5 suspects in murder of ex-Batangas solon now under police custody

Robie de Guzman   •   January 22, 2020   •   322

MANILA, Philippines – Five suspects in the killing of former Batangas 2nd District Rep. Edgar Mendoza and two others are now under police custody, authorities said Wednesday.

Police Brig. Gen. Joel Coronel, director of Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP CIDG), said one of the apprehended suspects was identified as the mastermind of the crime.

The charred remains of Mendoza and two others, identified as his bodyguard Roel Ruiz and his driver Nicanor Mendoza, were found inside a burnt car in Tiaong town in Quezon Province on January 9.

Mendoza reportedly left his home to meet someone in Calamba, Laguna on the day he died. He was last seen with his driver and aide on January 7 in Lipa, Batangas.

His family reported him missing when he failed to return home.

Coronel said the motive in the grisly murder appears to be connected to financial and legal disputes.

A lawyer by profession, Mendoza handled cases related to real estate and properties after his stint in Congress.

Coronel said the arrested suspects will be face murder charges. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

DILG says cops on ‘narco-list’ who opted to retire early not spared from probe, charges

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said that cops included in the narco-list who opted to file for optional retirement will not be exonerated from criminal charges if they are found to be involved in the illegal drug trade.

Año made the statement Wednesday after some members of the opposition group slammed reports on the move of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to give the 357 cops included in the narco-list the option to retire early to reduce the cases for adjudication.

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier said he is open to optional retirement of police officers accused of having drug links to lessen the government resources that will be used when the adjudication begins.

He, however, asserted that the early retirement won’t clear the cops from allegations and that this is not an easy way out.

He added that any officer who initially availed of the early retirement option will be pursued if proven to be involved in the narcotics trade.

Gamboa recently met with most of the 357 cops and explained to them the process of the two-way adjudication to be initiated based on his request to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The process involves adjudication at the regional and directorial level for one week before the cases go to the national level which will handle the cases for three weeks.

Once all the cases are submitted to the Office of the PNP Chief, it will take three days for him to submit the results of the adjudication for approval.

Año said the 357 cops accused of having drug links should present proof to remove their names from the narco-list.

“Patunayan nilang wala silang kaugnayan sa iligal na droga. Nasa kanila ang burden of proof, iprisinta nila ang mga ebidensya na magpapatunay na wala silang kinalaman at kaugnayan sa iligal na droga,” he said.

The DILG chief said the evidence should be presented to four agencies handling illegal drug reports – the PNP, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“Hanggang hindi nagkakaroon ng pagkakasundo ang apat na ahensyang ito, hangga’t hindi nila sinasabi ng ‘Okay na yan’, magpapatuloy ang imbestigasyon,” he said.

The narco-list is a consolidation of intelligence and other reports from law-enforcement agencies and still needs to be verified and validated. Aside from uniformed personnel, the list also includes local officials and judges as well as other personalities.

Once a complaint is filed, it can be validated within a month, Año said.

He also said that the final clearance will come from the President. 

“Gusto nating maparusahan ang mga may kaugnayan sa iligal na droga” Año said. “I commend PNP Chief Gamboa for having the courage in resolving this issue na matagal ng burden ng PNP. We need to deal with this para makapagtrabaho na nang matino ang ating mga pulis,” he added.

PNP to begin crackdown after receiving list of illegal gambling operators

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 19, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is set to begin crackdown operations after receiving the list of illegal gambling operators.

PGen. Archie Gamboa said the list is now in the hands of the regional directors and the PNP is already in the process of launching police operations.

Gamboa also said that police commanders will be relieved from office if they fail to accomplish their responsibilities.

“In the next few months, heads will roll if you don’t follow my instruction no-take and you’re not doing anything to stop illegal gambling,” he said.

Last week, the PNP Chief already relieved several local police officials for not curbing illegal gambling in their assigned areas.

They include 10 precinct and station commanders as well as chiefs of police in Metro Manila. —AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Espenido to face probe for speaking out on drug list inclusion

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 19, 2020

Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will conduct an investigation on Police Lieutenant Colonel Jovie Espenido for speaking out on his inclusion in the drug watchlist.

PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa said that he will handle the issue internally.

“Leave it to us. It’s purely an internal issue. I will deal with Espenido squarely as the Chief PNP and he being a member of the PNP,” he said.

Gamboa said that the PNP has a general instruction to over 300 policemen included in the narco list to remain mum on the issue especially when the adjudication process is still ongoing.

Espenido, on Tuesday (February 18), denied his involvement in drugs and said that there was a failure in the intel on the drug watchlist.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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