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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Iloilo police ‘task force’ once linked to EJK

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

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Even before the alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS) terrorized criminals in Davao City, the territory of President Rodrigo Duterte, a police “task force” in Iloilo City was already making headlines in the late 80’s and early 90’s for links to the now infamous tagline “extra-judicial killing” or EJK.
The dreaded “Task Force Iron Eagle” led by one Colonel Rolando Maclang, operated under the tutelage of the Metrodistrict Police Command (Metrodiscom), now Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO).
Maclang had been convicted for the kidnapping and murder of a woman Filipino-Chinese cockfighting habitue, Obing Cocjin, and is now serving a jail term in the New Bilibid Prison.
Bodies of EJK victims were mostly dumped in the now Sen. Benigno Aquino Avenue, formerly known as Iloilo Diversion Road when it was still grassy, muddy and dark.
Under the watch of the late former city councilor Achilles Plagata, Metrodiscom earned notoriety for alleged involvement in EJKs where the victims were mostly thieves, rapists, drug pushers, and members of the underworld.

COUNCILOR

Plagata was a former police colonel who became a city councilor in the 90’s after his retirement. He was swashbuckling and tough-talking and had no mercy for criminals.
Well-loved and feared by police scalawags, he could have been “Iloilo City’s Rodrigo Duterte” had he ran and won for city mayor.
Like Duterte, Plagata also used cuss words and diatribes to torment bad elements in society.
His mere presence in police offices would strike fear in the hearts of lousy policemen who got dressed down like kindergarten pupils.
Task Force Iron Eagle crossed my mind when I leaned that alleged former executioner, retired SPO3 Arturo Lascañas, corroborated the testimony of fellow hitman Edgar Matobato linking President Duterte to the so-called DDS.
When Plagata retired in police service until his stint as elected city official, nobody from among his former henchmen ratted against their former operations.
In other words, Plagata took good care all his minions even during his civilian life.
The likes of Lascañas and Matobato were unheard of during Plagata’s “reign of terror.”

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Posted by on February 23, 2017 in CRIME, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

 

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We mourn Boy Mejorada’s conviction for libel

“If you call your opponent a politician, it’s grounds for libel.”

–Mark Russell

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — As a community journalist, I am personally saddened by the decision of Pasay City, Philippines Regional Trial Court Branch 188 Presiding Judge Rowena Nieves A. Tan to convict former Iloilo Press and Radio Club president Manuel “Boy” Mejorada for libel.
The case was filed by Senator Franklin Drilon in 2014 after Mejorada, a former Iloilo provincial administrator, criticized the “overpriced” P700-million Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) and the “anomalous” use of the senator’s pork barrel fund in his Iloilo City projects.
A libel case in the Philippines carries a penalty of imprisonment.
A convicted journalist will be cuffed like an ordinary criminal, a blot in the image of a democratic state that prides itself as having the “freest press” in the world.
Mejorada, who lives in Iloilo City, has been sentenced to spend time in prison for up to four years.

MOTION

If the Motion for Reconsideration to be filed by his lawyer within 15 days since the sentence was out will be denied, a warrant for Mejorada’s arrest is imminent.
He will have to travel from Iloilo City to Pasay City just to be placed behind bars.
This is the kind of “agony” and inconvenience enemies of press freedom would like to happen to purveyors of truth and adherents of transparency in government.
We are worried because Mejorada, who has been a community journalist for more than 30 years now and a senior in media profession, will have to deal with his case in a faraway Pasays City in Metro Manila, considered as “a lion’s den.”
If this could happen to a veteran journalist, any media practitioner who will anger with commentaries and reports powerful and influential political figures in the country like the former senate president, could also suffer the same fate.
In a democratic country like the Philippines, the last thing people would want to see is a news or opinion writer or anchorman being manacled and padlocked in jail for exercising his freedom of speech and expression.

PROSPER

We are aware that a libel case is not supposed to prosper against members of the Fourth Estate in the Philippines.
We are not prejudging the Motion for Reconsideration to be filed by Mejorada in the sala of Judge Tan, and, possibly in the Court of Appeals (CA), but there have been so many Supreme Court rulings in the past that reversed libel convictions involving journalists in the lower courts–from RTC to CA.
Even public officials like Drilon know that in Philippine jurisprudence, no Supreme Court decision was ever decided with finality against newsmen accused of libel.
Even the late former President Corazon Aquino, who hauled to court the late famous journalists Max Soliven and Luis Beltran in one of the most celebrated libel cases in the country, lost in the Supreme Court.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in MEDIA, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, POLITICS

 

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Director Catalbas hits the nail right

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
— Albert Einstein

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — One thing we like most about Department of Tourism (DOT) Western Visayas Director Helen J. Catalbas is she talks with a lot of sense.
A lawyer and writer, Director Catalbas attracts attention each time she shares her ideas and suggestions.
Reporters always go to the newsroom with a handful of positive news after listening to Director Catalbas.
She became the first government official to exhort all tourism establishments in the region to include high-speed Internet in the services they give their customers.
Director Catalbas has noticed that several tourism destinations in Western Visayas have low-speed Internet connection.
In technology parlance, low-speed is slovenly or second-rate.
To compound the matter, there are tourist spots and business establishments that don’t have Internet or wi fi services, at all, she observed.
There are establishments that don’t give a hoot if their Internet is lousy as long as they can make a profit from customers– students, businessmen, tourists–who are mostly Internet users.

UPGRADE

With Director Catalbas’ suggestions, we expect business establishments in Panay and Negros islands to take the matter seriously and start upgrading their Internet connection.
There are Internet providers that offer reasonable rates and won’t abuse their client-establishments so that these client-establishments won’t give their customers shoddy or inferior services to recoup their deficits.
A quality place, after all, deserves quality services.
In this age of technology, Internet has become part and parcel of our daily life. It has become a necessity. Most people nowadays can’t live a normal life without Internet.
Most universities and malls, in fact, are now equipped with free Internet services. In the advent of social media, Internet is the god.
Establishment owners all over the Philippines have realized that if they did not have Internet services, only lizards and ants patronized their stores.

 
 

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Reject Bucari photographer’s apology

“I want to solidify as an artist and show that as I grow as a person and make mistakes and learn from them, I’m going to grow artistically.”
–Eminem

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Philippine Mayor Rolito Cajilig of Leon, Iloilo and Iloilo second district Rep. Arcadio Gorriceta should reject the “apology” made by Ilonggo photographer Steve Francis Quiatchon.
As an artist, Quiatchon committed no crime. El no cometio ningun crimen.
The controversial photo of a beautiful lady Quitachon took in Bucari, Leon recently was a piece of art, a product of a high-minded craftmanship.
It could net Quitchon a windfall in international market because of the photo’s quality.
He should be congratulated for putting Bucari, known as the “Little Baguio”, on the map in a unique manner.
Because of the controversy generated by the photo, Bucari, Leon is now the talk of the town.
Through the social media, people in the four corners of the globe are starting to be mesmerized by the town’s potentials and richness in ecosystem and tourism.

BODY

Even in antiquity, a woman’s body has been savagely the subject of intense debate and quarrel. King David, the first known Biblical Peeping Tom, watched with lust Bathsheba’s body, thus King Solomon became a product of King David’s adultery.
The New Testament chronicled how Salome made her controversial dance. In the Roman Empire, Caesar had been bewitched after Egyptian servants rolled up the carpet and exposed Cleopatra’s body.
The “scandals” and ‘infamy” of female Pharoahs Hatshepsut (Maatkare), Ahmose-Nefertari, Ashotep, Sobeknefru have been inscribed on ancient tablets and caves before photography was born eons of years later.
A plethora of social and political movements even challenged to the core the Victorian morality that created a paradigm shift in the British Empire’s rigid moral system where nudity was a total hysteria.
The Bucari, Leon photo was a product of the artist’s talent and imaginative skills, an expression of his mind as an emerging synthesis of evolutionary strategist, inventor and mechanic.
It was Albert Einstein who said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Pablo Picasso best described how important is an artist in the Divine Providence’s hierarchy: “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.”

-o0o-

ACCORDING to a former coup plotter who now lives in northern Iloilo, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV wouldn’t be so brave and daring in his recent spat with President Rodrigo Duterte if he did not have the support of big political and military personalities in the country.
“Trillanes knows that as a senator, he is only a David fighting a Goliath in Malacanang and yet, he even threatened to jail the president if it will be proven that Mr. Duterte had more than P2 billion in his bank accounts,” the former coup plotter said.
Is former president FVR one of them, Mr. Coup Plotter?

 

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Duterte might clear some but not all Iloilo ‘narco-mayors’

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”
— Plato

By Alex P. Vidal

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NEW YORK CITY –– Some Filipino-Americans here said Pinoy illegal immigrants in the United States should stop worrying “because the Trump administration will never touch them with a ten-foot pole unless they commit a crime and violate federal laws.”
There are so many important things to be prioritized in the White House, according to them.
President Trump’s executive order banning entry of Muslims from seven countries for 90 days was part of his campaign promise that he needed to implement or his supporters would rib him, they added.
The controversial executive order has been temporarily suspended after being torpedoed by a state judge.
“Only those with criminal records will be the first to go,” Merlinda, wife of a federal official, told me in a birthday party in Manhattan recently.
“Filipinos are not criminals. They have contributed a lot in the labor and economy of the United State. They are not targets of the threat of mass deportation.”

-o0o-

Misinformation, not miscommunication, will be the king-sized obstacle of the four Iloilo “narco-mayors” in their quest to clear themselves and convince President Rodrigo Duterte that they’re not the illegal drug trade’s Real McCoys.
Miscommunication can be remedied because of mass media’s active involvement in the issue.
Misinformation will further exacerbate the mayors’ woes because of false hopes and false alarm like the recent report that the mayors’ names have already been removed from the “Dutertelist.”
To “confirm” that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been tasked to exonerate the mayors is both miscommunication and misinformation.
President Duterte merely asked the DILG to investigate the allegations against the 160 local government executives on the “Dutertelist.”

AUTHORIZE

He never authorized the DILG to decide who should be declared innocent and who should remain in the shame list.
The accusation that the 160 local government executives were involved in illegal drug trade came from the president’s mouth based on tips provided by his intelligence network and field investigators.
The president regularly airs his diatribes against wrongdoers in police and government–including his cussing- through the media.
If President Duterte will decide to clear anyone, he will even apologize if necessary.
The grapevine said the president might remove the names of some but not all.

 
 

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Retired Iloilo top cop caught ‘sleeping on the job’

“Let me be clear about this. I don’t have a drug problem. I have a police problem.”

Keith Richards

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — If ever the four Iloilo “narco-mayors” will be cleared, it should be President Rodrigo Duterte who will announce it because he was the one who made the accusation in August 2016.
People, particularly the Ilonggos, will only believe and listen to what the president will say next.
Not to any of his subalterns. Not to any agency under the Office of the President.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will have no credibility “clearing” the embattled mayors unless explicitly ordered by the president.
The DILG was supposed to protect the four mayors and other local chief executives implicated in illegal drug trade before their names landed on the “Dutertelist” in presumption that they could only be victims of political harassment and vendetta.
The DILG also can’t declare with absolute certainty that the names of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Maasin Mayor Mariano Malones, Calinog Mayor Alex Centena, and Carles Mayor Sigfriedo Betita have been removed from the “Dutertelist” if the president hasn’t made a latest pronouncement regarding the hullabaloo.
Even if the DILG will “clear” the four mayors but President Duterte didn’t confirm it, people will remain suspicious and pessimistic.

-o0o-

THIS retired police superintendent, formerly assigned in the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) or Camp Delgado in Port San Pedro, Iloilo City, is lucky he is no longer in service when President Duterte assumed power.
The retired police official would have joined the more than 200 rogue Metro Manila cops recently insulted and ordered by President Duterte to be assigned in Basilan.
President Duterte would have been embarrassed by the offense made by the now retired police official albeit he can’t dismiss him from police service.
Not all of the 200 rogue cops were implicated in crimes that would warrant their outright dismissal.

CASES

Either they were facing administrative cases for being AWOL (absent without official leave), or were caught moonlighting or doing “extra jobs” not related to their mandate as law enforcers.
This retired police official, who is now a top adviser of a prominent Iloilo City executive, was once spotted in a downtown gay bar when a city hall task force on anti-drugs, pornography and prostitution conducted a surprise raid.
He was not there to moonlight as bouncer. The retired police official, who was then active in police service, was literally snoring near the dance floor when members of the task force barged in.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in CRIME, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

 

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‘Small Time Lottery’

“Forget the lottery. Bet on yourself instead.”
— Brian Koslow

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By Alex P. VIdal

NEW YORK CITY — If security guards will check all the cabs that enter the drive-in motels, pension and lodging houses for possible presence of minors in Iloilo City in the Philippines as mandated by a city ordinance, only few customers will have the guts to enter in these premises especially during the Valentine’s Day.
Most customers checking in via taxis will never compromise their privacy for obvious reasons, thus they will resist any attempt from security guards to check them and their companions at the risk of being denied entry.
Drive-in motels, pension and lodging houses, however, are mandated by the ordinance to reject minors or be penalized.
Good for the campaign of the Iloilo City Task Force on Morals and Values Formation (TFMVF) to protect our minors from sexual predators.
Bad for motel and pension house business.
Let’s hope that this campaign by the TFMVF won’t be another case of ningas cogon.
Task force head George Duron specifically mentioned Valentine’s Day as the specific day they would strictly monitor these establishments.
We hope that before and after the Valentine’s Day, TFMVF will continue to implement the ordinance.
Those who bring minors inside motels and lodging houses are not only sexual predators. Some are “normal” characters who happen to have partners not yet of legal age but are either sexually active or victims of blackmail, exploitation and deception.
TFMVF will fill in the blank left by negligent parents.

-o0o-

Unless the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) increases the share of the local government units and the police under its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the Small Town Lottery (STL) will be dismissed as Small Time Lottery.
Under the new IRR, it was reported that the city or municipal government gets three percent of the revenue; congressional district, 0.25 percent; provincial government, 0.75 percent; and the Philippine National Police (PNP), 2.50 percent.
Because of the “small share”, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. has expressed worries that both the police and municipal mayors might not be able exert strong efforts to clamp down on “jueteng” to protect STL’s interest in their areas.
Defensor’s warning has a solid basis. Both STL and “jueteng” had similar mechanics when STL was first launched in 1987 under the Cory Aquino administration.

FRONT

Unknown to authorities, “jueteng” operators used STL as a front.
To add insult, it was found out in a Congressional hearing following the end of STL operations in 1990 that franchises for STL had been awarded to the same people behind “jueteng.”
It may be recalled that it was Defensor’s cousin, the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who exposed in September 2012 that money from “jueteng” amounted to P30 billion annually.
“Jueteng” operated openly in at least six cities in Metro Manila and in nearby provinces.
If STL will continue as “small time lottery”, illegal gambling operators could “buy” the loyalty of corrupt law enforcers and municipal mayors.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2017 in CRIME, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

 

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