Some senators divided over Albayalde’s fate in drug recycling mess

Marje Pelayo   •   October 2, 2019   •   746

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate is divided about the fate of PNP Chief Police Director Oscar Albayalde amid the controversial drug recycling issue.

Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Senator Richard Gordon said he is not contented with Albayalde’s explanation during Tuesday’s Senate inquiry on the matter.

The senator said the PNP chief should consider quitting his current position even ahead of his retirement in November.

“Kapag hindi niya naipaliwanag iyan, (If he fails to explain it,) he should consider resigning,” Gordon said.

Gordon said they already have prior meetings with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Chief (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino including Senator Franklin Drilon prior to the inquiry.

Gordon said Aquino mentioned Albayalde’s alleged meddling in the dismissal of 13 Pampanga policemen or the so-called ninja cops who were under then former Central Luzon Chief Albayalde.

“Nasa harapan ko si Senator Drilon noong sinabi niya yan, na tinawagan siya ni Albayalde para hindi na niya pirmahan ang report,” Gordon said of the conversation which Drilon confirmed.

(Senator Drilon was in front of me when he [Aquino] mentioned that Albayalde called him to stop him from signing the report.)

“Nakiusap na huwag munang i-implement (He [Albayalde] asked [Aquino] not to implement the order) is something in substance that I remember to the narration of General Aquino of his conversation on the telephone with General Albayalde,” the senator said.

Drilon also noticed a change in Aquino’s manner of speaking during the Senate inquiry as compared to how he spoke during their meeting.

But for Senate President Vicente Sotto III, there is nothing to be concerned about Albayalde as PNP chief.

“In the course of his incumbency, wala namang ganoong isyu, (there is no issue like that,)” Sotto said.

“Wala naman tayong masamang tinapay na nakita kay (We have nothing against) Director General Albyalde,” he added.

Albayalde maintains that he did not influence the case involving the said ninja cops though he admitted that he simply asked about the progress of the investigation from Aquino as requested by the families of the 13 cops. – MNP (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

PNP defends Sinas: No breach of health protocols in Calapan visit

Marje Pelayo   •   March 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) maintained there was no breach of health protocols in PNP Chief Police General Debold Sinas’ visit to Calapan City.

In a statement, Police OIC and Deputy Chief for Administration PLt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said Sinas had an RT-PCR Test taken on March 9 as an entry requirement of the city government of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.

The PNP Chief also had a repeat of the test on March 10 before proceeding to Mindoro in compliance with the requirement to travel to Palawan to monitor the ongoing plebiscite there.

It was late in the afternoon that day that Sinas learned that he was positive for COVID-19; thus, he immediately returned to Manila.

“Iyong pagtungo ni Chief sa Mindoro ay nakaplano na iyon. That is why two days before that is March 9, nagpa-swab na sya at negative iyon. So in effect for 48 hours ok na siya na pumunta doon,” Eleazar explained.

“As reported by Regional Directors PRO-4B PBGen. Pascual Muñoz, we complied with the requirements of Calapan City which is to submit our RT-PCR results so that they can issue an acceptance letter from the city government and we had that. So we did not violate the thing. We did not violate the protocols,” said the Directorate for Operations PMGen. Alfred Corpus.

The Calapan LGU earlier said Sinas did not go through the process because he landed on a chopper.

But Calapan City Mayor Arnan Panaligan said they couldn’t establish yet whether the PNP chief committed a violation of health protocols on that matter.

Panaligan added that the LGU received an online registration with confirmation from Sinas and his group, the sole requirement needed to enter the province.

Meanwhile, 10 of all 98 individuals who had contact with Sinas in Calapan Oriental Mindoro are now considered as high-risk close contact.

Eleazar, meanwhile, assured that the PNP Chief is in good condition. -MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Gordon lauds Locsin for filing diplomatic protest vs China’s new law

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A senator on Thursday commended Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for filing a diplomatic protest against a new law passed by China that allows its coast guard to shoot foreign vessels in the contested areas in South China Sea.

“I commend Secretary Locsin for taking a very important and valiant action by standing up for our rights. He did right by our country, and we support him wholeheartedly,” Senator Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Senate Committee on justice and human rights, said in a statement.

Locsin on Wednesday said he has filed a diplomatic protest against China for its new law, which he called a “verbal threat of war” to any country that defies it.

China’s legislative body last week passed the law that allows its coast guard to undertake all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.

“When another country claims the oceans surrounding us, which we claim, even threatens to demolish our fishing boats or fishing boats of any country that get to that ocean or that sea, this is a serious cause for concern. This is a shot in the bow of all the claimants in the territories,” Gordon said.

Other senators have also expressed concern over the measure that could endanger the lives of Filipino fishermen who venture in the disputed parts of the West Philippine Sea.

The law is expected to stoke tensions anew in the waters where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes the Philippines and 3 other South China Sea claimants, are currently negotiating for a more binding code of conduct in the contested waters. 

Gordon files bill to expand country’s pool of vaccinators

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2021

Manila, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon has filed a bill seeking to expand the country’s pool of vaccinators for the immunization program of the government.

Gordon, in a statement, said Senate Bill No. 1987 will allow training for other members in the medical field, as well as, non-medical practitioners.

“Since we have a limited number of doctors, nurses, and midwives that will aid in the COVID-19 vaccination program, we filed a bill that expands the pool of vaccinators of the DOH by training other professionals such as dentists, veterinarians, medical technologists, and even those without a medical background to be vaccinators,” he said.

Section 1 of Senate Bill No. 1987 states that non-medical practitioners that will be part of the training will be allowed provided that they will be given the appropriate training, certification and authority by the Department of Health (DOH), and that they will perform their duties under the supervision of a duly registered physician and for a limited period only contingent upon the existence of the national health emergency for which it is called.

Non-medical practitioners will be given appropriate training, certification, and authority by the Department of Health (DOH).

The filed bill also states that the trained individuals will perform their duties under the supervision of a duly registered physician and for a limited period only, subject to the existence of a national health emergency.

“If we expand the manpower for the vaccination program, the government’s target of inoculating 50 to 70 million Filipinos to be able to achieve herd immunity or population immunity can be attained,” Gordon added.

According to the DOH, only 617,239 health care workers from both public and private health institutions will be able to help in administering the COVID-19 vaccines. -AAC

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