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Tag Archives: illegal drugs

Ilonggo solons not (yet) rubber stamps

“Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life.”
–Donald Rumsfeld

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Even members of the Iloilo City Council are getting annoyed and embarrassed that Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has become the most favorite punching bag of President Rodrigo Duterte each time the president unleashed his irascible wrath against some Liberal Party (LP) bigwigs.
So alarmed and disturbed were the city aldermen and women that they are now willing to help Mabilog collate the city government’s programs and/or accomplishments against illegal drugs and make a common stand.
They, too, must be hurting while seeing Mabilog reeling from absurd allegations that the city mayor, ranked No. 5 in the World Mayor two years ago, is a protector of merchants of prohibited substance.
Guided by an impermeable moral compass, the city councilors, led by Vice Mayor Jose III Espinosa, must have felt they could no longer afford to sit down and act like kibitzers while Mabilog was being pounded from pillar to post by a heavy bone-crusher.

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We still have faith with our representatives from Western Visayas in the Philippines even if their independence was recently subjected into a microscopic sleuthing by some of impatient constituents who thought their unanimous yes votes for death penalty was a tell tale sign of their implied subservience to the Duterte administration.
As if their acid test was not enough, our congressmen and women will again be tested in at least two major issues that will soon be tackled in congress: the impeachment cases versus President Rodrigo Duterte (already filed) and Vice President Leni Robredo (still being floated).
If they reject both impeachment cases (granting that an impeachment case will be officially filed against Robredo), their constituents will never badger them. Life must go on.
Ilonggos are known to always decry any attempt to destabilize the incumbent administration. If any of the two–Duterte and Robredo–will be removed from office, a power vacuum can’t guarantee a sustained or immediate political and economic instability.

NORMAL

If government is on wobbly legs, life for Filipinos will not be normal.
Nobody would want to have this kind of environment especially if our priority is to provide our children with three square meals a day and send them to school.
If our solons will reject one impeachment and support another, their constituents will suspect that they are playing political favorites and are not taking their mandates seriously.
The Ilonggo constituents will be watching you, Reps. Sharon Garin (Ang Asosasyon Sang Manguguma Nga Bisaya-OWA Mangunguma Inc.); Atty. Jerry Trenas (Iloilo City); Richard Garin (Iloilo, 1st District); Arcadio Gorriceta (Iloilo, 2nd District); Atty. Arthur Defensor Jr. (Iloilo, 3rd District); Dr. Ferjenel Biron (Iloilo, 4th District); Raul Tupas (Iloilo, 5th District); and Maria Lucille Nava (Guimaras).

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Duterte appoints new Iloilo, Negros judges

“I love judges, and I love courts. They are my ideals, that typify on earth what we shall meet hereafter in heaven under a just God.”
–William Howard Taft

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — If I were House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, I would refrain from further humiliating detained Senator Leila De Lima.
In his most recent media conference, the former cabinet official of then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo lambasted De Lima calling her as the “No. 1 drug lord in the Philippines.”
True or not, in our culture we don’t kick somebody who is already down. Especially a woman.
We never heard the same level of vitriol and angry words from past speakers like Nicanor Yñiguez, Ramon Mitra Jr., Jose De Venecia, Arnulfo Fuentebella, and Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

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President Duterte has appointed the following judges for the islands of Panay and Negros:
-Daniel Antonio Gerardo S. Amular (RTC Branch 35, Iloilo City);
-Oscar Leo S. Billena (RTC Branch 70 Barotac Viejo, Iloilo);
-Jose E. Mauricio E. Gomez (RTC Branch 71 Barotac Viejo, Iloilo);
-Nelita Jesusa Arboleda-Bacaling (RTC Branch 72 Guimbal, Iloilo);
-Gemalyn Faunillo-Tarol (RTC Branch 76, Janiuay, Iloilo);
-Ernesto L. Abijay, Jr. (RTC Branch 10 San Jose, Antique);
-Josefina Fulo-Muego (RTC Branch 13 Culasi, Antique);
-Phoebe A. Gargantiel-Balbin (RTC Branch 45 Bacolod City, Negros Occidental);
-Edwin B. Gomez (RTC Branch 77 Sipalay City, Negros Occidental);
-Gwendolyn I. Jimenea-Tiu (RTC Branch 60 Cadiz City, Negros Occidental);
-Reginald M. Fuentebella (RTC Branch 73 Sagay City, Negros Occidental);
-Mila D. Yap-Camiso (RTC Branch 74 La Carlota City, Negros Occidental);
-Gertrude Belgica Jiro (MTC Dumangas, Iloilo);
-Kathryn Rose A. Hitalia-Baliatan (MTC Miag-ao, Iloilo);
-Meliza Joan Berano Robite (MTCC Branch 2 Iloilo City);
-Larnie Fleur B. Palma-Kim (MTCC Branch 6, Iloilo City);
-Mark Anthony D.R. Polonan (MTCC Branch 8, Iloilo City);
-Rysty Ann C. Espinosa-Borja (MTCC Branch 9, Iloilo City);
-Joan Marie B. Bargas-Betita (3rd MCTC Malinao-Lezo-Numancia, Aklan);
-Maria Fe Macabales-Taal (3rd MCTC Patnongon-Bugasong-Valderrama, Antique);
-Joevy Paclibar Velnzuela (5th MCTC Sigma-Sapian-Jamindan, Capiz);
-Kathleen Gigante Delantar (MTCC Branch 2 Roxas City, Capiz);
-Jeeli Panaguiton Espinosa (2nd MCTC Buenavista-San Lorenzo, Guimaras);
-Bienvenido B. Llanes Jr. (MTC Pontevedra, Negros Occidental);
-Jose Meno C. Ruiz (MTCC Escalante City, Negros Occidental);
-Jose Manuel A. Lopez (MTCC Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental); and
-Maria Concepcion Elumba Rivera (MTCC, La Carlota City, Negros Occidental).

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WE can’t blame Mayor Alex Centena of Calinog, Iloilo if his presence has been sorely missed in important gatherings like the League of Municipalities.
Ever since President Duterte mentioned Centena’s name as among those allegedly included in narco-politics, the dashing former chair of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) during the Marcos years has reportedly refused to join in various social and political events in Iloilo.
“He has become security conscious,” noticed a former broadcaster from Cabatuan, Iloilo, who is familiar with Centena’s activities during the halcyon years.
“The mayor stays in his safe house most of the time and his whereabouts can’t be ascertained even by some of his municipal staff in regular days and during weekend.”

WEIGHT

He became reclusive and lost weight, the former broadcaster added.
Centena have reportedly cancelled all his out-of-town commitments and refused interviews with reporters who come to Calinog.
Duterte has threatened to kill those involved in trafficking and manufacturing of illegal drugs, including some local government executives.
More than 7,000 have been killed nationwide since the Duterte administration launched the “Oplan Tokhang” against known drug pushers and users.
Centena has repeatedly denied links to any drug lord, but admitted slain Iloilo City-based drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr. once visited his house where he maintains a mini-zoo.

 
 

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Duterte might clear some but not all Iloilo ‘narco-mayors’

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”
— Plato

By Alex P. Vidal

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NEW YORK CITY –– Some Filipino-Americans here said Pinoy illegal immigrants in the United States should stop worrying “because the Trump administration will never touch them with a ten-foot pole unless they commit a crime and violate federal laws.”
There are so many important things to be prioritized in the White House, according to them.
President Trump’s executive order banning entry of Muslims from seven countries for 90 days was part of his campaign promise that he needed to implement or his supporters would rib him, they added.
The controversial executive order has been temporarily suspended after being torpedoed by a state judge.
“Only those with criminal records will be the first to go,” Merlinda, wife of a federal official, told me in a birthday party in Manhattan recently.
“Filipinos are not criminals. They have contributed a lot in the labor and economy of the United State. They are not targets of the threat of mass deportation.”

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Misinformation, not miscommunication, will be the king-sized obstacle of the four Iloilo “narco-mayors” in their quest to clear themselves and convince President Rodrigo Duterte that they’re not the illegal drug trade’s Real McCoys.
Miscommunication can be remedied because of mass media’s active involvement in the issue.
Misinformation will further exacerbate the mayors’ woes because of false hopes and false alarm like the recent report that the mayors’ names have already been removed from the “Dutertelist.”
To “confirm” that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been tasked to exonerate the mayors is both miscommunication and misinformation.
President Duterte merely asked the DILG to investigate the allegations against the 160 local government executives on the “Dutertelist.”

AUTHORIZE

He never authorized the DILG to decide who should be declared innocent and who should remain in the shame list.
The accusation that the 160 local government executives were involved in illegal drug trade came from the president’s mouth based on tips provided by his intelligence network and field investigators.
The president regularly airs his diatribes against wrongdoers in police and government–including his cussing- through the media.
If President Duterte will decide to clear anyone, he will even apologize if necessary.
The grapevine said the president might remove the names of some but not all.

 
 

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Retired Iloilo top cop caught ‘sleeping on the job’

“Let me be clear about this. I don’t have a drug problem. I have a police problem.”

Keith Richards

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — If ever the four Iloilo “narco-mayors” will be cleared, it should be President Rodrigo Duterte who will announce it because he was the one who made the accusation in August 2016.
People, particularly the Ilonggos, will only believe and listen to what the president will say next.
Not to any of his subalterns. Not to any agency under the Office of the President.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will have no credibility “clearing” the embattled mayors unless explicitly ordered by the president.
The DILG was supposed to protect the four mayors and other local chief executives implicated in illegal drug trade before their names landed on the “Dutertelist” in presumption that they could only be victims of political harassment and vendetta.
The DILG also can’t declare with absolute certainty that the names of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Maasin Mayor Mariano Malones, Calinog Mayor Alex Centena, and Carles Mayor Sigfriedo Betita have been removed from the “Dutertelist” if the president hasn’t made a latest pronouncement regarding the hullabaloo.
Even if the DILG will “clear” the four mayors but President Duterte didn’t confirm it, people will remain suspicious and pessimistic.

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THIS retired police superintendent, formerly assigned in the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) or Camp Delgado in Port San Pedro, Iloilo City, is lucky he is no longer in service when President Duterte assumed power.
The retired police official would have joined the more than 200 rogue Metro Manila cops recently insulted and ordered by President Duterte to be assigned in Basilan.
President Duterte would have been embarrassed by the offense made by the now retired police official albeit he can’t dismiss him from police service.
Not all of the 200 rogue cops were implicated in crimes that would warrant their outright dismissal.

CASES

Either they were facing administrative cases for being AWOL (absent without official leave), or were caught moonlighting or doing “extra jobs” not related to their mandate as law enforcers.
This retired police official, who is now a top adviser of a prominent Iloilo City executive, was once spotted in a downtown gay bar when a city hall task force on anti-drugs, pornography and prostitution conducted a surprise raid.
He was not there to moonlight as bouncer. The retired police official, who was then active in police service, was literally snoring near the dance floor when members of the task force barged in.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in CRIME, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

 

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Interview with ‘Buang’

“If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.”

Keith Richards

10321585_10202009656425861_4778066052025742179_oBy Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Sometime in 1996, a friend in Iloilo City requested us to interview Richard Prevendido alyas “Buang”, who was then detained at the Iloilo Rehabilitation Center or the old provincial jail on Bonifacio Drive, City Proper.
Aside from this writer, five other Iloilo mediamen selected by our friend accompanied the group.
We had no idea who Prevendido was and why he would be accorded a privilege of facing a group of selected reporters while under detention.
We had no idea that he was also known as “Buang” (crazy), but the friend said he was a “victim of false charges.”
“What were the charges?” we inquired.
Violation of Republic Act 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act 1972, we were told.

APPEAL

Pevendido, who had tattoos in the body, appealed in Hiligaynon that he should be released “as soon as possible because I am innocent and I never engaged in selling of illegal drugs.”
Jail authorities allowed the 15-minute interview but Prevendido was not allowed to go out the jail.
We don’t know when was Prevendido released or what happened to the charges filed against him, but when he was out he became active in selling of illegal drugs, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
I read in the Philippine news that the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) headed by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. has approved the recommendation of Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) Director Harold Tuzon to provide additional reward to those who can furnish information leading to the arrest of Prevendido and other drug personalities in Iloilo.
This was on top of the bounty offered by the Iloilo City Government through the Iloilo City Peace and Order Council (CPOC).
The reward has reached P1 million, as of this writing.

‘DRUG LORD’

Prevendido, according to the PDEA, is now the No. 1 drug personality in Western Visayas.
He is now considered as “drug lord”, according to reports.
Other drug personalities with rewards for their arrest included: Ariel Prevendido of Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao (P10,000); Troy John Prevendido of Barangay Bakhaw (P10,000); Ana Penecilla y Prevendido of Barangay Bakhaw (P10,000); Romeo Penecilla y Pudadera alias “Boyet” of Tanza Rizal Estanzuela, City Proper (P10,000); Rampart Gregori of Barangay Desamparados, Jaro (P10,000); Errol Barcebas of Iloilo City (P10,000); Jessica Mino of Molo, Iloilo City (P10,000); Ma. Beauty Dela Cruz of Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao (P10,000); and Niven Dejeron of Barangay Desamparados, Jaro (P10,000).

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2017 in CRIME, MEDIA

 

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Double standard in war vs illegal drugs

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”― Voltaire

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Here’s another case of “double standard” when it comes to dealing with characters involved in illegal drug trafficking in the Philippines.
If the suspect is a street-level drug peddler or drug addict, he is killed in a “shootout” with lawmen “after resisting arrest.”
If the suspect is a drug lord, he is accorded a “special treatment” by allowing him to face the media and destroy the reputations of authorities allegedly receiving protection money from the syndicate.
To add insult, the drug lord could escape prosecution if his revelations on the payola scandal would be proven based on the reports below.
Reports from Negros Occidental in the Philippines referred to one Ricky Serenio, 34, of Barangay Singcang-Airport, Bacolod City as “a drug lord under the target list of Negros Island Police Regional Office (PRO).”
Serenio, who has been placed under PRO’s witness protection program after he named several members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), court employees, and media personalities as among those who received regular “payola” from the “boss” he refused to name.

DISMISS

Being placed under the program could reportedly help dismiss the cases against Serenio, “if he can prove that his revelations are true.”
Chief Superintendent Renato Gumban, PRO acting regional director, said Serenio, who is under the custody of the Regional Special Operations Task Group, is facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives after police recovered from him a .45 caliber pistol with magazine containing five live ammunition and a fragmentation grenade when he was served with an arrest warrant for grave coercion at Rizal Street, Barangay Zone 9 in Talisay City on January 8, 2017.
Why place Serenio under the witness protection program if the evidence is sufficient to convict him in a fair trial?
If the cases filed against him will eventually be dismissed only because his revelations were proven, the public trust and confidence on our law enforcers will definitely be eroded.
When small fries are trampled like grasses and the big fishes get away with murder, it will defeat the “all-out war” campaign of President Duterte against illegal drug trafficking.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2017 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

 

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Death sentence for Iloilo mayors in ‘narco’ list?

“Do I favor the death penalty? Theoretically, I do, but when you realize that there’s a four percent error rate, you end up putting guilty people to death.” — Gary Johnson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY — I bumped off two stories over the weekend to pave the way for an article I deemed to be more urgent and relevant in the heels of President Duterte’s speech during the swearing in of several newly-appointed cabinet officials on January 9 in Malacanang.
President Duterte called “narco-politicians” as “dead men walking.”
He vowed to kill big time “shabu” dealers, and the next batch, reports quoted him as saying, would be the city and municipal mayors engaged in illegal drugs and whose names he mentioned weeks after he assumed office in July 2016.
I was so alarmed because some of the mayors President Duterte had linked to illegal drugs based on the list provided by his intelligence men were from my place in Western Visayas.
They were Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City, Alex Centena of Calinog, Iloilo; Siegfredo Betita of Carles, Iloilo; and Mariano Malones of Maasin, Iloilo.
Except for Betita, the three are known to me personally. Malones was our former business manager in the News Express; Centena is a friend way back in the 80’s when he was not yet a public official; and Mabilog is our mayor in Iloilo City.

DEATH LIST

Are they among those included in President Duterte’s so-called death list?
We want to know. We need to know especially because there has been no solid evidence linking them to illegal drugs.
They could only be victims of political black propaganda or vendetta. They were never convicted by any competent court.
In fact, no formal charges have been filed against them yet. They were vilified, along probably with several others who could be innocent in the Duterte list, without any formal trial.
What if the president erred or the list he was reading was a sham and contained falsehood? Since July 2016 when their names were disclosed as alleged drug protectors, the government has failed to substantiate the allegations.
Therefore it’s premature to condemn them; it’s not fair to punish them with a harsh “death sentence” which could become only another case of extra-judicial killing, God forbid.

LAW

While most Filipinos who elected President Dutere in the May 2016 polls support his campaign to stamp out criminality in the country especially the president’s “all-out” war policy against illegal drugs, pressures from human rights advocates, including the United Nations and other international organizations, continued to hound the president as dead bodies piled up in the streets.
Most of those killed in “shootouts” with police were drug addicts and small-time peddlers of illegal substance. Their families claimed the dead were victims of summary execution.
The Philippines doesn’t have any law on death penalty. Convicted criminals spend time in jail and are not killed.
If these mayors are executed when their guilt was not yet proven beyond reasonable doubt–and in the absence of any law that supports the death penalty–the president becomes an executioner and violator of the law, not the dead mayors.

 
 

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