News Briefs: April 1, 2019
De Lima’s brother seeks support for sister’s release
The brother of detained opposition Sen. Leila de Lima has urged the international community to continue supporting calls for the immediate release of his sister, who had spent more than two years in a detention center in a police camp.
Addressing the 11th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy on March 25, Vicente de Lima II insisted that his sister’s indictment for drug trading was due to her staunch objection to President Rodrigo Duterte’s vicious drug war, which had been blamed for the deaths of thousands of drug suspects since July 2016.
“She is a vanguard of the democratic opposition and a leading voice of dissent,” Vicente told human rights advocates and families of political prisoners from different countries at the event held at the United Nations headquarters. —Marlon Ramos
Comelec to candidates: Forge peace covenants
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is encouraging local candidates in the May midterm elections to enter into peace covenants with tension in the campaign expected to heat up.
“Having peace covenants is a good idea because it tells the voting public that those seeking their votes are making efforts to coexist,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.
“There will always exist the probability that the peace covenant is only for the show. But you don’t give up on the possibility that it is also genuine,” he added.
The Comelec earlier appealed to local candidates to keep their supporters under control.
“As everyone knows, local elections are a little more volatile, more hard fought than national level contests because of the proximity of the contending parties,” said Jimenez. —Tina G. Santos
Former PRC executive found guilty of estafa
The Sandiganbayan Second Division has found former acting Chair of the Board of Mechanical Engineering of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Alfredo Yap Po guilty of estafa.
Po’s case stemmed from his acts to defraud the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers (PSME) of its ticket sales and membership dues amounting to P728,539.59 in 2005.
Since Po surrendered voluntarily, the court sentenced him to a prison term of only two months and one day up to four months and one day.
Po was also ordered to return to the PSME the entire P728,539.59 that he misappropriated.
Poe was not able to provide an explanation why he received the money when he was not authorized to do so. —Patricia Denise M. Chiu