todays top stories

Duterte pushes for death penalty anew by lethal injection

July 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines (MDN National News) — President Rodrigo Duterte during his state of the nation address (SONA) has pushed again for the revival of death penalty thru lethal injection.  But this time, the president has specified the death penalty is specially for drug related cases in the country, wherein despite of the pandemic and massive arrest made by law enforcers, still continued to exist. The President said during this fifth Sona at Batasang Pambansa: “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.” Duterte said reviving the death penalty will help instill fear among criminals involve in heinous crimes and drug trafficking.  The death penalty ended in 2006. According to Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) the country is among the 140 countries of the world that abolished or ended the death penalty law, either in practice or in law. Yet, President Duterte wants to reinstate capital punishment, citing among others, the proliferation of drug traffickers in the country due to very lenient laws. PAP has presented arguments in its website to support its position, citing among others: 1. Observations about the practice of capital punishment point to its discriminatory nature. In the Philippines, it is typically the poorer sector who get this ultimate penal sanction. The majority of those sentenced to die have incomes below minimum wage (FLAG, 2000), unable to afford the legal services to defend themselves in a long process (CHR, 2007). Poorer, less educated Filipinos would not have the intellectual preparedness to think through ways of defending themselves (Te, 1996). This places them at a serious disadvantage. 2. Judicial flaws compromise the validity of the death penalty. These may include incompetent counsel, inadequate investigatory services, or even outright police and prosecutorial violations of judicial procedures. In the Philippines, torture or ill treatment of suspects to coerce confessions or to implicate others is commonplace. Victims often fail to lodge complaints against the police due to intimidation, fear of reprisals, and lack of funds (Amnesty International, 2002). 3. History also points to gross misapplications of the death penalty law, with vulnerable individuals protected by Philippine law from capital punishment finding themselves on death row. In 2003, there were 7 children in death row along with adult convicts (Amnesty International, 2003). The year 2000 saw 5 persons aged 70 or over in death row (FLAG, 2000, cited in Amnesty International, 2002). These examples show that it is not always certain whether the right person is convicted and, in this light, the death penalty is too high a price to pay when innocent people are convicted.    

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Duterte to undergo swab test before SONA

July 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines (MDN National News) - A top-ranking official of the government revealed to the media that President Rodrigo Duterte is going to take the swab test on July 26, before his state of the nation address (SONA) on Monday. Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles confirmed this report on Saturday, July 25, to the media.  Prior to Nograles revelation of the president's swab test, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also announced to the media that Duterte will take the RT-PCR test. Nograles also said not only the president will undergo swab testing but also those invited to join the president's regular state of the nation address. The president, according to Nograles, want to physically deliver his Sona before a Congress' joint session that will be held at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City. Those official, Nograles said, who will test positive of the swab test or rapid test, will no longer be allowed to attend the Sona as a precautionary measure. Nograles said: “By any unforeseen circumstances, mukhang preparado naman ang Kongreso sa tanggap nila kay Pangulong Duterte para sa kanyang State of the Nation Address doon sa House of Representatives.” “Ang kaibahan nga lang, iilan lang ang makaka-attend. Iilang mga kongresista, piling pili. Pati ang mga senador, piling pili para magkakaroon talaga ng social distancing.” Meanwhile, Senator Vicente Sotto III in a radio interview said he will be attending physically at the Batasang Pambansa. The senator also confirmed the senators are scheduled to have their swab testing on Monday morning since the sona will be done in the afternoon.  "Yung ibang magpa-participate dapat. Lahat 'yun naka-sked bukas. Kaming senator naka-sked Monday ng umaga. Naka-sked uli kami ng PCR test sa Monday," the senator said adding that all senators will be in attendence, if all tested negative of the swab test. Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Koko Pimentel and Sonny Angara all tested positive of the deadly coronavirus disease in the past months.    ALSO READ: ZUBIRI TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS DISEASE SENATOR ANGARA POSITVE OF THE DEADLY VIRUS   

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Drilon claims Bantag can be axed as Bucor chief 

July 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines (MDN National News) Senator Franklin Drilon yesterday said Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) chief Gerald Bantag can be axed for his failure to report the deaths of 9 high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prisons. It has leaked on the media last week regarding the deaths of 21 prisoners who have reportedly died of the deadly coronavirus disease (covid-19). Surprisingly, 9 of those inmates who died were high-profile prisoners, including the controversial drug convict Jaybee Sebastian, who was instrumental in the imprisonment of Senator Leila de Lima. Other high-profile inmates who were also reported dead due to covid-19 include Frances Go, Amin Imam Boratong, Eugene Chua, Benjamin Marcelo, Sherwin Sanchez, Willy Yang, Shuli Zhang and Jimmy Hung Kin Sing. It was Sebastian who testified against De Lima, alleging that the senator was into drug trading inside the New Bilibid Prisons, during a congressional investigation. The woman senator was detained on drug charges for 3 years. De Lima denied these accusations.   High profile inmates who have reportedly died of covid-19, and who were just buried witout being autopsied, have created a cloud of doubt among the legislators in the Upper Chamber. In an interview with the media, Drilon said: “We lawyers have that principle in public offices, public officials are presumed to be performing their official functions. However, that presumption of the BuCor because of the record of past [irregularities] that we have unearthed in the Senate, like the sale of good conduct allowance, etc., this presumption or regularity in the performance of official duties cannot be maintained, because the people no longer have confidence in the officials of BuCor.”  PRESS BRIEFING During an earlier press briefing on Wednesday July 22, made by Bucor, it has released the death the high profile inmates' death certificates, whose deaths were all being tied to covid-19. In this briefing, the Bucor confirmed the 9 high profile detainees who reportedly died of the deadly coronavirus disease. All the 7 high profile inmates known as Shuli Zhang, Willy Yang, Sherwin Sanchez, Benjamin Marcelo, Francis Go, Eugene Ho Chua, and Amin Imam Boratong, except Jimmy Hung Kin Sing, who was only presented with a notice of death. Also during the briefing, Bucor's chief physician Dr Henry Fabro said that there was an incident that an infected personnel entered Building 14, a place designated for high profile inmates and drug lords. Fabro said: “There was a time po na may pumasok sa Building 14 na personnel na duty. Nagpositive po sila sa rapid test. Immediately, we quarantined them.”     

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Kapa founder Pastor Joel Apolinario arrested following deadly shootout with SWAT team

July 22, 2020

LINGIG, Surigao del Sur (MDN national News) - Founder Joel Apolinario of Kapa-Community Ministry International was arrested Tuesday morning in a remote beach resort in Lingig town, this province, following a deadly shootout with government troops, the police reported yesterday.  Police Major Rennel Serrano said goverment troops are serving a search warrant and warrant of arrest at the reported mansion of Apolinario in sitio Dahican, Barangay Handamayan in Lingig town, this province, after they received a tip that the KaPa (Kabus Padatoon) founder Joel Apolinario was spotted inside the mansion. The supposed serving of the search warrant and warrant of arrest to Pastor Apolinario, founder of an alleged Kapa investment scam, turned into a deadly exchange of bullets between the pastor's hired private army and the government's elite SWAT team. Two of Apolinario's hired goons were killed during the skirmishes and one was wounded but their identities are not accounted yet since the government is still in the process of searching for more evidence against the investment scam founder at presstime. Aside from Pastor Apolinario, 24 persons were also arrested by police authorities including children and the pastor's hired goons. About thirty high-calibered firearms were also recovered by the raiding police operatives.  Major Serrano said Pastor Apolinario has even deployed several snipers atop his house in which their presence in the vicinity was immediately known to the investment scheme leader. After the shootout, the police recovered “30 units M16 rifle, 2 units M4 rifle, 1 unit garand rifle, 3 units 60 caliber machine gun, 1 unit 50 caliber sniper rifle, 3 units caliber .22 rifle, 1 unit carbine, 1 unit shotgun, 2 units RPG, 5 units caliber .45 pistol and assorted ammunitions.” The said operation of government troops against Pastor Apolinario, according to Major Serrano, was a joint operation between the government's elite team and members of the Philippine Coast Guard. The operation was also based on syndicated estafa filed against Apolinario under criminal case number R-CDO-‎20-00706-CR issued by Judge Gil Bollozos, presiding judge of 10th Judicial Region, RTC Branch 21 in Cagayan de Oro City. No bailbond recommended for this case.      

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Probers: 'Person of interest' in Shanghai Bakery owner slay identified 

July 22, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A 'person of interest' is now identified and currently under investigation by police investigators in the businessman's slay last week in Barangay Canitoan, this city, police authorities reported. Bulua Police Station precinct commander Capt Mario Mantala, Jr. has confirmed to the media that a 'person of interest' in the killing of Shanghai Bakery owner Carlos Ong Lam,  is now identified and was already under investigation. But the Bulua Police chief said they cannot divulge at the moment all the pieces of evidence and information they got from the 'person of interest' while investigations are still ongoing. He said his office cannot divulge yet the motive of the killing pending investigations on the Lam murder case. Unidentified gunman shot the Chinese businessman at close range with four bullets while in his farm in sitio Looc, Barangay Canitoan, this city, which had caused the untimely demise of the businessman, a known owner of Shanghai Bakery, the oldest bakery and store in Cagayan de Oro. PROFESSIONAL HITMAN Earlier, a top official of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) told the media that the suspect in the businessman's slay is a professional hitman. Since he knew the whereabouts of Lam he should have conducted some planning before he executed his mandate of killing the businessman at his farm. Cocpo City Police Director Henry Dampal also told the media in an interview with a local radio station that the are currently studying several angles which could point them to the motive of killing the Shanghai Bakery owner. The victim was reported to be managing the cockpit arena in Opol town, some few kilometres from the city proper. But cockfighting afficionados were unison in saying that the businessman was very kind. They said "Boss Caloy" even lend money to those cockfight gamblers who had lost early while the cockfighting activity is ongoing at the Igpit Cockpit arena in Opol, Misamis Oriental.  The police are also calling on witnesses to come forward and provide them some details of the lone suspect, such as motorcycle plate number, and all other evidences which could help for the speedy resolution of the shooting incident that killed the businessman. BUSINESSMAN'S MURDER Shanghai Bakery owner Carlos "Caloy" Lam was shot dead in sitio Looc, Barangay Canitoan, in the afternoon of July 18, 2020, police authorities reported.  According to the Cagayan de Oro Police Office (COCPO) the motive of the shooting is not yet established and hot pursuit operation is now being conducted to arrest the motorcycle-riding suspect onboard a Yamaha XRM motorcycle.  It was learned from initial investigations that the 58-year-old businessman was with a Chinese friend and a cock handler when waylaid by motorcycle riding gunman along Holy Infant Jesus Subdivision in Sitio Looc, Barangay Canitoan, this city. A few minutes later, operatives of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) arrived at the crime scene and processed the area to gather evidence and probe further the entry and exit points of the bullets that caused the businessman's untimely demise. Initial investigations disclosed that the lone gunman suddenly appeared from the scene when the victim parked his silver Toyota Pick Up and in the process of downloading five fighting cocks they brought from Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. The businessman is raising fighting cocks in his huge farm, it was learned. The lone gunman, armed with still undetermined short firearm, reportedly knocked at the window on the driver seat where the businessman was setting, and without provocation peppered Lam with four bullets. Responding team of the Oro Rescue team tried to help but the businessman but he died on the spot due to four gunshots fired at him pointblank, prompting his two companions to jumped off from the vehicle and scampered to safety. The Chinese businessman has a big farm in zone 4, Sitio Looc in Barangay Canitoan. He and his 2 companions came from Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, had a lunch in Barangay Iponan and reportedly proceeded to his farm in Sitio Looc where he was shot dead by a lone gunman.  One of this two friends, who were with him, was also hit by the bullet but escaped and survive the ambush including his cock handler. COCPO police chief Henry Dampal also arrived at the crime scene and led his men in conducting thorough investigation. Friends and patrons of Shanghai Bakery and even his employees were shocked upon learning of the shooting incident. They all said that the Chinese businessman was among the best and good employers in the city.  Shanghai Bakery is one of the oldest bakery and business establishments in the city. They offer an array of baked products, loaf bread and all other items.  

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Arrested Kapa leader Pastor Joel Apolinario, wife and goons presented to PNP Chief Gamboa

July 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines (National News) Kapa Founder Ptr Joel Apolinario, his wife, and private army, who were arrested Tuesday morning in Lingig town, Surigao del Sur, after heavy exchange of bullets, is presented today to PNP Chief Archie Gamboa. All of the arrested private army of Pastor Apolionario, including himself and wife Reyna, were dressed with orange showing they are now inmates when presented to the PNP Chief. Close to fifty high-powered firearms, handheld radios, ammunitions, PNP and military uniforms, were also presented to Gamboa and Caraga Police RD Bgen Joselito Esquivel Jr. High powered firearms, ammunitions PNP and military uniforms and handheld radios were confiscated. Those firearms include “30 units M16 rifle, 2 units M4 rifle, 1 unit garand rifle, 3 units 60 caliber machine gun, 1 unit 50 caliber sniper rifle, 3 units caliber .22 rifle, 1 unit carbine, 1 unit shotgun, 2 units RPG, 5 units caliber .45 pistol and assorted ammunitions.” PNP Chief Gamboa, who is only online, lauded the outstanding efforts made by the police in Caraga who conducted the raid with the help of the Philippine Coastguard.  About 200 members of the PNP, SWAT team and the Philippine Coastguard swooped down at the Kapa founder's hideout and engaged with Apolinario's private armed group. Meanwhile, Caraga PNP Regional Director Bgen Joselito Esquivel Jr told the media during a press briefing that he is going to look into allegations that some of Apolinario's goons are PNP members.    ARREST OF THE KAPA FOUNDER  Founder Joel Apolinario of Kapa-Community Ministry International was arrested Tuesday morning in a remote beach resort in Lingig town, this province, following a deadly shootout with government troops, the police reported yesterday.  Police Major Rennel Serrano said goverment troops are serving a search warrant at the reported mansion of Apolinario in sitio Dahican, Barangay Handamayan in Lingig town, this province, after they received a tip that the KaPa (Kabus Padatoon) founder Joel Apolinario was spotted inside the mansion. The supposed serving of the search warrant and warrant of arrest to Pastor Apolinario, founder of an alleged Kapa investment scam, turned into a deadly exchange of bullets between the pastor's hired private army and the government's elite SWAT team. Two of Apolinario's hired goons were killed during the skirmishes and one was wounded but their identities are not accounted yet since the government is still in the process of searching for more evidence against the investment scam founder at presstime. Aside from Pastor Apolinario, 24 persons were also arrested by police authorities including the pastor's hired goons. About thirty high-calibered firearms were also recovered by the raiding police operatives.  Major Serrano said Pastor Apolinario has even deployed several snipers atop his house in which their presence in the vicinity was immediately known to the investment scheme leader. After the shootout, the police recovered “30 units M16 rifle, 2 units M4 rifle, 1 unit garand rifle, 3 units 60 caliber machine gun, 1 unit 50 caliber sniper rifle, 3 units caliber .22 rifle, 1 unit carbine, 1 unit shotgun, 2 units RPG, 5 units caliber .45 pistol and assorted ammunitions.” The said operation of government troops against Pastor Apolinario, according to Major Serrano, was a joint operation between the government's elite team and members of the Philippine Coast Guard. The operation was also based on syndicated estafa filed against Apolinario under criminal case number R-CDO-‎20-00706-CR issued by Judge Gil Bollozos, presiding judge of 10th Judicial Region, RTC Branch 21 in Cagayan de Oro City. No bailbond recommended for this case.    

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