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Sec. Aguirre: No “fishing expedition” in Rappler case probe

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, January 19th, 2018

Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre has denied the statement of Rappler that the probe to be conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will just be a fishing expedition with the aim to suppress the freedom of the press.

According to Aguirre, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is just doing its job to probe the alleged violation of the online news site of the constitution and other laws.

He said that he orders the investigation after receiving a letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that contains its decision on the case against Rappler.

According to the Justice Secretary, Rappler should welcome the NBI probe since it will be given the opportunity to prove its innocence.

Aguirre also called on Rappler to cooperate with the investigation and help the government reveal the truth. — UNTV News & Rescue

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DOJ to look into Malacañang’s new oust Duterte matrix

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2019

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo presenting the ouster matrix

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has vowed to look into the new matrix presented by Malacañang which showed that opposition members have been conspiring with other organizations to discredit the government of President Rodrigo Duterte and boost the candidacy of opposition bets in the May 13 elections.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters on Wednesday they will study the diagram and check if there is enough factual basis in Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s story on individuals supposedly involved in a plot to oust Duterte.

“I have not seen this new ouster matrix,” he said.

“In any event, the DOJ will study this further to determine if there is enough factual basis to refer this new matrix to the NBI for investigation,” he added.

Panelo on Wednesday presented a new matrix which tagged the Liberal Party, the “yellows,” Magdalo group, some media outfits and several other individuals to destabilize the government.

READ: Palace shows new diagram on Magdalo, Liberal party ‘conspiracy’ to oust Duterte

“The President himself has received information, intelligence information that has been validated and appears to show that there is a deliberate attempt to discredit this administration, as well as to boost the candidacies of the opposition’s senatorial candidates,” he said.

The presidential spokesman did not say where the intelligence information came from but only assured media it has been vetted.

Panelo also said at Wednesday’s briefing that it was up to the DOJ to decide on whether or not to press charges against those accused of plotting Duterte’s ouster.

Guevarra said they will determine the matter before referring this to a concerned agency for further investigation.

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Baldo asks Duterte, DOJ: ‘Review Batocabe slay case’

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Saturday, April 13th, 2019

Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo

MANILA, Philippines – Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo maintains his innocence in the killing of Ako Bicol Party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe.

In a press conference on Friday, Baldo appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to review the case and evidence presented, and to find the real perpetrators of the crime.

“Nananawagan ako sa ating mga kinauukulan lalo na higit sa ating Pangulong Duterte at sa ating Secretary of Justice Menardo Guevarra na basahin at rebyuhing mabuti ang kasong ito lalo’t higit ang mga nakalap na physical evidence ng PNP na tukuyin kung sino talaga ang mga taong nasa likod nito,” Baldo said.

(I appeal to authorities, especially to President Duterte and Secretary of Justice Menardo Guevarra to review my case, especially the physical evidence gathered by the Philippine National Police to find the real perpetrators of the crime)

Baldo is facing two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder before the Legazpi City Regional Trial Court (RTC) in relation to the death of Batocabe.

READ: Daraga Mayor Baldo faces murder raps over Batocabe slay

Baldo was tagged as the mastermind in the killing of Batocabe who was shot dead while attending a gift-giving event for senior citizens in Daraga town last December 22, 2018.

His security detail, PO1 Orlando Diaz, also died in the incident.

Batocabe was eyeing the mayoral seat of Daraga in the 2019 polls prior to his assassination.

READ: Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo named as mastermind in Rep. Batocabe’s slay

Baldo was arrested in January 2019 after unlicensed firearms were found inside his residence during a search operation.

He was later released after posting a bail of P3 million.

READ: Suspended Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo out on bail

“Inosente po ako at wala po akong kinalaman sa nasabing kaso. Bilang pulitiko, di ko po kailanman naging gawain na gamitan ng puwersa ang aking mga katunggali,” he said.

(I am innocent and I am not involved in the said case. As a politician, I have never used force against my rivals.)

Baldo also said that those behind the crime wanted to get rid of him although he refused to divulge any name.

“Habang lumalapit ang election ay dumadami po ang intelligence report na nagsasabing may mga taong nais akong patahimikin,” he said.

(As the local election nears, intelligence reports are piling up which state about the attempts of some people to silence me)

Atty. Merito Fernandez, Baldo’s lawyer, also insisted that the case should have been dismissed because of numerous inconsistencies made by witnesses and evidence gathered by investigators.

Fernandez also pointed out that the autopsy report conducted on Batocabe’s body does not match the testimony given by the alleged gunman, Henry Yuson, who said he shot the late lawmaker four times.

Yuson and four others, namely Christopher Naval, Jaywin Babor, Rolando Arimando and Emmanuelle Roselle were also charged with murder and attempted murder over Batocabe slay. – Robie de Guzman

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SC yet to discuss Rappler’s petition to cover Malacanang – CJ Bersamin

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Saturday, April 13th, 2019

Suprerme Court of the Philippines

The Supreme Court can no longer deliberate on the petition of Rappler reporters for them to be allowed to cover news in Malacañang.

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said that the next en banc session of the Supreme Court justices is on May 3 and it is only then that they will be able to discuss on the said petition.

“Iyong pag-akyat namin sa Baguio natapos na namin iyong mga naka-schedule na kaso namin sa en banc but mahirap lamang na ipagpatuloy namin sa Abril ng Holy week at pagbibigyan namin ang mga miyembro ng Supreme Court na magnilay [We have already finished the cases scheduled in the en banc session in Baguio (City), we just cannot continue as next week is Holy Week. We have to give the members of the Supreme Court to reflect],” the Chief Justice said.

On Thursday, April 11, several Rappler reporters appealed before the Supreme Court to step in and stop Malacanang from barring them from covering the President and his activities.

Rappler said such prohibition is a violation of their press freedom. – Maris Federez

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