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Ted Tuvera

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.

There was no scheduled transport strike yesterday but Malacañang suspended classes in Metro Manila due to it.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement of President Duterte’s decision to close schools at around 10 a.m. wherein classes were already regularly held but it was actually decreed as early as 3 a.m.
The Palace official said the suspension of classes was made “in view of actual and/or imminent threats posed by some groups.”
At a press conference, Roque said the “imminent threat” being referred to is the possibility that students would not make it to school because of jeepney shortages due to a transport strike initiated by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston).
Asked what the particular “imminent threat” is, former University of the Philippines (UP) Professor Roque replied: “If students cannot ride on anything, they have to walk. That’s the threat.”
Malacañang also suspended the classes last Monday in Metro Manila despite its perception the Piston-led strike was “unsuccessful.”
Piston national president George San Mateo, in a text message, said the Palace’s decision is based on “fake news.”
San Mateo added the suspension of classes could be the administration’s scheme to divert the public’s anger with the transport sector and perhaps an attempt to lower the discourse of their opposition to the government’s modernization program which will phase out traditional jeepneys ought to affect the livelihood of small-time drivers and operators.
“The fake news of Malacañang aims to create confusion among the people. And to fan hatred against our drivers,” San Mateo said.
“There is no (strike on Tuesday). Harry Roque spread that through his announcement that the government will suspend classes until Friday. So Roque’s announcement is fake news,” he added.
Roque on Monday warned that the Palace might order a week-long suspension of classes in the National Capital Region if Piston pushes through its nationwide strike.
Piston has not announced any transport strike aside from their March 19 mobilization.

Rody vows stronger Armed Forces

Monday, 19 March 2018 00:00 Published in Nation

A stronger military force.

This is what President Duterte promised as his would-be legacy when his term ends before members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Alab-tala class of 2018 yesterday.
The Commander in Chief was at the PMA in Baguio City for the annual commencement exercises.
As if breaking tradition, Duterte gave individual chats to the 282 PMA graduates contrary to predecessors who merely shook hands and gave passing through congratulatory remarks.
Duterte said the military will never be demoralized under his watch, promising them all the support they’d be needing ahead of national security challenges.
“At no other time except maybe one president that we have addressed the problem of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) profoundly,” the President said.
“I would want that before I get out of the presidency, I would have left behind a strong Armed Forces and (Philippine National Police) simply because these troubles now that we are facing will not disappear within the next four to seven to 10 years,” Duterte added.
Under the Duterte administration, state security forces faced challenges such as the proliferation of illegal drugs, the emergence of Islamic State (IS)-inspired bandits in Muslim Mindanao and the continuous armed insurgency of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
The President also outlined his key promises for men and women in uniform: hikes for their pays and the AFP’s modernization program.
“With the approval of Joint Resolution No. 1, the increase in base pay of military and uniformed personnel has been authorized which will also result to an increase in bonuses and allowances,” Mr. Duterte said.
“The administration is also working to implement the Second Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program wherein priority projects are currently in several stages of completion to ensure that our men and women in uniform are provided the benefits and armed with the equipment to perform their duties effectively,” he added.
Meanwhile, the commander in chief encouraged new officials of the AFP to retain the idealism that cradled them in the academy now that they are ought to be deployed in various fronts.
“You have been equipped with the knowledge and skills to excel but how far can you go will depend greatly on your discipline, determination and faith,” Duterte said.
“Remember always the three words that have been ingrained deeply in your hearts—courage, integrity and loyalty. Embody these words and use them to guide your actions throughout your careers,” he added.
Duterte reminded the new PMA graduates that life in the field, outside the academy is no “bed of roses.”
“Your courage and bravery have been tested numerous times but despite all of these trials, you have emerged victorious and ready to take on bigger challenges ahead,” he said.
“As you leave the halls of PMA and enter your chosen branches of service, you will be faced with realities that are far more complex than what you have been prepared for.
“Mistakes will always be inevitable but have confidence in knowing that the rules of the academy have honed you for the responsibilities that await you as you assume leadership roles in the Armed Forces,” the President emphasized.


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