AFP dismayed over the release of nine cops involved in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 12, 2021   •   588

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines has expressed dismay after the Philippine National Police released the nine cops involved in the shooting of four army men in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said that AFP Chief General Gilbert Gapay lamented the decision to release the involved cops and the lack of arrest warrants despite the charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“It is only unfortunate that despite the DOJ’s filing online of a multiple murder case before the Regional Trial Court in Jolo last 04 January 2021, no Warrants of Arrest have been issued by the court,” he said.

The nine cops are facing multiple murder charges in the Regional Trial Court in Jolo after the DOJ found probable cause for an indictment.

On Monday (January 11), PNP Chief Police General Debold Sinas announced that they have turned over the nine cops to the lawyers and their relatives since the national police no longer have the authority to detain them. Sinas also announced that the nine cops had been dismissed from police service.

Na-release na kasi walang warrant of arrest na binigay samin. We have coordinated with the DOJ at saka sa lahat hanggang ngayon wala po. So, ayaw po namin na ma charge kami ng arbitrary detention at tsaka pinirmahan ko pong dismissal ay implementable na po iyon. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers (They have been released because there is no warrant of arrest. We have coordinated with the DOJ and until now, now warrant was issued. So we don’t want to be charged with arbitrary detention and I already signed the dismissal, it is already implementable. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers), Sinas said. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Police seize unregistered COVID-19 test kits, nab 2 suspects in Navotas

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Boxes containing unauthorized COVID-19 test kits were seized in an entrapment operation in Navotas City, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Wednesday.

In a statement, PNP chief General Debold Sinas said police operatives recovered Tuesday 154 boxes each containing 50 pieces of Clungene rapid test kits worth P1,016,000, and marked money amounting to P436,000.

The PNP said the operation conducted at Barangay San Rafael stemmed from information shared by the Food and Drug Administration.

The operation also yielded the arrest of 40-year old Chinese trader Liset Lo Kaw and 23-year old Christian Casanova who marketed the unregistered test kits online.

Sinas said the arrested suspects are leaders of Christian CG, a criminal group engaged in online selling.

“We remind the public to be vigilant and to immediately report any suspicious online transactions. We cannot discount the risks associated with unauthorized medical products that could possibly endanger public health,” the PNP chief said.

“Also, we encourage those who are engaged in food or health product businesses to get pertinent legal documents from the FDA to avoid conflict with the law,” he added.

The PNP said the suspects were brought to Quezon City District Field Unit office for documentation and booking process.

They will face charges for violation of the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009 in relation to FDA Circular No. 2020-016 or the prohibition of Online selling of FDA Certified COVID-19 Antibody Test Kit.

Filipino, 2 Nigerians nabbed in Las Piñas for online fraud – PNP

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino and two Nigerian nationals were arrested for alleged online fraud and swindling, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Wednesday.

The PNP identified the suspects as Evans Amara Okeke, Chidiebere Junior Ezema, and Judy Ann Japitana.

The suspects were nabbed by PNP’s anti-cybercrime units at their residence in Las Piñas on Tuesday following a complaint from a 64-year old female victim.

The victim said she sent money several times amounting to P3.23 million through money transfer for a certain Evans Amara Okeke. It was not immediately clear why the victim was giving money to the Nigerian.

PNP chief General Debold Sinas said the victim met Okeke, who introduced himself to her as “Engineer Michael Gerald,” via online. The two exchanged messages until they got into a relationship.

The suspect told the victim that he is planning to go to the Philippines for a shopping mall construction project in San Fernando, La Union but she later found out that Okeke was a fraud and reported him to authorities.

The PNP said the suspects are under the custody of the Cyber Financial Crime Unit at the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group Custodial Facility in Camp Crame for documentation and filing of appropriate charges.

“Our cybercops are going after perpetrators of online fraud and scams and will arrest cybercriminals who are involved in online illegal activities that may cause harm, confusion, and panic among our people,” Sinas said.

PDEA chief to resign if personnel in ‘misencounter’ indeed sold drugs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Wilkins Villanueva has offered his resignation if the evidence will prove that PDEA and Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives involved in the ‘misencounter’ were selling drugs.

Based on several reports, the operation conducted last February 24 in Commonwealth involving the Quezon City Police District-Special Operations Unit and PDEA was a sell-bust.

Villanueva also challenged anyone holding evidence to prove that the PNP and PDEA were selling drugs during the ‘misencounter’.

Huwag na tayo magsalita ng walang ebidensya kasi hearsay lang iyon. Magsalita ka kung may nakikita kang ebidensya na andiyan, CCTV ang patunay. Maghanap, magpalabas sila ng CCTV na nagbentahan ang PDEA at ang pulis magre-resign ako right now (Let us not talk without evidence because those will be hearsays. Talk if you have evidence, the CCTV is available for proof. Show a CCTV footage showing the police and PDEA were selling and buying drugs then I will resign right now), he said.

PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas said the involved PDEA agents and police were returned to their respective units. He also refused to further comment on the issue and said to wait for the result of the NBI’s investigation.

Ang mga personnel namin iyong mga personnel namin will be doing administrative duties at mag-report sila sa opisina pending the result of the NBI investigation (Our personnel will be doing administrative duties and they will report in the office while the result of the NBI investigation is pending),” Sinas said

“We are very confident the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) is capable, has the ability to find out the truth,” he added.

The NBI now has custody of the evidence earlier gathered by the PNP. -AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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