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Ted Tuvera

The Philippines is not alone in its move to pull out from the International Criminal Court (ICC), presidential spokesman Harry Roque stressed yesterday.

After receiving China and Russia’s backing to withdraw from The Hague-based tribunal, Roque said many other countries might soon heed Mr. Duterte’s call to leave the ICC.
While Russia and the United States are not good models in keeping up with human rights records as far as human rights watchdogs are concerned, South Africa, a country known for championing democracy after centuries of being a European colony, reportedly wants to pull out of the ICC.
“I have read reports that countries like South Africa, although it has relented from its earlier decision to withdraw from the court, will initiate withdrawal proceedings again,” Roque told reporters in a press briefing.
“The President has said that he is enjoining other countries of the world to withdraw from the ICC... So, the Philippines is not alone,” he added.
The Palace official, himself an advocate of the ICC before joining the Duterte administration, said the ICC has no one to blame except itself if it soon falls.
“I think the ICC has to rethink its options because it is at the cross roads,” Roque said.
“We could prove the ICC as being inutile. And the ICC need only blame its prosecutor for violating the principle of complementarity,” he added. 

However, Roque’s prediction that the ICC is bound to disband is said to be far from reality based on the ICC charter’s state-parties membership.
Based on the ICC’s website, it has 123 state-party members. Major countries such as the United States, Russia and China are not parties to the ICC. Neither is India and Indonesia.
President Duterte, whom the political opposition have been feasting on the preliminary examination, which is not even an investigation has been publicizing this with its speil of Dutrete being charged for “crimes against humanity” before the ICC.
The President last week withdrew the Philippines membership in the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC.
Roque also pointed out that Mr. Duterte will never submit any comment if summoned by the ICC to respond to questions now that the complaint against him is under preliminary examination.
“The President has not made any directive in this regard, however when the ICC said that we continue to be bound by a duty to cooperate, I’d like to reiterate that the President’s decision was to immediately withdraw,” Roque said.
“I don’t think the ICC can look forward to cooperation from the Philippines as a state-party or a soon-to-be former state-party to the International Criminal Court,” he added.
Malacañang on Thursday reiterated that the Philippines will not cooperate with the ICC in its ongoing examination.
The ICC earlier this week said the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Rome Statute, which established the international court, would not affect its preliminary examination into crimes allegedly committed in Duterte’s drug war.
Duterte earlier said the Philippines was withdrawing from the ICC due to what he called “outrageous” attacks by United Nations officials and alleged violations of due process by the ICC.

After being housed in an idealistic setting inside the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) for four years, President Duterte warned fresh graduates to beware of threats against them outside the academy.
Talking yesterday at their graduation rites, the Commander-in-Chief warned new members of the police force that their lives are always at risk.
The communist New People’s Army’s assassin squad called  “Sparrow Unit” is always on the run to hunt down state security forces, the President said.
The rebels are accordingly always on the run to snatch guns from cops.
“Be on guard because the Sparrows are very active,” Mr. Duterte said.
“You with guns, be sure not to display them, and be sure to keep a low profile. And if you enter a place that you are unfamiliar with, keep a sub rosa style of movement,” he said.
Mr. Duterte also told them to carefully study the style of assassination and to always have presence of mind.
“I am not condemning you to death, I am just saying, keep a low profile, heighten your sense of awareness,” he said.
Meanwhile, the President stressed his support to the uniformed personnel and assured them that he would take care of them.
“And if there are events that would occur, intended or not intended, for as long as you are in the performance of duty, do not be afraid or add stress on your persona,” he said.
The PNPA provides preparatory education and training for future commissioned officers of the three uniformed services of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
It conducts the Bachelor of Science in Public Safety cadetship program, a four-year residential scholarship.
Cadet Fritz John Napalinga Vallador, who hails from Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, topped the Maragtas Class of 2018.
He received the Presidential Kampilan Award and Chief PNP Kampilan Award. He was also given a house and lot unit in Bacolod City and a pistol.   
The Top 10 cadets joining the Philippine National Police (PNP) each received a 9-millimeter Jericho pistol during the ceremony, presented by PNP chief Director General Roland de la Rosa.  
Of the 106 members of the graduating class, 76 would join the PNP; 17, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and 13, Bureau of Fire Protection.

DoJ chief scraps order clearing alleged narcos

Wednesday, 21 March 2018 00:00 Published in Headlines

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has ordered a fresh probe on suspected drug lords, including self-confessed drug traffickers Kerwin Espinosa and Peter Lim, among others.

Aguirre who was in Malacañang yesterday said in a press conference that amid the misconceptions on how preliminary probes are not final, there is the authority of automatic review by the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Aguirre revealed that he issued on Monday an order “vacating the dismissal” of the drug trafficking raps on those considered by the President as “big fishes” in the drug trafficking trade which was earlier dismissed by a panel from his office which was made public only last week.
Under some rules, Aguirre explained that there exists the possibility of the dismissal of cases.
But he stressed: “I issued an order vacating the dismissal of the case and ordered that the cases be wide open so that there is no dismiss2al anymore,” Aguirre said at a Palace briefing.
“The case is now wide open for the submission of evidence by both parties,” he added.
Also cleared of charges in the  preliminary probe which dismissal was ordered vacated by Aguirre, were convicted drug lord Peter Co, Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Lovely Adam Impal, Ruel Mangalindan and Jaime Jun Pepito, a village councilor in Albuera, Leyte and individuals identified only by their aliases namely Jeremy a.k.a Amang, Ricky, Warren, Tupie, Jojo, Yawa, Lapi, Royroy, Marlon, Bay, John Doe, said to be the alleged delivery man of Co, “Peter Doe” and “Robert Does,” both of whom are also alleged delivery men of Lim.

Aguirre signaled possible release for those detained according to the charges under review.
“Suspects may be released while their cases are under review,” he said.
Co and Espinosa are detained due to different charges other than the one dismissed.
Lim is Mr. Duterte’s co-sponsor at the wedding of Israeli businessman Yuri Ofek and Beatrice Borja, daughter of Fernando “Ding” Borja who is president of Adnama Mining Resources in Cebu in June 2016.
The name “Peter Lim” was cited in self-confessed drug lord Espinosa’s testimony last 2016 during a Senate probe. He said that his meth-supply came from a certain “Peter Lim”.
Espinosa’s father, former Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., was killed in a shooting incident inside his jail cell in Baybay City in November 2016.
The DoJ panel led by then prosecutor now Lucena City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Aristotle Reyes made the decision on the case against Lim, Espinosa and several others back in December 20, 2017.
Aguirre claimed that he was not actually aware that there was such a move by the Reyes-led panel when it first made to the headlines last week.
The DoJ chief denied that the new panel he created to review the charges is not “back to zero,” saying that it will make sure this time that competent evidence will be submitted to secure stronger charges against
Malacañang itself expressed alarm over the apparent scrapping of the case despite Espinosa’s admission during a hearing against alleged syndicate ally former Justice Secretary now detained Senator Leila de Lima at the House of Representatives.
“The prosecution camp still has the chance to strengthen the case by securing the transcript (of the congressional hearing),” Aguirre said.
“[The transcript] will be considered [an evidence] only when submitted to the panel,” he added.
Moreover, Aguirre denied that President Duterte is warning him of getting sacked because of these developments despite reports of a possible Cabinet revamp.
According to the DoJ chief, the Chief Executive told him: “Although there are rules, you should look at the pulse of the people.”
New probe panel formed
Under a DoJ order, Aguirre has also formed a new panel that will look into the resolutions by the National Prosecution Panel that dismissed the drug cases.
He said the prosecution team could have strengthened the drug cases had they corroborated them with more pieces of evidence including transcript of Espinosa’s admission that he is a drug lord in a Senate inquiry.
Aguirre said Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa has admitted that CIDG failed to present strong evidence against the drug lord suspects.
The dismissal of the drug cases has angered Mr. Duterte and created public uproar, prompting Aguirre to form the new panel to review the resolutions.
Aguirre said the dismissal of th cases against the alleged drug lords also created a bad perception due to “ill motives coupled with politics” by some individuals.
The DOJ chief clarified the new prosecutors are not “back to zero,” saying both parties have just been ordered to submit additional pieces of evidence in support of their respective positions.
“The new panel will conduct the continuation of the investigation,” he said.


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