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SSS PENSION HIKE UNFULFILLED PROMISE: 'CANDIDATE DUTERTE IS DIFFERENT FROM PRESIDENT DUTERTE,' SAYS DIOKNO
[RELATED: Palace says nat’l budget compliant with SC ruling on PDAF, DAP
[RELATED(2): Lawmakers got ‘pork’ – Lacson claims; P5 billion “pork” to ARMM House members]


JANUARY 3 -DIOKNO Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Tuesday hinted that some promises of President Rodrigo Duterte during the campaign may be put aside in the face of reality. Diokno said this when asked about Duterte's campaign promise to approve the P2,000 increase in the pension of Social Security System (SSS) members during the campaign. "Iba ‘yung Candidate Duterte sa President Duterte," Diokno said in a press briefing in Malacañang, saying it makes Duterte no different from other politicians, including United States President-elect Donald Trump. "When you see that all over, even worldwide iba ‘yung Candidate Trump versus President Trump ‘no. May naipapangako ka na, pagka natingnan mo ‘yung datos hindi pala pwede. So ‘yun, ‘yung doon ako nanggagaling ‘no," he added. READ MORE...RELATED,
Palace says nat’l budget compliant with SC ruling on PDAF, DAP RELATED(2) Lawmakers got ‘pork’ – Lacson insists; P5 billion “pork” of some House members from ARMM...

ALSO: HR WATCHDOG VACC hits out at drug killings
[RELATED: Duterte ‘death wish’ to sink RP into ‘darkness’ — pro-life solon]


JANUARY 3 -“If the President had his way, our predominantly Catholic country could go down as the world’s new top executioner, ahead of non-Catholic countries such as China, Iran and Pakistan,” BUHAY Rep Atienza said.
THE Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on Monday expressed concern over the killings of innocent people in the Duterte administration’s bloody war against drugs. Dante Jimenez, VACC founding chairman, reacted to the killing of seven people, including three teenagers and a pregnant woman, by armed masked men looking for a drug suspect in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City on Dec. 27. He said the incident was not a result of a gang war, but a covert police operation based on witnesses’ account. “We went to the area because of our concern about those teenagers being involved in drug use, trafficking or pushing. In four places we’d gone to, three of the minors were confirmed not using drugs, according to their relatives and neighbors,” he said. “We also went to the barangay to investigate, and found out only one of the teenage boys had tried using drugs just once.” READ MORE..RELATED,
Duterte ‘death wish’ to sink RP into ‘darkness’ — pro-life solon...

ALSO: The Guardian (UK) article on Duterte’s drug war riles Palace
[THE GUARDIAN OPINION:  Duterte's drug war in Ph is out of control, he needs to be stopped]


JANUARY 7 -Malacañang on Friday disputed an article on the British news organization The Guardian calling President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs "out of control." "President Rodrigo Duterte is in full control of the drug war," Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar argued in a statement. Andanar was reacting to a piece written by Igarapé Institute and SecDev Foundation research director Robert Muggah, who also serves as a consultant for the Global Commission on Drug Policy, posted on The Guardian. "Even the most adamant supporters of the war on drugs agree that it is failing. At a major UN summit on drug policy earlier this year, many member states argued forcefully for a more balanced and humane approach. But there’s one anti-drug crusader who refuses to face the facts. For the past six months, Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has waged one of the world’s most vicious counter-narcotics campaigns," Muggah wrote.
READ MORE...THE GUARDIAN OPINION, Duterte's drug war in the Philippines is out of control, he needs to be stopped...

ALSO: Duterte: War on crimes to continue without fail


JANUARY 8-The Chief Executive stressed this in his command guidance during the joint Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – Philippine National Police (PNP) command conference held in Malacañang last Friday.
President Duterte told the country’s top police and security officials that the government’s efforts against terrorism, illegal drugs, and corruption will continue without fail. In an interview over state-owned radio station DZRB, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that during the conference, the police and the military gave the President their security update as well as the current law enforcement activities. PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa briefed the President on their accomplishments in connection with the campaign against illegal drugs under “Oplan Double Barrel.” Data released by the PNP show that a total of 1,017,375 drug personalities have surrendered to the police from July 1, 2016 to January 4. Of the total number, 942,276 were drug users and 75,099 were drug pushers. READ MORE...

ALSO: Combative De Lima calls Aguirre a 'despicable lying' bastard [RELATED: Palace defends Kerwin Espinosa’s admission to WPP; De Lima claims he's qualified for the WiPP as he is the 'most guilty' in the drug operations]


JANUARY 5 -Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre (right) says the Anti-Money Laundering Council immediately turned over documents related to the investigation on the cases of Senator Leila de Lima (left). INQUIRER FILES
Sen. Leila de Lima on Wednesday blasted Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre as a “despicable lying bastard” doing the bidding of his boss, President Duterte, as she denied his latest claim that she and fellow Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV orchestrated the September stabbing attack on convicted kidnapper and drug lord Jaybee Sebastian. “Aguirre is lying. He is a chronic liar like his boss, and a Secretary of Justice without balls. What do you expect from a public official who fakes his own hair?” De Lima, who is perhaps the administration’s fiercest critic, said. At a succeeding news conference, she heaped scorn on Aguirre, who has tagged her as a key player in the drug trade. READ MORE..RELATED Palace defends Kerwin Espinosa’s admission to WPP; De Lima claims he's qualified for the WiPP as he is the 'most guilty' in the drug operations...

ALSO: Palace to probe alleged leaked emails of Leni's Fil-Am backers plotting to oust Duterte


JANUARY 8 -In this July 12, 2016 photo, Vice President Leni Robredo is sworn in by President Rodrigo Duterte as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council at Malacañan. Witnessing the oathtaking are her daughters Jillian, Tricia and Aika. File
Malacañang is looking into the leaked emails about the supposed plan of supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to create dissent against President Rodrigo Duterte that surfaced on social networking sites recently. Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the Palace is taking the matter seriously but would not make judgments until the information contained in the emails are validated. “It has really become a national issue. I said even before it becomes a national issue, as one of the president’s men, I am concerned about this. I need to know about the veracity of the reports,” Andanar told radio station dzBB Sunday. Andanar said National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. is also concerned about the alleged emails and is ready to have them investigated. READ MORE...


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'Candidate Duterte is different from President Duterte,' says Diokno on unfulfilled promise on SSS pension hike


DIOKNO

MANILA, JANUARY 2, 2016 (GMA NEWS) Published January 3, 2017 By TRISHA MACAS - Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Tuesday hinted that some promises of President Rodrigo Duterte during the campaign may be put aside in the face of reality.

Diokno said this when asked about Duterte's campaign promise to approve the P2,000 increase in the pension of Social Security System (SSS) members during the campaign.

"Iba ‘yung Candidate Duterte sa President Duterte," Diokno said in a press briefing in Malacañang, saying it makes Duterte no different from other politicians, including United States President-elect Donald Trump.

"When you see that all over, even worldwide iba ‘yung Candidate Trump versus President Trump ‘no. May naipapangako ka na, pagka natingnan mo ‘yung datos hindi pala pwede. So ‘yun, ‘yung doon ako nanggagaling ‘no," he added.

READ MORE...

As one of Duterte's economic managers, Diokno opposed the P2,000 pension hike and called on the SSS Board of Trustees and Congress not to put the burden of approving or rejecting the proposal to the President.

"Ngayon, but I’m just making a recommendation na historically hindi talaga ginagawa ‘yun. We don’t burden the taxpayers to support a private fund okay and then," he said.

"I mean I’m just doing my job ‘no. Kung mag-decide siya na otherwise, I have done my job ‘di ba?," he added. —JST, GMA News  

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Palace says nat’l budget compliant with SC ruling on PDAF, DAP By: Nestor Corrales - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ INQUIRER.net / 08:31 PM January 04, 2017


LACSON

Malacañang on Wednesday defended the P3.35 trillion national budget for 2017 amid allegations that some lawmakers had been given pork barrel allocations.

“The 2017 budget is compliant with the Supreme Court decisions on PDAF (Priority Development Assistant Fund) and DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program),” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Abella issued the statement after Sen. Panfilo Lacson has said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regained the more than P8 billion cut from its 2017 budget. Lacson added that DPWH also got close to P500 million more from the Calamity Fund.

READ MORE...

“We understand the concern of Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery, on the slashing of the Calamity Fund,” Abella said.

The Palace official said the DPWH “is solely responsible for identified projects – from repair and reconstruction of permanent structures to communities or areas affected by man-made and natural calamities.”

“The President is particularly abhorrent to giving favors to particular individuals, not even its allies, in line with his inaugural vow to serve every one and not only one,” he said.

Lacson had earlier claimed that the 2017 national budget was riddled with pork barrel.

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RELATED(2) FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Lawmakers got ‘pork’ – Lacson BY JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, TMT ON JANUARY 5, 2017 HEADLINES


Lacson

SOME senators and members of the House of Representatives got billions of pesos in “pork barrel” under the General Appropriations Act of 2017, Senator Panfilo Lacson claimed on Wednesday.

Lacson made the revelation after learning that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regained the P8- billion allocation slashed from its budget and even got an additional budget of P497 million.

The senator said he learned about the P5 billion “pork” of some House members from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) congressmen who talked to him during the plenary debates on the proposed 2017 budget.

The ARMM congressmen, Lacson said, explained their side on the specific allocation embedded on the DPWH’s budget intended for projects to be implemented in the eight legislative districts of the autonomous region.

READ MORE...

Lacson, during the budget deliberation, pushed for the return of the P8.3 billion to the ARMM budget which the House of Representatives transferred to the DPWH and the removal of the P3.6 billion from the DPWH budget intended to fund infrastructure projects at ARMM.

Lacson said the transfer is not allowed under Republic Act 6734 or an act providing for an organic act for the ARMM.

“If you add the P8.3 billion and the P3.6 billion the House of Representatives allotted to ARMM and divided it for the eight legislative districts in the region, it would mean that each ARMM congressman get P1.5 billion worth of projects in 2017,” Lacson said earlier.

ARMM SOLONS TOLD LACSON

The ARMM congressmen, the senator said, told him that the P1.5 billion worth of projects each of them were asking for their respective districts was small compared to the allocation given to some congressmen who were allowed up to P5 billion in projects.

“Change is coming? Maybe, but it’s pork allocations changing hands from LP (Liberal Party) congressmen to those from Mindanao,” Lacson said.

The lawmaker admitted that some of his colleagues in the Senate also got P300 million worth of projects but he did not name names.

Lacson said that he did not submit his list of projects to be funded by the P300 million.

He said two senators approached him after learning about the P1.5 billion being sought by ARMM congressmen and told him that members of the House were asking too much considering that senators were only allowed P300 million each.

“Senators Tito (Vicente) Sotto 3rd and Kiko (Francis) Pangilinan approached me on separate occasions to inform me that they too did not submit. I don’t know who else among my Senate colleagues likewise did not submit their list,” Lacson said.

He clarified however that he is not saying that those who identified their projects in the 2017 national budget would get commissions from contractors.

PDAF

“What I’m trying to say is Filipinos are made to believe that the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) is dead after the Supreme Court (SC) ruling in 2013. I am not stupid. Filipinos are not stupid. They are just resigned, I think. After all these years that I and my staff scrutinize the budget books year in and year out, I know pork when I see it,” Lacson said.

The senator’s efforts to have the P8.3-billion “pork” removed from the DPWH budget failed since the agency was able to regain the said amount and even managed to get an additional P497 million at the expense of the calamity fund.

Lacson said the additional funding increased the 2017 DPWH budget from P445.766 billion to P454.721 billion but led to a huge cut in the budget of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMC) or Calamity Fund under the Special Purpose Fund.

From an original budget of P37.255 billion in the National Expenditure Program (NEP), the calamity fund was reduced to a mere P15.755 billion in the GAA or a reduction of P21.5 billion.

“What is unfortunate is that with massive devastations brought by recent calamities starting with Pablo, Yolanda, Karen, Lawin, and Nina, to name some, most of the victims might be left to fend for themselves instead of getting sufficient government assistance,” Lacson said.

YOLANDA REHAB

He cited the Yolanda rehabilitation program that still needs at least P100 billion to complete.

He noted that when he was the presidential adviser on rehabilitation and recovery, he recommended funding of P167.8 billion but up to now, based on the annual budget being appropriated for the purpose since 2014, the amount has been a drop in the bucket compared to the total budget required.

“What is sad here is the thought of sacrificing the victims of calamities for political favors and alliances. The details of the DPWH budget and other agencies are not yet out. Once we get hold of the budget books, we will diligently scrutinize them,” Lacson said.


MANILA STANDARD

HR WATCHDOG VACC hits out at drug killings posted January 02, 2017 at 10:01 pm by Rio N. Araja

Watchdog feels for ‘collateral victims’; solons weigh in


“If the President had his way, our predominantly Catholic country could go down as the world’s new top executioner, ahead of non-Catholic countries such as China, Iran and Pakistan,” BUHAY Rep Atienza said.

THE Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on Monday expressed concern over the killings of innocent people in the Duterte administration’s bloody war against drugs.

Dante Jimenez, VACC founding chairman, reacted to the killing of seven people, including three teenagers and a pregnant woman, by armed masked men looking for a drug suspect in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City on Dec. 27.

He said the incident was not a result of a gang war, but a covert police operation based on witnesses’ account.

“We went to the area because of our concern about those teenagers being involved in drug use, trafficking or pushing. In four places we’d gone to, three of the minors were confirmed not using drugs, according to their relatives and neighbors,” he said.

“We also went to the barangay to investigate, and found out only one of the teenage boys had tried using drugs just once.”

READ MORE...

He said five of the fatalities were just in the area of the police operation.

“In our initial assessment, I think there have been many of the people who became what President Rodrigo Duterte called... collateral damage. And we call them collateral victims. They are the ones who get caught in a crossfire. Some are just a case of mistaken identity,” he said.

He urged the President to create a special task force composed of police officers and prosecutors to look into the deaths of innocent people.


ATIENZA

An anti-death penalty lawmaker on Monday voiced concern of President Duterte’s wish to put five to six malefactors to death every day, or more than 2,000 a year, once Congress reinstates capital punishment. Such a move, said Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, would usher in “an unprecedented era of darkness and medieval savagery.”

“If the President had his way, our predominantly Catholic country could go down as the world’s new top executioner, ahead of non-Catholic countries such as China, Iran and Pakistan,” Atienza said.

“It is bad enough we already have a virtual death penalty in place, with the unabated summary executions of alleged suspects sans the benefit of a full and fair trial,” he added.

Senator Richard Gordon, meanwhile, said he hopes that the government will arrest and convict those responsible for vigilante killings or summary executions—including rogue policemen.

“To effectively put an end to the killings with impunity, people must be part of the process of change. People must organize village watch groups to guard against crimes, particularly the influx of drug dealers and pushers, in their respective areas,” said Gordon.

He said the people themselves should be empowered to help transform their respective areas into drug-free neighborhoods where their families may safely reside. With Maricel V. Cruz and Macon Ramos-Araneta

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

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Duterte ‘death wish’ to sink RP into ‘darkness’ — pro-life solon Written by Charlie V. Manalo Tuesday, 03 January 2017 00:00


COMPOSITE PHOTOS OF LITO ATIENZA AND DUTERTE

Once granted by Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte’s wish to put five to six malefactors to death every day, or more than 2,000 every year, would sink the Philippines into “an unprecedented era of darkness and medieval savagery,” which would even enable the predominantly Catholic country to eclipse China, Iran and Pakistan as world’s top executioner, a pro-life lawmaker yesterday warned.

“If the President had his way, our predominantly Catholic country could go down as the world’s new top executioner, ahead of non-Catholic countries such as China, Iran and Pakistan,” Senior Deputy Minority Leader, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza noted as he denounced the planned restoration of the death penalty as “anathema to our celebration of life.”

“We Filipinos celebrate life. In fact, we celebrate life so much that despite our usual troubles, we’ve been persistently rated among the happiest people in the world,” he stressed.

“We do not want to be brutalized by constant bloodshed. We Filipinos loathe killings, whether judicial or extrajudicial, as much as we detest violent crime,” the lawmaker said.

READ MORE...

“It is bad enough we already have a virtual death penalty in place, with the unabated summary executions of alleged suspects sans the benefit of a full and fair trial,” Atienza added.

At least 1,634 convicts were executed in 25 countries around the world in 2015, according to Amnesty International (AI), which has yet to release its 2016 figures.

Excluding China, only three countries – Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – were responsible for nearly 90 percent of the executions.

Iran executed 977 convicts by hanging in 2015, while Pakistan put 326 to death, also by hanging. Saudi Arabia killed 158 by beheading.

The number of executions in China is regarded a state secret. But separate estimates by AI and the Cornell Law School put the number of annual executions in China by lethal injection anywhere from as low as “more than 1,000” to as high as “at least 2,400.”

The opposition leader said many of the 102 countries that reject the death penalty are signatories to international treaties that categorically forbid executions and any form of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

Atienza earlier compared the death penalty “to a band-aid remedy being applied to a gravely ill patient in the emergency room.”

“Our criminal justice system is like a very sick patient that needs immediate surgical treatment. If we are to save the patient, we have to cut off the rampant tumor of corruption. A band-aid solution such as the death penalty simply won’t work,” he said.

Both the Senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings and the House probe on the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons have shown that the criminal justice system — from law enforcement to corrections — has been overwhelmed by corruption, the opposition lawmaker said.

“The real problem is clearly corruption. The problem is not with the severity of the punishment for crime. In fact, corruption is the primary reason why many felons are not getting caught, and not getting punished, and this in turn has only abetted even more crime,” Atienza pointed out.

Congress is set to resume session Jan. 16 with the bill reinstating death sentences for heinous crimes on top of the agenda for plenary approval.

The House committee on justice approved last month a bill reinstating death verdicts for heinous offenses such as drug trafficking, murder, rape, robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, bribery, plunder, parricide, infanticide, destructive arson, piracy and treason.


GMA NEWS NETWORL

The Guardian article on Duterte’s drug war riles Palace Published January 6, 2017 4:23pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News



Malacañang on Friday disputed an article on the British news organization The Guardian calling President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs "out of control."

"President Rodrigo Duterte is in full control of the drug war," Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar argued in a statement.

Andanar was reacting to a piece written by Igarapé Institute and SecDev Foundation research director Robert Muggah, who also serves as a consultant for the Global Commission on Drug Policy, posted on The Guardian.

"Even the most adamant supporters of the war on drugs agree that it is failing. At a major UN summit on drug policy earlier this year, many member states argued forcefully for a more balanced and humane approach. But there’s one anti-drug crusader who refuses to face the facts. For the past six months, Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has waged one of the world’s most vicious counter-narcotics campaigns," Muggah wrote.

READ MORE...

"Duterte has a nasty habit of playing fast and loose with the facts. In a bid to give credence to his drug war, his team exaggerates and invents data," he added.

In an attempt to disprove Muggah's claims, Andanar shared recent statistics on the Philippines drug war:

•The Philippines has been successful in the campaign against illegal drugs with the voluntary surrender of 1,017,869 drug personalities, as of January 5 based on data from the Philippine National Police.

•The December 3-6 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that nine out of ten Filipinos believe the drug problem has declined in their areas since the President took office.

•The same survey indicated that a great majority of our people, 77 percent, gave an excellent rating to the President’s drug war.

•Public support for and trust in the President remain high as people feel secure in their homes, in the streets, day and night. Incidents of homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft, and carnapping have gone down.

•Index crime volume decreased 31.67 percent from July to November 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.

In his article, Muggah also suggested for the international community to consider imposing economic sanctions against the Philippines.

To which, Andanar said: "The Guardian’s call for economic sanctions by foreign countries on the Philippines is uncalled for. Threats of withdrawal of development aid and other forms of assistance are totally unfounded. The President remains undaunted as he will never compromise the dignity of the nation for foreign aid."

"There is an enormous drug problem in the Philippines and he is trying his best to keep the country from becoming a narco-state. We hope that other countries will treat the Philippines as a sovereign nation and with mutual respect," he added.

This came a day after Malacañang boasted about an article on CNN and Japan Times saying Duterte got "Asia's Big Year" in 2016.

"It’s heartening to know that certain media agencies are able to notice the good things the President is doing," presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said. — RSJ, GMA News

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

THE GUARDIAN OPINION

Duterte's drug war in the Philippines is out of control, he needs to be stopped Robert Muggah Thursday 5 January 2017 15.47 GMT Last modified on Friday 6 January 2017 03.06 GMT


Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte salutes with other military officers during an anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces. Photograph: Erik de Castro/Reuters

Foreign governments are keeping noticeably quiet as the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte is leading one of the world’s bloodiest anti-drug campaigns

Even the most adamant supporters of the war on drugs agree that it is failing. At a major UN summit on drug policy earlier this year, many member states argued forcefully for a more balanced and humane approach. But there’s one anti-drug crusader who refuses to face the facts. For the past six months Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines has waged one of the world’s most vicious counter-narcotics campaigns.

Duterte campaigned for president with a pledge to clean up the drug menace for good. Within days of winning the election he launched a scorched earth approach targeting anyone suspected of being involved in consuming or selling narcotics. During his inaugural address on 30 June, the one-time mayor of Davao city vowed to “slaughter these idiots for destroying my country”.

And kill them he has. The national police estimates that more than 6,000 people were assassinated by law enforcement, paramilitaries and vigilantes since 1 July 2016. The police say that at least 2,000 people were shot and killed by officers in “self defence” during anti-drug operations. Around 33 people are killed for every one person injured, making this the most deadly drug war ever. Another 38,000 people have reportedly been jailed, fuelling a crisis in the country’s overpopulated prisons.

The president exults in the bloodbath. He recently boasted of killing suspects during his time as mayor, saying in “Davao I used to do it personally”, suggesting that summary executions are tolerated at the very top.

The president claims to have “cleaned up the streets” of Davao during his roughly two decades in power, calling it one of the world’s safest cities. Although the city is certainly cleaner and features new legislation that improves crime reporting, claims of public safety are vastly overstated. Indeed, publicly available data on crime shows the city posted the highest rates of murder and second highest rates of rape in the country between 2010-2015.

Duterte has a nasty habit of playing fast and loose with the facts. In a bid to give credence to his drug war, his team exaggerates and invents data. For example, Duterte inflated the estimated number of drug users in the country, stating that there are currently 4 million users – with as many as 10 million projected by 2020. Yet the country’s own drug authorities contend that the number of users of hard drugs is much lower. The prevalence rate for drug use by Filipinos is actually closer to 2.3% (pdf), roughly half the global average. Inflammatory rhetoric and dodgy data have real world consequences. Not only can they incite violence, but they also determine the shape of government policy.

Yet Duterte’s tough on crime bombast goes down well with Filipinos. His use of Visayan slang (rather than just Tagalog or English) marks him as one of the people, and his approval ratings are topping 85%, though this is typical for first year presidents. Nevertheless, there are signs that the opposition is beginning to rally, with some senators calling for his impeachment. His authoritarian tendencies are also starting to worry civil liberties experts: at a press conference he responded to one question by saying “just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination”, and last month he threatened to kill human rights activists because of their criticism of his crackdown on crime.

Duterte is upending the country’s international image. On the one hand, he has undermined the prospect of a serious and evidence-based strategy to prevent drug abuse problems, including of “shabu”, a highly addictive methamphetamine with dangerous side effects. His dragnet collapses users of a wide range of drugs with devastating effect, including violating basic human rights. This kind of impunity cannot be tolerated.

But foreign governments are noticeably quiet about Duterte’s bloody campaign. The White House recently condemned statements by the president but is reluctant to take action for fear of jeopardising the visiting forces agreement and other geo-strategic priorities in the region. For his part, US president-elect Trump speaks admiringly of Duterte’s antics. In addition to cozying up with China, Duterte recently threatened to withdraw from the UN in response to criticism of his drug war. Soon after, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings cancelled a visit to the country after the president imposed unprecedented conditions on her visit.

There are signs that human rights specialists are beginning to fight back. Religious and civil society groups are already mobilising to push back against the state-sanctioned killings. The Philippines former secretary of justice and chair of the Commission on Human Rights, Leila de Lima, is one of the president’s most vocal critics. Outside of the Philippines, the UN special rapporteur on the right to health called for drug dependency to be treated as a public health issue and the decriminalisation of consumption. What’s more, the 18-member UN committee on economic, social and cultural rights took Duterte to task for the massacre of suspects.


View gallery, Click this image

Bolder action is needed. The international criminal court could start by treating the situation in the Philippines as a “crime against humanity” and opening an investigation. The chief prosecutor has already expressed she is “deeply concerned” about the violent crackdown on drug users and suspected dealers. The president responded with characteristic bravado, describing foreign lawyers as “idiots” and the threats as “bullshit”. The UN security council can also refer the situation to the ICC in order to investigate the president and other senior officials involved in the killing.

The international community can also consider economic sanctions. Duterte has told worried businesses to “pack up and leave”, claiming that the Chinese would happily take their place. Perhaps foreign businesses should take his advice. The European, American and Nordic Chambers of Commerce would do well to revisit the compatibility of their investments and shareholder concerns with systemic violations of human rights. It may be time to consider divesting from companies that are directly and indirectly fuelling the massacre of Filipinos.

Foreign governments should also consider withdrawing their aid to the Philippines if no change of direction materialises. The US started taking steps in this direction. After voicing their alarm with the president’s alleged involvement in assassinations, the US Millennium Challenge Corp deferred renewal of a poverty reduction programme “subject to a further review of concerns around the rule of law and civil liberties”. An earlier $434m (£353m) dollar package expired the month before Duterte’s taking office. Other aid agencies should follow suit. Duterte will no doubt brush it off, but it’s time to show that short-term financial imperatives should not trump human rights.

Robert Muggah is research director of the Igarapé Institute and SecDev Foundation. He also advises the Global Commission on Drug Policy

Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow @GuardianGDP on Twitter.


MANILA BULLETIN

Duterte: War on crimes to continue without fail 22 SHARES Share it! Published January 8, 2017, 12:10 AM By Elena L. Aben


The Chief Executive stressed this in his command guidance during the joint Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – Philippine National Police (PNP) command conference held in Malacañang last Friday.

President Duterte told the country’s top police and security officials that the government’s efforts against terrorism, illegal drugs, and corruption will continue without fail.

The Chief Executive stressed this in his command guidance during the joint Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – Philippine National Police (PNP) command conference held in Malacañang last Friday.

In an interview over state-owned radio station DZRB, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that during the conference, the police and the military gave the President their security update as well as the current law enforcement activities.

PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa briefed the President on their accomplishments in connection with the campaign against illegal drugs under “Oplan Double Barrel.”

Data released by the PNP show that a total of 1,017,375 drug personalities have surrendered to the police from July 1, 2016 to January 4. Of the total number, 942,276 were drug users and 75,099 were drug pushers.

READ MORE...

Anti-narcotics operations conducted during the period also resulted in the killing of 2,174 drug suspects and the arrest of 43,414. A total of 5,998,848 houses were also visited to encourage those believed involved in illegal narcotics to surrender for rehabilitation.

For the President’s part, Abella said Duterte reiterated his firm stance against corruption as well as his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and terrorism.

“Ni-reiterate niya ang kanyang guidance regarding corruption lalo na, sinasabi niya ‘yan kasi hindi naman nawawala ‘yan just like that and then ‘yung campaign against drugs and terrorism (He reiterated in his guidance the drive against corruption, drugs, and terrorism),” Abella said.

“Idiniin din ng Presidente na ‘yung kanyang commitment to end the ASG, ‘yung Abu Sayyaf Group (He emphasized his commitment to end the Abu Sayyaf Group),” he also stated.

Also discussed during the meeting was the ongoing peace process with the communist and secessionist groups.

The Palace official said the joint command conference lasted for two hours, describing it as a “substantial and a very fruitful meeting which puts the President in touch once more with this branch of government.”

Also present during the conference were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, Defense Undersecretary Cesar Yano, and AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año.


INQUIRER

Combative De Lima calls Aguirre a lying bastard By: Tarra Quismundo - Reporter / @TarraINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:01 AM January 05, 2017

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre (right) says the Anti-Money Laundering Council immediately turned over documents related to the investigation on the cases of Senator Leila de Lima (left). INQUIRER FILES
Senator Leila de Lima (left) and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

A combative Sen. Leila de Lima on Wednesday blasted Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre as a “despicable lying bastard” doing the bidding of his boss, President Duterte, as she denied his latest claim that she and fellow Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV orchestrated the September stabbing attack on convicted kidnapper and drug lord Jaybee Sebastian.

'CHRONIC LIAR LIKE HIS BOSS'

“Aguirre is lying. He is a chronic liar like his boss, and a Secretary of Justice without balls. What do you expect from a public official who fakes his own hair?” De Lima, who is perhaps the administration’s fiercest critic, said.

At a succeeding news conference, she heaped scorn on Aguirre, who has tagged her as a key player in the drug trade.

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De Lima has repeatedly denied accusations that she had taken drug money from inmates at the New Bilibid Prisons during her time as Justice Secretary purportedly to fund her senatorial bid.

“It’s the new year, and it’s again the start of their lies. I’m afraid our Secretary of Justice is such a lying bastard, a despicable lying bastard. What is this again? This is laughable!” De Lima told reporters.

“Is Secretary Aguirre already taking fentanyl?” De Lima said, referring to the powerful pain killer that President Duterte had recently admitted to using.

Intimidation

De Lima said it was President Duterte and his “operators” who are behind the plot to intimidate Sebastian into testifying against her before the House committee on justice investigation into the Bilibid drug trade.

Sebastian appeared before the Lower House and testified that he had given a total of P14 million to De Lima’s campaign. In November, he filed charges of graft, bribery, ethical breaches and violations of the Anti-Torture Act against De Lima.

Sebastian followed a roster of high-profile Bilibid inmates who also testified against De Lima at the House probe. She accused the president and his men of ordering the stabbing and of torturing the inmates to force them to testify against her.

She hit Aguirre for failing to take responsibility for the Bilibid incident that happened during his watch, where inmate Tony Co was killed, while Sebastian and two other inmates were hurt.

De Lima said Aguirre “refuses to take responsibility for the stabbing of several high-profile inmates under his watch” despite having the powers to do so.

“Instead, he creates a convenient scapegoat in the person of two senators who were at least several kilometers away from the crime scene,” she added.

De Lima’s statement came on the same day that Aguirre said the suspect in the Bilibid incident, Tomas Donina, had told investigators that the stabbing was clearly meant to silence Sebastian allegedly on orders of an unnamed Navy officer.

Donina agreed to do it after the Navy officer promised he would be set free once President Duterte was booted out of power. He said he was assured that De Lima and Trillanes enjoyed overwhelming support.

Aguirre however said that the police has not filed a case because the convict’s statement was considered “hearsay.”—WITH REPORTS FROM GIL C. CABACUNGAN

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

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Palace defends Kerwin Espinosa’s admission to WPP By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated January 8, 2017 - 6:52pm 0 1 googleplus0 0


Sen. Leila de Lima said alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa is not qualified for the Witness Protection Program because he is “the most guilty in the drug operations, particularly in the Eastern Visayas region.” AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang defended Sunday the inclusion of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa to the Witness Protection Program (WPP), saying it is but practical to protect someone who can identify other individuals who are into narcotics trade.

“Well, the drug personalities who are in the upper echelons, these are the drug lords, those who are in Tier 1, if they are willing to cooperate with the government and you are getting information that can bring down the drug apparatus, it is just practical that you protect them,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told radio station dzBB.

“We will give (them) all the protection and the right because we can get a lot of information that can destroy the drug apparatus,” he added.

Earlier, Sen. Leila de Lima, who was accused of receiving millions in campaign funds from drug lords, criticized the admission of Espinosa to the WPP, saying it was part of the administration’s effort to persecute her.

De Lima said Espinosa is not qualified for the WPP because he is “the most guilty in the drug operations, particularly in the Eastern Visayas region.”

She accused the Justice department of twisting the law and the Duterte administration of doing everything to destroy her because of her critical stance on the president’s war on drugs.

Espinosa has accused de Lima of receiving P8 million from drug lords to bankroll her senatorial bid during the last election. De Lima, who claimed that Duterte’s drug crackdown has resulted in extralegal killings, has denied the accusation.

Kerwin's father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., was killed inside his cell at the Baybay City sub-provincial jail last November.

Police officials claimed that the mayor was shot dead inside his cell at the Baybay City sub-provincial jail while resisting arrest. An investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation revealed though that the mayor was executed.


PHILSTAR

Palace to probe alleged emails of Leni backers plotting vs Duterte By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) | Updated January 8, 2017 - 4:45pm 57 456 googleplus0 0


In this July 12, 2016 photo, Vice President Leni Robredo is sworn in by President Rodrigo Duterte as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council at Malacañan. Witnessing the oathtaking are her daughters Jillian, Tricia and Aika. File

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is looking into the leaked emails about the supposed plan of supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo to create dissent against President Rodrigo Duterte that surfaced on social networking sites recently.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the Palace is taking the matter seriously but would not make judgments until the information contained in the emails are validated.

“It has really become a national issue. I said even before it becomes a national issue, as one of the president’s men, I am concerned about this. I need to know about the veracity of the reports,” Andanar told radio station dzBB Sunday.

Andanar said National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. is also concerned about the alleged emails and is ready to have them investigated.

READ MORE...


ESPERON

“I said ‘Secretary Jun (Esperon), it is already viral. It can go two ways. Either they are full of truths or full of lies. I have to pass the documents so he can look at it,” he said.

“Secretary Esperon said he is also worried but we in the government are not in the business of jumping into conclusion without investigating.”

When asked if Robredo was part of the email conversations, Andanar replied: “I don’t think so. I did not see anything there indicating that she was part of it. Allegedly, her staff (was part of the conversation) but we don’t want to say that for now.”

Andanar also said it is early to tell whether Robredo was part of the plot to undermine the president.

“We will see. I don’t want to jump the gun. I don’t want to be judgmental. It is under investigation. We will do everything to solve this matter,” he said.

While authorities have yet to confirm that the emails really came from Robredo’s supporters, Andanar wants the issue discussed during the Cabinet meeting on Monday.

“Both of us agreed that we will take this up to the president,” Andanar said referring to himself and Esperon.

“It could lead into destabilization. We do not know. We want to know the veracity of it, the veracity of the documents, if it’s bona fide or not because it could lead to destabilization.”

'LENILEAKS'

Dubbed as “Lenileaks” because of the supposed involvement of people from the Office of the Vice President, the emails contained conversations about rallies calling for Duterte’s resignation and mass actions against his decision to allow the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The email messages, which were attributed to supporters of Robredo, also discussed efforts to mobilize schools, priests and nuns against Duterte. The anti-Duterte rallies were supposedly organized to prevent a plot to oust Robredo from office.

Among those who were allegedly part of the email conversations were billionaire philanthropist Loida Nicolas-Lewis, her sister former Commission on Filipinos Overseas Chairperson Imelda Nicolas and lawyer Ted Laguatan.

When asked whether those behind the emails may face sedition charges, Andanar said: “I don’t want to jump into conclusion. If you say it’s a possibility, it might as well be a possibility. We want to give the benefit of the doubt to the people who are allegedly involved.”

Andanar, nevertheless, maintained that seeking to destabilize a government is wrong and illegal.

NO REACTION FROM ROBREDO YET

Robredo has not reacted to the issue but in an earlier interview, the vice president said ouster plots against the president would not be good for the country. Andanar thanked Robredo for the statement but stressed that she has the “moral authority” to talk to her supporters who are creating noise online.

“As leader of the opposition, she (Robredo) has the moral authority to talk to her ranks who are noisy in social media to respect the mandate of the president,” he said.

Andanar also urged people mentioned in the leaked emails to explain themselves to the public to settle the issue.

Last month, Duterte asked Robredo to desist from attending Cabinet meetings, prompting her to resign as housing chief. The president, later on, claimed that “yellows” or people associated with the opposition want to oust him because they cannot accept electoral defeat.

Duterte revealed in a recent interview that Robredo was excluded from Cabinet meetings because she had attended demonstrations calling for his ouster. Robredo has denied the claim and lamented that Duterte believed what she described as “false” reports about her.


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