Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Suspect in mother, daughter slay in Cavite surrenders

According to initial police reports, Ruel Cabatingan presented himself to the Eastern Samar Provincial Police at around 7:30 a.m. on December 28. The STAR/Manny Tupas
MANILA, Philippines — The suspect in the slay of a mother and her daughter in Cavite surrendered to authorities on Thursday.

According to initial police reports, Ruel Cabatingan presented himself to the Eastern Samar Provincial Police at around 7:30 a.m. on December 28.

The police identified Cabatingan as a 36-year-old overseas Filipino worker residing in Imus, Cavite.

Cabatingan confessed to the murder of Ruby Gamos and her seven-year-old daughter Shaniah Nicole Gamos.

The mother and daughter were found dead in their home in General Trias, Cavite on December 11.

According to police reports, Ruby suffered head injuries while the child bore strangulation marks. However, there were no signs of forced entry into their residence.

It was also found that the family's car, television, gadgets and jewelry were missing.

Ruby's husband, Marlon, arrived in the country on December 12 and sought the government's help to receive justice for the death of his wife and daughter.

Marlon is working as a seaman.

He asked his relatives to check on his wife and daughter after he failed to communicate with them since he last talked to his family on Thursday, December 7. — with report from Manny

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Central Luzon LGUs identify more firecracker zones

Bureau of Fire Protection personnel inspect a fireworks store in Barangay Turo, Bocaue, Bulacan yesterday. Boy Santos
MANILA, Philippines — More firecracker zones have been identified in Central Luzon as the New Year celebration approaches.

Chief Superintendent Amador Corpus, Central Luzon police director, said 303 areas were added to the list of firecracker zones in Pampanga, bringing the total number to 331, while seven were added to 194 earlier identified in Bulacan.

Paombong town in Bulacan has yet to designate any fireworks display area.

At least 92 fireworks zones were also identified in Nueva Ecija.

The number of fireworks display areas in Aurora remains at 23; Bataan, 68; Tarlac, 27; Zambales, 163, and Angeles, Pampanga, 14.

Corpus said most firecracker zones are in basketball courts, vacant lots, along the seashore and public markets.

“We appeal to the public to refrain from using illegal firecrackers to avoid any injuries. Instead of firecrackers, we should all welcome the New Year with other forms of merriment,” he said.

Catalino Cuy, Department of the Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge, reminded local government units to issue permits indicating the date, time and specific areas where fireworks displays can be held.

Cuy said governors, mayors, the Philippine National Police and Bureau of Fire Protection should also remind the public to ensure compliance with the ban on powerful firecrackers.

Cops to be deployed

In Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Chief Superintendent MaO Aplasca, regional police director, bared plans to deploy over 1,000 police personnel at firecracker zones across the region.

Aplasca directed police commanders to coordinate with local officials in identifying community fireworks display areas.

“I am appealing to the public for support and cooperation to achieve our goal of zero injury due to firecrackers and indiscriminate firing,” Aplasca said.

Superintendent Chitadel Gaoiran, Calabarzon police spokesperson, said local government units have yet to designate firecracker zones in the region. – With Ed Amoroso

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PDEA chief surprised over Mark Anthony Fernandez’s release

In this October 2016 file photo, police question actor Mark Anthony Fernandez after they confiscated a kilo of dried marijuana leaves found in his car. PSN/Gary Bernardo
MANILA, Philippines — The head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency was not expecting the release of detained actor Mark Anthony Fernandez, who is facing charges for possession of marijuana.

In a statement published by the Philippine News Agency, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said he was "personally surprised" by Fernandez's acquittal. He said Fernandez was apprehended during his time as regional director of the Philippine National Police Region 3 branch.

Despite his reaction to the actor's release, Aquino, whose agency leads the government’s brutal war on drugs, said he would still respect the rule of law and the course of action of the PNP against Fernandez.

Fernandez, 37, was detained at the Angeles City Jail in San Fernando, Pampanga in October last year and was freed on December 22. This was also confirmed by his former girlfriend, actress Claudine Barretto, on social media.

Judge Ireneo Pangilinan Jr. of the Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 58 said that the actor was released due to procedural breaches committed by Angeles cops in handling the evidence against Fernandez.

Fernandez was arrested by the police for possession of 1 kilo marijuana at a checkpoint in Barangay Virgen delos Remedios in Angeles City, Pampanga in October 2016. The dried leaves were estimated to cost P15,000 in street prices.

He was deemed in violation of the Republic Act of 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Acts of 2002.

The actor denied owning the dried marijuana leaves found in his car, claiming that it was planted by the police. He was, however, tested positive for marijuana use.

Fernandez admitted that he had been smoking marijuana since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.— Rosette Adel

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Solons question 'inordinately' long extension of martial law

Opposition lawmakers, in a fresh petition filed before the Supreme Court, ask: "How can a mere extension be inordinately longer than the original proclamation sought to be extended?" AP/Bullit Marquez, file
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition lawmakers have before the Supreme Court the "inordinate" length of the extension of President Rodrigo Duterte's martial law in Mindanao as unconstitutional.

The extension is 876.67 percent longer than the original martial law period, Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay) of the House's "Magnificent Seven" opposition bloc said. "This is inordinately long," Lagman, whose labor leader brother Hermon disappeared during Ferdinand Marcos' martial law in 1977, said.

"How can a mere extension be inordinately longer than the original proclamation sought to be extended?" they added.

On Wednesday, the opposition solons asked the SC to declare Duterte's year-long martial law extension in Mindanao "null and unconstitutional." They also asked the high court to issue a halt order on the extension that also suspends the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao for another year.

The suspension of the writ allows warrantless arrests.

The writ itself is an order for authorities to present an arrested person before the court and to explain the circumstances of detention. It is meant to protect citizens from unlawful arrests and indefinite detentions.

On May 23, Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao after the Islamic City of Marawi was stormed by heavily-armed extremists who pledged allegiance to ISIS.

In July, Congress overwhelmingly voted to prolong military rule in Mindanao until yearend after the proclamation reached its 60-day constitutional limit. They said it was to give Duterte more time to stabilize the strife-torn region where ISIS was gaining influence.

The president declared the liberation of Marawi in October, after five months of battle. But on December 11, Duterte asked Congress to extend military rule in the southern region for another year.

'Constitution does not allow re-extension'

The lawmakers, in their plea before the SC, stressed that the 1987 Constitution, crafted after the martial law rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, contains safeguards against abuse of power.

"Unlike in the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions when the respective durations of the martial law and the suspension of the writ were limitless, the 1987 Constitution mandates that the period of martial law and suspension of the writ shall not exceed 60 days," the lawmakers pointed out.

"It stands to reason that any authorized extension must be similarly limited in duration," the petition read. They added that the language of the Constitution held that an extension may only be allowed "in the same manner" of duration of the first declaration that is 60 days.

Lagman, in brief debates at the joint session of Congress on December 13, raised the same argument. He told his colleagues: "Reading the Constitution, I submit, that there is no justification for a series of extensions. This would be against the intent of Constitution for a limited duration of martial law and its extension."

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who sat among the resource speakers for the session, replied that "there is no basis for the legal argument that any extension should be the same as 60 days."

Guevarra added that Duterte's first extension was not challenged before the Supreme Court.

It took less than half a day for the two houses, voting 240-27, to swiftly approve Duterte's request for another extension on December 13.

But the lawmakers, in their fresh petition, pointed out: "A strict construction of the power of the Congress to extend martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus upon the initiative of the President requires that an extended period cannot be anymore extended."

"Otherwise, the intention and mandate of the Constitution limiting the period of martial law and the suspension of the writ and the extension thereof would be breached," the petition further read.

Others who signed as petitioners were Reps. Tomasito Villarin (Akbayan Citizens' Action party-list), Edgar Erice (Caloocan City, 2nd District), Teddy Baguilat Jr. (Ifugao), Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) and Emmanuel Billones (Capiz, 1st District).

The Constitution require the SC to issue a decision on any petition on martial law within 60 days from filing.

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