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PNP’s subpoena power may pose threat – Makabayan bloc

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

(L-R) ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio and PNP Chief Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc of the lower house of Congress believes the number of human rights violations in the country may rise due to the subpoena powers given to the Philippine National Police.

“Our primary concern is that it will result into the abuse of human rights and civil liberties of the people,” ACTS Teachers Party List Representative Antonio Tinio said.

A group of lawyers, the National Union of People’s Lawyer (NUPL), shares the same view on the matter.

“It will open the opportunity to unlawful and illegal search, arrest and seizure of properties,” said NUPL president, Atty. Edre Olalia.

Tinio also raised alarm that the government might also soon give similar powers to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The Makabayan bloc said it is open to question the new law, but noted it will study first its possible violations of the Constitution.

On the other hand, PNP Chief Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa vowed that the police will not abuse the use of such powers.

He added that the subpoena powers will greatly help the PNP in investigating cases as it will speed up the release of required documents or persons.

PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) legal division chief PSupt. Joseph Orsos, initially revealed that anyone who ignores the subpoena of the PNP can be detained.

“It can be considered as contempt of higher court, meaning RTC (Regional Trial Court). It’s not only a contemptuous act against the MTC (Municipal/Metropolitan Trial Court), meaning you can be incarcerated for up to 30 days,” said Orsos. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue

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Lawmakers form group to protect human rights

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2018

Members of MAKATAO or the Mambabatas Para Sa Karapatang Pantao

MANILA, Philippines — Some lawmakers formed themselves into a group to uphold and protect the human rights in the country.

The group was named Mambabatas Para Sa Karapatang Pantao (Makatao).

Its lead convenor, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, said that they are worried about the human rights violations being committed in the country.

“Ang adminstrasyon ay hindi nagbibigay ng sapat na paggalang sa karapatang pantao. Hindi lang pagrespeto pero binabalewala ang karapatang pantao,” he said.

(This administration does not give enough respect to human rights. Not only disrespects but ignores human rights.)

Lagman cited the government’s move of tagging human rights defenders as terrorists and the latest withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The group also vowed to oppose any bill that will violate human rights.

The group’s agenda was welcomed by some of the relatives of those who died during drug operations and riding-in-tandem victims.

“‘ ‘Wag nyo po akong papatayin, may mga anak po ako,’ pero nakarinig po sila ng isang putok. Sa isang putok na po yun, wala na po yung asawa ko,” said the widow of a slain drug suspect, Catherin Bakani, as she recalled her husband’s last words.

(“Don’t shoot me, I have kids,” but people heard a gunshot. With that single shot my husband was gone.)

“Pagka riding-in-tandem,  wala ng tanong. Walang suspect kasi nakatakip ang mukha. Walang plate number. Nasaan ang hustisya doon?” said Naneth Castillo whose child was killed by riding-in-tandem gunmen.

(If it’s a riding-in-tandem killing, no more questions asked. There are no suspects because the faces are covered. No plate numbers. Where is justice there?)

Lagman also wants the United Nation’s (UN) definition of the extrajudicial killings to be adopted wherein those who were killed in the drug operations will be included.

The group hopes that senators and local legislators will join them. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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Makabayan solons urge Pres. Duterte to oust Sec. Aguirre

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2018

The Makabayan congressmen challenging President Rodrigo Duterte to oust Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre

MANILA, Philippines — Makabayan congressmen challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to oust Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre if he is serious in his war against illegal drugs.

This after the Department of Justice (DOJ) National Prosecution Service (NPS) dismissed the drug cases against Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, Peter Co and other known drug lords.

According to the militant lawmakers, if the President fails to hold Aguirre responsible in this case, it will be a clear indication that his war on drugs is fake and he only targets the small-time drug pushers and users.

“Unang-una dapat makita natin na sibakin ang secretary of justice na responsable sa kalokohang ito,” said ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio.

(First, we need to see the justice secretary fired because he is the one responsible here.)

The House minority also noted that this is not the first time that the DOJ downgraded big cases.

Case in point is that of the two Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioners who allegedly accepted a bribe to free two Chinese nationals.

The case was downgraded from non-bailable plunder to graft.

Another is the dismissal of the case of suspected ISIS recruits Er Haytan Abdulamin and his Filipina live-in partner.

“Marami nang Cabinet secretaries na palpak ang presidente. Dapat magbawas na siya,” said Minority Floor Leader Rep. Danilo Suarez.

(Many of the President’s Cabinet secretaries are ineffective. The President has to let some of them go.)

Meanwhile, in his Twitter post Tueday night, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque quoted the President as saying that if Espinosa and Lim will be acquitted the President will put Aguirre in their stead.

Roque added that the Chief Executive will also use his power to revise the dismissal of the drug charges.  — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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PH withdraws from International Criminal Court

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2018

FILE: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the opening ceremony of the National Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Challenge at the Team Davao Inc. Pistol and Rifle Range in Ma-a, Davao City on March 1, 2018, expresses his admiration for the SWAT’s role in dealing with criminality, illegal drugs and terrorism. JOEY DALUMPINES/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Violation of due process and attacks from United Nations (UN) officials that violate the constitutional provision on the presumption of innocence are the reasons why President Rodrigo Duterte decided on the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) founding treaty, the Rome Statute, “effective immediately”.

ICC hears cases on crimes against humanity.

“Ang nagiging problema kasi sa ICC (The problem with ICC), from the perception of the President, it has become a political tool to harass a particular country like ours,” said presidential chief legal counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo.

Based on the statement of the President, there appears to be a concerted effort on the part of the UN special rapporteurs to paint him as a ruthless and heartless violator of human rights who allegedly caused thousands of extrajudicial killings.

The President also claims that the ICC has made a premature public pronouncement of its preliminary examination on the anti-drug war of his administration.

The examination came after the information was filed by the camp of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato and his lawyer Atty. Jude Sabio as well as Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano in 2017.

The President argued that such move gave the impression that he has already been charged of serious crimes in the International Criminal Court under its jurisdiction.

It was in 2011 when the Philippines joined the ICC as the 117th member-state after it ratified its Rome Statute.

However, this is not enforceable because the government then failed to publicize the said Rome Statute in its Official Gazette.

“Rome Statute should have been published in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation before it could be deemed effective in this country. Since it was not, there is no Rome Statute to speak of in the first place,” said the presidential chief legal counsel.

Aside from this, the government also insists that the acts complained of in relation to the anti-drug war are neither genocide nor war crimes since the deaths occurring in the process of legitimate police operation lacked the intent to kill and police only defended themselves against violent resistance of drug personalities.

The statements of UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard as well as UN human rights chief Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein are biased and show a refusal to respect the Philippines independence from foreign influence and control.

The preliminary examination also by Prosecutor Fatou Besouda seems to appear that ICC is being used as a political tool against the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Senate President Koko Pimentel said they have no power to reverse the decision of the President on the issue of withdrawal from ICC.

“It’s just simple notification from the state,” said Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.

“If I were president, gagawin ko rin yun . Imagine, sino nagrereklamo? Tapos ano ang mga alegasyon? Hindi ba ito domestic policy? This is law enforcement,” said Pimentel.

( If I were president I would’ve done the same. Imagine, who is complaining? What are the allegations? Is this not a domestic policy? This is law enforcement.)

The government, on the other hand, denied that President Duterte is copping out from his alleged potential liability or responsibility.

“Ever since naman sinasabi ni President Duterte na we’re open to investigation from any human rights body. Pumunta lang kayo rito. Hindi yung you rely on what you read, on what you received on the kind of information na false. Punta kayo rito. Tignan ninyo yung bansa natin,” said Panelo.

(The President ever since has said that we’re open to investigation from any human rights body. Just come to the country and not rely on what you read, what you receive — the kind of information that is false. Come here and check out for yourself.) — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue


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