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.

‘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.


Locsin raises Sabah issue after Duterte wimped out over West Philippine Sea

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. raised the issue of Sabah in a tweet, saying “Sabah is not in Malaysia if you want to have anything to do with the Philippines.” The tweet came a few days after President Rodrigo Duterte declared his defeatist position over the issue of the West Philippine Sea in his fifth SONA.

In response, Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced that his office will summon Locsin over his tweet. “This is an irresponsible statement that affects bilateral ties. [The Malaysia Ministry of Foreign Affairs] will summon the Philippines Ambassador on Monday to explain. Sabah is, and will always be, part of Malaysia,” Hussein tweeted.

In a pre-SONA forum, Malaysia and the Philippines, along with Indonesia, entered into an agreement to safeguard their territorial rights in the West Philippine Sea. Malaysia, like the Philippines, is one of the countries that assert claims over the disputed waters. Locsin’s statement might affect the partnership between the two countries.

ABS-CBN among Duterte’s first agenda during fifth SONA

Despite claims from the Palace about President Rodrigo Duterte’s neutral stance over the franchise issue of ABS-CBN, he wasted no time in lambasting the TV network within the first five minutes of his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

According to Duterte, he is a “casualty” of the Lopezes, the family who owns and runs ABS-CBN which the Congress denied of a new 25-year franchise.

The president accused the Lopezes as “oligarchs” who utilize a “powerful tool” like the media in their “battle against political figures.”

Duterte has been repeatedly quoted with his statements against the network even before its franchise hearing in Congress, including his suggestion for the media giant to just sell the network and that he will see to it that ABS-CBN will be shut down.

Duterte pushes for death penalty at SONA

President Rodrigo Duterte pushed for the revival of the death penalty through lethal injection in his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“I reiterate the swift passage of the law reviving the death penalty by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” said Duterte.

The president has been loud in his call to resume the discussion on the death penalty a couple of times; focusing on drug trafficking and other heinous crimes as main cases for the grave sanction.

Likewise, Duterte put the reimposition of the death penalty in Congress’ list of priorities last year in his fourth SONA, noting that it was repealed due to the judicial process of the Philippines is either manipulated or bought for people’s convenience; it only favors the privileged.

The death penalty via lethal injection will be further deliberated.

Duterte reiterates his plea for COVID-19 vaccine to Xi Jinping at SONA

In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte shared his recent conversation with Chinese leader President Xi Jinping, reiterating his request to prioritize the Philippines once China develops a vaccine for COVID-19.

“Let me just mention it in passing that about four days ago, I made a plea to President Xi Jinping that if they have the vaccine, can they allow us to be one of the first, or if it’s needed, if we have to buy it, that we will be granted credit so that we can normalize as fast as possible,” said Duterte.

Duterte, however, did not mention Xi’s response. A day before SONA, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country surpassed the 80,000th mark. The president continued his speech, praising the health professionals, urging Congress to pass the Advanced Nursing Education Act, and mentioning the creation of the National Disease Prevention Management Authority in response to future outbreaks.

Support for Duterte slips away as more Filipinos expect lives to get worse in the next 12 months

Advocacy group Tindig Pilipinas foresees a decline in the number of President Rodrigo Duterte’s supporters after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed that 43% of Filipinos expect their lives to worsen in the next 12 months.

Tindig Pilipinas convenor Sylvia Claudio said the “slipping of support” for Duterte is due to his mishandling of several national issues, including the COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines. She added that the survey suggests that Filipinos disapprove the government’s actions against ABS-CBN.

Despite the current “political unrest,” Claudio stressed that Duterte might show a return of the “same controlling, harsh militaristic police measures that the President has been very fond of from day one in terms of meeting any crisis” in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

CHR, critics question DILG advisory vs SONA protests

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued an advisory urging local government units (LGUs) to ban and not allow rallies during President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The agency reminded the LGUs to comply with Resolution No. 57 of the the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) which states that all types of mass gatherings are prohibited under community quarantine including rallies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Critics, however, slammed the move, raising particular incidents in which Duterte’s known allies, like OWWA Deputy Administrator Mocha Uson, NCRPO Chief Debold Sinas, and Senator Bong Go, deliberately violated the prohibition on gatherings during the quarantine period but were not reprimanded.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also expressed concerns about the advisory, stressing that the Philippine National Police (PNP) already said that the current pandemic won’t be used as a reason to crackdown dissenters.