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Gerry Baldo

Drug lords from China, a close friend if the Philippines, are still reportedly into the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons.

The issue cropped during a congressional investigation yesterday.
PDEA Acting Director for Intelligence Services Jigger Montellana disclosed that some convicted Chinese drug lords inside the NBP have been behind the supply of illegal drugs.
“We found out that some of sources of drugs we have confiscatedm actually comes from transactions from NBP and most of these personalities are not captured in radar of personalities we are already monitoring,” Montellana told the House subpanel on correctional reforms chaired by Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal.
Montellana said the Chinese drug lords – which are not part of their monitoring -do not belong to the big-time personalities at the Maximum nSecurity Compound.
The subcommittee is under the House committee on justice led by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali who has been conducting inquiry on the proliferation of illegal drug syndicates and illegal drug trade in NBP.
While there is no drug laboratory inside the NBP, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) legal officer Daisy Castillote admitted that illegal drugs transactions of convicts continue.
“We are concurring with the PDEA. There is no manufacturing inside the Bureau of Corrections or NBP. Transactions [made through] telephone communications are all that [has been] happening. No proliferation inside,” said Castillote.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Superintendent Enrico Rigor, chief of the Legal and Investigation Division of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group, confirmed the continued transactions of convicts for the proliferation of illegal drugs.
While Rigor admitted monitoring two telephone conversations of an individual outside NBP and drug suppliers within the NBP, he complained that the Anti-Wiretapping Law prevented them from gathering more evidence.
Responding to the query of Manila Rep. Edward Maceda, Justice (DoJ) Usec. Antonio Kho said signal jammers were placed in the area of high-profile inmates at the Building 14 of the Maximum Security Compound.
BuCor Internal Affairs Service Chief Atty. Frederick Santos said Building 14 has only two signal jammers while the gadgets for the rest of the area are still being procured.
Santos admitted that the existing jammers are controlled by BuCor, DoJ and also civilian employees.
NBP Superintendent Roberto Rabo said there are also concerns about dysfunctional and limited function of signal jammers, adding there was no jammers at the Medium Security Compound.
Oaminal asked Rabo to submit the names of all Chinese drug lords inside the national penitentiary as lawmakers sought the creation of an oversight committee tasked to submit regular report on reforms at the NBP.

Some lawmakers yesterday urged two warring officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to do charity work as mandated instead of quarreling.

PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan and PCSO board member Sandra Cam were stuck in a word war since Cam was appointed to her post.
AKO Bicol Party List Rep. Rodel Batocabe and Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said the PCSO leadership should get its act together and concentrate on its mandate to help our less privileged countrymen.
They should capitalize on their gains and concentrate on doubling their revenues which have increased in recent years in the operations of lotto, sweepstakes, keno and Small Town Lottery (STL) operations.
“Ceasefire on the word war. Let’s be sober and stop the fighting” Castelo said, pointing out that “PCSO is a collegial body that no policy or program can be implemented without the approval of the Board.
“What we need is concerted action and performance, and not all noise and drama. PCSO needs unity, not disagreement,” Batocabe said.
Cam’s public criticism on the current leadership of the agency has
triggered infighting between her and Balutan.
In a related development, Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said the government can more than triple its monthly earnings from Small Town Lottery (STL) operations if the people running the agency are focused on the job at hand.
Villafuerte said that from the current P1.7 billion revenues, the agency has the potential to earn some P6.2 billion if the PCSO concentrates on all STL operators across the country.
Villafuerte said once its STL operators are required to remit their PCSO-approved Presumptive Monthly Revenue Receipts (PMMR) or the awarded monthly sales targets for each operator, the agency will be able to at least triple its monthly take from its AACs.
He said that certain AACs have been fronting for jueteng or illegal gambling operators with their gross violation of the STL’s
Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRRs), such as acceptance of bets from minors and from places outside their official stations and substations, non-payment of monthly dues to host-local governments, and use of unofficial bet tickets, particularly the papelitos that are used by jueteng collectors.

Legislator pushes creation of Benham Commission

Tuesday, 30 January 2018 00:00 Published in Nation

A lawmaker from the partylist Magdalo yesterday reiterated his call for the creation of a dedicated body to promote the sustainable development of the Benham Rise or Philippine Rise.
Rep Gary Alejano, who filed House Bill 5318 last March 2017, following sightings of Chinese research ships presumably surveying the Benham Rise, said the bill seeks to create a Benham Rise Development Commission (BRDC) which will be the sole policy-making body tasked to “promote, coordinate, monitor, facilitate, and evaluate the programs and action plans of the government” regarding the resource-filled underwater plateau.
“Previous studies have indicated that the Benham Rise is full of resources. However, it remains largely unexplored. Given its pristine condition and high importance, we should ensure a coordinated and integrated approach in the formulation and implementation of development plans and projects in order to optimize its full potential. Thus, the need for the BRDC,” Alejano said.
The BRDC shall be an attached agency of the Office of the President. It shall be headed by three Commissioners; one serving as the Chairperson, and the other two leading the National Panel of Technical Experts and the Advisory Panel, respectively.
The first panel, responsible for research and development, will be formed by multi-discipline science practitioners. Meanwhile, the second panel will be composed of the heads of relevant government departments and agencies responsible for regulations and policy-making.
Alejano further emphasized that the creation of the BRDC would ensure Philippine presence and control in Benham Rise. “The potential sources of energy and marine resources in Benham, as well as its strategic location, definitely attract interest from different countries. Having an institutionalized body to oversee and manage all the activities in the Benham Rise would persistently assert and protect our exclusive sovereign rights in the area,” he stressed.
Since last year, China has been paying keen interest on Benham Rise which also alarmed the Defense Department. In spite of history of island-grabbing and harassment against Filipino fishermen, the Department of Foreign Affairs recently issued a permit for China to conduct marine scientific research in the Philippine eastern seaboard, including Benham Rise.
On Monday a member of the House committee on defense warned against trusting China on Philippine Rise.
According to Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy, Biazon China’s record pertaining to its explorations should have been considered before allowing them to do research in the Philippine Rise.
Biazon also took exception to Malacañang’s statement that Filipinos are not capable of doing scientific study in the area.
He said that the Philippine government should have been wary given China’s “creeping invasion” in the West Philippine Sea. It should not happen again at the Philippine Rise.


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