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DOJ charges cops for killing teens Arnaiz, De Guzman

RESTING PLACE. Kulot de Guzman is buried on September 13, 2017. Photo by Eloisa Lopez/Rappler 


MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Caloocan City policemen who allegedly murdered 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz and 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman, whose deaths fueled outrage against President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. 

In a 35-page resolution released to reporters on Friday, January 19, the DOJ indicted Police Officer (PO) 1 Jeffrey Perez and PO1 Ricky Arquilita with two counts of murder after finding probable cause for the slay of the two teenagers.

Perez and Arquilita were also charged with two counts of torture and 3 counts of planting of evidence (marijuana, shabu, .38 caliber pistol) under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and Section 38 of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.


"They planned and committed all the crimes with a common desire to eliminate their subjects. They even portrayed that the death of Carl Angelo was the product of a shoot-out in a legitimate police/hot pursuit in order to cover up the intended killings of Carl Angelo and Reynaldo 'Kulot,'" the DOJ said.

While made public only on Friday, the resolution was dated December 18, 2017.

Meanwhile, the DOJ dismissed murder raps against against taxi driver Tomas Bagcal, who was allegedly "held up" by Arnaiz before the boy went missing.

"We consider all his acts and alleged participation in the crime committed to be involuntary due to uncontrollable fear for his life and that of his family. There is no overt act on his part that would implicate him in the crime against Carl Angelo and Reynaldo," the resolution said.

Arnaiz and De Guzman both went missing in August 2017. They were residents of Barangay San Andres in Cainta, Rizal.

Arnaiz's body was later found in a Caloocan City morgue days later, with a backpack containing shabu and marijuana in his pockets. The Caloocan City police said that they "tried to apprehend" the boy for robbing Bagcal. (READ: Carl Arnaiz: Smart, skilled, every parent's dream)

In November, De Guzman was found dead with 30 stab wounds in a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija. (READ: Sleepless mother looks for son who was a friend of Carl Arnaiz)

The Public Attorney's Office filed the double murder case against Caloocan policemen in September 2017.

The deaths of Arnaiz and De Guzman, as well as the killing of another teenager, 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, have triggered more intense criticism of Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign. (READ: The Impunity Series–


Active-duty troops to get free ride in LRT-2


Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 (CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)

Starting Saturday, all troopers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be able to ride the trains of the Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT-2) free of charge.


This is to honor the heroism and sacrifices made by soldiers in safeguarding the country against all forms of security threats, AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia said.

Last Dec. 19, the AFP signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) for a partnership, giving due recognition to the sacrifices of men in uniform by offering them a free ride on LRT-2 trains.

Garcia said the MOA stipulates that all active military personnel, even in civilian attire, are entitled to ride the LRT-2 (Santolan-Recto), free of charge, upon showing their AFP identification cards as access pass.

The MOA was signed by then AFP Civil Relations Service head Maj. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista and LRTA administrator Reynaldo Berroya.

Garcia said the MOA was noted by AFP Chief-of-Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero and approved by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

“We are very thankful to the LRT Authority for their show of support to our troops in performing their duties. This is a big help to our soldiers. This certainly boosts the morale of our troops and gives us more reason to perform better in our mandate of serving the people and protecting the state,” Guerrero said.

Aside from this partnership, both parties are looking forward to advance coordination to enable the AFP to provide ambulance and medical teams to assist the LRTA in emergency and crisis situations.



NAPOLCOM removes height requirement for PNP entrance exam applicants

The National Police Commission has removed the height requirement for applicants who want to take the Philippine National Police Entrance examination.

According to National Police Commission vice chairman and executive officer Rogelio Casurao, applicants may take the exam as long as they have bachelor’s degrees and are not more than 30 years old."

This, he said, is effective starting with the examinations slated for April 22.

The NAPOLCOM also announced the activation of the On-Line Examination Application Scheduling System (OLEASS) in the websites for the nationwide conduct of the PNP Entrance and Promotional Examinations.

The NAPOLCOM said OLEASS allows entrance exam applicants to choose the examination center where they want to take the exam regardless of their place of residence.

But for the promotional exam applicants, the examination center is automatically assigned by the computer system based on the home address or unit/assignment address provided by the police applicants.

“These innovations in the administration of the NAPOLCOM examinations is intended to streamline existing procedures geared towards fostering a more client-friendly frontline service delivery environment,” Casurao said.

The PNP Entrance Examination is open to all Filipino citizens who are not more than 30 years old and bachelor’s degree holder. Police Officers I (PO1) whose appointments are temporary for lack of appropriate eligibility are also required to take said entrance exam.

On the other hand, the Promotional Examinations are open exclusively to all qualified uniformed members of the PNP who meet the minimum qualification standards for examination in terms of rank and eligibility. —NB, GMA News


Oponganons welcome Sto. Niño, Our Lady of Guadalupe

Hundreds of devotees greeted the images of the Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Sr. Sto. Nino as they visit Lapu-lapu City for the first time ahead of today’s fluvial procession.
Carrying candles, balloons and small Sto. Nino images, Oponganons led by Mayor Paz Radaza waited at the foot of the old Mandaue-Mactan bridge on Lapu-lapu City’s side to welcome the two images.
Mandaue City Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna and basilica rector Rev. Fr. Pacifico Nohara led the turnover of the two images to Radaza who waited on an elevated plaform set up along ML Quezon Avenue located just a few meters away from the foot of the old bridge.

The Sto. Nino and Our Lady of Guadalupe spent the night at the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City following the Friday morning traslacion or the annual motorcade from the basilica to the national shrine.
Hundreds of Mandauehanons joined the overnight vigil at the national shrine and later on the 2a.m. send off mass.
When the mass ended shortly after 3 a.m., Fortuna and Nohara led the motorcade of the two images to Lapu-lapu City passing along Plaridel Street, right to A. C. Cortes Avenue before heading for the old bridge.
Hundreds of Mandauehanons tailed the motorcade while others waited along the motorcade route.
“Pasalamat sa tanang grasya ug pag ampo para sa maayong pang lawas ang akong tumong sa pag apil sa motorkada,” said 32-years-old Glenda Lim who was among those who tailed the around five kilometer motorcade to Lapu-lapu City.
Upon reaching Lapu-lapu City at around 4:05 a.m., Oponganons welcomed the two images with loud applauses and Sinulog dances.
A mass was also celebrated at the Virgen dela Regla National Shrine.



3 hurt in QC grenade blast

Reuters file photo of a crime scene tape.
MANILA, Philippines — Three persons, including a 9-year old girl, were injured when a grenade exploded after being lobbed at the home of a peace officer in a Quezon City village Thursday night.

Leandro Gabot, 65, a member of the Lupong Tagapamayapa of Barangay Bagong Pag-asa, said he was watching television in his home on Road 1 when he heard something land and roll on the roof.

The explosion came a few seconds later.

Among the injured were Gabot’s grandchild.

The other two were a 34-year old neighbor of the village official and Grab driver Roderick Sadia, who said he had just turned into Road 1 when he had to stop and wait for a motorcycle bearing two men, one of them in a tank-top, to drive away.

“Saka ako pumasok, ‘sakto sumabog na (I entered the street just as the explosion happened),” Sadia said.

Footage taken by a CCTV camera of the barangay showed the motorcycle make two circuits of the area aound Gabot’s house before the explosion.

Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar, Quezon City Police District director, said their bomb squad confirmed that the explosion was from a fragmentation grenade.

He added that Gabot’s work with the village peace and order council was the likely trigger for the grenade attack.


Duterte eyes total ban on deployment to Kuwait over Pinays’ deaths

he flag of Kuwait flies over a man. (Reuters)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said he is considering a total ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to oil-rich Kuwait following what he called the “unacceptable” deaths of four Filipinas there.

“We have lost about four Filipino women in the last few months. It’s always in Kuwait,” Duterte said at the launching of the Overseas Filipino Bank in Manila Thursday.

Duterte said he discussed the issue with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who he instructed to talk to the Kuwaiti government, “state the truth and just tell them that it’s not acceptable anymore. Either we impose a total ban or you can have the correction.”

“I do not want a quarrel with Kuwait. I respect their leaders, but they have to do something about this,” he stressed.

Sought for comment, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they need to first investigate the real causes of death of the four women. But, he added, “if the death is a result of maltreatment of their employers, that’s another thing. I will not hesitate to impose a total ban.”


Fariñas protests ‘railroading’ raps on con-ass resolution

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Reuters File)
MANILA, Philippines — “False, unfounded and unfair.”

This was how Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas described accusations by colleagues from the Makabayan bloc that the pro-administration “supermajority” in the House of Representatives had “railroaded” the adoption of the resolution calling for a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution.

“Nothing at all had been railroaded,” Fariñas said, insisting in a statement that House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 was the “product of democratic and exhaustive debates not just in the plenary hall … but in nationwide public consultations.”

The resolution calls on the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene into a constituent assembly to revise or amend the Charter. other modes of amending the Constitution are through a constitutional convention and through a people’s initiative.

Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc claim the resolution was hastily approved on Tuesday, January 16, even while several House members were still interpellating.

But Fariñas maintained that lawmakers were given enough time to study the proposal, from the time the committee report was filed in February 2017, calendared in the House Order of Business in March 2017, and sponsored on the floor in December 2017.

He reminded his colleagues that the move to amend the Constitution was not new as it has been discussed in the previous congresses.

“The clamor for Charter change has long been there. It is time we seriously consider it for the benefit of our country and our people,” he said.


BLACK FRIDAY | Bloggers for Freedom’ blast ‘moves to silence, scare’ media as Palace vows maximum tolerance

MANILA, Philippines — Some of the Philippines’ most prominent bloggers came out Friday, January 19, to support the first of a series of “Black Friday” protests against the threatened closure of news site Rappler and other threats to freedom of the press and expression as Malacañang vowed to observe maximum tolerance.

The “Bloggers for Freedom” simultaneously issued a statement late Friday morning, saying they were standing “for the rights to free expression and to free speech” and that their “first responsibility is to protect these rights.”

“We thus stand with Rappler, its right to exist, the rights of its working journalists and contributors, and the rights of its community of readers,” they said as they denounced “moves to silence and scare journalists, bloggers and media practitioners just because the President and his ardent supporters dislike their news and views.”

Some 60 bloggers, including past winners of the Philippine Blog Awards as well as veterans of past campaigns in defense of lumad rights, disaster relief and environmental protection, signed the statement:

Loi Landicho of The Professional Heckler, Pinoy Ako Blog’s Jover Laurio, Helga Weber, lawyer Jesus Falcis, Jane Uymatiao, Dale Bacar, Rod Magaru, Ely Valendez, Marcelle Fabie, Global Voices’ Karlo Mongaya, former congressman Raymond Palatino, thought-leader Stefan Punongbayan; Technology blogger Jam Ancheta, journalists Julius Mariveles and Inday Espina Varona, finance guru Fitz Villafuerte, professional photographer Fritz Tentativa, UP professor Mykel Andrada, tour guide Carlos Celdran, travel bloggers Estan Cabigas, Enrico Dee, Melo Villareal, Acee Vitangcol and Czarina Maye Noche;

Eugene Alvin Villar, Julius Rocas, Jon Limjap, Markku Seguerra, Hancel Reyes, JM Mariano, JM Tuazon, Brian Ong, Flow Galindez, Jane Uymatiao, Johnn Mendoza, Reginald Agsalon, John Clifford Sibayan, Ramon Nocon, Mc Richard Viana Paglicawan, Saul de Jesus,;Rhadem Camlian Morados, Yusuf Ledesma, Myk Mykapalaran Cruz, Tina Antonio, Renz Daniel de Vera, Alex Lapa, Tess Termulo, Zena Bernardo, James Romer V. Velina, Ricky Rivera, Mark Will Mayo Magallanes, Eyriche Cortez, RJ Barrete, Peachy Tan,, Christian Melanie, Jann Medina, Carlo Arvisu, Reynaldo Pagsolingan Jr., and Dino Manrique.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Harry Roque claimed the Black Friday protest “is a testament that freedom is alive and democracy is alive in the Philippines.”

“The Palace position on the matter remains clear and consistent: We allow public displays of constructive criticism as part of full exercise of the protesters’ rights to express their grievances.”

“Authorities, as a matter of standard operating procedure, will observe maximum tolerance and respect the protesters’ right to peaceful assembly,” he added.

Aside from the Metro Manila rally at the Scout Circle on Timog and Tomas Morato, protests will also be held in several major cities in the provinces.

Among the groups that are joining or voiced support for Black Friday are the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, which was “formed during martial law to defend and uphold press freedom.”

“Today we stand firm and encourage our members to wear black and support the protest this evening,” it said.

Among the groups that organized Black Friday are the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the media and artists alliance Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity, the alternative media consortium Altermidya and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.

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