2,603 firearms confiscated under gun ban period


THE PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) reported on Thursday that 2,603 firearms were confiscated from Jan. 13 to March 21 with the implementation of the gun ban in relation to the May elections. Of the total, 1,995 were small arms, 58 light arms, and 550 other types. These were either confiscated or surrendered. Another 22,930 “deadly weapons” were seized, which includes 94 firearm replicas, 1,038 blade or pointed weapons, 168 grenades, 455 explosives, and 21,175 ammunition. PNP also said 3,105 persons were arrested during focused police operations in preparation for the midterm elections. Those arrested were 2,924 civilians, 32 police personnel, 5 military personnel, 44 elected officials, seven personnel from other law enforcement agencies, two Bureau of Jail Management and Penology personnel, 57 security guards, two civilian active auxiliary, three foreign nationals, 23 members of threat groups, and six members of private armed groups. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

PHL, Russia to sign deal on enhanced naval cooperation

PHILIPPINE NAVY chief Vice Admiral Robert A. Empredad announced on Thursday that he and his Russian counterpart will sign an agreement in July that would strengthen naval cooperation between the two countries. “Yung document na ‘yun (That document) will strengthen the cooperation or enhance the cooperation between the Philippine Navy and the Russian Navy. In fact, sa (in) June, (there will be a) joint working or what we call staff-to-staff talk between the Philippine Navy and the Russian Navy, so this will start more engagements between to countries,” said Mr. Empredad said in a phone-patch interview with reporters. Mr. Empredad said that he and Russian Navy chief Admiral Vladimir I. Korolyov discussed during the latter’s recent visit that the agreement will include more port visits and training exchanges. The Philippine Navy chief said that he was also invited for a fleet review in Russia. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

PADC now under Defense department

PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte has issued Executive Order No. 78 for the transfer of the Philippine Aerospace Development Corporation (PADC) from the Department of Transportation (DoTr) to the Department of National Defense (DND). The order was signed on March 15 and takes effect immediately. Citing the need to “maximize the national utility of the aviation and aerospace industry,” Mr. Duterte’s EO states that “the policies, programs and activities of the PADC shall be coordinated with the DND.” The PADC is a government-owned and -controlled corporation. — Arjay L. Balinbin

45 mayors slapped with complaint for failure to set up anti-drug council

THE DEPARTMENT of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has filed complaints against 45 mayors before the Office of the Ombudsman for their alleged failure to organize Anti-Drugs Abuse Council in their respective local governments. “For their refusal or neglect to organize their local ADAC, the 45 mayors have committed grave misconduct in office and gross dereliction of duty,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Ano in a statement on Wednesday evening. Of the 45 mayors, 15 are from the Bicol Region, seven from Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, five from the Cordillera Administrative Region, three in Calabarzon, and two from Cagayan Valley. There are also five from Palawan province, four in Cebu, three in Agusan del Norte, and one in Eastern Samar. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

PAO appeals to DoJ to indict Duque over Dengvaxia

THE PUBLIC Attorney’s Office (PAO) appealed to the Department of Justice (DoJ) to indict Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III over the deaths of children allegedly linked to the Dengvaxia vaccination. PAO said Mr. Duque is liable for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide as he was fully aware of the Dengvaxia program. They also claimed that Mr. Duque “has knowingly or wilfully suppressed or concealed the Dengvaxia records, in deliberate violation of the law.” PAO also appealed the dismissal of charges against two respondents from Dengvaxia producer Sanofi Pasteur, Inc., all the respondents from distributor Zuellig Pharma Corp., and Department of Health Officer-in-Charge Herminigildo Valle. They also appealed the dismissal of the complaint over the death of Rei Jazztine D. Alimagno and the dropping of the violation of Anti-Torture Act charges. The DoJ in February indicted former Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin and 19 others for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide over eight complaints in relation to deaths allegedly linked to Dengvaxia vaccination. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas