KABATI, KAGALIT | EU is VP Leni’s friend but President Rody’s foe

President Rodrigo Duterte and VP Leni Robredo are seen in file photo at the closing ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting at the PICC. (Photo from Pool/Russell Palma)
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s two highest leaders don’t just belong to warring political parties. They, too, are on the opposite sides of the fence when it comes to issues concerning the European Union.

Successively, Vice Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte issued statements about the EU — one valuing the Philippines’ friendship with the union, the other assailing its alleged lack of respect for the country’s sovereignty.

Robredo on Tuesday, Oct. 17, during the EU-Philippines Business Summit held in Parañaque City, said the union’s friendship with the Philippines was important because “(it) goes beyond economics, trade, and aid.”

“We are grateful for your support and guidance in many aspects of our lives,” the Vice President said, adding that she was hoping that human rights, which is “currently a contentious issue” in the Philippines “will not extensively strain relations between my country and the European Union.”

EU’s deep concern over HR situation in PH

The EU earlier expressed its deep concern over the human rights situation in the Philippines in relation to the the killings under Duterte’s pet war on drugs campaign.

At the 36th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last month, the EU stressed “the importance of carrying out the fight against illegal drugs in full compliance with due process, national law and international human rights law.”

It added that it is “important” for the Philippines “to promptly and effectively” investigate “all cases of death” in the drug war “in an impartial and transparent manner, which ensures appropriate prosecution of those responsible.”

Duterte: EU doesn’t know how to respect sovereignty

But on Wednesday, Oct. 18, Duterte again hit the EU, saying the union was the one causing problems because it allegedly didn’t know how to respect Philippine sovereignty.

“Kaya ko ‘yan sila minumura kasi [The reason why I’m curing them is because] they do not know how to respect sovereignty,” the President said during his speech at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

The chief executive complained against the union in relation to the aid it extends to the country, which Duterte said were allegedly fraught with conditions beneficial to the EU but detrimental to the Philippines.

“‘Yon bang gaya niyan, magbigay ka ng in the form of assistance or grant, the Philippines is given this amount but at the same time, i-specify nila na para ito sa Bureau of Fire kasi magbigay sila ng truck. Pero, gusto nila bilihin mo ‘yong truck sa kanila,” the President said.

“Eh kung magbigay ka ng grant at gusto mo ito bilihin mo ‘yong truck ko, kukuha ka rin ng spare parts sa akin, nagmukha pa akong philanthropist, nag-mukhang gago ang Pilipino, kikita ka pa sa akin balang araw kasi ‘yong truck na ‘yan, may masira talaga diyan,” he added.

Duterte said the EU was about to offer another aid but when Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez asked him about it, he told him he would reject the assistance.

“They are about to make an offer. Nagtanong si Secretary Dominguez, sabi ko, ‘No, I will not accept it..’ Hindi na bale mag-hirap tayo. Sabi ko, sabihin ko sa mga tao, eh magtiis tayo. Eh pobre tayo eh,” the President said.

“That’s very stupid of some public officials to talk of aid as if it is a matter of survival of our country if we do not accept it,” he added.

But for Robredo, it is important for the Philippines and the EU “to tear down walls and find ways to collaborate better” as cooperation would help make the country and the union’s business agenda “serve those who have been left behind by progress as well as enhance economic growth.”


Duterte explains why it’s the ‘pobre’ and not those from ‘Forbes’ who often get killed in drug war

Reuters file photo of President Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — What’s the difference between rich and poor drug users and why is it that those who often get arrested or killed in the government’s war on drugs are impoverished Filipinos?

According to President Rodrigo Duterte, while it isn’t his administration’s intention to kill the poor being linked to shabu, the main market for crystal meth, which he says is “a deadly mix of chemicals that melts and shrinks the brain,” are impoverished Filipinos, who resist arrest and fight authorities.

He said the situation among rich drug users is different because they consume the less deadly cocaine and don’t fight with the police.

“Tapos sabihin nila si Duterte, ang pinapatay ang mahirap. Hindi nila alam na ang market ng shabu, alam ninyo, ang pobre [Then they would say Duterte is killing the poor. What they don’t know, but you know, is that the poor is the market for shabu ,” said Duterte in a speech during her visit to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City on Wednesday.

“Walang mayaman dito sa taga-Makati, taga-Forbes, gumagamit ng shabu. Cocaine ‘yan [No rich from Makati or from Forbes use shabu. They use cocaine]. It comes from a plant called poppy and it does not really necessarily destroy the brain. Itong shabu, it’s a deadly mix of chemicals. ‘Yan. Natutunaw ‘yong utak, lumiliit [It melts and shrinks the brain],” he said.

Also, during his speech, the President reminded authorities that drug trade is an organized crime and thus everyone involved in it, including the poor, are blameworthy.

“You know, may I remind you, pulis man kayo. Drug o drugs is always an organized crime. The act of one in the organization is the act of all. Alam ninyo ‘yan mga pulis. The liability is the same for the…’yong mga cook, the lieutenants are responsible for the distribution, and the peddlers,” said Duterte.

“Once conspiracy is proved, ‘pag sinabi 30 years ‘yang isa, 30 years lang lahat pati ‘yong mahirap [Once conspiracy is proved and if the sentence is 30 years, it will be 30 years for all, including for those who are poor],” he added.

Duterte added that even those who are poor fight back with authorities but not the rich because if they do, they would bring high-grade firearms.

“Pati ‘yong mga mahirap, lumaban. Wala naman taga-Forbes. Alam mo, sigurado ‘yan. Kung taga-Forbes ‘yan, magdala ng M-60 ‘yan,” he said.


WATCH | ‘So the killings of loved ones won’t be a template’ for their own deaths, San Andres Bukid families file for writ of amparo

The Supreme Court in Manila. INTERAKSYON FILE PHOTO
MANILA – Human rights group Center for International Law (CenterLaw) on Wednesday filed a petition for writ of amparo (court protection order) before the Supreme Court in behalf of the 39 family members and neighbors of persons killed in tokhang operations in San Andres Bukid district in Manila, and as a class suit in behalf of all its residents.

Respondents are the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police, represented by PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Manila Police District director PSSUPT. Joel Coronel, and other police officers.

The writ of amparo is a legal remedy for those who threaten or violate the right to life, liberty, and security. The petitioners are asking the Supreme Court to issue a temporary protection order for them.

According to the petition, Manila Police District Police Station 6 supposedly cordoned off the perimeters of the slum areas in San Andres Bukid, disabled closed circuit cameras, and stood guard and warned neighbors not to look while armed men broke down doors and gunned down victims inside their own homes.

The petition said that armed men entered these areas in the dead of night, barging into houses, shooting their victims, then leaving. Police supposedly appeared in the scene shortly after, carting off the victims’ bodies and directing that the bodies be brought to “the police’s authorized funeral parlors”.

According to Atty. Joel Butuyan, lead counsel, there is a pattern to the police’s actions, including the guns used in the killings.

The petitioners seek that the police be barred from getting within a one-kilometer radius distance from the residents and the victims’ families, or near the houses, schools, or workplaces of the residents and the victims’ families.

They also want the police to be forbidden from harassing or talking to the families, as well as to stop them from seeking lists of drug pushers, users, and troublemakers from barangay officials.

The petitioners also want the Supreme Court to order the PNP to transfer the chief and members of Manila Police District Police Station 6 outside of Metro Manila.

They ask as well that the Commission on Human Rights, the Department of Health, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development be made to visit the petitioners who are in jail, and the spouses of the victims twice a month.

The petitioners also want the Supreme Court to task the Office of the Ombudsman or the city prosecutor to investigate the 35 deaths that occurred in the area.

They want anti-drug and anti-criminality operations to be conducted only with coordination with the PDEA and the media.

The petition said that innocent wives, partners, mothers, brothers, sisters, relatives, and even neighbors of the victims were arrested and even “falsely” charged with illegal possession of drugs or conspiracy with the persons killed.

The petition noted that there were no cases filed against the perpetrators of these killings, and that in many instances, no crime scene investigation was conducted. Nor were there reports submitted.

The petitioners are suing because their rights to life, liberty, and security are threatened by unlawful acts or negligence of the respondent law enforcers.

“By banding together, petitioners, though fearful still, have found their courage and are now asking this government to recognize and respect the dignity of their persons as human beings,” the petition said.

It continued, “Petitioners hope that the killings of their loved ones will not become a template for their own violent deaths.”

The petition stated that many of the petitioners voted for then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte in hopes that they would be served and protected.

“Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine that their lives, liberty, and security, as well as the lives of their loved ones, will be sacrificed literally on the altar of peace and order in what is packaged to be a fight against the proliferation of illegal drugs,” the petition said.

This is the second petition filed by CenterLaw against the PNP and the government’s anti-drug war. The first was filed in January for the protection of families of tokhang victims in Barangay Payatas, Quezon City.

The court granted the petitioners a permanent protection order.



What do fratmen – including lawyers – do when a recruit dies during hazing? Panic. Conceal. Deny.

PhilStar file photo shows Horacio II and Carmina Castillo, parents of slain UST law freshman Horacio III, showing a flyer of the Aegis Juris fraternity.
MANILA – Are we producing lawyers like these? An anxious Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri wondered aloud on Wednesday, after senators heard a long exchange, from an apparently leaked Facebook chat among Aegis Juris fraternity members and alumni, just after freshman law student Horacio Castillo III was killed Sept. 17 during initiation rites.

Some of the those who joined the conversation badgered the older members to provide guidance to the younger members, worried about the future of aspiring lawyers who may be detained while the case is prosecuted.

The most brazen attempt at concealment came from someone who said the frat library – where the hazing was apparently done – should be cleaned up quick before a search warrant is obtained by Castillo’s parents. And the paddles – where Manila cops later lifted blood samples confirmed to be the victim’s – must be removed, this fratman reminded the group.

In all, senators at the hearing called by Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s Public Order committee were dismayed by the apparent, single-minded goal of the chat group: everything about damage control, and nothing about concern or empathy for the victim’s family.

The senators promised to give the prosecutor general’s office a copy of the leaked exchanges presented by the MPD.


Hapilon, Omar Maute offered millions of pesos to escape Marawi

GOOD NEWS. AFP chief Eduardo Año (2nd, left) and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (2nd, right) show photos of slain terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute to the media at Camp Ranao, Marawi City, on October 16, 2017. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler 

LANAO DEL NORTE, Philippines – The top leaders of the Marawi siege offered millions of pesos in exchange for their safe passage out of the war-torn city, Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año said.

Año said in a news conference on Monday, October 16, that Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon – the supposed emir of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Southeast Asia – and Omar Maute were desperate to flee Marawi as government troops closed in on them.


Both were killed past midnight on Monday. (READ: Top Marawi siege leaders killed in clashes)

"We received such information that they were offering millions for anyone who can lead and can provide them with banca (boat) and guide them out of [the] main battle area," Año said in a press conference with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at Camp Ranao, the headquarters of the 103rd Infantry Battalion, on Monday.

The military believes that the nearly P1-billion loot taken by local terrorists from homes and establishments in Marawi is still hidden and buried somewhere in the main battle area.

"As days passed, they (terrorists) each took [their] own [share of the loot] and hid the money so that when they can escape, they can come back for it," Año said.

The AFP chief believes that the money is still in Marawi as the military had already sealed off the city.

"I believe the money is still inside the main battle area," Año said.

He added that Hapilon and Omar Maute were so desperate to get out of Marawi City that they even commanded their hostages to provide them with boats to aid their escape.

Año said that based on the information that the military received, there were at least two motorized boats readied for the terrorist leaders' escape but the latter were unable to reach them because of the intense firefight that later claimed their lives.

Año said the supposed escape route of the terrorist leaders had been sealed off by joint special operatives from the Army, Marines, and Special Action Force of the police.

The Navy Special Operations Group (NavSOG) and the police had sealed off Lake Lanao, which prevented any escape through the lake.

At least 20 terrorists were killed by the NaVSOG as they tried to enter or exit the main battle area through Lake Lanao.

"All who attempted to escape [through the lake] we have neutralized," Año added. – Rappler.com



Paolo now severe tropical storm; LPA affects Palawan

Satellite image as of October 17, 10:30 am. Image courtesy of PAGASA

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Paolo (Lan) intensified into a severe tropical storm as it continued to move over the Philippine Sea on Tuesday, October 17. It could even intensify further into a typhoon in the next 24 to 36 hours since it is over water.

In a bulletin issued 11 am on Tuesday, PAGASA said Paolo is now 765 kilometers east of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, moving north northwest at a very slow 7 kilometers per hour (km/h).


The severe tropical storm has maximum winds of 90 km/h and gustiness of up to 115 km/h.

Though Paolo is too far from the Philippines and there are no areas under tropical cyclone warning signals, the severe tropical storm's outer rainbands may bring light to heavy rain to Bicol, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

Paolo is not expected to make landfall since its track shows it moving upward instead of approaching the Philippines. Forecast track of Tropical Storm Paolo as of October 17, 11 am. Image courtesy of PAGASA

Also in the same bulletin, PAGASA said a low pressure area (LPA) continues to affect the province of Palawan.

The LPA is 395 kilometers west of Coron, Palawan, bringing light to heavy rain to the province. – Rappler.com


Filipino dead in California wildfires – DFA

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES. A firefighter uses a drip torch to set a backfire to protect houses in Adobe Canyon during the Nuns Fire on October 15, 2017 near Santa Rosa, California.

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino is presumed dead in the wildfires engulfing north California's wine country, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday, October 17.

The Filipino's remains, "which have yet to be positively identified, were recovered on October 14, 2017, in Napa County," the Philippine consulate general in San Francisco told the DFA.

"We offer our sincere sympathies and prayers to the family of our kababayan (countryman) who perished in this horrific fire," Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.

"I have instructed our Consulate General in San Francisco to offer all possible assistance to the family and to continue to closely monitor the welfare of other Filipinos in the affected areas," Cayetano added.

Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon Ascalon said the Philippine consulate general in San Francisco "has been in touch with the victim's family and has offered assistance, especially in coordinating arrangements for the repatriation of the victim's remains."

"We also continue to communicate with the Filipino community through our social media advisories, and have offered consular assistance to Filipinos affected by the wildfires," Ascalon said.

At least 40 people have died in the California wildfires, said the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on its website.

The most populous US state regularly faces late-summer fires. But the blazes that have burned more than 217,500 acres (about 88,090 hectares) this month, devastating the winemaking areas of Napa and Sonoma, proved the deadliest in the state's history. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com


In Cavite, motorcyclists ride with cops to end riding-in-tandem crimes

TOGETHER. Cops and volunteers share the road to end criminality. Cavite Police photo 


MANILA, Philippines – Just days after the Philippine National Police (PNP) declared war against riding-in-tandem shooters, a provincial police office began inviting volunteers to go to the front lines.

The Cavite Provincial Police Office (PPO) launched on Monday, October 16, their Unified Motorcycle Riders Group (UMRG).


The program pools motorcyclists from all over Cavite to help cops hit the brakes on crimes committed by riding-in-tandem shooters.

Volunteers register themselves and their motorcycles with the police, then help cops as "force multipliers" in police operations.

Cavite is no stranger to such crimes. Just in August, Dasmariñas Cityimplemented a no-helmet policy after a succession of shootings supposedly done by masked and helmeted assailants riding motorcycles.

Bikers' database

LAUNCHED. Volunteers flood the stage for registration

LAUNCHED. Volunteers flood the stage for registration 

It starts with registration.

Motorcycle drivers are asked to go to police stations with their bikes so they can be listed and registered by cops.

Cavite PPO spokesperson Superintendent Janet Arinabo said the motorcycles need to be registered with the Land Transportation Office first before riders can volunteer.

"Para rin mag-register sila sa amin para malaman namin kung sinong may motor sa Cavite," Arinabo told Rappler in a phone interview.

([The program] is also a way for us to know who owns a motor in Cavite.)

At the end of the registration, Arinabo said riders will receive identification cards (IDs), which will contain the details of the driver and the bike.

Through the database, Arinabo said, cops can easily identify whether a registered motorcyclist commits a crime, or at least a traffic violation.

If an unregistered driver commits any violations of the law, cops can easily cancel out registered drivers from their list of suspects.


After the paperwork, it's off to the road. Registered riders can help cops in many ways.

For the faint-hearted, riders can just help in intelligence-gathering, by letting cops know when a rider, whether registered or not, is suspicious.

For those brave enough, they can take part in police operations themselves.

They can be part of police patrol operations, where riders share the road with cops in going around neighborhoods to monitor street crime. They can also man designated checkpoints in their localities.

When on patrol or at the checkpoint, riders may get a call for a chase if a rogue rider commits a crime, such as robbery, or in the worst scenario, kill a neighborhood resident.

In such cases, Arinabo said, volunteer riders don't need to go on the dangerous trip, as cops will not provide them offensive and protective equipment.

Service and volunteerism

PLEDGE. Cops vow to lead drivers to curb crime

PLEDGE. Cops vow to lead drivers to curb crime 

Registered riders, however, will not receive special treatment on the road.

"Siyempre count pa rin sila kung may violation sila. Applicable pa rin sa kanila ang laws sa kanila. Hindi porke na-issuehan sila, sila dapat ang mas mag-observe ng laws," Arinabo said.

(Of course their violations will also be counted. Laws are still applicable to them. They can't get away with it just because they were issued IDs. They should follow the law even more.)

Arinabo stressed that the effort, as a police-community program, was started in the name of volunteerism and service.

"Dito ine-encourage namin service, volunteerism. Wala po 'tong perks, walang bayad. 'Yung tumulong lang ang gustong tumulong sa efforts ng Cavite PNP dahil hindi lang responsibility ng police kundi ng lahat ang public safety," Arinabo said.

(We are encouraging service and volunteerism. This has no perks, no payment. We are just inviting those who want to help the Cavite PNP, because public safety isn't just the responsibility of the police.)

According to Arinabo, the clamor for a safer community has already drawn over 1,000 motorcyclists to volunteer on the first day of the program.

"Kasi kapag peaceful, mas magiging prosperous, at mas safe ang families nila," she said. (If it is peaceful, the communities will become prosperous and will become safer for their families.) – Rappler.com


WATCH: What are millennials fighting for?

YOUTH POWER. Millennials troop to Rizal Park on September 21, 2017, to join the multi-sectoral protest marking the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Photo by Rappler 

MANILA, Philippines – What are the millennials fighting for?

On Thursday, September 21, thousands trooped to Rizal Park in Manila to remember the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. Many of those who attended were millennials who were not yet born during the Martial Law era, which is considered one of the darkest chapters in the country's history.

Despite rains, the crowd reached a peak of 8,000, according to Manila police. But organizers, who initially said that the protest would be President Rodrigo Duterte's "baptism of fire," claimed a much higher estimate of 30,000 attendees.

The youth played an important role in the protest as they brought the fight not just to the streets, but also to social media. (READ: VIRAL: UP student studying biology while in protest

MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm, asked millennials who joined the protest what they are fighting for. Watch the video above. – Rappler.com

Watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No10ZS-B7Jk&feature=youtu.be



'Paranoid' Duterte hit for eyeing revolutionary gov't

PHILIPPINE LEADER. President Rodrigo Duterte draws flak for threatening to create a revolutionary government. Malacañang file photo 

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition group Tindig Pilipinas slammed President Rodrigo Duterte as a "paranoid and insecure little man" after he warned he will declare a revolutionary government should a destabilization plot seek to replace him with a new leader.

"President Duterte is losing his grip. Only a paranoid and insecure little man afraid of losing power will rationalize the need to impose a revolutionary government upon the people," anti-Duterte coalition Tindig Pilipinas said in a statement Saturday, October 14.


"The paranoia is evident. It is manifested in the slide in the surveys, from the increasing numbers of the various forms of protests, from the massive pushback on social media and from the President's increasingly irrational, indefensible and incoherent stances," the group added.


Tindig Pilipinas issued this statement after Duterte on Friday, October 13, threatened to create a revolutionary governemnt. He told critics that he will do this if he thinks they're "about to take over the nation," and if they "have destabilized government" to the point that they will name a new leader.

But Tindig Pilipinas said the "threat to annihilate" democracy is Duterte's "ultimate power game" in order to suppress "growing discontent" among the people.

"Like any abuser sensing that his victims are seeing him as the abuser that he is, he senses doom. He knows he is an empty can once he loses control," the statement said, as it listed Duterte's vulnerabilities, including the P6.4-billion Customs smuggling, his family's wealth, and his refusal to sign the bank secrecy waiver.

Tindig Pilipinas said there is nothing reformist or revolutionary about the government Duterte threatened to create because "he is playing for survival."

"Let no one see this as anything else but weakness," the coalition said. They also urged democratic forces to "resist this move to subvert our nation for the interests of one man, his family, and his cohorts."

This is not the first time the President toyed with the idea of a revolutionary government, but back in August, he said he is "not into it." – Rappler.com


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