Malacanang warns OFW’s from working as drug mules to avoid death penalty

MALACANANG warned Filipinos working as drug mules for international drug syndicates in exchange for money to prevent them from being subjects to death penalty.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued the statement during an interview aired over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, following the arrest of two Filipinos in Macau for alleged drug trafficking last February 1.

The Aquino administration, which has a strong anti-illegal drug policy, is undertaking comprehensive and proactive measures to address the drug mules issue and to protect Filipinos from being victimized by international drug syndicates.

Lacierda said Filipinos should learn from the fate of those who were executed in China for drug trafficking last year.

He urged the Filipinos to heed the government’s call to protect themselves against falling prey to international drug syndicates.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that two Filipinos – a man and a woman – were apprehended by the Judiciary Police in an apartment in Macau. The two Filipinos were reportedly found in possession of 46 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride, popularly known in the Philippines as shabu.

The seized drugs have an estimated street value of 90,000 patacas (US$11,392.405). Several drug paraphernalia were also found in the apartment.

A suspected buyer, also a Filipino, was likewise invited by Macau police authorities for questioning.

Lacierda said the government has already extended assistance to the detained Filipinos to ensure that their rights are respected.

There are at least 19 Filipinos currently detained in Macau on drug cases.

The Philippine government is closely cooperating with the law enforcement agencies in other countries on efforts against anti-drugs trafficking. (PCOO)

Malacañang moves against group misrepresenting themselves as gov’t officials

IN a move to address the rising incidents of unscrupulous individuals misrepresenting themselves as government officials to victimize government employees, Malacañang appealed to all government officials and employees to confirm first the identity of the person
contacting them.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda issued this appeal in a press briefing in Malacañang Thursday afternoon.

He asked that all officials and employees to be wary about these individuals who may prey on them by “dropping names” to instill fear or ask for a favor.

“I would like to ask the government employees to verify first the identity of the person calling because ang government employees kasi, pag binitawan ng pangalan naniniwala kaagad so I ask the government employees to verify first the identity of the person and to ask for further proof that that person they are speaking to is really that person whom he or she claims to be,” he added.

Lacierda said any person who may be contacted by these spurious individuals may report the incident to his office number 0917-8085329.

Lacierda also said that a text message currently circulating saying that his office, the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson is giving out raffle prizes, is not true.

“There’s no truth to that. The government does not hold raffle contests nor give raffle prizes,” Lacierda said. (PCOO)

US report lauds decline of terrorism in PHL, says Malacanang

MALACANANG on Saturday expressed elation over the US State department’s report noting a continued decline of the terrorist activities in the Philippines.

Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that the government will consider the report as an indication to further improve its counter terrorism efforts.

“We are very happy about this development and we will take this as an indication to further our counter terrorism efforts,” Valte said.

The US State Department, in its “Country Reports on Terrorism 2010,” reported that the terrorist activities in the Philippines declined in the past year.
“The ability of terrorist groups, such as Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah and the New People’s Army, to conduct terrorist activities inside the Philippines continued to decline,” the report said.

“The Philippine government, with US support, has kept constant pressure on terrorist groups even as their security services were stretched thin by other demands such as carrying out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and providing security for the national election in May,” it added.

The US State Department also lauded the Philippine law enforcers for their “vigorous efforts to arrest terrorists and eliminate safe havens, and closely coordinated efforts with US law enforcement officers.”

Malacanang says gov’t focused on ensuring safety of Filipinos in Libya

MALACANANG on Tuesday said the government is now focused on taking care of and
ensuring the safety of the remaining Filipinos in Libya.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a press briefing in Malacanang, said the
Department of Foreign Affairs has issued the last call for the repatriation Filipinos still the in
war-torn Libya but Philippine embassy personnel there will have to stay put to attend to the
needs of those who opted to stay.

Valte said some Filipinos, specifically those working in government hospitals in Libya, were
offered double pay as well as hazard pay by their employers. She added that the employers
asked for the government’s assistance so the Filipinos can remit their salaries.

Valte stressed that the Philippines, as a member of the United Nations (UN) is “bound to
respect the decision of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the situation in Libya.
but as President Aquino said, our focus now is how to take care of the Filipinos still in Libya.”

There are some 2,000 Filipinos still in Libya; most of them are working in hospitals.

Under the UNSC Charter, all members of the UN agree to accept and carry out the
decisions of the Security Council. While other organs of the UN make recommendations to
Governments, the Council alone has the power to take decisions that member states are
obligated under the Charter to carry out.

On Thursday last week, the UNSC passed a resolution ordering a no-fly-zone over Libya and
allows for air strikes to protect civilians from attacks by Col. Gaddafi’s forces. (PCOO)

Palace: No concessions to China for reprieve

MALACAÑANG clarified Monday that no concessions were given to China for the latter’s
grant of a reprieve to three overseas Filipino workers facing execution for drug trafficking.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Vice President Jejomar Binay had categorically
denied offering concessions to China after securing postponement of the execution of
Ramon Credo, 42; Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, 32; and Elizabeth Batain, 38. The three were
scheduled for execution this week.

Binay announced the development Friday after meeting with Dai Bongguo, state councilor;
Wang Shengjun, president of the Supreme People’s Court; and Zhang Zhijun, executive vice
minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos, who was with Binay on his Beijing trip, said
the meeting was not behind closed doors and no concession could have been given without
the public getting the information.

For its part, the Chinese embassy in Manila said China only “gave consideration” to the
Philippines’ request.

Lacierda also downplayed concerns over the possibility of the Philippines becoming hostage
to China as a result of the issue. (PIA)