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It’s “very bad news” for Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said El Chapo will spend the rest of his days behind bars after a United States court sentenced him to life in prison plus 30 years.

“Very bad news for Mexican drug lord El Chapo. He stays in prison until he dies and even if reincarnated as a cockroach, he’d still be in prison for 30 more years,” he tweeted.

“He must be wishing he had operated here. Either he’s out on bail while his case is on appeal, or RIP,” he added.

Very bad news for Mexican drug lord El Chapo. He stays in prison until he dies and even if reincarnated as a cockroach, he’d still be in prison for 30 more years. He must be wishing he had operated here. Either he’s out on bail while his case is on appeal, or RIP.

— PING LACSON (@iampinglacson) July 19, 2019
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Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Friday condemned the filing of the “baseless harassment suit” against Vice President Leni Robredo, members of Otso Deretso, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and members of the Church for inciting to sedition.

“This is gravely and highly condemnable act; it uses the same template the Duterte regime utilized against progressives and activists. Now it is being used wholesale against opposition figures,” said Colmenares.

“They file trumped up charges against critics of the regime to silence them from exposing the rottenness of the administration. Numerous critics of the administration like peace consultants Vic Ladlad, Rey Casambre and Sen. Leila de Lima are now detained for the fact that they stood up for the truth,” he added.

The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Thursday filed sedition and other complaints against Robredo and 35 other individuals, including incumbent and former senators, lawyers, bishops and priests after they were tagged in the release of the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.

“Furthermore the attack against IBP officers is an attack against the mandate of IBP to provide legal services to those in need. Pres. Duterte as a lawyer should know this,” Colmenares added.

“The Filipino people must be very vigilant against this hideous design as it was the same modus the dictator Ferdinand Marcos used before declaring martial law in the whole country,” he said.

Zarate said the timing of the case filing is also suspect because it was timed before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“In a way the filing of the case wants to stun the opposition and prevent them from further exposing the abuses of the administration especially during the massive protest actions geared against the SONA on Monday,” he said.

“Legally though I think that the case against VP Leni and the others is destitute of merit and would not stand credence in a fair court. It was just filed now to steal the thunder from the broadening movement against the excesses and tyrannical policies of the Duterte administration,” Zarate said.

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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Friday said the Liberal Party must stand as the opposition party in the House of Representatives, especially with fresh attacks against its chair, Vice President Leni Robredo.

“The recent unfounded charges against Vice President Leni Robredo, critical bishops and vocal opposition leaders for sedition and other crimes give much more impetus to the Liberal Party (LP) members in the House to stand together as the genuine opposition and minority bloc,” he said.

Robredo and several other opposition forces were charged with inciting to sedition in connection with the uploading of the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.

LP representatives “should not only be the real and responsible critics of the administration but must be the undaunted sentinels to safeguard the people’s fundamental rights,” said Lagman, leader of the Magnificent 7 bloc.

He made the statement after reports that LP would join the majority coalition again to get plum House positions.

“President Duterte considers the LP as the opposition, the people regard the LP as the opposition party and the Otso Diretso was the face of the opposition during the last electoral campaign,” he said.

“Perforce, the LP must not only be perceived as the opposition but must discharge its vital role as the political opposition,” Lagman said.

He quoted renowned French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville: “The majority not only makes the laws but can break them as well.”

“It is for this reason that the minority must persist and flourish,” Lagman said.

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By Prince Golez

Malacañang on Friday insisted that it had nothing to do with the filing of sedition charges against Vice President Leni Robredo and other opposition figures over their alleged involvement in the viral videos “Ang Totoong Narcolist.”

The YouTube video series had claimed that the family and close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte benefitted from the illegal drugs trade.

“We have nothing to do with this case. None at all. Absolutely nothing. Otherwise e di kami na ang nag demanda diyan noon pa,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in an interview with ANC.

“Eh di ba pinabayaan na lang namin. Sanay na si Presidente diyan, ang mga paninira sa kanya, kaya nga ayaw na niya maging Presidente yung anak niya,” Panelo added.

The Philippine National Police filed sedition and other criminal complaints last Thursday against Robredo, Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros, former senators Paolo Benigno Aquino and Antonio Trillanes IV, some members of the Otso Diretso senatorial slate, and other administration critics.

The complaint was based on a sworn statement of Peter Joemel Advincula, the man who confessed to be “Bikoy” in anonymous videos against Duterte and his friends.

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There’s practically zero possibility for a coup in the House speakership race, according to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

“A coup is staged by hostile forces opposed to the establishment,” he said, noting that President Rodrigo Duterte, who endorsed a term-sharing deal between Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, would not face resistance from his allies.

“Considering that the members of the supermajority coalition are allied with President Rodrigo Duterte, the possibility of a coup from allies to subvert the President’s anointment of presumptive Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is nil,” the Magnificent 7 leader said.

Lagman said the ouster of former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez by the forces of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2018 was a different case.

“It was not a coup but a mutiny of a disgruntled crew orchestrated by an external force,” he said.

“Current grumblings in the House are the usual infighting for choice positions of Deputy Speakers, Committee Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, and ranking members, among fellow partisans which would test the mettle and fortitude of a leader,” Lagman said.

He said the real question was in who would become Minority Leader.

“After the two most important positions of Speaker and Majority Leader have been settled even before a single vote is cast in the Plenary, what is of urgency is the recognition of the third most important position, that of an authentic, credible and responsible Minority Leader from the ranks of the true opposition,” said Lagman.

The Liberal Party member earlier offered himself as leader of the House minority.

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Agence France-Presse

US President Donald Trump on Thursday sought to distance himself from the incendiary chant of “Send her back” aimed at a Somali-born Democratic lawmaker during an election rally the night before.

“I was not happy with it — I disagree with it,” Trump told reporters when asked about the cry, launched by the crowd in response to an angry tirade by Trump against congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

Asked why he did nothing to stop the taunt, instead pausing as the crowd chanted it over and over, Trump responded: “I think I did — I started speaking very quickly.”

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by Jerome TAYLOR

A peculiar legacy of Hong Kong’s colonial past has emerged as a focal point of rage for anti-government protesters: a dwindling band of expat police officers now vilified for doing the bidding of the city’s pro-Beijing leaders.

Hong Kong’s 32,000-strong police force have found themselves fighting unprecedented running battles with protesters for the past five weeks following a huge backlash to a now-suspended plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

The crisis — which has since morphed into a wider anti-government movement — has placed officers in the firing line of public anger as the city’s leaders appear unable, or unwilling, to offer any political solution.

But among those singled out for specific retribution include a small group of expatriates who were some of the commanding officers on the frontlines during clashes where tear gas and rubber bullets were fired.

Their personal details were published online after they appeared in the media and were also named by a British lawmaker in parliament.

Wanted posters made by protesters have sprung up across the city targeting two senior officers in particular, as well as their local deputies.

“They have been through an ordeal,” Chief Inspector Neil Taylor, chairman of the Overseas Inspectors’ Association, told AFP.

“But it’s not just them. Their kids have been targeted at school by bullies, a wife was approached in a supermarket and abused. That cannot be pleasant for anybody.”

“Both have said, ‘It’s tough, but we have a job to do’,” added another colleague, who asked not to be named.

“How much of that is bravado, how much they really believe it, I don’t know.”

– Colonial legacy –
In the run-up to the 1997 handover to China, there were some 900 mostly-British officers on the force.

Many were encouraged to stay on to help with the transition and were required to be proficient in Cantonese. There are now just some 60 officers left.

The last were recruited in 1994 when the force stopped hiring from overseas. They are expected to reach retirement age around 2028.

Steve Vickers, a former head of the colonial police’s Criminal Intelligence Bureau, left the force in 1993 ahead of the handover and has since set up a risk consultancy business.

He said expat officers remaining after the handover were useful because “continuity and confidence was maintained”.

“To that end, their presence was valuable, and indeed desirable,” he told AFP.

But he added that Hong Kong’s police force has since changed considerably, especially as Beijing asserts more authority over the city’s leaders.

“As the years have gone by, and China’s rise has been much more pronounced, the Hong Kong government became politicised in the years following the handover,” he said.

“This politicisation also affects the police.”

Many of the force’s bomb disposal experts are expat officers and won glowing local headlines last year for defusing a series of World War II-era bombs that were unearthed during construction works.

But some of their colleagues now find themselves facing a barrage of criticism.

Protesters and rights groups have accused police of excessive force while angry chants of “black cops” — a pun on a Cantonese phrase used to describe triads — have now become commonplace.

The outed expat officers are now increasingly portrayed as foot soldiers for an authoritarian China that wants to clamp down on Hong Kong’s unique freedoms.

During one protest earlier this month, democracy activist Joshua Wong spotted one and began berating him.

“You are British and you serve the interests of Beijing,” he cried.

– Youth anger –
Senior officers bristle at the way they have been portrayed — and reject the idea that they have used excessive force.

“Other western police forces have used far more force during crowd-control operations,” one officer told AFP.

“In Paris or New York we’d have seen way more injuries, fractured skulls and broken bones.”

Two other officers AFP spoke to mentioned recent rallies in France where anti-government “yellow vest” protesters say at least 23 people lost an eye, primarily from plastic bullets and baton rounds.

The senior officers said many had sympathies with those protesting peacefully, adding that police helped facilitate multiple mass rallies and had no say over policy.

“This whole situation has been created by the government through their mishandling of the extradition law,” one officer fumed.

“But I also recognise that there are many wider issues that haven’t been solved,” he said, citing inequality, spiralling property prices and youth disaffection.

“I think we also have to recognise there is also a small, hardcore element who just want to have a go at police and despise China.”

Agence France-Presse

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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has grown suspicious about lawyer Larry Gadon, saying he surfaces whenever there’s trouble.

Gatchalian made the comment on Twitter after Gadon appeared as counsel of Peter Advincula alias Bikoy who filed sedition raps against several opposition personalities over the anti-Duterte videos.

“Na buhay nanaman sa Gadon. Kung saan ang gulo, nandoon din siya,” he tweeted.

Na buhay nanaman sa Gadon. Kung saan ang gulo, nandoon din siya.

— Sherwin Gatchalian (@stgatchalian) July 19, 2019
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Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will continue his mission to unmask President Rodrigo Duterte’s links to drug lords even after getting charged with sedition charges for the “Totoong Narcolist” fake video.

“Anu’t-ano pa man, haharapin ko ito at gagamiting kong pagkakataon na mailabas ang kaugnayan ni Duterte sa iligal na droga,” said Trillanes on Twitter.

Trillanes made the statement after the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) filed charges against him and 35 others – including Vice President Leni Robredo – for “Sedition, inciting to Sedition, Cyber Libel, Libel, Estafa, Harboring a Criminal and Obstruction of Justice,”

“”The filing of cases against key members of the opposition are clear acts of political persecution and harassment by the Duterte administration meant to stifle democratic dissent,” Trillanes said

“The PNP-CIDG investigators clearly abused and misused the subpoena power recently bestowed on them to single out critics of the Duterte administration,” he added.

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Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno isn’t giving up the fight for justice amid reports Vice President Leni Robredo and other opposition personalities are facing sedition raps over the controversial anti-Duterte videos.

Diokno, in a post on Twitter, said the administration seemed eager to arrest its political opponents despite the lack of evidence.

“Luto ang kasong ito. Sabik na sabik ata ang administrasyon na ikulong kami, kahit walang basehan o ebidensiya,” he tweeted.

“Bilang abogado para sa mahihirap, sanay na ako sa ganitong pangaapi. Tuloy ang laban natin para sa hustisya,” he said.

Peter Advincula alias Bikoy earlier filed charges of sedition, cyber libel, among others against Robredo and opposition leaders for their alleged involvement in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video that implicated President Duterte’s family to the illegal drug trade.

Advincula was accompanied by his lawyer Larry Gadon.

Both Diokno and Gadon lost in the last senatorial elections.

Luto ang kasong ito. Sabik na sabik ata ang administrasyon na ikulong kami, kahit walang basehan o ebidensiya. Bilang abogado para sa mahihirap, sanay na ako sa ganitong pangaapi. Tuloy ang laban natin para sa hustisya. https://t.co/gW5X71YWDb

— Chel Diokno (@ChelDiokno) July 18, 2019

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