President Rodrigo Duterte has given the green light for the Philippine National Police to rejoin the war on drugs-- but not all cops can sign up for the job.

Piling pulis lang! Duterte says only patriotic young cops can join anti-drug task force

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President Rodrigo Duterte has given the green light for the Philippine National Police to rejoin the war on drugs– but not all cops can sign up for the job.

Duterte on Tuesday (February 28) said only young policemen who love the country and aren’t tainted by corruption can join the new task forces that will be created to go after drug lords and pushers.

“I have ordered Bato to recruit young men in the PNP who are imbued with the fervor of patriotism to be the members only of the mga task forces. Every station should have one pero ‘yung piling-pili, ‘yung walang mga kaso at walang history ng corruption,” the President said in an interview in Malacañang.

Asked if his statement meant the PNP’s anti-drug campaign, called “Oplan Tokhang,” has been revived, Duterte said: “I will leave it to the police to decide. If that is the best way to do it, fine.”

The President ordered the PNP to keep out of the war on drugs last January after some policemen were tagged in the abduction and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.

Duterte, however, said he had to call the PNP back to the drug war since he lacks manpower to tackle the drug problem given that he also had to deal with terrorism and communist insurgency.

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Gatchalian blasts ‘constant poor internet service’ of telcos

Three months after the President’s ultimatum to the telecommunications companies to improve their services, consumers continue to suffer from unreliable internet connectivity in the country, Senator Win Gatchalian said on Friday.

Add to this, he said, is the poor customer service afforded by telcos to its subscribers who lodge complaints over data concerns and deficient broadband services, among many others.

“To say that the public is not getting their money’s worth is an understatement. The lackadaisical attitude in the face of the subscribers’ problems is appalling especially at this time when we are all aware of the necessity of internet services in every household and commercial establishment in the country,” Gatchalian said.

He noted that in the case of Valenzuela City, residents had to seek the intervention of the local chief executive out of frustration just to have their internet connection fixed.

Despite reports that internet speed has seen improvements with the Philippines’ global ranking in mobile internet speed as of January 2021 moving up to the 86th spot from being in the 111th spot in the same period of 2020, Gatchalian said this significant improvement “does not seem to reflect marked changes in actual services to customers.”

Data from Ookla Speedtest Global Index, on the other hand, showed that the country’s fixed internet or fixed broadband global ranking remained at 100th.

Gatchalian said internet service providers (ISP) remain slow in addressing customer complaints as it would often take weeks and, in worse cases, even months before they could receive any feedback or appropriate services from the technical crew.

The social media pages of PLDT and Globe Telecoms have been flooded with complaints since last year over the slow response from network service personnel for the much-needed technical repairs.

“Sobrang haba na ng pisi ng mga tao. Hanggang kailan pa tayo magdurusa sa problema ng internet connectivity?” Gatchalian said.

“Baka naman nabakunahan na tayong lahat kontra Covid-19 tapos hindi pa natatapos ang problemang ito. Hindi katulad ng singil sa kuryente na maaring installment, ang mga subscrbers ng telcos ay buo ang binabayad. Sana suklian naman nila ang mga tao ng karampatang serbisyo,” he said.

DOJ forms 3-man prosecution team to handle cases vs PDEA, BOC over P1B shabu shipment

Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento has assigned a panel of prosecutors who will be handling the criminal complaint filed against Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Wilkins Villanueva and Bureau of Customs (BOC) Rey Leonardo Guerrero over the 2019 shipment of illegal drugs hidden among tapioca starch.

Malcontento said on Friday (March 5) the panel will be composed of three prosecutors who will be conducting the preliminary investigation of the complaint filed by National Bureau of Investigation-Task Force Anti-Illegal Drugs (NBI-TFAID) before the Department of Justice (DOJ) last Feb. 23.

They are Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rassendel Rex Gingoyon who heads the panel and Assistant State Prosecutors Mary Jane Sytat and Ethel Rea Suril.

In the complaint, the NBI-TFAID accused 21 persons including Villanueva and Guerrero of having violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Their co-respondents include former PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino and BOC Deputy Commission Raniel Ramiro.

The NBI also recommended that all 21 be administratively charged with grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Aside from these, the NBI also accused Aquino, Guerrero and Ramiro of violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Government Officials and should also administratively charged with serious dishonesty.

The NBI also named nine persons whom it recommended to be indicted for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2012 including two persons for violating the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The shipment arrived in Cambodia in January 2019 and was declared as tapioca starch. But it was later was found containing 171 kilos of shabu.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson back in 2019 questioned the decision of the PDEA and BOC to auction the shipment despite getting information that it contained illegal drugs.

Lacson did not believe the claims of the PDEA and the BOC that it was a controlled delivery and accused the agencies of allowing Chinese drug lord Jacky Co, who was behind the shipment, to leave the Philippines.

Para ‘di mapagod sa pila: Precious Castelo bats for early voting for senior citizens, PWD

Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo has filed a measure to include senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) to those who can cast their votes earlier than the scheduled day of election.

“It is safe to assume that the pandemic will still be here during the election period. Thus, it is important for Congress and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to take measures to help health authorities prevent the spread of COVID-19 among voters and the population in general,” said Castelo in House Bill 8756.

Castelo said senior citizens and PWDs, who are among the sectors most vulnerable to COVID-19 should be given the chance to cast their ballots without compromising their physical health and safety.

She called for expeditious action on her proposal, since the Comelec “is now in the thick of preparations for next year’s elections, which are just 14 months away, and the nation will soon be on election mode.”

Under the bill, the Comelec must schedule early voting for senior citizens and PWDs in pre-designated venues easily accessible to such voters within seven working days before the elections.

All senior citizens and PWDs who are registered voters shall qualify for early voting. However, the Comelec may undertake online pre-registration for the sole purpose of estimating the number of voters who want to avail themselves of advance voting.

Castelo said the Comelec can implement the same even to the succeeding elections.

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