Rogue cops part of groups that want drug war shamed – PNP

Legazpi City (Jan. 19, 2017) – The head of the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG) have launched an investigation into reports that certain groups are out to discredit the government’s war on drugs.

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Police Senior Superintendent Albert Ferro, officer-in-charge of the PNP-AIDG said that these groups appear to be well-funded.

The police official suspects that the groups’ network is so extensive that it may possibly include politicians, businessmen and police officers who are either retired or still in active service.

With this, Ferro assured the public that the PNP is serious in what they termed as ‘internal cleansing’ to rid the institution of undesirables.

He articulated that the latest incident where the killing of a Korean national involved several active policemen affirmed the continued existence of these so-called ‘ninja cops.’

The term was coined by the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) when it went after several rogue police officers several months back.

Ferro used to be assigned at the CIDG under Police Director Benjamin Magalong.

Their investigation led to the arrest of several of their own CIDG officers in one of their provincial offices in Central Luzon.

The trail eventually led them to the discovery of the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).

Ferro believes that the latest police scoundrels involved in the slaying of the Korean national may be part of these groups.

The suspects committed the crime in the guise of a legitimate drug sting.

Meanwhile Ferro appealed to the media and the public not to confuse Oplans Tokhang and Double Barrel with these unlawful police operations.

Instead, he said, it must be called as it is: Agaw-Bato, Hulidap and the like.

Terms like ‘tokhang-for-ransom’, according to him, tend to demean the tireless efforts of the government in the anti-drug campaign.

To date, the two-million pesos reward from the president for the arrest of ‘ninja-cops’ still stand. (J. Garalde)

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Duterte erratic on Martial Law – Lagman

Legazpi City (Jan. 16, 2017) – “We cannot predict the authoritarian tendencies of the president.”

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This was the response of opposition lawmaker Edcel Lagman of Albay when asked about the statements of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte about Martial Law.

The congressman said that the president is very inconsistent in his statements.

He pointed out that at first, Duterte announced that he does not need Martial Law.

Later, according to Lagman, the chief executive had a reversal when he said that nobody can stop him if he decided to declare Martial Law.

The Bicolano legislator described the Philippine president as a ‘menacing pendulum’ saying that the war on drugs cannot be a basis to declare military rule.

He emphasized that there is no provision in the Philippine Constitution justifying such declaration on the basis of the campaign against criminality.

With this, Lagman reminded the president that 74% of Filipinos are not in favour of the rebirth of Martial Law.

This is despite, according to him, the safeguards provided for in the 1987 Constitution.

On the other hand, Sec. Salvador Panelo was quick to defend the recent assertions of Pres. Duterte saying that it is the president’s constitutional duty to protect the welfare of the people and preserve the country.

The presidential legal counsel downplayed public apprehension saying that Martial Law was being considered only if the drug problem continues to worsen.

Otherwise, he said that there was nothing to worry about.

Panelo underlined that Duterte is not Marcos and if ever such a declaration is made, there are still conditions in the constitution that would protect the rights of the people.  (J. Garalde)

Duterte, Obama meet in Peru may still happen

Placeholder ImageLegazpi City (Nov. 15, 2016) – Malacanang Palace denied reports that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte would be having a one-on-one meeting with outgoing US president Barack Obama during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in Peru later this week.

According to Sec. Martin Andanar, head of the Presidential Communications Office, said the president’s itinerary would be confined to meeting with other world leaders.

Andanar explained that the trip would be focusing on the final drafts of agreements of the APEC leaders which may be signed during the gathering.

The secretary however was quick to state that the said meeting with Obama may or may not happen.

This was the reaction of Andanar amidst high hopes by some sectors that the summit in Peru may be a very good chance for Duterte and Obama to meet and patch up differences strained by the former’s statements against the United States.

In recent media reports, Sec. Delfin Lorenzana of the Department of Defense was quoted as saying that the Philippines will continue to honor its defense agreements with the US.

It will be recalled that Pres. Duterte announced during his visit to China that he was cutting his ties with the US.

He also later announced that he would not be allowing joint military exercises with the US in the West Philippine Sea.

These pronouncements later started a gap between Duterte and former president Fidel Ramos, who supported him during the last elections.

In a latest development, Ramos and Duterte seemed to have ended this rift during a meeting in Malacanang Monday.

This fueled speculations that it was Ramos who suggested the meeting with Obama in Peru. (J. Garalde)

No Martial Law with Writ suspension – Malacanang

Legazpi City, Philippines (Nov. 14,  2016) – Malacanang Palace assured the public that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has never mentioned declaring Martial Law in connection with his pronouncements on the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

In a radio (Radyo Singko) interview, Monday morning, Sec. Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), said that “the thought never crossed the mind of the president.”

The secretary explained that the president’s remarks on the issue were made in the context of the rebellion and terrorist activities in Mindanao.

Andanar added that, “It is the belief that terrorist groups and other splinter groups in the southern section of this country are financed by the drug lords.”

He said that if the situation of lawless violence in Mindanao escalates, the president would have to consider suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

The chief of the PCO clarified that the legality of the suspension would have to go through congress and the Supreme Court.

Andanar said that it is a “possible idea” considering that the issues of drugs and lawlessness in Mindanao seem to be connected.

He pointed out that despite peace efforts of the government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) there are still cases of kidnappings not to mention the illegal activities of the Abu Sayaf.

He particularly mentioned the recent events involving a certain Commander Bravo.

He also cited that based on a list held by the president, thousands of government employees are involved in drugs spawning fears of a “narco-state” situation.

The government, he says, is hoping that things would improve.

“If it doesn’t, at least the president has an option.” Andanar said.

Public apprehension about the matter came at the heels of a recent decision by the Supreme Court allowing the burial of former Philippine president, Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).

The former strongman held power for over two decades after declaring Martial Law in the 1970’s.

Families of victims of extra-judicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances during this period have yet to receive justice and compensation from the government.

President Rodrigo Duterte earned criticisms after announcing that he favored the burial of the former leader despite disagreements even from among his closest allies. (J. Garalde)Placeholder Image