News Briefs: February 1, 2017

Involvement 'striker' in Korean slay prompts inventory of NBI assets

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to do an inventory of its "confidential agents, assets, civilian informants, strikers" following the admission of its striker Jerry Omlang that he was involved in the kidnapping and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.

Omlang had surfaced to testify that he was recruited by Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta Isabel, his longtime friend and a major main suspect in the case, to put Jee under surveillance. Omlang admitted he was the one caught in a CCTV footage withdrawing Jee's money from an ATM. 

According to NBI Director Dante Gierran, "strikers" don't receive salaries from the bureau. They get tips for running errands for officials and employees. – 


Man kills Palawan mangrove to build sudivision, arrested

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan – Authorities arrested an individual for clearing a mangrove area here in a bid to develop it into a subdivision.

Environment Secretary Regina Lopez, in her Facebook post on Wednesday, February 1, said a team from her department and local law enforcers arrested a certain Raphael Cervantes and his men in Barangay San Manuel. They "removed installed fences and other structures found within the perimeter, including at least 100 houses," she said.

Cervantes' 5-hectare area operations had been carried out inside a mangrove reserve, an area considered as government property, according to Lopez: "We found corpses of mangroves and corals piled up as a foundation for the subdivision they were building."

If proven guilty, the suspects will spend "life in prison for robbing the government and the environment billions in pesos." 

The environment secretary also called out OIC City Police Director Superintendent Robin King Sarmiento "for resisting our operations and coddling Cervantes and his group." – Keith Anthony Fabro