Duterte vows to hold accountable operatives who ‘acted beyond bounds’ in drug war

Marje Pelayo   •   September 22, 2021   •   536

President Rodrigo Duterte in his speech on Tuesday (September 21) at the 76th United Nations General Assembly has vowed to hold accountable anyone who went beyond bounds in his administration’s drug war.

He stressed that his administration “has a mandate and an obligation” to his people and all criminals will be dealt “with the full force” of the Philippine law.

“Those found to have acted beyond bounds during operations shall be made accountable before our laws,” he said.

Duterte said the Philippine government has finalized with the UN a joint program on human rights, a model for constructive engagement between a sovereign member state such as the Philippines and an international body.

“Meaningful change, to be enduring, must come from within. The imposition of one’s will over another – no matter how noble the intent – has never worked in the past. And it never will in the future,” he said, implying his rejection of the probe set by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The chief executive admitted that achieving such a goal “has not been without challenges.”

Thus, he informed the UN that he had instructed the country’s Justice Department and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to review the conduct of his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Duterte names new chiefs for AFP Western, Northern Luzon commands

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has designated new chiefs for the Northern Luzon and Western Commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a statement, the Palace said Duterte has approved the appointment of Rear Admiral Alberto Carlos, the current commander of the Philippine Navy, as the new chief of the AFP Western Command.

He will replace Rear Admiral Roberto Enriquez starting January 24.

Duterte also appointed Major General Ernesto Torres Jr., the current commander of the Philippine Army 10th Infantry Division, as the new chief of the AFP Northern Luzon Command.

He will replace Lieutenant General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. effective January 7.

“We wish both officers all the best in their new tours of duty, and we are confident that they will continue to perform their mandate to serve our people and to secure our nation with professionalism, integrity, and dedicated service,” the Palace said.

In a separate statement, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana welcomed the appointment of the new officers to the two commands of the AFP “tasked with protecting the country’s northern and western frontiers.”

Lorenzana also confirmed the assumption of Major General Nestor Herico as the new commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps effective February 21. He will replace retiring Major General Ariel Caculitan.

“As these gentlemen assume their new roles in the organization, I am confident that they will rise to the occasion and effectively lead our troops in securing our nation and our people,” the DND chief said.

P1.1 million worth of shabu seized in Taguig City

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — Around P1.1 million worth of illegal drugs were confiscated in a series of operations in Taguig City, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Thursday.

In a statement, the PNP said police operatives conducted four successive operations, led by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) on Tuesday, January 11.

Initial report revealed that a tricycle driver identified as Halil Abo, 26, was arrested after two heat-sealed plastic sachets of shabu worth P173,400.00 were found in his possession.

An hour after, elements of the NCR Drug Enforcement Unit conducted a separate buy-bust operation leading to the confiscation of P515,440 worth of illegal drug and the arrests of drug suspects, Wynlove Buco, 38, and Eusebio Bahia Jr.,43.

Taguig City police also arrested 44-year old Raffy Lumenda, who was found with illegal drugs with a street value of P345,440.00.

Two individuals, identified as Alvin Co, 36, and Jessie Christopher Cruz, 38, were also nabbed for illegal drugs along MLQ St., Purok 5, Brgy. Lower Bicutan, Taguig City in another anti-illegal drugs operation conducted on the same day. Confiscated items were packs of suspected shabu worth P76,160.00.

PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos lauded police officers involved in the operation.

“Successive operations in a day—this is a feat. I thank the dedication of the police units involved. This huge amount of illegal drugs must be reflective of the network of narcotic operations that may be behind these cases,” he said.

“The next step is to identify the big fish,” he added.

Defense chief on martial law rumors amid rising COVID-19 cases: Fake news

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) chief Delfin Lorenzana has denied rumors circulating on social media that the government will declare martial law or a total lockdown to address the rapidly growing new COVID-19 cases.

In a statement, Lorenzana said there is no compelling reason for President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law.

“Not true. Fake news. Definitely out of the picture. There is no compelling reason to declare martial law,” he said.

Rumors that Duterte will impose a total lockdown, barring everyone from going out of their homes to address the coronavirus surge have circulated on social media at the start of the week.

This week, the Philippines saw a rapid increase in the number of new infections, with 17,220 additional cases recorded on Thursday.

The sharp increase in the country’s COVID cases is believed to be caused by the local transmission of Omicron and Delta variants.

But Lorenzana pointed out that the latest tally is lower than the over 26,000 recorded in 2021.

He added that while highly transmissible, the Omicron variant is seen to be less aggressive than the Delta variant.

“The highest we had was 26,000+ last year. Today we have 17,220. This variant while more transmissible is less virulent than delta. Less people get seriously sick,” he said.

Due to rising cases, Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, and 14 other areas in the country have been placed under COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

President Rodrigo Duterte have also directed local officials to restrict the movement of unvaccinated persons in a bid to protect them from contracting the virus.

Lorenzana, who also chairs the National Task Force against COVID-19, said the Inter-Agency Task Force is still evaluating on the possibility of implementing stricter measures to combat the COVID-19 surge. (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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