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DOJ joins hunt for personalities behind “real narco list” videos

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has joined the hunt for alias Bikoy and the other personalities behind the “Totoong Narco List” [real narco list] videos.

The said videos implicated Presidential son Paolo Duterte, President Rodrigo Duterte’s common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña, and former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, in illegal drug trade.

DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra had also ordered the department’s fact-finding team to conduct an investigation on the identity of the people behind the series of videos and to file possible criminal cases against them.

Guevarra said, “I have given instructions to the DOJ Office of Cybercrime to coordinate with the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) cybercrime unit and find out the source of these videos.”

The justice secretary further stated that the criminal charges will depend on the acts committed, such as cyber libel or similar offense.

Aside from the DOJ-initiated investigation, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is also conducting a separate probe on the said videos. – Maris Federez

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Sara, Baste Duterte to skip father’s fourth SONA

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

(L-R) Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

MANILA, Philippines – Two of President Rodrigo Duterte’s children will not be attending this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) slated on the afternoon of July 22 (Monday).

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and her brother, Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, in separate press statements, said they will be missing the event at the Batasang Pambansa.

Sara said she is on a 60-day medical leave.

“It’s a gyne (gynecological) condition,” she said in a text message to reporters.

Meanwhile, Baste said he would have to attend the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Davao.

The presidential son added he would just stay in the city and watch the event on television.

“Ako dili ko maka-attend ug SONA kay naa man gud tay session sa Tuesday ana so murag kapoy na pud nga mubalik pa ko ug sayo diri sa buntag so diri na lang ko, tan-aw na lang ko sa TV,” Baste said in a press briefing.

(I won’t be attending the SONA because we will have a session on Tuesday. It would be tiring for me to travel back to Davao early in the morning from Manila. So, I will just stay here, I’ll watch the event on TV.)

On the other hand, their eldest brother, Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte is expected to be present at the ceremony as he will attend the opening of the regular session of the 18th Congress on the morning of July 22.  

Last year, all members of the Duterte family were present during the gathering.

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Duterte wants OFW department up by December

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

One-stop service for Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs in side the POEA biulding in Ortigas.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte wants the establishment of a separate Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) by December this year to address the persistent woes with illegal recruiters and other concerns.

Duterte said the proposed department’s power will include strict regulation of Philippine-based recruitment agencies.

“Kaya apurahin ko ‘yang Department of OFW. Bawal na ang recruitment sa abroad — sa labas. Kung gusto nila, diyan sila maglagay ng mesa. So, under the supervision of government at walang horrendous charges. Hindi ako papayag ng ganun ‘pag natayo ‘yan,” the president said in a speech during the Araw ng Pasasalamat for OFWs ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo last Friday (July 12).

Duterte said he wants the framework for this proposal be completed by the second week of August.

He also warned illegal and abusive recruiters to shape up as they will no longer operate without direct government supervision once the proposed department is created.

“Kaya kayong mga recruitment, bilang talaga ang araw ninyo… ‘Pag hindi ko kayo nadala sa usapan na maganda, brasohan tayo. ‘Pag nag-brasohan tayo, kayo ang matatalo. Sigurado ‘yan,” he said.

In line with this, former special assistant to the president and now Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go filed the Senate Bill 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019.

Go’s proposal seeks the creation of the said department to serve as the umbrella agency to address all concerns of Filipinos working overseas.

The measure will also create an Overseas Filipinos Assistance Fund to provide financial aid to Filipino migrants in distress and provide livelihood loans for OFWs returning to the Philippines for good.

Once approved into law, the department will absorb the functions of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, the International Labor Affairs Bureau and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

Currently, Filipinos wanting to work abroad need to go to different departments to secure necessary documents and present other concerns such as employment and technical education.

The neophyte lawmaker believes the president will certify the measure as urgent to swiftly hurdle the Congress before the year ends.

“I think it’s possible and doable naman po by December. Maybe the president will certify it as urgent. At ang gusto na mangyari ng presidente [ay] maiwasan ang illegal recruitment or maging biktima ng illegal recruitment,” he said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Looming ‘coup’? Paolo Duterte says speakership race far from over

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Davao City 1st Representative Paolo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential son, Davao City 1st Representative Paolo Duterte on Thursday said the fight for the House speakership is far from over despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement of a term-sharing scheme between Congressmen Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco.

In a message to reporters, the younger Duterte said no one has formally won the speakership race yet and an election would still be held on July 22 when the regular session of 18th Congress opens. This is also the day when President Duterte will deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address.

“May election pa sa July 22 at doon ako mas interesado, kung sino ang manalo. Kasi may bali-balita, may isa sa tatlo na balak mag coup d’etat on the day,” Duterte said.

“Mukhang hindi pa tapos ang laban para sa kanilang tatlo at sa mga backers,” he added.

The lawmaker did not name the speaker aspirant who might stage a coup d’etat during the House speakership election.

It was earlier reported that Cayetano will serve as speaker for 15 months, to be succeeded by Velasco for 21 months. Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, another speaker contender, will be the majority leader.

READ: Duterte: Cayetano, Velasco to share term as House Speaker

Romualdez earlier dropped from the race and accepted the president’s suggestion for him to take the job.

READ: Romualdez accepts House Majority Leader job

Aside from Cayetano, Velasco and Romualdez, other solons who have expressed interest in the position are Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab, Bayan Muna party-list Carlos Zarate and Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

Ungab has been nominated by regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, headed by Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Caprio while Zarate is the progressive Makabayan bloc’s bet.   

When asked for comment, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said it is still up to House members to choose their leader.

“In the ultimate analysis, the vote on the speaker would lie on the members of Congress. The only reason why the President gave that suggestion is because those or vying for it went to him and sought his wise suggestion to settle the row between and among them,” Panelo told reporters

He also believes that the president’s influence would remain unscathed even if lawmakers don’t vote for Cayetano as speaker.

“It’s not a reflection of the clout of the President. Because the President didn’t want to interfere in the first place, didn’t want to intrude. It’s them who somehow persuaded him to come in,” he said.

President Duterte earlier said the election of the speaker has resulted in a “bitter and fractious rivalry,” and that he decided to step into the speakership squabble “to save the unity of the alliance and avert its fragmentation.” (with details from Grace Casin and Rosalie Coz)

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