DENR officer, doctor caught in Davao City pot session

DAVAO CITY – A government official and a physician were arrested late Tuesday afternoon, October 17, after authorities found they were holding a pot session at a subdivision here.
Some 8 grams of suspected shabu and ecstasy capsules were taken from Benjamin Jaraplasan Medel and Stephen So Tay during a buy-bust operation at 5:30 pm Tuesday at San Pedro Village, Buhangin, Davao City, said Iav Naravy Duquiatan, officer in charge of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Region XI.
Duquiatan, who reaveled the information at a press conference on Wednesday, October 18, said Tay is a Davao-based physician considered by PDEA as a high-profile target in the region.
The buy-bust operation also yielded a unit of fragmentation grenade and an Isuzu Dmax allegedly used by Tay in illegal drug activities, said Duquiatan.

Pot session with ‘frat mate’
Meanwhile, Ben Joseph Tesiorna, PDEA XI’s legal counsel, said authorities were not expecting they would arrest Medel, a provincial officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Bicol Region.
Medel, allegedly Tay’s fraternity mate based on PDEA’s investigation, was in Davao to attend a convention, said Tesiorna.
“Unfortunately, he was with Dr Tay during the conduct of the buy-bust operation,” said Tesiorna.
“He was just invited by Dr Tay to have a pot session. Unfortunately, he was doing in the hometown of the President,” he added.
Tesiorna said Medel could not deny his involvement in the illegal activity as he turned out positive for illegal drugs.
Both Tay and Medel are now in PDEA XI’s detention facility. The agency said it is preparing to file charges against the two for violating Section 5, Section, 11, Section 12, and Section 15, Article II of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and Republic Act 9516, which amends the anti-illegal firearms law.
Medel could also face absolute perpetual disqualification from any public office if he is found guilty of the said violations, according to PDEA. – Rappler.com

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Second petition vs TokHang filed at SC

MANILA – A second petition against the police-led Oplan TokHang was filed before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 18.
The Center for International Law (CenterLaw) filed the petition seeking the issuance of a writ of amparo to protect certain individuals and the residents of 26 barangays in San Andres Bukid, Manila, against the anti-illegal drug campaign.
In a 57-page petition, CenterLaw sought the issuance of a temporary protection order (TPO) prohibiting police authorities from getting near the residences and workplaces of the families of 35 residents of San Andres Bukid who were killed in the drug raids in the area for the past 13 months.
Among the respondents in the petition are the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, Manila Police District (MPD) Director Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel, Manila Police Station 6 Commander Superintendent Olivia Ancheta Sagaysay, and Superintendents Jerry Corpuz and Robert Domingo.
The others are MPD Station 6's Police Officer 2 Rhafael Rodriguez, Police Officer 2 Princeton Felia, Police Officer 1 Harry Allan Cruz, Police Officer 1 Kennith Gaa, Police Officer 1 Efren Guitering, Police Officer 2 Jocelyn Samson, Police Officer 3 Allan Escramosa, Police Officer 2 Francisco Mendoza, Police Officer 2 Roestrell Ocampo, Police Officer 3 Rodolfo Ocampo Jr, Senior Inspector Concorcio Pangilinan, and 3 others identified only through their aliases Harry, Junior, and Ivan.
The petition specifically sought to enjoin the respondents from entering within a radius of one kilometer from the residence and work addresses of the families of TokHang victims.
It also sought to bar the respondents from directly or indirectly harassing, contacting, or communicating with the affected parties.
A writ of amparo is a remedy that serves to protect constitutional rights perceived to be in danger. It covers extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.
The petitioners also asked the Court to enjoin the police from conducting anti-drug operations in San Andres Bukid without the required coordination and presence of representatives from the barangay, PDEA, and the media.
The petitioners are led by Sister Ma Juanita Daño of the Religious of the Good Shepherd and include 47 others who are suing individually and collectively. The petition was filed as a class suit on behalf of all the residents of 26 barangays in San Andres.
San Andres, which is part of the 5th District of Manila, has a total of 65 barangays.

Systematic violence
The petition recounted the systematic violence allegedly committed by members of MPD Station 6 against residents of San Andres Bukid and its adjacent areas.
The petition pointed to "police cordoning off the perimeters of slum communities and disabling closed circuit cameras; of armed men entering these areas in the dead of night, barging into houses no better than oversized boxes, shooting their victims and leaving."
It also talked about "police standing guard, training their flashlights on houses and windows and shouting harsh warnings at the neighbors not to look while armed men break down doors and gun down the victims inside their own homes; of police appearing in the scene shortly after, carting off the bodies of the victims and directing that the bodies be brought to the police’s authorized funeral parlors."
The petitioners asked the Court to prohibit police from coercing barangay officials into producing or submitting a list of alleged drug users, pushers, or trouble-makers in community until the respondents have shown full compliance with the constitutional requirements of due process, the requirements of the Data Privacy Act, and regulatory assurance against arbitrariness and criminal machination.
According to the petition, many victims of drug-related killings in their community had surrendered to barangay authorities after their names were included in the local drug watch list.
“Sometime thereafter, violence were visited upon them and their families resulting in their death or those of their relatives and even those who were merely at the wrong place at the wrong time,” the petition read.
“It appears that the Respondents have generated a list that they have apparently pressured barangay officials to make and to submit to them. Such list has become what has been referred to as the kill list,” it added.
The first petition against Oplan TokHang was filed before the SC on January 26, on behalf of the families of 4 drug suspects killed in Payatas, Quezon City in August 2016, as well as the lone survivor in the incident.
The High Court issued a writ of amparo based on the first petition in late January, and another in February.
On October 10, President Rodrigo Duterte removed the Philippine National Police from the helm of the drug war, and tasked PDEA as the sole agency on top of the campaign.
Even with this order, policemen led a drug raid in Tondo, Manila, on October 11, leading to the deaths of 3 drug suspects.
The PNP had announced the suspension of its flagship anti-drug campaign Oplan Double Barrel, including TokHang, on October 12. – Rappler.com

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PNP faces class suit in SC over drug killings

Residents of slums in San Andres Bukid, Manila, including relatives of slain drug suspects, on Wednesday filed a class suit in the Supreme Court against the Philippine National Police to keep their neighborhood safe from policemen.
The petitioners urged the high court to grant a writ of amparo to protect them from harassment by members of Station 6 of the Manila Police District (MPD), which has jurisdiction over San Andres Bukid.

The petitioners also sought the tribunal’s intervention to stop the police from turning their community into a “killing field” and to order the administrative relief of the entire MPD Station 6 force.
It was the fifth petition filed in the high court questioning President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, which has led to the killings of at least 4,000 suspects in police operations and thousands more in vigilante attacks.
‘Killing field’
The petition filed by the Center for International Law said the slums “have become a veritable killing field.”
“The unabated killings in San Andres must not evolve into a culture of passive tolerance and defeated resignation over the seeming ordinariness and banality of the taking of human life in the war on drugs,” the petitioners said.
“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,” they added.
The petitioners, led by Catholic nun Ma. Juanita Dano, submitted 39 sworn affidavits regarding the killing of 35 residents and the arrest of eight “innocent individuals.”
Named respondents were PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa; Chief Supt. Joel Coronel, head of the MPD; Supt. Olivia Sagaysay, commander of MPD Station 6; and 16 other police officers.

“This petition tells of the systematic violence perpetrated by or wrought in conspiracy with the respondents… over the urban poor community of San Andres Bukid… and its adjacent areas in general, and the dead victims, the petitioners and their families,” the petition said.
Falsely charged
“It tells of the arrest of the innocent wives, partners, mothers, brothers, sisters, relatives or/and even neighbors of the victims and falsely charging them with illegal possession of drugs or conspiracy with the persons killed,” it added.
Sister Dano initiated the documentation of 35 drug killings in San Andres Bukid after the Duterte administration launched its crackdown on narcotics last year.
Most of the killings were perpetrated by masked gunmen while the others were due to questionable police operations “carried out in the dead of the night.”
The residents surmised that members of MPD Station 6 had knowledge of the vigilante killings as some of them were stationed in the area “before and during” the attacks of masked gunmen.
“The consistent impunity and persistent audacity of armed men who forcibly enter and barge into houses, without fear of policemen, are among the many indications and manifestations which show that the police killings, and most if not all of the vigilante killings, are not random and unplanned, but part of a systematic design and organized strategy,” they said.
Disabled CCTVs
The residents also noted that the CCTVs installed in their communities were disabled by the policemen before conducting drug raids.
“This is how the residents in the slum communities in and around San Andres Bukid have been terrorized and cowed into fearful submission not to seek redress for the threats to and violation of their rights to life, liberty and security,” they lamented.
Amid mounting criticisms, Mr. Duterte last week removed from the PNP the task of prosecuting the war on drugs. He designated the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the sole entity that would carry out operations against the narcotics trade.

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DESPITE CLARIFICATION ON DEADLINE PISTON not backing down on fight vs. PUV modernization program

Transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) will not back down on their opposition against the government's public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program, its president said on Thursday.

This, even though it was said in a House hearing that President Rodrigo Duterte was only expressing the urgency of the program when he gave a January 1 deadline for jeepney drivers and operators to upgrade their units.

In an ambush interview with reporters, PISTON president George San Mateo expressed disappointment over Duterte's expletive-laden speech against jeepney drivers and operators on Tuesday.

"Yung sa sinabi ni Presidente, nalungkot at nagalit kami doon. Lalung-lalo na dahil, siyempre, bilang presidente, hindi niya dapat pinagmumura 'yung mga driver at operator dahil may dahilan kaya nag-strike," he said.

In a speech in Camarines Sur, Duterte lashed out at jeepney drivers and operators who joined the two-day nationwide transport strike led by PISTON.

“January 1, ‘pag hindi niyo na-modernize ‘yan, umalis kayo. Mahirap kayo? P— ina, sige. Magtiiis kayo sa hirap at gutom, wala akong pakialam. It’s the majority of the Filipino people. Huwag ninyong ipasubo ang tao,” he said.

San Mateo said Duterte's remarks made drivers and operators angry.

"Nakita tuloy ng mga driver at operator na si Presidente mismo 'yung pangunahing nagtutulak ng negosyong modernization," he said.

"At nakita tuloy ng mga driver at operator, nalantad sa kanila na si Presidente at ang mga kasabwat niyang malalaking dayuhang-negosyante at crony niya ang pangunahing makikinabang dito sa negosyong modernization."

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Martin Delgra, however, said the President's call for drivers and operators to upgrade their jeepneys by year-end was only his "expression of urgency" in the PUV modernization program.

"He has spoken firmly strongly in favor of the modernization that said I will have to understand him. The expression of the date is an expression of an urgency to push this as firmly as we can," he said.

With this clarification, San Mateo concluded that Duterte's remark should not necessarily cause fear among drivers and operators.

"Natakot kaagad yung mga operator sa dating ng statement ni Presidente, akala by end of December, wala na talaga yung mga jeep. So hindi ganun yung lumalabas," he said.

Still, San Mateo said they would continue their fight against the government's program, which his group has claimed is a jeepney phaseout plan that would require the purchase of newer, more expensive models.

"Ang tanong dito kung dahil sa hearing ay magrerenda kami, hindi pa rin. In fact, patuloy naming pinapanawagan," he said.

"Kami sa PISTON, we are calling on the DOTr (Department of Transportation), we are also calling on the President and Congress na i-junk itong Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) at magbuo ng panibago, para yung mga concerns na lumilitaw ay maipasok diyan," he added.

The OFG was issued by the DOTr to provide rules and strategies for issuing public transportation franchises to improve public land transport. But for PISTON, the guidelines supposedly aim to phase out old passenger jeepneys.

San Mateo said many operators and drivers will experience massive disenfranchisement if the OFG is implemented.

Delgra said the pilot implementation of the PUV modernization program will kick off before the end of the year. Its full implementation, on the other hand, is still "a work in progress," he said. —KBK, GMA News

 

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Atio’s mom on Aegis Juris lawyers in hazing ‘cover-up’ chat: They should be disbarred

The grief-stricken mother of law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III called for the disbarment of the lawyers involved in a "cover-up" plot allegedly hatched on the day the 22-year-old fraternity neophyte was proclaimed dead.

Carminia Castillo, mother of Atio, said these lawyers, some in the group chat revealed to contain alleged cover-up plans and some in attendance during Wednesday's hearing, do not have the right to be called lawyers.

“Nakakahiya sila. They do not even deserve to be called lawyers. They do not even deserve to represent the guilty ones. Wala silang karapatang maging abogado,” she said in an interview on Unang Balita on Thursday, a day after a Senate public order committee hearing on the case of Atio’s death.

“They should be disbarred. ‘Yan ang kailangan niyo...patanggalan ng lisensiya,” she added.

It was revealed in the Senate hearing held Wednesday that 30 members of the Aegis Juris fraternity formed a group chat where they seemed to discuss plans of “cleaning” the evidence in Atio’s fatal hazing and reaching out to his parents so they would not make noise.

Nineteen of these 30 people met on the same day Atio was proclaimed dead, revealed Manila Police District director Chief Superintendent Joel Coronel, also in the hearing.

Carminia said the group chat is proof that “they were trying to cover up everything.”

She called the Aegis Juris members in question murderers, saying they could have done something to save Atio after he collapsed but instead talked about how to cover up the crime.

“They let him die. They were all murderers. They just let him die,” she said.

“You know...just there, may nangyaring hazing, pinabayaan nilang mamatay. 'Di sana pinanindigan nila kung anong ginawa nila. 'Di sana buhay pa 'yung anak ko. And this could have been a different story,” she added.

She also said the phone numbers she called to ask about her son that tragic day in September belonged to the members now accused of the crime, such as Axel Hipe, Ralph Trangia, Marc Anthony Ventura, and Aegis Juris head Arvin Balag.

Balag was cited for contempt in the Senate hearing on Wednesday after refusing to answer questions from the senators.

For his part, John Paul Solano, one other suspect in the case, earned the ire of Senator Miguel Zubiri for continuing to refuse to execute a sworn affidavit.

Both of Atio’s parents said while they were angry with the suspects, they also pitied them, for they “no longer have a future.”

Still, they said they are hopeful that justice will be served.

“I’m very hopeful po. I believe in the law. Nobody is above the law,” said Horacio Castillo II, Atio’s father. He said they expected the accused to be evasive, but still hold out hope for justice.

“Naniniwala ako na my son is there and he is helping us,” said Horacio II, also narrating an incident where he claimed to have felt the presence of his son through a “big butterfly” he saw on their kitchen wall on the day of the Senate hearing.

Atio Castillo was a law student at the University of Santo Tomas who died from hazing on September 17 after attending the initiation rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity.

His death, while not the first hazing death to occur in the country, marked a renewal of attention and amendment efforts on the 22-year-old Anti-Hazing Law, which has been called “toothless” for its failure to convict all but one hazing suspect since its enactment in 1995. 

Atio was laid to rest at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City on September 27. —Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas/KG, GMA News

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1 in 3 Pinoys at risk of mental health problems, but only 500 psychiatrists to care for them

(file photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon)
MANILA, Philippine — The Philippines observes National Mental Health Week on the second week of October.

This year, some startling statistics were brought to light by Dr. Lourdes Ignacio, a psychiatrist who has helped survivors of the 1990 earthquake, the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, and super typhoon Yolanda: one in three Filipinos are at risk of mental health problems, but there are only 500 psychiatrists who can care for the entire population.

A former president of the World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation and professor emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of the Philippines, Ignacio delivered a lecture last week on her work delivering mental health care to municipalities around the country as she received the Geminiano T. De Ocampo Visionary Award for Medical Research from the National Academy of Science and Technology in Luxent Hotel, Quezon City.

The award is named after the late national scientist and father of modern opthalmology in the Philippines, whose patients included two presidents — Ramon Magsaysay and Emilio Aguinaldo.

According to Ignacio, citing the World Health Organization, mental disorders are highly persistent and prevalent worldwide. Aggravating the situation is the growing number of survivors of “extreme life experiences, disasters, violence in the homes and the streets, terrorism, (and) armed conflict,” who suffer the psychosocial consequences of these adversities. Overseas Filipino workers and street children are other vulnerable groups.

In the aftermath of Pinatubo, she encountered a man who had worked 15 years in Saudi Arabia to build a home in the Philippines, only to lose it during the eruption. In a photo she presented, he sat still on what appeared to be the roof of the house. He could not be pried away.

And when she visited communities in Quezon, Camarines Sur, and Western Samar, she saw how the “chronic mentally ill” were locked in their homes, dehumanized, and deprived of proper care.

“The resources to deliver mental healthcare and treatment for the majority of these … continue to be insufficient and inequitably distributed, inadequately utilized … unable to reach patients, hence the majority remain untreated,” Ignacio said.

As chief investigator for the Philippines in the WHO Collaborative Study for Extending Mental Health Care in General Health conducted from 1978 to 1983 in seven developing countries, she found that training and capacity building of health workers who are already embedded in the barangays makes mental health care more accessible to many.

A WHO study showed that 17 percent of adult consultations in health centers involved psychiatric disorders, but only five percent would be recognized by these facilities’ staff.

“The need is really down there at the primary level of care, in the community, but they are not taken care of,” Ignacio said.

While government provides a budget for mental health care, its reach is limited, and most mental hospitals are inaccessible to people living in remote areas. They are also overcrowded. The poor cannot afford to seek help in private hospitals, either.

This is why Ignacio is undertaking “Project Ginhawa” in the municipalities of Marabut, Basey, and Sta. Rita in Western Samar. After Yolanda hit, the local health workers needed to be trained in mental health. From a “biomedical orientation for healthcare,” they shift perspectives to “a truly holistic care,” where the link of body, mind, and environment is made clear.

“There is no health without mental health,” Ignacio stressed.

Through Project Ginhawa, implemented by the World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation, Philippines with funding from Christoffer Blinden Mission, health workers “acquire skills to listen, establish rapport, and engage patients in the consultation of health problems,” she said. “They acquire the skill to allow the patient to express feelings and thoughts about symptoms, illness, and discuss treatment, which include consideration of his social situation, including stigma or anything mental.”

Health workers acquire the knowledge and skill in understanding “stress, grief, and crisis in daily life experiences.”

“The message to the health worker is, it’s not just a body that you have to deal with,” Ignacio said.

From July 2014 to July 2017, there had been 282 consultations in Marabut. Of these, 88 patients were found to not have any mental health problem immediately after the disaster, and 73 were found to have mood disorders or depression.

Once the patients have recovered, Project Ginhawa also promotes well-being through livelihood programs, sports programs, and spiritual programs.

Another innovation Ignacio is working on is telepsychiatry, which was piloted in Infanta, Quezon and Naga City, Camarines Sur. Through Skype, consultants from the Philippine General Hospital are able to train health workers in Infanta and Naga City.

“Trained health workers will consult with us, without us looking at their patients, because we’re still in the context of telementoring, supervising these health workers that we have trained, sustaining the relationship with us, and therefore hoping that if 500 psychiatrists cannot reach 110 million Filipinos … we can probably reach them through this,” Ignacio said.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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