Posts Tagged ‘Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto’

Philippines: Senate majority signs resolution hitting police drug killings — Is Kian’s casket “Pandora’s Box” for Duterte and Dela Rosa?

August 20, 2017
The grandmother of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Violeta, cries beside his casket yesterday in Caloocan City. Relatives and concerned neighbors of the teenager slain by police are calling for justice. MICHAEL VARCAS

MANILA, Philippines – Senators from the majority bloc signed last night a resolution condemning “the recent spate of abuses” by the police, including the killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, and moved to conduct an investigation into the incident that sparked outrage nationwide.

Following a three-hour closed-door caucus in Makati, 12 senators, including Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, signed the still unnumbered resolution that is expected to be passed in plenary tomorrow.

The document said the Senate will look into the accountability of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the campaign against illegal drugs “that may have resulted in unnecessary and unjustified deaths and/or killings.”

Apart from Pimentel, among those who signed the resolution were Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, and Senators Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sonny Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

State Sponsored Executions?

Lacson earlie said the Senate investigation into the surge of drug-related police killings would try to find out whether the summary executions were state-sponsored.

Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, issued the statement after over 80 people were killed in different areas of Metro Manila and Bulacan in the past five days reportedly as a consequence of the PNP’s “one-time, big time” anti-drug campaign.

“Why was there another (killing), what we may rightly or wrongly describe as a killing spree? Was there an order? Is there a pattern when the President warns (those involved in illegal drugs) and gives orders to the PNP?” Lacson said over dzBB.

While the Senate committee on justice last year found no evidence of state-sponsored extrajudicial killings, Lacson said the next legislative inquiry could review the panel’s report.

Lacson’s committee is likely to lead the investigation. Several lawmakers, including Senators Sonny Angara and Nancy Binay, pressed for a probe into the drug-related killings, including that of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos by policemen in Caloocan City last week.

Lacson said he heard that some police units were feeling the pressure to rack up “scores” in the anti-drug campaign or they might be sanctioned.

He said President Duterte’s repeated assurance that he will pardon police officers convicted of killing drug pushers may have also prompted some of the summary executions.

Lacson said the committee would be objective and careful in its probe, as the implications of state-sponsored summary executions were a serious issue.

“We will draw the battle lines. The Senate as an institution, if it finds that these are state-sponsored, will we still support the President? That’s why we’ll be thorough and the evidence must be foolproof. Anyway this is still all hypothetical,” he added.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a critic of Duterte, welcomed the inquiry but lamented that some senators as well as supporters of the President were “playing blind.”

“If they were not state-sponsored, why have thousands been killed all over the country since Duterte took over?” Trillanes asked.

He said several whistleblowers earlier testified in the Senate that it was the President’s modus operandi to make it appear the victims fought back when he was still mayor of Davao City.

Sense of the Senate

Pimentel, who called for the caucus last night, said the chamber might pass tomorrow a resolution expressing the “sense of the Senate” on the killings.

He told reporters yesterday that the resolution was “95 percent done.”

On the other hand, Vice President Leni Robredo called for an independent probe into the killing of Delos Santos by the Caloocan City police.

Robredo said an independent investigation must be conducted on the incident, as the barangay security video and accounts from neighbors seemingly contradict the claims of the police.

“What we want is to have an independent investigation to give Kian’s parents closure on what really happened to their son,” she said.

In a separate statement, Robredo’s legal adviser Barry Gutierrez said the Vice President wants an “impartial, non-political body” to conduct the inquiry on Delos Santos’ killing.

“While the Senate is of course free to exercise its mandate to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation anytime, there are advantages to an investigation conducted outside of the glare of the Senate spotlight,” he said.

Lacson and several senators, however, said nothing may come out from an independent body investigating the drug killings.

“Who’s going to appoint the members of the independent commission? The President. The suggestion is sound but the timing is off,” Lacson said.

Trillanes also believed that forming an independent commission was not going to lead to the truth.

“The President will form and fund the independent commission that will issue subpoenas, so he won’t do that because the investigation might lead to his insides,” he said.

Trillanes said the only independent body that could conduct such a probe would be the Senate.

Trillanes,however, reiterated that Sen. Richard Gordon should not lead the inquiry.

Pimentel earlier said there was no clamor in the majority bloc to remove Gordon as chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee.

Congressmen, for their part, wanted to go after the policemen involved in the killing of Delos Santos and other summary killings.

“We should punish those responsible for what happened to Kian and all the other alleged summary killings if there are, and the victims of accidental shooting or abuse, “ Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said.

Nograles said it would be unfair to slash the proposed 2018 budget of the Philippine National Police only because there are few rotten eggs in the institution.

“The worst thing that can happen is of course, more of illegal drugs. But that’s not to say we do not give justice to the victims of police abuses,” he said.

Brotherly advice

Lacson, former PNP chief, advised policemen to be more circumspect while pursuing President Duterte’s flagship campaign against illegal drugs.

“They must be discerning. They should not think of their careers under this administration. They should also think of securing the future of their families beyond this administration,” Lacson said.

“They will answer for their misdeeds – if any – committed today in the future,” he said.

“Your career is only until you retire, but your character goes beyond your retirement. It’s there even after death, so that’s more important.”

He said the PNP leadership should not be reckless nor succumb to pressure of producing results in the war on drugs, or be overeager in the campaign.

“It should not be like just anyone will be picked up, killed and planted with a gun or a sachet of shabu, and you say it’s done, we’ve done our job,” Lacson said.

During the 14 months President Duterte has been in power, police have confirmed killing more than 3,500 people – insisting the suspects had resisted arrest or “nanlaban” in police jargon.

More than 2,000 other people have been killed in drug-related crimes and thousands more murdered in unexplained circumstances, according to police that they classified as “deaths under investigation.”

The numbers saw a sudden increase this week, with Duterte praising the police officers that shot dead 32 people in Bulacan as he urged for more.

Following Duterte’s call, at least 44 people were killed in various cities, including Delos Santos whose death sparked a national furor.

The Department of Education (DeEd) condemned the killing of Delos Santos, a Grade 11 pupil of Our Lady of Lourdes School in Valenzuela City.

“The Department denounces all forms of violence against our students, teachers and personnel,” DepEd said.

In a statement, the DepEd said they support the call for an impartial investigation into the killing of Delos Santos by the Caloocan Police.

“We also support President Duterte’s directive to uphold the rule of law, and to put to jail those who will be found responsible for the student’s death,” it said.

On the other hand, a group of overseas Filipino workers has joined the growing call for an immediate stop to the anti-drug war.

Migrante International also expressed support to the family of Delos Santos in their quest for justice. The victim was the son of a Filipino worker in Kuwait.

“The killings must stop. Heads must roll. Kian’s life is blood on Duterte’s hands. All those who committed, operated and tolerated the spate of killings are complicit and should be held accountable by the Filipino people,” Migrante said. – With Helen Flores, Delon Porcalla, Mayen Jaymalin, Rainier Allan Ronda


Do Philippine Police Have a “Blank Check” From Congress To Kill People? — Who decides “suspicion of being a drug personality”? — “Senate will act on the deaths of minors in the war on drugs” in the future

August 20, 2017
PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa answers questions from senators during a Senate hearing on drug killings in August 2016. GEREMY PINTOLO, file

MANILA, Philippines — Congress should use budget hearings to have the Philippine National Police explain how it will use a proposed P900-million budget for Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded, the campaign against illegal drugs, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Sunday.

In a statement Sunday, Recto said that Congress needs to find out how the program will be implemented. “It should not write a blank check,” Recto, a member of the Senate majority bloc, said.
“PNP will also get a P20-billion increase in its budget next year, to P131.5 billion, from P111.8 billion this year. Para saan ba ang budget na ito? Ano ang mga targets na kakamtin?” he also said.
He said both the Senate and the House of Representatives should look into whether the budget is enough to curb crime like shootings by motorcycle gunmen, and whether the money should be spent on crime deterrence instead.
“Hindi ba mas mainam ang triple patrols kesa dun sa double barrel?” he said.
The statement comes after public outrage over the death of 17-year-old Kian Lloyd delos Santos, who was shot by police in Caloocan City last Wednesday on suspicion of being a drug personality. Police said he resisted arrest but video of the incident belied police reports.

KIAN IS MY SON. Saldy delos Santos holds up his son's school ID, their only proper photo of Kian. Photo by Eloisa Lopez/Rappler

KIAN IS MY SON. Saldy delos Santos holds up his son’s school ID, their only proper photo of Kian. Photo by Eloisa Lopez/Rappler

Some supporters of the war on drugs insist that the shooting was justified and that he should not been out on the streets at night.
His death was just one of scores in so-called “One Time, Big Time” operations by the police last week.
“I expect that the review of the events on that fateful night in Caloocan which led to the death of a young man will be pursued in many fronts,” Recto said.
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A man cries after seeing the body of his relative, an alleged drug dealer killed during a police anti-drug operation, in Manila on August 17, 2017. — AFP

“Kian’s life was ended so dastardly that it has united the nation in anger and grief. This national pain can only be salved by the truth,” the senator said.
Recto said the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service should also justify its budget.
“The IAS is the tripwire of abuses and the whistleblower of bad deeds. Is it doing its job?” he said.

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A Filipino relative weeps near the body of a man who was killed following a police operation against illegal drug in Kaloocan City, north of Manila, Philippines, August 18.//EPA

The IAS decided in favor of Superintendent Marvin Marcos and other police officers charged with homicide over the death of Rolando Espinosa, mayor of Albuera town in Leyte. Espinosa died in government custody as police were implementing a search warrant in his cell at the Baybay jail in November 2016.
“We leave the matter to the Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service to explain its decision,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in July when Marcos and 18 other police officers were reinstated.
Sen. Grace Poe, also a member of the Senate majority, also called for accountability over Kian’s death.
“Tama rin ang naging statements ng ating mga kasama sa Senado, kailangang malaman talaga natin ang tunay na nangyari bagamat may CCTV,” she said.
“Dapat maparusahan ang mga abusado dito. Nakikita naman natin, maraming nang-aabuso talaga sa programa na ito para pigilin ang paglaganap ng droga. Yung mga wala namang—yung mga inosente, maprotektahan,” she said.
The two senators’ statements are just the latest, with Sen. Nancy Binay — also from the majority bloc — saying Saturday that the Senate will act on the deaths of minors in the war on drugs.
“To the rogue cops, you will have your day in the Senate investigations, you will all be made accountable for murder,” she said.
Binay said that while she supports the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, “we need to stop the trade of illegal drugs at the source.” Both chambers of Congress have been holding hearings on P6.4-billion worth of shabu that slipped through Customs but was later seized at a Valenzuela City warehouse.
Nicanor Faeldon, Customs commissioner, has admitted that corruption still exists at the bureau.
“I also call on the leadership of the PNP to not turn a blind eye to these deaths; and investigate and arrest those responsible for the killings,” Sen. Binay said.
Members of the Senate minority bloc have also called on the Senate to come up with a common stand on the killings.
“We cannot tolerate the alarming police impunity in the country. We need to investigate these killings of alleged drug suspects including a Grade 11 student in police operations,” Sen. Franklin Drilon, minority leader, said.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, who once led the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, has yet to issue a statement as of this post.

Seventeen-year-old student Kian Loyd delos Santos could have been a policeman, but the policemen who killed him made this dream impossible.

On Wednesday night, August 16, Kian was shot to death in what the police described as a shooting encounter in a dark alley near his house.

CCTV footage and witnesses, however, revealed that he was dragged from one alley to another, past a basketball court, and into a dead-end corner where he was asked to run with a gun – and when he did, was shot.

Kian died wearing a blue shirt and printed boxer shorts – his pantulog or sleepwear, his father said. His dead body was found in fetal position with a gun in his left hand. His father said in media interviews that this detail, alone, could attest to his son’s innocence, since the teenager was not left-handed.

Read the rest:


Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal

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Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer


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Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.


Image result for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

 (December 23, 2016)


 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file

President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippines: Doctor Shortage — Why Not Pay Tuitions With Government Funds To Get More Doctors? (Editorial)

March 20, 2017

Philippines: Doctor Shortage — Why Not Pay Tuitions With Government Funds To Get More Doctors? (Editorial)

Taxpayers spend P2.5 million over four years to produce a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy. Why not make the same investment in producing surgeons and other physicians?

The proposal was made by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, who noted that the Department of Health already has an existing scholarship program for aspiring doctors. All that’s needed is to expand the program while at the same time making compensation and benefits more attractive for physicians working for the DOH.

Unless remuneration is improved, the nation may see its shortage of doctors worsen, especially in rural areas. Recto noted that of the 946 available slots in the government’s Doctor to the Barrios program from 2015 to 2016, only 320 were filled. The program is meant to provide at least one doctor in each low-income municipality, but there were few takers. Those 626 unfilled slots meant that millions were deprived of the services of a doctor in their communities.

The medical profession can pay handsomely – but only after many years of grueling studies and substantial financial investment in schooling and specialized training. The cost of medical textbooks alone can be beyond the reach of a low-income household.

Parents who have invested their life savings to send their child to medical school would naturally be reluctant to let the new doctor volunteer for a rural assignment that pays P56,000 a month, especially in conflict zones. The medical community is still waiting for justice for a Doctor to the Barrio volunteer, Dreyfuss Perlas, who was shot dead by still unknown assailants last March 1 while serving in Lanao del Norte.

If the government shoulders the schooling expenses of deserving medical scholars, the nation may be assured of a steady supply of physicians, even if the beneficiaries leave the DOH after a mandatory four-year service. The government may then have at least one doctor for every municipality, with the scholars encouraged to serve in their hometowns.

Health experts estimate that the country currently faces a shortage of 60,000 doctors. This means six out of every 10 Filipinos die without seeing a doctor. This need not be the case. The government is recruiting more police and military personnel. Why not boost resources to produce and recruit more doctors?