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PH DRUG WAR 'SERIOUS, NOT CHILD PLAY': MALACAÑANG RESPONDS TO 5 QUESTIONS TO REUTERS INVESTIGATION IN DRUG-RELATED DEATHS
[RELATED TIME COMMENTARY: This Is Why Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Will Get Away With Murder]


DECEMBER 5 -MB FILE - President Duterte (MANILA BULLETIN)
 International news agency Reuters submitted five questions to the Presidential Communications Office of President Rodrigo Duterte for its investigation into police killings of drug suspects. The questions and replies are reproduced here in full, edited only for spelling and punctuation: 1. In anti-drug operations in which police say they kill suspects in self-defense (2,004 deaths), almost none of the suspects survive. Why is that? Answer: THE DRUG WAR IS SERIOUS. The drug war is not child’s play. Unfortunately, those who resist and fight back with arms have to be dealt with by tough law enforcement. Violent encounters do have the risk of the suspects being killed because they are armed in the first place. If they are fighting the police, the police have no recourse but to shoot back, else they could be the ones to end up dead. It’s unfair to say that none of the suspects survive. Police and drug personalities can end up wounded, if they survive. For more detailed information, you may want to contact the Public Information Office of the Philippine National Police. [Editor’s note: The police told Reuters that they did not have statistics for suspects injured in anti-drug operations.] READ MORE... RELATED, This Is Why Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Will Get Away With Murder...

ALSO: 4th State Conference of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)
(WATCH VIDEO: Implementation Review Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace December 7, 2016)


DECEMBER 7 -President Duterte leads the 4th State Conference of the UNCAC Implementation Review 12/7/2016 SCREENGRAB GOV.PH.COM REPORT 
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the 4th State Conference of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Implementation Review at the Rizal Hall of Malacañan Palace. In his keynote address, the President guaranteed to all the event attendees that there would be no corruption under his administration, saying, “Dito sa akin, okay kami. There will be no corruption, I will assure you, 100%”. He stressed that among the challenges that the country is facing today and need to be addressed is the worsening trade and use of illegal drugs. The Chief Executive once again showed a document containing the profiles of thousands of suspected illegal drug users and dealers all over the country. He reinstated his order to the law enforcers in tracking down all those responsible in this trade. “I said we are fighting a war, it is an assault on my country, and I will not allow it. Go out and destroy the apparatus of the drug lords. READ MORE...WATCH VIDEO LIVE FROM MALACANANG RIZAL HALL....

ALSO: Fil-Am philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis - Duterte resignation, Yes; ouster, No
[ALSO EARLIER REPORT: Loida
Nicolas Lewis barnstorms the world for Roxas-Robredo]


DECEMBER 8 -Although she is calling for his resignation, Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis is not supporting calls for President Rodrigo Duterte's ouster from office. "I do not support any calls for his *forced* ouster," Lewis said in a post on Facebook. "Naniniwala ako na ang kabutihan ay laging mananaig sa huli." Lewis, however, admitted that she wants Duterte to resign, noting his supposed failure to fulfill his promise of ridding the country of the illegal drug problem in the first three to six months of his administration. "I joined a call started by others to ASK the President to Resign, which he promised he would do if he did not solve the drug problem in 3-6 months," she said. "Ang pagbitiw ni President Duterte sa kanyang posisyon, kung hindi na niya kaya itong gampanan, ay isang legal at mapayapang paraan ng pagbabago," added Lewis, who supported the Liberal Party (LP) in the May elections. READ MORE...ALSO, Loida Nicolas Lewis barnstorms the world for Roxas-Robredo...

ALSO:
Duterte won't abandon cops in Espinosa slay

[RELATED Bato: Duterte will find way to keep cops in Espinosa case out of jail]


DECEMBER 7 -"I will not allow these guys to go to prison. Bahala sila sabihin ng NBI na murder. E tutal under ko ang NBI, under ko rin 'yang Department of Justice," President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday, Decn. 7, 2016. Among the cops he vows to stand by is Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 8 chief police Superintendent Marvin Marcos (right), among those facing multple murder charges in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. inside a jail. AP file photos
Despite the National Bureau of Investigation's (NBI) conclusion that Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa was killed in a rubout, President Duterte said he still believes in the claim of the police that the local chief executive died in a shootout. While promising not to obstruct legal proceedings, Duterte said he would not abandon the law enforcers who were tagged in Espinosa's death. READ MORE...RELATED,
Bato: Duterte will find way to keep cops in Espinosa case out of jail...

ALSO: INQUIRER EDITORIAL - Criminal intent
(In the face of such evidence, we cannot understand why the President continues to either stand by the presumption of regularity in the conduct of the police raid or, as he did on Wednesday, all but promised to obstruct justice. This, quite literally, will allow a favored few to get away with murder.)


DECEMBER 9 -INQUIRE EDITORIAL CARTOON It was murder, the National Bureau of Investigation has concluded. The death on Nov. 5 of controversial Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, inside his cell at the Baybay provincial jail was not the result of a shootout with police officers; rather, it was a “rubout,” the now familiar term for a police execution. (Another inmate, Raul Yap, was also executed.) But, astonishingly, President Duterte is having none of it. “I will not allow these guys to go to prison maski sabihin ng NBI (even if the NBI says it’s) murder,” the President said at an event in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday. “Tutal, under ko man ang NBI. Under ko rin iyan, ang Department of Justice (Anyway, the NBI is under me. The Department of Justice is under me).” Then he added: “But I do not interfere.”
READ MORE...

ALSO: Duterte congratulates new AFP chief Año, offers post to Visaya who reached mandatory retirement age
[RELATED: Duterte says PNP a fractured organization with cops involved in drugs]


DECEMBER 7 -In this August 5, 2016 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte assures members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Command of his support during his visit at Centcom Headquarters in Camp Lapu-Lapu, Cebu City as then AFP Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ricardo Visaya looks on. PPD/Ace Morandante, File
President Rodrigo Duterte lauded Wednesday retired Armed Forces chief Ricardo Visaya and asked him to remain in government as a civilian. “I’d like to express (my) gratitude (in) behalf of the Filipino people, to Gen. Visaya for a job really well, very well done. I almost fell because of his medal,” Duterte said during the change of command ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo. “Gen. Visaya, mamili ka na ng pwesto diyan (choose your position), sir. Choose your position, that is how grateful the nation is to you. If you want, you can talk to (Defense Secretary) Delfin (Lorenzana), that would be okay,” he added. Duterte also congratulated Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año for his appointment as the new military chief. Duterte also assured the military that he would never meddle with its promotion system. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte says PNP a fractured organization with cops involved in drugs...

ALSO: HANDS-ON TO STOP CORRUPT PRACTICES - Duterte to supervise dev’t projects in Sulu, Basilan


DECEMBER 12 -President Duterte will take a hands-on approach in implementing development projects in Sulu and Basilan by personally overseeing them to stop the practice of corruption. The President said he would “supervise” and “help and do it” to ensure a corruption-free construction of hospitals, roads, and other projects in these two provinces. “Itong dito sa Jolo, pati Basilan, (here in Jolo, including Basilan) it will be undertaken by the Office of the President and it will be handled by the military. At ako mismo ang magtingin doon (I will personally oversee them), the hospitals and all. Otherwise, walang dadating doon (no project will ever be completed),” the President said in a recent anti-corruption summit in Malacañang. “I’m not casting any aspersion but that’s the cold reality. It’s either I do not help, I will withhold the money or help and do it,” said Duterte who has promised to eliminate corruption during his term. The President expressed dismay over the corruption practices plaguing some infrastructure projects being handled at the local government level. READ MORE....


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PH drug war ‘serious, not child’s play’ Malacañang responds to 5 questions Reuters raised in its investigation into PH drug-related deaths


DECEMBER 5 -MB FILE - President Duterte (MANILA BULLETIN)

MANILA, DECEMBER 12, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN) Published December 6, 2016 Reuters - International news agency Reuters submitted five questions to the Presidential Communications Office of President Rodrigo Duterte for its investigation into police killings of drug suspects. The questions and replies are reproduced here in full, edited only for spelling and punctuation:

1. In anti-drug operations in which police say they kill suspects in self-defense (2,004 deaths), almost none of the suspects survive. Why is that?

Answer: THE DRUG WAR IS SERIOUS.

The drug war is not child’s play.

Unfortunately, those who resist and fight back with arms have to be dealt with by tough law enforcement. Violent encounters do have the risk of the suspects being killed because they are armed in the first place. If they are fighting the police, the police have no recourse but to shoot back, else they could be the ones to end up dead. It’s unfair to say that none of the suspects survive. Police and drug personalities can end up wounded, if they survive. For more detailed information, you may want to contact the Public Information Office of the Philippine National Police. [Editor’s note: The police told Reuters that they did not have statistics for suspects injured in anti-drug operations.]

READ MORE...

2. Philippine police operations are much deadlier than those of police forces in other comparable countries. Why?

Answer: The statement is evidently one-sided trying to depict the Philippines as The Wild, Wild West in this part of the world. If indeed Philippine police operations were much deadlier than those in other countries, why are there increasing incidents of police authorities getting wounded or killed in operations?

There are two sides in every story. Unfortunately, our hardworking law enforcement officers who are risking life and limb to rid society of drugs and crime do not land on the front pages of the papers.

3. Many Filipinos, and not just the families of victims killed in drug raids, suspect that police buy-bust operations are actually extrajudicial executions. Family members say that relatives have been executed by the police and that many of the police shootings follow a similar pattern, with the suspect opening fire and then a revolver and “shabu” (methamphetamine) being found on their bodies after the police shoot them dead. What is your response to the claim that this points to extrajudicial killings by the police?

Answer: We decry the attribution of drug-related killings to the police. Again and again, the President has reiterated that his adherence to due process and rule of law is uncompromising. He knows the limits of his authority as President.

The President has consistently indicated that the drug war is on the level of narcopolitics. This means the drug trade is so serious that the nature of a number of deaths implies internecine, or killings within the organization of the drug trade. These do not fall under the ambit of the law but remain our concern.

4. What does this high number of killings by police say about the progress of the war on drugs? When will the war on drugs end?

Answer: We have only scratched the surface. No one knew the magnitude of the drug problem in the country. It is just recently that we have learned of the disturbing rise of narcopoliticians who use drug money to buy votes.

As to when this will end, to quote the President, “It will continue until the last pusher is out of the streets.” He said: “The drug war will be sustained and relentless until the last drug lord, the last financier, and the last pusher have surrendered or put behind bars.”

5. President Duterte’s critics say that, in his war on drugs, he has given free rein to the police to execute drug suspects. What is the President’s answer to this criticism?

Answer: The President has not empowered the police to kill drug dealers and suspects. His marching order to the police is that they have the right to defend themselves when their lives are endangered when drug suspects violently resist arrest. As the Chief Executive said in his first State of the Nation Address, “To our police officers and other officials, do your job and you will have the unwavering support of the Office of the President. I will be with you all the way. Abuse your authority and there will be a hell to pay, for you will have become worse than criminality itself.”

Also, police authorities take seriously allegations of all officers’ involvement in drug-related killings, and they follow established internal procedures for investigating and addressing such cases.

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(REPOSTED) COMMENTARY FROM TIME ONLINE [IDEAS]

This Is Why Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Will Get Away With Murder
Miguel Syjuco Aug. 16, 2016


PHILIPPINES-CRIME-DRUGS-RIGHTSNoel Celis—AFP/Getty Images -Jennilyn Olayres grieves beside the coffin of her partner Michael Siaron on July 28, 2016, after he was found dead in the streets of Manila with a crude cardboard poster left behind by the killers saying "Drug Pusher" — a claim she refutes. Hundreds of people have died since President Rodrigo Duterte won a landslide election in May, promising to rid society of drugs and crime in six months by killing tens of thousands of criminals

The writer Miguel Syjuco is the author of the award-winning novel Ilustrado. He lives in Manila and is a professor at NYU in Abu Dhabi.

A culture of impunity protects him in the way it does many Philippine politicians

In a span of six weeks, the Philippines’ new President, Rodrigo Duterte, has made international headlines for the hundreds of suspects killed in his war on crime.

Since he took office on June 30, an average of 13 people a day have been either assassinated in public by masked assailants, killed by police without further investigation, or found as unidentified bodies on the streets, often balled up in packing tape with signs saying variations of: “Don’t follow me, I’m a criminal.”

Duterte’s supporters celebrate these killings as necessary comeuppance, while his critics condemn the violence as precarious violations of due process and human rights. Yet the President’s seemingly outrageous actions are merely part of the Philippines’ deeply entrenched culture of impunity. What is frightening is that so few people realize that yet.

President Duterte’s approval rating was recently a historic 91%, and he is seen by fans and foes alike as decisive and effective, promising sweeping reforms and bringing about the surrender of tens of thousands of drug users and self-confessed dealers before they can be killed.

Yet Duterte has also vowed to pardon any police and military involved in the extrajudicial killings, while also pledging to pardon himself. He has ensconced his daughter and son as mayor and vice mayor of the city that he ruled for two decades, while also refusing to fully answer allegations about hidden wealth.

More alarmingly, in what seems an effort to systematically undermine the traditional democratic checks and balances to his authority, Duterte has threatened to shut down the legislature if it hinders his plans, invoked the specter of martial law when criticized by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and insulted concerned foreign ambassadors.

He has chipped at the influence of the Catholic Church by emphasizing its corruption. And he has warned that members of the media are not protected from assassination: “The Constitution can no longer help you,” Duterte told reporters, “if you disrespect a person.”

Play Video


http://time.com/4453587/philippines-rodrigo-duterte-dictator-impunity-marcos/

Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte Says Journalists Not Exempt from Assassination

Not long after stating he’d pardon himself for mass murder, the Philippines’ president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has issued a warning to journalists.

These maneuvers recall those of the infamous despot Ferdinand Marcos, a dictator much respected by Duterte. The similarities should give us pause. While the new President’s predilection toward violence is being justified as necessary, there is little difference between taking the law into one’s own righteous hands and being wrongly above the law.

This casts him clearly alongside his political peers, who have always evaded punishment, and who have yet to be targeted in Duterte’s campaign against criminality.

ESTRADA AND ARROYO

Take, for example, former President Joseph Estrada, who was sentenced to life in prison for plundering allegedly more than $80 million. Political expediency saw him pardoned by his successor, Gloria Arroyo, and he is now mayor of Manila while his relatives are Senators and Congressmen. Even his mistress now rules as mayor of his traditional bailiwick.

Similarly, former President Arroyo became linked to a long list of corruption scandals during her nine-year regime, yet she was re-elected to Congress while under house arrest on various charges of corruption. Duterte offered to pardon her a few weeks before the Supreme Court (composed of a majority of her appointees) acquitted her of the charge of plunder. Despite still facing a charge of graft, and thus barred from leaving the country, Arroyo has recently been named Deputy Speaker of Congress. Members of her former Cabinet now comprise the majority of Duterte’s inner circle.

It is not only Presidents who seem untouchable.

Tito Sotto, a TV comedian turned politician, was pilloried by citizens for his blatant plagiarisms in his multiple Senate speeches against a reproductive-health bill that would provide care to women, yet he received no censure from his legislative cohorts. Meanwhile, Congressman Romeo Jalosjos, serving two life sentences for raping an 11-year-old girl, won re-election, twice, from behind bars, and enjoyed his regular game on the tennis court he had built in the maximum-security prison; he was pardoned by Arroyo only 10 years into his conviction.

Similarly, members of the Arroyo-allied Ampatuan clan have been charged with the massacre of 58 political opponents and journalists, yet seven years later they have still escaped conviction. As has former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, a Marcos henchman, who weathered many scandals throughout five presidencies; charged with plundering nearly $4 million, he is out on bail because of his advanced age. These are but few of many examples.

THE MARCOSES

Best representing this culture of impunity, however, is the family renowned to have refined it: the Marcoses. They fled the country in 1986 with billions of dollars in cash and assets that are missing till this day.

After the dictator died in 1989, his wife Imelda, of the thousands of shoes, and her children returned unpunished and regained high office. In this year’s election, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. lost the vice presidency by a mere 263,473 votes (the office is elected separately from the presidency).

Despite ongoing nationwide protests and court cases still unresolved for the victims of the strongman’s martial law, the laundering of the dictator’s legacy is nearly complete: Duterte has ordered next month’s transfer of Marcos’s mummified corpse from its refrigerated mausoleum in the country’s north to Manila — for a burial, with pomp, in the best location in the nation’s Cemetery of Heroes.

POLITICS AS USUAL

To outsiders, all that seems outrageous. To Filipinos, it’s just politics as usual — the manipulations of a game of thrones, so to speak. After every election, officials abandon any party loyalty to join the winning candidate. During any administration, many a politician is caught doing something too criminal for the incumbent to leave unpunished. Over the years, alleged political pilferers leverage their influence to support an opposition that can eventually throw out their cases, or grant pardons, or return them to power as needed allies.

Duterte claims to be the antidote to all that, and his many supporters believe him to be the savior our country needs. But this hope is where the danger truly lies. The most vociferous among his fans, themselves now anointed by his very popularity, are inadvertently perpetuating that culture of impunity.

Many of his online supporters gained sudden renown only by defending Duterte loudly, and when your new President has a 91% approval rating and can do no wrong, anything you say or do on his behalf is similarly unassailable.

That’s dangerously heady for both pundits and trolls, who now shout down opposition, cast as bias any legitimate concerns, allege that Duterte’s critics are in the pay of drug lords, threaten death or rape to dissenters, and seek to publicly shame objectors whenever they can.

This assault on civil discourse and consensual disagreement is undermining the citizenry’s ability to speak freely, and only the powerful politicos stand to benefit from a population so divided.

History has shown how systematic victimization of so-called degenerates (communists, counterrevolutionaries, homosexuals and now criminal elements, like alleged drug pushers) can easily swing to anyone else being targeted for voicing unpopular opinions.

With our entrenched culture of impunity, that can only add up to the further disempowerment of Filipinos. As the Roman poet Juvenal asked: “Who will guard the guards themselves?”

Duterte’s campaign slogan was: “Change is coming.” Will that change prove for the good? Or will the new President’s promises make the Philippines less safe in the years ahead?

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.


GOV.PH.COM

4th State Conference of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Implementation Review Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace December 7, 2016


DECEMBER 7 -President Duterte leads the 4th State Conference of the UNCAC Implementation Review 12/7/2016 SCREENGRAB GOV.PH.COM REPORT

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the 4th State Conference of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Implementation Review at the Rizal Hall of Malacañan Palace.

In his keynote address, the President guaranteed to all the event attendees that there would be no corruption under his administration, saying, “Dito sa akin, okay kami. There will be no corruption, I will assure you, 100%”. He stressed that among the challenges that the country is facing today and need to be addressed is the worsening trade and use of illegal drugs.

The Chief Executive once again showed a document containing the profiles of thousands of suspected illegal drug users and dealers all over the country. He reinstated his order to the law enforcers in tracking down all those responsible in this trade.

“I said we are fighting a war, it is an assault on my country, and I will not allow it. Go out and destroy the apparatus of the drug lords.

READ MORE...

At ilang beses ko sinabi ‘yan time and again over TV, go out and hunt for them, arrest them if possible, so that we can get the information, but if they present a violent resistance… and you feel that your life is in jeopardy, shoot them dead,” he said.

Furthermore, President Duterte shared the ongoing peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), as well as expressed his gratitude to the leftists for their participation in the ongoing negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the communist groups in Oslo, Norway.

“I will do everything to prevent my country from being fractured. If we cannot give, you will remember me after… Mahal ko talaga ang bayan ko,” he said.

The UNCAC is an anti-corruption convention implemented on December 14, 2005. It is a multilateral initiative that obliges State Parties to monitor and implement compliance with its provisions. To promote and review the execution of UNCAC, the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention (COSP) was established. In its third session, COSP adopted the resolution 3/1 or the Implementation Review Mechanism (IRM), wherein as a State Party, the Philippines was last reviewed in 2011 and will be reviewed again in 2018.

* * *

Posted in President's Activities | Tagged 4th State Conference of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Implementation Review, Digong, DU30, President Duterte

       
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President Duterte leads the 4th State Conference of the UNCAC Implementation Review 12/7/2016 President Rody Duterte Videos President Rody Duterte Videos Subscribe39,184 Add to Share More 3,210 views 82 2 Published on Dec 7, 2016 President Rody Duterte leads the 4th State Conference of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Implementation Review at the Rizal Hall of Malacañan Palace on December 7, 2016.

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GMA NEWS NETWORK

Fil-Am philanthropist: Duterte resignation, yes; ouster, no Published December 8, 2016 7:44pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News



Although she is calling for his resignation, Filipino-American philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis is not supporting calls for President Rodrigo Duterte's ouster from office.

"I do not support any calls for his *forced* ouster," Lewis said in a post on Facebook. "Naniniwala ako na ang kabutihan ay laging mananaig sa huli."

Lewis, however, admitted that she wants Duterte to resign, noting his supposed failure to fulfill his promise of ridding the country of the illegal drug problem in the first three to six months of his administration.

"I joined a call started by others to ASK the President to Resign, which he promised he would do if he did not solve the drug problem in 3-6 months," she said.

"Ang pagbitiw ni President Duterte sa kanyang posisyon, kung hindi na niya kaya itong gampanan, ay isang legal at mapayapang paraan ng pagbabago," added Lewis, who supported the Liberal Party (LP) in the May elections.

READ MORE...

But despite her denial, Malacañang believes Lewis could be behind the plot to oust Duterte.

In a press briefing on Thursday, Assistant Secretary Anna Marie Rafael-Banaag of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said Duterte was aware of Lewis' actions against him as early as July or August.

"You know, the President has been vocal about that, noong August kung maalala ninyo, the President raised ‘yung tungkol kay Ms. Lewis, July or August, and nobody was talking about it, nobody believe it. And now, Ms. Lewis is going out in the open and saying let’s oust President Duterte," she said.

"And perhaps in his mind and from other sources he may know that, there is something going on up there, a plot against him. A plot to oust him, he knows—the President had been in politics for many years. So he knows what—whenever he says something about ousting or plotting against him," she added.

In September, the PCO warned of a group of Filipino-Americans that it said was planning to oust Duterte by January 2017.

In a speech on Wednesday, Duterte accused the "yellows" — the color associated with the LP — of wanting to remove him from office. Lawmakers from the LP denied this.

But despite Duterte's remarks, Banaag said the president is not keen on conducting loyalty check among law enforcers, even after it was reported that some LP members have met with some police and military officials.

"Like I said, the president is very secure, he knows that he's working. He knows that he has the support of the military and most, majority of the Filipino people," she said. —KBK, GMA News

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FROM THE INQUIRER (EARLIER REPORT)

Loida Nicolas Lewis barnstorms the world for Roxas-Robredo By: Margie Quimpo Espino - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 05:26 AM May 08, 2016


LOIDANicolas Lewis is the first Filipino woman to pass the New York bar without studying in the United States. PHOTO BY KIMBERLY DELA CRUZ

The former head of a billion-dollar American conglomerate believes ‘continuity’ in governance will be good for the country

She ran her fingers up and down the ivory keys of her grand piano, the engaging melody of a popular piece somehow animating the framed Amorsolo adorning the wall of a plush Makati condo.

Her music isn’t exactly what the world-renowned businesswoman and philanthropist has become known for, but Loida Nicolas Lewis is the epitome of a woman who knows what’s in her hands.

Love affair

Why is a 72-year-old multi-millionaire, with dual citizenship (Filipino-American), still going around the world campaigning for her candidate in the May presidential elections?

“My love affair with the Philippines started since I became aware of our nationhood, in our Pambansang Awit (“Lupang Hinirang”), in studying Philippine history, our heroes who fought for our country’s independence, as recently as Ninoy Aquino’s martyrdom”, said Nicolas Lewis, chair of TLC Group Inc., a Delaware corporation with private equity funds, and a lawyer by profession.

“Maka-Diyos, makatao, makabayan,” said Lewis of Mar Roxas, for whom she has been campaigning in Europe and the United States to ensure the “continuity” of the policies started by President Aquino.

She said certain good policies should be continued, such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, PhilHealth expansion, infrastructure development, education (more scholarships for college) and bottom-up budgeting.

“All cabinet officials should be retained except for Executive Secretary (Paquito) Ochoa and Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya,” she said.

Much younger

In her Makati condominium unit, Lewis sat at a rectangular dining table with a group discussing different topics. The merienda consisted of pancit Malabon, pancit Canton, pichi-pichi and orange juice. But Lewis herself had only half a glass of buko juice.

She wore a classic red dress and looked much younger than her age. Later, she donned a short blazer by Anthill Fabric Gallery that used local weave.

Lewis grew up in Bicol. After high school at St. Agnes Academy, she took up humanities at St. Theresa’s College in preparation for law, which she studied at University of the Philippines Diliman.

Her father was grooming her to be a politician in Sorsogon, having set up a theater with the name Nicolas for name recall. As a gift to her after she finished law and passed the bar, she went on a world tour, with New York as her base because sister Imelda was taking up her master’s degree there.

One night, she was invited to go on a blind date. That date turned out to be Reginald Francis Lewis, a black American. Throughout her stay in New York, they became constant companions.

No, it was not love at first sight, she said. But they saw complementarity in each other.

Soon it was time to go home; after half a year she took the plane to Manila. But while in San Francisco for the stopover, she knew she was going back to Reginald. She bid her good-byes in Manila and joined Lewis.

First Filipino woman

As Lewis built his TLC Beatrice empire throughout Europe and some parts of the United States, Loida took care of their two children, Leslie and Christina. But beyond that, she was the first Filipino woman to pass the New York bar without studying in the United States. She had a 10-year stint as general attorney in the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (now called US Citizenship and Immigration Services), having won a discrimination case against the INS in 1987.

Lewis co-authored the book “How to Get a Green Card,” which is now on its eighth edition.

But her beautiful life was soon cut down by a tragedy. In 1991, Reginald was diagnosed with brain tumor. He passed away three months later.

Lewis didn’t know what to do for six months after she became a widow. She simply went through the motions of everyday living. But after half a year of doing nothing, she knew she had to take the lead sooner or later.

Bleeding

She looked at the books of the company and saw it was bleeding. She thought the only way to stop the bleeding was to reduce the costs, one of which was the huge workforce. She let go of half of the people and hired three persons to help her bring up the enterprise again.

Under Lewis, TLC became a $1-billion conglomerate.

But in 1997 she started liquidating the company. TLC’s manufacturing operations were sold one by one. What remained was the TLC Group.

First she sold the French food distribution venture, the Belgian beverage operations, the ice cream manufacturing companies in Spain and the Canary Islands, the potato chips and snack business in Ireland.

In 2000, she sold the last unit in Thailand. The liquidation resulted in a 35-percent return on investment for TLC Beatrice’s shareholders.

Having done away with running a major conglomerate, she turned to socio-civic matters. She is chair of the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, which has donated to the Reginald F. Lewis International Law Center at Harvard Law School.

She is also founder and president of The Lewis College in Sorsogon.

Jewish ceremony

Lewis has four grandchildren, two of which were adopted from Africa by one of her daughters. She is in charge of taking care of some of the grandchildren on certain days.

When her husband was alive, she would cook adobo, baby ribs with hoisin sauce and whole roast. Now that she has grandchildren, she has added pork chops, fried chicken and sinigang to her menu.

Lewis recalled that she was married in East Hampton in a Jewish ceremony. She was 102 pounds and had a 26-inch waistline. The sister of known designer Ramon Valera made her gown, and it was fully embroidered. Her daughter eventually used the same gown, with some changes.

The Lewis family all graduated from Harvard. She took a certificate course a few years ago to ensure that she is not left out from the group.

She has been staying in the Philippines longer than usual to campaign for Mar Roxas.

The country needs “continuity” to ensure progress and development for all, said Lewis. Roxas’ win will sustain the reforms President Aquino has started.

And, after Roxas, it should be current vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo who should take up the torch, she said.


PHILSTAR

Duterte won't abandon cops in Espinosa slay By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated December 7, 2016 - 4:32pm 18 469 googleplus0 0


"I will not allow these guys to go to prison. Bahala sila sabihin ng NBI na murder. E tutal under ko ang NBI, under ko rin 'yang Department of Justice," President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday, Decn. 7, 2016. Among the cops he vows to stand by is Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 8 chief police Superintendent Marvin Marcos (right), among those facing multple murder charges in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. inside a jail. AP file photos

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the National Bureau of Investigation's (NBI) conclusion that Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa was killed in a rubout, President Duterte said he still believes in the claim of the police that the local chief executive died in a shootout.

While promising not to obstruct legal proceedings, Duterte said he would not abandon the law enforcers who were tagged in Espinosa's death.

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"The findings of the NBI (stated that it was) murder. Good, file the case. I would say that I believe in the police because we mayors, congressmen, who would they believe? The policemen or the criminals? The suspicions? Whatever the police says, for us, it is the truth," Duterte said during an event of the Urban Poor Solidarity Week in Mandaluyong on Wednesday.

"The NBI said it was murder. The police claimed 'sir he fought.' Why would I sacrifice some policemen there? I told you yesterday there are four million addicts in this country. Who is behind it? And there is one lousy soul, a son of a bitch, you want to favor him?," he added, apparently referring to Espinosa.

Duterte said he would not allow the policemen implicated in Espinosa's death to be jailed.

"I will not allow these guys to go to prison. Bahala sila sabihin ng NBI na murder. E tutal under ko ang NBI, under ko rin 'yang Department of Justice (It's up to the NBI to say it's murder. After all, NBI is under me. The Department of Justice is also under me)," he added.

"But to tell you, I do not interfere. They (NBI) have findings, good. File the case."

Duterte stressed that he was the one who ordered policemen to run after drug personalities so he is answerable for them.

"I told them you have a task. Find them, arrest them, place him under custody. If they resist arrest and they fight and they have weapons and you think your life is in danger, shoot him," the president said.

"I won't abandon these policemen because I was the one who ordered them (to run after drug personalities)."

Espinosa, one of the politicians believed to have ties with illegal drugs syndicates was killed inside his prison cell in Baybay City last November 5.

Members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Eastern Visayas claimed that a shootout ensued after the mayor tried to resist arrest. However, the statements of some jail officers and inmates as well as photos taken on the crime scene indicate that Espinosa may have been executed.

On Tuesday, the NBI announced that Espinosa was killed in a rubout and that there was "criminal intent and a conspiracy" involved in the incident.

Citing statements of inmates, NBI assistant director for Eastern Visayas Rugy de Vera said Espinosa was heard greeting CIDG operatives before pleading for his life. The mayor reportedly asked the policemen not plant anything against him.

The policemen who served the search warrant on Espinosa are now facing murder charges.

Despite his determination to support policemen facing charges related to their work, Duterte is not discounting the possibility that some policemen may not be telling the truth.

"E baka totoo talaga, tinalian ng mga gago (Maybe it's true, these fools really tied the suspect)," the president said.

He recalled an instance when he had a police as a witness while working on a case.

"Alam mo fiscal ako noon may experience ako sa pulis. Witness ako sa pulis... Ano ginawa mo? (I was a fiscal and I had an experience with a policeman. He was my witness…I asked him what did you do?)," the president said.

"Sabi niya ano sabihin ko? Fiscal yung totoo o sabi-sabi ko? P****g i***g pulis 'yan (He replied 'fiscal, what will I say? The truth or the one I just made up? That son of a b****."

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Bato: Duterte will find way to keep cops in Espinosa case out of jail By AJ Bolando (philstar.com) | Updated December 8, 2016 - 12:20pm 9 432 googleplus1 0


President Rodrigo Duterte, left, places the hat of the new Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, during the "Assumption of Command" ceremonies at Camp Crame, Philippine National Police headquarters, in Quezon City on Friday, July 1, 2016. AP/Aaron Favila, file

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said that President Rodrigo Duterte was just giving his full support when he said that he will not let cops implicated in Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa's killing to be jailed.

Dela Rosa explained that the president will not interfere with charges that National Bureau of Investigation has filed against the 24 members of the Crime Investigation and Detection Group in Region 8 who allegedly killed Espinosa inside his cell in the Baybay sub-provincial in Leyte.

“By saying na ayaw niya ipakulong, the president just wants to express his support for the operating troops on our war on drugs,” the PNP chief explained in a press briefing at Camp Crame.

READ: Rody to Bato: No jail for Espinosa killers

He said that Duterte will observe the rule of law but will also exert all efforts to help the police officers by giving assistance.

“Hahanapan ng paraan (ng presidente) kung paano hindi makulong, baka puwedeng mag-appeal sa issuing court na i-lower ‘yung murder to homicide para makapag-bail,” Dela Rosa said.

“Gusto lang niya iparamdaman sa PNP na 'I’m with you. I’m supporting you in this war on drugs',” he added.

The president said Wednesday that he still stands by the CIDG-8 raiding team that claimed Espinosa and another inmate were killed in a shootout.

READ: Palace: Duterte did not mean he will interfere in Espinosa case

“I will not allow these guys to go to prison. It’s up to the NBI to say it’s murder. After all, NBI is under me. The Department of Justice is also under me,” Duterte said. “I won’t abandon these policemen because I was the one who ordered them (to run after drug personalities).”

Malacañang also said that Duterte will not interfere and is also supporting the filing of cases of NBI against the raiding team.

On his part, Dela Rosa said that he respects the findings of the NBI on his subordinates.

“Andito rin ako to discipline my erring personnel, kung talagang may ginawa silang kasalanan,” Dela Rosa said.


INQUIRER EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL - Criminal intent Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:22 AM December 09, 2016



It was murder, the National Bureau of Investigation has concluded. The death on Nov. 5 of controversial Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, inside his cell at the Baybay provincial jail was not the result of a shootout with police officers; rather, it was a “rubout,” the now familiar term for a police execution. (Another inmate, Raul Yap, was also executed.) But, astonishingly, President Duterte is having none of it.

“I will not allow these guys to go to prison maski sabihin ng NBI (even if the NBI says it’s) murder,” the President said at an event in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday. “Tutal, under ko man ang NBI. Under ko rin iyan, ang Department of Justice (Anyway, the NBI is under me. The Department of Justice is under me).”

Then he added: “But I do not interfere.”

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The President has a curious definition of noninterference, because later on Wednesday, at the turnover ceremony welcoming the new Armed Forces chief of staff, he repeated his disbelief in, or disparagement of, the just-concluded NBI investigation.

“Wala naman kayong witness diyan [na] nagsabi na nakita na (You don’t have a witness there who said it was a rubout). Come up with something good and I will have it out.” The Department of Justice has also stirred itself to conduct a separate investigation.

But Mr. Duterte is misinformed.

The NBI investigation did not only include witnesses; it also included both forensic science and a compelling and credible narration of facts.

First, the search warrant that the police raiding party used as an excuse to enter the provincial jail was obtained under false pretenses. Self-claimed witness Paul Olendan said that on Oct. 28 he had seen Yap repacking “shabu” inside the cell while Espinosa stood guard with a gun. This was the testimony a regional trial court used as basis for issuing the search warrant. But the NBI was able to establish that in fact Olendan was “in Tacloban, 130 kilometers away from Baybay,” NBI spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said.

Second, CCTV footage from a government office near the provincial jail showed that the raiding party from the regional office of the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group entered the jail at 3:05 a.m., not, as police officials testifying at the Senate said, at 4:10 a.m. This explains why the Scene of the Crime Operatives team was called to the jail at 3:49 a.m.—the two inmates had already been killed. At the Senate, the same officials were hard-pressed to explain why, if they said the raiding team entered the premises at 4:10 a.m., the team called in the Soco at an earlier time.

Third, witnesses at the killing site talked to NBI agents. One said he had seen policemen talking to Yap, asking him for his name and case, before he was killed. Another overheard Espinosa telling or pleading with the raiding officers not to plant evidence on him (“Wag nyo akong lagyan”). A third witness told the NBI that he had seen a gloves-wearing policeman enter Espinosa’s cell with a gun; when the policeman stepped back out, the gun was no longer with him.

Fourth, an examination of the cell where the inmates died showed that there were no signs that gunfire was aimed at the door. As the NBI spokesperson pointed out, if the incident was in fact a shootout, as claimed by the police, then it would stand to reason that the inmates were firing at the policemen at the door. “This is a premeditated killing,” Lavin said.

Fifth, the NBI was able to establish that the firing started when a police officer gave a thumbs-down sign.

“The forensic team did their best to recreate the crime scene. Our forensic findings are consistent with the testimonial evidence,” Lavin said. He added: “We believe there is criminal intent. There was community of purpose, there was mission in their action, there was conspiracy.”

In the face of such evidence, we cannot understand why the President continues to either stand by the presumption of regularity in the conduct of the police raid or, as he did on Wednesday, all but promised to obstruct justice. This, quite literally, will allow a favored few to get away with murder.


PHILSTAR

Duterte congratulates new AFP chief Año, offers post to Visaya By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated December 7, 2016 - 8:10pm 10 434 googleplus0 0


In this August 5, 2016 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte assures members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Command of his support during his visit at Centcom Headquarters in Camp Lapu-Lapu, Cebu City as then AFP Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ricardo Visaya looks on. PPD/Ace Morandante, File

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte lauded Wednesday retired Armed Forces chief Ricardo Visaya and asked him to remain in government as a civilian.

“I’d like to express (my) gratitude (in) behalf of the Filipino people, to Gen. Visaya for a job really well, very well done. I almost fell because of his medal,” Duterte said during the change of command ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo.

“Gen. Visaya, mamili ka na ng pwesto diyan (choose your position), sir. Choose your position, that is how grateful the nation is to you. If you want, you can talk to (Defense Secretary) Delfin (Lorenzana), that would be okay,” he added.

Duterte also congratulated Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año for his appointment as the new military chief.

Duterte also assured the military that he would never meddle with its promotion system.

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“Of the many things I promised the people of this nation, one was that I would not tinker with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the matter of promotion and assignments,” the president said.

“I said, the promotions and all others were the product of the Board of Generals and the recommendation of your head of department,” he added.

“I never asked or whispered to anybody, who, for what, and for whom. I kept my promise to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and it will remain to be so until the end of my term. I won’t intervene.”

Dutuerte reiterated the need for the military to track down drug personalities, which he said are destroying the country’s future.

“Go out and hunt for them,” the president said.

“Look for them. Masisira ang bayan natin kung tamad-tamaran tayo (The country will be destroyed if we become complacent),” he added.

The president also asked the military to ignore criticisms against his anti-drug war.

“And why should we be afraid to destroy the forces that would make us crow in fear? Why should we be afraid? Human rights, you know, you want me, to bring me to fight the International Criminal Court? Gladly. Gladly,” he said.

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

New AFP chief to sustain ops vs terror groups By: Frances Mangosing - Reporter / @FMangosingINQ INQUIRER.net / 08:24 PM December 07, 2016


AÑO

Newly installed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año vowed to continue going after terrorist groups upon his assumption as the country’s military head on Wednesday.

“With the guidance of our Commander in Chief, I shall lead the AFP in the sustainment of focused military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other local and foreign terrorist groups like the Maute group,” he said in his speech.

Año replaced Gen. Ricardo Visaya, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 56. President Rodrigo Duterte was the presiding officer and guest of honor at Camp Aguinaldo.

The administration of Duterte has shifted the focus of the military from territorial defense to internal security.

“We shall remain to be a lethal force capable of destroying any threat to our nation. We will not let our people cower in the face of lawlessness and terrorism,” Año said, adding that they would remain “unwavering and unfaltering” in pursuing lawless elements.

Military operations continue in Lanao del Sur after the ISIS-inspired Maute terror group occupied the town of Butig. Operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are also ongoing.

International defense engagements would also be enhanced to address security issues like cross-border threats of terrorism, and to maintain peace and stability in the region, the new AFP chief said.

The military will also continue to support the Philippine National Police’s antidrug campaign.

“Your AFP shall be relentless force ensuring that the Philippine flag is the only flag waving and flying across our land, air and seas,” Año said.

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

RELATED(2)  FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Duterte says PNP a fractured organization with cops involved in drugs Published December 7, 2016 8:08pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News


DECEMBER 8 -"Now itong sa pulis. I was really appalled. I knew the seriousness of the problem, how the drug industry was blooming into something very, very serious. But I did not have enough wherewithals to make the proper evaluation," Duterte said. "And it was only when I became President that I was really horrified, appalled by the number of Filipinos already hit by the contamination of shabu," he added. GMA NEWS FILE

President Rodrigo Duterte may be taking the cudgels for the police officers facing murder complaints in connection with the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, but he still believes the PNP is a "fractured organization" with members involved in the proliferation of drugs in the country.

“Of the many things I promised the people of this nation, one was that I would not tinker with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the matter of promotion and assignments,” Duterte said during the change of command rites of the AFP at Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday.

“I gave the same statement for the PNP. But you know, as it turned out, after I assumed office, that the PNP was a fractured organization. I just realized there were so many men and officers involved in the drugs industry,” Duterte added.

Duterte said that he would keep his word with the AFP until the end of his term. The case will apparently be different with the PNP.

READ MORE...

"Now itong sa pulis. I was really appalled. I knew the seriousness of the problem, how the drug industry was blooming into something very, very serious. But I did not have enough wherewithals to make the proper evaluation," Duterte said.

"And it was only when I became President that I was really horrified, appalled by the number of Filipinos already hit by the contamination of shabu," he added.

Duterte has since appointed Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa to the head the PNP even with more senior officers still in active service.

Dela Rosa belongs to the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1986. Many officers from the classes of 1984 and 1985 were still in the active service.

"Kaya ako, sabi ko, ako na mismo ang hahawak nito. Kasi kung ibigay mo lang ng secretariat or left alone, with due respect, no offense intended and I have give you the report," Duterte said.

"It has ended something like a mix, a deadly mix of drug lords, pushers from the street, barangay captains, policemen, municipal mayors, governors, judges and prosecutors," he added.

Duterte in an earlier speech indicated that he had information that former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group regional director for Eastern Visayas, Supt. Marvin Marcos, was involved in illegal drugs.

He said that he wanted Marcos retained at his post so he could further observe his alleged illegal activities.

Marcos was eventually sacked from his post after figuring in the Espinosa killing.

The President, however, on Thursday said he was standing by the version of the policemen in the Espinosa slay even after the National Bureau of Investigation found the Marcos and several other cops liable for murder.

The NBI said the killing of Espinosa and another inmate Raul Yap was a case of a rubout.

The police said claimed that Espinosa tried to fight back with a gun while a search warrant was being served at his cell on November 5. —NB, GMA News


MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte to supervise dev’t projects in Sulu, Basilan 401 SHARES Share it! Published December 12, 2016, 12:08 AM by Genalyn D. Kabiling


President Duterte will take a hands-on approach in implementing development projects in Sulu and Basilan by personally overseeing them to stop the practice of corruption.

The President said he would “supervise” and “help and do it” to ensure a corruption-free construction of hospitals, roads, and other projects in these two provinces.

“Itong dito sa Jolo, pati Basilan, (here in Jolo, including Basilan) it will be undertaken by the Office of the President and it will be handled by the military. At ako mismo ang magtingin doon (I will personally oversee them), the hospitals and all. Otherwise, walang dadating doon (no project will ever be completed),” the President said in a recent anti-corruption summit in Malacañang.

“I’m not casting any aspersion but that’s the cold reality. It’s either I do not help, I will withhold the money or help and do it,” said Duterte who has promised to eliminate corruption during his term.

The President expressed dismay over the corruption practices plaguing some infrastructure projects being handled at the local government level.

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Citing an example, Duterte said a local map shows a highway intersection project as “certified completed project.” “Pumunta ka doon, anak ng jueteng. Isang highway lang sa tabing dagat pa,” an exasperated President said. (You go there and you only see a single highway near the sea.)

Duterte said he would instead send the military’s engineering brigade to assist in the completion of projects in Sulu and Basilan.

“Ako na mismo ang mag-supervise. Ibigay ko sa engineering battalion. Construct the roads there. Mga engineering brigades there so may makuha po ako diyan kabutihan,” he said. I will personally supervise these projects. I will ask the military’s engineering brigade to construct the roads and I am sure they will do a good job at it.)

The President also renewed his promise to combat corruption during his watch, saying such problem has hampered the country’s economic development.

“I will give you a respite from this so many generations of corruption in this country. We are like a plane on the verge of a takeoff and yet cannot lift, there is no lift because of corruption,” he said.


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