Wednesday, March 8, 2017

CBCP saddened by passage of death penalty bill at lower house

CBCP saddened by passage of death penalty bill at lower house
By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, March 7 (PNA) -- The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is standing firm on its opposition to the death penalty.

In a statement, CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas said they were saddened by the decision of the House of Representatives to approve on third and final reading the bill reviving the death penalty.

"The House of Representatives has given its consent for the State to kill. We, your bishops, are overcome with grief but we are not defeated, nor shall we be silenced," he said.

"In the midst of Lent, we prepare to celebrate the triumph of Life over Death, and while we grieve that the Lower House has voted for death, our faith assures us that Life will triumph."

At the same time, Villegas urged Filipinos to continue to express their opposition to the proposed measure.

"We call on all Catholic faithful and all Filipinos who stand for life to continue the spirited opposition to the death penalty," he said.

He likewise called on the judiciary to support the Gospel of Life.

"We urge Catholic lawyers, judges and jurists to allow the gentleness of the Gospel of Life to illumine their reading and application of the law, so that their service to society as teachers and agents of the law and of justice may bring life," the CBCP chief said.

On Tuesday, 216 members of the House said 'yes' to the reimposition of the capital punishment, while 54 lawmakers said 'no' and one abstained. (PNA)

Philippine Army to acquire force protection equipment, sniper rifles

SBMS still on go but PA to acquire force protection equipment, sniper rifles first
By Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, March 7 (PNA) --- Acquisition of the country's shore-base missile system (SBMS) is still on go but the Philippine Army (PA) will first prioritize the procurement of additional force protection equipment, sniper rifles and first-aid kits for its troopers.

This was disclosed by PA commander Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda in a recent interview

"(We are looking and evaluating the possible SBMS) design, however in the manner of how we implement it (acquisition), it has to conform, say for example with the requirement of the current operational environment, like now, we are prioritizing (the acquisition) of equipment for the welfare and benefit of our soldiers like force protection equipment, (ballistic) helmets to increase their survivability and we are also investing in training to make them more proficient (in combat)," he said in Filipino.

"The SBMS remains on the list but I don't see that it is necessary for us to procure it in the meantime," Miranda said.

Other needs of the troops being acquired right now are sniper rifles, first-aid kits.

Miranda said the PA would proceed on acquiring its big-time ticket items when the proper time comes.

In 2015, then Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Gen. Hernando DCA Iriberri requested the Php 6.5- billion SBMS project to be moved to the AFP Modernization Program Second Horizon as the more pressing needs then was the acquisition of force protection equipment, sniper rifles and radioes.

The SBMS will be acquired to beef up the external defense capabilities of the PA and not aimed at any particular nation.

The SBMS consists of 12 launchers, trailers and tracking systems and missiles that could be fired to neutralize ground and naval targets.

And in its place, force protection equipment, squad designated rifles and modern radios.

The AFP's Modernization Program is divided into three horizons, with the first lasting from 2013 to 2017, the second from 2018 to 2022 and third 2023 to 2028. (PNA)

Sec. Perfecto Yasay denies lying about citizenship

Yasay denies lying about citizenship
By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, March 7 (PNA) -- Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. on Tuesday said that he never lied to the Commission on Appointments (CA) about his citizenship.

"I would like to assure everyone that I have never lied in my testimony and I will continue and reiterate all the same statements that I made," Yasay told reporters in an interview.

Yasay admitted having a naturalization certificate which he "returned to authorities."

To recall, his confirmation was suspended due to pending concerns of some congressmen about his reported US citizenship.

During his CA confirmation last Feb 22, Yasay said that although he applied for a US citizenship, his application was denied which is contrary to the documents that stated that he did possess a US citizenship.

In a previous TV interview, Yasay admitted owning a US passport but returned it with his naturalization certificate.

Yasay, meanwhile, expressed hope that the CA would be fair during his next confirmation hearing on Wednesday (March 8, 2017).

"I would hope that everyone would be fair in not accusing me of lying because I never lied," he said.

He was in the Senate a day before his confirmation to speak to Sen. Loren Legarda on matters regarding "climate change." (PNA)