Daily Archives: July 11, 2014

The blaming game; casino hullabaloo

“People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.” J. Michael Straczynski

By Alex P. Vidal

Like Brazil’s semifinals shellacking from Germany in the FIFA 2014 World Cup, Ilonggos already anticipated with absolute certainty the floods that hit the city last July 7 due to heavy downpour brought by typhoon “Florita”.
Several days before the Germany vs Brazil showdown, everyone was already talking about the host country’s impending exit from the world’s most prestigious soccer conclave when it was crystal clear that Neymar and Thiago Silva would miss the important match.
Each time there was non-stop monsoon rain in Iloilo City, Ilonggos were expecting the water level to rise rapidly due to our poor drainage system and clogged manholes. Waterways were blocked by garbage and other debris thrown by irresponsible characters.
Aside from the inefficient flood control program from our local government that dates back during the incumbency of post-EDSA OIC mayor Rosa “Tita” Caram, the lack of discipline also did us in.
We are actually not blameless. We also neglected our social responsibility; we were complacent and passive. We move only like a house on fire when calamity is already in our doorsteps. When it comes to blaming others, we are World Cup winners.


When calamity strikes, we resort to endless buck-passing and blaming games. We denounce our public officials and unload unrestrained brickbats at city hall without letup to emphasize our disgust and outrage.
We always expect too much from our authorities. We think they are supermen and wonder women who can solve the crisis overnight. We forget the fundamental factor why these public officials are also hard-pressed to address the gnawing problem that has bedeviled the Ilonggos for more than forty years now.
We lack a comprehensive urban planning. The city’s physical layout and infrastructure is tailor-made for floods. Since time immemorial, we elected politicians, not urban planners and highly skilled engineers. Our squalid electoral system has goaded or programmed our psyche to vote for glib-tongued punks and tantalizers.
We have parsimoniously avoided or refused to vote for candidates not gifted with eloquence in speaking but are genius in architecture and engineering works. We are suckers to debaters and smart alecks who mesmerize us with empty rhetoric during the campaign period.
And now that these ninny lobcocks are in power and can’t solve the flood problems in one fell swoop, we angrily raise the whimper and resort to trouncing them with unsavory remarks. And we get a high blood pressure.


Some members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod who unraveled a can of worms involving the Casino Filipino’s failure to secure a business permit from the Iloilo City hall since 2012, are now the objects of a smear drive.
Some city hall minions who authorized Casino Filipino’s monthly remittance of P500,000 cash to the city treasurer’s office and allowed the gaming establishment to operate without a business permit, are jittery since no less than the Iloilo Business Club (IBC) has issued a terse statement that no one should be given a special treatment when it comes to securing the mandatory business permit before being allowed to operate a business anywhere in the city.
They have more reason to be panicky now that the local legislative body has hinted that it would conduct a committee hearing on the hullabaloo.
We have emphasized earlier that operators of Casino Filipino can’t invoke the weight of the monthly largesse they gave the city government as a bargaining chip so they could be exempted from their obligation to secure a business permit.
The caveat is clear and categorical: the city tax ordinance does not exempt any individual or entity from securing a business permit. There is a whale of difference between a donation (in whatever amount) and a fee paid for the business permit.

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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in Uncategorized


PNP intelligence fails to monitor cyber criminals

“The idea that the police cannot ask questions of the person that knows most about the crime is an infamous decision.” Edwin Meese III

By Alex P. Vidal

If not for the tips provided by the Manila-based Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Manila, the 44 Taiwanese nationals arrested in two raids conducted in the districts of Mandurriao and Jaro in Iloilo City last July 9 for cyber money laundering and telecommunications fraud would still be operating until today.
If they were already in Iloilo City as early as March 2014, why is it that their operations for the last four months were never detected?
With their number, Ilonggos must have seen some if not all of them in shopping malls and in other public places.
For sure, they also commuted in cabs and passenger jeeps and mixed with crowd when they went outside. Hence, the PNP’s intelligence radar should have monitored, or at least gathered reports about the existence of these visitors in two prominent subdivisions.
We’re lucky that these cyber criminals were not terrorists: they would have blown a large part of our city to smithereens. They would have murdered a lot of Ilonggos, plant bombs in schools, government buildings and business establishments. Ilonggos would have been caught flat-footed while the city was being attacked.


Four months is a long period for the terrorists to prepare or launch a sneak or kamikaze attack. We hate to stretch our imagination too far, but in dealing with terrorists, it is always better to be two steps ahead than be sorry and dead.
The sleuthing job for the activities of these Taiwanese visitors was supposed to be not hard. If they rented a house at Phase 5 Imperial VI Subdivision in Brgy. Guzman-Jesena, Mandurriao and at Ledesco Village in Jaro, the residents would have noticed suspicious body movements because of their number.
It’s very unusual for more than 20 persons—all foreign nationals—to stay in one rented subdivision house for more than one month without rousing the suspicion or curiosity of residents in the neighborhood, especially the village officials.
All 44 suspects may have swapped “duties” in the two houses, which they used as headquarters, every now and then. Different faces mixing in two different houses.
According to one elderly male resident, he suspected something fishy when the Taiwanese visitors would never go out, thus he called the attention of their unnamed village official.


Police should investigate why this village official did not alert them earlier. In intelligence report gathering, any tip—serious or just a slip of the tongue—should be considered a breakthrough. No stone should be left unturned during the verification stage.
Supt. Bernard Yang, chief of the PNP’s anti-cyber-crime group based in Camp Crame, Quezon City, told the Ilolio press that the syndicate’s main targets were citizens of mainland China.
They reportedly pretended as representatives of police, insurance companies and courts and duped or coerced gullible individuals and companies mostly in mainland China to deposit large amount of money in a “safe” account or face prosecution for money laundering.
It’s a form of extortion racket.
Despite the delay in information of the syndicate’s presence in our city, we must still laud city police director, Senior Supt. Ruperto Floro, and city police intelligence chief, Supt. Ipil Dueñas and their men, for raiding the house at Ledesco Village where ring leader Chun His Hsu and 19 other fellow Taiwanese nationals were arrested.
We must credit them because no life was lost during the raids, conducted through the search warrants issued by Regional Trial Court, Branch 66 Manila Judge Rainelda Estacaio-Montesa.
Because nobody resisted arrest, police did not have hellish moments to manacle all of them. An excellent job for the raiding team.
We hope all the syndicate members were accounted for and no one managed to slip away. We also hope that police will look into a possibility that the syndicate may have Filipino contacts.

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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in Uncategorized