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(Photo from Philippine Star)


MANILA — Retired policeman and Davao killings whistleblower Arthur B. Lascañas  left the country on April 8 for Singapore.


It was gathered Lascanas may have flown later to the United States where his family has been residing.


Bureau of Immigration Spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang noted that the Lascañas presented himself at the Immigration counter of the Clark International Airport in Pampanga at around 5:01 pm last Saturday.


"Sa Clark (Airport) siya dumaan. Tiger Airways flight 2703 to Singapore," she said.


The BI official explained that Lascañas was allowed to depart since there are no orders to prevent him from leaving the country.


"He has no derogatory record. Wala siya hold departure order, immigration look out bulletin that could have delayed or prevented his departure," she added.


Mangrobang said that Lascañas was with his family.


"(Accompanied by) family. In their ticket parang 4 sila kasama siya," she added.


The BI official said that the passenger has a returning ticket dated April 22.


"Sa ticket sa Clark din ang pabalik niya (Lascañas)," Mangrobang said.


Lascañas, along with Edgar Matobato, is a self-confessed member of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS).


Lascañas left the Philippines after he received threats that a lawsuit would be filed against him, and that people were looking for him as well.


In October 2016, Lascañas denied the existence of the Davao Death Squad and that he was the supposed "team leader" of the squad, as claimed by self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato.


In February, however, he said that the DDS indeed exists and that they were paid by then-Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo R. Duterte up to P100,000 depending on their target.


Lascañas recanted his earlier claims following kidney surgery.


Aquino ordered to answer DAP scam case

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(Photo from Facebook | @presidentnoy)


QUEZON CITY — Former President Benigno Aquino III has been ordered by the Office of the Ombudsman to reply to a motion asking that he be reinstated as a respondent in cases filed over the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).


The complainants, led by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, are asking the Ombudsman to reconsider its March 7 decision dropping the case against Aquino and approving charges of usurpation of legislative power only against former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad for issuing National Budget Circular No. 541, which authorized the withdrawal of unobligated allotments of government agencies to implement the P72-billion DAP.


The controversial disbursement program, which critics had dubbed Aquino’s “presidential pork barrel,” was essentially declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court along with the Priority Development Assistance Fund, or congressional pork.


The Ombudsman said Abad had “unlawfully encroached” on Congress’ powers by modifying the provisions of savings of the 2012 General Appropriations Act.


It noted that Article 239 of the Revised Penal Code punishes the offense with of prision correccional, or six months, and temporary special disqualification.


The motion for reconsideration asks that Aquino be charged with graft and malversation.


The special panel of investigators of the Ombudsman has given all parties to the DAP cases 15 days from notice to file their comments.

VP Robredo's satisfaction rating drops – SWS

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(Photo from Faceboook | @LeniRobredoPH)


QUEZON CITY — The net satisfaction ratings of the government's top officials, other than that of President Rodrigo Duterte's and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's, declined during the first quarter of the year, according to a Social Weather Stations survey.


Vice President Maria Leonor Leni Robredo's net rating (percentage satisfied minus percentage dissatisfied) took the biggest dip, with 53 percent of respondents satisfied with Robredo, 27 percent dissatisfied, and 19% undecided.


This dropped the vice president's net satisfaction rating to a "moderate" +26, from the previous quarter's "good" +37.


The SWS classifies net satisfaction ratings of +70 and above as “excellent”, +50 to +69 as “very good”, +30 to +49 is “good”, +10 to +29 is “moderate”, +9 to -9 is “neutral”, -10 to -29 is “poor”, -30 to -49 is “bad”, -50 to -69 is “very bad”, and -70 and below is “execrable.”


An impeachment complaint has been filed against Robredo over her recorded video message last March, where she revealed alleged police abuses, including the "palit-ulo" scheme and warrantless searches, in its campaign against illegal drugs.


A group of lawyers supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte had also announced that they were working on an impeachment complaint against the vice president.


Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III also saw his rating drop to a "moderate" from the previous quarter's "good". His +30 rating during 2016's fourth quarter lost a point, giving him +29 rating during 2017's first quarter. 


Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's rating lost two points from the previous quarter's +16. Nevertheless, her +14 rating during 2017's first quarter kept her in "moderate" territory.


In contrast, Speaker Alvarez's rating posted a gain in the first quarter, climbing to a "moderate" +12 from the previous quarter's “moderate” +10.

(Photo from GMA News)


TAGBILARAN CITY — At least four government troops and five alleged Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) rebels were killed in the early Tuesday encounter in Sitio Ibaya, Barangay Napo in Inabanga town, Bohol.


The government casualties comprised an Army lieutenant, two soldiers and a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), said Lt. Dodie Belloga, commander of the 47th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Bohol.


One soldier was also wounded in action, Belloga added.


Also, government troops recovered five bodies of armed men and confiscated four high-powered firearms, including three M-16 Armalite rifles and one M-4 rifle, he said.


Authorities in the island- province of Camiguin, a popular tourist destination in Northern Mindanao, heightened their security as government troops and members of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group clashed in Bohol on Tuesday.


Reports said that five Abu Sayyaf bandits and four government troops were killed following the clash in Inabanga town.

Lt. Col. Belloga disclosed that the joint Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and PNP operation was carried out after they received intelligence reports of the presence of unidentified armed men, numbering more or less 10, in Bohol.


The government troops immediately set out at the break of dawn Tuesday to track down the said armed men, and while on patrol, an encounter ensued around 6:45 a.m., where the government forces immediately lost four of its troopers during the first volley of shots, he said.


Hot pursuit operations ensued as the police and military continued to close in on the rebels, he added.


An air strike by government’s F260 planes at the encounter site was launched hours later as hundreds of civilians in the area were made to evacuate to safer ground.


Lt. Col. Belloga said he earlier told the mayor of Inabanga and the village officials that residents must be evacuated so they would not be caught in the crossfire or used as hostage or human shield by the armed group.


The clashes continued sporadically until Tuesday afternoon as military and police personnel were determined to not allow any of the suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits to leave the island.


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