“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.” George Washington
By Alex P. Vidal
ILOILO Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. described Engr. Gracianito Lucero, chief of the Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO) as “an honest man.”
“Honest ini sia nga tawo. Dugay ko na ini sia kilala. I trust this man, but not some of his men. Damu gid man dira kawatan kag gina pa imbistigar naton ina (He is an honest man. I have known him for a long time. I trust this man but not some of his men who are really thieves. And that’s why I am investigating them),” Defensor told me in front of Lucero inside the governor’s office on Friday morning.
The governor was referring to the “pa-ihi” or fuel pilferage scam allegedly committed by some corrupt PEO employees.
Defensor has tasked Provincial Administrator Raul Banas to leave no stone unturned in the investigation.
“We are now doing the investigation,” Dr. Banas told me.
Executive Assistant Ruel Von Superio confirmed that “there is an ongoing investigation.”
Broadcaster Ibrahim Calanao, meanwhile, has owned up to the “pa-ihi” expose.
“Ako sina una nag expose, Lex. Ulihi na lang ina ang write-up mo. Dugay ko na ina gina hambal sa radyo. Ang iban nga truck didto gapa amolya sa patyo sang Janiuay ho. Didto nila ginapasuyupan gasoline ang tangke. (I was the one who first made that expose. Your write-up came later. I have been announcing this anomaly in my radio program. Some of the trucks were brought to a cemetery in Janiuay where the fuel pilferage was done),” Calanao said.
Lucero, by the way, told me his wife, who is a doctor, owns the “expensive” vehicle referred to by a source in my previous column.
My visit in the governor’s office on Friday morning actually coincided only while Defensor was waiting for Lucero to arrive.
They had an important meeting regarding the “pa-ihi” imbroglio.
Defensor showed strong eagerness to rid the PEO with corrupt elements.
I went there together with former North Cotabato Gov. Manny Pinol, who asked me to accompany him and his brother, Mlang, Cotabato Mayor Joselito, in his second visit to Defensor in one week.
Pinol, who was there two days earlier, was head of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s advance party in the courtesy call to Defensor.
I was not part of Duterte’s activities in Iloilo.
I came only because of Pinol, my long-time colleague in sports writing (we first met in 1991 during the House committee on youth and sports hearing on alleged sports anomalies when Pinol was still writing for Tempo, sister publication of Manila Bulletin).
Pinol, who dabbles as boxing manager, and I last met in Las Vegas three years ago when Manny Pacquiao lost by KO5 against Juan Manuel Marquez.
“This is your first visit in my office since I became governor (for the second time),” Defensor told me.
WE support the call of the Animal Welfare Association (AWA) of Iloilo headed by Anna Marie Rivera Wharton to halt the use of carbon monoxide poisoning via the “tambutso” or car exhaust in exterminating stray dogs and cats.
City Veterinarian Tomas Forteza has confirmed the practice in a radio interview, according to Wharton in her letter dated February 23, 2015.
Wharton’s expose surprised Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog who admitted “he has no idea of a humane method of killing stray animals that is lawfully acceptable.”
Mabilog referred the matter to Dr. Forteza and asked him to “research and check on the methods that may not be considered afoul with the law.”
Republic Act. No. 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998) mandates that “the killing of animals shall be done through humane procedure at all times.”
Humane procedure, under the law, “shall mean the use of the scientific method available as may be determined and approved by the committee (Committee on Animal Welfare).”
The law does not, however, specify these scientific methods, according to a recent article written by Wenceslao Mateo.
“But is killing of stray animals by carbon monoxide suffocation lawfully acceptable and a scientific method?” asked the article.
The article added: “A news report abroad reveals that carbon monoxide killing of stray animals, especially those in shelters, is outlawed in the US states of California, Tennessee, Maryland and Rhode Island.
“Also, both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Humane Society of the United States reject killing by carbon monoxide.
“They observed that carbon monoxide poisoning causes animals to suffer horribly while they are slowly suffocated, and often scream and go into convulsions while struggling for air.”