Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Rape, plunder, treason to be removed from death penalty bill

MANILA – The House majority bloc decided to further water down the death penalty bill by removing rape, plunder, and treason to get more votes for the controversial measure.
This was revealed by House justice committee chairperson Reynaldo Umali following a majority caucus on Monday, February 27. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez attended the meeting as well.
"We agreed that [the] bill will be limited to drug-related heinous crimes…. So tanggal na 'yung treason, 'yung plunder, 'yung rape (So we will be removing treason, plunder, and rape)," said Umali.
With the latest decision, House Bill (HB) 4727 is expected to be further amended to just include the following drug-related crimes:
· Importation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals
· Sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution, and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals
· Maintenance of a drug den, dive, or resort
· Manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals
· Cultivation or culture of plants classified as dangerous drugs or are sources thereof
· Unlawful prescription of dangerous drugs
· Criminal liability of a public officer or employee for misappropriation, misapplication, or failure to account for the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment including the proceeds or properties obtained from the unlawful act committed
· Criminal liability for planting evidence concerning illegal drugs
The Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Representative explained that the majority bloc realized it can garner more votes for the measure if the bill will just retain the drug offenses.
"Kasi meron kaninang mga issues na ni-raise na meron ding effect on the economy, 'yung sa trade natin (Because they raised issues that it will have effects on the economy, trade) and so on and so forth, but that is not I guess the real reason. It is more of 'yung getting the consensus of the group... It became easier when we limited it to just one [type of] crime," said Umali.
"Sa rape, lumabas 'yun sa top 3 nung nagkaroon kami ng


PH resumes war on drugs

MANILA – Less than a month after he suspended his controversial war on drugs, President Rodrigo Duterte announced during a press conference in Malacanang on Tuesday, Feb. 28, that he was resuming the all-out war that had claimed more than 7,000 lives.

The president had suspended the nationwide police action last month after the killing of Korean executive Jee Ick Joo by anti-drug operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) inside Camp Crame.

Duterte told PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa – whom he had ordered to conduct a cleansing of the police -- to form task forces at all stations for anti-drug operations.

He said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will still lead the anti-drug operations.

“I asked Bato to recruit young men in the PNP who are imbued with the fervor of patriotism to be the members only of the task forces. Every station should have one. Pero iyong piling-pili. Iyong mga walang kaso at walang history ng korapsyon,” President Duterte said, following Monday’s joint command conference of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and PNP in the palace.

“I have to do it because kulang ako ng tao. And I am also fighting again with the NPAs and I have this problem in Mindanao about terrorism and drugs. So kailangan ko ng tao. I have to call back the police again to do the job most of the time sa drugs. Hindi lahat,” he said.

More than 7,000 suspected drug pushers and users have been killed since Mr. Duterte assumed the presidency seven months ago, resulting in criticism from church groups, as well as international and local human rights organizations.

The resumption of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs coincides with a return to hostilities with the


The way Californians are charged for energy is changing

San Francisco, CA — A statewide process to change the way Californians are charged for their energy will take another step towards completion on March 1. The goals of the changes are to help ensure the price customers pay for energy is more closely aligned with the cost of providing them with safe, reliable and clean energy service, to simplify rate structures and to encourage energy conservation.

The process to modernize and simplify California’s electric rate system aims to balance rate tiers and eventually moving to a time-of-use rate structure. These changes were developed jointly between PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and supported by many consumer interest groups.

What is happening
The March 1 changes will simplify the structure for Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) rate plans:
Reducing the number of tiers from three to two tiers, to simplify the rate structure.
The introduction of a High Usage Surcharge to encourage energy conservation.

In addition to the structural changes, electric transmission rates will increase on March 1, with residential customers seeing a 2.1 percent increase in this portion of their bills. Even with these increases, PG&E customers’ bills are still below the national average, based upon the most recently available data.

Why is it happening
The current electric rate structure was established during the 2001 energy crisis. It’s outdated, complex and confusing for customers.

For years, in order to encourage energy conservation and efficiency, the costs of PG&E’s service to maintain the energy grid and ensure reliable electricity service were disproportionately placed upon customers who found themselves in the higher tiers – most often impacting those who live in hotter climates.

While conservation and efficiency programs have been and continue to be very successful, the electric rate structure resulted in an imbalance between how customers in the lower and higher tiers pay for what it costs to provide them with service.

How changes impact customers, support a cleaner California
The March 1 changes may help those who find themselves in higher tiers due to the need to cool their homes during hotter months. After the changes are implemented, customers who need to use more energy may see lower bills, while customers who typically able to use less energy may see higher bills.

“Since 2010, KernTax has advocated for these types of structural rate changes. We are pleased to see meaningful progress towards a more fair and equitable electric rate system. KernTax will continue to work with PG&E, the CPUC and others to make sure that the goals to more closely align the costs we all pay for energy is reflective on what it costs to deliver that service to customers, regardless of climate zone, are reached,” said Michael Turnipseed, executive director of the Kern County Taxpayers Association, one of the consumer groups that supported these changes.

These changes are designed to support California’s ambitious clean energy goals to combat climate change. Customers who use more than four times the baseline amount of electricity will receive a High Usage Surcharge. The baseline amount of electricity for each customer depends on their location, the season and their home heating system. Less than 10 percent of residential customers will likely incur the High Usage Surcharge. The surcharge:
Only applies to customers on PG&E’s tiered electric rate plans.
Is intended to encourage energy conservation among customers whose electricity use is significantly higher than typical households.

“We understand that any change to the way our customers are accustomed to being charged for energy may cause some questions. We want all of our customers to know that we’re here to help them understand these changes and manage their energy costs. We offer new rate options as well as free programs and tools to help customers take control of their energy use and make smart choices,” said Deborah Affonsa, vice president, Customer Service, PG&E.

Ways to take control of energy use
The most powerful tool customers have at their disposal to


Duterte admits he knows Lascañas

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, February 27, admitted knowing retired policeman Arturo “Arthur” Lascañas, the whistle-blower who is linking him to killings in Davao City when he was mayor.
“As a policeman, yes. I saw him once, twice a year,” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang when asked if he knew Lascañas.
The veteran Davao cop has signed an affidavit on February 19, 2017, that said Duterte had personal knowledge of the killings in the city as mayor for over 2 decades. It was the opposite of his Senate testimony in October last year, where he denied the existence of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) and the alleged participation of Duterte in it.
Saying he feared for his life then, Lasañas said at a press conference last week that he was willing to testify on all the killings that the President had ordered him to do.
In his affidavit which was sent to the media by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday, Lascañas said Duterte did the following to the DDS:
· clear specific operations
· give specific orders and instructions
· meet with Lascañas and some members of the group in his Central Park residence
· gave assurances of protection to policemen who were part of the DDS
· look for a hitman to kill broadcaster Jun Pala
· give out millions of pesos as reward
Duterte told reporters he never denied that hundreds of criminals died in Davao. “Sa 23 years ko, eh talagang naubos,” he said. (In my 23 years as mayor, they all died.)
The President said that when he was mayor, it was his style to give soldiers and policemen money during command conferences, to help them in their operations against criminals. Policemen needed money for their buy-bust operations, and some would pocket the money for their own use, he lamented. “Magtanong ka [sa] lahat ng army, lahat ng pulis na dumaan ng Davao. I give money every command conference, tapos operating [expenses]. Ngayong kung meron silang buy-bust maghingi ng pera iyan pambili, kasi kung wala kang pera, walang transaction sa shabu. Iyong iba binulsa tapos sinabi binibigyan.”
It's not clear yet whether Lascañas would be given the chance to testify again before the Senate.
Majority of the senators last week decided to reopen the DDS probe given Lascañas' new affidavit.
But a revamp happened at the Senate on Monday, removing senators who favored a Lascañas testimony from key leadership positions. The impact of the reorganization on the scheduled DDS investigation this week is not immediately clear. –

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