Robredo on claim she invited UN prosecutors to discuss drug war: ‘Fake news yun’
Robie de Guzman • November 20, 2019 • 756
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday denied President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that she invited United Nations Human Rights Commission prosecutors to look into the government’s campaign against illegal drugs after she was appointed to co-lead its inter-agency committee.
Robredo said she only met with officers from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and the United States Embassy in Manila last week to discuss initiatives against illegal drugs.
“Wala akong UN prosecutor na kakilala. Wala akong sinulatan. Wala akong inimbita. Kaya kung may nakarating sa kaniyang may inimbita ako, fake news yun,” she said.
Duterte on Tuesday appeared incensed over a tweet by Phelim Kine, former deputy director for Asia of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, in which he stated his willingness to go to the Philippines to help advise Robredo about her new role as anti-drug committee co-chair.
“Dear VP @lenirobredo – my bags are packed and I’m ready to come to the #Philippines to help advise how to end this murderous “drug war,” Kine said in his tweet posted on Nov. 11.
“Meanwhile here is my Recommendation No. 1: Arrest #Duterte and his henchmen for inciting & instigating mass murder,” he added.
Duterte described Kine as a United Nations prosecutor supposedly invited by Robredo.
“Pati ba naman ‘yang prosecutor and the tweet. Nakita ko yung tweet eh. ‘I am packed and ready to go to arrest Duterte.’ Yan ang imbitahin mo? Ganun ang salita sa akin?” he said.
“She invited even ang mga prosecutor ng Human Rights Commission which we rebuked. Bakit papupuntahin dito ang mga prosecutors and all? She was grandstanding na. It was like a carnival, she was talking right and left na,” he added.
Duterte has been sensitive to criticisms against his administration’s war on drugs, and even decided to withdraw the Philippines’ ratification of the Rome Statute, a United Nations (UN) treaty that created the International Criminal Court following its move in 2018 to launch a preliminary probe on claims that Duterte committed crimes against humanity through his war on drugs.
In July 2019, The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution led by Iceland, seeking to probe the human rights situation in the Philippines amid the administration’s war on drugs.
MANILA, Philippines – Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said that the order for him to conduct a government-wide probe of corruption is his “toughest” assignment ever received from President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a taped speech aired on Tuesday morning, Duterte directed the DOJ to expand the role of its task force, which probed the alleged anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), to cover the entire government.
He also authorized the DOJ to decide on which allegation to investigate taking into consideration the gravity thereof and their impact on the delivery of government service.
The chief executive also granted DOJ the power to create as many panels as necessary and direct other government agencies to be part of such committees.
Duterte said his directive will remain in effect until the end of his term on June 30, 2022 unless sooner lifted or revoked.
“Apart from my usual responsibilities as SOJ, this new assignment is the toughest I have ever received from the President,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
“I will need all the support and cooperation of the entire government machinery to achieve this singular objective of substantially reducing corruption in government,” he added.
Considering the scope of the task, Guevarra said he will first determine the overall strategy and the order of priorities as well as the setting up of the expanded anti-corruption task force.
“Tentatively, I am thinking of creating several strike forces that will simultaneously attack various corruption-prone agencies,” he said.
Guevarra also said that he intends to immediately focus on the organizational set-up and mechanism that will carry out the president’s directive.
The Justice Secretary added that it would also help if government workers and other people would come forward to provide the task force with the necessary information to uncover corrupt activities and identify perpetrators.
“The new and expanded anti-corruption task force will take it from there,” he said.
The DOJ already leads an inter-agency task force, formed in August, that probed alleged corruption in the PhilHealth which resulted in the filing of complaints against several officials, including former PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte assures the public that the government will settle what it owes to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing.
The President said the government will present its plan to the Commission on Audit (COA) and will look for funds through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“Itong Red Cross, wag ka mag-aalala, babayaran ito (To the Red Cross, don’t you worry. You will get paid). We’re just looking for a way to present the solution to COA pati sa Budget. Do not worry we will pay. It will take time but we will pay, we will look for the money,” he said during his public address, Monday evening (October 19).
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the government hopes to settle at least 50 percent of more than P930 million owed to PRC as soon as possible.
“We hope to settle at least 50% of that amount as soon as possible. And the rest also within reasonable time,” he said.
The arrears came from expenses incurred by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to the PRC in relation to the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR testing for coronavirus infection.
The President reiterated that the government’s priorities amid the pandemic are providing medical attention to the Filipinos and procuring medical equipment.
He also believes that the PRC through its chairman Senator Richard Gordon will understand the government’s position on the matter.
“What I’m really trying to say is we will pay. Sabi ko kay Senator Gordon, because he heads the Red Cross, na babayaran ko ito,” the President said.
Nonetheless, the government has assured the public that the COVID-19 testing in the country will not be affected by the debts owed to the PRC.
Specimens from returning overseas Filipino workers as well as from frontliners which used to be accommodated by the PRC will now be sent to more than 100 accredited COVID-19 testing laboratories in the country for processing. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte wants to improve the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) mobile capacity to enhance their capability to fight criminality, specifically street crimes.
In his public address on Wednesday (October 14), the President expressed concern over the increasing rate of street crimes with the reopening of the country’s economy even amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Chief Executive expressed the need to further train cops, procure more motorbikes and improve police visibility to deter motorcycle-riding suspects.
“We have seen an upsurge of hold ups, street crimes because of the liberality offered by the opening of the economy and of course, people are now allowed to go freely and travel,” he said.
“The only way to counter anonymity of the criminals is also to fight the criminal on the ground,” he added.
In September, the PNP reported that crime rate or incidents of eight focused crimes in the country dropped by 47 percent during the six months of community quarantine from March 16 to September 15, 2020.
However, the PNP still recognize the need to continuously maintain police visibility, beat patrol and coordination among barangay officials to back the existing peace and order measures amid the current pandemic. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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