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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Antique on brink of chaos as Mar Roxas dilly-dallies

“A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.” Albert Einstein

By Alex P. Vidal

INSTEAD of an ounce of prevention, a pound of cure is now needed to solve the leadership crisis that hit Antique, which now has two governors.
With two governors—Exequiel Javier and Rhodora Cadiao—jockeying for the post, Antiquenos are now in a state of confusion as to who they will recognize.
Even supporters of the two governors are starting to get restless and irritated by the perplexing turn of events.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) led by Secretary Mar Roxas hasn’t intervened.
If Roxas was decisive enough, the political standoff in Antique would have been prevented earlier.
Antique needs a win-win solution to its problem at the capitol.
A phone call to Javier convincing him to step down over the weekend would have been enough to avert the leadership crisis.
Roxas would have reminded Javier that in Laguna, Governor ER Ejercito left capitol peacefully in May 2014 after being convinced by his uncle, Manila Mayor Erap Estrada, thus averting any violence.
Ejercito was also disqualified by the Comelec for overspending.
DILG was supposed to serve the writ of execution issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which earlier disqualified Javier for violation of Omnibus Election Code.
A week had passed since a transition of power was supposed to take place at the Antique capitol when Javier failed to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court, but the DILG didn’t show up to install Vice Governor Cadiao as the new governor.

CENTRAL

The writ of execution was still in the DILG central office in Manila and was not yet transmitted to the regional office as of press time, it was reported.
Meawhile, Cadiao took her oath of office at the session hall of the Provincial Board in the old provincial capitol around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, January 29 administered by Atabay, San Jose Barangay Captain Jay Aster Hiponia.
After the oath-taking, Cadio declared: “I am both humbled and honored by this great task of assuming the leadership as governor of our province in this time of great crisis. Twenty-seven years ago we lived in a shadow of fear and despair. Today, we start a new day to live in the sublime sunshine of hope and change.”
Javier asserted that there was no vacancy in the governor’s office insisting that only the Supreme Court can oust him.
Comele Chairman Sixto Brillantes, however, declared that Javier’s disqualification was final and executory.
Javier’s Waterloo came after he suspended Valderrama Mayor Joyce Roquero in January 2013 in violation of the Omnibus Election Code, which prohibits the suspension of local elected officials within election period.

REFUSE

Javier has refused to step down and his supporters continued to mass up in the capitol ground in San Jose de Buenavista to show support after he exhorted them earlier to “protect your votes” insisting that the Comelec ruling “is only temporary.”
With two governors, department heads are now in quandary.
If banks can’t decide which signature to acknowledge in capitol-issued checks, basic services will be hampered.
Once the writ of execution will be issued by the DILG regional office anytime, there is still no guarantee that Javier will relinquish his post.
He earlier said he would respect the decision of the Comelec.
But now, Javier said he will only obey the decision of the Supreme Court.
The events that will unfold in the next three weeks are worth watching.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in POLITICS

 

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Probing cops is like probing Dracula for his love of blood

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Walt Disney

By Alex P. Vidal

WE know that Dracula loves to drink blood, thus we shouldn’t be shocked anymore why he wants to be employed in the blood bank.
We will only investigate, of course, if he was hired as security guard in the blood bank even if he didn’t conceal in his bio-data that he was Dracula, the bloodsucker.
Only hypocrites will claim they don’t know that gambling and other illegal activities exist.
The worst hypocrites are those who argue that no cop, public official and even media practitioner is in the payola of operators of illegal activities.
While we understand the knee-jerk reaction of Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) director, Senior Superintendent Cornelio Salinas, on the sweeping allegations made by former Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) administrator Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. against some police chiefs and municipal mayors in the first district of Iloilo, we can’t help but quip, “Hello. You don’t know really, sir?”
Salinas wants to investigate Garin’s claims that some of the police chiefs in that district have been getting a regular payola or protection racket from illegal gambling operators.
“Worried” Salinas wants an immediate housecleaning so he can separate the chaffs from the grains under his command.

SUPERIORS

We support him. We believe in his sincerity.
But Salinas should first ask to investigate his superiors in Camp Delgado, Iloilo City and even those in Camp Crame, Quezon City or all the way up to the PNP hierarchy.
The first personnel in these headquarters who will claim they are unaware there are cops who receive payola from illegal gambling operators, should be sent to Mindanao to avenge the massacre recently of 44 PNP-Special Action Force troopers by Muslim separatists.
“Pa-imbestigahan naton ang ginhambal ni congressman (Oscar) Garin. I-find out naton kon paano naton ma-substantiate,” said Salinas.
He said police chiefs should come up with an operational review of what they have done in the illegal gambling campaign of the PNP.
Let’s call spade a spade.
Without police protection, gambling, as well as other illegal activities, won’t prosper.

RACKET

Protection racket means some cops pretend they see nothing, hear nothing, know nothing about gambling activities taking place in their areas in exchange for regular or monthly payola.
Offers from gambling operators are too tempting to be ignored.
Sources say a provincial police director in Luzon gets a monthly payola of P500,000.
To be honest, we have no idea how much these illegal gambling operators dangle for regional police directors and the city and municipal police directors in the Visayas and Mindanao.
But a corrupt police officer assigned in a municipal and district sub-station will consider it peanuts to get only P10,000 a month.
We believe there are still honest police chiefs and rank-and-file cops; and they are still in the majority.
We also believe that Salinas is among those honest PNP officials, based on the words from our beat reporters when we were still with the other community newspapers in the 90’s.

INCREDIBLE

We also find it incredible if all municipal mayors and even members of the municipal council will claim they are clean like Caesar’s wife in as far as illegal gambling is concerned.
We have the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the League of Municipalities to discipline local officials who are “on the take” and to police their ranks.
With or without Garin’s “expose”, it’s the duty and obligation of lawmen, local chief executives and members of media to stop and expose evil in society.
And illegal gambling activity is one of those evils because it further impoverishes the people and teaches them to be lazy.
It’s not anymore a question whether the problem exists.
The question is what have we done to expose it, solve and fight it, and nip it in the bud?

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Garin’s nitpicking: No names, no glory

“We can’t have full knowledge all at once. We must start by believing; then afterwards we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves.” Thomas Aquinas

By Alex P. Vidal

THE so-called “bombshell” uncorked by former Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) administrator Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. against several unnamed municipal mayors and police chiefs in the first district of Iloilo who supposedly “received” a regular payola or protection money from illegal gambling operators, was a dud.

Because Garin didn’t name names and failed to show the Provincial Board even a tiny piece of paper or document that contains his evidence, he only succeeded in besmirching the reputations of the municipal mayors and the police chiefs in that district.

Such a sweeping statement was uncalled for and wasn’t expected from someone of Garin’s stature.

What Garin said during the Provincial Board’s out-of-town session in Guimbal, Iloilo on January 27 can be considered as hearsay or unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one’s direct knowledge.

It can be dismissed as a saber-rattling by a powerful political personality with agenda he alone knows. 

It was the kind of “information” we all regularly hear from the gossip mills.

It was the kind of gossip we regularly hear from the kapehan and barber shops.

Nothing was new.

KNOWLEDGE

It’s public knowledge that gambling and other illegal activities exist.

It’s common knowledge that some cops (not just their superior officers), public officials (not just municipal mayors), and even some media personalities (bogus and active) are “on the take.”

But because we lack the evidence or we don’t have sufficient information to back it up, we don’t say it in formal sessions; we can’t just slander anyone and get away with it.

Laura is a known prostituted woman because she accommodates male clients for sex for livelihood.

That’s a common knowledge in the neighborhood.

But nobody saw Laura having sex and receiving money from the male clients.

No client made a sworn statement that he went to bed with Laura.

If we announce in public that Laura is a prostitute, we’ll end up in jail if Laura files a slander or oral defamation case.

According to some lawyers, “truth is not a defense in a libel case.”

Going back to Garin, a former congressman who is the acknowledged patriarch of politics in the first district of Iloilo, his allegations were bereft of merits if presented in a formal court.

COURT

In the court of public opinion where politicians bring their cases attended usually by pomposity and blunderbuss, “crusader” Garin is a hero.

When we fight the devil, we don’t need to convince the public of our casus belli or case for war.

Municipal mayors and police chiefs who felt alluded to in the “expose” and who think they were unjustly crucified, can always run after Garin in a formal complaint (granting they have the guts to collide with this political demigod).

But still, Garin can easily wiggle out from any legal trouble because, in the first place, he didn’t name names.

No one can coerce him to confess his sources and specify his facts–unless he is being tried by the Catholic Inquisition.

A witty and grizzled politician for 30 years, Garin can easily attract media attention even if he will claim that a stray dog has bitten him.

Never mind if it was not him who bit the stray dog.

In the court of justice, Garin’s nitpicking will collapse.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2015 in POLITICS

 

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Sloppy job for killers of Mayor Apura’s husband

“Even in killing men, observe the rules of propriety.” CONFUCIUS

By Alex P. Vidal

WHOEVER masterminded the murder of John Apura, husband of Lemery Mayor Ligaya Apura, is stupid.

John and friend Epaldon Lope were killed when gunmen ambushed them before the elections on May 6, 2013 at around 8 o’clock in the morning.

John was driving a private vehicle in Barangay Anabo, Lemery, Iloilo when waylaid by assailants believed to be hired killers.

John was the target because he was very active in the campaign for the reelection bid of his wife, police theorized.

Lope was only probably “in the wrong place at the wrong time”, investigators said.

Although they managed to kill John, the killers did a sloppy job.

First, they perpetrated the crime in broad daylight.

Second, they allegedly used getaway vehicles that witnesses claimed looked like the private vehicles owned by Mayor Apura’s rival, Lowel Arban, himself the town’s former mayor.

Third, killing Lope wasn’t anymore necessary if the real target was only Apura.

Fourth, they didn’t leave Western Visayas or Panay Island after perpetrating the crime (one of the suspects claimed “they weren’t paid in full yet”, thus they decided to cool off for a while in Iloilo province).

Arban, one of the 12 people charged for John’s murder, denied it was his vehicles the suspects, Richard “Kabal” Caborubias and Rolando “Totong” Magno, had used.

The former mayor insisted “I am not stupid” to order John’s murder and allow the assailants to use his own private vehicles.

Arban lost to the reelectionist Mayor Apura.

SURRENDER

Arban and his co-accused surrendered to police January 20 after a warrant for their arrest was issued by Judge Rogelio Amador of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 66 in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo.

Six days later, Caborubias and Magno were slain in a police operation in Barangay Acuit, Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.

Police from the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) who conducted the operation said Caborubias and Magno resisted arrest and engaged the lawmen in a shootout.

Police Officer 3 Ronan Palmos was wounded on his left hand.

The timing of the operation, however, was suspect.

It happened six days after the surrender of former mayor Arban, Limuel Arban, Mildred Arban-Chavez, Jeffrey Bancaya, Christian Baroro, Vicente Listano, Roberto Marcelino, Rene Abico, Rayan Ares, Nonato Bomingo, Rolando Caborubias, Junior Balume, Francisco Balume Jr., Noel Aspera, Edgar Buenafe, and Roger delos Reyes.

Police said the dead fugitives had been staying in the Develos family in Barotac Nuevo for quite sometime and were helping the Develoses in the farm.

They had several pending warrants of arrest for a series of criminal activities in the provinces of Iloilo and Capiz, police said.

If the police intelligence knew their whereabouts, why did they launch the operation only last January 26?

FLOOR

Based on police report, Magno and Caborubias, were found sprawled on the floor inside the house of the Develos family with gunshot wounds.

Did they intend to commit suicide by engaging the numerically superior cops in a shootout while standing side by side inside a house surrounded by lawmen?

Police added that they found a .45 caliber in Magno’s right hand and a hand grenade in his left hand.

If Magno was hit by a bullet or bullets that caused his death, would he still be holding the gun and the grenade after he fell?

Unless he taped the gun and the grenade on both his hands, it’s impossible for Magno to continue having a full grip on both weapons after he fell.

We don’t want to undermine the success of the police to neutralize the criminals, but these loopholes will have to be addressed by investigators.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in CRIME, POLITICS

 

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World Mayor 2014 known Feb. 3; Mabilog in top 26

“I would not vote for the mayor. It’s not just because he didn’t invite me to dinner, but because on my way into town from the airport there were such enormous potholes.” Fidel Castro

By Alex P. Vidal

WILL he make it?

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog is among the 26 finalists in the World Mayor 2014.

The winner will be announced on February 3, 2015, according to its London-based website.

The announcement will come after two major events in Iloilo City: the Dinagyang Festival on January 24-25, and the feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of the Candles) in Jaro district on February 2.

“After the verification process of votes and testimonials, the World Mayor jury, made up of senior members of the City Mayors Foundation, will start its deliberations,” announced the worldmayor.com.

“The name of the winner and other results will be announced on Tuesday, 3 February 2015.”

Mabilog, one of the closest allies of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, is one of the six finalists from Asia.

He is the only one who made it from the Philippines.

Earlier, Mabilog was joined in the list by Mayors Edgardo Pamintuan of Angeles City, Ferdinand M. Amante of Butuan City, Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City, Juliet Marie Ferrer of La Carlota City, Benjamin Abalos of Mandaluyong City, and Eric Saratan of Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

Since the announcement last year that Mabilog was among the finalists, both the mayor’s critics and supporters claimed they submitted their comments about Mabilog to the organizers via online.

RESOLUTION

The Iloilo City Council passed a resolution on October 7, 2014 supporting Mabilog’s bid.

Resolution proponent Joshua Alim also exhorted his colleagues to vote for the city mayor online.

The website said: “The philanthropic City Mayors Foundation awards the World Mayor Prize every two years to a mayor who has made outstanding contributions to his/her community and has developed a vision for urban living and working that is relevant to towns and cities across the world.”

The Prize has been awarded since 2004.

The foundation “honors mayors with the vision, passion and skills to make their cities incredible places to live in, work in and visit.”

It added: “The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve and raise their profiles nationally and internationally.”

Organizers of the World Mayor Project choose city leaders who excel in qualities like: leadership and vision, management abilities and integrity, social and economic awareness, ability to provide security and to protect the environment as well as the will and ability to foster good relations between communities from different cultural, racial and social backgrounds.

The winner receives the artistically acclaimed World Mayor trophy, while the runner-up is given the World Mayor Commendation.

Those who voted via online were asked to consider whether the candidate was likely to agree to the City Mayors Code of Ethics. Candidates wishing to be considered for the World Mayor Prize were asked to sign up to the Code.

ATTACHMENT

Attachment of a “thoughtful supporting statement” was required for those who voted.

Here are the finalists: (North America) Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Calgary, Canada; Mayor Annise Parker, Houston, USA; Mayor Mick Cornett, Oklahoma City, USA; Mayor Kevin Johnson, Sacramento, USA;

(Latin America) Mayor Marcio Lacerda, Belo Horizonte, Brazil;

Mayor Álvaro Arzú, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Mayor Carlos Eduardo Correa, Monteria, Colombia; Mayor Carlos Ocariz, Sucre, Venezuela;

(Europe) Mayor Daniel Termont, Ghent, Belgium; Mayor Alain Juppé, Bordeaux, France; Mayor Albrecht Schröter, Jena, Germany; Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, Thessaloniki, Greece; Mayor Giusy Nicolini, Lampedusa, Italy; Mayor Nils Usakovs, Riga, Latvia; Mayor José Ramón García, Ribera de Arriba, Spain;

Mayor George Ferguson, Bristol, UK; Mayor Joe Anderson, Liverpool, UK;

(Asia) Mayor Tri Rismaharini (Risma), Surabaya, Indonesia; Mayor Yona Yahav, Haifa, Israel; Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Iloilo City, Philippines; Mayor Hani Mohammad Aburas, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Mayor Park Won-soon, Seoul, South Korea; Mayor Aziz Kocaoglu, Izmir, Turkey;

(Australia) Mayor Clover Moore, Sydney, Australia; (Africa) Mayor Jacqueline Moustache, Victoria, Seychelles; Mayor Thabo Manyoni, Mangaung, South Africa.

Good luck, Mayor Mabilog.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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Evidence that Iloilo is great: Dinagyang

“Each year, every city in the world that can should have a multiday festival. More people meeting each other, digging new types of music, new foods, new ideas. You want to stop having so many wars? This could be a step in the right direction.” Henry Rollins

By Alex P. Vidal

THE media coverage of the Dinagyang Festival has improved by leaps and bounds.

From the decrepit black and white digital prints and small-scale region-wide television, radio and newspaper coverage, to the global and even cosmological villages.

Technology has enabled people around the universe to watch the annual religious and cultural presentations “live” as they take place at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand and other areas in the metropolis every third week of January, the feast of patron saint, Senor Santo Nino (Jesus the child).

Planetary audience isn’t even far-fetched as aliens interested to know what’s going on in this part of the planet can even have a ringside view of Dinagyang through the high-tech gadgets attached to satellites.

Because of enormous publicity in the media and the internet (news websites and social media most particularly) before and during the festival these past years, showcasing Iloilo’s beauty, greatness and potentials wasn’t anymore a herculean or preposterous undertaking.

Fully-booked hotels, tourist arrivals that include balikbayans, political, sports and entertainment heartthrobs, and the jampacked malls, are solid manifestations that Iloilo is now a big thing because of Dinagyang.

EFFECTIVE

For Ilonggos, there is no other powerful and most effective way to promote the city and province than through the Dinagyang.

It is during the festival where both the government, educational, business and religious sectors pool their resources together and take active part to ensure its success.

Not even the hosting of a national confab of economists and financial gurus, religious sects, medical practitioners, media moguls, tourism executives, rock concerts, gathering of comedians and showbiz stars, noontime TV shows, or even presidential visit can beat Dinagyang in terms of promoting Iloilo and unveiling its natural wealth before the international stage.

Dinagyang has become synonymous to the Ilonggos’ penchant to advertise their uniqueness and creativeness vis-à-vis national celebrations, commemorations of historical and spiritual events, of customs and traditions.

In Dinagyang, we tell the world who and what we are, where we came from, why we exist.

Dinagyang is the Ilonggos’ soul, pride, and national identify.

RICH

We tell the world that we have a rich cultural and religious heritage, our native ancestry, our compact history as a Visayan community.

Somewhere all over the Visayas, as well as around the Philippines, parallel festivals are also held annually to celebrate Senor Sto. Nino.

Every first month of the year, colorful ati (native) dance, fluvial parades, sports activities, and other religious and cultural programs are also buzzing in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Aklan and other municipalities that venerate the kid saint.

Festivals in these places, too, have their own success stories in terms of tourism and business opportunities.

Dinagyang has pulled Iloilo up despite its dialectical materialism.

The collective efforts of local officials—with the help of the Filipino-Chinese community, the churches, the Department of Education, and all the stakeholders–have bore fruits.

Viva Senor Sto. Nino!

 
 

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The gods ‘angered’ by Gov. Javier’s hubris 

“Whenever I’ve had success, I never learn from it. Success usually breeds a degree of hubris. When you fail, that’s when you learn.” Moby

By Alex P. Vidal

ANTIQUE Gov. Exequiel Javier will only have himself to blame if he loses his position for disqualification.

Like Sisyphus, whom the gods condemned to ceaselessly roll a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight, Javier had it coming.

Like Prometheus, the governor’s hubris did him in.

They make mad first whom the gods wish to destroy?

The younger brother of the late ex-governor Evelio, a national hero, had been warned that his Executive Order No. 003 dated Jan. 23, 2013 preventively suspending for 30 days Mayor Mary Joyce Roquero of Valderrama, was illegal.

It violated the Omnibus Election Code that prohibits the suspension of any elective local executive within the election period.

The previous election period started on January 13, 2013 until June 12, 2013.

But he ignored the law, nay the warning.

The governor, who had served as congressman for three terms, probably underestimated the enemy.

In fact, Javier said he was “willing to face the music” (in fairness to Javier, he actually said he would respect the Comelec decision).

GROUND

Javier’s act was a ground for disqualification under Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code, Brilliantes explained.

But Javier was unfazed.

Upon the recommendation of the Provincial Board, he suspended Roquero, who was facing administrative case filed by her vice mayor, Christopher Maguad.

The vice mayor charged Roquero for gross misconduct, dereliction of duty and abuse of authority for reportedly allowing the alleged illegal operation of a gasoline station.

It was a simple case of conflict between a town mayor and vice mayor that turned into a tsunami.

For agreeing with the Provincial Board, Javier’s eyes were zapped by the tiniest mote of dust.

If he did not implement the Provincial Board recommendation, there would have been no disqualification case filed against him.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Antique will have a new governor starting Monday, January 26.

INSTALL

Rhodora Cadiao, the incumbent vice governor, will be installed as governor by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) after the issuance of the writ of execution by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

This became apparent after the Supreme Court did not grant Javier’s petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop his disqualification.

His ouster was final and executory, according to Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes.

Interestingly, Javier’s political opponent, the late board member Arturo “Turing” Pacificador, will be buried on January 24 in Lapaz, Hamtic, Antique.

Pacificador, who spent years in jail for charges that he conspired to murder Evelio before he was acquitted, died on January 11, 2015, a day before the Comelec ordered Javier’s ouster with finality.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2015 in POLITICS

 

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