News Briefs: Sept. 13, 2018
ZAMBOANGA CITY — The military and police here have denied reports that local commanders were conducting loyalty checks among their subordinates following President Rodrigo Duterte’s disclosure of a plot to oust him.
In an interview on Tuesday night at Camp Abendan in Barangay Mercedes here, Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde reiterated that the 190,000-strong police force stayed loyal “to the President, to the Constitution and to the Filipino people.”
There is “no such thing” as a loyalty check in the PNP, he said.
Army Col. Gerry Besana, the public affairs chief of the Western Mindanao Command, also said the military was so “focused on our mission” to thwart threats from armed groups to entertain thoughts of conducting loyalty checks. —JULIE ALIPALA AND MART SAMBALUD
Prosecutors won’t seek Floirendo suspension
Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. is the latest official to benefit from Ombudsman Samuel Martires’ order for prosecutors to stop seeking the suspension of those on trial for graft.
In a four-page motion, the Office of the Special Prosecutor told the court’s Sixth Division that it would withdraw its motion for Floirendo’s preventive suspension following Martires’ issuance of the Aug. 28 memorandum.
Prosecutors have also withdrawn the plea for the suspension of Sen. Gregorio Honasan II.
Martires’ order pointed out that the courts like the Sandiganbayan had the power to suspend officials.
Floirendo’s graft case concerned his business interest in the Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc., which entered into a joint venture with the Bureau of Corrections in 2013 when he was a congressman. —VINCE F. NONATO
China FM visits next week for joint exploration talks
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Manila next week to discuss a framework agreement with the Philippines for joint oil and natural gas explorations in the West Philippine Sea.
The Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said Wang’s visit from Sept. 16 to 18 would “continue discussions on oil and gas cooperation, with [a] view [to drawing] up a framework for cooperation that conforms to respective rules and regulations and international laws.”
Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano visited Beijing for the third time less than three weeks ago to push the agreement. To assuage critics, Cayetano said the joint exploration would comply with the country’s constitutional requirements. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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