President Duterte also has a right to privacy—DOJ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 21, 2019   •   1662

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte greets members of Japan’s House of Councillors during their courtesy call together with Japan House of Councillors President Chuichi Date, at the Malacañan Palace on January 8, 2019. RENE LUMAWAG/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte also enjoys the right to privacy under the Constitution, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

In a text message, the Justice Secretary said the president will only be obligated to disclose his health to the public if he is suffering a serious illness.

“The Constitution requires the President to divulge any serious illness on his part. But if the illness is not serious enough to affect the discharge of his official functions, the President has no duty to inform anyone,” he said.

Guevarra added that if Duterte’s illness will not disrupt his duty as president, the he is not obligated to inform the public.

During the weekend, there were rumors circulating that President Duterte was confined in Cardinal Santos Medical Center. However, on Sunday (May 19), former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go posted photos of him and President Duterte enjoying breakfast.

Duterte’s China visit to skip Fujian province

Marje Pelayo   •   August 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and his delegation are set to fly to China for a working visit in response to the invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

It will be Duterte’s fifth visit to Beijing and his eight meeting with Xi.

The two leaders will meet on August 29 when they will discuss several agreements on education, science and technology, economy and social development.

The President himself also stressed that he would insist the Hague Arbitral Ruling during his meeting with the Chinese President along with other sensitive issues like the code of conduct and joint exploration in the disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“We cannot preempt what does the President will discuss in particular regarding the arbitral ruling. So, it will be his call during the meeting with the President with his counterpart,” explained Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre.

The Philippine delegation will also attend a business forum in China in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The President’s itinerary includes a meeting with Vice President Wang Qishan and some relax time in the opening of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Guanzhou on August 31 in support to the Philippines’ GILAS team in their game against Italy.

Meanwhile, contrary to earlier announcements, President Duterte will no longer push through with his visit to Fujian province where he was supposed to grace the launching of a university building as tribute to his mother, Soledad.

According to the President’s close in staff, this is not the right time for it.

“But for this particular visit, there was a plan and then the recommendation now is to move it at a later date because it’s more appropriate to be done at a later date and not at this particular time,” noted Robert Borje, the Chief of the Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)


DOJ summons Colmenares, youth party-list groups over raps filed by PNP-CIDG

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 21, 2019

Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has summoned Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares, members of youth party-list groups over raps filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).

The PNP-CIDG has filed trafficking and child abuse complaints against the said individuals over missing high school student Alicia Lucena.

Complainant Relissa Lucena said her daughter was recruited by Anakbayan.

However, Alicia surfaced on August 14 and has denied claims that she was missing and was kidnapped by Anakbayan. She said she joined Anakbayan voluntarily.

Assistant State Prosecutor Christine Perolino has required Colmenares along with Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago, Anakbayan spokesperson Alex Danday and other members of the youth groups to appear during the preliminary investigation of the DOJ on August 27, September 10 and 24. —AAC

DOJ: Ex-Calauan mayor Sanchez, thousands others set for release

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 21, 2019

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez will likely to be released from the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

According to Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, Sanchez is among the thousands of inmates who are eligible for recomputation of good conduct time allowances (GCTA).

“He may actually be released already. No idea how soon,” Guevarra told reporters.

The GCTA is based on Republic Act No. 10592 and Supreme Court ruling which states that the length of an individual’s imprisonment can be reduced based on their good conduct in prison.

“So many prisoners’ good-conduct time allowances would be subjected to recomputation. Maybe one after the other they would be released,” Guevarra said.

Sanchez was sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua in 1995 after he was convicted for the rape and murder of student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her boyfriend, Allan Gomez in 1993.—AAC

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