Some senators divided over Albayalde’s fate in drug recycling mess

Marje Pelayo   •   October 2, 2019   •   729

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate is divided about the fate of PNP Chief Police Director Oscar Albayalde amid the controversial drug recycling issue.

Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Senator Richard Gordon said he is not contented with Albayalde’s explanation during Tuesday’s Senate inquiry on the matter.

The senator said the PNP chief should consider quitting his current position even ahead of his retirement in November.

“Kapag hindi niya naipaliwanag iyan, (If he fails to explain it,) he should consider resigning,” Gordon said.

Gordon said they already have prior meetings with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Chief (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino including Senator Franklin Drilon prior to the inquiry.

Gordon said Aquino mentioned Albayalde’s alleged meddling in the dismissal of 13 Pampanga policemen or the so-called ninja cops who were under then former Central Luzon Chief Albayalde.

“Nasa harapan ko si Senator Drilon noong sinabi niya yan, na tinawagan siya ni Albayalde para hindi na niya pirmahan ang report,” Gordon said of the conversation which Drilon confirmed.

(Senator Drilon was in front of me when he [Aquino] mentioned that Albayalde called him to stop him from signing the report.)

“Nakiusap na huwag munang i-implement (He [Albayalde] asked [Aquino] not to implement the order) is something in substance that I remember to the narration of General Aquino of his conversation on the telephone with General Albayalde,” the senator said.

Drilon also noticed a change in Aquino’s manner of speaking during the Senate inquiry as compared to how he spoke during their meeting.

But for Senate President Vicente Sotto III, there is nothing to be concerned about Albayalde as PNP chief.

“In the course of his incumbency, wala namang ganoong isyu, (there is no issue like that,)” Sotto said.

“Wala naman tayong masamang tinapay na nakita kay (We have nothing against) Director General Albyalde,” he added.

Albayalde maintains that he did not influence the case involving the said ninja cops though he admitted that he simply asked about the progress of the investigation from Aquino as requested by the families of the 13 cops. – MNP (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

Gordon lauds Locsin for filing diplomatic protest vs China’s new law

Robie de Guzman   •   January 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A senator on Thursday commended Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for filing a diplomatic protest against a new law passed by China that allows its coast guard to shoot foreign vessels in the contested areas in South China Sea.

“I commend Secretary Locsin for taking a very important and valiant action by standing up for our rights. He did right by our country, and we support him wholeheartedly,” Senator Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Senate Committee on justice and human rights, said in a statement.

Locsin on Wednesday said he has filed a diplomatic protest against China for its new law, which he called a “verbal threat of war” to any country that defies it.

China’s legislative body last week passed the law that allows its coast guard to undertake all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.

“When another country claims the oceans surrounding us, which we claim, even threatens to demolish our fishing boats or fishing boats of any country that get to that ocean or that sea, this is a serious cause for concern. This is a shot in the bow of all the claimants in the territories,” Gordon said.

Other senators have also expressed concern over the measure that could endanger the lives of Filipino fishermen who venture in the disputed parts of the West Philippine Sea.

The law is expected to stoke tensions anew in the waters where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes the Philippines and 3 other South China Sea claimants, are currently negotiating for a more binding code of conduct in the contested waters. 

Gordon files bill to expand country’s pool of vaccinators

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2021

Manila, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon has filed a bill seeking to expand the country’s pool of vaccinators for the immunization program of the government.

Gordon, in a statement, said Senate Bill No. 1987 will allow training for other members in the medical field, as well as, non-medical practitioners.

“Since we have a limited number of doctors, nurses, and midwives that will aid in the COVID-19 vaccination program, we filed a bill that expands the pool of vaccinators of the DOH by training other professionals such as dentists, veterinarians, medical technologists, and even those without a medical background to be vaccinators,” he said.

Section 1 of Senate Bill No. 1987 states that non-medical practitioners that will be part of the training will be allowed provided that they will be given the appropriate training, certification and authority by the Department of Health (DOH), and that they will perform their duties under the supervision of a duly registered physician and for a limited period only contingent upon the existence of the national health emergency for which it is called.

Non-medical practitioners will be given appropriate training, certification, and authority by the Department of Health (DOH).

The filed bill also states that the trained individuals will perform their duties under the supervision of a duly registered physician and for a limited period only, subject to the existence of a national health emergency.

“If we expand the manpower for the vaccination program, the government’s target of inoculating 50 to 70 million Filipinos to be able to achieve herd immunity or population immunity can be attained,” Gordon added.

According to the DOH, only 617,239 health care workers from both public and private health institutions will be able to help in administering the COVID-19 vaccines. -AAC

Police arrest rebel leader wanted for murder

Maris Federez   •   January 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (PNP-CIDG) operatives have captured another ranking rebel leader, Allan Morales, who is wanted by the court to stand trial for murder.

In an advisory, the PNP Public Information Office said that the operation was under the instruction of PNP chief, PGen. Debold M Sinas to “intensify the implementation of court processes against CPP-NPA-NDF personalities wanted by the law for criminal cases.”

The move was also in support to Executive Order No. 70 creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

The PNP said Morales, who uses the aliases Joseph Erwin Rimando, Alvin Advincula, Budlat and Dante Morales, was arrested by a composite police-military team led by CIDG, NCRPO and JTF-NCR in Saphire Street, Brgy. Payatas B, Quezon City at 12:00 noon on Wednesday (January 6).

The arresting team served a Warrant of Arrest issued by Tagbilaran City RTC Branch 4 presiding judge Sisinio C. Virtudazo for the crime of murder.

Based on the reports by CIDG Director, PMGen. Joel Napoleon Coronel, authorities have confiscated from Morales the following:

  • eight barrel assemblies for M4 assault rifle;
  • one fragmentation hand grenade;
  • one KG9 9mm submachine gun with one magazine and 22 pieces of 9mm ammunition; and
  • one caliber .45 pistol with on magazine assembly loaded with seven rounds of cal.45.

Morales is the Deputy Secretary of the Regional Committee of the Negros-Cebu-Bohol-Siquijor (NCBS) Regional Committee of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

He is formerly the Secretary of Regional Peasant Sugar Workers Bureau (RPSWB) of Negros, a former Secretary of Regional Committee for Central Visayas, and a former Secretary of the National Youth Student Bureau.

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