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

ANALYSTS QUESTION MATOBATO's CREDIBILITY: ‘DUTERTE UNSCATHED BY REVELATIONS' AT SENATE PROBE


SEPTEMBER 17 -De Lima: NBP inmates 'false, perjured witnesses'
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is emerging unscathed from accusations he had ordered the killings of crime suspects and other individuals when he was mayor of Davao City, analysts said on Friday. Political science Professor Edmund Tayao made the observation after self-described hitman Edgar Matobato claimed before a Senate inquiry that Duterte was behind the “Davao Death Squad” that killed, and sometimes mutilated, 1,000 people from 1988 to 2013. Duterte’s critics have to come up with weightier allegations, considering that the President’s crime-fighting background is already public knowledge, said Tayao of the University of Santo Tomas. The President also enjoys huge public support, he said. “They have to come up with other accusations against the President. He has been telling people that he has been killing people left and right, that is public knowledge. There has to be more incriminating support to douse cold water on the people’s support for Duterte,” Tayao told The Manila Times. On social media, De La Salle University political science professor Antonio Contreras said: “The public has spoken. An overwhelming majority considers the witness Matobato incredible.” READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘BAHALA NA KAYO’ Duterte turns over ‘narco list’ to AFP
(Duterte said he was not sure if he will be able to finish his six-year term because there is a possibility that the people on the list may have him killed. "I do not know if I will survive the six years or not.. Sa dami 'di kayang patayin lahat, baka ako pa ang patayin nito," he said.)


SEPTEMBER 18 -President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday turned over a more complete "narco list" to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as he reminded the military that its main responsibility is to "protect the people" on top of defending national security. "Ibigay ko ito sa Armed Forces. Ito ang problema natin... I'm just saying that the ultimate warriors of the Constitution, to protect the people is the Armed Forces of the Philippines. So bahala na kayo," Duterte said in his visit at the headquarters of the Philippine Army's 5th Infantry Division in Gamu, Isabela, as he showed a thick folder containing a list of people suspected of being involved in illegal drugs. Duterte said the list includes governors, congressmen, assemblymen, mayors, barangay captains and policemen. Last Thursday, Duterte announced that he was about to make public a final report on government officials involved in illegal drugs. He told the soldiers that the Philippine National Police (PNP) only has a supporting role to the AFP when it comes to protecting the people and the state. READ MORE...RELATED,
DU30 names 2 mayors on final ‘narco list’

ALSO: Drug war is now ‘gov’t vs gov’t’ battle, says Duterte
[WATCH VIDEO AS Duterte explains why barangay polls should be postponed]
(
“If you hold the Barangay elections now, drug money is still going around and the barangay captains, most of them are really into it, they would just stay in power and this time they have the money and they win and so [we] will have narcopolitics in the lowest government unit which is the barangay and that would be the start of our, maybe our perdition and agony,” he said.)


SEPTEMBER 19 -Duterte wants war on crime, drugs extended for 6 more monthsDuterte wants war on crime, drugs extended for 6 more months
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The drug war now becomes a battle of the “government versus the government.” President Duterte on Sunday night said in a news conference that the illegal drug trade in the country is largely being “operated by people in government.” “I did not have that idea that there were thousands of people in the drug business and worst is they are operated now by people in government,” Duterte said. “So it (war on drugs) would be government versus government,” Duterte said. Since July, over 700, 000 drug addicts had surrendered to authorities amid Duterte’s no-nonsense war on illegal drugs. “So when I started to press everybody, it was like a worm out of a can and no one could have believed that there would be about 700,000 new guys, maybe in the drug business that have surrendered to the police and the military,” he said. The President said even the lowest government units have been infested with the narcotics trade. “And that’s why i joined the call for the postponement of the barangay elections,” he said. “But the problem is, it was a headline, ‘I can’t kill them all.’ Because even if I want it to, I cannot kill them all because the last report would be this thick and prominent really are barangay captains,” he said. (The President was referring to the “I can’t kill them all” top story of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Sunday.) READ MORE...

ALSO BREAKING NEWS -Government on UN visit: Write us a letter; do not go through the media


SEPTEMBER 19 -Funeral workers carry the bodies of three drug suspects killed in an alleged shootout with police along Antipolo street in Sta. Cruz, Manila yesterday. MIGUEL DE GUZMAN
Malacañang yesterday asked the human rights bodies of the United Nations to relay in a formal letter their wish to be invited to the Philippines instead of sending messages through the media. “The UN, its human rights bodies, should go through the correct process, the correct protocol. It should not go through the media,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said over dzRB yesterday. President Duterte has criticized the UN and its officials for “meddling” in the internal affairs of the government. The UN has been reacting to the reported extrajudicial killings in the government’s drug war since Duterte assumed office on June 30. As of Saturday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported a total of 1,138 drug personalities killed out of 18,382 anti-illegal drug operations conducted nationwide from July 1 to Sept. 17. Independent counts already pegged the deaths at more than 3,000 people, a majority of whom were killed by unknown assailants. READ MORE...

ALSO: BREAKING NEWS - Release of Mary Jane still possible – DOJ chief


SEPTEMBER 19 -Student protesters hold a picture of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino convicted drug trafficker in Indonesia, as they urge Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to save her from execution during a rally near the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. AP Photo/Aaron Favila
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said it is still possible for the Indonesian government to free convicted Filipino drug mule Mary Jane Veloso if Philippine courts could establish that she was a mere victim of her recruiters’ illegal schemes. Aguirre believes Indonesia is suspending Veloso’s execution pending the results of a criminal case filed in Nueva Ecija province against the overseas Filipino worker’s recruiters, partners Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao. The case is lodged with the Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 88. “Their judicial process is waiting for the outcome of the case in the Nueva Ecija court,” Aguirre said in an interview. “So, I believe that Indonesia will still keep an indefinite action on the case of Mary Jane precisely because of the Nueva Ecija case.” He said Veloso’s release is possible. “For example, if the Nueva Ecija court rules that Mary Jane is indeed a victim and that the liability is with the syndicate that preyed on her, then Mary Jane could be released in the eyes of Indonesian law, as she is merely a victim and actually not guilty of the offense charged against her,” Aguirre said. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

ANALYSTS QUESTION WITNESS’ CREDIBILITY: ‘Duterte unscathed by revelations’


SEPTEMBER 17 -De Lima: NBP inmates 'false, perjured witnesses'

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 (MANILA TIMES) BY LLANESCA T. PANTI, JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, CATHERINE S. VALENTE AND PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY ON SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 HEADLINES - PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is emerging unscathed from accusations he had ordered the killings of crime suspects and other individuals when he was mayor of Davao City, analysts said on Friday.

Political science Professor Edmund Tayao made the observation after self-described hitman Edgar Matobato claimed before a Senate inquiry that Duterte was behind the “Davao Death Squad” that killed, and sometimes mutilated, 1,000 people from 1988 to 2013.

Duterte’s critics have to come up with weightier allegations, considering that the President’s crime-fighting background is already public knowledge, said Tayao of the University of Santo Tomas.

The President also enjoys huge public support, he said.

“They have to come up with other accusations against the President. He has been telling people that he has been killing people left and right, that is public knowledge. There has to be more incriminating support to douse cold water on the people’s support for Duterte,” Tayao told The Manila Times.

On social media, De La Salle University political science professor Antonio Contreras said: “The public has
spoken. An overwhelming majority considers the witness Matobato incredible.”

READ MORE...
|
In a Facebook post, Contreras drew a parallel between the ongoing Senate inquiry led by Sen. Leila de Lima and previous investigations which he said were instigated by the erstwhile ruling Liberal Party (LP) against its opponents.

“You see, this is no longer about truth but about politics and perceptions. LP perfected this art when it deployed its full powers and even recruited the Ombudsman, the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), and COA (Commission on Audit) in humiliating [Chief Justice] Renato Corona,” he said.

“That was just a dress rehearsal. They did it again to the front-running [Vice President Jejomar] Binay, enabling the dark horse Duterte to blindside them,” he added.

Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform however said it was still difficult to say whether the latest allegations would have an effect on Duterte.

But Thursday’s Senate inquiry marked the end of the “honeymoon period” usually extended to a new President, he said.

Credibility in question

Tayao said the inquiry’s effect on Duterte depended on the witness, Matobato, whose testimony had been described as inconsistent by some senators, notably Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a former police chief.

“He (Matobato) has been vetted, there is some truth to what he said, but the result of the questioning of Senator Lacson tells a lot already, not to mention those who are handling him such as [Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th] who has a penchant for bringing in whistleblowers but never really gained popularity,” Tayao said.

Casiple said Matobato’s inclusion in the witness protection program (WPP) of the Department of Justice affected his credibility.

This was because Matobato was admitted to the WPP when de Lima, the head of the Senate justice committee conducting the inquiry, was Justice department secretary, he said.

Matobato left the program after sensing that Duterte would win the May 9 presidential elections.

Lacson questioned on Friday fellow Senator de Lima for seemingly accepting the testimony of Matobato as “gospel truth.”

“Being committee chair, you handle the witness, you brief the witness but don’t make it look like you believe what he says hook, line and sinker, you take it as gospel truth. That’s not right,” Lacson said.

He said he did not get to ask as many questions as he wanted during the Senate hearing where Matobato was
present, because he lost interest in the manner in which it was conducted.

“I lost interest in asking questions,” Lacson said, adding that Matobato’s testimony sounded too dramatic to him.

In Malacañang, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo also questioned the credibility of Matobato.
Panelo called Matobato as a “perjured witness,” saying his statements against President Duterte were “all lies.”

“The fact alone that he was with the [Department of Justice’s] Witness Protection Program for how many years, two, three years, he should have said all these things before. Why only now?” he said.

CAYETANO TESTS AND GRILLS CREDIBILITY OF DE LIMA's WITNESS

 
https://youtu.be/sOzlH_O--34
SUPALPAL NI SEN. CAYETANO ANG BAYARANG WITNESS NI DE LIMA SA SENATE HEARING DUTERTE NEWS  Published on Sep 15, 2016 DISCLAIMER: No copyright infringement intended. Copyright reserved to the respected owner(s) of this video and copyright parties.


GMA NEWS ONLINE

‘BAHALA NA KAYO’ Duterte turns over ‘narco list’ to AFP Published September 17, 2016 3:39pm Updated September 17, 2016 4:45pm By JOHN TED CORDERO, GMA News

President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday turned over a more complete "narco list" to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as he reminded the military that its main responsibility is to "protect the people" on top of defending national security.

"Ibigay ko ito sa Armed Forces. Ito ang problema natin... I'm just saying that the ultimate warriors of the Constitution, to protect the people is the Armed Forces of the Philippines. So bahala na kayo," Duterte said in his visit at the headquarters of the Philippine Army's 5th Infantry Division in Gamu, Isabela, as he showed a thick folder containing a list of people suspected of being involved in illegal drugs.

Duterte said the list includes governors, congressmen, assemblymen, mayors, barangay captains and policemen.

Last Thursday, Duterte announced that he was about to make public a final report on government officials involved in illegal drugs.

He told the soldiers that the Philippine National Police (PNP) only has a supporting role to the AFP when it comes to protecting the people and the state.

READ MORE...

"Inyo 'yan eh sa constitution, is to preserve... Inyong trabaho iyan, baka nakalimutan ninyo, inyo 'yan. To protect.. Do not allow the country to disintegrate," Duterte said without elaborating.

He reiterated his earlier assurance that soldiers, as well as the policemen, will be protected by his administration in the fight against illegal drugs.

"Sa panahon ko kung six years, wala kayong takot. Lahat nang gawin ninyo, sa utos ko, akin 'yan. Kayo magpakulong sabihin lang ninyo, 'Utos iyan ni Mayor Duterte, siya lang ang tanungin mo. Siya ang ikulong ninyo.' Walang problema, trabaho lang kayo," he said.

He added: "Just do what is the mandate of the Constitution, at ako na ang bahala sa inyo. I will protect you."

AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military leadership has not actually received the narco list.

Padilla clarified that the AFP will maintain a supporting role in the war on drugs, which is currently being headed by the PNP.

He expressed support in Duterte's call for the police and military to work together, and continue the campaign even after his term.

"The Commander-in-Chief mentioned the immensity of the nation's drug problem. He said he will lead and keep on fighting to save the country from this monster. He mentioned that should he not last his term, he calls on the AFP to keep the fight in the interest of our nation's future," Padilla said.

Fears he won't outlast war on drugs

During his speech, Duterte mentioned that the name of retired police official and now Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot is "all over" the final report.

"Kagaya si Loot sa Region 1 nandiyan ang pangalan niya. General Loot nandyan sa Region 2, Region 3, Region 4. What does that mean? Whenever he was assigned he was into drugs, that is what it means," the President said.

Loot was one of the five retired and active ranking police officials named by Duterte as alleged protectors of drug syndicates.

He also mentioned the name of Naguillan, La Union Mayor Reynaldo Flores being a "high-value target."

Duterte said he was not sure if he will be able to finish his six-year term because there is a possibility that the people on the list may have him killed.

"I do not know if I will survive the six years or not.. Sa dami 'di kayang patayin lahat, baka ako pa ang patayin nito," he said.

"Sa isang page mayor, assemblyman, mayor, vice mayor... Sa iba naman, barangays captains, puro barangay captain. Boni sultan, Lumati Maasin, municipal councilor... Governor, congressman, mayor, barangay captain, nasa gobyerno. How can I build a case na ganito sa karami. Sabihin ng human rights, 'You build a case.' Saan ako maghanap ng pulis na tayo you are preparing for war," he said, adding that aside from illegal drugs the authorities are also confronted with the problem of corruption, terrorism and insurgency.

"Kaya sabi ko if it would outlast me, mawala ako nang bigla, hingin ko lang sa inyo to see to it that this country will not take a spin, kasi ito the whole of the Philippines ang tinamaan," he told the soldiers. —with Jessica Bartolome/ALG, GMA News

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

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

DU30 names 2 mayors on final ‘narco list’ Written by Ted Tuvera Sunday, 18 September 2016 00:00
By Ted Tuvera


President Duterte holds a diagram showing the network of drug rings and personalities operating in the country while delivering a televised message at Malacañang on July 7, 2016. BOY SANTOS, file

President Rodrigo Duterte named anew retired police general and now Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot and another local chief executive in his list of 1,000 national and local executives, and police officials who are allegedly in cahoots with drugs syndicates in the country.

During his speech before the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division (5ID) at Camp Melchor de la Cruz in Isabela province, the Commander-in Chief said Loot’s name is “all over” the final report while Naguillan, La Union Mayor Reynaldo Flores is a “high-value target.”

Loot was one of the five retired and active ranking police officials named by Duterte last July as drug protectors.

He, however, conceded that he cannot immediately file formal charges against all those in the list as he was not sure if he will be able to finish his
six-year term because there is a possibility that the people on the list may have him killed first.

“I do not know if I will survive the six years or not.., there’s a possibility they would get me killed first,” he said.

Included in Duterte’s final list are governors, congressmen, assemblymen, mayors, barangay captains and policemen.

The President also reminded the military that its main responsibility is to “protect the people” on top of defending national security as he assured the soldiers his full support.

READ MORE...

“That’s your job: To protect,” he stressed.

“Just do what is the mandate of the Constitution, and I’ll take care of you. I will protect you,” Duterte told the soldiers.

He also reiterated his promise to increase the salaries of government troops and provide additional weapons to equip them against terrorists.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported Saturday that 1,138 drug personalities were killed nationwide following the implementation of “Oplan Double Barrel” from July 1 to Sept. 17 this year.

The PNP also reported that 17,319 drug personalities were arrested in 18,832 police operations over the same period.

Oplan Double Barrel was launched by PNP Chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa to target both big-time and small-time drug pushers.

De la Rosa earlier reported an 80- to 90-percent decrease in the supply of illegal drugs in the country since the start of intensified drug operations.

He also advised policemen not to break the momentum of the war on drugs since Duterte is expecting the drug menace to be eliminated six months since he assumed office.
PNA


INQUIRER

Drug war is now ‘gov’t vs gov’t’ battle, says Duterte INQUIRER.net By: Nestor Corrales, September 19th, 2016 12:18 AM


Duterte wants war on crime, drugs extended for 6 more monthsDuterte wants war on crime, drugs extended for 6 more months

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The drug war now becomes a battle of the “government versus the government.”

President Duterte on Sunday night said in a news conference that the illegal drug trade in the country is largely being “operated by people in government.”

“I did not have that idea that there were thousands of people in the drug business and worst is they are operated now by people in government,” Duterte said.

“So it (war on drugs) would be government versus government,” Duterte said.

Since July, over 700, 000 drug addicts had surrendered to authorities amid Duterte’s no-nonsense war on illegal drugs.

“So when I started to press everybody, it was like a worm out of a can and no one could have believed that there would be about 700,000 new guys, maybe in the drug business that have surrendered to the police and the military,” he said.


MANILA TIMES PHOTO OF THE DAY: SAFE WITH GRANDPA -BY THE MANILA TIMES ON SEPTEMBER 18, 2016 TODAY'S HEADLINE PHOTOS President Rodrigo Duterte talks to his grandson Stingray during the wedding of Waldo and Regine Carpio at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila. The President and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales were the principal sponsors in the wedding. Waldo is a brother of Manases Carpio, the husband of Davao Mayor Sara Duterte. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The President said even the lowest government units have been infested with the narcotics trade.

“And that’s why i joined the call for the postponement of the barangay elections,” he said.

“But the problem is, it was a headline, ‘I can’t kill them all.’ Because even if I want it to, I cannot kill them all because the last report would be this thick and prominent really are barangay captains,” he said.

(The President was referring to the “I can’t kill them all” top story of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Sunday.)

In his third and final list, at least 1,000 government officials were linked to the illegal drug trade that include barangay captains.

Postpone barangay elections

Duterte said he was in favor of postponing the barangay elections because drug money would be used for the village electoral exercise.

“If you hold the elections now, drug money is still going around and the barangay captains, most of them are really into it, they would just stay in power and this time they have the money and they win and so [we] will have narcopolitics in the lowest government unit which is the barangay and that would be the start of our, maybe our perdition and agony,” he said.

The President said he would remove policemen as bodyguards of village chiefs.

“… I will not allow any policemen to act as bodyguard of a barangay captain,” he said.

If barangay captains are afraid of his security, Duterte advised them to find another job.

“If you think you are afraid of being killed—if you are there in the rural areas where the NPAs [are active]… then do not run for public office; find another occupation,” he said.

With the gravity of the drug problem in the country, Duterte has asked for an extension on his “self-imposed” deadline to solve drugs and criminality.

“We are (rotting) with so many problem—kidnapping in the south, terrorism drugs, which is really pulling us down and I can say that we would need time to put everything in order,” he said.

“Just give me a little extension of maybe of another six months,” he added.

Stopping crime and criminality in three to six months was Duterte’s major campaign promise last May.

RELATED STORIES

Duterte: Kill me if I fail to bust crime, corruption in 6 months

Duterte willing to lose life, presidency to fulfil vow vs crime, drugs, corruption

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VIDEO: Duterte explains why barangay polls should be postponed INQUIRER.net ISep 18, 2016

 
https://youtu.be/M8pL1qNzPLc
Duterte explains why barangay polls should be postponed INQUIRER.net INQUIRER.net Subscribe63,952 Add to Share More 119 views 3 0 Published on Sep 18, 2016


PHILSTAR

Government on UN visit: Write us a letter By Giovanni Nilles (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 19, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Funeral workers carry the bodies of three drug suspects killed in an alleged shootout with police along Antipolo street in Sta. Cruz, Manila yesterday. MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang yesterday asked the human rights bodies of the United Nations to relay in a formal letter their wish to be invited to the Philippines instead of sending messages through the media.

“The UN, its human rights bodies, should go through the correct process, the correct protocol. It should not go through the media,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said over dzRB yesterday.

President Duterte has criticized the UN and its officials for “meddling” in the internal affairs of the government.

The UN has been reacting to the reported extrajudicial killings in the government’s drug war since Duterte assumed office on June 30.

As of Saturday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported a total of 1,138 drug personalities killed out of 18,382 anti-illegal drug operations conducted nationwide from July 1 to Sept. 17.

Independent counts already pegged the deaths at more than 3,000 people, a majority of whom were killed by unknown assailants.

READ MORE...

The PNP also reported the arrest of 17,319 persons who are allegedly involved in the drug trade and the surrender of 714,217 under Project Tokhang. Of those who surrendered, 53,017 are identified as drug peddlers while 661,200 are classified as drug users.

As of Saturday, policemen visited 1,029,328 houses to ask people to either surrender or to stop using or peddling of illegal drugs under Project Tokhang.

Last Thursday, self-confessed hit man Edgar Matobato appeared at a Senate hearing and claimed that Duterte and his son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte asked his group to kill about 1,000 people from 1988 to 2013.

Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said Friday that Matobato’s detailed testimony are “very serious allegations” that require an independent investigation that could be headed by the UN.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also criticized Duterte, saying Duterte’s statements of scorn for international human rights law “display a striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe.”

He also said that he “strongly encourages the Philippine to extend an invitation to the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.”

Duterte allies: Don’t use ‘extrajudicial killings’ Meanwhile, Duterte’s allies in the House of Representatives agreed not to use the term “extrajudicial killing” in congressional hearings.

Instead, members of the committee on public order and safety will use the term “death under investigation” as enunciated by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.

This was after Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop, chairman of the committee on public order and safety, approved the motion of Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu who questioned the use of the term extrajudicial killings in the absence of death penalty in the country.

“I am really curious what the definition of extrajudicial killing is because ‘extrajudicial’ means outside of the parameters of a judicial killing. But do we have such a thing as judicial killing in the Philippines?” she said.

She noted that the law on lethal injection, Republic Act 8177, was “repealed” by Republic Act 9346 in 2006, during the term of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when capital punishment for heinous crimes was reverted to life imprisonment.

Chief Supt. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan, acting director of the PNP Directorate for Operations, maintained that the PNP investigates all kinds of killings.

“We do not tolerate any kind of illegal police operations,” he said. – With Delon Porcalla


PHILSTAR

Release of Mary Jane still possible – DOJ chief By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 19, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Student protesters hold a picture of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino convicted drug trafficker in Indonesia, as they urge Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to save her from execution during a rally near the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said it is still possible for the Indonesian government to free convicted Filipino drug mule Mary Jane Veloso if Philippine courts could establish that she was a mere victim of her recruiters’ illegal schemes.

Aguirre believes Indonesia is suspending Veloso’s execution pending the results of a criminal case filed in Nueva Ecija province against the overseas Filipino worker’s recruiters, partners Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao. The case is lodged with the Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 88.

“Their judicial process is waiting for the outcome of the case in the Nueva Ecija court,” Aguirre said in an interview. “So, I believe that Indonesia will still keep an indefinite action on the case of Mary Jane precisely because of the Nueva Ecija case.”

He said Veloso’s release is possible.

“For example, if the Nueva Ecija court rules that Mary Jane is indeed a victim and that the liability is with the syndicate that preyed on her, then Mary Jane could be released in the eyes of Indonesian law, as she is merely a victim and actually not guilty of the offense charged against her,” Aguirre said.

READ MORE...

Veloso had claimed Sergio and Lacanilao had duped her into bringing drug-laden luggage to Indonesia in 2010, when Indonesian authorities arrested her upon arriving at the Yogyakarta airport.

The death sentence on Veloso was put on hold on April 29, 2015, after the Philippine government appealed her case to President Widodo and after Sergio’s surrender to the Nueva Ecija provincial police.

As ordered by RTC Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes, the Philippine consulate in Indonesia is set to get Veloso to testify on the large-scale illegal recruitment cases against Sergio and Lacanilao.

The justice department believes President Duterte’s recent meeting with Widodo has helped clear up the case for Veloso, as both chiefs of state have vowed respect for each other’s judicial process.

Aguirre cited for instance the recent release of 177 Indonesians, who were stopped at the Ninoy Aguino International Airport last Aug. 19 for illegal possession of Philippine passports.

“The President ordered their release because they are just victims of a Filipino syndicate involved in illegal issuance of passports,” Aguirre said. “It was an act of goodwill on our part.”


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