Death penalty’s revival a disadvantage to the poor due to flawed justice system — Binay

Bringing back death penalty, as what President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), would all the more lead the public to think about death instead of focusing on the COVID-19 crisis, according to Senator Nancy Binay.

Binay explained that she is against reinstating death penalty since it will be a disadvantage to the poor given the country’s flawed justice system. She also called out the government’s lack of “sense of urgency” in addressing the health crisis, adding that the Duterte administration seems not feeling the “need to do something” about it.

In his speech, Duterte urged the Congress to bring back death penalty by lethal injection for illegal drug offenders. The president’s notorious war on drugs has been a topic for local and international human rights organizations since most of the alleged drug suspects were poor and became victims of extrajudicial killings.

Gov’t targets to conduct 2 million COVID-19 tests by August, outpace South Korea

Testing czar Vince Dizon confirmed that the government aims to reach two million COVID-19 tests by August, outpacing South Korea in the following weeks.

Dizon emphasized that the Philippines is on track to complete its target after conducting more than 33,000 tests a day in July, totaling to around 1.4 million tests as of July 26.

South Korea, which has an estimated population of over 51 million, has a record of 1,556,215 COVID-19 tests, as stated on its Ministry of Health and Welfare website. The East Asian country has 14,269 COVID-19 cases with 13,132 recoveries, and 300 deaths.

The Philippines, meanwhile, has 98,232 COVID-19 infections with 30,928 active cases, 65,265 recoveries, and 2,039 deaths.

SolGen Calida ranks 2nd highest-paid government official in 2019

Solicitor General Jose Calida ranked second-highest-paid government official in 2019, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in its latest report.

COA’s 2019 Report on Salaries and Allowances (ROSA) showed Calida was paid more than P16.952 million last year. He also rose to his current rank from previously ranking sixth in 2018.

Topping the list is former United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) president and CEO Higinio Macadaeg, Jr., who was paid P20.475 million.

Of the ten top earners, six are from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), three from the UCPB, and one from the Office of the Solicitor General.

TOP 10 HIGHEST PAID GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN 2019

1. Former UCPB Pres. and CEO Higinio Macadaeg Jr. – ₱20,475,205.79

2. Solicitor General Jose Calida – ₱16,952,843.27

3. BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno – ₱15,450,731.07

4. UCPB Exec. VP and Head of Treasury Banking Group Eulogio Catabran – ₱15,097,326.13

5. BSP Deputy Governor Maria Almasara Tuaño-Amador – ₱14,604,660.46

6. BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier – ₱14,595,150.67

7. BSP Senior Assistant Governor Dahlia Luna – ₱12,244,273.37

8. BSP Senior Assistant Governor Ma. Ramona Gertrudes Santiago – ₱12,179,712.23

9. Former UCPB Exec. VP and Head of Branch Banking Group Edmond Bernardo – ₱11,586,338.43

10. BSP General Counsel Elmore Capule – ₱11,421,290.17

The ROSA is an annual report that summarizes the total payments received by officials in government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCC), national government agencies, state universities and colleges, and standalone agencies.

This aims to “complement the continuing thrust of the government for transparency and accountability,” and summarize total payments and benefits officials received, the COA said.

‘No raid happened in Kadamay Bulacan’ — PNP

Philippine National Police (PNP) Central Luzon Director Brig. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia clarified that the confiscation of copies of the alternative news magazine Pinoy Weekly in Bulacan was not a raid.

“There was no raid. [The materials] were voluntarily surrendered to the police,” Sermonia said in a separate press briefing at Camp Olivas, the regional police headquarters in Pampanga province.

Lea Maralit, Kadamay chapter president in Pandi, asked for police assistance regarding the materials.

Sermonia said Maralit feared that they would be used during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte. The police chief said that Kadamay supports the government’s fight against insurgency.

PNP Chief Police Gen. Archie Gamboa stood by his men’s claim that the “subversive” materials they took were surrendered contrary to what was being passed around that police raided the Kadamay office in Bulacan.

 

Gov’t to give COVID-19 cash aid to more than 200,000 waitlisted PUV drivers

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) plans to include 217,170 public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers in the government’s waitlisted beneficiaries for COVID-19 cash aid.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said that 84,014 waitlisted beneficiaries from the National Capital Region (NCR) were already given cash subsidy under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

PUV drivers in Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and SOCCSKSARGEN have also received cash aid.

DSWD Spokesperson Irene Dumlao said this covers drivers of public utility jeepneys, buses, UV express, taxis, motorcycle taxis, Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS), and tricycles.

Bautista explained that 24,581 PUV drivers who received cash aid from other government programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino are excluded from the list. He added that about P795 million were allocated for 98,132 drivers in NCR in the first tranche.