President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to select who would replace General Oscar Albayalde as chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Duterte on Albayalde’s replacement: ‘I have to consult everybody’

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to select who would replace General Oscar Albayalde as chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Albayalde is set to retire on November 8.

“Not yet. ‘Yan ang mahirap. We have to — they call it vet. I have to consult everybody. Maya-maya madapa na naman tapos ako ang magkaroon ng problema,” said Duterte in a speech delivered in Davao.

Despite Albayalde’s alleged involvement in “ninja cops” issue, the Chief Executive said he continues to trust the police chief.

“Well, that he is still there. Otherwise, I would have you know just — I would have told him to just go out. Wala pa naman. Just give me a proof kasi abogado ako eh,” said Duterte.

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Yap admits bypassing Velasco over P20B budget cut in military pension fund

House Committee on Appropriations chair Eric Yap has admitted that he bypassed Speaker Lord Allan Velasco over close to P20-billion worth of budget cuts in the military’s gratuity and pension funds under the 2021 General Appropriations Act.

During his interpellation with Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, following the latter’s privilege speech, Yap revealed that he didn’t actually consult Velasco over the supposed slash budget being questioned by the former Environment secretary in this year’s national budget.

“Sa totoo lang po, eto po yung malaking… kaya po ako naku-kwestyon lagi dahil hindi ko po tinanong kay Speaker Velasco kung pwede po bang tanggalin ito. Ako po ay nag desisyon base sa tingin ko kung ano ang makakabuti para sambayanan,” said Yap, representative of ACT-CIS Party-list.

“Ngayon po, siguro kung na-bypass ko man si Speaker Velasco, pero I’m sure kaya ko ginawa ‘to para po sa ika-bubuti. Dahil kulang na rin po ang oras,” he added.

The DBM has proposed P172.9 billion for the pension and gratuity fund but Congress only approved P152 billion.

Yap stressed that he has no choice but to unilaterally realigned portions of the said pension funds for the country’s retired military and other uniform personnel, saying it may only prolong the process if he consulted the matter with other members of the House leadership, particularly with Velasco—who assumed the Speakership during the final phase of deliberations of the 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP).

“Mas minabuti ko pong hindi konsultahin si Speaker nung tinanggal ko ang gratuity at pension fund. Eto po yung sinasabi ko na may mga punto sa buhay na kailangan natin gumawa ng desisyon,” the neophyte solon explained.

For Yap, he only wanted to avert any delay which may have resulted in another reenacted budget scenario.

“Isa lang naman po ang gusto. Huwag tayo magkaroon ng reenacted budget kasi po two years na tayo nade-delay pagdating sa pagpirma ng Presidente,” he said.

Yap said most of the realigned funds were channeled to various government projects for the COVID pandemic.

But based on figures disclosed by Defensor during his speech, most of its chunks were reprogrammed to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) prior to President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of the budget bill last January. (CRD)

3 na patay! Makabayan bloc slams ‘tokhang style’ raids in Southern Luzon

By Billy Begas

Members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives condemned the tokhang-style simultaneous raids in the Southern Luzon region, which resulted in the death of three activists.

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate it was supposed to be a Sabbath Day, but government troops made it a bloodbath day.

“Ito ang gustong mangyari palagi ng gobyernong Duterte sa ilalim ng terror law, na araw-araw ay may madugong raid at pagtatanim ng ebidensya laban sa oposisyon at kritiko ng gobyerno. They already did this in Mindanao, Negros, Manila, Tacloban, Capiz, and, now Southern Tagalog, where an obvious pattern or modus operandi of Tokhang emerges,” said Zarate.

He said that activists will be initially red tagged and put under surveillance and harassment. “Last, their homes or offices would be raided, evidence planted on them or they would be killed.

According to Karapatan-Southern Tagalog in Laguna two labor leaders and a human rights worker were arrested. They claimed that authorities planted firearms and explosives on them.

In Rizal, two were killed and the house of two peasant leaders were raided.

In Cavite, the office of the Workers’ Assistance Center in Dasmarinas was also raided, where BAYAN Cavite coordinator Manny Asuncion was killed.

In Nasugbu, Batangas, a fisherfolk leader and two of his family members were arrested.

The house of Lino Baez of BAYAN-Batangas was peppered with bullets.

Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat also condemned the attacks.

Gaite said the incidents are the result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “kill, kill, kill” message.

“Just last Friday, Pres. Duterte in a speech in Cagayan de Oro told state forces to kill armed rebels. But, these forces do not distinguish between armed rebels or activists, they just kill then say ‘nanlaban’ then plant firearms and explosives,” said Gaite.

Cullamat urged Congress to investigate the rampant human rights violations under the Duterte administration.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said search warrants are being weaponized to crack down on activists, peasants, trade union organizers and human rights defenders.

“Walang katumbas na salita at galit ang sahol ng atake at inhustisya!” Elago added.

Inflation adjusted: House panel okays bill raising max deposit insurance coverage to P1M

By Billy Begas

The House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries has approved a measure that will empower the state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) to increase the maximum deposit insurance coverage (MDIC).

The committee deliberated on House Bill 5812 authored by Makati City Rep. Luis Campos to increase the deposit insurance coverage to P1 million from the current P500,000 that was pegged 12 years ago.

Instead of putting a cap on the insurance coverage, the committee chaired by Quirino Rep. Junie Cua instead opted to authorize the PDIC’s governing board to increase the MDIC “to an amount indexed to inflation and other economic indicators, subject to review and/or adjustment every three years.”

Campos said the committee’s proposal is better since the PDIC will now be allowed not just to initially raise the MDIC, but also periodically thereafter.

“This relieves Congress of having to worry about adjusting upward the MDIC every now and then to account for the general increase in prices,” Campos, a committee member,” said Campos.

The MDIC stood at P40,000 in 1984. Congress increased it to P100,000 in 1992, P250,000 in 2004 and P500,000 in 2009.

Banks pay for the compulsory insurance premiums to guarantee the MDIC.

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