Albayalde, Panelo say hazing should be considered a heinous crime

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2019   •   684

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde on Monday said that hazing should be considered a heinous crime and should never be tolerated.

Albayalde made the statement following the death of fourth-class cadet Darwin Dormitorio at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) due to hazing last Sept. 18.

“Hazing is a heinous crime,” Albayalde told reporters in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

The PNP chief added that hazing is a planned activity usually conducted as a rite of passage to a certain group.

“Hazing is basically plain and simple murder,” he said.

Albayalde also admitted during the press briefing that he himself was subjected to hazing when he was also a PMA cadet. Albayalde is a member of the PMA Sinagtala Class of 1986.

However, the PNP chief stressed that hazing should never be tolerated and is punishable under the Republic Act No. 11053 or the Anti-Hazing law.

“Hazing was never tolerated especially now that we have hazing laws,” he said.

Albayalde’s remarks follow the statement of Cagayan de Oro District Representative Rufus Rodriguez that there is a possibility that hazing will be included in the list of heinous crimes to prevent further incidents.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo agreed with the proposal, saying this will stop the culture of hazing.

“I’m suggesting that there must be a law that will make the heads like the PMA accountable criminally, tigil yan, alam mo pag ginawa mong criminally subject sila sa prosecution, I don’t think magkakaroon pa ng hazing kahit sa mga fraternity,” he said.

The issue of hazing in some organizations had been put under spotlight again following the death of Dormitorio.

Authorities have identified three suspects in the crime, two were considered persons of interest while nine others were named witnesses.

The Philippine Military Police and the PNP-Baguio have assured to file appropriate charges against the suspects when their investigation is concluded. – RRD (with details from Correspondent April Cenedoza)

Tau Gamma Phi – Albay suspends recruitment after hazing death in Sorsogon

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2020

ALBAY, Philippines — The Tau Gamma Phi fraternity through its governor-general Erwin Bola on Tuesday (February 18) issued an order to suspend all recruitment activities including final initiation rites following the death of a neophyte in Bulan, Sorsogon.

The victim has been identified as 23-year-old Omer Despabiladeras, a criminology student from Solis Institute of Technology who died during the initiation of the group’s Bulan chapter on February 16.

“In connection with this alarming incident, I am mandating all concerned brothers and sisters to stop all forms of initiation/final rites of Tau Gamma Phi under Albay Provincial Council effective today, February 18, 2020,” Bola said.

An investigation is underway to determine who are responsible for the death of Despabiladeras.

Duterte can scrap PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement without Senate approval – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte can terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States (US) even without the concurrence of the Senate, Malacañang said on Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after the president threatened to scrap the VFA if the US government does not reverse the cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s visa.

“Because it (VFA) is an executive agreement so he can cancel it without the approval of the Senate,” Panelo said.

Dela Rosa on Wednesday confirmed to media that he is not allowed to travel to the US for now after he received notification about his visa cancellation.

The senator said the exact reason on why his US visa was cancelled remains unclear but he heard reports it might be linked to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs that he spearheaded when he was the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) from 2016 to 2018.

The VFA, signed by Manila and Washington in 1998, is a bilateral deal which outlines the guidelines for the conduct of government troops when they are visiting the US or the Philippines.

Panelo said the US government should not intervene with the Philippines’ internal issues.

The Palace official also believes the president’s threat to cancel the VFA will not affect Filipino workers in the US. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Palace hopes new round of pay hike motivates state workers

Robie de Guzman   •   January 9, 2020

A Filipino elementary student holds on to a teacher during the first day of classes for the new school year at the Corazon C. Aquino Elementary School in Quezon City, Philippines 04 June 2018. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday expressed hope that government workers would work harder following the signing of the Salary Standardization Law of 2019.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure granting wage increase for government employees, in four tranches, effective Fiscal Year 2020 to 2023.

In photos released by Malacañang, Duterte was shown signing the Republic Act 11466 on Wednesday, January 8 at the Palace. A copy of the signed law has yet to be made public.

Panelo said the new compensation scheme is competitive with those of the private sector to attract or maintain talented human resources.  

“The Palace hopes that this latest round of salary adjustment will motivate everyone in the public sector to work doubly hard and put more dedicated and competent service in their respective jobs,” he said.

Under the new law, basic salaries of government employees will increase by a weighted average of 23.24 percent by 2023.

The largest increases range from 20 to 30 percent for workers under Salary grades 10 to 15, while an eight percent raise will be given to those under Salary Grades 23 to 33.

The program will cover around 1.4 million state workers, including public school teachers and nurses.

“This recently enacted measure will rationalize the compensation of all civilian personnel, including those in the Legislative and Judicial Branches of the Government, as well as of Local Government Units under certain conditions, for the purpose of creating an atmosphere which would further promote excellence in the service,” Panelo said.

He added that the measure provides for a performance-based incentive scheme to reward outstanding public servants.

“The Office of the President notes that the law is at the initiative – and has the strong support – of PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) pursuant to his desire to upgrade the standard of living of government employees,” he said.

“The law is aimed at benefitting those hardworking men and women in the government, including our teachers and nurses who unfortunately have been neglected in the past,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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