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SENATE TO PROBE 'PAY-PER-KILL' REPORT VS POLICE
[RELATED: Escudero wants AI to testify on pay-for-kill claim in drug war]


FEBRUARY 8 -The probe was prompted by a resolution filed by Sen. Francis Escudero, former panel chairman. Escudero said the report “must not be set aside as it raised serious allegations that could undermine the Philippines’ reputation as a democratic country that fundamentally recognizes and upholds human rights.” Boy Santos
The Senate committee on justice is set to conduct an inquiry into the report of Amnesty International (AI), which claimed that police officers are being paid to kill drug suspects under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs. The probe was prompted by a resolution filed by Sen. Francis Escudero, former panel chairman. Escudero said the report “must not be set aside as it raised serious allegations that could undermine the Philippines’ reputation as a democratic country that fundamentally recognizes and upholds human rights.” “I found AI to be radical at times if you look into our history. The filing of the resolution is not meant to give AI a platform. It is to allow AI to prove their allegations because by that report, they besmirched the reputation of the country,” Escudero said in Senate Resolution 282. READ MORE...RELATED,
Escudero wants AI to testify on pay-for-kill claim in drug war...

ALSO: 99 policemen fired, 40 more to follow suit -De La Rosa
[RELATED: Philippines dismisses about 100 policemen for using drugs]


FEBRUARY 11 -DE LA ROSA: POLICE Chief Ronald dela Rosa has signed an order dismissing 99 policemen after they were found guilty of using illegal drugs, an official said Friday. “Our recommendation to dismiss the 99 policemen has already been signed by PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa,” said Alfegar Triambulo, inspector general of the PNP Internal Affairs Service. He did not provide details including the ranks of the dismissed policemen, but he said they would be transmitting another recommendation to dismiss 40 more policemen who were also found guilty of using illegal drugs. The 99 policemen were part of the 198 PNP personnel who were found positive for illegal drugs use during a random drug testing nationwide. Of those, the highest ranking officer was a chief inspector and the lowest a Police Officer 1. READ MORE...RELATED, Philippines dismisses about 100 policemen for using drugs...

ALSO:
Duterte - De Lima ‘was corrupting everybody’ during DOJ stint
[RELATED: DoJ chief - De Lima5 fate known this week]


FEBRUARY 11 -Duterte: De Lima ‘was corrupting everybody’ during DOJ stint
President Rodrigo Duterte revived his attacks against Sen. Leila de Lima on Friday, saying she was “corrupting everybody” during her term as justice secretary. “We were already a narco-politic country. And even si De Lima, totoo naman talaga, it’s all true. She was the highest official to be corrupted and she was corrupting everybody as the secretary of the justice department,” Duterte said in a business forum in Davao City. READ: Duterte says De Lima played lead role in narcopolitics “Yun ang masakit sa atin (It’s what hurtful to us). That is the most painful episode of the modern-day, our generation, has to endure,” he added. De Lima has been one of the favorite punching bags of Duterte, accusing her of coddling high-profile inmates convicted of illegal drug violations inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) WATCH ON VIDEO NEWS...RELATED,
DoJ chief: De5 fate known this week...

ALSO: Aguirre blasts Leila
[RELATED: Editorial - Scandal at DOJ]

[RELATED(2): BI official blamed for departure of Lam middleman;
Senate probe of bribery scandal]


FEBRUARY 11 -
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II slammed the “hearsay” and “confidential” Bureau of Corrections memorandum written and signed by BuCor legal office chief Alvin Herrera Lim, insisting that Lim may only have an “ax to grind” against him for suspending him having been found guilty of misconduct, with another case still ongoing. Opposition Sen. Leila de Lima, who has been tagged as drug kingpins’ protector at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during her term as Justice Secretray, had bared earlier this week that she was in possession of a confidential BuCor memo suggesting that Aguirre had allegedly granted high-profile inmates luxury privileges in exchange for testimonies against the yellow senator. The incumbent Justice Secretary, however, blasted the senator for her “desperate attempt” in getting back at him and the BuCor official for writing a memorandum based on “pure hearsay” accounts, insisting that the administration’s opponents have reached “a new level of desperation.”
A report from the BuCor issued yesterday even debunked the senator’s allegations that high-profile inmates are enjoying lavish lifestyles inside their detention cells, only for BuCor security personnel to find out that none of it is true. READ MORE...RELATED,
Editorial - Scandal at DOJ
RELATED(2) BI official blamed for departure of Lam middleman; Senate probe of bribery scandal.....

ALSO: Palace - Drug war backed by people
[RELATED UPDATED: Death Toll of the War on Drugs]


FEBRUARY 12 -President Rodrigo Duterte
There is no “mounting opposition” to President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, Malacañang claimed on Saturday, as it slammed United Nations rapporteur Agnes Callamard for saying that the thousands of deaths in the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign had given rise to a sense of impunity. “What she’s saying that there’s a mounting opposition, it’s a minority voice that favors liberal politics,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told state-run dzRB radio. “However, on the ground, it’s really a different situation here in the Philippines, and if you’ll base it on public opinion, we really made big strides. So in terms of support ... Do you expect support to come from outside? [or] Would you expect support from inside?” Following a recent survey, Callamard said that while the President remains popular, there is already an increasing opposition against Duterte’s drug war, which has already killed more than 7,600 people, mostly drug users and small-time dealers, since he took office.  READ MORE...RELATED,
Death Toll of the War on Drugs...

ALSO: UN expert merely speaking for ‘liberal politics’ - Palace
[ALSO: Trillanes to Aguirre: Resign, spare yourself from scandals]
[RELATED: De Lima also faces dirty money raps]


FEBRUARY 12 -United Nations (UN) rapporteur Agnes Callamard was merely giving voice to “liberal politics” when she remarked that there’s a mounting opposition against President Duterte’s war on drugs, the Palace said yesterday. United Nations (UN) rapporteur Agnes Callamard was merely giving voice to “liberal politics” when she remarked that there’s a mounting opposition against President Duterte’s war on drugs, the Palace said yesterday. “What she’s saying was a minority voice that favors liberal politics,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
“There is an increasing awareness on the part of the Filipino people that the war on drugs could hurt them. The surveys that are being done indicate support for the president…but critique the war on drugs,” Callamard said. Callamard made the statement in an interview with reporters in Bangkok, a day after former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria said in a commentary in New York Times entitled “President Duterte is repeating my mistakes” that the fight against the narcotics trade in the Philippines cannot be won alone by police and military force. Abella said the government has been getting “mainly criticisms” from international bodies that have their own agenda. READ MORE...ALSO,
Trillanes to Aguirre: Resign, spare yourself from scandals... RELATED, De Lima also faces dirty money raps...


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Senate to probe pay-per-kill report vs police


The probe was prompted by a resolution filed by Sen. Francis Escudero, former panel chairman. Escudero said the report “must not be set aside as it raised serious allegations that could undermine the Philippines’ reputation as a democratic country that fundamentally recognizes and upholds human rights.” Boy Santos

MANILA, FEBRUARY 13, 2017 (PHILSTAR) By Paolo Romero February 8, 2017 - The Senate committee on justice is set to conduct an inquiry into the report of Amnesty International (AI), which claimed that police officers are being paid to kill drug suspects under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

The probe was prompted by a resolution filed by Sen. Francis Escudero, former panel chairman.

Escudero said the report “must not be set aside as it raised serious allegations that could undermine the Philippines’ reputation as a democratic country that fundamentally recognizes and upholds human rights.”

“I found AI to be radical at times if you look into our history. The filing of the resolution is not meant to give AI a platform. It is to allow AI to prove their allegations because by that report, they besmirched the reputation of the country,” Escudero said in Senate Resolution 282.

READ MORE...

He said the legislative inquiry would be an avenue to verify the accuracy of the report and give the people and institutions involved an opportunity to respond to the findings.

“It is not only a matter of necessity but public accountability. The AI should substantiate and present its evidence before the Senate for public scrutiny to confirm the report’s veracity and to hold, or otherwise clear, the Philippine government of any responsibility,” Escudero said.

According to the report released by the international human rights watchdog, “police paid killers on their payroll, and unknown armed individuals have slain more than a thousand people a month under the guise of a national campaign to eradicate drugs.”

The AI added that the administration’s war on drugs is actually a “war against the poor.”

It also alleged the use of a mere “drug watchlist,” whose contents are based on hearsay, community rumor or rivalry, with little verification.

In the report, AI detailed the story of a policeman with the rank of Senior Police Officer 1, who served in the Philippine National Police for a decade and is currently part of the anti-illegal drugs unit in Metro Manila.

According to the source, police paid per “encounter” – the term used to mask the extrajudicial killings as legitimate anti-drug operations.

The police officer claimed that the amount paid by police ranged from P8,000 to P15,000 per person, per encounter.

AI urged: Don’t meddle in drug war

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez asked the human rights watchdog not to meddle with the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“They have no business criticizing us and telling us what to do and not do. We are a sovereign nation. No country or group should meddle with us,” Alvarez told reporters.

He said groups like AI and other critics of the drug war are not the ones affected by the problem of illegal drugs.

“It is us and our people who are suffering, not these critics,” he said.

Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III shared the call of his boss at the House of Representatives.

“Amnesty International should take a cue from the inaugural speech of new US President Donald Trump, who declared that America won’t interfere in any way with any country’s affairs,” Albano said.

“If the most powerful country on earth won’t meddle with any nation, no country or group can claim the right to criticize us in what we do. Let us support President Duterte in his determined effort to rid the country of crime and corruption,” he said.

He said the public is largely satisfied with the anti-drug campaign as shown by recent surveys.

“Let us not listen to a few critics and hecklers. What is important is the support of the people to the campaign against illegal drugs and other crimes,” he said.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) denounced extrajudicial killings in a pastoral letter read in churches last week. The bishops called for an end to executions.

Supporting the CBCP call, party-list group Akbayan said in a statement the plea “is a necessary development that should help remind the public that killing is not a solution to the country’s problems.”

“Complemented by an initiative of several priests to concelebrate a mass in support of families of victims of extrajudicial killings, this stance reinvigorates our efforts to temper the madness and violence driving the government’s campaign against drugs,” it said.

Akbayan said the killings perpetrated by government agents and vigilantes in the drug war are “a massacre.”

“This is not war on drugs – a war connotes that the opponent has the organized ability to engage the government in combat. But no, there are only 7,000 poor people lying dead in the streets. That is not a war – that is a massacre,” it added.

The group noted that while lowly drug users are killed, “big time suspects like Peter Lim score a meeting with the President and fly out of the country undetected.”

“Clearly, this so-called war on drugs divides Filipinos into two caps – those who can curry favor with justice and those who cannot,” Akbayan stressed. – With Jess Diaz

-----------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Escudero wants AI to testify on pay-for-kill claim in drug war By: Maila Ager - Reporter / @MAgerINQINQUIRER.net / 11:16 AM February 02, 2017


Wilnor Papa from Amnesty International (AI) Philippines shows a copy of their report during a press conference in Manila on Feb. 1, 2017. AI said policemen might have committed crimes against humanity by killing thousands of alleged drug offenders or paying others to murder as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war. AFP

Senator Francis Escudero wants the Amnesty International (AI) to face a Senate probe into its report that the Philippine National Police was paying its men and assassins to kill alleged drug offenders, saying the allegation was “serious.”

Escudero said he was planning to file a resolution to direct appropriate Senate committees to look into the AI report. He said his resolution could be referred to either the Senate committee on justice and human rights or committee on public order and dangerous drugs.

READ: PNP paid killers P5,000 per drug user

“Ito’y seryosong alegasyon nanggaling pa sa international body,” said Escudero. (This is a serious allegation that came from an international body.)

The senator said the claim needed scrutiny because it was tarnishing the image of the country.

“Marapat at dapat alamin … kung may basehan o wala (ang alegasyon) dahil dumudungis ito sa imahe ng ating bansa,” Escudero said during the Kapihan sa Senado on Thursday. (It’s a must that we know if there is a basis [for this allegation] because it is tarnishing the image of our country.)

Escudero said the AI should be summoned to the probe to verify its report. Those found liable should be punished, he added.

As to alleged witnesses interviewed by the AI, the senator said, the chamber can hold an executive session to hear their testimonies.

“Nagawa na namin yan noon at napatunayan naman ng Senado na hindi namin inilalabas ang anumang pinag usapan sa executive session maliban na lamang kung pagbotohan ito ng mayorya ng mga senador,” he said. (We have done that before and the Senate has shown that we do not release matters discussed in the executive session, except when the majority of senators vote to do so.)

“Kung ganyang kasensitibo, nakahanda naman ang Senado na tumanggap ng ‘sekretong’ testigo para mapangalagaan ang kanilang seguridad,” Escudero added. (If it’s that sensitive, the Senate is ready to receive ‘secret’ testimony to secure witnesses.)

The AI report said it spoke to two hired killers, who allegedly claimed that they were regularly paid by an active-duty policeman P5,000 to kill an alleged drug user and P10,000 to P15,000 to kill an alleged drug pusher. CBB/rga


MANILA STANDARD

99 policemen fired, 40 more to follow suit -De La Rosa posted February 11, 2017 at 12:01 am by Francisco Tuyay

POLICE Chief Ronald dela Rosa has signed an order dismissing 99 policemen after they were found guilty of using illegal drugs, an official said Friday.

“Our recommendation to dismiss the 99 policemen has already been signed by PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa,” said Alfegar Triambulo, inspector general of the PNP Internal Affairs Service.

He did not provide details including the ranks of the dismissed policemen, but he said they would be transmitting another recommendation to dismiss 40 more policemen who were also found guilty of using illegal drugs.

The 99 policemen were part of the 198 PNP personnel who were found positive for illegal drugs use during a random drug testing nationwide.

Of those, the highest ranking officer was a chief inspector and the lowest a Police Officer 1.

READ MORE...

Triambulo said the policemen’s dismissal was based on Civil Service Commission rules.

“According to the CSC and Napolcom [National Police Commission], the use of drugs is penalized by dismissal because it is a grave offense,” he said.

In July 1 last year, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Dela Rosa to conduct a random drug testing of the 165,000-strong police force.

Duterte even accused as narco generals retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo, former Chief Supt. and now Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot; former NCRPO chief Director Joel Pagdilao, former QCPD director Chief Supt. Edgardo Tino, and former Western Visayas police director Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz.

But all of them denied involvement in illegal drugs.

-------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE DAILY MAIL.UK

Philippines dismisses about 100 policemen for using drugs By Reuters PUBLISHED: 10:41 GMT, 11 February 2017 | UPDATED: 10:42 GMT, 11 February 2017



MANILA, Feb 11 (Reuters) - The Philippine police have sacked nearly 100 policemen since the start of the year because they were found to be drug users, a top official said on Saturday, in a clean-up of the ranks after President Rodrigo Duterte halted police anti-drug operations.

More than 7,700 people have been killed since Duterte unleashed his bloody war on drugs seven months ago, about 2,500 in police operations, while the rest are being investigated.

Duterte had been unwavering in defending the police in the face of international outrage over the toll, but his faith was shaken by the killing of a South Korean businessmen late last year by rogue officers.

Ninety police officers have been fired since the start of the year and nine were removed last year, Internal Affairs Service Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo said in comments broadcast on ANC TV.

"Those caught using illegal drugs, according to the civil service rules, must be dismissed...that is a grave offence," he said, adding that he had promised the chief of police that he would quickly resolve outstanding cases.

Triambulo said he would recommend next week the dismissal of 40 more policemen to the chief of police.

Last month, Duterte denounced the police as "corrupt to the core" and suspended their role in anti-drug operations, although he vowed to forge ahead with the drug campaign.

Human rights groups suspect many of the killings being investigated were committed by vigilantes or hitmen supported by the police.

The Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency has been put in charge of anti-drug operations and Duterte has also raised the possibility of getting the military to help. (Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


INQUIRER

Duterte: De Lima ‘was corrupting everybody’ during DOJ stint By: Nestor Corrales - Reporter / @NCorralesINQINQUIRER.net / 06:00 PM February 10, 2017


Duterte: De Lima ‘was corrupting everybody’ during DOJ stint

President Rodrigo Duterte revived his attacks against Sen. Leila de Lima on Friday, saying she was “corrupting everybody” during her term as justice secretary.

“We were already a narco-politic country. And even si De Lima, totoo naman talaga, it’s all true. She was the highest official to be corrupted and she was corrupting everybody as the secretary of the justice department,” Duterte said in a business forum in Davao City.

READ: Duterte says De Lima played lead role in narcopolitics

“Yun ang masakit sa atin (It’s what hurtful to us). That is the most painful episode of the modern-day, our generation, has to endure,” he added.

De Lima has been one of the favorite punching bags of Duterte, accusing her of coddling high-profile inmates convicted of illegal drug violations inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

 
https://youtu.be/ZPWkx1y3BHo?t=29
Duterte: De Lima ‘was corrupting everybody’ during DOJ stint INQUIRER.net INQUIRER.net  Published on Feb 10, 2017 President Rodrigo Duterte revived his attacks against Sen. Leila de Lima on Friday, saying she was “corrupting everybody” during her term as justice secretary.

-----------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

DoJ chief: De Lima fate known this week Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 12 February 2017 00:00 By Julius Leonen

DECISION OUT MONDAY OR TUESDAY

A resolution of the four illegal drug complaints filed against opposition Sen. Leila de Lima, who had confessed that she feared imminent arrest on charges of drug trafficking, is expected early this week, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.

De Lima has launched an offensive against Aguirre in an attempt to discredit him, lately charging Aguirre’s involvement in the purported granting of special privileges to inmates in exchange for testifying against her at a House of Representatives’ drug inquiry.

In a one-on-one interview with the Tribune, Aguirre said the resolution of the drug cases filed against de Lima, who has been tagged as the protector of drug traffickers at the national penitentiary New Bilibid Prison (NBP), will be out by Monday or Tuesday.

“We believe that by next week, the resolution of these cases finding, or not finding, probable cause against Sen. de Lima and the respondents willbe filed by the five-man DoJ (Department of Justice) panel. I believe (it would be out) by Monday or Tuesday,” Aguirre told the Tribune.

The embattled senator has been alleged to be involved in the narcotics trade at the NBP, where it was revealed that she was allegedly raising funds from the drug trade to fund her campaign for a Senate seat in the May, 2010 polls.

De Lima, despite the many testimonies and evidences presented by self-confessed drug lords, NBP drug convicts and a former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) official against her, claimed that she was merely being politically persecuted by the Duterte administration.

Meanwhile, Aguirre denied that he is “railroading” the resolution of the drug cases against de Lima, admitting that he himself found it too long for the DoJ to come up with a concrete case on the NBP narcotics trade.

De Lima claimed that the DoJ is expediting the drug cases’ resolution finding probable cause against her.

“Well, actually, I myself found it too long while Secretary de Lima says that I am expediting it for the purpose of nailing her. That is not true. Only the five-man panel was scrupulously studying the case,” Aguirre told the Tribune.

“With all the evidence, it’s complicated, (mostly) because of the many testimonies of the many drug lords and Bilibid drug convicts against Sen. de Lima. You’ll get the idea if you heard the proceedings at the House of Representatives,” the justice secretary said.

Elusive Leila

De Lima had snubbed every hearing and every inquest proceeding into her alleged involvement in the country’s narcotics trade at the House of Representatives and the Justice Department.

The senator is currently facing six criminal cases at the DoJ. Four of the six cases, which involved her alleged role as a drug lord protector, were filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), former NBI directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, and NBP drug convict Jaybee Sebastian among other inmates.

De Lima has been insisting that it is the Office of the Ombudsman, not the DoJ, who should be handling the drug cases filed against her.

Aguirre, however, said a “complementing” relationship between the DoJ and the Office of the Ombudsman on filing of charges against government officials still exists. He said that the DoJ will forward to the Ombudsman some of the cases “cognizable by the Sandiganbayan.”

“All cases cognizable or to be filed before the Sandiganbayan will be forwarded to the Ombudsman, while cases, if there are any, that are cognizable by the Regional Trial Court will be filed before the RTC,” Aguirre told the Tribune.

De Lima had bared that she fears the DoJ is planning to bring her drug cases directly to regular courts in order for them to immediately serve the embattled senator a warrant of arrest.

In turn, Sen. de Lima filed an urgent motion at the Court of Appeals (CA) requesting a temporary restraining order (TRO) to block the DoJ from probing her illegal drug cases. The CA has yet to act on her motion.

Faced by the possibility of failing to get a TRO, Senator de Lima said: “Then I would have to be arrested. What can I do? I will not leave the country. I will not hide.”

As she anticipates her imminent arrest, Sen. de Lima then came out to the press with an alleged confidential Bureau of BuCor report, albeit “hearsay,” claiming that Aguirre had granted high-profile inmates luxurious privileges in exchange for testimonies.

The justice secretary, however, dismissed Senator de Lima’s tirades as merely a “desperate attempt” to pin him down by using “hearsay evidence” that “has absolutely no legal or factual basis.”

“Why is the good senator resorting to using hearsay evidence? Has she run out of things to say? Has she reached a new level of desperation? Desperate times call for desperate measures?” Aguirre said last Friday.

Aguirre said that Senator de Lima has reached “a new level of desperation” as the public awaits the resolution of the embattled senator’s drug cases.

Aguirre added that Senator de Lima’s attacks, aside from the purpose of lashing out at the DoJ’s probe into her drug cases, are being launched as an attempt to block his confirmation at the Commission on Appointments.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said de Lima cannot evade arrest if a warrant is issued by the courts involving drugs charges as these are not covered by the immunity from suit of lawmakers since such a charge is non-bailable.

“If a senator has a criminal case, a pending criminal case filed by the prosecutor before the court and the court issues a warrant of arrest, which involves imprisonment of more than six years, no exemption,” he said.

The immunity from arrest of lawmakers facing charges cover only cases which involves punishment of not more than six years.

“Even the privilege from arrest, we do not enjoy it if the (penalty is) beyond six years,” he said.


TRIBUNE

Aguirre blasts Leila Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 11 February 2017 00:00 By Julius Leonenand Mario J. Mallari

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II slammed the “hearsay” and “confidential” Bureau of Corrections memorandum written and signed by BuCor legal office chief Alvin Herrera Lim, insisting that Lim may only have an “ax to grind” against him for suspending him having been found guilty of misconduct, with another case still ongoing.

Opposition Sen. Leila de Lima, who has been tagged as drug kingpins’ protector at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during her term as Justice Secretray, had bared earlier this week that she was in possession of a confidential BuCor memo suggesting that Aguirre had allegedly granted high-profile inmates luxury privileges in exchange for testimonies against the yellow senator.

The incumbent Justice Secretary, however, blasted the senator for her “desperate attempt” in getting back at him and the BuCor official for writing a memorandum based on “pure hearsay” accounts, insisting that the administration’s opponents have reached “a new level of desperation.”

A report from the BuCor issued yesterday even debunked the senator’s allegations that high-profile inmates are enjoying lavish lifestyles inside their detention cells, only for BuCor security personnel to find out that none of it is true.

READ MORE...

In a press briefing yesterday, Aguirre presented to media a letter written by DoJ Undersecretary Reynante Orceo instructing Lim to rectify his supposedly false memorandum as “insinuations and suggestions” and should immediately be corrected.

“Let it be clarified that the Secretary nor any of his representatives from the Department did not authorize nor give instruction related to the above-mentioned matter. Such insinuations and suggestions should be rectified and clarified accordingly,” Orceo said.

DoJ Undersecretary Erickson Balmes, however, said that their Department has yet to receive an acknowledgment and a correction from Lim for writing a memorandum “based on hearsay” accounts.

Leila twits Aguirre

De Lima earlier scored Aguirre, calling him the “real protector and coddler” of drug lords for supposedly allowing special privileges of high-profile inmates detained at Camp Aguinaldo.

She also accused Aguirre of having “concealed or suppressed” the claimed confidential memo of the BuCor which states that the Justice secretary authorized the use of electronic gadgets in exchange for the testimony of convicted drug lords during a House probe on the Bilibid drug trade, despite the fact that, from the wordings of the memo, the claim is pure hearsay from Lim, the author of the memo, his record is too spotty to be credible.

But she insisted: “How can we expect Aguirre to investigate himself? As I see it, it is possible that they concealed or suppressed those documents as the facts disclosed therein, especially the December 9 confidential memo, are very sensitive as they are explosive,” de Lima said.

“So, who is the real protector and coddler of drug convicts and drug lords?,” she she stressed.

De Lima used this Lim memo as proof that Aguirre had restored the privileges of high-profile inmates for testifying against her in a House committee investigation.

To quote the hearsay memo written by legal office chief Alvin Herrera Limon the inmates’ use of electronic gadgets, among others, inside the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Custodial and Detention Center:

“We were informed that based on AFP’s confidential investigation, the high profile inmates detained in AFP Custodial and Detention Center continue to enjoy lavish lifestyles e.g. use of electronic gadgets, smart television sets, air conditiong units, internet, cellular phones...“When pressed for comment, elements of both the Philippine National Police and BuCor invoked that they are just following the express instruction of the Hon. Vitaliano N. Aguirre II to allow the entry of the above-enumerated gadgets in return for the testimony they gave during the congressional inquiry on the proliferation of drugs inside New Bilbid Prison.”

De Lima said Aguirre should confirm whether or not his office received a copy of the memo through BuCor chief Director General Benjamin delos Santos.

“Those documents speak for themselves. This is yet again another scandal in this administration and should be seriously and thoroughly investigated. Enough of their deceptions and hypocrisies!,” she added, even if, as a lawyer and former DoJ chief, de Lima should know what hearsay evidence is.

Aguirre lashes back

Finally responding to the senator’s allegations, Aguirre lashed out at de Lima for reaching a new level of desperation, slamming the senator for using “hearsay evidence” that “has absolutely no legal or factual basis.”

“Pure hearsay! Her say is hearsay! It has absolutely no legal or factual basis,” Aguirre said.

“Why is the good senator resorting to using hearsay evidence? Has she run out of things to say? Has she reached a new level of desperation? Desperate times call for desperate measures?” Aguirre said.

“Obviously, Senator de Lima is admitting that the lavish lifestyle of inmates existed before during her time,” Aguirre said.

In turn, Aguirre even presented two sets of photos comparing the set-up in the country’s detention centers during the current justice secretary’s tenure and during former justice secretary and current Senator de Lima’s leadership.

The first set of photos the Justice chief presented was taken yesterday noon at the AFP Custodial and Detention Center in Camp Aguinaldo, which the senator claimed that inmates in the detention facility are enjoying luxurious privileges.

“These are the conditions of our inmates now. Is this a lavish lifestyle? You are more than free to visit them in Camp Aguinaldo if you have doubts about these pictures,” Aguirre said.

When Aguirre showed the next set of photos, which presented a posh set-up to even be considered a detention facility, he then said: “This is the lavish lifestyle (under de Lima). “Its not just lavish. Its more than lavish.

“Who was the Secretary of Justice when these lavish privileges for inmates flourished? As they say, a picture paints a thousand words,” Aguirre said.

“As a former Secretary of Justice and a lawyer who is confident enough to call other lawyers “mediocre, Senator de Lima should know that the above statement is an absolute hearsay. And we know that hearsay has no evidentiary value,” Aguirre said.

Asked by reporters why the senator came out to the press with the leaked confidential memo, Aguirre said: “My confirmation hearing is close.”

It will be recalled that opposition senators, particularly de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV, are attempting to block Aguirre’s confirmation as justice secretary at the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Lim has ‘an ax to grind’


LIM AND DE LIMA

In an interview over radio dzMM, Aguirre bared that it was Lim, who had written and signed the “hearsay” BuCor -memo, who had allegedly leaked the memo to de Lima.
“He has an ax to grind against me,” Aguirre said. “I think we will be preparing an order of suspension against Lim.

Aguirre bared that Lim is facing three administrative cases and he has already been suspended twice.

“Atty. Lim has already been suspended two times. He was found guilty of misconduct at the DoJ, and he was suspended for it. He is currently facing a second case that was filed against him at the DoJ, at that (case) is ongoing. A preventive suspension was also ordered,” Aguirre said.

“The third case that was filed against him is from me. I gave him a notice to explain why no disciplinary action should be imposed against him for practicing legal profession at Lucena City, which I did not grant permission for him to do so,” Aguirre said.

The Justice Secretary also stressed that the person who leaked the BuCor report should be held criminally liable, noting that releasing a confidential memorandum is prohibited because there is a violation of confidentiality.

“This is a violation of confidentiality,” Aguirre said. “If there is a premature release, then there is criminal liability on who released it.”

“There is no memo that says that I approved (the special privileges). I will not be able to allow myself to approve of such illegal activities. I did not (approve) anything,” Aguirre said.

In additon, Aguirre in an interview with television network GMA-7 scored Lim for writing “hearsay” statements in the memorandum, which insinuated that the justice secretary had allowed high-profile inmates to enjoy luxurious privileges.

“If you’re going to read that memo again, (you’ll know) that is hearsay. Everything he said (in the memo) are the things that was said to him. If that is how it was done, then that is hearsay,” Aguirre said.

“(Lim said that) AFP officials, BuCor officials are the ones who told him, but he didn’t say who. It is nothing as an evidence,” Aguirre said.

Prison guards relieved over ‘perks grant’

BuCor chief Benjamin de los Santos ordered the relief of 21 prison security officers at the AFP Custodial and Detention following a leaked, albeit “hearsay,” memorandum insinuating that Aguirre had allowed special privileges for high-profile inmates.

The BuCor chief had instructed the transfer of the 20 prison guards led by Prison Guard 3 Marlon Mangubat to the NBP as they are set to be investigated to determine their possible liability in the detention center fiasco.

“BuCor has relieved the entire complement of prison guards headed by PG3 Marlon Mangubat and 20 others at the ISAFP Detention Facility. A new OIC was installed to oversee posting of new guards,” delos Santos said.

In addition, delos Santos bared to the media that clearing operations had been conducted inside the AFP Detention Center after Aguirre had ordered the military prison facility to be probed.

The BuCor chief said that operatives tasked to probe the prison facility had dismantled air conditioning units and searched separate rooms where inmates were found not possessing any personal cellular phones.

Delos Santos, however, said that they have found only one phone installed at the reception area. The phone was made available only for emergency purposes. He said all calls are logged individually showing the inmates’ name, time, date and the party contacted.


He added that the operatives have found only one television set installed at the reception area. However, the television set was solely for the purpose of scheduled viewing for inmates.

AFP, PNP wash hands

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are washing their hands off the alleged luxurious perks now being enjoyed by high-profile inmates detained at a jail facility inside its general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año, in an interview, maintained that the military only provided the space, which is the Intelligence Service of the AFP (Isafp) Custodial Center, for the detention of nine high-profile inmates, led by drug lord Herbert Colanggo.

Año stressed that the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) is the “administrator” of the detention facility where the high-profile inmates, who testified against de Lima during a Senate inquiry last year, are being held.

The AFP chief, on the other hand, vouched for the Special Action Force (SAF) troops who are only in-charge of the security.

“The Bucor is the one in charge, running that custodial center for high profile inmates. In fairness to the SAF, their job is to guard and to ensure that they cannot escape…so they have nothing to do to whatever is being sneaked inside,” said Año.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP-public affairs office chief, acknowledged that the military indeed has a report pertaining to the “unauthorized fixtures” discovered inside the detention facility.

He said the military observations and recommendations for the detention facility were already forwarded to the Department of Justice which has supervision over Bucor.
“The content of the report is now already with the DoJ.”

For his part, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald dela Rosa vowed he will order an investigation to determine whether the SAF troopers have liability on the matter.

“We will investigate and we will determine up to what extent is their (SAF) influence over the control of whatever contraband entering the facility,” said Dela Rosa.

“But their main mission there is to secure the perimeter…but as to the management of that facility we believe that’s Bucor mandate,” he added.


INQUIRER

EDITORIAL: Scandal at DOJ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:43 AM February 11, 2017



The best and brightest—that was the promise the Filipino people heard from President Duterte, at the beginning of his term, as to who he would choose for his Cabinet.

Seven months later, that promise has become a laugh in the case of his choice for justice secretary: Vitaliano Aguirre II, who has lurched from one controversy to another and spouted statements that, at the very least, call into question his fitness for office.

The justice portfolio is not only central to this administration’s avowed campaign against crime; it is also, and more importantly, the vanguard of the state’s basic duty to implement the law fairly, to go after those who break it, and to ensure justice for all. But, to take just one recent example, is that mandate served in any way by a justice secretary who, with breathtaking injudiciousness, declares that “the criminals, the drug lords, drug pushers—they are not humanity”?

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'CRIMINALS NOT HUMANITY'

That statement was in relation to an Amnesty International report decrying the thousands of alleged state-sponsored extrajudicial killings that have occurred under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, and hinting that these killings may constitute “crimes against humanity.”

Aguirre’s statement was, of course, merely a reiteration of the mindset of his boss, who has said essentially the same thing more than once. But surely the justice secretary—the supposed chief champion of the law—can be expected not to serve as the hatchet man of the right to due process and of the presumption of innocence accorded all Filipinos under the Constitution?

If Aguirre’s intellectual and philosophical bearings vis-à-vis his job appear this problematic, his administrative record so far is even worse.

The latest to be laid at the doorstep of the Department of Justice is the disappearance of Wally Sombero, the middleman of casino mogul Jack Lam. Sombero is accused of facilitating the P50-million bribe given to former immigration commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, who are incidentally fraternity brothers of the President and his justice secretary.


Wally Sombero August 12, 2011 - 12:24 pm: The Godfather of Poker in Asia, Wally “The Dream” Sombero, is definitely a pride of the Philippines. After retiring from the Philippine Army with the Honor of the Country award, Wally travelled to Las Vegas and learned and played poker with the mission of bringing this “mind sport” to his home country, as he knew there was the potential for Filipinos to excel in the game. In 2005, Wally Sombrero, together with other poker enthusiasts in the country, started the first registered poker room at the Airport Casino. FROM THE ASIANPOKERTOUR.COM

Aguirre himself had said that he thought he, too, was being offered a bribe by Sombero. That’s how high up, and how crucial, Sombero’s testimony would appear to be. And yet, at the last Senate hearing on the bribery scandal, it was revealed that Aguirre had allowed Sombero to fly to Canada “for medical purposes.”

Not only that: Sombero allegedly sought permission to leave a mere day before his departure. His request was immediately granted by an Aguirre underling, immigration commissioner Jaime Morente, there being no objection from the boss despite Sombero’s scheduled Senate appearance, and despite the fact that he was on an immigration lookout order issued by Aguirre himself.

Sombero is but the latest high-profile suspect to fly the coop; earlier there was the alleged drug lord Peter Lim, and then Jack Lam, who is accused of illegal online gambling and human trafficking activities. All under Aguirre’s watch, and on top of the unresolved, tawdry tangle he has had with

Sen. Leila de Lima, whom he has failed to definitively pin down on sensational charges of profiteering from convicted drug traffickers in the national penitentiary.

Lately, what has emerged is how far Aguirre seems willing to go in his campaign against his predecessor in office. According to a Bureau of Corrections document obtained by this paper, Aguirre authorized the grant of privileges—“e.g., use of electronic gadgets, smart television sets, air conditioning units, internet, cellular phones”—to drug convicts in exchange for their testimonies against De Lima. He has denied the charge, but the BuCor memo is clear in saying it was upon the “express instruction of the Hon. Vitaliano N. Aguirre II.”

By now it should be clear: It’s a scandal that this man holds the justice portfolio.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

BI official blamed for departure of Lam middleman; Senate probe of bribery scandal By: Tarra Quismundo - Reporter / @TarraINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 12:44 AM February 10, 2017


Former Police Supt Wally Sombero INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

Sen. Richard Gordon on Thursday ordered the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to bring to the Senate the official responsible for allowing the departure of former police officer Wally Sombero, middleman for Chinese gambling magnate Jack Lam, saying the official should be fired for letting a key witness in a bribery scandal leave the country despite being on the bureau’s lookout list.

A frustrated Gordon said Melba Lopez, the BI supervisor who cleared Sombero for departure on Jan. 17, might have been compromised when she supposedly failed to identify Sombero, who was on the immigration lookout bulletin order (Ilbo) earlier issued by the Department of Justice.

The Senate blue ribbon committee has so far failed to get Sombero to testify on his claims that he had served as Lam’s emissary in giving P50 million in bribe money to former Immigration Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles.

Sombero remains in Canada, purportedly for medical reasons. Gordon threatened to send him straight to jail once he returns to the Philippines for ignoring the Senate’s summons.

‘Unmitigated diarrhea’

“These lapses are unmitigated diarrhea. What do you mean lapse when the name was Sombero?” Gordon said, asserting that the immigration supervisor should have checked properly even while Sombero’s passport name was “Wenceslao.” His first name indicated on the watch list was “Wally.”

“On that basis, she let him leave? She should be fired! She did not do her job,” Gordon said as he questioned Marc Red Mariñas, BI Port Operations Division chief.

Mariñas had narrated that, upon initial check, the immigration officer on desk, Jean Grace Subia, referred Sombero’s case to Lopez as she “had doubts about the person in front of her.”

“When they verified the name in the passport in the system, the name of Mr. Sombrero did not hit in database because details in Ilbo was only ‘Wally Sombero’ …. The supervisor decided to allow subject to leave country,” Mariñas said, adding that Lopez has been with the bureau for 20 years.

He said he was informed of Sombero’s departure two hours after his plane had left Manila.

Gordon suspected that Lopez had colluded with Sombero, saying: “Someone got to your people.”

“Did someone get to her? Did someone escort Sombero?” Gordon asked.

“She’s (Lopez) doing absolute damage to our country,” Gordon said, noting how Sombero’s absence at the hearing has delayed the proceedings.

“You are directed, Mr. Morente, to bring her here,” Gordon told Immigration Commisioner Jaime Morente. The fourth hearing is scheduled on Feb. 16.

Gordon expressed disappointment at the BI for letting Sombero leave even while he had informed the agency of his planned departure a day earlier, on Jan. 16, citing his concern for his family’s safety.

“He was able to leave nonetheless … So much negligence … You were all aware he was leaving,” Gordon said, asking the BI to give the committee a detailed explanation.

He also blasted the BI for its “very capricious, very loose enforcement” of immigration rules, citing the entry of more than 1,300 illegal Chinese workers in the country who had either questionable visas or lacked travel documents.


MANILA STANDARD

Palace: Drug war backed by people posted February 12, 2017 at 12:01 am by John Paolo Bencito


President Rodrigo Duterte

There is no “mounting opposition” to President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, Malacañang claimed on Saturday, as it slammed United Nations rapporteur Agnes Callamard for saying that the thousands of deaths in the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign had given rise to a sense of impunity.

“What she’s saying that there’s a mounting opposition, it’s a minority voice that favors liberal politics,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told state-run dzRB radio.

“However, on the ground, it’s really a different situation here in the Philippines, and if you’ll base it on public opinion, we really made big strides. So in terms of support ... Do you expect support to come from outside? [or] Would you expect support from inside?”

Following a recent survey, Callamard said that while the President remains popular, there is already an increasing opposition against Duterte’s drug war, which has already killed more than 7,600 people, mostly drug users and small-time dealers, since he took office.

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“The difference between the number of reported killings and the number of court cases is unbelievable,” Callamard said in a Reuters report. “It’s very unusual for that degree of impunity to remain restricted to one kind of crime or one type of community,” she added.

“There is an increasing awareness on the part of the Filipino people that the war on drugs could hurt them. The surveys that are being done indicate support for the president…but critique the war on drugs,” the rapporteur said.

In a separate tweet, the UN rapporteur reminded Duterte that his war on drugs “is not just a waste of money” but could also “make the problem worse,” following the unsolicited advice given by former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria that the trash-talking Philippine leader is repeating his mistakes.

Abellla, however, said that the critics of the president, like Callamard, have vested interests to start with.

“What we hear from outside are mainly criticisms. And I suppose that it’s also their role. But we also have to understand that, we also have to understand that those critics are also voices of other forces that are trying to, they also have their own agenda,” he said.

Abella added that Duterte continues to “reconfigure and rebalance” his war on the illegal drug menace.

“The President has been consistently very strong in protecting the interest of the nation and maybe it’s what some people don’t appreciate too much,” he said, saying public opinion showed that Filipinos support Duterte’s war on illegal drugs.

“[Duterte] is very persistent in pursuing and making sure that the—apparatus of drugs is destroyed,” he added.

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RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

Death Toll of the War on Drugs ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group Posted at July 13, 2016 5:30 PM | Updated as of February 8, 2017 11:41 AM

These interactive map and charts show the drug-related fatalities reported since May 10, 2016 based on ABS-CBN's independent monitoring of national and local news reports, and PNP Regional Office press releases.

ABS-CBN categorized these fatalities tagged in drugs by the way they were killed:

1) Killed during police operations: The alleged drug suspects were killed by policemen in anti-illegal drug operations (such as buy-bust operations, Oplan Tokhang, Oplan Galugad etc.) that reportedly escalated to a shootout. This category also includes individuals killed by policemen after the suspects allegedly put up a fight when they were accosted for other illegal activities but were later found in possession of drugs, and the cases were referred as drug-related in news reports.

2) Killed by unidentified assailants: the individuals were killed in shooting incidents by unidentified assailants or by motorcycle-riding gunmen. The incidents were either witnessed by other people or captured on CCTV. Policemen or barangay officials would later say that the slain individuals were involved in drugs—either as user, pusher, or both—and conclude that the incidents were drug related. In some cases, relatives of the slain individuals would also say that the victims had already previously surrendered in Oplan Tokhang.

3) Bodies found away from the crime scene: the victims' bodies were dumped away from the crime scene. The bodies either bore a label tagging the victims in drug-related activities (usually a cardboard bearing the words "drug pusher" "drug user" or "drug addict") or illegal drugs were reportedly recovered from the body. The victims' faces and bodies usually bore gunshot wounds, and in some cases, stab wounds as well. The victims' arms or legs, or both, were often found bound and their bodies wrapped in tape.

The proportion of each category relative to the total death toll is illustrated in the pie chart.

The heat map illustrates the magnitude of drug-related deaths per province/city: the redder the color of a province/city in the map, the higher the number of drug-related deaths reported in that area.

The table meanwhile, shows the names and aliases of those who were killed, as well as the dates and areas where the killings took place. Each column in the table is sortable.

The data on the map, charts, and table are interconnected. For example, clicking on a province/city on the map will show the corresponding details for that area in the charts and tables, such as the death toll in that province/city; the names of those killed and the dates when the incidents took place; and the type of incident. Clicking on the chart and tables will likewise reveal the corresponding information on the map.

The data may also be viewed per province/city by ticking on the list. It is possible to tick more than one province/city on the list.

Clicking on the white space anywhere on the chart will restore the map, charts, and tables to default view.


IMAGE OF Power Business Immersion Analytics: TO VIEW FULL WebpageComplete image file of this MAP, CHARTS AND TABLE INTERCONNECTED, CLICK HERE

Sources: News sites of ABS-CBN, GMA 7, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, DZIQ Radyo Inquirer 990 AM, DZRH News, Sunstar Bacolod, Sunstar Baguio, Sunstar Cagayan de Oro, Sunstar Davao, Sunstar Cebu, Sunstar Pampanga, Sunstar Zamboanga, Cebu Daily News, The Manila Times, The Standard, Tempo, Bombo Radyo Philippines, The Freeman, MindaNews, Mindanao Times, Mindanao Goldstar Daily, The Bohol Chronicle, Bicol Today, and press releases from PNP Regional Office websites. Top photo: Basilio H. Sepe


TRIBUNE

UN expert speaks for ‘liberal politics’ Written by Ted Tuvera Sunday, 12 February 2017 00:00


FEBRUARY 12 -United Nations (UN) rapporteur Agnes Callamard was merely giving voice to “liberal politics” when she remarked that there’s a mounting opposition against President Duterte’s war on drugs, the Palace said yesterday.

United Nations (UN) rapporteur Agnes Callamard was merely giving voice to “liberal politics” when she remarked that there’s a mounting opposition against President Duterte’s war on drugs, the Palace said yesterday.

“What she’s saying was a minority voice that favors liberal politics,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

“There is an increasing awareness on the part of the Filipino people that the war on drugs could hurt them. The surveys that are being done indicate support for the president…but critique the war on drugs,” Callamard said.

Callamard made the statement in an interview with reporters in Bangkok, a day after former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria said in a commentary in New York Times entitled “President Duterte is repeating my mistakes” that the fight against the narcotics trade in the Philippines cannot be won alone by police and military force.

Abella said the government has been getting “mainly criticisms” from international bodies that have their own agenda.

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“What we hear from outside are mainly criticisms. And I suppose that it’s also their role. But we also have to understand that the critics are also voices of other forces that are trying to (push their own) agenda,” he said.

“The President has been consistently very strong in protecting the interest of the nation and maybe it’s what some people don’t appreciate too much,” he said, citing public opinion polls which showed Filipinos support Duterte’s war on illegal drugs.

“Based on public opinion, the strides we made on the drugs war have been substantial,” he added.



But the presidential mouthpiece, however, did not deny that criticisms from outsiders are not invalid.

“We’re not saying they’re wrong, we’re saying that, yes we understand where they’re coming from,” Abella said.

“Mainly what we hear from outside are mainly criticisms and I suppose that it’s also their role,” he added.

“So in terms of support, where do you expect support? Do you expect support to come from outside or do you expect support from inside?” Abella said, adding that the President will continue to pursue his promise to go after drug traffickers.

Coordinated criticisms

Callamard, in the Bangkok interview, also welcomed the temporary suspension of police anti-drug operations following the abduction and killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo inside Camp Crame.

Callamard, however, said the suspension of anti-drug Oplan Tokhang must be coupled with an investigation of all the unlawful killings, accountability and reparation.

“On Callamard’s remarks that the government should look into unlawful deaths, the President has clear directives that extrajudicial killings must be thoroughly investigated according to established internal procedures; the results of which will be made public in due time,” Abella said.

“We acknowledge the statement of the UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard. However, the war on drugs, as the President has said, continues until the last day of his administration,” he added.

Abella said the Duterte government “does not condone extrajudicial killings perpetrated by common criminals which have been wrongly attributed in some unvetted reports as part of police operations.”

President Duterte had directed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to go after the scalawags and criminals within the PNP.

In response, Dela Rosa announced the temporary suspension of ‘Oplan Tokhang’ that prompted over one million drug pushers and users to turn themselves in.

Oplan Tokhang led to the arrest of over 43,000 drug offenders and more than 2,000 traffickers killed in legitimate police operations.

The number of deaths does not include the supposed unlawful killings which reached over 4,000.

Abella said it was unfortunate that international attention to the drug war in the Philippines centers on drug-related killings rather than the breakthroughs of the campaign.

On Gaviria, Abella said Mr. Duterte rightly understood his insight into the problem when he began to address not just crime and illegal drugs but also broadened government efforts into a public health issue.

MORE THAN NATIONAL SECURITY, HEALTH PANDEMIC PROBLEM

“But more than a national security problem, the proliferation of drugs in the country has been regarded as a health pandemic,” he said as he pointed out that the second phase of the Mr. Duterte’s anti-drug campaign focuses on the treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependents.

For this, he cited the government’s efforts to successfully achieve the objectives of the second phase of the campaign.

Among them is the inauguration of the 2,500-patient capacity Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija last November.

Another drug rehabilitation center, the Residential Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (RTRC) in Agusan del Sur — the first to open in a military camp in Mindanao — was likewise opened last year.

In addition, PhilHealth, the government’s national health insurance program, now covers a two-week drug rehabilitation program reserved at P10,000 per member.

Nonetheless, Abella said that while it was unfortunate that international attention has been focused solely on drug-related killings, the Palace still appreciates the concerns aired by the ex-Colombian leader.

“We appreciate the ex-Colombian president’s concerns and we encourage our people to see our situation in the light of comprehensive nation-building,” Abella said.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Trillanes to Aguirre: Resign, spare yourself from scandals By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 13, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV yesterday made the call as Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is set to face grilling by senators again this week on at least two occasions: his confirmation hearings before the Commission on Appointments (CA) and the resumption of inquiry into the P50-million bribery scandal at the Bureau of Immigration (BI), which is under his supervision. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV asked Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to resign and save himself from the controversies and scandals hounding the Duterte administration.

Trillanes yesterday made the call as Aguirre is set to face grilling by senators again this week on at least two occasions: his confirmation hearings before the Commission on Appointments (CA) and the resumption of inquiry into the P50-million bribery scandal at the Bureau of Immigration (BI), which is under his supervision.

“I hope he’ll (Aguirre) just resign. I don’t know if his President knows how to fire his friends. I just hope he does this (resignation) voluntarily,” Trillanes told dzBB.

Based on the last two hearings of the Senate justice committee on the bribery scandal, Aguirre appears to have instructed former BI deputy commissioners – Al Argosino and Michael Robles – to extort money from gambling mogul Jack Lam in exchange for the release of 600 arrested Chinese workers.

Aguirre is also under fire for giving privileges to high-profile drug convicts, including mobile phones, internet access, and smart televisions, supposedly in exchange for testifying on Sen. Leila de Lima’s alleged links to illegal drug trade in New Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary.

The senator also said he would continue to oppose Aguirre’s appointment before the CA on various grounds, including his alleged involvement in the bribery scandal at the BI and for attacking the Senate as an institution.

Trillanes said Aguirre called him and other senators “gago” (morons), which can be considered an attack on the Senate.

He said Aguirre is also responsible for persecuting De Lima on trumped up charges upon orders of Duterte.

“He (Aguirre) has been tampering with their (drug convicts) testimonies to pursue their agenda (against De Lima),” Trillanes said.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

De Lima also faces dirty money raps Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 13 February 2017 00:00 By Julius Leonen and Joyce Ann L. Rocamora



DOJ CHIEF: AMLC HAS NEW PROOF

Aside from possible charges over allegations of her involvement in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) narcotics trade, Sen. Leila de Lima faces new trouble after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II revealed that the dirty money watchdog Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), under a new leadership, has discovered evidence that will pin her down for alleged violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).

In a one-on-one interview with the Tribune last Friday, Aguirre revealed that the AMLC, now led by Mel Georgie Racela as the newly-appointed officer-in-charge (OIC) Executive Director discovered proof of de Lima’s alleged violation of the AMLA Law.

Racela replaced former AMLC chief Julia Bacay-Abad, an appointee of former President Aquino, who resigned after President Duterte along with Aguirre complained of the AMLC’s reluctance to cooperate with Mr.reluctance to cooperate with Mr. Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign as the agency sat on requests for bank documents of those involved in the NBP drugs trade including de Lima.

Aguirre added that since AMLC’s former executive director Bacay-Abad resigned from her post, the situation at the AMLC has “definitely improved,” explaining that more than a week after Racela took over, fresh evidence against the senator surfaced.

“As a matter of fact, under the new OIC Executive Director of the AMLC, who has been there in the office for about more than one week, (the agency) has already given us some proof that we could use as evidence for the violation of Senator de Lima of the AMLA Law, and of course, in connection with her other offenses,” Aguirre told the Tribune.

Aguirre, however, refused to divulge the contents of the newly-discovered evidence, explaining that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has a memorandum of agreement with the AMLC and not the DoJ.

Aguirre said that once the evidence has been formally transmitted to the NBI, only then will the DoJ divulge the contents of the AMLC’s report.

“Well, I would not be at liberty to divulge it at this point, because it should be the one with the memorandum of agreement with the AMLC, which is the NBI, not the Department of Justice,” Aguirre said.

“And so, after it has been officially transmitted to the NBI, then that would be the time that we’ll be given a copy of such report,” Aguirre said.

The justice secretary, however, bared that “certain properties” were included in the AMLC report, but again refused to reveal the specifics of the newly-discovered evidence intended to be used against Senator de Lima.

“Well, there are some properties, but we are still including some (but) I don’t want to enumerate them at this time, because the report is not yet available. Let’s wait for the report,” Aguirre said.

“They (NBI) will have a meeting on Tuesday, I think, with the AMLC. So, in about a week’s time, perhaps we could receive some reports from them,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre and Mr. Duterte have both expressed frustration with the AMLC with its sluggish cooperation in releasing financial documents essential in the preliminary investigations into the narcotics trade at the NBP.

Last December, Aguirre, out of frustration over the AMLC’s failure to turn over complete essential bank records in connection with the NBP drug trade, said that he considered filing charges aginst the AMLC, possibly for graft and or negligence.

The Justice chief said that after months of waiting, only on December 19 did the AMLC turn over to the NBI statements of accounts of suspects allegedly involved in the NBP drug trade, including the bank records of de Lima.

Aguirre, however, said that the documents are incomplete, pointing out that the analysis of the accounts’ cash flows have yet to be turned over.

LP rallies behind Leila

Hitting the impending charges and possible release of an arrest warrant against de Lima over her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade, senators from the Liberal Party (LP) yesterday aired support for their embattled party-mate, warning the Department of Justice (DOJ) that filing charges without credible evidence is “illegal and unjust”.

In a joint statement released by the LP, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Senator Francis Pangilinan and Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon caution “of the possibility that criminal cases are being used as political tool, propaganda, and smokescreen or distractions for the public.”

Whether ordinary Filipino or senator, they stressed that filing charges and issuing warrants of arrest without credible evidence or witness is illegal and unjust.

“The stabbing of potential witness Jayvee Sebastian also puts a serious cloud of doubt on the veracity of his testimony and those of other inmates made to testify who may all very well be fearful for their lives,” the statement read.

Earlier, the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Corrections personnel tagged Aguirre as the official who allowed special treatment for high-profile inmates who testified against de Lima.

The justice secretary dismissed the allegations as “hearsay”.

Aguirre said the complaint against de Lima might be ready by this week depending on the speed at which the five-man DOJ tapped to build a case against her perform their task.

Asserting that the DOJ has no jurisdiction over de Lima’s case, the three LP senators called on the agency to “honor the rule of law and due process” by supporting the Ombudsman’s investigation.

The LP said the Ombudsman has primary jurisdiction over cases against public officers cognizable by the Sandiganbayan.

Last Thursday, de Lima filed a second petition before the Court of Appeals (CA) to stop the DOJ from acting on the criminal complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against her over accusation that she allegedly received P8-million in drugs money from self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.

“Violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act, which is the DOJ’s case against Sen. De Lima, falls under ‘other offenses committed by public officials’ listed in the Sandiganbayan Law,” LP said in the joint statement.

Pangilinan, Aquino and Drilon also called on the public “to remain vigilant and to cultivate a discerning eye and a critical mind for truth and justice.”

Aguirre hits back



Aguirre II, however, found the LP senators’ statement insulting, blasting them for suggesting that the DOJ will be violating the law if charges are filed against de Lima supposedly “without credible evidence.”

In a text message to reporters, a furious Aguirre skewered the LP senators following their disparaging statement, insisting that not only were the testimonies and evidences presented against de Lima credible, but were also deemed “overwhelming.”

“The Department of Justice under me will never file a case without credible evidence. In fact, the evidence against De Lima during the hearing at the House of Representatives were not only credible, but overwhelming,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre stressed that the senators should instead wait for the drug cases’ resolution before making any judgment. He added that he would never use the Justice Department to file politically motivated cases against the administration’s opponents.

“Never will I file any case for political considerations. They should wait for the resolution and read it before making any judgment. It is their statement that is politically motivated,” Aguirre said.

De Lima is currently facing six criminal complaints at the DoJ, four of which were filed for her alleged role as a protector of NBP drug lords.

Aguirre told the Tribune in a one-on-one interview last Friday that the resolution of the drug cases against Senator de Lima, whether it would find probable cause against the respondents or not, would be out by Monday or Tuesday.

“We believe that by next week, the resolution of these cases finding, or not finding, probable cause against Sen. de Lima and the respondents willbe filed by the five-man DoJ (Department of Justice) panel. I believe (it would be out) by Monday or Tuesday,” Aguirre told the Tribune.

De Lima is claiming that Aguirre is pressing the DoJ to “railroad” her drug cases to the point that an immediate arrest warrant would be served against her. Aguirre, however, admitted that it took so long for them to establish a concrete case.

“Well, actually, I myself found it too long while Secretary de Lima says that I am expediting it for the purpose of nailing her. That is not true. Only the five-man panel was scrupulously studying the case,” Aguirre told the Tribune.

Aguirre said the number of witnesses had resulted in the DoJ to take longer than necessary to firm up the complaints against de Lima.

”The case was really hard because there are so many witnesses, several accusations, different sections violated, so they are sorting it out,” Aguirre said.

The panel of prosecutors headed by Senior Asst. State Prosecutor Peter Ong has already submitted the case for resolution without a reply from de Lima, who was repeatedly summoned to attend the hearing and submit her counter-affidavit.

The consolidated complaints against de Lima were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), crime watchdog group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), former NBI deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala and high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian in connection to her alleged involvement in illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison when she was still Justice Secretary.

The complaints filed against her include indirect bribery, violation of the Anti-Graft Law and violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Asked for a comment on de Lima’s petition before the Court of Appeals to stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) from acting on the drug trafficking complaints filed against her, Aguirre said that there is no need for temporary restraining order (TRO) because during her stint as DoJ Secretary she ordered to file cases against public officials.

De Lima sought relief from the CA after the DOJ rejected her plea for inhibition of the department from the cases and to forward the complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman, which she said has exclusive jurisdiction of graft charges against elected officials.

CCTV eyed for inmates

The DOJ also plans to install CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Detention Center where some high profile inmates are temporarily detained.

Aguirre said the move was in response to reports that some high profile inmates are being given special treatment at the detention facility.

”I think its not hard to do and it is necessary I think because of this and we put CCTV,” Aguirre told reporters during a press conference last Friday.

He explained that some inmates were detained at the AFP Detention Center due to the congestion inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Building 14 in Muntinlupa City and also to avoid the conflicts between some inmates.

He also recalled that he decided to transfer high profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian from the NBP to the National Bureau of Investigation Detention Center due to safety reasons.

The DOJ chief added that Sebastian’s wife asked to have him transferred for fear for his life after the riot at the NBP’s Building 14.

”As a matter of fact that is the very reason why Jaybee Sebastian was also taken out of bldg. 14 and placed at NBI because the wife of Jaybee Sebastian was complaining, his family was complaining that his life was very much in danger,” he added.

Sebastian was stabbed during a riot inside Building 14 of the NBP last year. Two other high-profile inmates were injured while another one was killed during the stabbing incident.

He also showed to media some photos of the inmates detained in Camp Aguinaldo which show their rather simple lifestyle in contrast to the claims of De Lima.

“These pictures were taken February 10, 2017 at around 11:15 a.m. at the AFP Custodial and Detention Center in Camp Aguinaldo. These are the conditions of our inmates now. Is this a lavish lifestyle? You are more than free to visit them at Camp Aguinaldo if you doubt these pictures,” Aguirre told reporters.

He also refuted the statement of de Lima referring to a confidential memorandum dated Dec. 9, 2016 where Atty. Alvin Herrera Lim, chief of the Legal Office of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), stated that: “When pressed for comment, elements of both PNP and BuCor invoked that they are just following the express instruction of the Hon. Vitaliano N. Aguirre II to allow the entry of the above-enumerated gadgets in return for the testimony they have during the congressional inquiry on the proliferation of drugs inside the New Bilibid Prisons.”

He also believes that the leak of the confidential document regarding the alleged special privileges granted to high-profile inmates was meant to prevent him from getting the nod of the Commission on Appointments (CA) for his post.

BuCor chief Benjamin Delos Santos on Friday ordered the relief of all the prison guards stationed at the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) detention facility due to these reports that some high profile inmates temporarily detained there are given special privileges.

Delos Santos ordered the 21 prison guards headed by Prison Guard 3 Marlon Mangubat to be transferred back to the New Bilibid Prison to be investigated to determine their possible liability.

In response to Aguirre’s memorandum issued on Wednesday, Delos Santos said a clearing operation was conducted by a joint team of BuCor and members of the Special Action Force (SAF) at the said facility.

The BuCor chief said the joint team have dismantled air conditioning units and also searched all the rooms and no cellular phones were found in the rooms of said inmates.

He said there is only one phone installed at the reception area for emergency purposes, under watch by BUCOR-SAF and all calls are logged individually showing inmates name, time, date and party contacted.

He added that there is only one television set installed and that is at the reception area for scheduled viewing.


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