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

Marje Pelayo   •   December 31, 2018   •   5679


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)

PNP takes full control of training police recruits

Marje Pelayo   •   October 7, 2019

Newly promoted policemen stand in formation during a mass promotion ceremony at the police headquarters in Taguig city, south of Manila, Philippines, 27 March 2019.  EPA-EFE / FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has taken full supervision of the National Police Training Institute (NPTI) and the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) in a formal turn over on Monday (October 7) at Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna.

The transfer of supervision was in accordance with Republic Act 11279 which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in May this year.

“The Philippine National Police shall have administrative and operational supervision and control over the Philippine National Police Academy. and the National Police Training Institute,”

RA 11279 states that the transfer of administration is “to better achieve the goals of a highly efficient and competent police force.”

It is also in line with the PNP’s program of internal cleansing among its rank of ‘sloppy’ and ‘scalawag’ policemen.

PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde is confident that by directly managing the police training institutions, the PNP will be able to achieve its targets of 10,000 police recruits who will be honed in lieu of the retiring police officers.

“The PNP is now solely responsible for the making of a complete police officer, from recruitment to retirement,” Albayalde said.

“Thus, we only have ourselves to blame if any PNP member will go astray because of poor training and orientation,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from April Cenedoza)

NCRPO records low crime rate in Metro Manila

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 2, 2019

Newly promoted policemen stand in formation during a mass promotion ceremony at the police headquarters in Taguig City, south of Manila, Philippines, 27 March 2019. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has recorded a low crime rate in Metro Manila from July 2016 to September 2019.

According to NCRPO Director PMGen. Guillermo Eleazar there were 49,835 crime incidents recorded from July 2016 to September 2019 which is 62 percent lower compared to the 131,839 crime incidents recorded from April 2013 to June 2016.

However, based on the NCRPO records, murder cases increased by 60 percent. From July 2016 to September 2019, murder cases increased by 4,295 compared with the 2,682 cases recorded from April 2013 to June 2016.

Eleazar said the increase in the murder cases is due to the illegal drug campaign of the government.

“Dahil sa ating campaign against illegal drugs. Ito’y mga sindikatong nagpapatayan dahil they want to silence ang mga members ng syndicates (It is because of our campaign against illegal drugs. There are syndicates who are killing each other because they want to silence syndicate members),” he said.

Meanwhile, the number of cases in homicide, physical injury, rape, theft, and robbery decreased.

Eleazar is confident crime rate will continue to decline.

“Kasi sa city ordinances naiiwasan natin iyong mga petty crimes. At kapag naiwasan iyan ay maiiwasan din natin ang mga serious crimes to happen— nagiging effective ang ating crime prevention, (Because in city ordinances, petty crimes are prevented. And once it is prevented, we can also prevent serious crimes to happen)” he said.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

DND wants exemption from ban on loans, grants from countries supporting probe on PH killings

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2019

Philippines Secretary of National Defence Delfin Lorenzana looks on during the fifth plenary session of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) 18th Asia Security Summit in Singapore, 02 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WALLACE WOON

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) will appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to exempt the agency from the Chief Executive’s suspension of any financial assistance from 18 countries that support the call for a probe into drug-related killings under the administration’s war on drugs.

During the Senate deliberation on the DND’s proposed budget for 2020, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon opened up the said request by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Lorenzana discussed the matter with several senators, specifically the ongoing negotiation with the government of Australia regarding the procurement of patrol vessels for the Philippine Navy amounting to P30-B.

“We are currently in talks with the Australian government for them to build our six offshore patrol vessels and they are willing to finance it first,” he said.

The Defense Secretary said they are planning to send a formal appeal to the President about the matter citing such suspension of loans, aids and grants will hugely affect the ongoing modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that the President is keen on reviewing the said request of the DND.

Panelo hinted that President Duterte might hear out and approve the request especially as it concerns the country’s national security. – MNP (with details from April Cenedoza)

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