Sotto to study Duterte proposal on midnight liquor ban

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2019   •   715

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal for Congress to pass a measure on liquor ban and closure of establishments nationwide by midnight needs a thorough study, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Tuesday.

Sotto said the proposal would be better if it is implemented first at the local level.

“Kailangang pag-aralan munang mabuti, paano gagawin, sapagkat baka mag-impose tayo kaagad ng national. Mas maganda siguro mag-local muna, mga local ordinances (It needs to be studied thoroughly, how it should be implemented. It would be better to start at the local level through ordinances),” he said in an interview over DZMM on Tuesday.

“Tingnan muna natin kung ano ‘yung magiging mga advantages at disadvantages nito. Baka lolokohin lang tayo nung mga bars, sabihin sarado sila pero…parang yung curfew nung araw? Sarado daw sila pero punong-puno yung loob? (We have to weigh its advantages and disadvantages. Bar owners might deceive us like what happened before when they claimed the establishment was closed but was full of clients inside),” he said.

However, the Senate President said he is not entirely ruling out the possibility of imposing such measure if the same alcohol restriction policy is already being imposed in other countries.

“Kung magandang pilot yung Davao, magandang mapag-aralan natin, baka pwedeng nationwide,” he said.

Duterte in State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday urged Congress to consider passing a measure on midnight liquor ban and closure of establishments and bars to “improve the quality of life.”

He said this policy is already being enforced in his hometown in Davao City.

READ: Duterte asks Congress to pass measure on midnight liquor ban

The president, however, clarified that he will not issue an executive order for his proposal and would leave the matter for Congress to “ponder on.”

Duterte first mentioned the idea of enforcing a nationwide liquor ban by midnight after he won the presidency in 2016. The president said this will help curb criminality.

Duterte calls on Filipinos to reflect on PH history, be everyday heroes

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte (PCOO/FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called on Filipinos to reflect on the history and be everyday heroes as the country marks the National Heroes’ Day.

In his message, Duterte urged Filipinos to reflect on the country’s history and honor the brave souls who “courageously fought for our freedom and the democratic ideals upon which our nation was founded.”

“The collective sacrifice of the country’s heroes “made it possible for us to enjoy the blessings of liberty and to continue strengthening this great nation that they have left behind,” he said.

“We recognize their heroism not only by erecting statues in their honor but by uplifting the welfare of the poor and marginalized for it is through our small deeds that their spirit of valor can live on,” he added.

The President also called on Filipinos to make our forebears proud of the triumphs as a people “by being everyday heroes who will reach out to those who are in need, especially to the ones who have been neglected by society.”

“I truly believe that every Filipino is a hero who can build on our vibrant legacy of fortitude and resilience,” he said.

“As we face the future together, I encourage everyone to embody solidarity and sustain our momentum towards positive change not only for ourselves, but for the succeeding generations as well,” he added.

The chief executive skipped the commemoration of the National Heroes’ Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Monday as he is “not feeling well,” according to Duterte’s former aide and now Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.

He, however, assured that there is nothing to worry about the president’s health.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano was tapped to represent the president in leading the National Heroes’ Day rites, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

‘Indisposed’ Duterte skips National Heroes’ Day celebration

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2019

(R-L) President Rodrigo Duterte, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

According to Duterte’s former long-time aide and now Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, the president was feeling out of sorts after studying and signing many documents and meeting with different personalities, including Moro National Liberation Front Founding Chairman Nur Misuari over the weekend.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte did notattend the commemoration of the National Heroes’ Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Monday.

“He’s indisposed, 74 years old na po si Pangulo, kailangan niya ring magpahinga… Magkasama pa kaming kaninang madaling araw, mga four ng umaga,” Go told reporters.

(He’s indisposed. The President is already 74 years old, he needs rest. We were together until early this morning, around 4 a.m.)

Go, however, assured that there is nothing to worry about the president’s health.

Malacañang earlier said House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano was tapped to represent the chief executive at the National Heroes’ Day rites.

The Palace also said that by Monday afternoon, the president is set to visit the family of a soldier killed in a clash in Calbayog City, Samar.

Duterte earlier called on Filipinos to reflect on the country’s history and honor the brave souls who “courageously fought for our freedom and the democratic ideals upon which our nation was founded.”

READ: Duterte calls on Filipinos to reflect on PH history, be everyday heroes

He also urged the public to be “everyday heroes who will reach out to those who are in need, especially to the ones who have been neglected by society.” (RRD with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Drilon, Sotto question basis for possible release of ex-Mayor Sanchez

Robie de Guzman   •   August 22, 2019

Senate President Vicente Sotto III (L) and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon (R)

MANILA, Philippines – The possible early release from jail of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted for rape and murder of two students in the 1990s, has sparked outrage among the public including several senators.

Sanchez was sentenced in 1995 to seven terms of reclusion perpetua (or 40 years of imprisonment) over the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta, and the murder of her companion Allan Gomez.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier said Sanchez might soon walk free due to a 2013 law that increased good conduct time allowance (GCTA) and a Supreme court ruling last June applying this law retroactively.

The application of good conduct time allowance, which reduces the years and days spent in jail has been stated in the Philippine Revised Penal Code.

But under the Republic Act 10592 signed by then President Benigno S. Aquino III in May 2013, the periods that may be credited for good conduct to inmates was expanded.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who was the country’s justice secretary during Sanchez’s conviction, said he was shocked and saddened by the news and questioned the applicability of the new GCTA rule to Sanchez.

READ: Drilon seeks Senate probe on reduced sentence of convicted rapist ex-Mayor Sanchez

Drilon cited the allegations of possession of illegal drugs against Sanchez in 2006 when a prison guard found a packet of shabu and marijuana in his jail cell. In 2010, he was again caught with P1.5 million worth of shabu.

Five years after, authorities seized an air conditioning unit and a television set from his cell.

“Ang balita ay involved siya sa drug trade sa Muntinlupa. Paano naman siya nagkaroon ng allowance for conduct of good behavior? Ang balita pa natin ay mayroon siyang aircon sa kaniyang kulungan. Paano naman naging good conduct ito?” Drilon said.

“Is Mayor Sanchez really qualified under RA 10592? This is a question of fact, so it is best for the Department of Justice to put on hold its decision until these issues are resolved,” he added.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III echoed Drilon’s sentiments.

“Possession of illegal drugs is good behavior?” he asked.

Both senators warned the Bureau of Corrections and the Bureau of Pardon and Parole to carefully compute sentence reduction of Sanchez and the thousands of other inmates who may be eligible for early release under the new rule.

“Kapag sila ay hindi nag-comply sa law o nagkaroon ng maling computation they can be subject to one year imprisonment, P100,000 fine and perpetual disqualification from office pati sa mga nagko-compute ng mali aba ay mananagot pa sila,” Sotto said.

“Kung talagang ipipilit nila, I would assist the Sarmenta family to bring the case before the regular courts. Iku-question natin ang exercise of the discretion to release Antonio Sanchez,” Drilon said.

The two senators have filed separate resolutions calling on their colleagues to probe into the sentence reduction of Sanchez, and amend the provision of the Republic Act 10592 to exclude from the granting of pardon and parole those who were found guilty of committing heinous crimes.

“Basta’t classified na heinous crimes hindi dapat mag-qualify, dapat reclusion perpetua ka tutal ayaw nyo ng death penalty sige reclusion perpetua ka. You die in your cell,” Sotto said. (RRD with details from Grace Casin)

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