Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 01 August 2017

DOJ subpoenas Peter Lim, 7 other suspected drug lords

Photo: President Duterte and Cebuano businessman Peter Lim pose during a wedding in Lapu-Lapu City. FACTS AGAINST IGNORANCE FACEBOOK ACCOUNT


Cebu businessman Peter Lim and seven others have been ordered by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appear in a preliminary investigation into a drug trafficking case.

DOJ records showed that Lim was directed to attend the preliminary hearing on Aug. 14 to be handled by Assistant State Prosecutors Aristotle Reyes and John Michael Humarang.

Also summoned were suspected drug kingpin Kerwin Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co, Lovely Adam Impal, Jun Pepito, Rupel Malindangan, Max Miro and Marcelo Adorco.

They have been charged with violating Section 26(b) in relation to Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2000.

The offenses pertain to the “sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals.”

The complaint filed by Supt. Richard Verceles of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group has prompted Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to issue an immigration lookout bulletin order against Lim et al.

It was the first criminal case against Lim, a wealthy Chinese-Filipino businessman based in Cebu City, more than a year after President Duterte named him as one of the country’s biggest drug lords.

Mr. Duterte has threatened to kill him along with other senior government officials believed to be involved in the narcotics trade.



Lawyer: Vice mayor urged convict to testify vs De Lima


They say love moves mountains.

That was what moved Herbert Colanggo to testify against Sen. Leila de Lima, now detained on drug charges.

Colanggo, a convicted bank robber sentenced to life imprisonment, allegedly operated a drug distribution syndicate from New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

A recording artist who aspired to follow the foot prints of Michael Jackson, Colanggo is the acknowledged lover of Vice Mayor Nova Echaves, 36, whose father, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., 60, was killed in a police raid on Sunday in which 14 others were also killed.

According to congressional testimony, Colanggo had held concerts at NBP, which he turned on such occasions into a “Little Las Vegas.”

Mayor Parojinog had been accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of being a drug lord.

Second thoughts

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday following the inquest of Echaves and her brother, Reynaldo Jr., lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said Colanggo was having second thoughts about testifying against De Lima, accused of receiving protection bribes from convicts running a multibillion-peso drug distribution system from NBP while she was the justice secretary.

“He was of course thinking of the repercussions in testifying against Senator De Lima. He was also thinking he might incriminate himself,” Topacio said.

The lawyer quoted Echaves as telling him: “Tell them. Tell them the truth. Why should you be afraid? Tell them who Senator De Lima is. The world needs to know who Senator De Lima is.”

Asked what made Colanggo go by Echaves’ wish, Topacio said: “He loves Nova… They say love can move mountains.”

Duterte last year revealed the vice mayor’s relationship with Colanggo.

Topacio said Colanggo and 18 other drug convicts, who were transferred to the detention center in Camp Aguinaldo from NBP, were standing by their testimony against De Lima.

“I personally spoke with them last week… None of them is planning to recant,” Topacio said.



PCSO touts STL expansion; lawmaker doubts government benefit

PCSO chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz and general manager Alexander Balutan during Wednesday’s budget briefing. Photo: Vince F. Nonato.

Although the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has touted the five-fold expansion of small-town lottery operations under the Duterte administration as an antidote to illegal gambling, a lawmaker on Wednesday questioned if the government is indeed getting its rightful share.

PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge Corpuz told lawmakers that 92 STL operators have been accredited from the previous figure of 18.

“It is converting illegal to legal, so the government will benefit. We know there are illegal activities on the ground. We encourage them to be legal,” Corpuz said, adding that PCSO wanted to turn gambling lords into “gaming lords.”

Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque commended the “increased efficiency” that led to the projected 183-percent increase of STL proceeds to P18.32 billion in 2017, from P6.46 billion last year.

However, Roque said this is also a “cause for alarm” because “we’re probably getting only the tip of the iceberg.”

“We know too that it’s an instrument of jueteng lords to enrich themselves,” he said, adding there’s “no way to ensure the amounts” since STL operations are practically outsourced to the employees of accredited agents.

“We conduct the lottery and allow them to accept the bets. They would determine how much they declare they made,” Roque noted.

Similary, appropriations committee chair Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles asked if STL operations would only become “fronts” of the illegal gambling lords.

Corpuz acknowledged the concern but appealed for lawmakers to “look at the bigger picture” since “we just opened the market.” He stressed the goal of turning gambling lords into “allies of the government.”

“The ones we’ll allow to enter, we’ll help play [the game]. After we control the game, that’s the time we will impose all the restrictions you want,” he said.

Roque pitched that the STL system should be computerized too to centralize operations in the hands of actual PCSO employees, unlike the current setup of letting accredited agents and their personnel who handle the bets because of the agency’s lack of manpower.

However, General Manager Alexander Balutan, emphasized the job-generating aspect of the charity gaming industry.

The PCSO is one of the government’s major revenue-generating agencies, having been mandated to contribute funds for the purposes of at least 13 Republic Acts.

PCSO’s total retail receipts are projected to increase by 31 percent in 2017 to P51.88 billion, from the P39.56 billion actual income realized in 2016. Lotto continues to account for bulk of the said income, although it is projected to decreased by 1 percent to P28.59 billion, from P28.77 billion in 2016.

Besides lotto and STL, the other games under PCSO are Keno (to earn P4.95 billion, 15 percent up from 2016’s P4.32 billion) and sweepstakes (to earn P17.5 million, 40 percent higher than last year’s P12.5 million).

However, PCSO asked lawmakers to consider reviewing the various laws for mandatory contributions for possible repeal or amendment. This would free up more funds for health-related and charitable purposes. JE



Aquinos: Where are our friends?


Ballsy Aquino-Cruz on Cory Aquino’s 8th death anniversary. Inquirer/Lyn Rillon



On the 8th death anniversary of democracy icon former President Corazon Aquino, her children mused about how it must be difficult for their friends and supporters to be seen with them these days.

As she thanked them for joining the Aquinos in a Mass at the family mausoleum at Manila Memorial Park on Tuesday, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz quipped that it was not an “in” thing to be friends with the Aquinos nowadays.

This was met by chuckles from the crowd that was smaller compared to when Cory and Ninoy Aquino’s only son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, was President for six years.

The former President, who stepped down from office in June last year, now faces charges of usurpation of authority and graft for allowing his then PNP Director General Alan Purisima, although serving a suspension at that time, to participate in the counterterrorism operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

While the Mamasapano operation neutralized Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, it also left 44 police commandos dead.

Cruz thanked those who supported her mother and brother during their terms as president, saying there were many of them when the Aquinos were still in power.

But there was still a good number of people who showed up at the cemetery, mostly clad in the opposition signature color yellow and singing the opposition battlecry song “Bayan Ko.”

Kris, the youngest Aquino sibling, kept a low profile, choosing to stay at the back with her son, James Jr., throughout the Mass. Elder son Josh, who also wore a yellow shirt, stood beside his uncle Noynoy.

Former Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III at the tomb of his parents, former Pres. Corazon C. Aquino and Sen. Ninoy Aquino, on the 8th death anniversary of his mother. Inquirer/Rillon

After their eldest sister spoke, the former president answered questions from reporters without hesitation.

Like his sister, Aquino said that their family was “touched to see the people who came to be with us today, especially those who were with us when Daddy was killed,” referring to the 1983 assassination of Ninoy.

“That time, many people were tense to be seen with us,” the former President said, adding that they seem to be living again in those times.

Asked if the foundation of the country’s democracy, restored through the bloodless 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, remained strong, Aquino replied that anything that is not being taken care of would eventually crumble.

“It is our obligation to defend our rights that we fought for. If we don’t give importance to these rights, we might wake up one day to find them gone,” Aquino said.

Also present in the gathering were Aquino siblings Viel and Pinky, their cousin Sen. Bam Aquino, former Aquino Cabinet members Armin Luistro and Voltaire Gazmin and Cory spokesperson Deedee Siytangco. — With a report from Dexter Cabalza; editors: JE/ atm/ac



With drug war questioned, Palace showers Aquino with figures

Former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III answers questions during an interview at his residence in Times Street in Quezon City on Monday, July 17, 2017.

Malacañang on Wednesday hit back at former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for saying it seemed like nothing happened in the drug war of the Duterte administration.
Aquino told reporters on Tuesday that during his term in 2015, statistics showed that there were 1.8 million drug users in the Philippines. At the end of 2016, the number of drug users in the country remained at 1.8 million.
“Parang wala yatang nangyari (It seems like nothing happened),” Aquino said.

But Malacañang refuted Aquino’s claims.
“Comments like the above from past leaders imply a jaded cynicism borne of a history of political opportunism,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Abella said “the results of (President Rodrigo Duterte’s) anti-illegal drug campaign speak for themselves.”
He said Duterte’s war on drugs resulted in the unprecedented voluntary surrender of more than 1.3 million drug personalities.
He cited that 96,703 drug personalities have been arrested in the first year of the Dutertes administration’s war on drugs compared to 77,810 drug personalities arrested in the six years of the Aquino administration.
He added that 2,445.80 kilos of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) have been seized in the first year of the present administration’s anti-drug campaign compared to the 3,219.07 kilos of shabu seized in the six years of the previous administration.
“Much ground has been gained in the campaign against hard drug traffickers and violators, but the mission is to end the demand, production, distribution and sale of illegal drugs,” he said. IDL


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