Veteran senators to guide new colleagues in Senate

Marje Pelayo   •   May 16, 2019   •   1362

UNTV File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III said on Wednesday (May 15) that veteran senators are willing to guide their new colleagues once they assume office.

Sotto added that the Senate Secretariat is always ready to assist the new senators.

“Anytime upon request or instruction, as they always do every time there is a new member of the Senate,” the Senate president said.

This came after former PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa, one of the leading senatorial candidates in the ongoing canvassing of the 2019 midterm polls, admitted in an interview that he needs a training or a crash course in lawmaking.

“Mayroon bang seminar diyan o ano bang training diyan para matutunan ko kung paano gawin ang batas? Ano ba ang mga trabaho namin diyan sa Senado? Kung mayroong ganun, I will take that opportunity para matuto ako,” Dela Rosa said on Tuesday.

(Is there a seminar or a training where I can learn how to craft laws? What does our job in the Senate involve? If there are [seminars] I will take the opportunity to learn.)

In reaction to Dela Rosa’s statement, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the incoming senator need not worry as his veteran colleagues are willing to give them pieces of advice on how to do their work in the Upper House.

Lacson, also a former PNP Chief, was Dela Rosa’s upperclassman in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

Lacson is a member of the PMA Class of 1971 while Dela Rosa belongs to PMA Class of 1986. – Marje Pelayo

Lacson backs appointment of Villanueva as PDEA chief

Robie de Guzman   •   May 27, 2020

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday lauded the appointment of Wilkins Villanueva as the new director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

In a statement, Lacson described Villanueva as a “good and professional officer who is fit for the job,” and noted his “long career in drug enforcement.”

“The President couldn’t have appointed a more qualified head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, having served our country for nearly 20 years with the Philippine National Police Narcotics Group and with the PDEA,” he said.

Lacson, a former national police chief, expressed confidence that Villanueva can handle his task of going after drug suspects amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis.

“With the challenge of going after drug personalities amid the new normal posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he indeed has his work cut out for him,” he said.

“I look forward to working with him, being the Senate Finance Subcommittee Chair and Sponsor of the PDEA and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) budgets, among others,” he added.

Villanueva will take over the post previously held by Aaron Aquino, who was assigned by President Rodrigo Duterte to lead the Clark International Airport.

Prior to his designation to PDEA’s top post, Villanueva led the PDEA Northern Mindanao.

Female cadet from Isabela tops PMA Masidlawin Class of 2020

Robie de Guzman   •   May 22, 2020

BAGUIO CITY – A female cadet hailing from the province of Isabela topped this year’s graduating class of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

Cadet First Class Gemalyn Sugui, who earned an economics degree from the University of the Philippines-Baguio, bested 195 other graduates of “Masidlawin” Class of 2020 to become the sixth woman in history to top the PMA graduating batch since 1993.

25-year old Sugui, daughter of a farmer and a school teacher, intends to join the Philippine Army along with 99 of her classmates.

Forty-five other Masidlawin members will become part of the Philippine Air Force while the remaining 51 members will join the Philippine Navy.

Cadet First Class Jade Villanueva from Taclobaln City ranked second among the Masidlawin’s top 10 cadets, followed by Cadet First Class Jefferson Salazar from Zamboanga City.

Below are the top 10 of Masidlawin Class of 2020:

  1. Cadet First Class Gemalyn Sugui (Isabela)
  2. Cadet First Class Jade Villanueva (Tacloban City)
  3. Cadet First Class Jefferson Salazar (Zamboanga City)
  4. Cadet First Class Rotes Gaile Jamandre (Ifugao)
  5. Cadet First Class Jeb Bay-An (La Trinidad, Benguet)
  6. Cadet First Class Catabay Ladyong (Kalinga)
  7. Cadet First Class Vanelyn Angel Tabao (Tuguegarao)
  8. Cadet First Class June Giel Anne Factor (Piddig, Ilocos Norte)
  9. Cadet First Class Rubenson Abgao (Lanao Del Norte)
  10. Cadet First Class Dencel Aina Bayaca (Floridablanca, Pampanga)

The graduating class will march in a ceremony on Friday afternoon, but neither their parents nor the media will be allowed to attend due to travel restrictions.

The ceremony, however, will be streamed live.

Baguio City is under general community quarantine but has been implementing strict border control due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The PMA graduation ceremony involves a testimonial parade and review to honor retiring alumni and trooping the line where cadets assemble in formations.

The last time that the PMA was unable to hold a graduation rites was during World War 2.

In February, the PMA alumni association delayed its homecoming by a week due to coronavirus threat. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Grace Doctolero)

Lacson urges netizens: Stop sowing hatred against NCRPO chief over ECQ birthday get-together

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday appealed to some social media users to stop sowing hatred towards Metro Manila’s police chief who was embroiled in controversy after allegedly violating quarantine protocols during a “mañanita” held for his birthday last week.

Lacson said National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Major General Debold Sinas has already “apologized and regretted his indiscretion,” and that he has been “bashed, criticized and pilloried both on social media and mainstream media” for the incident.

“Whichever way one looks at it, NCRPO chief Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas set a bad example in committing what he did during his birthday ‘mañanita’ or whatever he wants to call it,” he said in a statement.

“Certainly, he should get the punishment he deserves even as the appropriate authorities are already investigating him,” he added.

“However, we may also want to take into consideration his long law-enforcement service to the country and the Filipino people, and his present efforts in supervising the checkpoints all over Metro Manila to make us safe from the coronavirus threat,” he further stated.

But Lacson clarified that his statement is “not to suggest forgiveness or absolution” for Sinas.

“Rather, it is an appeal to concerned netizens not to rub salt to injury by going to the extent of posting out-of-date photos to sow more hatred towards Sinas by exploiting the naïveté of certain individuals to join the bandwagon of hate towards the police officer,” he said.

Sinas earlier apologized for what transpired during his birthday, saying he did not intend to disobey protocols related to the implementation of the ECQ to contain the spread of COVID-19.

He also said that some of the photos circulating online were “edited and grabbed from old posts” and do not define the totality of what really happened.

The photos, earlier posted on the NCRPO Facebook page, showed Sinas handing cakes and roses during the event. A photo also showed Sinas sitting at a table with guests.

The photos were said to be taken during a party held for Sinas to celebrate his birthday. Police officers gave him a mañanita, a traditional early morning serenade, where they dine together.

The said event was met with criticism for allegedly breaking quarantine rules.

Philippine National Police chief General Archie Gamboa said he already ordered a probe into the incident.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also said that Sinas, as a police official, should serve as an example in following protocols especially those related to the containment of COVID-19.

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