GMA News Online / News / Nation

Nov 242016

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the House of Representatives cannot dictate them over what to do with Sen. Leila de Lima, a News To Go report said Friday. 

This came after the House committee on justice issued a show cause order against De Lima, following the testimony of her former driver-bodyguard Ronnie Dayan and his daughter, Hannah Mae, saying the senator asked him to snub the House inquiry on the proliferation of drugs at the New Bilibid Prison, despite a subpoena issued against him. 

During the hearing, Rep. Harry Roque also called on the Senate to “remove” De Lima from office to “maintain the integrity of the institution.” 

In response, Pimentel was quoted as saying this is unrealistic. 

The requests should also be coursed through proper channels, he added. 

Earlier, De Lima’s partymates in the Senate rallied behind her, and said the House should recognize the inter-parliamentary courtesy. Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/KG, GMA News

Oct 132016
Canceled flights for Friday, Oct. 14, 2016

Airport authorities announced the cancellation on Friday morning of two domestic flights due to bad weather brought about by Storm Karen. In a post on its Twitter account, the Manila International Airport Authority indicated that the canceled flights were all from Cebu Pacific Air. Affected flights include: 5J 821 -Manila to Virac, Catanduanes 5J 822 – Virac to Manila Earlier this Friday, state weather bureau PAGASA raised Cyclone Warning Signal 2 over Catanduanes as Storm Karen intensified along its west-northwest track. In its 5 a.m. weather bulletin, PAGASA also said that Karen could dump moderate to heavy rainfall within its 400-km diameter. Citing all available data as of 4 a.m., PAGASA said Karen’ eye was at 335 km East of Virac, Catanduanes. Areas under Signal 1 include: Polillo Island, Southern Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, and Northern Samar —LBG, GMA News

Oct 032016
Senate hearings on killings 'suspended until further notice'

The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Monday evening suspended its hearings on its investigation into extrajudicial killings “until further notice.” Committee chairman Richard Gordon made the move following the pronouncements of members Alan Peter Cayetano and Manny Pacquiao. The hearings were scheduled to continue on Tueday, a day after the committee heard testimonies from alleged Davao Death Squad members for more than 12 hours. —JST, GMA News

Sep 232016
OFW beheaded in Abu Dhabi, buried in desert

An overseas Filipino worker was recently found beheaded and her body further buried in the desert in Abu Dhabi, JP Soriano reported on “24 Oras” on Friday. The victim was identified as Maria Normita De Lima while the suspect was identified as her nephew Glen Ambro. Police are looking at financial issues as the motive for the killing. De Lima reportedly tried to collect Ambro’s payment for a 10,000 dirham or P10,000 before the incident. Police reported that Ambro stabbed the victim inside his vehicle outside her residence before cutting off her hands and head. He threw the body of his aunt at Al Warqa’a before burning and burying the head and hands of De Lima at Ajman. De Lima’s husband, Police Inspector Salvio de Lima, believes the motive was plausible but called for a deeper investigation. “Yung sabi yung motibo is just a 10,000 dirham na sinisingil ng wife ko? Posible. Dun sa imbestigasyon, impressed na ako,” Salvio said. Na-recover yung ulo, na-recover yung ibang parte ng katawan,” he added. “I don’t care in what way nila ginather yun, basta na-recover ‘yun with the information coming from Glen,” he added. Ambro’s brother-in-law Raf Maclang and his other aunt Mary Jane defended him and claimed it was impossible for him to commit the crime. “Hindi kami naniniwala kasi sa ‘min na yun lumaki. Hindi pwedeng gumawa ng ganun kasi mababait ang mga anak ng kapatid ko,” Mary Jane said. “Hihintayin pa ba natin sir na maging biktima pa ang isang Read More …

Sep 202016
Neighbors say Matobato armed with rifle, boasted of Duterte ties 

Residents of Barangay Tagbaobo in Kaputian, Samal Island on Tuesday gave contrasting experiences with confessed Davao Death Squad gunman Edgar Matobato. According to a report on GMA 7 news program “24 Oras”, Matobato stayed in the barangay from the early 90s until early 2000s. GMA News visited Matobato’s former residence, but his ex-wife no longer lived there, while his in-laws declined to comment. Based on barangay records, Matobato was rarely involved in any incidents, though he was known to often carry a battle rifle. “May dala-dala siyang baril. May baril siya na M14 pero wala namang ginagawang masama,” barangay kagawad Mario Samedra said. Matobato’s former neighbor, Annabelle Cole, said he often referred to himself as a buddy of then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. “Ang pinalalabas niya CAFGU siya. Body-body daw siya ni Mayor [Duterte]. Tapos nag-research kami, kung totoong body-body siya ni mayor bakit palagi siyang nandito? Cole said. “Kung malasing siya nagpapaputok minsan,” she added. Kidnapping Meanwhile, another neighbor pointed to the residence of Sali Makdum, known as Eric to the locals, after hearing Makdum’s name during the Senate hearings. His neighbors said Makdum was a Saudi national who sold antiques and jewelry. Melchor Marquez, in-law of Makdum, said the Saudi was kidnapped in November 2000, but had been no progress on the case. “Pumunta kami ng NBI pero hindi naaksyunan kasi wala kaming witness kasi natatakot,” he said. As to whether Makdum was a terrorist, Marquez replied, “Hindi ako naniniwala.” Dump sites During the Senate hearings on Read More …

Sep 202016
Duterte had no hand in House probe on Bilibid drugs –Aguirre

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday denied that President Rodrigo Duterte had a hand in the congressional investigation on the alleged illegal drug operations inside the national penitentiary where Senator Leila de Lima was supposedly involved. “Hindi totoo ‘yung kanyang akusasyon na ginaganap itong House investigation na ito ay dahil sa utos ng ating Pangulong Duterte. Hindi po totoo ‘yun,” Aguirre said at a press briefing after Tuesday’s hearing by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Justice. “Ako mismo makapagsasabi na kahit minsan ako ay hindi kinausap ni Presidente Duterte na imbestigahan itong kanyang (De Lima) involvement sa illegal drug trade sa loob ng Bilibid,” he added. De Lima, a former Department of Justice secretary, denied the allegation and described the House hearing as a “sham inquiry.” The neophyte senator has been investigating the extrajudicial killings being linked to Duterte’s anti-drug war until she was voted out of the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Monday De Lima has been a staunch critic of Duterte ever since she was head of the Commission on Human Rights. Meanwhile, Aguirre chided De Lima for concluding that the testimonies of the witnesses would be all lies even without hearing them. “Kahit hindi pa niya naririnig, sinasabi na agad niya na ang mga testigong ito ay puro kasinungalingan at imbento lamang ang sasabihin,” he said. “Pero bago mo sabihin iyon, pakinggan mo muna kung ano ang sasabihin nung tao bago ka magsabi na kasinungalingan.” “Hindi maaaring sabihin mo Read More …

Sep 172016
Ex-police official denies drug links in several regions

A former ranking police official on Saturday denied President Rodrigo Duterte’s new allegation against him that he was involved in drug operations in several regions. “FYI (for your information), I was never assigned to Regions 1, 2, 3, and 4 or to any juicy position or command that deals with anti-drug operations from graduation in 1982 until my assignment with Regional Anti-Narcotics Unit 7 (RANU7) based in Cebu for two years from 2000 and 2001 only,” former police chief superintendent and now Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot said in a statement. The statement came after Duterte, during his visit at at the headquarters of the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division in Gamu, Isabela, mentioned that Loot’s name is “all over” the final report on the alleged involvement of government officials in illegal drugs. “Kagaya si Loot sa Region 1 nandiyan ang pangalan niya. General Loot nandyan sa Region 2, Region 3, Region 4. What does that mean? Whenever he was assigned he was into drugs, that is what it means,” the President said. Loot said that since 2007 until July 2015, he no longer held command positions that conducts anti- drugs or anti-criminality operations. “The last 7 years of my career was spent purely on units of admin positions and functions and none of any anti-criminality operations, hence, I cannot promise any drug personality of any protection because I don’t command any unit involved in anti criminality operations much more with drugs,” he said. “I was just unfortunate to have Read More …

Sep 162016
Villafuerte, Espino buck suspension by Sandiganbayan

Two congressmen facing trial for graft have opposed their suspension by the Sandiganbayan even as the House of Representatives has yet to implement the court’s order pending a decision by the rules committee. In two separate motions for reconsideration filed before the Sixth Division, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte and Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino Jr. asked for the reversal of the resolutions issued by the anti-graft court earlier this month ordering them to cease from performing their duties as public officials for 90 days. Villafuerte argued that placing him under preventive suspension would be a “futile exercise” since the proceedings are already at an advanced stage and the prosecution’s presentation of evidence is nearly complete. The lawmaker, who is accused of graft over the alleged anomalous P20-million fuel purchase he supposedly made as governor, said he cannot possibly intimidate witnesses or tamper with evidence by his continued stay in office since he no longer works in Camarines Sur but at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City. “It is a matter of record that at no point has accused Villafuerte ever interfered with or impeded the proceedings of the instant case,” he motion read. Villafuerte said the House also has “ample and plenary powers” to discipline its members for disorderly conduct, and should thus be a sufficient deterrent to counter allegation that he would commit further wrongdoing while in office. For his part, Espino believes his suspension “is being used as a mere weapon” by his political enemies to unseat Read More …

Sep 122016
No impeach plot vs. Duterte, LP solons say

Minority congressmen belonging to the Liberal Party on Tuesday denied allegations that the former ruling party is plotting to impeach President Rodrigo Duterte. This was the assurance made by Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who belong to the eight-member group of minority lawmakers who call themselves “Legitimate Minority 8.” They issued the statement following Duterte’s accusation on Monday that “yellow” forces are trying to build a case against him for possible impeachment proceedings in connection with the killings related to his administration’s war against drugs.  “We can safely say that as far as Liberal Party members are concerned … we have not even talked about an impeachment,” Daza told reporters at a media briefing. “Under the Constitution, the process of impeachment begins at the House. But I am sure there has not been any talk of impeachment,” he added, saying LP members have the freedom and the right to disagree among themselves. Erice insisted despite their role to provide “checks and balances” in government, the minority remains to be “on the same boat” as President Duterte. “We are here in the House in a parliamentary struggle. But we do not wish for the impeachment of the President,” he said. The lawmaker appealed to Duterte to “appreciate that what we are doing here is for the country and the people.” While also denying any impeach plots, Lagman warned the tough-talking President that he could be inadvertently compromising himself through his recent Read More …

Aug 172016
Duterte promises anew to double salary of cops, soldiers by December

Despite repeated pronouncements by his budget chief that it is not possible, President Rodrigo Duterte once again promised 100 percent salary increases for men in uniform. Duterte made the vow at the 115th police service anniversary in Camp Crame. “I have increased your salaries. You are the first, double your present salary. By December, you have gotten the full,” he said. “And I included the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PDEA [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency]… working and gambling with your lives facing criminals,” he added. Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno had previously said that the raise for law enforcers cannot be fulfilled because there is nothing in the 2016 national budget that can be realigned to increase salaries. Duterte previously promised a pay raise for soldiers by August. Diokno had said this was not possible. Diokno added that adjusting the salaries and improving the pension system of uniformed men would be “a huge cost that we probably have to think very carefully.” —JST, GMA News