PNP identifies 11 suspects in Negros cops slay

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2019   •   848

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said it has identified at least 11 suspects in the brutal killing of four police officers in Ayungon town in Negros Oriental.

“Yes, we have identified, kung hindi ako nagkakamali ang report ng RD (regional director) doon at least 11 of them,” PNP chief Police General Oscar Albayalde told reporters in an interview.

Albayalde said murder charges will be filed against the suspects who are believed to members of the New People’s Army (NPA). The chief of Barangay Mabato in Ayungon where the crime took place will also face charges.

“Cases will be filed against this people… whether yung sa amin ay may reward or none, we are duty-bound to go after these people dahil pinatay nila no less than our men,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier offered a P1.3 million bounty for any information and the capture of those behind the crime, adding that he prefers to see them dead.

READ: Duterte offers P1.3-M reward for killers of 4 Negros cops

Albayalde said the reward would encourage witnesses to come forward and report to authorities what really transpired.

Reports said the four police officers were allegedly killed and tortured by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) last Thursday in Ayungon.

The victims were supposed to meet an informant who was believed to have set them up with the NPA for an ambush.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Office 7 said the four cops were “dragged, hogtied,” and “ganged up” by about 30 to 40 men. One officer even suffered a broken rib before they were shot kneeling down, “resembling a summary execution, more than an ambush.”

The slain cops, Cpl. Relebert Beronio and Patrolmen Raffy Callo, Roel Cabellon and Marquino de Leon were intelligence personnel from the 704th Mobile Force Company Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the PNP Central Visayas.

Albayalde said they are delving deeper into the case following initial reports that the chief of Mabato village met with the victims several hours before they were killed on July 18.

The PNP chief also doubts the local chief’s claim that he knows nothing of the communist rebels’ activities in his area of jurisdiction.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier said that police and military troops are now working to capture the alleged NPA members who were behind the crime. (with details from Lea Ylagan & Victor Cosare)

PNP says POGO hubs near police, military camps pose no threat to nat’l security

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Oscar Albayalde on Friday said that Chinese-dominated Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) hubs near police and military installations so far do not pose threat to the country’s security.

Albayalde told reporters in an interview at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City that foreign businesses usually consider setting up office near a police or military camp for security purposes.

“Ang pinaka-common action ng mga ‘yan ay to find a place nearest to a police station o nearest to a police camp for security reason sa kanila din,” he said.

Albayalde made the remark following concerns raised by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana over the growing presence of Chinese-staffed online gaming hubs and the risks its proximity poses to military and police installations.

Some POGO hubs are located near the headquarters of the Philippine Army in Taguig, the Philippine Air force in Pasay and the Philippine Navy in Manila. Other online gaming hubs are located near the headquarters of the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines in Quezon City.

“Kung ikaw ay negosyante, kung ikaw ay merong pwesto or facility na malapit doon sa police station o sa kampo you are already safe,” he said.

Malacañang earlier said it sees nothing wrong with the location of POGO hubs if this means foreign workers’ rights will be better protected.

“Military camps? Eh di lalong magaling kung military camps dahil binabantayan sila ng military for their protection,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

However, the PNP chief earlier pointed out that too many POGO hubs near police and military offices might be detrimental to the national security. (RRD with details from correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Duterte to insist arbitral ruling to China: ‘Whether you like it or not’

Marje Pelayo   •   August 22, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte, Pag-asa Island and Chinese President Xi Jinping

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he will raise the arbitral ruling that favors the Philippines in the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea when he visits China next week.

Duterte is scheduled to fly to China for a working visit from August 28 to September 3.

He will meet Chinese president Xi Jinping and talk about the Hague ruling, the code of conduct, as well as the proposed joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

“So whether you like it or not, would it make you happy or not, angry or otherwise. Sorry, but we have to talk the arbitral ruling, then what we get, if there is a start of the exploration and extraction of whatever there is in the bowels of the earth,” the President said during the inauguration of the 7.5 megawatt peak solar power project in the municipality of Odiongan, Tablas Island in Romblon on Wednesday (August 21).

“The proposal of 60-40 in our favor, would be a good start. I hope it would graduate to something like towards how do we solve the arbitral ruling peacefully,” he added.

The event was the President’s first public engagement after being out of the public eye for more than a week. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to decide on banning online gambling in PH amid China’s call – Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   August 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Wednesday (August 21) said it is up to President Rodrigo Duterte to decide on the operations of online gambling in the country.

“We have to ask the President on this policy or issue,” Panelo told reporters.

“Hindi natin alam kung may possibility or wala. We have to ask the President,” he added.

On Tuesday (August 20), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has called on the Philippine government to ban all forms of online gambling.

“We have also taken note of the Philippine government’s announcement and appreciate it,” he said in a press conference in Beijing.

“We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling,” he added.

Defense officials expressed concern over proximity of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) near military camps arguing the possibility of Chinese workers becoming spies for Beijing.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), meanwhile, has already stopped accepting applications for POGO licenses in the country unless underlying issues are settled.

But Panelo noted that online gambling remains legal under Philippine law.

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