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

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020   •   444

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.

DILG tells LGUs to digitize transactions amid COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday urged local government units (LGUs) to move towards digitized transactions to reduce contact and impede further transmission of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the country continues to fight the pandemic.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año called on LGUs to fast-track the issuance of permits and clearances in setting up crucial infrastructure needed for digital connectivity across the country including the construction of cell sites to improve internet connectivity.

“The millions working from home, the students looking forward to on-line learning, and the workers who depend on the digital economy are all expecting government to address the gaps in our internet infrastructure,” Año said.

“We therefore encourage all LGUs to beef up their digital platforms in their communities as we move towards the new normal,” he added.

He also said that going digital is the “call of the time,” but more than technological advancement, digitized government and consumer transactions are precautionary measures that can contribute immensely to impeding virus transmission.

In the same statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that digital platforms can be an important partner of LGUs in ensuring the health and safety of the public while promoting economic growth. 

“You have to strike a balance. We must begin the economic recovery even as we fight COVID,” he said.

Malaya also noted that LGUs have a key role in bolstering the digital platform, not just in government services but also in building business and consumer confidence during these trying times.

He likewise said that LGUs must encourage businesses to veer towards online money transfer instead of physical payment as part of the new normal.

“Many businesses have now been engaging the financial services provided by major payment gateways such as Smart Padala, Gcash, PayMaya, Google, and Click2Pay that have drastically changed our experience in making online payments – from the conventional “pasaload” to a more sophisticated process of online payment,” he said.

Malaya also said that cashless payments have also helped in the fast distribution of the second batch of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) subsidy.

The government likewise advocates the use of online payment for taxes and mandatory social contributions, such as GSIS, BIR, SSS, PagIBIG, and PhilHealth, he added.

“Despite some security issues that the government assures can be countered, online payment is also seen to reduce red tape and cost of doing business as all government agencies, through the Ease of Doing Business Act, are mandated to automate their processes including payment of taxes, fees, and charges,” he said.

50 Chinese nationals arrested for illegal POGO operations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 7, 2020

Fifty Chinese nationals were arrested by the Makati City Police on Monday (July 6) for working in an illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) firm.

The Makati City Police conducted an operation in Barangay Pio del Pilar after receiving complaints from residents about an illegal gambling operation.

NCRPO director Police MGen. Debold Sinas said various electronic devices including laptop computers, cellphones, and wifi routers were seized in the operation.

The arrested Chinese nationals will face various charges, such as violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, violation of RA 10176, and violation of article 515 in relation to RA 11332, as well as the city’s general community quarantine guidelines. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Two cops arrested for extorting money from tricycle drivers in Bulacan

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 7, 2020

The Philippine National Police-Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (PNP-IMEG) on Monday (July 6) arrested two policemen for extorting money from tricycle drivers in Bulacan.

PNP-IMEG Spokesperson PCapt. Mae Ann Cunanan said the agency has been receiving numerous reports since 2019 against two policemen and two civilians extorting from motorists.

Based on reports, the cops would demand payment from motorists in exchange for redeeming their licenses instead of only issuing a citation ticket.

“Kapag hinuhuli nila iyong mga traffic violators, mga tricycle drivers ay hindi nila ini-issue ang ticket. Instead, kinukuha nila iyong pera kapalit nito iyong pagtanggal na sa kanilang violation, (When they apprehend traffic violators and tricycle drivers, they will not issue a ticket. They would take money instead in exchange for removing the violation),” she said.

Cunanan identified the two policemen as PSMgt. Vic Godwin and Pat. Jay Mark Tuazon who are assigned in Malolos City Police Community Precinct 5. The two civilians who served as their middlemen were identified as Wendell Mendoza and Kenneth Villena.

The suspects will be charged with robbery extortion while the two policemen will have additional administrative cases and grave misconduct. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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