Palace to PNP: Shut up

Manila, Philippines — The Palace has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation to stop issuing statements about the hostage incident and to let the Department of Justice (DoJ) do the talking.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said only Justice Secretary Leila de Lima would be allowed to brief the media and the public on the developments in the investigation being conducted by an inter-agency body headed by the DoJ.

Lacierda said the order was De Lima’s idea meant to avoid confusion.

The order came a day after the PNP, through spokesman Sr. Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr., said all tourists were killed by the hostage taker and not by fire from the members of the Manila Police S.W.A.T. team. Cruz cited initial forensic analysis on spent shells recovered inside the bus where the hostages were held.

Cops helpless vs ‘wang-wang’ dealers

DESPITE a nationwide crackdown on unauthorized use of “wang-wang,” or sirens and blinkers on vehicles, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has admitted it could not go after dealers selling the gadgets.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina said Friday the law against wang-wang, Presidential Decree 96, does not bar the sale of such items.

“The presidential decree does not bar the sale of such gadgets, as it only prohibits their unauthorized use. We hope dealers would stop selling once vehicle owners stop buying those gadgets,” Espina said in an interview.

However, Espina said they are studying proposing a guideline or supplemental law to address possible “shortcomings” of PD 96.

“For now we have no law against such items. Perhaps we can persuade the dealers not to sell. On the other hand, if there will be no buyers, there will be no sales,” he said.

The PNP started a nationwide crackdown on the sirens two days after President Benigno Simeon Aquino III spoke strongly against the use of wang-wang. (PIA-Bohol)

Comelec asks DOJ, PNP help in election related probes

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help in investigating several election-related incidents.

According to Justice Undersecretary Alberto Agra in reports, the DOJ has received a letter from Comelec Chairman Jose Melo asking them to help investigate certain incidents that happened in the past two weeks.

Agra said among those to be investigated are the compact flash cards presented by Quezon City Rep. Annie Suzano, the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines allegedly kept in Antipolo, Rizal, and Cagayan de Oro and the reported taped conversation of Comelec commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer.

“The DOJ will take the lead in so far as the investigation pertaining to Cong. Suzano and the ‘Hello Nico’ tape but PNP will proceed with their investigation of the PCOS machine incidents,” he added.

The National Bureau of Investigation will also be helping the DOJ in verifying the authenticity of the “Hello Nico” tape, which reportedly featured a telephone conversation between Ferrer and Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno about rigging the polls.

The DOJ and PNP are looking to finish the initial investigation for all the incidents by June 15.