News Briefs: Sept. 17, 2019
DOJ to release wanted list after Sept. 19 deadline
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) will release a wanted list with the names and photos of more than 1,000 ex-convicts who have not turned themselves in by the President’s unilateral deadline of Sept. 19. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said these ex-prisoners, who were presumed to have completed their sentences due to good behavior credit, would be arrested without court warrant. “We have taken this position that under the law and jurisprudence, you have not completed the service of your sentence. We gave you notice to surrender and a grace period, yet you refuse, then you commit the offense of evasion of sentence,” Guevarra said in a news conference on Monday, addressing the so-called “prematurely released” ex-convicts. “So there is legal basis to have you arrested. That is considered a continuing offense so law enforcers can arrest you without warrant,” he added. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Postponement of barangay, SK polls to 2023 proposed
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committees on electoral reform, local government and finance have recommended that the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled for next year be moved to 2023. In their joint report, the committees set the new date of the polls to the second Monday of May 2023. Subsequent polls would be held one year following a national and local election. President Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address in July, called on Congress to postpone the barangay elections to rectify the truncated terms of the officials. Incumbent barangay and SK officials were only elected in 2018. They would only serve for two years if elections would be held next year. —Leila B. Salaverria
Military: Quezon rights activist surrendered, not missing
LUCENA CITY, Quezon, Philippines — The 23-year-old rights activist, Alexandrea Pacalda, voluntarily surrendered to the military as a New People’s Army rebel, the military said on Monday.
“She voluntarily turned herself to Army soldiers,” said Capt. Benedick Alfonso Cagatin, civil military operation officer of the Army’s 201st Infantry Brigade based in Calauag, Quezon.
Lt. Col. Arnold Gasalatan, commander of the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion, also denied that Army soldiers abducted Pacalda.
“There is no abduction here. We understand that she has been fed with stories of torture if she goes to the military or the police that is why we immediately sought for her immediate relatives upon learning of her surrender because we want her to feel safe,” Gasalatan said.
He said Pacalda alias “Cossette/Chris” also surrendered one handgun with six bullets.
However, the military did not state the circumstances behind Pacalda’s surrender, particularly where and when it happened. —Delfin T. Mallari
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