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

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2018


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)

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Canada vows to resolve trash dumping issue after Duterte’s war threat

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

Containers of mixed wastes shipment from Canada declared as “recyclable scrap plastics” but actually contained household trash, newspapers, plastic bottles and bags, and even used adult diapers.

MANILA, Philippines — Canada has committed to resolve its trash dumping issue with the Philippines.

The Embassy of Canada in the Philippines released a statement on Wednesday (April 24) after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to wage war if Canada will not take its garbage back.

“Canada is strongly committed to collaborating with the Government of the Philippines to resolve this issue and is aware of the court decision ordering the importer to ship the material back to Canada,” the Embassy said in a statement posted on its Facebook account.

The Embassy added that: “A joint technical working group, consisting of officials from both countries, is examining the full spectrum of issues related to the removal of the waste with a view to a timely resolution.”

On Tuesday (April 23), President Duterte issued a warning to Canada for its failure to remove its trash illegally exported to the country.

The President said he would no longer allow Canada to turn the Philippines into a “dumpsite.”

”For Canada’s garbage, I want a boat prepared. I will give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out or I will set sail to Canada and dump their garbage there,” the President said.

“We will declare war. Load the containers to a ship and advise Canada. I will advise Canada that, ‘Your garbage is on the way. Prepare a grand reception. Eat it if you want to,’” he added.

It was between 2013 to 2014 when the Bureau of Customs (BOC) intercepted a total of 103 containers of mixed wastes shipment from Canada declared as “recyclable scrap plastics” but actually contained household trash, newspapers, plastic bottles and bags, and even used adult diapers.

During his visit to the Philippines to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to cooperate with the Philippine government in resolving the offending shipment.

Trudeau, however, said the Philippines and Canadian governments need to settle issues including who will pay for the shipment of the illegal trash to the country.

In its statement, the Embassy reiterated the Canadian government’s commitment “to working collaboratively with the Government of the Philippines to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way.”

The embassy added that the relationship between the two countries “is built on strong people to people ties, common interest in strengthening political, economic and cultural relations, and in mutual commitment to peace” and is highly valued as the two countries celebrate their 70 years of diplomatic relations this year. — Marje Pelayo

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DOJ joins hunt for personalities behind “real narco list” videos

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has joined the hunt for alias Bikoy and the other personalities behind the “Totoong Narco List” [real narco list] videos.

The said videos implicated Presidential son Paolo Duterte, President Rodrigo Duterte’s common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña, and former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, in illegal drug trade.

DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra had also ordered the department’s fact-finding team to conduct an investigation on the identity of the people behind the series of videos and to file possible criminal cases against them.

Guevarra said, “I have given instructions to the DOJ Office of Cybercrime to coordinate with the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) cybercrime unit and find out the source of these videos.”

The justice secretary further stated that the criminal charges will depend on the acts committed, such as cyber libel or similar offense.

Aside from the DOJ-initiated investigation, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is also conducting a separate probe on the said videos. – Maris Federez

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PNP conducts inspection in provincial bus terminals

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now on full alert status in Metro Manila and other key tourist destinations until the end of the Lenten season.

Although authorities have not received threats in the country’s peace and order, around 91,000 police personnel are now deployed nationwide.

Police General Oscar Albayalde, NCRPO Chief Guillermo Eleazar and several PNP personnel on Wednesday (April 17) led the inspection at the Araneta Center Bus Terminal in Cubao and Victory Liner bus terminal in Pasay City.

The PNP officials personally checked the security plans of these terminals in accommodating passengers during the Lenten season. –Maris Federez

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