nananawagan tayo sa mga maaaring makapagbigay ng impormasyon sa kasong ito, makipagtulungan kayo sa mga awtoridad upang agarang maresolba at mabigyan ng hustisya ang pagkamatay ni Cortes,” he said.
PH gov’t intensifying readiness vs terror threat amid Japan warning – Palace
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday assured that the military and police forces are intensifying their readiness against any possible threat to national security.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave the assurance following the advisory issued by the government of Japan for its residents to avoid crowded areas and religious ins six Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa impormasyon. Pero lalo lang po nating pinaiigting ang ating kahandaan para po harapin ang posibleng terroristic attack muli,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
The Palace official said state forces have been on heightened alert since the Marawi siege happened in 2017.
Roque, however, urged the public to be vigilant and to immediately report any suspicious individuals and activities in their areas.
“Nakahanda naman po ang ating kapulisan at ang ating Hukbong Sandatahan at hinihiling din atin ang kooperasyon ng ating mga mamamayan. I-report po ninyo sa kapulisan kung mayroon kayong kaduda-dudang mga personalidad o di naman kaya mga kadudang mga bagay-bagay lalo na sa mga pampublikong lugar,” he said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police earlier said they have not monitored any terror threat but are working to validate the information.
Aside from the Philippines, the warning issued by the Japanese government also covers Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Malaysia.
Eleazar orders deeper probe into killing of lawyer in South Cotabato
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday ordered a deeper investigation into the killing of a lawyer in South Cotabato.
In a statement, Eleazar wants police investigators to determine the motive and identify in the soonest possible time the perpetrators of the crime.
A report from the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office stated that Atty. Juan Gammad Macababbad, 68, was shot dead by three unidentified gunmen in front of his house in Surallah on Wednesday afternoon.
He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
“The Philippine National Police joins the legal community and the Filipino people in condemning the killing of a lawyer in South Cotabato,” Eleazar said.
“Kasabay ng pagkondena dito ay ang aking kautusan sa RD, PRO12 na tutukan ang kasong ito upang mapanagot ang mga taong nasa likod nito at maibigay ang nararapat na hustisya kay Atty. Macababbad at sa kanyang pamilya,” he added.
Eleazar said he also ordered the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management to check on the status of other cases of lawyer killings in the last five years and to expedite the investigation of those that are still unresolved.
Philippines won’t cooperate with ICC probe, Palace maintains
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday maintained that the Philippine government will not cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippines and its decision to authorize an investigation into the killings under the government’s war on drugs is interference into the country’s domestic affairs.
He also stressed that the country has already withdrawn from the Rome Statute – the treaty that established the ICC.
In March 2019, the Philippines effectively withdrew from the Rome Statute after Duterte cancelled the country’s membership of the ICC’s founding treaty.
Under the ICC’s withdrawal mechanism, the court retains jurisdiction over crimes committed during the membership period of a state.
The ICC on Wednesday said that its Pre-Trial Chamber 1 has granted then Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to formally conduct a full investigation into the Philippines’ drug war.
Bensouda previously argued that there is a reasonable basis to believe that murder has been committed in the Philippines between July 1, 2016 and March 16, 2019 in the context of the state policy.
But Panelo said the ICC can only conduct an investigation if the state’s judicial system is no longer functional, which is not the case in the Philippines.
It must also be proven that the state is unwilling to prosecute suspects in order for the ICC to launch a probe.
Panelo said ICC probers will not be allowed to enter the Philippines. He also believes that the investigation was politically motivated.