Only NBI investigates PDEA-PNP shootout—PRRD

PRRD: Only NBI investigates PDEA-PNP shootout | Juan Manila

MANILA — Only the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) can investigate the matter of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shootout that left four persons dead, orders President Rodrigo Duterte.

In the same vein, the president also ordered both the PDEA and the PNP to cease their joint probe.

“This is to ensure impartiality on the Quezon City shootout incident,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says.

Having lost two policemen, a PDEA agent, and an informant, in the shootout both agencies earlier agreed to conduct a joint probe with the NBI doing its parallel inquiry. With the president’s order, the NBI will do it on its own.

What is known so far?

That operatives of the PDEA and the PNP clashed Wednesday outside the Ever Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City;

That said encounter was first described as a “misencounter” but both PDEA director-general Wilkins Villanueva and PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas dismissed the term;

That both leadership, Villanueva and Sinas, have asserted there was coordination between their personnel, that they expected the supposed joint investigation to unravel more facts, and that conclusions could not be drawn just as yet without seeing the big picture;

That the possibility that the drug ring might have played them, although it was too early to dwell on it, as it had happened in the past, was what they were trying to avoid;

That both leaders did not disclose who the target of the operation was; neither did they mention any whereabouts of the drug bust money, the actual drugs in the operation, nor had there been any exchange that occurred;

That both agency heads affirmed the legitimacy of their respective operations and assured the public there would be no cover-ups as all angles will be looked into; and

That they have deflected questions from reporters and urged the public to let the investigation run its course.

Initial reports say

An earlier police report, that Sinas rejected, indicated that the Quezon City police conducted a buy-bust operation, but were unaware that they were transacting with PDEA agents. It added that PDEA agents first fired at police, which left cops with no option but to fight back.

Meanwhile, a separate investigation into the incident is set on Monday at the House of Representatives. (JSM/JuanManila)

Guevarra informs UN, anti-drug ops failed to follow standard protocol

Guevarra informs UN, anti-drug ops failed to follow standard protocol | Juan Manila

MANILA — Preliminary findings confirm that most cases related to the conduct of anti-drug operations in the Government’s war against drugs failed to follow standard protocol. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra  informs the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) how that standard protocol was not followed in many anti-narcotics operations where there had been deaths.

“Our initial and preliminary findings confirm that in many of these cases, law enforcement agents asserted that the subject of the anti-drug operations resisted arrest or attempted to draw a weapon and fight back. Yet no full examination of the weapon recovered was conducted, no verification of its ownership undertaken and no request for ballistic examination or paraffin test was pursued until its completion,” Guevarra said before the 46th Human Rights Council Session of the UNHRC Wednesday.

“In more than half of the records reviewed, the law enforcement agents involved failed to follow standard protocols pertaining to coordination with other agencies and processing of the crime scene,” he said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has been informed of the review panel’s initial findings. In turn, the PNP told them that their Internal Affairs Service (IAS) investigated thousands of these incidents and scores of police officers had been recommended for administrative and criminal action.

The review panel referred to gathered information from Bulacan, including San Jose del Monte City; Pampanga, including Angeles City; Cavite, including Bacoor City, and parts of the National Capital Region (NCR).


A functioning legal system

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque says that Guevarra’s admission before the UNHRC only demonstrates the legal system still works.

“That proves that our domestic legal system is working and there is no need for other institutions to intervene. Let us give our legal system a chance to function since we have transparency and open-mindedness on the part of no less than our secretary of justice,” Roque said.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes Guevarra’s statements and calls for the release of the panel’s full report.

“We appreciate that the Secretary of Justice declared that they will cooperate with us and committed to include us in the case buildup and evidence gathering in order to bridge victims of human rights violations with government,” says the CHR.


The UN Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council holds three regular sessions a year, for a total of at least ten weeks. These meetings take place in March (four weeks), June (three weeks) and September (three weeks).

If one third of the Member States requests so, the Human Rights Council can decide at any time to hold a special session to address human rights violations and emergencies. (JSM/JuanManila)

₱2.85-B released for FY 2018 Pension Differential of Retired MUPs

₱2.85-B released for FY 2018 Pension Differential | DBM Secretary Wendel Avisado | Juan Manila


MANILA — A total of 2.85 billion has been released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to several line agencies to cover the one month equivalent of the 2018 pension differential of retired military and uniformed personnel (MUP).

According to budget and management secretary Wendel Avisado, the initial release will benefit retired military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as well as retired uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NMRIA).

The estimated one month equivalent of the 2018 Pension Differential released to the agencies is allocated as follows:

AMOUNT (in thousand pesos)
Department of National Defense
Armed Forces of the Philippines 1,516,520
Department of the Interior and Local Government
Philippine National Police 1,207,222
Bureau of Fire Protection 91,669
Bureau of Jail Management and Penology 5,739
Department of Transportation
Philippine Coast Guard 28,004 28,004
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
National Mapping and Resource Information Authority 612
Grand Total 2,849,766

“The total requirement to cover the 2018 pension differential of retired MUPs amounts to ₱34.20 billion. This leaves a balance of ₱31.35 billion which is yet to be released subject to the availability of funds and in compliance with applicable rules and regulations,” Avisado clarifies.

“Rest assured that the Department will immediately evaluate and process all special budget requests after satisfying the requirements for the current regular pension and pension arrears as validated by the Commission on Audit,” he says.

It may be recalled that the Pension and Gratuity Fund (PGF) was significantly reduced to ₱152.9 billion from ₱172.9 billion when the General Appropriations Act was passed, affecting the release of the 2018 pension differential of retired MUPs.

“Hence, to ensure the continuous and up-to-date payment of pension, the DBM will continue to prioritize the release of current/regular pension requirements,” Avisado says.

As a final word, the budget chief said that the DBM is committed to fulfilling its mandate of promoting the efficient and effective management of the national budget to support its budget priorities while also ensuring that the needs of the Filipino people, especially of all military and uniformed personnel, are met. (JSM/JuanManila)