REPASO 2018: Crimes against local executives and Duterte’s war on drugs

Marje Pelayo   •   December 31, 2018   •   5751


Twelve mayors and seven vice mayors were killed this year in various crimes recorded by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

We noted some considered high-profile including the latest murder of a party list congressman.

Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili was gunned down in broad daylight during a flag raising ceremony in July. The incident was caught on live video posted on social media.

Four months after the incident, authorities still have no hint on the suspect.

“Unfortunately kahit na sa broad daylight, talagang masyadong walang klarong ebidensya to link some people,” explained PNP Spokesperson PCSupt. Benigno Durana Jr.

Halili was known for his controversial ‘shame campaign’ which paraded drug suspects on the streets of Tanuan City.

Halili, however, was among the personalities included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘narcolist’ of officials involved in illegal drugs.

Also in July, General Tinio Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote was also shot dead.

Unlike Halili’s case, the police were able to identify the mastermind in the crime in the person Christian Saquilabon who remained on the loose.

According to report, Bote was ordered killed by Saquilabon over a P96-million contract to develop a national park in his General Tinio, the second biggest municipality of Nueva Ecija.

Authorities consider politics as the motive behind the murder of Trece Martires, Cavite Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan on July 7 after he announced his bid for the mayoral race in 2019.

The following local executives were also killed allegedly for similar reason:

Vice Mayor Al-Rashid Mohammad Ali of Sapa Sapa, Tawi Tawi (July 11);

Mayor Mariano Blanco of Ronda, Cebu (September 5);

Mayor Alexander Buquing of Sudipen, La Union (October 1);

Vice Mayor Alfred Concepcion of Balaoan, La Union (November 14);

The police are looking into several angles in these cases including their possible links in illegal drugs.

President Rodrigo Duterte once said he is determined to reward police personnel who will be able to neutralize any local official involved in illegal drugs.

Since he took office, a total of 12 mayors and 7 vice mayors were killed for various reasons under his administration.

The 2019 midterm polls in drawing near but the Philippine National Police (PNP) maintain that they will not augment yet their forces in areas with intense political rivalries as they are confident of the measures they already imposed.

“May nakita na tayong election hotspots. Na-identify na rin po natin iyon at tinitingnan din po natin iyan dahil we have the option to deploy our special action force,” said PCSupt. Benigno Durana, the PNP Spokesperson.

As always, the PNP reminds the public not to cast their vote for politicians involved in illegal drugs.

“They are not a blessing but a curse to our nation,” Durana concluded.

As for the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, authorities recorded over 5,000 deaths and over 164, 000 arrests this year.

The most controversial was the conviction of three Caloocan cops for killing 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos in an anti-drug operation.

These ‘bloodsheds’ have caused alarm to several human rights advocates but the government remains resolute in ending the criminality and the illegal drug menace in the country.

Just before the year ends, Ako Bicol Party list Congressman Rodel Batocabe was shot during a supposed solemn gift-giving activity in Barangay Burgos, Daraga, Albay.

Batocabe and his police escort, SPO1 Rolando Diaz, were declared dead on arrival at a hospital after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds.

Authorities are looking into politics and the New People’s Army (NPA) as behind the killing but until now, they have not identified any suspect yet despite testimonies from several witnesses. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

No PNP Chief yet? Duterte threatens to take over

Marje Pelayo   •   November 29, 2019

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and former National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde (R) during the 117th Philippine National Police (PNP) police service anniversary in Quezon city, Philippines, 08 August 2018. EPA-EFE/STR

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has not decided yet as to who will assume the position vacated by former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, retired General Oscar Albayalde.

The President said he is carefully assessing the credentials of potential candidates to head the country’s main law enforcement arm.

Without an honest, corruption-free man to assume the job, the Chief Executive hinted on taking over the PNP.

“Ang akin, (for me) if they have even a single case of corruption, wala na, (it’s a no), you’re out,” the President warned.

“I would rather not appoint anybody for that matter. Ako na ang hahawak noon (I will take over). I will be the one directing the guidance and direction,” he added.

The President previously said he wants to be conscientious in choosing the next chief of the national police following controversies that tainted the credibility of Albayalde in relation to his alleged involvement with the so-called ninja cops or drug recycling issue that compelled him to resign.

President Duterte acknowledged, meanwhile, that there are a lot of things within the PNP that needs improvement and overhaul.

“But verily itong pulis maraming problema, pati generals nila kasali sa droga (Verily I say these policemen are the problems themselves, even their generals are involved in drugs),” the Chief Executive noted.

“Iyan ang ayaw ko diyan, pati generals. Hindi lumabas iyan hanggang hindi ako naging president (That’s what I hate, that even the generals [are involved]. Not until I became president that this was exposed),” he added. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte says he ordered dismissal of 3 cops in body camera extortion case

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 21, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (November 20) said that he ordered the dismissal of three police officers involved in the body camera extortion case.

The three police officers were allegedly involved in extorting around P5 million from a bidder of body cameras.

“In the police, I—the three majors were working on a body camera and they were arguing because maybe of—because of money. What else? Because of corruption. And so I said, ‘Fire them, dismiss them,'” he said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa identified the police officers as Police Major Emerson Sales, Police Major Rholly Caraggayan and Police Major Angel Beros. 

Gamboa also said that he will sign the dismissal papers by Monday (November 25).—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte orders ban on vapes, EO to follow

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a ban on sale, importation and use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vapes.

Furthermore, the Chief Executive ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest anyone who would be caught vaping in all public places across the country.

The President is convinced that vaping poses more harm to people than smoking ordinary cigarettes.

“Vaping is also dangerous and I am banning it, and if you are smoking now, you will be arrested,” he announced during the press briefing on Tuesday (November 19) in Malacañang.

“I am banning the importation. Customs, you listen to it. I’m banning it altogether,” he added.

The President said he will issue an executive order to formalize his directive.

The Chief Executive’s announcement came after a recent report of the first e-cigarette vaping-associated lung injury (e-VALI) in the country.

“I have that urgent power to do it, so I’m ordering it,” he said.

“The EO will follow. I’m banning it because it’s contrary to public safety,” the President concluded. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)


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