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AMNESTY INT'L BLAMES DUTERTE, TRUMP FOR HR PUSH BACK; CITES 'FEAR-MONGERING, ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT POLITICIANS'
[RELATED: De Lima arrest meant to silence criticism vs Duterte - Amnesty Int'l]


FEBRUARY 23 -
Copies of the ‘2016/17 Amnesty International Report: State of the World’s Human Rights’ are seen during the Philippine launch at a press conference in Quezon City yesterday. AP Amnesty International says “toxic” fear-mongering by anti-establishment politicians, among them President Duterte, US President Donald Trump and leaders of Turkey and Hungary, is contributing to a global pushback against human rights. Releasing its 408-page annual report on rights abuses around the world in Paris yesterday, the watchdog group described 2016 as “the year when the cynical use of ‘us vs them’ narratives of blame, hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s,” when Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany. Amnesty named Duterte, Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among leaders it said are “wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people.” The Philippines was among five countries mentioned in the report’s foreword as having serious human rights abuses. READ MORE...RELATED, De Lima arrest meant to silence criticism vs Duterte: Amnesty Int'l...

ALSO: Palace on Amnesty report - Filipinos are satisfied with Duterte
[RELATED: Palace asks for patience on promised changes; esp increase in joblessness]


FEBRUARY 23 -Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella downplayed the AI’s report that categorized Duterte as among the leaders “wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people.” King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo The special concern aired by human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) on reports of extrajudicial killings under President Duterte does not reflect the sentiments of the Filipino people, Malacañang said yesterday. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella downplayed the AI’s report that categorized Duterte as among the leaders “wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people.” It said the “us (versus) them” rhetoric by the so-called “anti-establishment” leaders like Duterte is creating a more divided and dangerous world. The 2016 to 2017 AI report also noted the “wave of extrajudicial executions” that ensued after Duterte promised to kill tens of thousands of people suspected of being involved in the drug trade. READ MORE...RELATED, Palace asks for patience on promised changes...

ALSO: Governance in Justice program launched with P1-B support from European Union, Spain


FEBRUARY 24 -BOOST FOR THE JUSTICE SYSTEM – Getting together for a picture after the launching Thursday of the program to improve the Philippine justice system are (from left): European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, and Spain’s Ambassador to the Philippines Luis Antonio Calvo.
(Ali Vicoy | Manila Bulletin) The Philippine government, with the European Union (EU) and the Spanish government, launched yesterday a P1-billion Governance in Justice program to help achieve a speedy and efficient delivery of criminal justice for the country. Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, and EU Ambassador Franz Jessen launched the program at the Manila Hotel. Ambassador Jessen said the program hopes to hasten the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the Philippines’ justice system. “As the Philippines moves towards middle-income status, a properly functioning justice system will be essential for the business climate and to ensure the continuity of economic growth,” Jessen said. READ MORE..

ALSO: OUT OF THE SHADOWS Manila’s meth dealers back in streets as PNP cops pull back


FEBRUARY 28 -REUTERS FILE
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs had until three weeks ago driven the trade in crystal methamphetamine underground, according to residents and drug users in some of the slum areas of the nation's capital city. As thousands of users and dealers were shot dead by police and vigilantes in the first seven months after Duterte came to power last June, open dealing in the drug, known here by its street name shabu, largely stopped. Instead, deals were done on the quiet between people who knew each other, maybe with a text message first. But since Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to stand down from the drugs war last month, after declaring the force "rotten to the core", the drugs trade has come back out of the shadows, more than half a dozen drug users and dealers in some of Manila's toughest areas said in interviews. Many spoke on condition that only their first names be used in this story. Beside one of the less-used railroad tracks in Manila - a grassy area scattered with human excrement only a few miles from the gleaming high-rises of the Makati business district - shabu was easily available last week, costing just a few pesos (cents) per hit. Residents said that when they traveled on the illegal trolleys that ferry people for a few pesos along the track when there are no trains in sight, a fellow passenger will often offer them a sachet of the drug. Eusebio, 52, who pushes a wood and bamboo trolley on the track for a living, said dealers sometimes walk alongside calling out: "How much are you going to buy?" "Now that the operations have been suspended, drugs have become rampant again," he said. "Those who were hiding have resurfaced." READ MORE...

ALSO: COMMENTARY - On Sen. De Lima, please show us a drug money trail
[RELATED: LP members tagged in P100-M bribe try on hi-profile inmates]


FEBRUARY 27 -There is one way to convict and jail Senator Leila de Lima of drug charges and make that jailing credible to most Filipinos: the presentation of a money trail. Bank accounts in yuuge (borrowing from Trump) numbers. Testimonies of bagmen (real ones, credible ones, not like the yahoos that the state has presented so far), and a credible narrative showing that she really benefitted from the drug trade as alleged by the state. In short, show the Filipinos she reaped billions of pesos from the drug trade, backed by the required documentation and witnesses.
Show us the money. Only a money trail will clear all doubts that she really deserved to be called the “grandmother of drug lords.” So far, nothing except claims that she did coddle /mastermind the drug trade with the NBP as the main trading point have backed up the charges against her; that Dayan collected money on her behalf; that Dayan had built a decent house in Pangasinan; claims that she bankrolled her senatorial win on money tainted by drugs. All of these would be lame and lack credibility without proof of bank accounts and real bagmen, READ MORE... RELATED, LP members tagged in P100-M bribe try on hi-profile inmates...

ALSO: COMMENTARY - No political martyr. she claims to be
[RELATED Commentary -A lot of crap]
(Magdalo Rep. Alejano claimed that Lascañas was hounded by the spirit of a boy he killed decades ago to confess the truth in the Davao Death Squad.  “At that time he (Lascañas) had nothing to hold on to. He had a divine encounter when he had a kidney operation that he promised to reveal or make a public confession before God, but he had no way of doing it,” Alejano explained. That’s a lot of crap)


FEBRUARY 26 -Sen. Leila de Lima is finally getting her comeuppance, even as she tries to portray herself as a political martyr while her lawyers and Liberal Partymates echo her refrain of her arrest being illegal, still insisting, like Leila, that the jurisdiction does not belong to the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) but to the Ombudsman. They also, like Leila, cry that her arrest brings a chilling effect on all those who oppose Rody Duterte, while Leila keeps on claiming that she is being charged, arrested and detained for opposing Duterte and exposing him as the brains behind the extrajudicial killings, as a Davao City mayor and now President of the Republic, thus as her logic goes, making her the first political prisoner under the Dutere presidency. If such is her logic, what then were the three opposition senators whom she and her buddy, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who charged them and had them detained, also political prisoners under Aquino, together with former President Gloria Arroyo? All those officials arrested, charged and detained under the Aquino administration were known to oppose Noynoy Aquino, and it was made clear by Noynoy even then that he would make his political foes his exhibits in his war against corruption. Compared to Rody, Noynoy was worse, by way of framing his political foes with trumped up charges, whether it was the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, or Gloria Arroyo or the three then opposition senators, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla. READ MORE...RELATED, Commentary -A lot of crap...


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AI blames Rody, Trump for rights pushback


Copies of the ‘2016/17 Amnesty International Report: State of the World’s Human Rights’ are seen during the Philippine launch at a press conference in Quezon City yesterday. AP

MANILA, FEBRUARY 27, 2017 (PHILSTAR)  By Elizabeth Marcelo February 23, 2017 -Amnesty International says “toxic” fear-mongering by anti-establishment politicians, among them President Duterte, US President Donald Trump and leaders of Turkey and Hungary, is contributing to a global pushback against human rights.

Releasing its 408-page annual report on rights abuses around the world in Paris yesterday, the watchdog group described 2016 as “the year when the cynical use of ‘us vs them’ narratives of blame, hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s,” when Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany.

Amnesty named Duterte, Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among leaders it said are “wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people.”

The Philippines was among five countries mentioned in the report’s foreword as having serious human rights abuses.

READ MORE...

“Poisonous” rhetoric employed by Trump in his election campaign exemplified “the global trend of angrier and more divisive politics,” Amnesty said.

“The limits of what is acceptable have shifted. Politicians are shamelessly and actively legitimizing all sorts of hateful rhetoric and policies based on people’s identity: misogyny, racism and homophobia. The first target has been refugees and, if this continues in 2017, others will be in the crosshairs.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

Amnesty’s annual report, “The State of the World’s Human Rights,” documented what it called “grave violations of human rights” in 159 countries in 2016.

It said governments “turned a blind eye to war crimes, pushed through deals that undermine the right to claim asylum, passed laws that violate free expression, incited murder of people simply because they are accused of using drugs, justified torture and mass surveillance and extended draconian police powers.”

The report added that “the big question in 2017 will be how far the world lets atrocities go before doing something about them.”

Exceptionally, London-based Amnesty chose to launch its report in Paris.

In top 5

In a press conference in Quezon City yesterday, AI Philippines head of office Jose Noel Olano bared that out of the 159 countries included in the AI report, the Philippines was among five countries cited due to the gravity of human rights abuses, aside from extrajudicial killings.

“Amnesty International, in relation to all other countries (in the report), is worried about the particular situation in the Philippines. In fact, (the) Philippines is mentioned as a country where there is possible crimes against humanity,” Olano said.

The four other countries were the United States, Hungary, India and Turkey.

Olano said it is the first time since the martial law years that the Philippines was cited in the foreword of the AI’s annual human rights report.

In an interview after the briefing, AI Philippines campaign coordinator Wilnor Papa said the AI gave emphasis on the Philippines in its worldwide report because “the situation here is getting alarming.”

“The cases of summary killings continue to increase. And aside from being widespread, we have a previous report showing that the killings are systematic, planned and organized...It is very alarming. It is very concerning for Amnesty International,” Papa said.

“If you will look (at) the report, Duterte is among those heads of state called out by the Amnesty International for dehumanizing certain groups and using them as scapegoats for their actions,” Olano said.

The AI specifically cited the rising cases of summary killings in the Philippines in connection with Duterte’s war on drugs as well as the administration’s supposed lack of serious investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of these crimes.

“However, the erosion of human rights values was perhaps most pernicious when officials blamed a specific ‘other’ for real or perceived social problems in order to justify their repressive actions... One variant of this was demonstrated by the escalation, with enormous loss of life, of President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines,” the foreword read.

“State-sanctioned violence and mass killings by vigilantes claimed more than 6,000 lives following repeated public endorsements by the President for those allegedly involved in drug-related crimes to be killed,” it added.

The group also hit the excessive use of force by the military and the police in suppressing activism such as the violent dispersal of protesters holding a rally at the US embassy in November last year.

The protesters belonging to indigenous organizations were at that time calling for the end of militarization and encroachment of their ancestral lands, when a van driven by a police officer ran over them.

Another instance of human rights abuse cited by the AI was the shooting and violent dispersal of farmers holding a rally in Kidapawan City in April last year, under the Aquino administration, who were calling for agricultural assistance from the local government.

“If there is no serious investigation from the government, the prosecutors of the International Criminal Court must make preliminary investigation,” Olano said, citing the recommendatory portion of the report.

Earlier this month, the AI also released a report on summary killings in the Philippines in connection with Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

In its report, the group said police officials and some enlisted personnel are getting instructions from “the very top of government” to kill suspected drug offenders in exchange for financial incentives.

PALACE: KILLINGS NOT STATE-SANCTIONED

Malacañang and the Philippine National Police denied the report, noting that extrajudicial killings are not state-sanctioned.

Emergency powers Salil Shetty, the group’s secretary-general, said France has used emergency powers introduced in 2015 in the wake of terror attacks in an abusive and “deeply discriminatory” manner, confining more than 600 people, mostly Muslims, under house arrest and banning more than 140 protests.

“Even states that once claimed to champion rights abroad are now too busy rolling back human rights at home to hold others to account,” Amnesty said. “The more countries backtrack on fundamental human rights commitments, the more we risk a domino effect of leaders emboldened to knock back established human rights protections.”

France’s government has repeatedly defended the emergency powers as a necessary safeguard against the severe terror threat it says is facing the country, and parliament has repeatedly voted to extend those powers. – With AP

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

RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

De Lima arrest meant to silence criticism vs Duterte: Amnesty Int'l ABS-CBN News Posted at Feb 23 2017 08:52 PM


Senator Leila de Lima. NPPA

MANILA- Human rights group Amnesty International has condemned the looming arrest of Senator Leila de Lima, saying the charges against her are "politically motivated."

In a statement Thursday, AI said the arrest of De Lima "is a blatant attempt by the Philippine government to silence criticism of President Duterte" and divert attention away from alleged human rights violations in the government's campaign against illegal drugs.

A Regional Trial Court (RTC) has ordered the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima for her alleged involvement in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) illegal drug trade.

Presiding Judge Juanita Guerrero of Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 issued the arrest warrant.

AI noted that De Lima has faced "intensified" attacks from President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies since the former justice chief is a vocal critic of the current administration.

"As a result of her advocacy, De Lima has faced intimidation, ridicule and threats from the President and pro-Duterte officials in the Philippines, often on a daily or weekly basis," the group said.

"The consistent harassment of Senator de Lima by the authorities is a blatant attempt to silence one of most important critics of the violent 'war on drugs' and bar her from participating in public life," the group added.

AI also called for the charges against De Lima to be dropped and for special protection for the senator once arrested.

"The organization also calls for special protection for the senator once in detention, who, given recent high profile killings in police custody, Amnesty International believes is at risk of physical harm.


PHILSTAR

Palace on Amnesty report: Pinoys satisfied with Duterte By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 23, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus1 0


Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella downplayed the AI’s report that categorized Duterte as among the leaders “wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people.” King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines - The special concern aired by human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) on reports of extrajudicial killings under President Duterte does not reflect the sentiments of the Filipino people, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella downplayed the AI’s report that categorized Duterte as among the leaders “wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people.”

It said the “us (versus) them” rhetoric by the so-called “anti-establishment” leaders like Duterte is creating a more divided and dangerous world.

The 2016 to 2017 AI report also noted the “wave of extrajudicial executions” that ensued after Duterte promised to kill tens of thousands of people suspected of being involved in the drug trade.

READ MORE...

Abella is banking on the President’s high trust ratings in an attempt to counter the AI report.

“The President received an overwhelming mandate last election, and presently, more than eight out of 10 Filipinos trust and are satisfied with the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and its handling of criminality, according to recent surveys,” he said.

Abella reiterated the President remains sensitive to the plight and sentiments of the majority of Filipinos.

“On the ‘grave violations of human rights,’ we guarantee that the state does not condone extrajudicial killings perpetrated by common criminals wrongly credited in news reports as part of police operations,” he said.

Abella added there is no stopping Duterte in his advocacy to go after drug operators as well as in his attempt to destroy the drug apparatus in the country in a bid to save the next generation.

“It is therefore regrettable that AI brushes aside the more than (one million) users and dealers who have surrendered, the discovery of mega drug laboratories and the narco-politics which have contaminated our politics, governance and law enforcement agencies,” Abella said.

According to Abella, the President won on a platform of genuine change and this would remain his only agenda to serve the interest of the Filipino people.

“The Duterte administration will continue to implement political and socioeconomic reforms aimed at improving the lives of ordinary Filipinos,” he added.

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Palace asks for patience on promised changes By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 26, 2017 - 12:00am 26 9 googleplus0 0


Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella made the call in the wake of a survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showing that adult joblessness increased by three million in the fourth quarter of 2016, or just a few months since President Duterte assumed office. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang yesterday urged the public to be more patient – rather than adversarial – with the Duterte administration, which came to office on a promise of change last year.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella made the call in the wake of a survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showing that adult joblessness increased by three million in the fourth quarter of 2016, or just a few months since President Duterte assumed office.

According to the SWS survey, adult joblessness rose to 25.1 percent or 11.2 million in December 2016 from 18.4 percent or 8.2 million in September 2016.

The 11.2 million jobless adults in the last quarter of 2016 is the worst in two years, according to the SWS survey. But the poll conducted last Dec. 3-6 also noted a record high optimism on job availability in nearly two decades.

“In a sense, there are developments, there are answers,” Abella said.

“Of course, things are not perfect and that is why we would wish that people were cooperative instead of focusing on you know, being adversarial. Well, criticism is always welcome. But being adversarial is different,” he added.

Abella also justified the high rate of adult joblessness, saying these are people who left their jobs.

“The highest increase came from those who are voluntarily leaving their jobs, that increased to 4.2 million,” he said in Filipino.

He pegged at 1.3 million those who lost their jobs because of the economic situation.

“It means many chose to resign (rather) than those who really lost their jobs. If we will look at net optimism on job availability measured in December 2016, it increased so much, the highest recorded +37,” he claimed.

Abella also said that the government is looking at creating 1.2 million jobs annually.

“And it will be done, it will be addressed by attracting more foreign investments, increasing infrastructure spending, improving the ease of doing business in the Philippines and the development of human resources,” he explained.

“Jobs would include construction, information and technology, business process management, tourism, manufacturing, transport, logistics, agri-processing and services where we are really good at,” he added.


MANILA BULLEIN

Governance in Justice program launched with P1-B support from European Union, Spain 4 SHARES Share it! Published February 24, 2017, 12:09 AM by Rey G. Panaligan and Jeffrey G. Damicog


BOOST FOR THE JUSTICE SYSTEM – Getting together for a picture after the launching Thursday of the program to improve the Philippine justice system are (from left): European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, and Spain’s Ambassador to the Philippines Luis Antonio Calvo. (Ali Vicoy | Manila Bulletin)

The Philippine government, with the European Union (EU) and the Spanish government, launched yesterday a P1-billion Governance in Justice program to help achieve a speedy and efficient delivery of criminal justice for the country.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, and EU Ambassador Franz Jessen launched the program at the Manila Hotel.

Ambassador Jessen said the program hopes to hasten the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the Philippines’ justice system.

“As the Philippines moves towards middle-income status, a properly functioning justice system will be essential for the business climate and to ensure the continuity of economic growth,” Jessen said.

READ MORE...

The program hopes to strengthen the rule of law in the Philippines and ensures sustainability of program interventions through recommendations for legislative, regulatory, and procedural reforms in the criminal justice system.

Ambassador Jessen said EU is happy to support the Philippines’ justice sector reform agenda. “We believe that the program will greatly help in policy-making, decongesting, and automating court dockets and in strengthening capacities of members of the justice sector,” he said.

The EU donated P850 million, while the government of Spain gave P150 million for the program.

Chief Justice Sereno expressed the judiciary’s gratitude for EU’s help in several areas of judicial reforms being undertaken by the SC.

“It takes more than one agency to deliver justice alone. We need the help of each other to make justice come alive. Let us not fail our people,” Sereno said.

“If we are really going to succeed in supporting the reforms of the justice sector, we must be willing to say that we are jointly accountable to our people. The judiciary will not fail our people in this regard… I have been reaching out to my brothers and sisters in the DOJ (Department of Justice), the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), and their attached agencies, including the Philippine National Police to join us, we must keep in step with each other,” she said.

“The European Union is very happy to support the Philippine justice sector reform agenda,” Ambassador Jessen said.

“We believe that the program will greatly help in policy-making, decongesting, and automating court dockets and in strengthening capacities of members of the justice sector,” he added.

It intends to strengthen the rule of law in the Philippines and ensures sustainability of program interventions through recommendations for legislative, regulatory, and procedural reforms in the criminal justice system. “It is innovative because it adopts a more process oriented and strategic approach,” he said.

The program also supports the institutionalization of the Justice Sector Coordinating Council, the development of a long-term reform strategy and investment plan and the roll-out in eight new areas of the Justice Zone concept, as pioneered in Quezon City.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

OUT OF THE SHADOWS Manila’s meth dealers back in streets as cops pull back Published February 26, 2017 7:51am By CLARE BALDWIN and NEIL JEROME MORALES, Reuters


REUTERS FILE

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs had until three weeks ago driven the trade in crystal methamphetamine underground, according to residents and drug users in some of the slum areas of the nation's capital city.

As thousands of users and dealers were shot dead by police and vigilantes in the first seven months after Duterte came to power last June, open dealing in the drug, known here by its street name shabu, largely stopped. Instead, deals were done on the quiet between people who knew each other, maybe with a text message first.

But since Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to stand down from the drugs war last month, after declaring the force "rotten to the core", the drugs trade has come back out of the shadows, more than half a dozen drug users and dealers in some of Manila's toughest areas said in interviews. Many spoke on condition that only their first names be used in this story.

Beside one of the less-used railroad tracks in Manila - a grassy area scattered with human excrement only a few miles from the gleaming high-rises of the Makati business district - shabu was easily available last week, costing just a few pesos (cents) per hit. Residents said that when they traveled on the illegal trolleys that ferry people for a few pesos along the track when there are no trains in sight, a fellow passenger will often offer them a sachet of the drug.

Eusebio, 52, who pushes a wood and bamboo trolley on the track for a living, said dealers sometimes walk alongside calling out: "How much are you going to buy?"

"Now that the operations have been suspended, drugs have become rampant again," he said. "Those who were hiding have resurfaced."

READ MORE...

Another trolley-pusher, Boyser, 59, told two Reuters journalists: "If you weren't reporters, they would offer you drugs."

Drug den

In a dark cinderblock room that serves as a drug den in another part of Manila, there were similar stories from users.

"We have more freedom now," Jason, a 39-year-old bartender told a visiting reporter as he inhaled shabu smoke. "All the users are still users, except those who have been killed," he said, adding that he has used shabu for almost two decades.

More than 8,000 people have been killed since Duterte was sworn in almost eight months ago, about 2,500 of whom were killed in official police anti-narcotics operations. Human rights groups believe many of the others were extra-judicial executions committed as part of the war on drugs, and in cooperation with the police – a claim the Duterte administration has vehemently denied.

The president's office did not respond to a list of emailed questions about the drugs war and whether dealers were now openly back on the streets.

Duterte has repeatedly said he will hunt down drug lords and other "high value" targets and to date, there have been a handful of large-scale seizures and raids on shabu laboratories. But most of those killed in the war on drugs have been small-time dealers and users in some of the country's poorest neighborhoods.

The PNP stopped publishing an official tally of drug war killings from police operations on Jan. 31 when Duterte ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to take over the campaign.

Fewer killings

According to reporters and photographers from Reuters and Philippine news organizations working the crime beat on the night shift, "vigilante-style" killings of drug suspects have continued, but at a much slower pace. Police data shows 398 people were killed nationwide in the first 20 days of February. Details of the killings were not provided and it was unclear how many were drug-related.

Some anti-narcotics experts say they will not be surprised if it turns out that the drugs war has been ineffective. They say that ruthless operations against drugs, like Duterte's, have failed elsewhere in the world.

Colombia's former president, César Gaviria, said in a New York Times column earlier this month that his country's long war on drugs not only failed to eradicate drug production, trafficking and consumption but also pushed drugs and crime into neighboring countries, while "tens of thousands of people were slaughtered."

Thailand launched a "war on drugs" in 2003 that killed about 2,800 people in three months. But figures show it had no lasting impact on meth supply or demand in Thailand. "The world has lost the war on drugs, not only Thailand," the country's then Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya told Reuters last July.

When an aggressive anti-drugs campaign begins, supplies may be tight for a while, street prices may spike, but ultimately drug usage does not drop, say those who have studied the results.

"We don't know of any examples from around the world where very hardline approaches have worked effectively," said Jeremy Douglas, the regional representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "They can temporarily disrupt street business, but they don't disrupt demand."

Lost momentum

Some police officers told Reuters that they had received reports of increased street-level drug activity since they were ordered to stand down.

Manila Police Commander Olivia Sagaysay, who oversees four precincts in the city, said the war on drugs had lost momentum and morale among her officers had suffered since they were ordered to stand down.

"It's depressing," she said. "But who are we not to follow the higher-ups?"

She said she expected the trade to increase but maybe not return to its previous levels because "networks were disrupted" and "pushers were killed."

In a written response to questions from Reuters about the impact of Duterte's campaign on the street-level shabu trade, the PDEA said that "based on reports gathered, the supply of illegal drugs in some areas are still considerably abundant."

The PDEA attributed low street prices for shabu - prices overall have risen only minimally since the war on drugs began and in some areas have fallen - to a "lack of customers" or drug traffickers trying to get rid of their supply "in order to avoid arrest." It said drugs were being hoarded and that it was difficult for users to transact directly with traffickers. The PDEA did not provide evidence for any of its assessments.

PNP spokesman Dionardo Carlos said drugs would return to the streets because it was "a billion peso business" and "money talks".

In his view, though, the drug war had not failed. "We hit the target and now it goes back to PDEA. As far as the PNP is concerned we did our part in the past 7 months. I hope PDEA will be able to do their part."

The PDEA has just about 1,800 people on its rolls compared with the national police force of 160,000. Of the existing PDEA personnel, only about half are field operatives.

PDEA spokesman Derrick Carreon said his agency will add staff and that the president would soon be issuing an executive order to set up an anti-illegal drugs inter-agency council and task force that would also draw from the military, the National Bureau of Investigation and the PNP. The task force will be charged with pursuing the war on drugs.

"There is a temporary vacuum of warm bodies but it won't be long," Carreon said, adding that those involved in the drug trade would be wrong to think they were safe.

"If that's their perception, it won't last long," he said. "They will find out in the hardest way that they are terribly wrong."

'Go after cookers'

Still, Jason, the bartender who is a shabu user, said Duterte's campaign was not successful because he targeted the wrong people.

If authorities had gone after the "cookers", the people manufacturing the drugs, instead of users and small dealers, people like him would be unable to buy and would move on. As it is, Jason said, shabu is always in plentiful supply, adding he was addicted and the drug eliminated any fear he may have had of being shot by police or vigilantes.

As he spoke, Jason poured white crystals into a long strip of aluminum foil folded into a trough, tilted it slightly and held a flame below. Almost immediately, it produced a thick white smoke, which he sucked up through a narrow aluminum foil straw.

He then began speaking again, more animatedly.

"I buy drugs every day!" he said. —Reuters


MANILA TIMES (COMMENTARY)

On Sen. De Lima, please show us a drug money trail BY MARLEN V. RONQUILLO ON FEBRUARY 26, 2017 OPINION ON PAGE ONE

There is one way to convict and jail Senator Leila de Lima of drug charges and make that jailing credible to most Filipinos: the presentation of a money trail. Bank accounts in yuuge (borrowing from Trump) numbers. Testimonies of bagmen (real ones, credible ones, not like the yahoos that the state has presented so far), and a credible narrative showing that she really benefitted from the drug trade as alleged by the state.

In short, show the Filipinos she reaped billions of pesos from the drug trade, backed by the required documentation and witnesses.


By Marlen V. Ronquillo

Show us the money.

Only a money trail will clear all doubts that she really deserved to be called the “grandmother of drug lords.”

So far, nothing except claims that she did coddle /mastermind the drug trade with the NBP as the main trading point have backed up the charges against her; that Dayan collected money on her behalf; that Dayan had built a decent house in Pangasinan; claims that she bankrolled her senatorial win on money tainted by drugs. All of these would be lame and lack credibility without proof of bank accounts and real bagmen.

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Most Filipinos want assurance that the drug charges are legitimate and not trumped-up. Most Filipinos want a fair trial and not a conviction by a kangaroo court. A legitimate money trail will be the clincher into forming a national consensus that Sen. De Lima was, indeed, the drug queen as alleged.

After all, she is an elected senator of the country. She had no known reputation for being a crook. Her professional CV is more impressive than the professional reputations of two thirds of the members of the DU30 cabinet. Except for her ghastly, terrible choices in men and her libertine ways, the public does not have much of a negative dossier on Sen. De Lima. And being libertine has nothing to do with public performance. George W., a deeply religious president, to cite, led his country to two calamitous wars and the Great Recession. The libido-driven Bill Clinton, on the other hand, presided over an era of peace and prosperity.

Once state lawyers accomplish all these, no one would lose a good night’s sleep over the arrest and jailing of the senator. We can all say: “Ok, she deserves to rot in jail.”

Otherwise, the effort to prosecute her would lead to one thing – we might have to look at her as the next leader of the Philippine opposition.

PRECEDENT

Before we go into that, let us take a quick look back at a precedent – on what led to the jailing of Erap Estrada and let us ask this question: who was the main figure that turned the public against Erap Estrada?

It was not Chavit Singson’s testimony, though that mattered a lot too. The pivotal moment was the senate testimony of a former banker, Clarissa Ocampo, of the defunct Equitable-PCI Bank.

Ocampo was the Equitable-PCI banker who knew that Erap Estrada opened accounts under the name of “ Jose Velarde” and testified on that fact during the Erap impeachment trial in the dying days of 2000.

That proved, beyond reasonable doubt, that Estrada accumulated money from various illegal sources, starting from the early days of his presidency, to finance a lavish lifestyle and the lifestyle of his many mistresses. A few days later, emboldened by Ocampo’s testimony, a lynching mob formed at the Palace gates to oust Estrada, who quickly made his Pasig River getaway.

State prosecutors need another Clarissa Ocampo to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that Senator de Lima indeed reaped awesome rewards from her alleged drug activities. Or many Clarissa Ocampos, for that matter.

The absence of a money trail will just prop up claims of the senator that the efforts to jail her constitute political vendetta and not a legitimate inquiry into an indiscretion of the highest form. You know what? A prosecution that fails to append a money trail to her name will merely boost her political stock and we all know what will come next. It is quite predictable.

Without the tangible proofs of rewards from her alleged drug-coddling/drug trading days, the trial of Senator de Lima will be in utter shambles. For she could not have done that for the sole purpose of pleasing Dayan or giving him the leeway to engage in drug-related commission-taking. She should be proven the main beneficiary and only a money trail would prove that.

The government has the full power to look into hidden bank accounts, even into accounts hidden by several layers of dummies and phony accounts.

At the orders of government, even vaults and walls would sing in this country and leak like sieves.

Without the money, she will be judged innocent by the general public. She will walk. Then she will sprint to assume the leadership of the opposition, given the lack of spine of the Aquino-Roxas group.

The remnants of the lame duck Aquino-Roxas group are as spineless as their two bosses.

With Ms. Robredo playing it nice as always, the bruised but relentless de Lima will eventually capture the public imagination as a fighter. Who knows? That may lead to a bigger prize. Being tough and ready to take in all comers is a major political asset nowadays.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

LP members tagged in P100-M bribe try on hi-profile inmates Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 24 February 2017 00:00 By Julius Leonen and Angie M. Rosales


Aguirre: High-profile inmates offered PHP100-M to retract statement vs De Lima Philippine News Agency | 23/02/2017

Freedom, cash offered prisoners for recantation

Money in the millions didn’t talk this time around.

Liberal Party (LP) members were alleged by the Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to have offered a P100-million bribe for high-profile inmates detained at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Custodial Center in Camp Aguinaldo twice in an attempt to have the prisoners retract their statements and testimonies against Sen. Leila de Lima who faces charges related to the illegal drug trade.

Cases have been filed in the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa,where the inmates-witnesses were jailed in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), prior to their being transferred to Camp Aguinaldo cells.

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This was bared by Secretary Aguirre in an ambush interview yesterday at the launching of the GoJust program of the European Union and the Philippines’ Justice Sector Coordinating Council (JSCC) at the Manila Hotel.Aguirre accused the LP members, whom he bared are a former senator and an incumbent congressman whom he has yet to identify by name.

Aguirre accused the two LP members of enticing the inmates to retract their statements before February 25 in order to award them the P100-Million bribe.

“They were offered P100-Million for all. But the retraction has to be made before the 25th,” Aguirre said.

De Lima and her lawyers expected an arrest warrant by the 24th of February.

Bribe try to paint Leila as innocent martyr

The Muntinglupa RTC yesterday issued an arrest warrant against de Lima, although she cannot be arrested in the Senate premises.

The Justice Secretary said the bribe try was an attempt to paint Senator de Lima, who has been accused of drug trafficking, as a martyr and a victim of political persecution in time for the Edsa People Power Anniversary on February 25.

De Lima, who is currently facing three separate drug trafficking charges before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC), was pinned down by high-profile drug convicts at the NBP who had testified against her during proceedings at the House of Representatives.

The embattled senator accused the DoJ of political persecution for indicting her in the illegal drug cases filed against her, despite the testimonies and evidence presented by self-confessed drug lords, NBP drug convicts and a former Bureau of Corrections (BoC) official.

Aguirre told reporters yesterday that they have received information from eight inmates themselves that members of the LP have contacted them by speaker phone and made the offer in exchange for the bribe money and their freedom.

The Justice secretary said that the first offer was made Wednesday afternoon by a former senator and an incumbent Laguna district representative, who are both affiliated with the LP.

The second offer, meanwhile, was made yesterday morning, Aguirre said.

He added that the second offer allegedly came from Senator de Lima.

“We have information that the first offer to the inmates was made (Wednesday) afternoon. It was made by a former senator and an incumbent congressman of the Liberal Party in the Province of Laguna. The inmates were told that they have to recant before February 25, 2017,” Aguirre said.

“The second offer was made through Clarence Dongail, another Bilibid inmate incarcerated at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Custodial Center (yesterday) morning,” Aguirre said. “It was repeated (yesterday) morning and the offer allegedly came from Senator de Lima.”

Aguirre, however, said that the inmates have rejected the offer despite the huge sum of cash offered to them.

In turn, Aguirre called the LP members “well-funded and evidently without scruples.”

“They established contact with one (of the inmates) through a telephone, and then they turned the speaker phone on. All of the eight (inmates) heard the call, and they rejected the offer,” Aguirre said.

“You would already know (these people) who are funding this, those who would want to turn these witnesses around. Who are the ones who have that much money?” Aguirre said.

Aguirre dismissed the alleged bribe try as a plot for the opposition to ingnite another “People Power” against the Duterte administration.

“They wanted to use this to attract more people for the Edsa Anniversary, for them to ignite a ‘People Power.’ They are also being offered that they will be released,” Aguirre said.

DoJ chief to file complaint vs ex LP senator, solon

Aguirre assured that the DoJ will file a complaint against the LP-affiliated former senator and incumbent congressman, insisting that the bribe attempt is “immoral” and a “crime.”

“We are going to bring a complaint against them because that is illegal. That is immoral. That is a crime. I will ready those eight inmates who will confirm (this offer), that they rejected it, and that it was offered to them this morning,” Aguirre said.

“This is tampering of the highest order! We are taking the matter very seriously and we will go after those who are responsible,” Aguirre said.

Allegedly, the congressman, whom Aguirre refused to identify, called up the high-profile inmates who were transferred from theNBP to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Custodial Center through an intermediary’s phone.

“What was said was that the inmate was told that a congressman would call him. And the congressman did call. It was then that all eight inmates hrard it snce the call was on speaker phone mode, since the congressman was asked if his call could be placed in a speaker phone, to which he agreed. All the inmates heard the conversation and the offer of P100 million. They (inmates) all rejected the offer to recant,” the DoJ chief said to reporters after attending a hearing at the Senate on the Jee Ick Joo case. They were also promised freedom.

Asked if he could name the congressman, Aguirre begged off saying that he will address the issue later, even if de Lima had already issued a challenge to him to back up his latest allegations by coming up with solid evidence and name names.

‘Outlandish hysterical’ tale—Leila

“I could not help but laugh at this another outlandish and hysterical story being fed to the media,” de Lima said in a statement.

“Obviously, it should not warrant any air time or editorial space unless Justice Secretary Aguirre can provide verifiable proof and not just mere hearsay.

“I dare Aguirre to name names and show proof. Otherwise he too should shut up,” de Lima said.

De Lima, however, has been known to allege and accuse President Duterte and Aguirre everytime, but failed to provide proof to back up her accusations.

The alleged offer came with a promise that they will also be released from jail if they withdraw their testimonies.

“Of course I cannot answer what you (media) ask. What I can do is for you to see the inmates for yourselves. It will be the inmates who can name those who called and tried to bribe them. They can say who called them and tried to bribe them,” Aguirre said in response to de Lima’s statements.

“What I always want is that everything is documented and Senator de Lima wants me to name them. We will identify them after we get the statements of the inmates,” he added.

Aguirre said he had already issued directives to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) along with the Bureau of Correction (BuCor) to investigate this incident.

The alleged offer was first made Wednesday night, the most recent of which was only yesterday morning.

“I ordered the NBI to investigate this, as well as the Bucor on what is the best thing to do in this case.

“So what can be done is that since there is no equipment in the AFP custodial center, we may just get a few inmates’ statements, maybe two or three convicts to get their testimony. This will be brought to the NBI and then returned to them,” he said.

Asked if he had relayed the matter to President Duterte, Aguirre answered in the negative.

“In all my time in my job at the DoJ, President Duterte never called me. I do not call him about the work we do at the DoJ,” he stressed.

Laguna LP solon cries foul

A member of the Liberal Party in Laguna yesterday cried foul over the allegations made by Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre that a senator and a congressman, both from the LP, have tried but failed to bribe inmates into recanting their testimonies against Senator de Lima.

According to Rep. Benjamin Agarao, he felt alluded to by Aguirre because he is the lone member of the Liberal Party in the five districts of Laguna.

Aguirre alleged that the senator and the congressman offered P100-million to testify in favor of de Lima who is also a member of the LP.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Agarao said that Aguirre should clarify his statement, adding that of the five lawmakers representing the various congressional districts of Laguna, he is the only member of the LP.

“I am shocked,” Agarao said of the news report quoting Aguirre.

“I am the only LP member in Laguna,” Agarao said.

Agarao stressed that he does not know of any inmate who had testified against de Lima in connection with allegations that she was involved in the drug trade at the NBP in Muntinlupa.

The congressional representatives in Laguna include Rep. Arlene Arcillas, Joaqin Chipeco Jr., Sol Aragones, Len Alonte-Naguiat and Agarao.

“If I have that big amount of money, I’ll give it to my constituents because our district is poor,” Agarao said. With Gerry Baldo


TRIBUNE

No political martyr, she Written by Ninez Cacho-Olivares Saturday, 25 February 2017 00:00

Sen. Leila de Lima is finally getting her comeuppance, even as she tries to portray herself as a political martyr while her lawyers and Liberal Partymates echo her refrain of her arrest being illegal, still insisting, like Leila, that the jurisdiction does not belong to the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) but to the Ombudsman.

They also, like Leila, cry that her arrest brings a chilling effect on all those who oppose Rody Duterte, while Leila keeps on claiming that she is being charged, arrested and detained for opposing Duterte and exposing him as the brains behind the extrajudicial killings, as a Davao City mayor and now President of the Republic, thus as her logic goes, making her the first political prisoner under the Dutere presidency.

If such is her logic, what then were the three opposition senators whom she and her buddy, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who charged them and had them detained, also political prisoners under Aquino, together with former President Gloria Arroyo?

All those officials arrested, charged and detained under the Aquino administration were known to oppose Noynoy Aquino, and it was made clear by Noynoy even then that he would make his political foes his exhibits in his war against corruption.

Compared to Rody, Noynoy was worse, by way of framing his political foes with trumped up charges, whether it was the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, or Gloria Arroyo or the three then opposition senators, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.

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Noynoy and Leila, as his justice chief, certainly charged all of them with manufactured evidence and coached testimonies from perjurers and crooks, with a lot of help from the Ombudsman and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) under Julia Bacay Abad, whose so-called analysts went into ballooning the bank accounts of Corona, and even leaked the bank accounts of their foes whom they wanted destroyed, to ensure the LP candidates’ victory at the polls.

To the credit of Rody and the Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, the drug-related cases of Leila rests on solid evidence — and not just on the testimonies of the convicted prisoners who had testified against her. There is a paper trial that can be produced.

But there went Leila yesterday with her drama before she was finally arrested and with this drama of hers of returning to her home and back to the Senate, to spend the night at her Senate office, even as she had earlier challenged the DoJ to arrest her then and there. Yet when the arresting officers came for her, she came up with a lot of excuses not to be arrested immediately.

Leila even claimed that her case rests on testimonies of drug convicts who are not credible witnesses at all. She even went to the extent of claiming that she had never heard of a drug lord being made into a witness, portraying this as unheard of in the world.

What? Even in the United States, a mafia drug and organized crime lord, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, a mobster turned government witness, is best known for testifying against his mafia associates and Gravano became the highest-ranking mafioso in history to turn government witness. His testimony helped to jail 36 of his former mafia associates and, as part of the deal, admitted to the murders of 19 people, including that of his brother-in-law.

In the late 1990s, Gravano began a multimillion-dollar Ecstasy trafficking faction in Arizona, and in 2000, he was arrested on trafficking charges. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to federal and state drug-trafficking charges, and the following year, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He is currently serving his sentences in a Colorado prison.

So what’s the difference in utilizing convicted criminals to testify against Leila?

Leila is worse. She tapped shady characters, who pocketed millions from the alleged pork scam of senators, and manufactured evidence and came up with false testimonies and a fabricated external hard disc as evidence against the three senators, so much so that even that “evidence” was so compromised since this was clearly mangled.

How politically motivated are the charges against the three senators can easily be noted, since neither Leila nor Ombudsman Morales charged any other senator, especially the LP senators and allies of Noynoy with plunder. Yet, as these Noynoy yellows, such as Morales and de Lima claim that selective Commission on Audit special audit, is solid evidence of plunder committed by the three senators but not the other senator-allies who were also named in the same CoA special report.

Did these yellows who now scream illegal justice for Leila, give the same cry when the three senators were charged and detained? Of course not. These frigging yellows were all ecstatic over the charges and detention and made a feast out of their imprisonment.

If Leila committed a crime, then she must be arrested, charged and detained without bail. Let the law and justice take their course.

If you ask me, Leila, for all the wrongs she did to all of Noynoy’s and with her as Justice secretary, deserves it.

So does Noynoy, who has violated the law with impunity.


TRIBUNE EDITORIAL WRITER

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE (COMMENTARY)

A lot of crap Written by Ninez Cacho-Olivares Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:00



Senators, especially Antonio Trillanes and Leila de Lima, will hardly admit that the main reason for all these hearings they seek while presenting “witnesses” and “whistlebowers,” is to ensure that the individual and his reputation they want to destroy, is destroyed through these Senate hearings.

A case in point is the presentation of Edgar Matobato who served as the Leila-Trillanes duo’s “witness” for the hearing on the alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS) and all done to pin down Rody Duterte, whom they and the yellows want out of the presidency.

Now comes yet another “witness” in retired police officer Arthur Lascañas who had retracted his earlier testimony about the existence of the vigilante group Davao Death Squad allegedly sanctioned by Rody.

His appearance in the Senate, along with the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) lawyers who are allied with the yellows, with one of whom is a lawyer of Leila, was clearly resorted to, to portray Rody as a mass murderer. This comes just when drug related cases against Leila had been filed in the Muntinlupa court.

If Lascañas has the evidence, why do his lawyers insist on the probe by the Senate, saying the Senate is the proper forum?

The FLAG lawyers certainly know that the proper forum is the court of law. Why go through a Senate hearing if not to dredge up the DDS claim? Why not file a case against Rody in a court of law?

But of course, the idea is to create a scandal that Leila and Trillanes hope would bring about a drop in his popularity, and get more people to go against him, and eventually get him ousted.

Edgar Matobato was the first witness presented by Leila. His testimony, contradictory as it was, and false in so many instances, was heard by the Senate. So what happened? Neither Leila nor Trillanes, nor Matobato made the move to file a case against Rody.

Neither will Lascañas’ “confession” be brought before the Ombudsman, or even an impeachment court.

Why go to the Senate? Why even have a hearing, considering the fact that neither the Senate nor the House, has any prosecutorial powers. The most senators can do is to cite a witness or resource person in contempt, for not attending hearings and order the person cited in contempt, arrested.

All the Senate can do is to recommend charges against whoever is being accused by the Senate panel before the Ombudsman, if a a government officer or official for this investigation, and that recommendation is not binding on the Ombudsman or the courts of law.


That zarzuela laid out by Trillanes and yes, Leila, even if she denies that she is in on it, as well as Lascañas and the FLAG lawyers was to get back at Rody, for Leila’s charges in court, and a likely arrest and detention for her, which has gotten her so strung up, while thinking of ways and means to destroy Rody and for her to portray herself as innocent of the charges.

Lascañas, who had already testified under oath, during the first Senate hearing, denied the existence of the DDS, contradicting Matobato. Now he comes up with a recantation, claiming that he had experienced an epiphany and that he is a changed man after God gave him a second life. Really now. All that in just four months?

That he is a spurious witness can be gleaned from the statements made by Magdalo Partylist Congressman and former mutineer Gary Alejano, better known as the congressional sidekick of Trillanes.

Alejano claimed that Lascañas was hounded by the spirit of a boy he killed decades ago to reveal the truth in the Davao Death Squad.

Alejano stressed that Lascañas may not have told the truth when he testified before the Senate in October last year because he was under duress. Huh?

Lascañas claimed that in the first hearing, he lied since he feared the safety of his family. Yet now that he goes against Rody, he no longer has fears for his family? C’mon. He could havecome up with a better lie.

There was also something that didn’t ring true, among other falsehoods he uttered. Lascañas claimed that in one instance, Rody asked him to look for a hitman. Say again? Why would Rody ask Lascañas to look for a hitman, when he is said to have the DDS whose members are all hitmen?

Lascañas also spoke of Rody giving them millions — something like P3 million to have them kill a foe.

For crying out loud. Rody was just a Davao City mayor and at that time, people never thought in the millions. Even during Cory’s time, the budget was not yet in the billions.

But Alejano claimed: “At that time he (Lascañas) had nothing to hold on to. He had a divine encounter when he had a kidney operation that he promised to reveal or make a public confession before God, but he had no way of doing it,” Alejano explained.

“He went through an operation, during his recovery in one room, in a room, he saw an evil spirit, whether it was a dream or not. Then there was a bright light coming from everywhere and then he saw the child. The bright light erased the darkness that symbolized a demon. The boy whom he saw, was the boy whom they killed together with a suspect in a kidnapping incident,” Alejano said.

That’s a lot of crap, but the kind of crap these yellows,mutineers and their coached witnesses feed the public.

And it wouldn’t even hold up in court.


TRIBUNE EDITORIAL WRITER


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