PNP support Duterte’s push for death penalty, mandatory ROTC

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2019   •   1437

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said it would fully support the reimposition of death penalty as pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

PNP chief Police General Oscar Albayalde said imposing capital punishment for drug-related heinous crime and plunder will add more power to the government’s campaign against war, drugs and corruption.

In response to the SONA of President Duterte, the PNP fully supports the legislative agenda of the national government for effective legislation that will add more teeth to the crusade against crime, drugs and corruption, particularly by imposing capital punishment for drug-related heinous crime and plunder, among others,” he told reporters in a press briefing in Camp Crame on Tuesday.

“I firmly believe that the deterrent effect of the certainty of punishment will be a game changer in our continuing campaign against illegal drugs, heinous crime and corruption, particularly against drug traffickers, smugglers and peddlers of illegal drugs,” he added.

However, the PNP chief maintained his position that the country’s justice system should be fixed first.

“Ang importante dito ay we convict those people na talagang we know that they are guilty. ‘Yan ‘yung stand natin,” he stressed.

(What’s important here is we convict those people who are really guilty. That is the PNP’s stand.)

When it comes to the proposed mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program in Grades 11 and 12, Albayalde believes this will embed “very important” values on the Filipino youth.

Albayalde added that the president might be pushing for the mandatory program in Senior High School as he believes Filipinos are now lacking in love of country.

Aside from instilling values, the PNP chief said the mandatory ROTC will also help in the country’s defense in case of war.

“The very important value there is the sense of nationalism, love of country at patriotism sa Pilipino lalo na sa mga kabataan… of course, napakaliit nating bansa, we have to defend our country in case of war,” he said.

(The very important value there is the sense of nationalism, love of country at patriotism in Filipinos, especially in the youth… our country is small, we have to defend our country in case of war.)

Duterte presented the same argument in his SONA on Monday when he asked Congress to pass measures that will improve the country’s defense system.

Albayalde added that having training in terms of defense will be good for everybody. (with details from Lea Ylagan)

Panelo: One-on-one interview with Duterte to push through on Tuesday

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 28, 2020

After its postponement on January 22, the one-on-one interview with President Rodrigo Duterte will push through on Tuesday (January 28), said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday.

The January 22 schedule for the one-on-one interview was postponed due to “pressing family matters”.

“Due to pressing matters, the tête-à-tête Part 2 of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo has been moved to January 28, 2020 at the Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace at 5:00 p.m.,” a previous media advisory read.

This will be the President’s second têtê-a-têtê. The first televised interview was held last September 2018.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PH now working on terminating PH-US VFA, says Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2020

Philippine Marines rush to shore during an amphibious landing exercise with United States counterparts on a beach on the coast of the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales Province, northwest of Manila, Philippines, 09 May 2018. The Philippines-US Balikatan (Shoulder to Shoulder) Military Exercise is on its 34th iteration, which is aimed to enhance interoperability between security forces of the two countries. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang confirmed Friday that the Philippines has started the process of terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to end the deal if it does not reverse the cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s visa.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president issued the termination order Thursday night despite giving a month for the US to restore the senator’s visa.

Panelo said the order has already been relayed to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. as well as Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.

“I just talked with Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin, and he said that he will start with the process and he called up already the vice chair and they talked, and Ambassador Romualdez has already been informed, I was also talking to him earlier,” he said.

In a tweet on Friday, Locsin confirmed he and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana have taken the first step in ending the 1998 deal with the US government.

Locsin sits as the chairperson of the Commission on Visiting Forces while Lorenzana serves as vice chairman.

“Del Lorenzana and I- as Vice and Chair of USVFA – are starting the process of terminating it by first contacting the Senate because it is a treaty on our side, an executive agreement on the US side. I’m leaving for Washington on a totally unrelated matter,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Lorenzana, for his part, refrained from commenting into Duterte’s latest pronouncement.

“Will study it first,” he said in a message to reporters. “No comment muna. Too soon to comment.”

The VFA is a bilateral accord between Washington and Manila that came into force in 1999. It outlines the guidelines about the treatment of their troops when visiting the US or the Philippines. It includes provisions on visa and passport policies for US troops and the American government’s right to retain jurisdiction over its personnel, among others.

The deal may be terminated by either of the two countries by writing to the other party signifying their intent to end the agreement. Its expiration will come 180 days from the date of notification. – RRD (with details from Correspondents Rosalie Coz & Lea Ylagan)

Duterte turns down Trump invite to attend US-ASEAN meet

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he has decided to reject the invitation of United States President Donald Trump to attend the US-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit to be held in Las Vegas this March.

Duterte announced his decision during an interview with Russian International Television Network RT.

“I just received an invitation to go to the United States together with the ASEAN leaders. I haven’t been to the States. I was invited by [former US President Barack] Obama a while back. But I did not go,” he said in a video posted on Thursday.

When asked if he will attend the upcoming summit between the US and ASEAN, Duterte replied with: “No, no.”

During the interview, the president recalled the time when Obama criticized him and his campaign against illegal drugs.

“One time when I was being criticized by Obama in a press conference, he should have realized that I’m also the head of a sovereign state. He should have criticized me in the proper venue,” he said, referring to a September 2016 press conference where Obama urged Duterte to conduct his campaign “the right way.”

The president said Obama’s move to castigate him in a press briefing got him “so mad” and prompted him to curse the former president.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that the chief executive is “still pondering” on whether he would accept Trump’s invitation as he is mindful of the possibility of getting barred from entering the US since he doesn’t have a visa, and making some American senators “unhappy” seeing him there. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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