SC Justice Mendoza officially retires from judiciary

MANILA� Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza officially retired from the service as he turned 70 on Sunday.

After passing the 1971 Bar examinations, Mendoza first served as a legal officer of the Philippine Banking Corporation, the Manila Electric Co. and the Gokongwei Group of Companies.

He joined the judiciary as Research Attorney in the Court of Appeals in 1977 before being promoted as judge and later as CA justice.

Mendoza was honored by fellow justices and colleagues in the SC during flag-raising ceremony last Monday.

Mendoza penned the SC ruling in April 2014 that upheld key provisions of Republic Act No. 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act.

The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has already submitted to the President last month its shortlist for replacement of Mendoza.

Included in the shortlist were Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justices Jaapar Dimaampao, Jose Reyes, Apolinario Bruselas, Ramon Hernando, Rosmari Carandang and Amy Lazaro Javier, and Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo.

Former CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes, who was also among the nominees for the said vacancy, was earlier appointed to the SC, replacing retired Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes.

The former CA Presiding Justice is President Duterte’s third appointee to the SC. The President has earlier appointed then Sandiganbayan Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Samuel Martires to the high court.

President Duterte has 90 days to name Mendoza’s replacement in the high court.

The JBC is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees to the President for vacant posts in the judiciary and the Offices of the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman.

The council is chaired by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno, with ex-officio members, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, along with the legislative branch namely Sen. Richard Gordon and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, who shall have a term sharing seat in the JBC.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Taguig implements measures to curb floods

MANILA– Despite persistent heavy rains in recent days, the city government of Taguig has implemented proactive preparations to address problems such as floods and clogging of waterways.

According to Solid Waste Management Office (SWMO) head Eugene Bilaw, the city’s barangays now are not as flooded as they were in the past.

The situation is a departure from the scenario in the city before Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano assumed office in 2010, when almost all barangays would become submerged in floods due to heavy rains.

Bilaw attributed the drastic change to the various strategies implemented under the city’s flood-control program, which sees the efforts of the SWMO, City Engineering Office, Lake and River Management Office, City Environment & Natural Resources Office and City Health Office directed toward the same goal.

These strategies implemented include the use of heavy equipment for debris clearing operations, and for the desilting and dredging of waterways so that floodwaters may pass through them freely.

According to Bilaw, 200 personnel resumed clearing operations in the city’s 28 barangays on June 16. Workers likewise undertook manual clearing operations of drainages and creeks for the purpose of declogging.

As of July 21, city personnel were able to cover 10,780 meters of waterways in District 1 and 7,710 meters of waterways in District 2.

Apart from the maintenance of the streets under the flood-control program, Bilaw said it also helped that the SWMO holds monthly meetings with the Barangay Solid Waste Management Committee. His office also promotes the importance of proper garbage segregation through the Information Education Campaign (IEC) program in various public schools.

SWMO also installed trash traps in different barangays traversed by the Hagonoy, MRB and Magsaysay Creeks to prevent garbage from flowing into the main rivers. Bilaw said these garbage traps help them in maintaining the cleanliness of the creeks and clearing them of trash.

Aside from this, the City Engineering Office has also improved and rehabilitated drainages and continues other infrastructure projects to make these drainages accommodate increased water volume during heavy rains.

“We don’t want severe floods to inundate the city that’s why we took initiatives to avoid them,” Bilaw said.

He also noted that his office plans to conduct manual clearing operations yearly, instead of every two years, and continue with the dissemination of information on best solid waste management practices.

“Our aim is to maintain the cleanliness of the waterways,” Bilaw said, noting that with this, they are also helping prevent the spread of diseases such as dengue and leptospirosis.

Cayetano lauded the efforts of the SWMO, Lake and River Management Office, City Environment & Natural Resources Office and City Health Office for the proper preparations and contingency plans during this kind of season.

“I am all-smiles, together with the people at SWMO. The flooding had been a persistent problem, and one that hurt the productivity of TaguigeAos. I thank them for not losing their hope and focus,” Cayetano said in a statement.

Source: Philippine News Agency

Hearing on drug raps vs Lim, Espinosa et al set Monday — DOJ

MANILA� The Department of Justice (DOJ) will start the preliminary investigation on the criminal charges filed by Philippine National Police against Cebu-based businessman Peter Lim and several others due to their alleged involvement in illegal drugs operations in Central and Eastern Visayas on Monday.

Assistant State Prosecutors John Michael Humarang and Aristotle Reyes will handle the preliminary probe of the case for violation of Section 26 (b) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act set on Aug. 14 at 10 a.m.

Aside from Lim, Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, convicted drug lord Peter Co, a certain Marcelo L. Adorco, Max Miro, Lovely Adam Impal, Ruel Mangalindan and Jaime Jun Pepito, a village councilor in Albuera, Leyte also included as respondents in the complaint were individuals identified only by their aliases namely Jeremy aka Amang, Ricky,Warren,Tupie,Jojo,Yawa, Lapi, Royroy,Marlon, Bay,John Doe (alleged delivery man of Co), Peter Doe (alleged delivery man of Lim) and Robert Doe (also an alleged delivery man of Lim).

The said offense pertained to the sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals.

The complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) tagged Lim as the alleged supplier of illegal drugs to the group of Espinosa.

The DOJ has already summoned the respondents to appear at the preliminary investigation slated to begin on August 14 and 17 where they will be given a chance to air their side.

In its July 5 complaint, the CIDG said Lim, along with his co-accused Co, who is currently detained in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on drug trafficking charges and Lovely Impal as among those who supplied illegal drugs to Espinosa’s operation.

Investigation disclosed that the group of Espinosa also known as Boss K was a transporter, trader. Seller and distributor of illegal drugs (shabu) in some areas they controlled in Regions 7 and 8 (Bohol, Samar, Northern and Southern Leyte, Biliran and some parts of Cebu). Their group was being supplied with shabu for distribution and trading by Peter Co, Lovely Impal, Peter Go Lim among others,’ part of the complaint said.

The CIDG secured a lead in its investigation with the arrest of Adorco and four other drug personalities during a sting operation in Albuera, Leyte, on July 8, 2016.

The police unit said Adorco identified Espinosa, who was supposedly also known as Boss K, and his father, slain Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., as the source of the illegal drugs and firearms seized from them.

It said the Espinosa Group was then getting its supplies of illicit drugs from Co, Impal and Lim for distribution in the provinces of Bohol, Samar, Northern Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran and Cebu.

Citing his judicial affidavit, the CIDG said Adorco clearly stated that Espinosa received 20 kilos of shabu from Co on Feb. 5, 2013, and a similar amount of illegal drugs from Lim just 11 days later.

It identified Lim along Co and Lovely Impal as among those who supplied illegal drugs to Espinosa’s operation in Central and Eastern Visayas.

The filing of the case prompted Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to place them on immigration watchlist on July 11 to prevent Lim and his co-accused from leaving the country to evade prosecution.

Earlier, Aguirre said Espinosa can be discharged from the case to become a government’s witness in the case.

The inclusion of Kerwin Espinosa in the criminal case, in the drug offense, can be discharged before the actual trial or even during the trial of the case. It is procedural in nature that he should be charged first and be discharged later as a state witness, Aguirre told reporters in a chance interview.

But Aguirre said the prosecutors handling the case will make the decision on the issue after reviewing and evaluating the evidence.

He said he could not say yet what testimony of Espinosa is of value to the prosecution.

I just would like to say that I don’t want to go and state my definite decision on this because I might be the one to be called to make the final judgment. I’d better not answer that,’ he added.

Lim who surrendered to President Duterte last year after his name was mentioned as among those behind the narcotics trade in the country denied any involvement in the illegal activity.

Espinosa is a son of late Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa who was allegedly involved in illegal drugs. The older Espinosa was killed by CIDG operatives last November 2016 inside a jail in Baybay, Leyte.

Adorco and Miro are known top aides of the Espinosas while Impal was identified by Kerwin as the supplier of illegal drugs in the Visayas.

Pepito, on the other hand, is one of Kerwin’s men who would transport the drugs from Matnog , Sorsogon to Ormoc. Leyte.

Source: Philippine News Agency