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PRESIDENTIAL (DU30) NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
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BRITISH ENVOY'S REMARK ON RP's CHANGE 'NOT ACCURATE' - YASAY
(“We have a Constitution that doesn’t prohibit the death penalty. We impose it on one hand and then by executive order we say, we should not implement it. This equivocation has encouraged ruthless criminals such as drug lords, criminal syndicates, terrorists to precisely capitalize on that weakness that we have shown,” he said.)

[RELATED: UK envoy wrong on Phl’s negative change – Palace]

[RELATED(2): ‘Change has come to PH, but not in a good way’ - UK envoy]


FEBRUARY 23 -Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. yesterday disapproved recent remarks made by British Ambassador to Manila Asif Ahmad who claimed that change has come to the Philippines but not in a good way. At a media reception at the Diamond Hotel, Yasay said change has come to the Philippines for the better. “I am not sure if that is a very diplomatic statement but I would take issue with that statement as not quite accurate,” he said, referring to Ahmad’s phrasing. Ahmad earlier had expressed concerns over the spate of alleged extrajudicial killing in the country amid President Duterte’s intense campaign against illegal drugs. The British envoy also took note that this have caused jitters among investors. Yasay admitted that “some side effects” or a “downside” on the administration’s promised “change” might have surfaced but on the flip side, the government exerts its best effort to manage these factors. “I don’t know why he says that change is happening in a negative way. I can see a lot of positive effects of the actions we have taken to make change happen,” he added, defending the current domestic climate in the country under the Duterte leadership. READ MORE...RELATED,
UK envoy wrong on Phl’s negative change – Palace  RELATED(2)  ‘Change has come, but not in a good way’ - UK envoy...

ALSO: Duterte corrects 'misunderstanding' between Yasay, China
[RELATED: China blasts Yasay for 'baffling, regrettable' words]


FEBRUARY 24 -PRESERVING FRIENDLY TIES. President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping look on as Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr shakes hands with various Chinese officials on October 20, 2016. Photo by King Rodriguez/PPD
After China blasts Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr for his remarks on the West Philippine Sea, President Rodrigo Duterte assures China he will 'honor' his promises to the regional giant MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte assured China that his administration's policy is to foster friendly ties with the regional giant, after a "misunderstanding" involving Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr apparently prompted the Chinese commerce minister to scrap a scheduled trip to Manila. "I think Secretary Yasay was misunderstood by the Chinese government but let me assure everybody....I would like to assure China – and this is what I have committed to do when I was there – that we will talk as friends," Duterte said an event in Davao del Norte on Friday, February 24. On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang slammed as "baffling and regrettable" the statement of Yasay that foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reject China's reported militarization of the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). The Chinese foreign ministry said Yasay's remarks "deviate" from the "consensus" reached by Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the former's trip to China last year. On Friday, Duterte said, "Nasobrahan ni Yasay (Yasay overdid it)." READ MORE...

ALSO: Esperon - Gov’t ready to quell ouster plots, if any
 [RELATED: ‘De Lima liable for inciting to sedition’ for strong statements vs the President]


FEBRUARY 22 -ESPERON
The intelligence community is on top of the situation as far as threats to the Duterte administration is concerned, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said on Tuesday. Esperon, however, refused to give a categorical answer on whether there are plots to oust President Rodrigo Duterte. "If ever there are, leave it to us. We'll monitor it. We will be on top of the situation," Esperon said. He added that they would be ready to quell the plot only if necessary. "Depende naman kung iba na iyong galaw eh di siyempre, as the... the government... for one has to protect the interest of the Filipino and it has the interest of protecting himself," Esperon said. READ MORE... RELATED. ‘De Lima liable for inciting to sedition’ for strong statements vs the President...

ALSO COMMENTARY: Leila de Lima - A scandal who makes Pinoys squirm; People Power in parody? [RELATED: Drugs raps stress catches up with De5, says Du30's lawyer Panelo]


FEBRUARY 25 -A controversial photo of Sen. De Lima GOOGLE IMAGES IN addition to being on the frying pan for imminent arrest, Senator Leila de Lima has so many ambitious political projects, I think I could be accused of partisanship if I do not take note of her crusade. So here goes. The senator’s latest undertakings are intriguing, even epic in scope. First, she has asked the Cabinet of President Duterte to declare him unfit to serve as President, and exercise an obscure provision in the Constitution to replace him. Second, she is calling on the Filipino people to oust DU30 as President through people power, a mass action made fresh by the fact that the country will be marking the 31st anniversary of the revolt at EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) that brought down the government of President Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986. READ MORE...RELATED, Drugs raps stress catches up with De5, says Panelo...

ALSO: ‘It’s an honor to be jailed’ -De Lima waves using the 'Laban' sign on way to detention[Palace:De Lima can 'rest her fears' about safety; 'No reason why anyone would want to harm her under police custody -Abella]


FEBRUARY 24 -Sen. Leila de Lima waves to supporters from her van following an appearance at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court on her way to the Custodial Center at Camp Crame yesterday. MICHAEL VARCAS
Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday maintained her innocence and declared it an honor to be jailed, saying it was for speaking out against extrajudicial killings and other alleged human rights violations committed by the Duterte administration. “If they think they can silence me, if they think I’ll no longer fight for my cause, especially for the truth, for justice, the daily extrajudicial killings and other oppressive acts of the Duterte regime, it’s an honor that I be jailed for what I’m fighting for,” De Lima told reporters before leaving her Senate office to join the police convoy waiting outside the Senate building to bring her to detention at Camp Crame in Quezon City. The 57-year-old senator reiterated her innocence of the illegal drug charges filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ) before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court last week. DOJ prosecutors have linked De Lima to the illegal drug trade at the national penitentiary when she was justice secretary. READ MORE...RELATED, Palace says De Lima can 'rest her fears' about safety; I see no reason why anyone would harm her under police custody -Abella...

ALSO: Robredo to Duterte - ‘Stop the lies that are distorting the truth’; she hinted 'signs of dictatorship' in speech at UP where she attended with her LP forces
[RELATED: Duterte debasing gov’t for ‘personal vendetta’—Human Rights Watch]


FEBRUARY 24 -Vice President Leni Robredo delivers a speech at her alma mater, the UP School of Economics, on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (Photo from her Facebook page) The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has begun to show signs of a creeping dictatorship, beginning with the detention of his fiercest critic, Sen. Leila de Lima. Vice President Leni Robredo hinted at this, shortly after De Lima’s arrest, in a speech she delivered on Friday at the University of the Philippines School of Economics, her alma mater. Robredo spoke of the country’s dark history under the martial law regime of President Ferdinand Marcos and made some of her most stinging criticisms against Duterte. “Some leaders would like us to forget the atrocities of martial law,” she said. “Some leaders are too happy to glorify the dictatorship of Marcos, to revise the history so that he is remembered a hero, and not the thief and murderer that he was.” “Some leaders want to raise the fist of authoritarianism, to sow fear and discord among ourselves, to divide us with lies, violence, and bloodshed,” she said. “It has begun.” De Lima’s arrest, she said, showed how far the administration would go to stifle opposition. READ MORE...RELATED, Duterte debasing gov’t for ‘personal vendetta’—Human Rights Watch...


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British envoy’s remarks on RP’s change ‘not quite accurate’ — Yasay

MANILA, FEBRUARY 27, 2017 (TRIBUNE) Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 24 February 2017 00:00 By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora - Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. yesterday disapproved recent remarks made by British Ambassador to Manila Asif Ahmad who claimed that change has come to the Philippines but not in a good way.

At a media reception at the Diamond Hotel, Yasay said change has come to the Philippines for the better.

“I am not sure if that is a very diplomatic statement but I would take issue with that statement as not quite accurate,” he said, referring to Ahmad’s phrasing.

Ahmad earlier had expressed concerns over the spate of alleged extrajudicial killing in the country amid President Duterte’s intense campaign against illegal drugs.
The British envoy also took note that this have caused jitters among investors.

Yasay admitted that “some side effects” or a “downside” on the administration’s promised “change” might have surfaced but on the flip side, the government exerts its best effort to manage these factors.

“I don’t know why he says that change is happening in a negative way. I can see a lot of positive effects of the actions we have taken to make change happen,” he added, defending the current domestic climate in the country under the Duterte leadership.

READ MORE...

Yasay also responded on the reservations raised by Ahmad on the possible reinstatement of capital punishment in the Philippines.

The country is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the Second Optional Protocol of the ICCPR on the abolition of the death penalty.

According to Yasay, treaty as law cannot supervene or override the Constitution of a country.

“We have a Constitution that doesn’t prohibit the death penalty. We have in fact a Constitution that mandates Congress with the duty of making sure that if it feel appropriate at a given time of our history to impose the death, that can be done.”

As of this month, the Congress is still deliberating on the issue but if death penalty will be imposed, “it is going to be imposed,” Yasay pointed out.

Should this be decided, he underscored that “nobody, especially somebody outside of our country, can interfere with that domestic decision.”

“We have a good argument in saying that the reason why the death penalty as a deterrent to crime has not been effective is precisely because of our equivocation about the imposition of death penalty,” he explained.

“We impose it on one hand and then by executive order we say, we should not implement it. This equivocation has encouraged ruthless criminals such as drug lords, criminal syndicates, terrorists to precisely capitalize on that weakness that we have shown,” he said.

Yasay reiterated that this is the very reason Congress is trying to deliberate whether it is in the paramount national interest to reinstate the death penalty.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

UK envoy wrong on Phl’s negative change – Palace By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 23, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


FEBRUARY 23 -British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said that while alleged extrajudicial killings arising from the administration’s war on drugs have not hindered British investments in the country, they have left investors wondering “where all of these are going.” File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang disputed yesterday British Ambassador Asif Ahmad’s claim that change has come to the Philippines but not in a good way under the Duterte administration.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Ahmad’s statement does not reflect the sentiment of Filipinos.

Ahmad had expressed concern over the alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the country, something that he said raised questions among investors.

“More than eight of 10 Filipinos trust the President and the same number is satisfied with his administration’s performance in its campaign against illegal drugs and appreciates how it handles criminality,” the President’s spokesman said.

READ MORE...

Abella said international financial institutions like the World Bank, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. and credit rater Standard & Poor’s have raised their growth projections for the Philippines for this year.

Manila-based lender Asian Development Bank has also expressed support for the administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda and is ready to fund the country’s development projects, he added.

“Confidence – both business and consumers – is high in the Duterte administration,” he stressed.

“One wishes diplomats were more familiar with life beyond the rarefied atmosphere of gated villages,” he added, apparently referring to Ahmad’s residence in Forbes Park, Makati.

In an interview Monday night at his Forbes Park residence, Ahmad said the issues he dealt with when he first arrived in the country were public private partnerships or PPP, the Bangsamoro peace process and Charter change.

He also expressed reservations over the plan to reinstate the death penalty, saying it could deal a “severe blow” to the Philippines, a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the Second Optional Protocol of the ICCPR on the abolition of the death penalty.

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RELATED(2) FROM PHILSTAR

‘Change has come, but not in a good way’ By Richmond Mercurio and Pia Lee Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 22, 2017 - 12:00am 48 5879 googleplus4 1


British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said that while alleged extrajudicial killings arising from the administration’s war on drugs have not hindered British investments in the country, they have left investors wondering “where all of these are going.” File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Change has come to the Philippines, but not necessarily in a good way, according to the top British diplomat in the country.

British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said that while alleged extrajudicial killings arising from the administration’s war on drugs have not hindered British investments in the country, they have left investors wondering “where all of these are going.”

“What I’m saying is the distraction that we see now, the noises, is almost ‘un-Filipino.’ It’s something we are not used to,” Ahmad told reporters Monday night in his Forbes Park residence.

“When I first arrived here, nobody was talking about the things we’re talking about today. We talked about PPP (public private partnerships) and if it’s going to happen. We talked about Charter change, and how close are we to the Bangsamoro peace process. Things were really moving forward,” he pointed out.

READ MORE...

“It’s unfortunate that in our assessment of the Philippines, these were not areas of concern before. This is something that is relatively new. I hope that in many respects the government would have turned its corner now, having realized that plan A was not as successful as it might be,” he said referring to killings of suspected drug offenders. “That we might go back to treating the health issue and the drug issue (and) to treat law and order something as evidence based, something that you have intelligence, you intercept people,” he said.

Aside from peace and order concerns, Ahmad also expressed alarm over the planned revival of the death penalty in the Philippines which he said would be a “severe blow” to the country as far as British investments are concerned.

“I think that will be a severe blow because it basically says the Philippines can walk away from international treaties. If you can walk away from international treaty, it is much easier to walk away from commercial treaty,” he said.

The Philippines is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and to the Second Optional Protocol of the ICCPR on the abolition of the death penalty.

“It’s not that we don’t deal with countries that have death penalty but we see it as a tragic reversal for a country which we haven’t come across in recent times. Sad to think of an example for a country that signed up to, then wants to go back,” Ahmad pointed out.

The Philippine government abolished the death penalty under the 1987 Constitution. President Fidel Ramos re-imposed it in 1993 as a “crime control” measure. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo abolished it again in 2006.

Ahmad expressed belief the death penalty did not work in many countries, as it was anchored on vengeance.

“Part of the President’s frustration is that the wheels of justice here turn slowly. Basically you need to find a better wheel and more lubricant. You don’t throw the whole thing away. You have to improve the system,” he said.

He also cited the case of national hero Jose Rizal who was a victim of injustice and sentenced to death.

“The fact that Rizal was buried as a martyr, was a victim of a death penalty. The very sense of nationhood in the Philippines is from that injustice,” he added.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch earlier expressed opposition to the death penalty, a move that angered President Duterte.

Despite concerns, Ahmad said he is sensing that people in the administration are beginning to understand that there are better ways to deal with issues.

“As somebody who really believes in the long term stability of the Philippines and that people here are educated and cultured and we really want to be part of the global system, I think I’m pretty hopeful that within a very short period within this current administration, the Philippines will lose that new-found reputation for notoriety and just go back to what it was, which is pretty much a place (where) human rights matter to you more,” he said.


RAPPLER.COM

Duterte corrects 'misunderstanding' between Yasay, China Pia Ranada @piaranada Published 6:08 PM, February 24, 2017 Updated 9:52 PM, February 24, 2017


PRESERVING FRIENDLY TIES. President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping look on as Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr shakes hands with various Chinese officials on October 20, 2016. Photo by King Rodriguez/PPD

After China blasts Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr for his remarks on the West Philippine Sea, President Rodrigo Duterte assures China he will 'honor' his promises to the regional giant

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte assured China that his administration's policy is to foster friendly ties with the regional giant, after a "misunderstanding" involving Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr apparently prompted the Chinese commerce minister to scrap a scheduled trip to Manila.

"I think Secretary Yasay was misunderstood by the Chinese government but let me assure everybody....I would like to assure China – and this is what I have committed to do when I was there – that we will talk as friends," Duterte said an event in Davao del Norte on Friday, February 24.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang slammed as "baffling and regrettable" the statement of Yasay that foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reject China's reported militarization of the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

The Chinese foreign ministry said Yasay's remarks "deviate" from the "consensus" reached by Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the former's trip to China last year.

On Friday, Duterte said, "Nasobrahan ni Yasay (Yasay overdid it)."

READ MORE...

The President affirmed the Philippines' "consensus" with China.

"I will not deviate from my word of honor that in my time, there will be a time in my presidency that I will raise the issue of the arbitral judgement with China, but not now," he said.

Cancelled trip

Duterte worried that the last-minute cancellation of Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng's trip to Manila on Thursday, was due to the "misunderstanding."

"Secretary of commerce was supposed to be here today, cancelled his trip, I dont know for what reason. But I said if the reason is because of the misunderstanding, I will not deviate from my word of honor," said Duterte.

He reiterated his determination not to follow the United States' foreign policy that would like to see the Philippines push the historic Hague ruling that recognized Manila's claim over the West Philippine Sea.

"We are not duty-bound to follow the foreign policy of America," said Duterte.

In his estimation, the right time to bring up the controversial ruling is when the Philippines and China have established warmer relations.

"We are not prepared to raise the issue of the arbitral award for the simple reason that we are yet to finalize the good relations between China and the Philippines. We cannot talk while we are angry at each other. We should be friends first so when we face each other, there is respect and dignity on both sides," said Duterte.

On February 21, Yasay gave a statement relaying the "grave concern" of ASEAN foreign ministers over the reported escalation of Chinese military presence in the West Philippine Sea, parts of which are being claimed by several Southeast Asian countries.

(READ: China feared to house missiles in PH's Mischief Reef)

The foreign ministers and Yasay were in Boracay for the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat, part of the ASEAN 2017 events hosted by the Philippines, this year's chair.

The Philippines hopes to complete the long-awaited framework of a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

China has been seens as blocking efforts to complete the Code of Conduct, a legally-binding agreement laying down how overlapping claims in the disputed sea can be managed. – Rappler.com

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RELATED FROM RAPPLER.COM

China blasts Yasay for 'baffling, regrettable' words Paterno Esmaquel II @paterno_ii Published 2:00 PM, February 24, 2017 Updated 2:01 PM, February 24, 2017 8 2K Twitter Reddit Email 2K PH-CHINA TIES.


PH-CHINA TIES. Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr (right) and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua (left) exchange pleasantries during Zhao's courtesy call on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on July 7, 2016. Photo from MARO-PCOO

China urges Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr to 'exercise prudence' after he aired ASEAN's 'grave concern' over Beijing's sea militarization

MANILA, Philippines – China blasted Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr after the official said that foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reject China's reported militarization of the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Referring to Yasay's recent remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday, February 23, "China finds them baffling and regrettable."

Geng made this statement after Yasay on Tuesday, February 21, said ASEAN foreign ministers "have expressed grave concern" about China's militarization of the disputed waters.

Geng said he believes that these "are opinions" of Yasay, "not of the whole ASEAN group."

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman noted that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to China in October 2016 has boosted ties between Manila and Beijing.

(READ: Duterte visit marks 'full recovery' of PH-China ties)

"As we have noted, Mr Yasay's recent remarks apparently deviate from the consensus of the two leaders, go against the current trend of the sound and rapid development of China-Philippine relations, disagree with the overall stable situation of the South China Sea, and run counter to the shared desire of regional countries to maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea and promote regional cooperation," Geng said.

"We hope that Mr Yasay can follow the consensus reached by the two leaders and the shared desire of regional countries, exercise prudence, and make concrete efforts to uphold China-Philippines relations and regional peace and stability," the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said.

A day after airing the ASEAN's "grave concern" over the sea militarization, Yasay disclosed in another event that China has promised not to build facilities on the disputed Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea.

Geng said China's position on Panatag, such as its claim over it, "is consistent and clear and and is subject to no change." – Rappler.com


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Esperon: Gov’t ready to quell ouster plots, if any Published February 21, 2017 8:18pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News


ESPERON

The intelligence community is on top of the situation as far as threats to the Duterte administration is concerned, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said on Tuesday.

Esperon, however, refused to give a categorical answer on whether there are plots to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

"If ever there are, leave it to us. We'll monitor it. We will be on top of the situation," Esperon said.

He added that they would be ready to quell the plot only if necessary.

"Depende naman kung iba na iyong galaw eh di siyempre, as the... the government... for one has to protect the interest of the Filipino and it has the interest of protecting himself," Esperon said.

READ MORE...

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar during a briefing in Malacañang said he had received reports that there would be concerted, massive efforts against Duterte over the EDSA People Power Revolution weekend.

"Hindi po natin maiiwasan na sa social media at sa ating mga intelligence reports na nagbi-build up itong mga paninira sa ating Pangulo," Andanar said.

"And this is as I mentioned yesterday, one of the strategies for that supposed protracted plan to have a massive protest this coming weekend against the President," he added.

Andanar said the alleged $1,000 for reporters to cover SPO3 Arthur Lascañas' press conference was part of the scheme.

"But the point is, the reason why I said that, was because meron ngang intelligence report na may kumakalat na ganitong klaseng pera, $1,000; and this is part of that grand scheme na pagdating ng Sabado," Andanar said.

"Ang balita ko kasi four days ‘yung celebration nila, ‘yung kanilang actions so we’ll see. It’s going to be an exciting weekend for everybody," he added.

Convergence

Esperon scoffed at the possibility of making Senator Leila de Lima's call to stand up against Duterte as a rallying point for the opposition to move against the President.

"Let us see. Drug trading? You will use that? Dapat naman siguro ang Pilipino mas matataas na antas ng pinapagarap kaysa doon sa drug trading. Narcotics? You will use that to serve as your defense?" Esperon said.

"Huwag naman. Kahit na magkakaibang sector tayo, there must be a convergence point for the good of the nation. Why should a case of an individual be the convergence point? It should be nation-building," he added.

"Meron siguro silang gagawin. People power? To what? To defend one case? Hindi naman siguro ganoon kababaw ang mga Pilipino," Esperon said.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra during a briefing about the plans of the EDSA People Power Commission (EPPC) for the anniversary rites said that any group is free to gather to commemorate the peaceful revolution.

"Now, as to what the government intends to do with respect to some other groups who want to let’s say rally outside Camp Aguinaldo on the 25th precisely before the People Power Monument, the government will simply allow these things to happen," Guevarra said.

"This is exactly the freedom that EDSA, the EDSA Revolution wanted us to have, all right: freedom to express yourselves, freedom to rally, okay, so freedom to gather together and express your sentiments," he added.

"So the government will definitely allow these activities to happen especially on the 25 all right, of course, subject to certain regulations like make sure that there’s no traffic and so forth and so on," Guevarra said. —NB, GMA News

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

‘De Lima liable for inciting to sedition’ posted February 23, 2017 at 12:01 am by Rey E. Requejo and Macon Ramos-Araneta

 

ALREADY facing imminent arrest for drug trafficking cases, Senator Leila de Lima may be facing more legal woes, including a possible inciting to sedition charge following her strong statements against President Rodrigo Duterte last Tuesday.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II warned that De Lima could be held criminally liable for inciting the people to rebel against the President whom she branded as a “psychopathic murderer” and “dictator” during a press conference in the Senate.

“She should be careful about her statements, she was already inciting to sedition,” Aguirre said.

Inciting to sedition is an offense punishable under Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code committed by “any person who, without taking any direct part in the crime of sedition, should incite others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition, by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners, or other representations tending to the same end.”

READ MORE...

It also covers “utter seditious words or speeches, write, publish, or circulate scurrilous libels against the Republic of the Philippines or any of the duly constituted authorities thereof, or which tend to disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office, or which tend to instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes, or which suggest or incite people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the Government.”

Such crime is punishable by imprisonment of up to six years to and a fine not exceeding P2,000.

Aguirre was referring to De Lima’s statements calling for the public to rise against Duterte.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II De Lima was quoted urging the public to speak out against crimes allegedly being committed by the President, although she did not specifically call for a people power to oust him.

DE LIMA CALLS PEOPLE POWER

“Now is the time to make a stand and rise up in the face of a criminal dictator and a repressive regime,” the senator declared.

“Lend your voice. Lend your voice of outrage [for] what’s happening in the country,” she pleaded.

De Lima said Duterte, whom she accused of being liable for the killings of the Davao Death Squad, is “the number one criminal in the Philippines, if not the world.”

The senator also called on the Cabinet to declare Duterte incapable of keeping the top government post.

CALLS TO DUTERTE CABINET

“To the members of the Cabinet, you can save our country from a criminal President through declaring that because of his criminal mind, he has no capacity to perform the duties of a President,” she said.

Taking the cudgel for the President, the Justice Secretary said the allegations of De Lima were “totally baseless.”

“It is all rehashed and Senator De Lima knows it. She served as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights from May 7, 2008 to June 30, 2010 and as secretary of Justice from June 30, 2010 to October 12, 2015, yet she did not file any case against then Mayor Duterte on the purported killings. Even the timing is suspect, why come out only now? Is somebody diverting the public’s attention from what is to come? One cannot help but ask these questions,” he added.

“As a former Secretary of Justice, Senator De Lima should know that the real battle is in the courts. She should do the fighting there, answer all the charges against her there and present credible evidence in her defense there and not in a press conference,” he added.

Solicitor General Jose Calida echoed Aguirre’s sentiments, saying that De Lima’s “latest tirades against President Duterte and the government clearly show why she is the high priestess of hypocrisy.”

“She should stop acting like a vacuous victim and crybaby. My unsolicited advice to her is: face the charges with equanimity and dignity befitting a senator,” he said.

Meanwhile, De Lima disclosed that Malacañang’s tried to sway the votes of senators who favored the Senate inquiry into claims of retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas that the president ordered the killings perpetrated by the Davao Death Squad when he was Davao City mayor.

De Lima said she got an information about efforts from the Palace to stop Lascañas from testifying in the impending senate inquiry. She said some senators were asked to go to Malacañang immediately after the Senate caucus Tuesday night, which was suspicious.

“They learned what happened and they want to remedy the situation so...I really do not know what happened,” she said.

Due to the pressure being exerted by the Palace, De Lima admitted it is likely that some senators who voted for the conduct of the Senate probe might overturn their earlier decision or might abstain.

“But it won’t look good to those individual senators solely changing their votes from last night [Tuesday]. And also, the Senate is an institution because we know for a fact there were some (senators) called to the Palace last night,” she said.

De Lima, however, said she does not know who were summoned to Malacanang. “I was not able to confirm so I don’t want to say who are they,” she said.

"PALACE IN PANIC MODE"

She said Malacañang is panicking because Lascañas is a “genuine” witness.

“Oh yes, there’s no doubt. Just like in Edgar Matobato, no reaction came from Digong. He is again silent just like in Edgar Matobato. Because, he [Duterte] knows that’s the truth.So that would be very damaging so they’re in panic mode,” said De Lima. The senator also said Malacañang did not expect that the voting would turn out that way.

“But that’s only based on how I see it—they were surprised they lost. They were surprised because they’re expecting senators would vote with them against the hearing on Lascañas. But they abstained instead. So they’re in panic mode,”she said.

Asked about the possibility that they will be outnumbered if some senators changed their votes, De Lima expressed hope it doesn’t happen.

“It would have a huge effect. As I said, it won’t look good. It will really look bad for those who will be flip-flopping, changing their minds, and on the Senate as an institution, which means the independence of the Senate is indeed questionable,” she emphasized.

When he faced the Senate media on Monday, Lascañas, who was assisted by FLAG lawyers, contradicted the statements he gave last October to the Senate justice committee hearing the extrajudicial hearings in the country. He admitted the existence of DDS which he said was formed by Duterte when he was Davao City mayor.

Lascañas said Duterte paid up to P100,000 for the killing of a target, but spent P4 million for the killing of his staunch critic, Davao City-based broadcaster Jun Palo.

During a caucus Tuesday night, 10 senators voted to proceed with the Senate hearing on EJKs following the “expose” of Lascanas while seven senators were against it.

The 10 who supported the conduct of the hearing are Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon and Senators Francis Pangilinan, Leila de Lima, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, Chiz” Escudero, Joel Villanueva, Sonny Angara and Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto.

'SUPERMAJORITY BLOC'

Except for Trillanes, Escudero and Recto, the seven other senators are members of the so-called supermajority bloc in the Senate.

The seven senators who rejected the probe are Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Senators Richard Gordon, Migs Zubiri, Manny Pacquiao, Sherwin Gatchalian, Gringo Honasan and Cynthia Villar.

Those who abstained from voting are Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto and Senators Panfilo Lacson, JV Ejercito, Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay.

Senators Grace Poe and Alan Peter Cayetano were not present in the Senate caucus.

But Poe already aired her desire for the Senate to proceed with the hearing to find out why Lascañas had retracted his earlier testimony in the Senate.

Cayetano is a close ally of Duterte who was his running mate in the last May elections.


Leila de Lima: A scandal who makes Filipinos squirm; People Power parody? BY YEN MAKABENTA ON FEBRUARY 23, 2017 OPINION ON PAGE ONE


FEBRUARY 25 -A controversial photo of Sen. De Lima GOOGLE IMAGES

IN addition to being on the frying pan for imminent arrest, Senator Leila de Lima has so many ambitious political projects, I think I could be accused of partisanship if I do not take note of her crusade. So here goes.

The senator’s latest undertakings are intriguing, even epic in scope.

First, she has asked the Cabinet of President Duterte to declare him unfit to serve as President, and exercise an obscure provision in the Constitution to replace him.

Second, she is calling on the Filipino people to oust DU30 as President through people power, a mass action made fresh by the fact that the country will be marking the 31st anniversary of the revolt at EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) that brought down the government of President Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986.

READ MORE...


BY YEN MAKABENTA

Third, De Lima is selling herself as a victim, the first political prisoner of the Duterte government. She warns of her becoming a victim of extra-judicial killing once she is jailed.

Knowing our recent history and the dysfunctions of our public life, I can see how some people and groups might find these projects worthy of study or even support.

But with De Lima as proponent, what chances do they have of ever getting off the ground?

Alas, the chances are zilch. De Lima will more likely dissuade, rather than inspire, people to undertake these projects.

Her brand is scandal

No matter how many adjectives she loads on her Duterte brief (“sociopath serial killer,” “mentally unfit,” etc.) and her credentials (“she is not alone”), the projects will flounder from the sheer weight of her orotund and shaky reputation.

De Lima is an unusual politician who makes Filipinos squirm, because of the way she has packed into her career scandal, controversy, corruption, and abuse of power.

People remember her for a litany of headline-grabbing transgressions:

1) her adulterous affairs with subordinates and aides while serving as justice secretary, which were exposed in a congressional inquiry;

2) her alleged coddling of the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary and her alleged acceptance of bribes from drug lords, in order to finance her Senate campaign;

3) her implementation of a policy of selective justice against political opponents of former President Benigno Aquino III; and

4)her abuse of the powers of the justice secretary to enforce the detention of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the bidding of Aquino.

Few people in public office have attracted scandal so relentlessly as De Lima has. It is as if her brand is scandal, not public service.

Trillanes as partner in notoriety

De Lima is lucky that Senator Antonio Trillanes is serving in the Senate at the same time that she does. Otherwise, she will be attracting all the negativity all by herself. The former coup-plotter turned senator is a magnet for brickbats.

While De lima hurls the political bombs against DU30, Trillanes moves behind the scenes to recruit officers and soldiers who will join the planned coup.

Last Sunday, at a gathering of relatives and friends, our conversation drifted to the subject of Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes. One of us asked the group: who will get your vote, if you have to choose between them? Who is more wicked and embarrassing? Everyone thought it is cruel and barbarous to be made to choose between them.

To my surprise, many of the women do not like Leila one bit; they have no sympathy for her ordeal; they feel she should suffer what former President Arroyo endured in detention.

With respect to Trillanes, and his demand that President Duterte disclose his bank account, everyone is repelled by him. The consensus feeling is that people will remember “sundalong kanin” (rice soldier) more than they will remember DU30’s alleged P2-billion deposits.

The entire group felt that the Senate would be better off without the two senators. The public will be happiest, if they are both thrown in jail, starting with De Lima, who is facing charges in court.

What about their joint effort to get Edgar Matobato and Arthur Lascañas to testify about the Davao Death Squad (DDS) and against Duterte in the Senate? Is this not public service?

Most in the gathering believe that the Lascañas’ retraction was timed to forestall De Lima’s imminent arrest and incarceration. She is desperate. How much did De Lima and Trillanes bribe the police officer to retract his earlier testimony in the Senate?

Many believe this is all part of the Yellow fantasy/conspiracy to organize the public and the military to stage a people power revolt on February 25 to topple Duterte.

The Yellows are indignant that the EDSA commemoration has gone indoors to Camp Aguinaldo.

The idea of calling on the cabinet to force Duterte out of office is based on a constitutional provision that empowers a majority of the Cabinet to force the President to step down by ruling that he is mentally incapacitated.

The Yellows tried this scheme during the administration of President Arroyo. The so-called Hyatt 10 tried to stage a “constitutional coup” by demanding Arroyo’s resignation and tendering their resignation. This was squarely blunted. Arroyo fired them all.

People power in parody?

Leaders, it has been said, are lucky or unlucky depending on the kind of enemies and opponents they generate during their time of rule.

I cannot judge yet whether DU30 is fortunate to have the kind of opponents he has today. Sometimes, I think he is lucky to have the Liberals and the Aquinos as the principal force opposing him. Their confusion almost looks like support.

With De Lima and Trillanes as the top strategists of destabilization, DU30 might laugh.

The Catholic laity may be something else. Having the Catholic bishops and the parishes arrayed against the President can hardly be a blessing.

The Yellow movement made a strategic mistake in adopting De Lima as its spearhead and moving force. Did anyone hear her call for the people to revolt? Did the Duterte Cabinet even notice their opportunity?

Methinks EDSA will be recalled in parody instead of recreated on Saturday.

TRIBUNE

Drugs raps stress catches up with De5, says Panelo Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 24 February 2017 00:00 By Ted Tuvera and Angie M. Rosales


PANELO

Pressure over the drugs cases she is facing could have induced Sen. Leila de Lima to make hysterical allegations on President Duterte whom she called a “sociopath serial killer,” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said yesterday.

Panelo, in a statement, pointed out de Lima’s attacks against the President appear to be suicidal on her part in legal terms since they could hasten jail time for her.

“Concerned with the mental and psychological state of Senator de Lima, it is in her best interest for her to engage the services of a competent medical professional to assist her in these trying times,” Panelo said.

“Her continued and relentless tirades against President Duterte could lead to criminal liability for the commission of the crime of inciting to sedition,” he added.

Duterte’s chief lawyer explained that de Lima’s calls for the launch of a new “people power” movement fits the legal definition of “inciting to sedition” which he said is a “crime committed by someone who, without taking any direct part in sedition, incites others to inflict any act of hate or revenge against the person of the President by means of speech, among others.”Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II issued the same legal assessment against the troubled De Lima.

READ MORE...

Then again, Mr. Duterte and his spokesmen continue to be mum on the accusations made by former Davao City Police Chief Arturo Lascanas who, on Monday, directly linked the chief executive to the notorious Davao Death Squad (DDS).

“The electorate in giving President Duterte an overwhelming mandate has factored such issue hence the people have spoken in repudiating such lie,” Panelo said.
Leila shrugs off

‘Inciting to sedition raps’

De Lima rebuffed Justice Secretary Aguirre’s cautioning her of a possible commission of inciting to sedition charge for calling President Duterte a sociopathic serial killer.

De Lima said Aguirre and even Duterte himself were the ones committing the said offense, not her, having been what she described as rebels and inciters against a constitutional order that values life and due process above everything else.

“By calling a part of the population as sub-humans and ordering their killing without due process, this regime has overthrown constitutional order through a political coup and by perverting an electoral mandate in order to perpetrate a policy of premeditated mass murder,” she said.

The senator called on the DoJ chief to to review the provisions of the law, reminding him that sedition includes committing “any act of hate or revenge against private persons or any social class for any political or social end.”

“Aguirre should arrest his boss, then arrest himself for committing the most seditious and murderous act of inciting people to violence against mere suspected pushers and users since the past seven months,” she said in a statement.

“Arrest and file a case against Duterte and yourself, Mr. Aguirre, before doing that to me,” de Lima said.

The single most abominable act of sedition, de Lima said, that they have committed is that of identifying people suspected to be involved in illegal drugs trade as no longer being humans, while being in government by virtue of a Constitution that tells them that no one shall be deprived of life without due process of law.

“This regime has been committing acts of sedition since the beginning for pitting the population against each other in a drug war that calls for the elimination of an entire class of the population which, according to the President, consists of three million pushers and users,” she said.

They have overthrown our constitutional government when they called for the elimination of an entire social class of suspected pushers and users, resulting in the murders and summary killings in our urban poor communities, de Lima further said.

“They are the rebels and criminals who should be arrested, not me,” she said.

Lascañas not in Palace dinner menu

As contentions regarding the need to probe anew the notorious Davao Death Squad (DDS) in the Senate, Malacañang admitted President Duterte met with some senators at the Palace over dinner on Tuesday night but not to talk about the DDS or the testimony of retired Davao City Police Chief SPO3 Arturo Lascañas who linked Mr. Duterte to vigilante killings.

In a press conference, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella denied that matters regarding the DDS nor Lascañas was taken up as an agenda in the meeting.
De Lima earlier claimed that senators were pressured to disregard Lascanas’ testimonies.

“There is no truth to the allegation of Senator de Lima that the senators were pressured by Malacañang with regard to the reopening of the investigation of the DDS,” Abella told reporters, affirming Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III’s earlier reaction to the opposition senator’s accusation.

“What I can share with you is that... as Senator Sotto said, a group of senators met the President but they did not talk about the case of retired police officer Lascañas,” he added.

Pressed as to why there was no mention of Lascañas during the said bread breaking, the Palace mouthpiece said: “There are other things to talk about.”
“They can proceed (with the impending Senate investigation into Lascañas’ revelations),” Abella said.

Abella added that it was not Mr. Duterte who summoned the senators and that they were the ones who asked for an audience with the Chief Executive.
Ted Tuvera


PHILSTAR

‘It’s an honor to be jailed’ By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 25, 2017 - 12:00am 4 113 googleplus0 0


Sen. Leila de Lima waves to supporters from her van following an appearance at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court on her way to the Custodial Center at Camp Crame yesterday. MICHAEL VARCAS

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday maintained her innocence and declared it an honor to be jailed, saying it was for speaking out against extrajudicial killings and other alleged human rights violations committed by the Duterte administration.

“If they think they can silence me, if they think I’ll no longer fight for my cause, especially for the truth, for justice, the daily extrajudicial killings and other oppressive acts of the Duterte regime, it’s an honor that I be jailed for what I’m fighting for,” De Lima told reporters before leaving her Senate office to join the police convoy waiting outside the Senate building to bring her to detention at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

The 57-year-old senator reiterated her innocence of the illegal drug charges filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ) before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court last week.

DOJ prosecutors have linked De Lima to the illegal drug trade at the national penitentiary when she was justice secretary.

READ MORE...

“There’s no truth, they’re all lies, the allegations against me, that I allegedly received drug money, allegedly coddled or protected drug suspects – these are all lies and the truth will come out at the right time,” she said.

She believes that with the love of God, she would survive her ordeal and that truth and justice will prevail in the end.

De Lima rushed back to her office and spent the night there on Thursday after receiving reports on Thursday night that a team from the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) would arrest her at her residence in Parañaque City.

She was only at her residence for less than an hour waiting for her son before she rushed back to the Senate. She did not want to be arrested in her house.

There was supposed to be an agreement between Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno that De Lima be allowed to go home to be with her family overnight before returning to her office yesterday morning and surrendering to the police.

She lamented she was not able to see her family, particularly her two sons, even as she appealed to the CIDG to move the arrest for a few more hours because she did not feel safe being arrested at night.

“It’s dangerous at night,” she said on Thursday. “I’m not going to hide or evade arrest. Just a little respect is all I’m asking for.”

Her appeal was heeded but the arresting officers stayed at the Senate garage five floors below and waited overnight for her.

SPEND NIGHT IN SENATE

The senator was able to sleep for a few hours in her office and woke up at around 5 a.m. and had a light breakfast of coffee and pan de sal.

She later received visitors, including Fr. Robert Reyes, Dinagat Island Rep. Arlene Bag-ao, former social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman and Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

De Lima also spoke over the phone with former president Benigno Aquino III who gave her words of encouragement.

At around 8 a.m., she emerged from her office surrounded by Senate security personnel and her staff as reporters and camera crews rushed to get a few words from her.

As the senator was being processed at the CIDG headquarters in Camp Crame, her video message was posted on her Facebook page that was apparently recorded on Thursday night.

De Lima described her arrest as “an appalling sign of the return of a power-hungry, morally bankrupt and abusive government.”

She pointed to President Duterte as the mastermind of her persecution based on “manufactured stories” from drug convicts at the New Bilibid Prison. She called him and his officials “liars” and “hypocrites.”

"FENTANYL IN DUTERTE'S BRAIN...."

“There must be so much Fentanyl in Mr. Duterte’s brain, for him to have the gall to boast of the testimonies of their witnesses who are convicted drug lords and whose statements contradict each other,” De Lima said.

“From the very beginning, I knew that this regime would not seek true justice. The filing of criminal cases against me is only the fulfillment of Mr. Duterte’s fixation for revenge against me,” she said.

She was referring to her investigation of the Davao death squad when she was chair of the Commission on Human Rights in 2009.

In a phone interview with ANC from her detention cell at Camp Crame, De Lima said while she has been psychologically preparing herself for the arrest, her being in jail “all feels surreal.”

She said it also pained her as a mother, feeling “the hurt of my family. They know that I’m innocent.”

De Lima’s lawyers are planning to question before the Supreme Court (SC) alleged grave abuse of authority by Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa regional trial court (RTC) for issuing the arrest warrant.

FILE PETITION, NO EVIDENCE, NO DRUGS

Alex Padilla, spokesman for De Lima’s legal team, said they would try to come up with a final decision to file their petition before the SC.

De Lima earlier this week filed motions to quash before the three court branches where her three separate drug cases were raffled off, citing lack of jurisdiction.

The motions were supposed be heard yesterday, with the prosecution asking that the hearings be moved till next month, but Judge Guerrero of RTC branch 204 on Thursday ordered De Lima’s arrest.

“Let it be said that she (Guerrero) stated that her (order) was purely on the criminal information filed by the (Department of Justice). Her motion to quash was not considered at all,” Padilla said.

He also said De Lima will also try to insist again that the Office of Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan – not the Muntinlupa RTC – have jurisdiction over her cases.

“We were asking that these charges be dismissed because there’s no evidence, no drugs, there was no order to protect drug lords. So the complaint was fatal and defective,” he said.

The senator, he said, is also allowed to file a motion to have her moved to a suitable detention place if her cell in Camp Crame is not to her liking.

Padilla also said De Lima will not ask that she be placed under house or hospital arrest.

“She’s not the type to ask for special favors or privileges. She’ll stand up and answer these allegations and charges,” he said.

De Lima in a phone interview from Camp Crame with ANC said it was unfortunate the Court of Appeals denied her petitions to stop the DOJ from filing the charges before the regular courts.

“We have a very prejudicial issue of jurisdiction,” she said.

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

RELATED FROM RAPPLER.COM

Palace says De Lima can 'rest her fears' about safety Rappler.com Published 1:04 PM, February 24, 2017 Updated 11:09 AM, February 25, 2017 2 465 Twitter Reddit Email 465


PALACE ASSURANCE. Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella says Senator Leila de Lima has nothing to fear in terms of her safety while in detention. Malacañang photo

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella says he doesn't 'see any reason' why anyone would want to harm Senator Leila de Lima while in police custody

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima has nothing to fear while in detention at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters, Malacañang assured President Rodrigo Duterte's fiercest critic on Friday, February 24.

"I think she should put herself at rest," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

He said the administration respects De Lima's right to due process and safety.

"You know, these things follow due process and we do respect the right of everyone," he said.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has vowed to ensure the safety of the senator, who has been butting heads with Duterte since she investigated the Davao Death Squad when she headed the Commission on Human Rights under the Arroyo administration.

Abella downplayed threats to De Lima's life while in police custody.

"I don’t see any reason why anybody should take such, you know, take such a risk of doing something like that, you know, trying to attempt at her life," said the President's spokesman.

Before her arrest, De Lima asked the public to pray for her safety while in detention.

She had said the threat was real given the deaths of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr in a Leyte jail and of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo in Camp Crame.

"Sa inyo pong lahat, humihiling po ako ng dasal na sana maging safe and secure po ako saan man ako dalhin, saan man ako ikukulong (To all of you, I ask for your prayers that I be safe and secure wherever they will detain me)," De Lima said on Thursday night.

She reiterated her call on Friday, hours before her detention in Camp Crame.

(READ: FULL STATEMENT: Leila de Lima on her arrest)

Duterte himself has not issued a statement about De Lima's arrest. But the Palace said the order to arrest the senator on drug charges was a "major step forward" in the administration's campaign against illegal drugs.

It was Duterte who first publicly accused De Lima of accepting money from drug traffickers incarcerated in the New Bilibid Prison while she was still Justice Secretary.

 (READ: TIMELINE: De Lima – From drug probe to arrest) – Pia Ranada / Rappler.com

 
https://youtu.be/UMQK9f8Y5aw?t=32
'Tuloy po ang laban ni Leila de Lima,' says the embattled senator, the fiercest critic of President Rodrigo Duterte


PHILSTAR

Robredo to Duterte: ‘Stop the lies that are distorting the truth’ By: DJ Yap - Reporter / @deejayapINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 06:37 PM February 24, 2017


Vice President Leni Robredo delivers a speech at her alma mater, the UP School of Economics, on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (Photo from her Facebook page)

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has begun to show signs of a creeping dictatorship, beginning with the detention of his fiercest critic, Sen. Leila de Lima.

Vice President Leni Robredo hinted at this, shortly after De Lima’s arrest, in a speech she delivered on Friday at the University of the Philippines School of Economics, her alma mater.

Robredo spoke of the country’s dark history under the martial law regime of President Ferdinand Marcos and made some of her most stinging criticisms against Duterte.

“Some leaders would like us to forget the atrocities of martial law,” she said. “Some leaders are too happy to glorify the dictatorship of Marcos, to revise the history so that he is remembered a hero, and not the thief and murderer that he was.”

“Some leaders want to raise the fist of authoritarianism, to sow fear and discord among ourselves, to divide us with lies, violence, and bloodshed,” she said. “It has begun.”

De Lima’s arrest, she said, showed how far the administration would go to stifle opposition.

READ MORE...

“So on Friday the nation woke up to a worrying scene: A senator and a staunch critic of the President was escorted into police custody,” she said. “The message was loud and clear: Anyone who dares speak dissent is not safe.”

Toward the end of her speech, the former Camarines Sur representative directed her statements to Duterte: “Mr. President, we call you to task. In behalf of the Filipino people, whose daily struggles are escalating, we ask you to focus on the war that really matters – the war on poverty. Our people are hungry, jobless and poor. Be the leader you promised to be, and stop the lies that are distorting the truth in our society today.”

She asked the President to use his leadership “to point the nation towards respect for rule of law, instead of disregard for it; to uphold the basic human rights enshrined in the institution, instead of encouraging its abuse.”

Consolidating forces

In December, Robredo, interim chair of the Liberal Party, quit as housing secretary over policy and political differences with Duterte after she was told by text message to stop attending Cabinet meetings.

She has since expressed her intention to be the “voice of the opposition,” though she had not been able to consolidate Liberal Party forces because many of them belong to the Duterte-controlled supermajority in Congress.

But that may be changing.

At the UP event, Robredo was accompanied by several LP stalwarts, one of few occasions the party came in full force to support her. They included Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who also spoke at the forum; House Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo; Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice; and former Reps. Erin Tañada and Niel Tupas.

In his speech, Pangilinan said he found it ironic that on the eve of the 31st anniversary of People Power Revolution, “a critic is being detained.”

“We believe we need to stand guard for her safety and her life are at risk,” he said. “And we know her detention and the charges filed against her are questionable.”

Pangilinan also seemed to hint at the LP’s future course of action on De Lima’s plight.

“In the middle of all this, we need to sit down, talk, engage, discern, and hopefully after discerning, we will act,” he said. /atm

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

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Duterte debasing gov’t for ‘personal vendetta’—Human Rights Watch By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo - @KSabilloINQINQUIRER.net / 02:16 PM February 24, 2017



An international human rights group on Friday said the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima shows what President Rodrigo Duterte is capable of.

“The arrest of Senator de Lima suggests that Duterte is willing to debase Philippine governance to the level of personal vendetta,” Phelim Kine of Human Rights Watch said in an e-mail to INQUIRER.net.

“By arresting Senator Leila de Lima on politically motivated drug charges, President Duterte has effectively expanded his ‘drug war’ from the urban poor to the legislative branch of the government,” the group’s Deputy Asia Director said.

“Not only Congress, but other pillars of Philippine democracy, from the press to the judiciary, should be worried about the future,” he added.

READ: Robredo calls De Lima’s arrest ‘political harassment’

After awaiting arrest at Senate, De Lima turns self in to CIDGNews
The group previously called on the government to drop the criminal charges against De Lima who is accused of being involved in the illegal drug trade.

“The Duterte administration seems intent on using the courts to punish prominent critics of its murderous ‘war on drugs,’” Kine said then.

READ: Vindictiveness, int’l rights group says of raps vs De Lima

De Lima is among Duterte’s leading critics. As chair of the Commission on Human Rights, she investigated then Mayor Duterte’s links to the Davao Death Squad.

Duterte, who became president last year, has led an aggressive campaign against illegal drugs, resulting in the deaths of thousands of suspected drug users and pushers. CDG

READ: Arrest lauded as a ‘victory,’ hit as ‘political persecution’

 
https://youtu.be/gOW6V_D4zLA?t=96
De LIma's LAWYER Diokno on Leila de Lima arrest warrant
Rappler
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Published on Feb 23, 2017
Senator Leila de Lima's legal counsel Chel Diokno says he is 'shocked by the news the issuance of warrant of arrest.' Follow Rappler on Social Media:


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