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Kaso laban kay Pnoy, inatras

Umatras ang Office of the Ombudsman sa kasong isinampa laban kay dating Pangulong Noynoy Aquino sa Sandiganbayan kaugnay sa Mamasapano massacre apat na taong nakaraan.

Sa isang “motion to withdraw information,” sinabi ni Ombudsman Samuel Martires na binabawi muna ng Ombudsman ang reklamo nito laban kay Aquino at dating PNP chief Alan Purisima dahil kulang ang ebidensya na kasama sa kaso.

Ano ang ibig sabihin nito? Na makakatakas si Abnoy sa pananagutan niya bilang Commander in Chief sa pagkamatay ng #SAF44 na mga police commandos?

Hindi po.

Kasi nga, noong isinampa ang kaso ni dating Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales bago siya nag retiro, napansin na ng mga legal experts na mahina o “weak” ang reklamo, at malamang ay mahuhulog na lang ito sa acquittal, o pag-walang sala kay Aquino.

Kinakailangan mag-conduct muli ng Preliminary Investigation ang Ombudsman upang makatanggap ng mas malakas na ebidensya.

Sinadya talaga yun ni Carpio-Morales na i-akyan ang kaso kahit kulang ang ebidensya upang maka-iwas si Aquino sa pagkabilanggo.

Kasi nga may tinatawag tayo na “double jeopardy”. Kung nakaharap na ang isang tao sa paglitis sa kaso at ma-walang sala ito o ma-acquit, hindi na siya puwede pang kasohan pa ulit sa parehong kasalanan.

Mabuti na lang at napahinto ni Ombudsman Martires ang trial kaagad-agad. Ito ang paraan upang hindi mag-apply ang “double jeopardy” rule.

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Tiyak na ibabasura ang kaso ng Kapa

Hindi naman sa pinangungunahan ko ang Korte Suprema, pero tiyak na ibabasura lamang nito itong kaso na inisampa ng Rhema Int’l Livelihood Foundation, Inc. laban kay Pangunlong Rodrigo Duterte kaugnay sa pagpasara sa operasyon ng Kapa Ministry International Inc.

Una, may tinatawag tayong “immunity from suit” si Pangulong Duterte habang naka-upo ito sa puwesto. Ang ibig sabihin, hindi puwedeng kasohan ang Pangulo kahit sa anumang dahilan except for impeachable offenses. Ang kasong ito ay petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus at pinangalanan si Pangulong Duterte bilang respondent.

Diyan pa lang, bagsak na ang kaso.

Pangalawa, hinihiling ng Cirfund — yan ang tawag nila sa project na kumukolekta ng “donasyon” galing sa mga miyembro — na sampahan ng “impeachment case” si Pangulong Duterte.

Halatang ignorante sa batas ang mga taong ito.

Ang impeachment ay hindi pina-file sa Korte Suprema. Doon yan ginagawa sa House of Representatives. Walang jurisdiction ang Supreme Court sa usapin tungkol sa impeachment.

Talagang matigas ang ulo ng mga opisyal ng Kapa. Pinipilit pa rin nila na legal ang ginagawa nitong pag-tanggap ng pera galing sa mga miyembro.

Dapat arestuhin na yan si Apolinario. Kung naloko niya ang 5 million members ng Kapa, huwag siya mag-akala na kaya na niya suwayin ang mga batas ng Pilipinas at his Pangulong Duterte.

Ina-atake na ako ng mga Kapa fanatics

Dalawang YouTube videos pa lang ang na-ipalabas ko ng mabilis na gumanti ang mga taga-suporta ni Pastor Joel Apolinario at ng Kabos Padatoon (KAPA) Community Ministry at inatake ako sa kanilang comments sa aking Channel.

Galit na galit ang mga supporters ni Apolinario dahil sinasabi ko ang katotohanan na isang investment scam ang kanilang modus operandi sa paghingi ng “donations” galing sa mga members na may pangakong 30 porsyento na interest o tobo buwan-buwan.

Nakapagtataka kung bakit marami pa ring mga Pinoy ang nahuhulog sa ganitong mga scam. Hindi ito ang unang scam kung saan umabot sa bilyon-bilyong piso na “investments” ang nawawala at naiiwan ang mga naloko na pulubi.

Ito po ang link sa aking mga videos:

 

Kapa scam: what happened before

On a national level, the name of Pastor Joel Apolinario hardly made it to the pages of newspapers or reported on television. But his name had long been on the stage of controversy in Mindanao for quite a number of years now. In fact, I remember the name of his Kapa Community Ministry last year when Bombo Radyo reported on the arrest of its station manager and news director in General Santos in September 2018.

Apolinario had complained to the NBI that these broadcasters were extorting money from him so that the daily tirades against his activities would stop. On the part of the broadcasters, identified as Jonathan Macailing and Salvador Galano, claimed they were framed up.

It was also about that time that the Bislig City LGU in Surigao shut down the cooperative store of Kapa, which stands for Kabus Padatoon (Make the poor rich), after getting numerous complaints about its illegal activities.

Kapa had campaigned among its members not to vote for Bislig city mayor Librado Navarro who ran for the position of Vice Governor for the Province of Surigao del Sur in the recently-held local and national elections on May 13. Despite this “no-vote” campaign, Navarro won.

Who is Apolinario?Picture Joel Apolinario

This is a man who is a genuine rags-to-riches story. But it appears that his path to wealth was at the expense of small investors who fell for his promise of a 30% monthly “reward” for their “donations”.

In his youth, he struggled to make both ends meet as a fisherman and then as a construction worker. He got a job as a radio technician and from there, finding that he had a gift for eloquence, became a disc jockey.

He founded Kapa Community Ministry and operated a chain of cooperative stores in Bislig City. While he claims that Kapa is a church, it has no place of worship it could call its own.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) estimates that Kapa has around 5 million members in the entire country, and its exposure could reach P50 billion on an average of P10,000 per member.

In February this year, the SEC revoked his incorporation papers on allegations of fraud and ordered Kapa to stop its operations.

Apparently, Apolinario was in no mood to heed the order.

But last week, no less than President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the closure of all Kapa offices and threatened to arrest those who persist in soliciting investments disguised as “donations”.

A day to remember: The assassination of Evelio Javier

I remember the date and the events that transpired as if these happened only yesterday.
At around 10:30 a.m. of February 11, 1986, I got a rare international call from Hongkong at my work place at the Development Bank of the Philippines. At the time, I was working as Credit Investigator at DBP and moonlighted as a journalist for Asiaweek Magazine, the regional weekly news magazine that had the same format as Time and Newsweek.
This was long before the era of cell phones, and Facebook and Twitter. News travelled rather slowly.
When I answered the phone, I recognized the voice of my editor, Zoher Abdoolkarim.
“Manuel, there’s been a murder in San Jose, Antique. Can you get a ride to go there quickly?” he said.
Zoher, in rapid fashion, told me what happened.
Former Antique Governor Evelio Javier was keeping watch over the canvassing of the electoral returns for President in the February 6, 1986 snap elections. Cory Aquino had challenged strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos, and there have been allegations of widespread cheating.
Antique province was then ruled by Marcos’s henchman, Arturo Pacificador. Javier knew that Pacificador would try to thwart the people’s will in Antique, and he kept a tight watch on the counting.
That fateful morning, Javier came down from the Capitol building in San Jose, Antique where the canvassing was being conducted to take a break. He went over to a big tree in the park to rest.
Just then, two or three armed men approached him and opened fire with M-16 armalite rifles. Javier was wounded but managed to run across the plaza in zigzag fashion to elude the bullets fired at him. He entered a store and hid inside the toilet.
His assassins, however, simply followed him. Once they got inside the store and learned where Javier had hidden, they fired their weapons at point-blank range. Javier was killed in an instant, his body peppered with bullets.
The gunmen then casually fled aboard a waiting vehicle.
I didn’t hesitate to accept the assignment. I knew history was being made. I filed a leave of absence for the day and negotiated with a taxi to drive me to San Jose, Antique.
I always brought my camera bag with me every day, and I had 3 rolls of transparency film (for slides) ready for exactly situations like this.
I don’t remember now how much the taxi driver charged.
I arrived in San Jose around 2 p.m. The atmosphere in the municipality was tense. PC soldiers were all over the place, and people looked anxiously from windows and doors.
I was told Javier’s cadaver had been brought to the Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital, so I asked the taxi driver to take me there. Outside the hospital, I saw former Antique Governor Enrique Zaldivar and other political allies of the slain leader.
Zaldivar pointed over to the morgue. “That’s where he is now,” he said.
Without delay, I entered the morgue with my camera ready. To my surprise, the international correspondents were already swarming all over the place — Time Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, the U.S. television net works. I had to elbow my way inside to be able to take pictures of Javier’s bullet-riddled body.
I then talked with eyewitness to get their recollection of what happened.
A few minutes later, the taxi driver approached me, his face filled with dread.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
He told me a PC Major had put a handcuff on the steering wheel to disable the taxi. The PC Major apparently learned that a journalist was his passenger. So I went over to talk with the PC Major, who was the assistant provincial commander.
He asked me what I was doing there. Of course, I was there to cover the assassination of Javier. I presented to him my Asiaweek ID card. He wanted to detain me.
I wasn’t intimidated.
I told him that my arrest would become a secondary international event to the murder itself. “Sir, you will have to answer for this,” I warned him. I pointed to the international media nearby. “This will surely feast on this story,” I calmly said.
I must have seemed to be full of confidence that the PC Major relented. All right, he said, you can leave.
I didn’t waste a second in leaving. The tension had escalated. We were out of there by 6 p.m. If I remember right, my colleague Herbert Vego hitched a ride with me on the way back to Iloilo.
That night, I almost didn’t sleep as I furiously wrote the story on a portable typewriter (yes we had no laptops then). At 4 a.m. I went to the airport to send the 3 rolls of transparencies to Tony Lopez, Manila Bureau Chief of Asiaweek, through PAL cargo.
A picture showing Javier lying on the morgue table, blood pooling around hiim, and my story made it to the Asiaweek edition a few days later.
Now, 33 years later, I look back to this incident with a wish that such political violence will no longer happen again.
Javier had given his life to protect the sanctity of the ballot, and truly, he deserves to be honored on this day.

Drilon was the protector of drug lords in Iloilo

Until now, President Duterte hasn’t fathomed the real picture of illegal drugs in Iloilo City. He has blamed dismissed City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog for the rise of drug lords and their grip on the local community before he came to power. But the truth is that Mabilog was only a pawn. He was never the political boss of Iloilo City. He took orders from Senator Franklin Drilon.

But isn’t it strange that despite the massive reportage and media commentaries on the illegal drugs problem in Iloilo City, Drilon never ever said anything about it? He reads my every blog and Facebook post, and there is no denying he knew about how bad the illegal drugs problem had grown during the years 2010-2016. In fact, I sent him an email sometime in 2012 beseeching him to do something about it. And when the late Melvin “Boyet” Odicta tried to storm into the premises of Aksyon Radyo Iloilo on November 19,2015, Drilon squelched the calls for a Senate investigation into the incident, saying it was a minor police matter.

Drilon was not just the political kingpin of Iloilo at the time. All the national government agencies, including the PNP, PDEA and NBI, bowed before him like a demi-god. Only those who received his blessings were given assignments as Regional Directors in Western Visayas, which has Iloilo City as the regional center. Despite such power that he wielded, Drilon never issued orders for the police to crack down on the drug syndicates. What he did was show a fondness for Barangay Monica-Blumentritt Punong Barangay Keith “Dabing” Espinosa, wife of Jing Jing Espinosa, a top lieutenant of the Odicta syndicate.

Kap dabing with drilon

VIP treatment palagi si Kap Dabing Espinosa na asawa ni Jing Jing Espinosa sa mga okasyon ni Drilon.

Drilon with Kap Dabing

And he was always quick to downplay the magnitude of the problem. Not once had he chastised Mabilog, his cousin and protege, about the growth of the syndicates. In short, it was Drilon who gave protection to the syndicates. And it’s time President Duterte took him to task for this crime against the nation.

Iloilo’s tres Marias

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to disclose to the public the names of 211 barangay captains who are allegedly involved in the illegal drugs trade. I’m wondering if the three barangay captains in Iloilo City — all women — whose names have been linked to illegal drugs are included in the list. They are Keith “Dabing” Espinosa of Barangay Monica-Blumentritt, Remia Prevendido-Gregori of Barangay Bakhaw, and Noemi Hablo of Barangay Desamparados.

Espinosa is the wife of Jing Jing Espinosa, who is now serving a prison sentence for the shooting and wounding of an unarmed individual in his barangay more than a decade ago. Jing Jing was reputed to be a right hand man of the slain drug group leader Melvin “Boyet” Odicta, also known in Iloilo as “Dragon”.

Gregori is the sister of another drug group leader, Richard Prevendido, who was also killed in a police raid on Sept. 1, 2017. Her son, Bonifacio Gregori, is now in jail facing drugs charges. Her barangay is notorious as a lair for illegal drugs distribution.

Hablo’s deceased husband, Rusty, was a suspected drug peddler. He fled to Mindanao at the height of the tokhang operations of the police. But he was apprehended there in Mindanao; while in prison, he suffered from a nervous breakdown, and was reported to have committed suicide.