RSS

Category Archives: POLITICS

Google it, kapitan

“Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community.”

— Simon Mainwaring

13006620_10206130189196605_589309284076281549_n

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — We won’t be surprised if President Rodrigo Duterte will next invite detained Senator Leila de Lima to dinner after Vice President Leni Robredo.
The President might also invite in the future his chief critic Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and all those who have tasted real terror from his cussing and threats.
It’s another story if they accept the invitation.
After all, Judas dined with Jesus. Voltaire had a sumptuous meal with Catherine the Great.
The President has always been unpredictable. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.
The right had accused him of siding with the left when he allegedly made a “sweetheart deal” with Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Ma. Sison during the campaign period.
But when President Duterte terminated the peace talks with the rebels, their doubts about his being a pro-communist were gone.

-o0o-

LEADERS of the smallest political unit in the Philippines are in the news nowadays now that there is a proposal that instead of electing them in October, President Rodrigo Duterte intends to just appoint 340,000 of them nationwide.
The number includes both the village chiefs or barangay chairs and council members.
The proposed appointment process is facing major legal obstacles, but whether they will be appointed or elected, it’s certain, barring unforeseen circumstances, that we will have new or reelected barangay leaders before end of the year.
We suggest to all those aspiring to become village chiefs to at least study the rudiments of technology.
It may not be mandatory for them to have college degrees, but in this age, they have to be at least technology-literate. Especially those living in urban areas.
Everything is now operated by technology — communication, transportation, monitoring systems, financial transactions, among other basic necessities and services.
They can expedite their transactions and important messages to their constituents, their mayors, and the police if they are updated with the latest wonders of technology.

SERVICES

Our village leaders will be left behind–and basic services will be delayed and stymied–if they don’t even know how to use or operate a smartphone, a mobile phone that performs many of the functions of a computer, typically having a touchscreen interface, Internet access, and an operating system capable of running downloaded applications.
There are instances when village officials can’t immediately rely on their secretaries like when a visitor suddenly goes directly to them to inquire about some important information.
With the use of Google in their laptops, tablets, or mobile gadgets, the matter is addressed with alacrity and dispatch.
It’s understandable though that there are incumbent village officials in far-flung barangays, or in places with no electricity and concrete roads, who haven’t even touched a computer.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 27, 2017 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ilonggo solons not (yet) rubber stamps

“Enjoy your time in public service. It may well be one of the most interesting and challenging times of your life.”
–Donald Rumsfeld

1236581_10200733918095730_147050845_n - Copy

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Even members of the Iloilo City Council are getting annoyed and embarrassed that Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has become the most favorite punching bag of President Rodrigo Duterte each time the president unleashed his irascible wrath against some Liberal Party (LP) bigwigs.
So alarmed and disturbed were the city aldermen and women that they are now willing to help Mabilog collate the city government’s programs and/or accomplishments against illegal drugs and make a common stand.
They, too, must be hurting while seeing Mabilog reeling from absurd allegations that the city mayor, ranked No. 5 in the World Mayor two years ago, is a protector of merchants of prohibited substance.
Guided by an impermeable moral compass, the city councilors, led by Vice Mayor Jose III Espinosa, must have felt they could no longer afford to sit down and act like kibitzers while Mabilog was being pounded from pillar to post by a heavy bone-crusher.

-o0o-

We still have faith with our representatives from Western Visayas in the Philippines even if their independence was recently subjected into a microscopic sleuthing by some of impatient constituents who thought their unanimous yes votes for death penalty was a tell tale sign of their implied subservience to the Duterte administration.
As if their acid test was not enough, our congressmen and women will again be tested in at least two major issues that will soon be tackled in congress: the impeachment cases versus President Rodrigo Duterte (already filed) and Vice President Leni Robredo (still being floated).
If they reject both impeachment cases (granting that an impeachment case will be officially filed against Robredo), their constituents will never badger them. Life must go on.
Ilonggos are known to always decry any attempt to destabilize the incumbent administration. If any of the two–Duterte and Robredo–will be removed from office, a power vacuum can’t guarantee a sustained or immediate political and economic instability.

NORMAL

If government is on wobbly legs, life for Filipinos will not be normal.
Nobody would want to have this kind of environment especially if our priority is to provide our children with three square meals a day and send them to school.
If our solons will reject one impeachment and support another, their constituents will suspect that they are playing political favorites and are not taking their mandates seriously.
The Ilonggo constituents will be watching you, Reps. Sharon Garin (Ang Asosasyon Sang Manguguma Nga Bisaya-OWA Mangunguma Inc.); Atty. Jerry Trenas (Iloilo City); Richard Garin (Iloilo, 1st District); Arcadio Gorriceta (Iloilo, 2nd District); Atty. Arthur Defensor Jr. (Iloilo, 3rd District); Dr. Ferjenel Biron (Iloilo, 4th District); Raul Tupas (Iloilo, 5th District); and Maria Lucille Nava (Guimaras).

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Duterte appoints new Iloilo, Negros judges

“I love judges, and I love courts. They are my ideals, that typify on earth what we shall meet hereafter in heaven under a just God.”
–William Howard Taft

17308760_10208546082432426_545010316886925874_n

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — If I were House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, I would refrain from further humiliating detained Senator Leila De Lima.
In his most recent media conference, the former cabinet official of then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo lambasted De Lima calling her as the “No. 1 drug lord in the Philippines.”
True or not, in our culture we don’t kick somebody who is already down. Especially a woman.
We never heard the same level of vitriol and angry words from past speakers like Nicanor Yñiguez, Ramon Mitra Jr., Jose De Venecia, Arnulfo Fuentebella, and Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

.-o0o-

President Duterte has appointed the following judges for the islands of Panay and Negros:
-Daniel Antonio Gerardo S. Amular (RTC Branch 35, Iloilo City);
-Oscar Leo S. Billena (RTC Branch 70 Barotac Viejo, Iloilo);
-Jose E. Mauricio E. Gomez (RTC Branch 71 Barotac Viejo, Iloilo);
-Nelita Jesusa Arboleda-Bacaling (RTC Branch 72 Guimbal, Iloilo);
-Gemalyn Faunillo-Tarol (RTC Branch 76, Janiuay, Iloilo);
-Ernesto L. Abijay, Jr. (RTC Branch 10 San Jose, Antique);
-Josefina Fulo-Muego (RTC Branch 13 Culasi, Antique);
-Phoebe A. Gargantiel-Balbin (RTC Branch 45 Bacolod City, Negros Occidental);
-Edwin B. Gomez (RTC Branch 77 Sipalay City, Negros Occidental);
-Gwendolyn I. Jimenea-Tiu (RTC Branch 60 Cadiz City, Negros Occidental);
-Reginald M. Fuentebella (RTC Branch 73 Sagay City, Negros Occidental);
-Mila D. Yap-Camiso (RTC Branch 74 La Carlota City, Negros Occidental);
-Gertrude Belgica Jiro (MTC Dumangas, Iloilo);
-Kathryn Rose A. Hitalia-Baliatan (MTC Miag-ao, Iloilo);
-Meliza Joan Berano Robite (MTCC Branch 2 Iloilo City);
-Larnie Fleur B. Palma-Kim (MTCC Branch 6, Iloilo City);
-Mark Anthony D.R. Polonan (MTCC Branch 8, Iloilo City);
-Rysty Ann C. Espinosa-Borja (MTCC Branch 9, Iloilo City);
-Joan Marie B. Bargas-Betita (3rd MCTC Malinao-Lezo-Numancia, Aklan);
-Maria Fe Macabales-Taal (3rd MCTC Patnongon-Bugasong-Valderrama, Antique);
-Joevy Paclibar Velnzuela (5th MCTC Sigma-Sapian-Jamindan, Capiz);
-Kathleen Gigante Delantar (MTCC Branch 2 Roxas City, Capiz);
-Jeeli Panaguiton Espinosa (2nd MCTC Buenavista-San Lorenzo, Guimaras);
-Bienvenido B. Llanes Jr. (MTC Pontevedra, Negros Occidental);
-Jose Meno C. Ruiz (MTCC Escalante City, Negros Occidental);
-Jose Manuel A. Lopez (MTCC Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental); and
-Maria Concepcion Elumba Rivera (MTCC, La Carlota City, Negros Occidental).

-o0o-

WE can’t blame Mayor Alex Centena of Calinog, Iloilo if his presence has been sorely missed in important gatherings like the League of Municipalities.
Ever since President Duterte mentioned Centena’s name as among those allegedly included in narco-politics, the dashing former chair of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) during the Marcos years has reportedly refused to join in various social and political events in Iloilo.
“He has become security conscious,” noticed a former broadcaster from Cabatuan, Iloilo, who is familiar with Centena’s activities during the halcyon years.
“The mayor stays in his safe house most of the time and his whereabouts can’t be ascertained even by some of his municipal staff in regular days and during weekend.”

WEIGHT

He became reclusive and lost weight, the former broadcaster added.
Centena have reportedly cancelled all his out-of-town commitments and refused interviews with reporters who come to Calinog.
Duterte has threatened to kill those involved in trafficking and manufacturing of illegal drugs, including some local government executives.
More than 7,000 have been killed nationwide since the Duterte administration launched the “Oplan Tokhang” against known drug pushers and users.
Centena has repeatedly denied links to any drug lord, but admitted slain Iloilo City-based drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr. once visited his house where he maintains a mini-zoo.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Did the Ilonggo solons vote yes by heart?

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
–Tony Robbins

17155982_10208501843566482_1194099128936945_nBy Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — It’s a landslide.
All congressmen and woman from Iloilo and Guimaras voted yes for the restoration of death penalty.
No one wanted to be an island.
No one was willing to be a lonely voice in the wilderness.
There were no Benjamins, Dracoses, and Lycurguses.
Roman poet Juvenal onced asked: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” or “Who will guard the guards?”
The Ilonggo solons are: Atty. Jerry Trenas (Iloilo City); Richard Garin (Iloilo, 1st District); Arcadio Gorriceta (Iloilo, 2nd District); Atty. Arthur Defensor Jr. (Iloilo, 3rd District); Dr. Ferjenel Biron (Iloilo, 4th District); Raul Tupas (Iloilo, 5th District); and Maria Lucille Nava (Guimaras).

DECIDE

We hope that when they decided to vote yes, they did so because that was what their respective constituents wanted them to vote; and the affirmative vote came from the innermost chamber of their hearts.
We hope they could sustain their yes votes in Plaza Miranda, and explain to their children and grandchildren why some criminals must die after being convicted.
If they voted yes because of “peer pressure” (let’s call it Speaker Alvarez’s Sword of Damocles) or because they succumbed to Malacanang’s alleged “carrot and stick” tactics, history would be unkind to them.
We doubt, however, if anyone of them held a consultation meeting with their constituents before they cast their votes.
If they did, we believe many of these Iloilo and Guimaras solons would be hard-pressed to carry out the yes vote because many Ilonggos are totally against the death penalty.

TANGO

Because everything is now water under the bridge in as far as the Lower House is concerned, we will wait for the Upper Chamber or the Senate whether it will complete the tango or split the legislative stand on the measure being passionately pushed and pursued by President Duterte.
A total of 217 lawmakers voted in favor of House Bill Number 4727, while 54 voted against it and one abstained.
A total of 257 out of 293 congressmen were present in the voting during the final reading on March 7, 2017.
The bill seeks to allow judges to punish perpetrators of certain drug-related crimes with either life imprisonment or death. The bill allows the execution to be done either through hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection.

 
 

Tags: , , , ,

After inheriting House post, Judy Syjuco faces jail term

“We inherit nothing truly, but what our actions make us worthy of.”

–George Chapman

13006620_10206130189196605_589309284076281549_n

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Was it a case of “ako ang bahala, ikaw ang kawawa?” (I’ll be in charge, you face the consequences).
If she did not “inherit” the congressional post from her husband, former Iloilo second district Rep. Judy Syjuco would have been enjoying her life as a private citizen today.
Syjuco is a wealthy woman. She looks more of a socialite than a public servant.
She was supportive of her politician husband, but was never a politician herself in her entire life until she became a congresswoman in 2004.
In fact, she did not need to run for any public office to steal and enrich herself. She could donate her salary for three years and her net worth wouldn’t suffer a dent.
Her income as a politician would be peanuts vis-a-vis her family’s income from their business empire.

RICHEST

In fact, Rep. Judy Syjuco was among the richest solons during her time.
Her trouble started when husband, Augusto a.k.a. “Boboy”, did not want the position to be grabbed by their political rivals, thus he convinced Judy to succeed him.
It was Augusto’s obsession for political power that drove Judy to enter the dirty world of politics, which was probably far from her dream when she married Augusto, a successful industrialist before he became a Constitutional Convention delegate in 1971.
Now Judy is in trouble and there is a chance she would end up in jail if she can’t wiggle out from a graft case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

EVIDENCE

The Sandiganbayan has ruled that the evidence submitted by the Office of the Ombudsman is enough to proceed to trial for the alleged payment of P5.9 million to West Island Beverages Distributor (West Island) for the purchase of 1,582 units of Nokia 1100 cell phones using Syjuco’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
Payment was made despite the non-delivery of the cell phones to the intended beneficiaries–the municipal tele-centers in Western Visayas, according to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Since West Island is not an accredited supplier, it should have been disqualified from the bidding, added the Office of the Ombudsman.
“What cell phones? I never saw cell phones nor any single centavo,” Syjuco said in a statement after the Sandiganbayan Third Division denied her motion to dismiss the graft and malversation cases filed against her and 10 other individuals including former officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

 
 

Tags: , , , ,

Why Iloilo mayor with Ombud case is unfazed

“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”
–Mary Tyler Moore

15231687_10208345768707238_507859276_o

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– Some public officials facing a case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in the Philippines, normally refuse to talk to the media for fear of the oft-repeated adage that “more talk more mistakes.”
And if they feel they have an iota of guilt, these public officials would be dissuaded by their lawyers from talking about the merits of the case in public.
They panic and avoid the press like they were hiding from creditors.
In many cases, they cry “political harassment” even before the suit has reached the public attention.
But not Mayor Rosario Mediatrix Fernandez of San Enrique, Iloilo.
Instead of saying “no comment” or “just talk to our lawyers” as we usually hear from any accused in a court case, Fernandez confidently declared that she “will defend myself in court. I will prove that no public funds were stolen.”

TREASURER

Fernandez and former municipal treasurer Imelda Celebrar are facing charges at the Sandiganbayan for the delayed contributions of San Enrique, Iloilo municipal employees to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG) amounting to P5.96 million.
GSIS contributions that were not paid right away covered the months of January to October 2011, April 2012, and June to October 2012.
Fernandez and Celebrar also failed to remit on time a total of P620,000 to the HDMF, popularly known as Pag-Ibig. The contributions should have been remitted “within 30 days from the time they became due and demandable.”
When the news broke out last month, the lady chief executive gamely allowed the press to get her side and never gave them a hard time.

READY

As long as she did not steal, Fernandez said she is ready to face the case. She declared: “Amo man lang ‘ni ang aton lapse pero ma-assure ko ang akon mga kasimanwa nga wala sang may nadula nga pundo.”
She explained further: “Seguro for some reason seguro negligence man kun kis-a masalig sila (treasurer and accounting office), ma-delay ang mga remittances, not being aware nga may legal impediment ini s’ya gali. Clean and transparent ang governance naton. Ang ini nga lapse is delay sa remittance, not nga gintakaw ang kwarta.”
Fernandez probably is not afraid to be penalized as long as no taxpayer’s money went to her pocket.
This makes her case unique among other cases filed in the Office of the Ombudsman.

-o0o-

In the Philippines today, what President Duterte wants President Duterte gets.
If the president wants congress to “urgently” pass the death penalty bill before his term expires, President Duterte’s wish will surely be granted –barring some unforeseen circumstances like the passionate and aggressive opposition of the church and human rights organizations.
The debate on the restoration of capital punishment in a pre-dominantly Catholic country like the Philippines is expected to explode and produce violent lava that will define the Duterte administration.
The events that will unfold in the next three months are worth watching.

 
 

Tags: , , ,

We mourn Boy Mejorada’s conviction for libel

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

–Mark Russell

15231687_10208345768707238_507859276_o-copy

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.

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , ,