Robredo after boot from drug war: ‘I am just getting started’

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2019   •   581

 A handout photo made available by the Office of the Vice President shows Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo delivering a statement regarding her removal as co-chair of the country’s Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, in San Fernando, Camarines Sur province, Philippines 25 November 2019. 

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said she is just getting started after President Rodrigo Duterte booted her from the government’s anti-drug body more than two weeks after she accepted the appointment.

In a press conference in Naga, Camarines Sur, Robredo assured that her firing as co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD) will not dampen her determination to end the killings under the government’s war on drugs.

“Kung sa tingin nila matatapos ito dito, hindi nila ako kilala. Nagsisimula pa lamang ako,” Robredo told reporters hours after Malacañang officials confirmed her removal from the position.

“Mahigit dalawang linggo pa lang mula nang tinanggap ko ang hamon na pamunuan ang kampanya laban sa iligal na droga. Mahigit dalawang linggo pa lang mula nang aking isinantabi ang napakaraming babala para pasanin ko ang trabahong halos imposible ay kailangan kong subukan para sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.

She continued with: “Hindi ako nagsayang ng oras, nakipag-pulong agada ko sa ICAD at sa iba’t ibang ahensiya. Kinonsulta natin ang iba’t ibang mga sektor. Pumunta tayo s amga komunidad. Nakipag-pulong tayo sa mga LGUs (local government units). Binisita natin ang mga rehab centers.”

“Pero nagsimula agad ang mga atake. Walang tigil ang pagbabatikos. Mahina raw ako sa krimen. Huwag daw akong makialam sa pulis. Hindi na raw ako mapagkakatiwalaan. Pinagtulung-tulungan at pinagkaisahan ako para hindi magtagumpay.”

It can be recalled that Duterte designated Robredo as ICAD’s co-chair on Oct. 31. She accepted the post on Nov. 6, saying her primary consideration in accepting the task was to promote a bloodless campaign against illegal drugs, as well as improve the program.

While she was the campaign’s co-lead, she met with agencies comprising the government’s anti-drug body, as well as officials from the United States government and the United Nations and other groups.

Several days later, Duterte expressed his distrust of Robredo over the supposed ‘missteps’ she took by talking to groups that are critical of his campaign.

On Nov. 24, Malacañang announced that Duterte has removed Robredo as ICAD’s co-chair.

“Kung pareho naman ang ating layunin, bakit hindi na lang tayo magtulungan? Hindi ba talaga sila seryoso sa laban? O may interes ba tayong nabangga?” she asked.

“Mr. President, hindi ko hiningi ang posisyong ito. Pero sineryoso ko ang trabahong ipinasa ninyo,” she added.

Robredo vowed that her termination from ICAD won’t silence her nor stop her determination in putting an end to senseless killings.

“Kahit tinanggalan ako ng posisyon, hinding-hindi nila kayang tanggalin ang aking determinasyon. Determinasyong itigil ang patayan, panagutin ang kailangang managot, at ipanalo ang kampanya laban sa iligal na droga,” she said.

“Sa mga susunod na araw magbibigay ako ng ulat sa bayan. Sasabihin ko ang aking natuklasan at ang aking mga rekomendasyon,” she further stated.

Malacañang earlier said the president fired Robredo in response to the suggestion of Liberal Party president, Senator Francis Pangilinan, to just fire the vice president from her post.

“This is also in response to the taunt and dare of VP Robredo for the president to just tell her that he wants her out,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Allan Manansala)

Next PNP Chief: DILG’s Año to recommend 5 names to Duterte

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año is set to submit to President Rodrigo Duterte his shortlist of candidates to be the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In an exclusive interview with UNTV News, Año said his list would consist of five names – three of them are three-star generals and are members of the PNP command group. The remaining two would be two-star and one-star generals but he has yet to pick the names of those he will recommend to the president.

“Sa ngayon, pare-parehas sila eh. Pero for sure, yung mga 3-star [generals] kasama yan sa ire-recommend ko. Pag-aaralan ko pa yung mga 2-star at 1-star na pwede isama sa listahan but I will submit five names,” he said.

Año said he will submit the list at least a week before the mandatory retirement of PNP chief General Archie Gamboa.

Gamboa will bow out of the police service when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on September 3.

“Normally, mga two weeks to one week before magsusubmit na ulit ako ng pangalan sa Pangulong Duterte kung sino mga ire-recommend ko, pero ibig sabihin naman nun, ang Pangulong Duterte pwedeng pumili anybody from one-star to three-star,” the DILG chief said.

Whoever will be chosen from the five would inherit a PNP that is among the country’s frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

All generals in the police force are eligible to be promoted to the police’s top post. The president may also choose a general outside the shortlist given by Año to be his next police chief.

When asked about the possible extension of Gamboa’s term as PNP chief amid the public health crisis, Año replied with: “Palagay ko naman wala na siguro kasi bawal naman ang extension kasi, so we have to follow the law,” he said. “Ang organization naman kasi dynamic, naka-lay out naman dyan ang direction plans kahit naman sino umupo diyan, itutuloy nya lang yung programs.”

Among the three-star generals and members of command group of the PNP are deputy chief for administration Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan, deputy chief for operations Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, and chief directorial staff Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag.

Cascolan belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinagtala Class of 1986, while both Eleazar and Binay belong to PMA Hinirang Class of 1987.

Cascolan will retire in November 2020, Eleazar in November 2021, and Binag in April 2021.

Meanwhile, among the two-star and one-star generals whose names might get picked on for the top police post are directorate for operations director Major General Emmanuel Licup, National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Debold Sinas, and Police Regional Office 4A director Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr.

Both Licup and Sinas belong to the PMA Hinirang class of 1987 while Danao belongs to the PMA Sambisig Class of 1991. – RRD (from the report of Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Duterte tells telcos to report LGUs delaying permit processing

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said telecommunications companies should report local government units that are obstructing the building of additional cell towers by delaying the processing of permits.

Duterte made the statement in a televised address after Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu told the president about their permitting woes in order to build more cell sites and improve their services.

“We are suffering ho from many, many years of this, before your administation, many administrations, 25 to 29 permit umaabot ng walong buwan tapos marami pa ho kaming miscellaneous fees ho. Iba-ibang klaseng tower fee. Mayroon kaming special use permit,” Cu said.

Cu met with Duterte after the latter threatened during his State of the Nation Address to shut down or expropriate telcos if no improvements are made in their services before December.

“Kasi sabi ko, ‘pag hindi mo pa na-improve ‘yan, I will hang you in one of your towers. Sabi niya, “Mayor, you cannot do that because there is no tower. The local governments are all f—–g it up,” Duterte told Cu in jest.

After hearing Cu’s concerns, the chief executive urged telcos to issue a formal complaint against local government units that are stalling the processing of permits for additional communication towers.

He also told telcos to report LGUs to proper authorities.

“Isumbong niyo na lang ng diresto at ang order ko sa Cabinet ngayon is to really take the, ‘kung pinakamabigat, the most drastic measure that you can find, para magkaintindihan. This is my last mile,” he said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, in the same briefing, said that local government units have been ordered to shorten the process and reduce the time spent in producing permits to 16 to 20 days.

“Dati po kailangan pa ng Home-Owners Association Resolution, kailangan pa ng Sangguniang Bayan Resolution, wala na po ‘yon. 16 days to 20 days po ang target para y’ong lahat ng permit ay tatakbo,” he said.

The government has been pushing for the ease of doing business to streamline the process in government agencies.

Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc. earlier said they are currently working on expansion plans to improve the communication services in the country. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Duterte declares July 31 a regular holiday for Eid’l Adha

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared July 31, Friday a regular holiday in observance of Eid’l Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice of the Muslim community.

Malacañang said Duterte made the declaration through Proclamation No. 985.

The date was chosen based on the recommendation of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.

The president also reminded the public that the observance of the event shall be subject to existing community quarantine and social distancing measures. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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