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MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has accused Senator Antonio Trillanes of being in cahoots with the Liberal Party (LP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in a plot to oust him from office by October.


President Duterte said the information was supplied by a foreign power, which he did not want to name to protect its identity.

"Trillanes has been sleeping with the enemy (the CPP)," Duterte said in a press briefing during his arrival last week at the Davao International Airport from his state visits in Israel and Jordan. On Tuesday, Sept. 11, Duterte repeated the same accusation on national television conversation with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.


Duterte said the alliance plans to launch the ouster plot into high gear in October — the period for filing of the certificates of candidacy for the 2019 midterm elections.


The President, however, said he is not perturbed by any ouster plot, saying: "I am ready to step down anytime."


Duterte said even the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) need not intervene if its officials want to join Trillanes and cohorts to overthrow the government.


"I will just invite them (Army officials) for coffee. If they want I can administer the oath (of office for) whoever wants the position. What will follow di ko na problema (What will follow will no longer be my problem)," he told reporters.


Duterte said he has evidence to back up the information, although disclosing this would be detrimental to the source.


If compelled by the court, however, Duterte said he would release the information.


"Watch out for these groups," Duterte warned.

 

 “They have combined and we have the evidence and we have the conversation provided by a foreign country sympathetic to us,” Duterte said a televised tête-à-tête with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo at the Malacañang Palace.

 

Duterte said the foreign country, which he did not identify, has agreed to his request to declassify the conversation and “show it to everyone”.

 

Nahihigop lahat eh. Alam nila ‘yan. (Everything can be monitored. They know it) So they were in constant communication. They are. It might be a loose conspiracy but they are into it,” Duterte said.

 

He said the connection “will be shown maybe any day now.”

 

Senator Trillanes, Liberal Party president Sen. Francis Pangilinan and CPP-NPA leader Jose Ma. Sison and other opposition leaders denied Duterte’s claims.

 

Sison called Duterte a "congenital liar and an incorrigible political swindler," who was bluffing when he claimed he had evidence that the CPP, Trillanes, and the Liberal Party were plotting to oust him.

 

"And I challenge him to present publicly what he claims as recorded conversations," said Sison in a social media post. "The experts will easily expose the fakery if he dares to present anything. This could be something like his invented foreign bank accounts of Trillanes."

 

The communist leader also denied that there had ever been any discussion between the CPP, Trillanes, and the Liberal Party on ousting Duterte.

 

The President, however, clarified that he will not stop the military and police if they believe he is no longer competent as president.

 

“I said my clear stand on the matter. If the armed forces think that I am not competent, that I am not qualified to be sitting here as President, I have discussed this matter with them in a command conference, bahala kayo (it’s up to you),” Duterte said.

 

“If you want another President, fine. I will not allow you to fight your own soldiers. So I would not allow my soldiers to kill another soldier or a policeman shooting another soldier. Eh kalokohan ‘yan (That’s ridiculous),” he added.

 

Duterte said he has fulfilled his promise to the military and police but if they think Trillanes can give them better. “I urge you to go to Trillanes,” he added.

 

He lambasted Trillanes for cursing all governments and committing ruckus when the latter spearheaded failed coup attempts against then president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

 

Duterte said Trillanes did even dare to visit the poor soldiers who fought against terrorists during the five-month Marawi City siege last year.

 

“I’m giving you (soldiers) a fighting chance. And when they said I doubled the salary, I doubled it long before Marawi. It was a campaign promise and I complied. Pero kung tingin ninyo mga sundalo na mas mabuti si Trillanes pati si Aquino (But if you think Trillanes and also Aquino is better), please kindly go to them and stage whatever you want. Pakita sa buong Pilipinas na kaya ninyo (Show to the whole Philippines that you can),” he said.

 

“I am challenging the Magdalo to start now. Kung sigurado ninyo na sa inyo ang sundalo, fine (If you’re sure that the soldiers are with you, it’s fine),” he added.

 

Duterte also denied Trillanes’ accusation that he is a dictator and that he is out to silence the senator and other opposition members.

 

“I have yet to sign anything, ordering the arrest and silencing of anybody in the government, especially the critics. The fact that they are doing it every day, it goes to show that I’m giving them the time of their lives to just talk and talk. Wala naman (nothing). It’s an invented phrase, that silencing,” Duterte said.

 

The President said Senator Leila de Lima, an opposition lawmaker, is jailed because she has pending case, referring to her illegal drug case.

 

Duterte maintained that the New People’s Army is a terrorist group.

 

“But everyday throughout the country, they are killing barangay (village) captains, those sympathetic with government, even soldiers. Those are violations of… they are terrorists,” Duterte said.

 

Sison, as a terrorist, should face trial, he said.

 

“As a terrorist, I do not see any leeway or enough elbow room for him to move around,” he added. 


Duterte said he was also not keen on checking the loyalty of military officials, although he noted that Trillanes hails from the military.


“At the beginning of my term as President, I’ve had several discussions and far and in between the months that followed, I’ve always stressed to the uniformed people of our government that they should not nurture in me or in anybody else in my Cabinet and government, loyalties,” he said.


He recalled telling the military officials: “You should focus your loyalty to the flag of the Philippines and the Constitution. I do not need loyalties.” 


He pointed out that he was elected as President and intends to serve the people.

“Well, ako magtrabaho lang. Kung ayaw ng Pilipino eh ‘di talagang bababa ako. Walang problema ‘yan (Well, I will just work. If the Filipinos do not want me then I will step down. There is no problem,” he said.


“I'm old. I am ready to step down anytime. Short of working it out for the last remaining years of my term,” Duterte added. 

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MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s net trust rating experienced an eight-point drop in the second quarter of 2018, but still remained “very good” based on a new survey.

 

Malacanang said it welcomes the results of the said survey, expressing gratitude to the people for putting confidence on Duterte during a “challenging time.”

 

“The Palace views the latest survey results with humility; however, we have to take note that regardless of ratings, the President remains focused on his job of governing the nation,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in a statement. 

 

“Much remains to be done, especially in assisting the poor, vulnerable and severely hungry families.  We are now working double time to aid families affected by high prices while keeping the economy stable,” he added. 

 

The Social Weather Stations’ latest survey, released last week said Duterte received a +57 net trust rating in June 2018, falling by eight points from the +65 rating in March 2018.

 

“In the eight SWS surveys following his inauguration as President, from September 2016 to June 2018, Duterte’s net trust rating was excellent in five and very good in three,” the SWS said.

 

The survey was conducted from June 27 to 30, 2018, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults aged 18 and older nationwide. The SWS asked 300 individuals each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

 

The survey also found that 70 percent of adult Filipinos have “much trust” on Duterte, 13 percent have “little trust,” while 18 percent said they are “undecided.”

 

According to SWS, the President’s 8-point decline in overall net trust rating from March to June 2018 was due to declines in the Visayas and Metro Manila, combined with steady scores in Mindanao and Balance Luzon.

 

Net trust in Duterte fell by two grades from “excellent” to “good” in the Visayas, down by 21 points from +70 in March 2018 to +49 in June 2018. 

 

In Metro Manila, it fell by one grade from “very good” to “good,”  down by 20 points in March to +42 in June.

 

However, Duterte’s trust rating stayed “excellent” in Mindanao, hardly moving from +89 in March to +88 in June. It also stayed “”very good” in Balance Luzon, although down by three points from +53 in March to +50 in June.

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MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) has denied Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s plea for a preliminary injunction and the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Proclamation 572 voiding his amnesty.

 

With this development, the High Court leaves the decision to the Makati Regional Trial Court whether or not to issue an alias warrant of arrest and a hold departure order against Trillanes.

 

“Only a trial court and in certain cases, the Court of Appeals are trier of facts. Hence it is appropriate that the Makati RTC should be given leeway in exercising their concurrent jurisdiction,” stated Atty. Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra, the SC’s acting Chief PIO.

 

Trillanes’ camp sought to restrain the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s revocation of his amnesty granted by former President Benigno Aquino III.

 

The senator insisted that the nullification was unconstitutional because it proceeded without the approval of Congress which, Trillanes’ claimed, was a clear violation of his right to due process.

 

However, the SC maintained that the issuance of an alias warrant of arrest should be acted upon by the lower court before proceeding to the arrest.

 

“The court takes judicial notice of the categorical pronouncement of President Duterte that Senator Trillanes will not be apprehended, detained or taken into custody unless a warrant of arrest has been issued by the trial court and thus there is no extreme and urgent necessity for the court to issue an injunctive relief considering that the respondents have acknowledged Senator Trillanes’ right to due process,” the decision further states.

 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it was pleased with the decision and the High Court’s recognition of the Makati Regional Trial Court’s jurisdiction as it has set the trial on the case on September 13 and 14.

 

“More significantly, the Supreme Court has recognized that the issue the of validity of Proclamation 752 involves factual questions that only the trial courts may properly resolve. In the process, the Supreme Court has also acknowledged the trial courts’ continuing jurisdiction over the coup d’ etat and rebellion cases, notwithstanding the alleged ‘finality’ of the orders of dismissal based on the grant of amnesty to Sen. Trillanes,” said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

 

Trillanes’ camp welcomes the SC decision.

 

“We are gratified by the ruling of the Supreme Court. We are happy also that the Supreme Court required the respondents to comment on the petition,” explained Atty. Rey Robles, Trillanes’ legal counsel.

 

The respondents were given 10 days to comment on the petition. – Mai Bermudez / Marje Pelayo.

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QUEZON CITY – The House of Representatives Committee on Justice ruled on September 11 that the impeachment complaint filed against the seven magistrates of the Supreme Court (SC) is insufficient in substance.

 

The House committee members voted 23-1 to drop the complaint filed by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman against SC Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Francis Jardaleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes, Alexander Gersmundo and now Chief Justice Teresita De Castro.

 

During the hearing, Lagman insisted that the magistrates committed an impeachable offense for not inhibiting from the proceedings of the quo warranto petition filed against former CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno despite them being vocal of their grudges against her, and also for bypassing Congressional power to impeach an impeachable official.

 

“The Supreme Court cannot be supreme in its errors, particularly in the malicious decision. There is always a way in getting account and that is through impeachment,” Lagman argued.

 

On the other hand, several lawmakers opposed Lagman’s argument citing that the magistrates acted only as mandated by their judicial duties.

 

“The justices of the Supreme Court were duty bound to decide on the petition. Their fidelity of to their judicial duty is not an impeachable offense simply because none disagreed with their decision,” said Angkla Party-list Rep. Jess Manalo.

 

Cavite representative Strike Revilla said there is no reason to punish the magistrates while Rep. Henry Oamenal of Misamis Occidental said, “If the complaint would succeed then there would be no quorum in the Supreme Court.”

 

But according to House rules, the House Committee’s decision can still be contested and reversed if the complaint obtains 1/3 of the votes in the Lower House. 

 

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MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed frustration over continuing corruption in government as he floated again the possibility of stepping down, with four years more left in his term.

 

Duterte revealed in a speech before business leaders in Malacanang that he had told the police and military that he was considering stepping down because he was already tired.

 

“Sinabi ko sa mga sundalo at sa mga pulis: Guys, I want you to know that I am thinking of stepping down because I’m tired,” Duterte said.

 

“I am not angry [with] anybody. My chase against graft and corruption seems to be endless, and it has contaminated almost all government departments and offices,” Duterte added.

 

Duterte made the disclosure after he sacked a general and 20 military officials, including top officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), over alleged corruption activities such as anomalous and ghost projects at the V. Luna Medical Center in Quezon City.

 

In the same event, Duterte approved the dismissal of a military official, Major Hector Marana, who had been court-martialed for the malversation of P15 million in allowances of cadets at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

 

A week earlier, he dismissed the entire board of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation for anomalous lease contract of a Manila Bay reclamation area property for 70 years to a Hong Kong-based company planning a casino resort there.

 

Duterte cited continuing corruption in government despite his campaign against it as a reason for his thinking of stepping down.

 

“My chase against graft and corruption seems to be endless and it has contaminated almost all government departments and offices,” he said.

 

 Duterte’s statement actually was a repeat of similar announcement in the past.

 

He has previously said that the police and military are free to seize power from him if they deem him no longer capable of leading the nation.

 

The President had also said he would step down if he succeeds in shepherding the country towards federalism.

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QUEZON CITY – “The war against illegal drugs is far from over.”

 

 

President Rodrigo R. Duterte stressed this in his third and shortest State of the Nation Address (SONA) as he vowed that his administration's drug war will be “as relentless and chilling” as it was the day it began.

 

“Let me begin by putting it bluntly: the war against illegal drugs is far from over. Where before, the war resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs worth millions of pesos, today, they run [into] billions in peso value,” Duterte said in his opening statements before the joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives at the Batasan Pambansa Complex.

 

Duterte said he could only “shudder” at the harm that illegal drugs have caused Filipinos throughout the country, noting that this was the very reason why the drug war will not be set aside. “Instead, it will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as on the day it began,” he stressed.

 

He said drug dealers know the consequences of their criminal acts but still resisted arrest. At the same time, he also hit human rights advocates and church leaders for criticizing his drug war.

 

Despite protests against the drug war, Duterte said it could not dissuade him from continuing his fight against shabu, cocaine, cannabis, heroine, and other illegal drugs.

 

“If you think that I can be dissuaded from continuing this fight because of [your] demonstrations, your protests, which I find, by the way, misdirected, then you got it all wrong.

 

“Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives. You worry about the present; I am concerned [about] both the present and the future. I worry about the future because I know what crimes can do to the youth of this country. If not stopped, crimes can make human cesspools of succeeding generations. I will not allow it to happen. Not during my term,” Duterte said.

 

The President's call came as a Pulse Asia survey showed almost seven out of 10 Filipinos believe that the eradication of illegal drugs is the most important accomplishment of the Duterte administration in the first two years of his term.

 

The survey, which was conducted from 15 to 21 June, revealed at least 69 percent of the 1,800 respondents considering the President’s anti-drug campaign as the most important achievement of the administration, while fighting criminality came in as second with 50 percent.

 

Duterte also assured Filipinos the government would intensify its campaign against irresponsible mining nationwide to further protect the environment, so future generations can benefit from the country's natural wealth.

 

The President warned about implementing stricter environmental protection policies, including prohibiting open-pit mining.

 

Duterte, at the same time, called on local government units (LGUs) nationwide to prevent environmental degradation in their areas like what happened to top tourist destination Boracay Island in Aklan province.

 

"I urge LGUs to pro-actively enforce our laws and not wait for us to swoop down on your areas just to do your duty and work," the President said. 

 

He raised the challenge among the LGUs, citing that the environmental degradation in Boracay reflects the government's negligence in law enforcement in the locality.

 

The environment provides water, food, and other necessities people need to survive, so enforcing laws protecting this is essential, he stressed.

 

"Environmental protection and ensuring needs of the people can't be over-emphasized," he said.

 

The government has closed down Boracay Island for six months beginning April 26 this year to hasten the cleanup and rehabilitation work in the world-famous Philippine beach resort.

 

Miners, he stressed, must radically improve the way they manage their operations and rehabilitate the areas where they mine.

 

"To the mining industry, I say this again and maybe for the last time: Do not destroy the environment or compromise our resources," he warned.

 

The President said the revenue that mining brings the government doesn't justify the environmental destruction from irresponsible mineral extraction.


"Don't just give me taxes. I can get these from other sources," he said, referring to the miners. "But give me what needs to be given to my countrymen."

 

All Filipinos must benefit from the country's minerals, he noted.

 

Duterte said irresponsible mining is destroying even the country's aquatic resources, compromising the availability of water and food.

 

"You can no longer fish in rivers, as these are contaminated," he noted, citing one impact of mine waste's flow into the water bodies.

 

Also in his SONA, Duterte renewed his vow to end corruption within government describing it as “a leech that it bleeds the government of funds programmed for its infrastructure and other social development projects.”

 

The President acknowledged that he dismissed several government officials including friends and political supporters, adding that although he valued friendships, “it has its limits.”

 

Meanwhile, he urged officials to cut red-tape within their agencies and make government services “truly customer friendly.”

 

“Our people deserve efficient, effective, and responsive government services. They deserve nothing less,” he added.

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MANILA – All investments, except casinos, are still welcome in Boracay, Malacañang said, insisting that President Rodrigo R. Duterte will not allow the construction of a gambling establishment in the top tourist destination.

 

“I think what the President said is that he will not allow casinos. All other investments are otherwise welcome into Boracay,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

 

Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group and its Filipino partner, AB Leisure Exponent Inc., earlier revealed a plan to build a USD500-million integrated resort-casino complex on a 23-hectare property in Barangay Manoc-Manoc on Boracay Island. Roque explained that Duterte “does not like” casinos because they encouraged certain types of gambling activities.

 

“The President does not like casinos as a matter of public policy. It is contrary to good morals. It encourages a vice, which is gambling,” Roque said.

 

Earlier, Roque warned private corporations from proceeding with construction of establishments despite the President’s firm belief that Boracay Island is a forestal and agriculture area.

 

“I don’t think any private entity should test the political will of the President on the issue of casinos in Boracay. The President has said no, and I would hope they would respect that as part of Executive power,” Roque said.

 

Despite a private entity being given a provisional license to proceed with construction, Roque described the license as “conditional” and “provisional.”

 

“It is subject to the happening of conditions which will never be fulfilled because the President has said he will not allow it,” Roque said.

 

On July 4, Duterte said that he is eyeing the creation of a committee that will identify the land owners of Boracay Island, which is currently undergoing rehabilitation.

 

Yang (That) Boracay, sinasabi ko (I’m telling you), allow government to clean it. And after that, I will return Boracay to its rightful owners,” Duterte said in an earlier speech.

 

“Now the problem is how to determine who owns what. There has to be a committee to be fair to everybody. From the local government then from the origins of any title there,” he added.

 

Upon Duterte’s orders, the government closed Boracay to tourists on April 26. It is set to re-open on October 26. 

 

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MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte is in favor of same-sex civil union, even as the Supreme Court tackles the constitutionality of same-sex marriage in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte favors same-sex civil union since it will allow same-sex couples to get the same benefits accorded to heterosexual couples.

 

“Kung same-sex marriage, pati si presidente tutol. Pero ang (same-sex) union, pabor dyan si presidente para maayos ang ibat ibang aspeto ng pagsamama ng magka-parehong kasarinlan,” Roque said in a press briefing in Maasin, Southern Leyte.


“Even the President is part of the majority in opposing the same sex marriage,” Roque said reporters in a press briefing. 

 

The Catholic Church has long opposed same-sex marriage in the Philippines, the bastion of Catholicism in Asia, where roughly 80 percent of its 100 million people subscribe to the faith.

 

“Now, I don’t think the current challenge in the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of Article 1 of the Family Code, defining a marriage as between a man and a woman will actually succeed on the basis of the oral arguments conducted,” Roque, inciting the proposed House Bill 6595 or Civil Partnership Act.

 

“I have a strong feeling that this bill will not pass the Supreme Court. But I could be wrong,” Roque said.

 

Roque gave this statement in reaction to a Social Weather Stations survey stating that at least 61 percent of Filipinos said they would oppose a bill that would legalize same-sex “civil union” in the country.

 

 House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez sponsored a bill allowing same-sex civil union in the country.

 

Proponents of same-sex civil union, including Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, said they opted not to call the process a “marriage” because it has religious connotations which will certainly earn the ire of religious institutions and conservatives.

 

During the oral arguments at the high court on same-sex marriage, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said same-sex civil union is constitutional, as it is based on the constitutional right to freedom of association.

 

Carpio noted the Constitution allows two people of the same sex to enter into an agreement regarding property.

 

Lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, who described himself in the pleading as “an open and self-identified homosexual,” is urging the high court to declare as unconstitutional Articles 1 and 2 of Executive Order (EO) No. 209, the Family Code of the Philippines, which “define and limit marriage as between man and woman.”

 

Falcis argued that the assailed provisions in EO No. 209 violate homosexuals’ right “to found a family” as protected under Section 3 (1) of the 1987 Constitution.

 

He also said these provisions “deprive [him] and other homosexuals the right to liberty without substantive due process of law” and “deny them the equal protection of the laws.”

 

He further argued that the subject provisions cause lesbian and gay Filipinos to be “relegated to 2nd class citizens.”

 

Roque said based on the developments in the oral arguments at the high court, the petition will be dismissed.

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(Photo from ABS-CBN News)

 

TANAUAN CITY, Batangas — Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili who was known for ordering suspected criminals to take "walks of shame" in the city streets and was also originally linked to illegal drugs, was shot dead Monday morning (July 2) while attending the city hall's flag raising ceremony.

 

Police said an unidentified gunman shot Halili in the chest. The mayor was declared dead on arrival at the CP Reyes Medical Center where he was rushed, according to Calabarzon police director Chief Supt. Edward Carranza.

 

The gunman may have been positioned in some bushes 150 meters away from the city hall but others theorized the killer may have fired from the City Hall, said Carranza.

 

Carranza, Calabarzon police director, said no other person was hurt in the shooting.

 

Authorities estimate that the killer was believed to have used a sniper rifle.

 

Malacañang immediately denounced Halili's killing and promised to bring the gunman to justice.

 

Halili was wearing a black suit and a pair of blue jeans during the flag raising ceremony when he was shot.

 

"Kinokendena po natin itong pagpatay kay Mayor Halili... Sa pamilya at sa mga constituents ni Mayor Halili, bibigyan natin sila ng katarungan. Iimbestigahan, lilitisin ang mga tao na nasa likod ng pagpatay kay mayor (We condemn the killing of Mayor Halili. We will give justice to the family and constituents of Mayor Halili. We will investigate and try the people behind the mayor's killing.)," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

 

Roque, however, would not comment on Halili's alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade, saying the government's priority is to give justice to the slain mayor's family and his constituents.

 

"Sa ngayon po siguro makikiramay muna kami sa pamilya ng napaslang na Mayor Halili. Saka na po natin pag-usapan 'yan. May mga panahon po dapat pag-usapan 'yan. Ngayon po'y panahon ng pagdadalamhati at pagbibigay ng pakikiramay," the Palace spokesman said.

 

“Apparently, tinarget po s’ya [Apparently, he was targeted],” said Gerry Laresma, Tanauan information officer.

 

Halili made headlines in 2016 when he paraded suspected drug criminals in public.

 

He, however, was included on the list of high-value drug targets of the police and subjected to "Oplan Tokhang." Halili had denied the allegation that he was involved in narcotics.

 

In 2017, he lost supervision over the police, along with other officials accused of dabbling with the narcotics trade.

 

A Facebook Live video by Gerry Yson Laresma, Tanauan City Information Officer, showed Halili standing with other city officials while the national anthem was being played when a gunshot was heard.

 

The National Police Commission (Napolcom), in an October 30, 2017 resolution, included Halili in the list of five Southern Tagalog mayors whose operational supervision and control over the police were revoked because of their supposed link to narcotics.

 

The mayor, who paraded in public suspected thieves and drug pushers in his town and was known as the “Duterte of Batangas,” denied the allegation, saying politics was behind Napolcom’s move.

 

“I am ready to pay one million pesos to this police intelligence officer behind this report linking me to illegal drugs and I will resign as mayor if this report can be supported by evidence,” Halili said during a media forum in November 2017.

 

In an interview in July 2015, Halili said he admired then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership.

 

Natutuwa kami sa nakita namin sa Davao; may natutunan kami although ‘yong ginagawa nila do’n ginagawa na rin (naman) namin sa Tanauan [We are happy with what we saw in Davao; we learned a few things, but there are policies that we saw there that we have already been implementing in our city],” he said.

 

Halili won the 2010 and 2013 mayoral polls under the banner of the Nationalist People’s Coalition. He won his third term during the 2016 elections under the Liberal Party.

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Sandiganbayan junks bail plea of Enrile's former chief of staff

 

(Photo from ABS-CBN News)

 

QUEZON CITY — The Sandiganbayan has denied the bail petition of plunder accused lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, chief of staff of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, citing the existence of strong evidence against her.

 

The decision stressed there is no reason to release Reyes on bail in light of solid evidence against her based on the documents and the testimonies of prosecution witnesses that were presented during the bail hearing which reportedly angered Enrile.

 

In a television interview, Enrile,  94, reportedly cursed after hearing the anti-graft court's decision.

 

"What kind of justice do we have in this country. Sayang lang 'yung ginawa namin nang magrebolusyon kami para tumino 'yung bansa na ito. P*tang *na," the former lawmaker said referring to the 1986 People Power Revolution.

 

Enrile insisted that his former aide is innocent, and added some of those accusing them have already changed their stories, according to an ABS-CBN report. 

 

"I think that is an unfortunate decision because Atty. Gigi Reyes is innocent of the charges against her. The charges that were filed against us are all based on fabricated evidence," he said

 

“Since plunder is a capital offense, the grant of bail is therefore discretionary and not a matter of right. In view of the foregoing, this Court finds the evidence against accused-movant Reyes to be strong,” stated the Sandiganbayan third division ruling penned by Associate Justice Bernelito R. Fernandez with Presiding Justice Amparo M. Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Sarah Jane T. Fernandez concurring.

 

Reyes is accused of conspiring and facilitating with Enrile, alleged pork barrel scam mastermind and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and long-time Napoles employees Ronald John Lim and Raymund de Asis in allegedly defrauding the government of P172,834,500 representing kickbacks siphoned off from the senator’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

 

Enrile was released temporarily from detention by the Supreme Court on humanitarian grounds.

 

The anti-graft court rejected the argument of Reyes that the testimonies of whistleblowers Marina Sula, Merline Suñas, Benhur Luy, and Ruby Tuason as well as that of Commission on Audit (CoA) Director Susan Garcia were weak to determine her alleged participation in the plunder case.

 

The ruling stated the testimonies of the whistleblowers should be considered even if Luy, Sula, and Suñas acknowledged that they did not personally meet Reyes in relation to PDAF transactions.

 

“With the detailed testimonies of the whistleblowers on how the entire scheme took place and despite the extensive cross-examination conducted on them, their testimonies remain trustworthy,” said the ruling.

 

The magistrates said that the testimony of Tuason that she allegedly personally delivered kickbacks to Reyes damaged her defense.

 

“This Court …took exceptional note of her (Tuason’s) confirmations that she made deliveries of kickbacks to accused-movant Reyes in the years 2006 to 2009 and that she made these deliveries in coffee shops and restaurants and sometimes in the house of accused-movant Reyes,” stated the Sandigabayan.

 

“Since plunder is a capital offense, the grant of bail is therefore discretionary and not a matter of right. In view of the foregoing, this Court finds the evidence against accused-movant Reyes to be strong,” the anti-graft division stated.

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