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PHNO PRESIDENTIAL (DU30) NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

DUTERTE ON NEGATIVE REPORTS BY FOREIGN MEDIA: 'I DON'T CARE, I HAVE A PROBLEM TO SOLVE HERE IN MY COUNTRY'
[RELATED:
Rody open to briefing Obama on drugs, SCS; Declines UN’s Ban Ki-moon meet in Asean Summit ]


AUGUST 29 -President Rodrigo Duterte holds a press conference at the Presidential Guest house in Davao City on August 21. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PPD, file
 Under fire for allegedly condoning extralegal killings, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that he does not care if he is being portrayed by international media in a negative light, saying he is just performing his duty.
“They said I am the most unpopular among the international press. I don’t care,” Duterte told reporters in Catbalogan, Samar. “I have a problem to solve here in my country,” he said. Malacañang has dared foreign journalists to visit the Philippines so they can see for themselves the extent of the drug menace in the country. Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said visiting the country would help the foreign press understand the context of President Duterte’s tough pronouncements on narcotics and crime. “The international media, as I have repeated time and again, should come to the Philippines and experience the life of the barangay (village) people who have so much drug problems,” Andanar told reporters on the sidelines of the Japan-ASEAN Media Forum in Ortigas. “It’s not fair for just anybody to conclude about extrajudicial killings, that there’s so much dead without even qualifying which one is dead because of authorized police operation, which ones were killed because of a gang war or regular murders,” he added. “It’s also unfair for the government to receive such reports without the international media coming to the Philippines and really experiencing the life of those affected by drugs.” Asked if he thinks the foreign press’ coverage of the anti-drug war was fair, Andanar said he is leaving it to the public to make an assessment. “If I say that it’s unfair, it’s self-serving. Every Filipino who is on Facebook, who is on social media, who reads the papers should themselves decide if the international media has been fair in writing stories about the drug-related problems in the country,” he added. Various foreign media outlets including BBC, CNN, The New York Times, Time, Forbes and Washington Post have reported about the recent spate of killings in the country that were attributed to Duterte’s crackdown on drugs. READ MORE...RELATED, Rody open to briefing Obama on drugs, SCS, But declines UN’s Ban Ki-moon meet in Asean Summit ...

ALSO:
Arms dealer bares kill-Digong plot

[RELATED: Public urged to become DU30’s ‘neighborhood watch’ amid kill plot]


SEPTEMBER 2 -PNP uncover 'kill Digong' plot
The Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed yesterday to have uncovered an assassination plot on President Duterte which was spilled by an alleged gunrunner who was arrested in Bacolod City with another cohort. Wilford Palma, who was presented at Camp Crame by PNP Director General Ronald de la Rosa, claimed that one of his customers wanted to order gun parts from him supposedly to be used in killing Duterte. “There is this one customer who is planning to order lower end parts and told me it will be used in the assassination of President Duterte,” Palma said. Palma, however, refused to identify the customer who is supposedly part of the plot to assassinate the President but he claimed the person ordered many gun parts prior to his arrest.“I cannot say the name... before we were arrested, he had ordered many parts already,” said Palma.
Asked about the supposed kill plot against the President, dela Rosa theorized that the plan may have been hatched by syndicates hurt by the Duterte administration’s war on drugs. “Actually, we have not pinpointed this person but most likely (he’s) not a gun for hire. Maybe (he was) only tasked by a syndicate to buy (these parts) to be used for that purpose,” dela Rosa added. Dela Rosa said an investigation is ongoing on the alleged plot. Palma, along with Bryan Ta-ala, was nabbed by the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) during an operation at Villa Cristina Subdivision, Barangay Tangub in Bacolod City last August 6.  The two were tagged as being engaged in selling gun parts online, some imported from the United States and shipped to Manila using Balikbayan boxes.Palma admitted that during the past two years they have shipped in at least 100 upper receivers, 40 barrels and 30 bolt assemblies for M16 rifles. The shipment was facilitated by Atlas Shippers International Inc. “In two years, more than 100 boxes had arrived,” said Palma. Seized from the suspects was a box containing gun parts with an estimated total value of P4.5 million who are trigger housing group, 35 pieces; buffer spring lock, 15 pieces; barrel, 10 pieces; rail without barrel, one piece; rail with barrel with one suppressor, one unit; a black butt assembly color black, 10 pieces; a gray butt assembly, five pieces; buffer spring guide, 15 pieces; quick detach scope mount, five pieces; upper receiver for an M4 carbine, 60 pieces; and beverage entry tool, two pieces. READ MORE...RELATED, Public urged to become DU30’s ‘neighborhood watch’ amid kill plot...

ALSO:
FOI exceptions include congressional spending, court proceedings


AUGUST 30 -President Rodrigo Duterte signs the Freedom of Information (FOI) Executive Order in Davao on July 23. Witnessing the signing are Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella. Presidential Photographers Division/Karl Alonzo
 The draft implementing rules of the executive order on Freedom of Information contain restrictions on the release of information about the use of congressional funds and on court proceedings. The two items are among the 166 exceptions listed in the draft rules of the order, which only covers the executive branch. It remains unclear why the two exceptions, which are related to the judicial and the legislative branches, were included in the draft rules. President Rodrigo Duterte signed the order last month to promote transparency and accountability and to encourage public participation in governance. He said in his State of the Nation Address that he has done his part and challenged the legislature -- which has tried and failed to pass an FOI law in previous Congresses -- to follow suit. READ: Duterte's EO may pave way for FOI law, senators say Exception No. 158 states that government officials “cannot be compelled to prepare lists and detailed reports on how congressional funds were disbursed.” Exception No. 25, meanwhile, states that “court records, including pleadings and other documents filed by litigants are confidential.” Court records can be accessed from the clerk of court subject to certain regulations. Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the 166 exceptions are “standard” and “self-explanatory.” He said Tuesday that “there are certain items there that are not, you know, cannot be revealed because of confidentiality.” Asked whether the exceptions go against the essence of FOI, which was supposed to be a transparency measure, Abella replied the details are still being worked out. “I’m not sure if it (list of exceptions) will be trimmed down but it will be further clarified,” he added. Exception No. 152 deals with the non-disclosure of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, or SALNs, for “any purpose contrary to morals or public policy” or “any commercial purpose other than by news and communications media for dissemination to the general public.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: No plans to be a dictator, Duterte says


AUGUST 31 -File photo
Criticized for his supposed refusal to tolerate opposition to his policies, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday allayed fears that he is trying to build a dictatorship, saying he is just doing his job to save the next generation from the drug menace.
“I do not have plans to become a dictator,” the president said in a speech delivered at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 in Pasay. “They say I am doing a Marcos. Far from it. I am just doing my duty. Or else, I will compromise our next generation,” he added, referring to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who was ousted in the 1986 People Power Revolution after two decades in power. Duterte has vowed to wage a “bloody” war to suppress the proliferation of narcotics within six months. He said the drug problem in the Philippines has become a “pandemic” that has destroyed the lives of thousands of families. More than 2,000 suspected drug pushers and addicts have been killed since Duterte assumed power, about half of them by unidentified gunmen. Human rights advocates are worried that the administration’s intensified campaign would lead to abusive practices and summary executions. Duterte, however, was unfazed by the criticisms, saying those who are complaining about his war on drugs are clueless about the extent of the problem. The president also had harsh words for personalities who have expressed concerns about the recent spate of killings including Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Sen. Leila de Lima. Duterte apologized to Sereno, who advised judges tagged in illegal drugs not to surrender without a warrant. He, however, did not do the same to de Lima, whom he has accused of being a protector of drug trade at the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa. No charges have been filed against De Lima, who has denied her alleged connection to drugs. Duterte: Better to be wrong than be complacent Critics claim that Duterte’s tirades against those who speak against his drug war show his dictatorial tendencies. Duterte has denied this, saying he knows the limitations of his power. Officials also defended the president’s tough talk, saying it merely reflects his strong desire to cleanse the country of drugs. READ MORE...

ALSO: Sulu state of emergency not needed vs Abus – Rody


SEPTEMBER 1 -President Duterte stressed the number of troops deployed in Sulu to finish off the Abu Sayyaf is enough without necessarily placing the entire region under a state of emergency like what former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did in 2006 due to a “clear threat to the nation.” AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
There is no need to declare a state of emergency in Sulu to contain the Abu Sayyaf, President Duterte said yesterday. “It’s just a punitive police action by the security forces of the government. The magnitude of the trouble there does not warrant anything except the industry of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police),” Duterte said. Duterte stressed the number of troops deployed in Sulu to finish off the Abu Sayyaf is enough without necessarily placing the entire region under a state of emergency like what former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did in 2006 due to a “clear threat to the nation.” Duterte made the statement as he visited the wake of the fallen soldiers at the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) in Zamboanga City. He lamented that billions are spent on arms and bullets that could have been put to better use if not for fighting the Abu Sayyaf. The AFP deployed thousands of extra troops to destroy the Abu Sayyaf after 15 soldiers were killed last Monday. Duterte has ordered his security forces to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf, which recently beheaded two Canadian hostages and a local resident whose family was too poor to pay ransom. Westmincom spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan said an additional 2,500 troops were deployed to Jolo and nearby islands on Tuesday. Tan said the extra troops would join two brigades already involved in the fighting. He declined to give specific numbers, but there are at least 1,000 soldiers in a brigade. Tan said the military would be able to achieve the goal set by Duterte, but conceded the rough terrain and possible assistance from villagers were working to the Abu Sayyaf’s advantage. The AFP has also deployed naval assets in Sulu to choke off possible escape routes of the bandits. “The deployment of naval assets in strategic waterways around Sulu is in line with the ongoing ground military efforts to deny reinforcements as well as to prevent the bandits’ escape,” AFP Public Affairs Office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.  READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Duterte on negative reports in international media: I don't care


President Rodrigo Duterte holds a press conference at the Presidential Guest house in Davao City on August 21. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PPD, file

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 5, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Alexis Romero August 29, 2016 - Under fire for allegedly condoning extralegal killings, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday that he does not care if he is being portrayed by international media in a negative light, saying he is just performing his duty.

“They said I am the most unpopular among the international press. I don’t care,” Duterte told reporters in Catbalogan, Samar.

“I have a problem to solve here in my country,” he said.

Malacañang has dared foreign journalists to visit the Philippines so they can see for themselves the extent of the drug menace in the country.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said visiting the country would help the foreign press understand the context of President Duterte’s tough pronouncements on narcotics and crime.

“The international media, as I have repeated time and again, should come to the Philippines and experience the life of the barangay (village) people who have so much drug problems,” Andanar told reporters on the sidelines of the Japan-ASEAN Media Forum in Ortigas.

“It’s not fair for just anybody to conclude about extrajudicial killings, that there’s so much dead without even qualifying which one is dead because of authorized police operation, which ones were killed because of a gang war or regular murders,” he added.

“It’s also unfair for the government to receive such reports without the international media coming to the Philippines and really experiencing the life of those affected by drugs.”

Asked if he thinks the foreign press’ coverage of the anti-drug war was fair, Andanar said he is leaving it to the public to make an assessment.

“If I say that it’s unfair, it’s self-serving. Every Filipino who is on Facebook, who is on social media, who reads the papers should themselves decide if the international media has been fair in writing stories about the drug-related problems in the country,” he added.

Various foreign media outlets including BBC, CNN, The New York Times, Time, Forbes and Washington Post have reported about the recent spate of killings in the country that were attributed to Duterte’s crackdown on drugs.

READ MORE...

Even some participants of the Japan-ASEAN Media Forum believe that the reports about the killings could put the Philippines in a bad light.

Alongside this development, there have been posts on social media discrediting the press for what some Duterte supporters see as an attempt to discredit the president. Netizens have been calling the media biased and have alleged that media companies are paid to write negative stories about the president and his war on drugs.

One influencer has tagged the media as "presstitutes" for allegedly being paid off.

RELATED: Andanar laments NYT's 'sad appreciation' of Duterte drug war

Andanar: Duterte told voters there would be bloodshed


ANDANAR

Andanar, however, maintained that the president is just fulfilling a campaign promise that allowed him to achieve victory in the 2016 polls.

“It is the duty of the president to protect the general welfare of this people. He was elected with that platform. He already warned the electorate that if you vote for me, there will be bloodshed. If you don’t want bloodshed, don’t vote for me. But he was voted,” he said.

“It is important for international journalists to understand the context of the president. If you live in a slum of Manila where about 20 percent of barangays are drug-infested... when you live in society where you can be high for less than a quarter cents of a dollar, the country is in trouble.”

Duterte has repeatedly denied condoning extrajudicial killings but has been reminding law enforcers to shoot criminals if their lives are threatened. He has also assured policemen and soldiers that they would be given assistance if they face charges in connection with the anti-drug campaign.

When asked whether Duterte would mellow down on his tough talk, Andanar replied: “You cannot change the president.”

“This drug menace is pandemic already. Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures. When the system of government is not working for the good of the majority, you go to the courts. The case that should be solved in one year gets solved in 10 years. How do you solve this when the policies of the state no longer work? What do you do?” he added.

Andanar stressed that it is more important to protect the lives of the innocent civilians and victims of illegal drugs than drug lords. The government has drug watch lists although being on a watch list does not mean that one is a criminal, a determination that only a court of law can make.

“Investigate the lives, the human rights of those who have been victimized by crimes due to illegal drugs. There are so many of them. Go back to them. Let’s not be one-sided,” he added.

Authorities claimed there are about 3.7 million drug dependents in the country. Close to 2,000 suspected drug personalities have been killed, about 700 of them in police operations. In a Senate hearing this month, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa said that some of the deaths that were not because of police operations were considered drug-related because of cardboard signs near the bodies proclaiming the victims as drug pushers.

About 700,000 drug users have surrendered in a police campaign called "Oplan Tokhang", where people on the drugs watch lists are invited to swear before authorities that they will stay away from drugs.

Some of those who surrendered have ended up dead either in police operations or, the government says, by the hands of drug syndicates.

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

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Rody open to briefing Obama on drugs, SCS, But declines UN’s Ban Ki-moon meet in Asean Summit Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 03 September 2016 00:00

President Duterte is open to briefing United States President Barrack Obama on the country’s war against illegal drugs in their first meeting during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Laos next week, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said yesterday.

“The President will take the opportunity to communicate his firm advocacy to improve the peace and order situation in the country, especially toward eradicating the scourge of illicit drugs and the menace of terrorism,” Jose said at a press briefing.

The White House earlier has announced that Obama is likely to raise with President Duterte the US’ human rights concerns in the Philippines, along with the West Philippine Sea issue and security matters.

Jose said President Duterte “looks forward” to meeting with Obama “to reaffirm the strength and depth of the Philippines-US treaty alliance and the extraordinary ties between the Filipino and American people.”

Earlier, it was reported that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was quoted as saying that Obama will not pull any punches in bringing up the human rights issues in his expected meeting with Duterte in Laos next week.“The President is certainly not going to pull any punches in raising well-documented and relevant concerns when it comes to human rights,” Earnest said in an interview with reporters.

Obama is also expected to discuss with the Philippine president the shared interest of the US and the Philippines.

“I think the President is going to speak quite directly about our shared interests with the Philippines. Both countries benefit from effective cooperation on a variety of issues, including maritime security,” he said.

The DFA spokesman said President Duterte will take the opportunity to share with the US President his 10-point governance agenda that aims to sustain the Philippines’ boosting economic performance and improve the lives of Filipinos.

The DFA senior official noted that the discussion of the two leaders is a chance for them to re-emphasize the robustness of the bilateral relationship, specifically in economic, defense, counter-terrorism and law enforcement cooperation, and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Rody declines meet with Ban Ki-moon



The DFA has confirmed President Rodrigo Duterte’s rejection on United Nations’ (UN) request for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the looming Asean summit.

The meeting was supposed to tackle human rights and drug policies in the country but according to UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, the parties could not agree on a time.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon requested the meeting but Malacañang and the DFA said Duterte can’t comply due to prior commitments.

A UN official was quoted as saying in a report that it was “basically unheard of” for a state leader to reject and “be too busy to meet the secretary general.”

DFA spokesman Charles Jose clarified the Philippines’ position on this issue.

He explained that several heads of state have requested him for pull aside bilaterals and has already said yes to nine including Asean members and key dialog partners.

“The Asean Summit has only a few days of important meetings wherein President Duterte is expected to attend all under a very tight schedule,” he stressed.

Among the nine states are Australia, India, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, United States, Vietnam, Japan and the current Asean chair holder Laos. Russia also wants a one on one with Duterte.

The rejection came after the criticism of two UN rapporteurs on the increasing toll of “extrajudicial killings” during Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella said the September 6-8 Asean meeting in Vientiane was “extraordinarily full” and that “a number of possible meet-ups have to be presently foregone.”

Duterte has launched several tirades against the world body after a UN special rapporteur criticized his crackdown on crime, even threatening to pull out of the United Nations, a threat he later withdrew.

“Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you are that disrespectful, son of a whore, then I will just leave you,” Duterte said in a press conference last month.

He later said the threat was just a “joke.”

Nearly 2,000 people have been killed since Duterte was sworn into office on June 30 and immediately launched his war on crime, according to the national police chief.

Duterte has insisted most of the 756 people confirmed killed by police were drug suspects who resisted arrest, while the others died due to gang members waging warfare against each other.

However rights groups, some lawmakers and others have said security forces are engaging in unprecedented extrajudicial killings.

The rapporteurs have explicitly grated on the drug war which has earned the ire of the tough talking president who announced before the media his prominent “joke” on leaving the organization.

Asked if the reason for the rejection was due to this heated exchange of criticism, Jose answered in the negative.

He dismissed any misinter-pretation, calling on media to understand the president, saying “no one should impute any negatives on those he could not accommodate.”

It is solely due to “scheduling issue,” he reiterated.

Du30 to engage in South China Sea dispute discussion

President Duterte is willing to engage in the the topic discussion of South China Sea dispute in the Sean summit to be held this September 6, the DFA said.

Earlier the president announced that the government will momentarily set aside the discussion of arbitration case in the upcoming dialog of maritime row with involved parties but not later than this year.

This was referred by DFA’s Jose as basis point on how the talk on the South China Sea dispute might proceed in the Asean summit.

He said the president has already proclaimed his initial step on this matter but if other states raise the issue, Duterte is prepared to explain our side.

Asean member states Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei who have overlapping claims on the disputed seas will be part of the summit.

Aside from these claimants, countries that have supported the arbitral ruling and have been rallying to promote freedom of navigation and overflight in the region will also be attending the summit, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

“The Philippines continue to engage other claimant countries and other counties in the region on how to move forward on the South China Sea issue,” Jose pointed out in a press conference.

Inclusion of issue in Asean statement

On another note, Jose alluded that the summit might produce a joint statement similar to the previous one which indicates Asean’s position on the issue.

He said the inclusion of the PCA landmark ruling which dismissed Beijing’s 90 percent claim on South China Sea is still unclear, but nevertheless the formulation of the Foreign Ministers’ meeting statement already refers to the arbitral decision and the arbitral process the Philippines filed.

Highlighting on President Duterte’s first international meet, Jose said the country will delve on the promotion of the Philippines’ key priorities, including a drug-free Asean, protection of migrant workers, and the discussion of how member states can combat trafficking in persons and terrorism.

He also cited that the Philippines will continue to work with the Asean for the full effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and for the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct (CoC).

The CoC is a more binding set of rules set to be signed by Asean member states and China as a transparent means in resolving regional issues, more prominently the South China Sea dispute.

Jose has said China and Asean wanted the general framework of the CoC finished by mid-2017, the year Philippines is fixed to assume the Asean chairmanship.

The pursuance of this finalization indicates that all major claimants in the region will have to justify or retract from projects of strategic and economic interest to them.

Rody’s goals, objectives

President Duterte’s goals and objectives during the Asean Summit is to:
•Accept the chairmanship of Asean from Laos PDR and present a preview of the Philippine Chairmanship (theme and logo); •Strengthen relations with Asean Member States (AMS) and Dialog Partners;
•Reiterate support for the implementation of the Asean Community Vision 2025 and the Way Forward;
•Promote Philippines’ key priorities, including a drug-free Asean;
•Respect for rule of management, protection of migrant workers, combating trafficking in persons, peace and reconciliation efforts and combating terrorism.
Joyce Ann Rocamora, PNA and AFP


TRIBUNE

Arms dealer bares kill-Digong plot Written by Mario J. Mallari Friday, 02 September 2016 00:00


PNP uncover 'kill Digong' plot

The Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed yesterday to have uncovered an assassination plot on President Duterte which was spilled by an alleged gunrunner who was arrested in Bacolod City with another cohort.

Wilford Palma, who was presented at Camp Crame by PNP Director General Ronald de la Rosa, claimed that one of his customers wanted to order gun parts from him supposedly to be used in killing Duterte.

“There is this one customer who is planning to order lower end parts and told me it will be used in the assassination of President Duterte,” Palma said.

Palma, however, refused to identify the customer who is supposedly part of the plot to assassinate the President but he claimed the person ordered many gun parts prior to his arrest.“I cannot say the name... before we were arrested, he had ordered many parts already,” said Palma.

Asked about the supposed kill plot against the President, dela Rosa theorized that the plan may have been hatched by syndicates hurt by the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

“Actually, we have not pinpointed this person but most likely (he’s) not a gun for hire. Maybe (he was) only tasked by a syndicate to buy (these parts) to be used for that purpose,” dela Rosa added.

Dela Rosa said an investigation is ongoing on the alleged plot.

Palma, along with Bryan Ta-ala, was nabbed by the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) during an operation at Villa Cristina Subdivision, Barangay Tangub in Bacolod City last August 6.

The two were tagged as being engaged in selling gun parts online, some imported from the United States and shipped to Manila using Balikbayan boxes.

Palma admitted that during the past two years they have shipped in at least 100 upper receivers, 40 barrels and 30 bolt assemblies for M16 rifles. The shipment was facilitated by Atlas Shippers International Inc.

“In two years, more than 100 boxes had arrived,” said Palma.

Seized from the suspects was a box containing gun parts with an estimated total value of P4.5 million who are trigger housing group, 35 pieces; buffer spring lock, 15 pieces; barrel, 10 pieces; rail without barrel, one piece; rail with barrel with one suppressor, one unit; a black butt assembly color black, 10 pieces; a gray butt assembly, five pieces; buffer spring guide, 15 pieces; quick detach scope mount, five pieces; upper receiver for an M4 carbine, 60 pieces; and beverage entry tool, two pieces.

READ MORE...

The seized items were also presented in Camp Crame yesterday.

The CIDG said that as of noontime yesterday, 23 individuals who bought items from Palma and Ta-ala have expressed their willingness to cooperate with the ongoing CIDG investigation of the two suspects.

Chief Supt. Rhoel Obusan, acting director of the CIDG, said that nine of the 23 have appeared before CIDG and surrendered the items they got from the suspects.

A total of 15 gun parts composed of seven upper receivers, a butt, a handgrip, two magazine assemblies, and 4 bolt assemblies were surrendered and received by the CIDG.

Dela Rosa urged others who have transacted with Palma and Ta-ala to present themselves to Camp Crame to avoid being sought by police.

Dela Rosa said the United States Homeland Security agency tipped off the gun smuggling activity to local authorities.
Malacañang said Duterte is aware of the plot against him but he is not bothered by it.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte is conscious of the threats against him since he is up against syndicates especially in the narcotics trade.

“The president eats death threats for breakfast. He’s aware that he’s constantly under threat,” Abella told reporters.
“President Duterte is concerned but not worried about the alleged assassination plots,” he added.

Abella added such threats will not hinder Duterte from continuing with his provincial visits.

Abella, however, opted not to speculate on the groups or personalities behind the alleged attempt on the life of the President.

Dela Rosa’s warnings, apparently, are not new as, last August, he also said that the President and himself were planned to be killed through a car explosion.

Also, weeks before getting hold of Malacañang, the PNP chief also said detained drugs syndicates inside the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) are raising reward funds, that amount to P1 billion to liquidate Duterte.

Members of Duterte’s family, however, had sought protection from the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte attributed such threats from drugs syndicates.

“I requested that the security of our children be intensified,” the young Duterte was quoted as saying in a local report.

Most of the PSG deployed to protect the Duterte family belong to the PNP and the Philippine Army’s Scout Rangers.

Furthermore, Abella said that the President is also concerned about the security conditions of his family.

Erap backs Digong offensive

Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, meanwhile, conveyed his full support to Duterte’s all-out war against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), saying that terrorism in Mindanao remains a significant threat to the nation’s security and prosperity.

Estrada said it is high time that the national government finally goes strong against the ASG, the Islamist extremist group that had been carrying out terror attacks in the country for more than four decades.

“Yes, I’m supporting him,” the Manila mayor said of Duterte’s move to order the destruction of the terrorist group.

“I will stand up for him in seeking the peace that we’ve all been longing for because without peace there can be no progress,” he added.

“The Abu Sayyaf has once again shown they are deliberately prepared to stop at nothing in creating human victims. An end must be put to this. They’re recidivists. They deserve no mercy,” Estrada said, referring to the terrorists’ wanton beheading of their civilian hostages when their ransom demands are not met.

As a former president and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Estrada also expressed his condolence to the families of 15 Army soldiers killed in a clash with the ASG in Barangay Maligay, Patikul, Sulu last Monday.

“No one ever said that fighting the war against terrorism and defending our homeland would be easy. So let’s support our troops. They are true heroes,” he said.

On March 21, 2000, then President Estrada declared an all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) following a series of terrorist attacks in Lanao Del Norte, Zamboanga Del Norte, and Cagayan De Oro City, which killed 36 civilians.

The military offensive, which lasted until June, resulted in the military’s capture of 15 major MILF camps, including the famed MILF headquarters of Camp Abubakar, and 49 satellite camps, a training base and control tower at the costs of 38 soldiers killed and 196 wounded. MILF casualties totaled 589 killed and 916 wounded.

Then MILF chairman Hashim Salamat fled to Malaysia while thousands of his followers surrendered.

Palace downplays Abu threats

Malacañang also is not taking ASG’s taunts on Duterte seriously. Abella, in a press briefing at the Palace yesterday, said Duterte will not waste his time playing games with the Islamic extremists.

“The President is aware of these and the President is very determined to make sure that the sources of terrorism in the country shall be properly neutralized,” Abella told reporters, addressing the ASG’s statement on Wednesday that they will be launching more attacks following the government’s deployment of nearly 7,500 state troopers in Sulu province, frequenting the series of encounters between the military and the bandits.

“He himself has (repeatedly) stated that he will not invoke martial law. And in fact, he has not invoked emergency powers in the campaign against the terrorist ASG group,” he added.

The other day, the ASG mulled launching more offensives starting September 1 for them to accordingly “test the strength of the soldiers of Duterte”.

But Abella says that it is but reasonable for the government to tighten its vigilance against potential terrorist activities in various metropolitan centers in the country.

“Considering the activities down south, it’s only logical, I believe, that security be tight, heightened in the major metropolitan areas outside of Metro Manila,” he said.
Ted Tuvera, Pat C. Santos

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

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Public urged to become DU30’s ‘neighborhood watch’ amid kill plot Written by PNA Saturday, 03 September 2016 00:00


ANDANAR

Following the reported plot to assassinate President Duterte, Malacañang yesterday called on the public to get involved to make sure that the Chief Executive will be free from any danger even as it said the Presidential Security Group (PSG) has already heightened security measures to ensure his safety.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, in a radio interview, stressed the government is not taking lightly the death threat against Duterte.

“We will not just ignore it. We will also take extraordinary steps to assure the security of our President,” he said.

While death threats are nothing new to the President, Andanar said, the PSG is prepared to thwart any possible assassination attempt.

Aside from efforts of the government troops to protect the President, it would even be better if the people could act as “neighborhood watch” to gather information at the community level to help ensure his safety, the Palace official added.

Duterte was placed in office through a landslide vote with about six million margin of votes against his closest rival. Few weeks in office, he received a popularity rating of 91 percent.

Banking on these numbers and the support the President is getting in relation to the priority programs both locally and internationally, the government is confident that majority of the Filipino people will help protect the President from harm to attain the dream of making the country safer for everybody.

“The people can also help if we will serve as neighborhood watch. Let us help our police because they have not enough number to protect 104 million population,” he explained.

Police reported on Thursday that they had busted a suspected arms smuggling group that was supposed to sell gun parts to a group out to assassinate Duterte.

“These gun parts, if assembled, will make more than 100 M-16 rifles and will be used for assassination. But there are reports that this assignation was intended during the campaign,” Andanar said.

After Duterte’s victory last May 9 elections, top drug and crime lords reportedly raised P50 million each for the heads of the President and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa.

Malacañang, however, claimed that no death threat would stop the Duterte administration from pursuing its promise to crack down on illegal drugs until the last drug apparatus is destroyed.

“He is well aware that his life is constantly under threat... (but) the President seems to be pretty much untouched by all these threats. He is not worried,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella was earlier quoted as saying.

He added the President has put his life, honor and even his presidency on the line for his relentless campaign against drug menace.

“It’s a very heroic stand,” Abella said.

Andanar, meanwhile, said phase one ofthe intensified anti-illegal drug campaign has been successful after more than 600,000 of an estimated 3.8 million Filipino drug dependents surrendered themselves to the authorities.

“The first phase of (the) drug campaign has been very successful. This is (a) massive campaign,” he stressed.

Police have also arrested more than 10,000 drug dependents and killed more than 800 dealers and users in legitimate police operations.

According to Malacañang, Duterte’s aggressive anti-drug campaign has also reduced the crime rate by at least 40 percent in July this year compared to the same period last year.


PHILSTAR

FOI exceptions include congressional spending, court proceedings By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated August 30, 2016 - 8:35pm 10 93 googleplus0 0


President Rodrigo Duterte signs the Freedom of Information (FOI) Executive Order in Davao on July 23. Witnessing the signing are Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella. Presidential Photographers Division/Karl Alonzo

MANILA, Philippines -- The draft implementing rules of the executive order on Freedom of Information contain restrictions on the release of information about the use of congressional funds and on court proceedings.

The two items are among the 166 exceptions listed in the draft rules of the order, which only covers the executive branch. It remains unclear why the two exceptions, which are related to the judicial and the legislative branches, were included in the draft rules.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the order last month to promote transparency and accountability and to encourage public participation in governance. He said in his State of the Nation Address that he has done his part and challenged the legislature -- which has tried and failed to pass an FOI law in previous Congresses -- to follow suit.

READ: Duterte's EO may pave way for FOI law, senators say

Exception No. 158 states that government officials “cannot be compelled to prepare lists and detailed reports on how congressional funds were disbursed.”

Exception No. 25, meanwhile, states that “court records, including pleadings and other documents filed by litigants are confidential.” Court records can be accessed from the clerk of court subject to certain regulations.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the 166 exceptions are “standard” and “self-explanatory.”

He said Tuesday that “there are certain items there that are not, you know, cannot be revealed because of confidentiality.”

Asked whether the exceptions go against the essence of FOI, which was supposed to be a transparency measure, Abella replied the details are still being worked out.

“I’m not sure if it (list of exceptions) will be trimmed down but it will be further clarified,” he added.

Exception No. 152 deals with the non-disclosure of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, or SALNs, for “any purpose contrary to morals or public policy” or “any commercial purpose other than by news and communications media for dissemination to the general public.”

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Public officials and government employees are required by law to declare their assets through the SALNs.

The exception is based on a provision of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

All government workers, except those who serve in an honorary capacity, laborers and casual or temporary workers, are required to file their SALN every year. Failure to submit the document could warrant a suspension or dismissal from the service.

In an earlier interview, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar assured the public that the spirit of the EO on FOI would remain despite the proposed exceptions.

“While it provides for exceptions, these would still pass through the DOJ (Department of Justice) and the deputy executive secretary for legislative affairs,” he told reporters Monday.

Andanar said the draft implementing rules is being studied thoroughly so the final output would be acceptable to everyone. He said the implementing rules of the EO on FOI may be completed by November.


PHILSTAR

No plans to be a dictator, Duterte says By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated August 31, 2016 - 6:45pm 5 5 googleplus0 0


File photo

MANILA, Philippines -- Criticized for his supposed refusal to tolerate opposition to his policies, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday allayed fears that he is trying to build a dictatorship, saying he is just doing his job to save the next generation from the drug menace.

“I do not have plans to become a dictator,” the president said in a speech delivered at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 in Pasay.

“They say I am doing a Marcos. Far from it. I am just doing my duty. Or else, I will compromise our next generation,” he added, referring to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who was ousted in the 1986 People Power Revolution after two decades in power.

Duterte has vowed to wage a “bloody” war to suppress the proliferation of narcotics within six months. He said the drug problem in the Philippines has become a “pandemic” that has destroyed the lives of thousands of families.

More than 2,000 suspected drug pushers and addicts have been killed since Duterte assumed power, about half of them by unidentified gunmen. Human rights advocates are worried that the administration’s intensified campaign would lead to abusive practices and summary executions.

Duterte, however, was unfazed by the criticisms, saying those who are complaining about his war on drugs are clueless about the extent of the problem.

The president also had harsh words for personalities who have expressed concerns about the recent spate of killings including Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Sen. Leila de Lima.

Duterte apologized to Sereno, who advised judges tagged in illegal drugs not to surrender without a warrant. He, however, did not do the same to de Lima, whom he has accused of being a protector of drug trade at the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa.

No charges have been filed against De Lima, who has denied her alleged connection to drugs. Duterte: Better to be wrong than be complacent Critics claim that Duterte’s tirades against those who speak against his drug war show his dictatorial tendencies. Duterte has denied this, saying he knows the limitations of his power. Officials also defended the president’s tough talk, saying it merely reflects his strong desire to cleanse the country of drugs.

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Dutere warned that the Philippines would become a failed state if the drug problem remains unsolved. While he acknowledged that he may be wrong in coming up with such an assumption, he said being wrong would be more acceptable to doing nothing.

“I don’t mind being wrong as long I am sure about the plight of Filipinos. I’d rather do that than be complacent,” Duterte said.

Duterte lashed anew at the United Nations, which has spoken against his narcotics crackdown.

“The United Nations is now running after me. Let’s just create our own (group). They are meddling with our affairs,” the president said.

The United Nations is not running after Duterte although Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, his running mate in the May elections, claimed in a privilege speech at the Senate on Wednesday afternoon that there is an "international effort" to discredit the president. He did not show proof of the implied conspiracy.

“I have started this. I will end this. I don’t mind landing in jail as long as you visit me in Muntinlupa. Bring drugs so I can be addicted to them,” the president said in jest.


PHILSTAR

Sulu state of emergency not needed vs Abus – Rody By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 1, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


President Duterte stressed the number of troops deployed in Sulu to finish off the Abu Sayyaf is enough without necessarily placing the entire region under a state of emergency like what former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did in 2006 due to a “clear threat to the nation.” AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – There is no need to declare a state of emergency in Sulu to contain the Abu Sayyaf, President Duterte said yesterday.

“It’s just a punitive police action by the security forces of the government. The magnitude of the trouble there does not warrant anything except the industry of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police),” Duterte said.

Duterte stressed the number of troops deployed in Sulu to finish off the Abu Sayyaf is enough without necessarily placing the entire region under a state of emergency like what former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did in 2006 due to a “clear threat to the nation.”

Duterte made the statement as he visited the wake of the fallen soldiers at the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) in Zamboanga City.

He lamented that billions are spent on arms and bullets that could have been put to better use if not for fighting the Abu Sayyaf.

The AFP deployed thousands of extra troops to destroy the Abu Sayyaf after 15 soldiers were killed last Monday.

Duterte has ordered his security forces to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf, which recently beheaded two Canadian hostages and a local resident whose family was too poor to pay ransom.

Westmincom spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan said an additional 2,500 troops were deployed to Jolo and nearby islands on Tuesday.

Tan said the extra troops would join two brigades already involved in the fighting. He declined to give specific numbers, but there are at least 1,000 soldiers in a brigade.

Tan said the military would be able to achieve the goal set by Duterte, but conceded the rough terrain and possible assistance from villagers were working to the Abu Sayyaf’s advantage.

The AFP has also deployed naval assets in Sulu to choke off possible escape routes of the bandits.

“The deployment of naval assets in strategic waterways around Sulu is in line with the ongoing ground military efforts to deny reinforcements as well as to prevent the bandits’ escape,” AFP Public Affairs Office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.

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“That task given by AFP chief (Gen. Ricardo Visaya) to the Navy is for them to ensure that there will be no landing of reinforcement and at the same time see to it that nobody gets out of the province. Our gunboats are already out there conducting sea denial operations around Sulu,” he said.

Complementing the naval efforts against the bandits are the air assets of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

The PAF is providing close-air support to the ground troops as well as conducting aerial patrols.

Arevalo said all military units have specific tasking, with the ground assault being spearheaded by more than 5,000 troops.

“We have already enough forces operating under overall supervision of Joint Task Force Sulu in the island province,” Arevalo said.

Arevalo said the AFP is ready to deploy additional troops, armaments and other resources needed to finish the Abu Sayyaf.

Stop the brutality Duterte, who has been in office for two months, initially called on the Abu Sayyaf to lay down their arms but quickly adopted a tougher stance when his overtures were rejected.

“Go out and destroy them. Kill whoever they are,” Duterte said last week, in reference to the Abu Sayyaf.

Duterte called on the Abu Sayyaf to stop their brutal acts of beheading their hostages.

Duterte made the appeal amid reports that some of the slain soldiers were beheaded by the bandits.

“I really appeal to the Abu Sayyaf not to behead the soldiers. If you are really a warrior, just one shot is enough. I have asked the soldiers not to mutilate the bodies of their victims,” he added.

The military had denied reports that two of the soldiers slain last Monday were beheaded by the bandits.

The Westmincom said all the military fatalities were accounted for, but a bandit had used the cell phone of Pfc. Jison Falcasantos, one of the slain soldiers, and sent a text message to the victim’s family that they had beheaded him.

The families of the slain soldiers expressed their support for Duterte to continue the military offensive and finish off the Abu Sayyaf.

“I wish that he (Duterte) will be guided by God in his plan to finish all the Abu Sayyaf group,” said Janine Dumapias, widow of a slain soldier, said. – With Roel Pareño, Jaime Laude


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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