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Several lawmakers consider elevating the issue of martial law extension to the Supreme Court

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, December 14th, 2017

The House of Representatives’ Makabayan Bloc

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives’ Makabayan Bloc has expressed grave concern over the decision of Congress to extend for another year the military rule in Mindanao.

With this, the opposition group wants to bring the matter to the Supreme Court (SC).

“We will question this in courts. We will question and we will resist this on streets,” Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao said.

“Like the mentored resource person, this is a psychological war against the public. This is not a matter of public safety. They want to impose a state of fear. To fear the public so they won’t fight. But this is a huge mistake,” Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate

This is also what the Senate’s minority bloc plans to do.

“Bring the issue to the Supreme Court, raise the factual basis for the extension of martial law because there is no actual uprising, nor armed conflict that will justify the extension, the imposition of martial law,” Senate minority leader Senator Franklin Drilon said.

However, some senators believe the public has nothing to worry about in the decision of Congress to approve the request of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Especially since, the Senators said, there have been no reported human rights violations in Mindanao during the existing military rule.

“In a way it’s a blessing in disguise because the consciousness, the awareness of the people that there is a martial law allows us to focus our attention on the security forces. It might even be a deterrent against possible abuses,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.

“Where have been the abuses? Where have been the confirmed abuses? We asked for a briefing from the CHR (Commission on Human Rights), there have been no confirmed abuses,” Senate President Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said.

According to Pimentel, the Congress will not allow the Executive Department to abuse the rights lawmakers and senators gave them.

“If there is no justification then you can expect, Congress or the Senate to oppose the imposition of martial law,” Pimentel said.

National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon also allayed fears over the alleged possibility of declaring military rule in the entire country.

“Because here in Visayas and Luzon, many of people here can commit insurgency. They can do small deployments,” Esperon said.

Esperon also emphasized that the decision of Congress i a huge help to them in achieving long lasting peace in the region of Mindanao. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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Makabayan solons urge Pres. Duterte to oust Sec. Aguirre

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, March 15th, 2018

The Makabayan congressmen challenging President Rodrigo Duterte to oust Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre

MANILA, Philippines — Makabayan congressmen challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to oust Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre if he is serious in his war against illegal drugs.

This after the Department of Justice (DOJ) National Prosecution Service (NPS) dismissed the drug cases against Kerwin Espinosa, Peter Lim, Peter Co and other known drug lords.

According to the militant lawmakers, if the President fails to hold Aguirre responsible in this case, it will be a clear indication that his war on drugs is fake and he only targets the small-time drug pushers and users.

“Unang-una dapat makita natin na sibakin ang secretary of justice na responsable sa kalokohang ito,” said ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio.

(First, we need to see the justice secretary fired because he is the one responsible here.)

The House minority also noted that this is not the first time that the DOJ downgraded big cases.

Case in point is that of the two Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioners who allegedly accepted a bribe to free two Chinese nationals.

The case was downgraded from non-bailable plunder to graft.

Another is the dismissal of the case of suspected ISIS recruits Er Haytan Abdulamin and his Filipina live-in partner.

“Marami nang Cabinet secretaries na palpak ang presidente. Dapat magbawas na siya,” said Minority Floor Leader Rep. Danilo Suarez.

(Many of the President’s Cabinet secretaries are ineffective. The President has to let some of them go.)

Meanwhile, in his Twitter post Tueday night, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque quoted the President as saying that if Espinosa and Lim will be acquitted the President will put Aguirre in their stead.

Roque added that the Chief Executive will also use his power to revise the dismissal of the drug charges.  — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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PNP’s subpoena power may pose threat – Makabayan bloc

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

(L-R) ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio and PNP Chief Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc of the lower house of Congress believes the number of human rights violations in the country may rise due to the subpoena powers given to the Philippine National Police.

“Our primary concern is that it will result into the abuse of human rights and civil liberties of the people,” ACTS Teachers Party List Representative Antonio Tinio said.

A group of lawyers, the National Union of People’s Lawyer (NUPL), shares the same view on the matter.

“It will open the opportunity to unlawful and illegal search, arrest and seizure of properties,” said NUPL president, Atty. Edre Olalia.

Tinio also raised alarm that the government might also soon give similar powers to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The Makabayan bloc said it is open to question the new law, but noted it will study first its possible violations of the Constitution.

On the other hand, PNP Chief Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa vowed that the police will not abuse the use of such powers.

He added that the subpoena powers will greatly help the PNP in investigating cases as it will speed up the release of required documents or persons.

PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) legal division chief PSupt. Joseph Orsos, initially revealed that anyone who ignores the subpoena of the PNP can be detained.

“It can be considered as contempt of higher court, meaning RTC (Regional Trial Court). It’s not only a contemptuous act against the MTC (Municipal/Metropolitan Trial Court), meaning you can be incarcerated for up to 30 days,” said Orsos. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue

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Alvarez sees more than enough grounds to impeach CJ Sereno

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, March 1st, 2018

PDP-Laban Senatorial lineup

MANILA, Philippines —The impeachment committee has specified the five grounds that will be enough to impeach Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

These include the chief justice’s alleged non-submission of  Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), tax discrepancies, judicial and bar council manipulation and her failing mark in the psychological and psychiatric evaluation.

On Tuesday, the impeachment committee will vote on the grounds of impeachment.

Senate impeachment committee chair Reynaldo Umali is confident that this will pass at the committee level.

“Lumalabas based sa nakakausap ko parang malinaw na sa kanila (Based on the people I have talked to, it seems clear to them). I do not want to preempt them,” said Umali.

Meanwhile, the House is yet to finalize the members of the prosecution team.

It will take one third or 97 votes of all the congressmen to impeach CJ Sereno in the Lower House.

“I think there is more than enough grounds,” said House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Chief Justice Sereno’s indefinite leave will start tomorrow to prepare for her possible appearance in the Senate impeachment court.

Her spokespersons reiterated that she will not resign.

“And they will respect whatever will be the decision of the Senate in this case. Sabi niya, ‘I can sleep well at night kasi walang bumabagabag sa akin.’ Alam niya na hindi siya nagsisinungaling at nasa panig lang siya ng tama,” said Atty. Josa Deinla, one of the chief justice spokesmen.

(And they will respect whatever will be the decision of the Senate in this case. She told me, “I can sleep well at night because I’m not bothered by anything.” She knows she’s telling the truth and that she’s on the side of righteousness. )

“Kung matatapos po ang Senate trial at si chief justice po ay iko-convict, hindi siya magtatagal ng isang araw sa kaniyang posisyon,” said Atty. Jojo Lacanilao, one of the chief justice spokesmen.

(If the Senate impeachment trial ends and they will convict the chief justice, it will not take a day for her to leave her post.)

Meanwhile, Senate President Koko Pimentel earlier stated that they have already ordered robes and are finalizing the impeachment rules. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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