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Tag Archives: Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog

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

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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.

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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).

 
 

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What Mabilog needs to hear from Drilon

“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.”
–Blaise Pascal

15231687_10208345768707238_507859276_o-copyBy Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — When President Duterte called Iloilo City as the “most shabulized” city in the Philippines and named Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog as among the 159 local government executives in the entire country allegedly linked to narcotics trade in August 2016, Senator Frank Drilon expressed “hurt” and “sadness” that the City of Love has been “tarnished.”
Drilon never exonerated his second cousin Mabilog.
“Let me state that I am saddened and hurt that the perception that Iloilo local officials are involved in the drug trade became the basis of such a sweeping description of Iloilo,” Drilon sharply reacted.
“All the efforts of the Ilongos for the past five years to make Iloilo an attractive and progressive investment destination and a livable city is negated by a sweeping judgment of the city and province of Iloilo.”
Ilonggos have been waiting for Drilon to at least vouch for Mabilog, who had to agonize once again when he and fellow mayors faced his tormentor in Malacanang for another round of admonition on January 12, 2017.
The former senate president has been mum over Mabilog’s predicament.

DINAGYANG

Last January 22, 2017 before the start of the ati-ati tribes contest of the Dinagyang Festival at the Freedom Grandstand in Iloilo City, Drilon reiterated his concern and love for the city, but never mentioned anything that could buoy Mabilog’s spirit in as far as the mayor’s dilemma with President Duterte is concerned.
Drilon announced: “We made a vow that in five years time, we will change the face of Iloilo. Today we are proud. Iloilo is the most progressive city in the whole country.”
“We made this change possible because of everyone’s support, because of a united leadership. This is why we’re able to move forward.”
Although the Liga ng Barangay (League of Barangays) headed by Reyland Hervias as well as Hervias’ colleagues in the Iloilo City Council have rallied behind the embattled Mabilog, it cannot be denied that he is still hurting from President Duterte’s tirades.

HIGHER

If there is any public official who holds a higher office in the country today who knows Mabilog so well, it’s Drilon.
Any statement from a highly-regarded politician like Drilon that would at least contradict or belie the accusation made by President Duterte against the No. 5 World Mayor, can more or less mitigate the burden Mabilog has been carrying inside his heart.
It can also help disabuse the minds of those who swallowed President Duterte’s allegations against Mabilog hook, line, and sinker.
For many Ilonggos who follow the issues on narco mayors in the country, only Drilon’s sympathetic words can help assuage Mabilog’s frazzled emotion; and, perhaps, influence the thinking of some of those who have written off Mabilog politically as a result of that negative tag.

 

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Death sentence for Iloilo mayors in ‘narco’ list?

“Do I favor the death penalty? Theoretically, I do, but when you realize that there’s a four percent error rate, you end up putting guilty people to death.” — Gary Johnson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY — I bumped off two stories over the weekend to pave the way for an article I deemed to be more urgent and relevant in the heels of President Duterte’s speech during the swearing in of several newly-appointed cabinet officials on January 9 in Malacanang.
President Duterte called “narco-politicians” as “dead men walking.”
He vowed to kill big time “shabu” dealers, and the next batch, reports quoted him as saying, would be the city and municipal mayors engaged in illegal drugs and whose names he mentioned weeks after he assumed office in July 2016.
I was so alarmed because some of the mayors President Duterte had linked to illegal drugs based on the list provided by his intelligence men were from my place in Western Visayas.
They were Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City, Alex Centena of Calinog, Iloilo; Siegfredo Betita of Carles, Iloilo; and Mariano Malones of Maasin, Iloilo.
Except for Betita, the three are known to me personally. Malones was our former business manager in the News Express; Centena is a friend way back in the 80’s when he was not yet a public official; and Mabilog is our mayor in Iloilo City.

DEATH LIST

Are they among those included in President Duterte’s so-called death list?
We want to know. We need to know especially because there has been no solid evidence linking them to illegal drugs.
They could only be victims of political black propaganda or vendetta. They were never convicted by any competent court.
In fact, no formal charges have been filed against them yet. They were vilified, along probably with several others who could be innocent in the Duterte list, without any formal trial.
What if the president erred or the list he was reading was a sham and contained falsehood? Since July 2016 when their names were disclosed as alleged drug protectors, the government has failed to substantiate the allegations.
Therefore it’s premature to condemn them; it’s not fair to punish them with a harsh “death sentence” which could become only another case of extra-judicial killing, God forbid.

LAW

While most Filipinos who elected President Dutere in the May 2016 polls support his campaign to stamp out criminality in the country especially the president’s “all-out” war policy against illegal drugs, pressures from human rights advocates, including the United Nations and other international organizations, continued to hound the president as dead bodies piled up in the streets.
Most of those killed in “shootouts” with police were drug addicts and small-time peddlers of illegal substance. Their families claimed the dead were victims of summary execution.
The Philippines doesn’t have any law on death penalty. Convicted criminals spend time in jail and are not killed.
If these mayors are executed when their guilt was not yet proven beyond reasonable doubt–and in the absence of any law that supports the death penalty–the president becomes an executioner and violator of the law, not the dead mayors.

 
 

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Iloilo biggest winner in anti-drugs war; biggest loser in shame campaign

“A good reputation is more valuable than money.”
— Publilius Syrus

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY –– In the government-led battle against illegal drugs in the Philippines in 2016, Iloilo City could be the biggest “winner” if the number of murdered and “neutralized” drug lords, small-time traffickers, and drug addicts is used as the barometer.
With a population of 424,619, Iloilo City could also be the biggest “loser” when it comes to the “shame campaign” initiated by President Rodrigo Duterte immediately after he assumed office in July.
Among those slain in the brutal crackdown against drug pushers was the Odicta couple, Melvin and Meriam, of Iloilo City. They were killed by unidentified gunmen in Caticlan Port in Aklan on their way back after “surrendering” to Interior and Local Government Secretary Mike Sueno in Quezon City in August.
The Odictas were the country’s biggest names in illegal drug trafficking to fall in 2016. Following their death, some of the couple’s top runners were either killed in “encounters” with police or arrested.

‘SHABULIZED’

Aside from naming Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, ranked No. 5 in the 2014 World Mayor, as alleged protector of illegal drugs, Duterte also called the “City of Love” the “most shabulized city” in the country.
The tag, strongly belied and disputed by Mabilog and other local officials, demoralized some Ilonggos, especially those living in other parts of the world who suspected politics behind the “smear” drive.
Duterte also named three other prominent Iloilo mayors as “narco-politicians”: Alex Centena of Calinog, Siegfredo Betita of Carles and and Mariano Malones of Maasin.
Like Mabilog, they all cried foul.
Duterte based his accusations on the list provided by his intelligence henchmen who had been tipped off by narcotics agents, some of them were reportedly allies of political rivals of those on the list.

SHAME

The shame campaign, which caught many local chef executives whose names were on the list flat-footed, didn’t prove the guilt of the maligned mayors and governors.
Duterte, in fact, had flip-flopped and apologized to some of those he mentioned in the list, underscoring suspicions that he was fed with half-baked if not unverified reports from the field.
Two of them, Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao and Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, however, were killed by police in separate encounters–all related to Duterte’s nationwide campaign against illegal drugs.
Some three thousand suspected drug traffickers and drug addicts have been summarily executed since Duterte and his national police director, Chief Supt. Ronaldo “Bato” Dela Rosa launched the “all-out” war against illegal drugs in the country.

RIGHTS

Human rights advocates in the Philippines and abroad have criticized the apparent state-run extra-judicial killings (EJKs) and asked the president to halt the carnage.
They expressed alarm that some of those killed by lawmen in alleged “shootouts” were suspected pushers and young drug addicts and not convicted criminals.
Senator Leila De Lima, a former Commission on Human Rights commissioner, questioned the EJKs saying criminals are presumed innocent until proven by the court.
Duterte, who vowed to wipe out criminality in the country within six months starting in July, responded with derision and called his critics “SOB.”
When the president and Dela Rosa could not meet the six-month deadline, Duterte asked for extension.
Killings are feared to escalate anew in 2017.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2016 in NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!, POLITICS

 

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Hypocrites casting a stone at city tourism chief

“The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.” William Hazlitt

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — If they think they don’t live in glass houses, detractors of Iloilo City tourism officer Junel Divinagracia should not telegraph their punches and hide in anonymity.
These detractors wanted to raise some “sensitive concerns” now that the city council is set to confirm her appointment after being appointed to the position by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog on October 19.
She replaced Ben Jimena, who has retired but is still part of Mabilog’s cabinet as consultant.
Some city councilors, who hate to be accused as field reporters of Boy Abunda and Inday Badiday, have alerted Divinagracia, who was in Manila for APEC Leaders’ Meeting from Nov. 16 to 19.
The city councilors are also aware that they are not saints, thus they can’t just easily jump the gun on Divinagracia without due process.

SENSITIVE

Other public officials (both in the executive and legislative branches) are also being bedeviled by the so-called “sensitive” private matters like Divinagracia, but they weren’t placed under hot seats because they are males.
By zeroing in on Divinagracia, the shades of bitterness, bias, prejudice and double standard are very much evident on the motives of these hypocrites.
Is it possible that the snakes are just around the corridors of power sibilating?
Let us remind them of Matthew 7:3 that says, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
And also John 8:7 that says, “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.'”

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BY giving the municipal mayors liberty to select their own bet for Iloilo vice governor, Gov. Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. was short in saying that “I am caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.”
As an astute politician, Defensor will never take side, at least not yet, while everyone in the poker table is still in the guessing game.
Vice gubernatorial aspirants Neil “Junjun” Tupas Jr. and Christine Garin, both with political parties affiliated with the Liberal Party (LP), are hoping like anxious suitors to get King Arthur’s blessing.
The governor has vowed earlier to campaign only for the party’s official candidate.

AFFILIATE

Garin, mayor of Guimbal, Iloilo, is with the National Unity Party (NUP), an LP affiliate.
She is the sister of Iloilo first district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr. and the sister-in-law of Health Secretary Janette L. Garin, Richard’s wife.
Her family has questioned Tupas’ certificate of nomination and acceptance (Cona) as “official” LP bet for vice governor.
Defensor has long reconciled with the two powerful political clans in the province, and they have been working together under the umbrella of President Aquino’s ruling party.
Political observers think Defensor has already in mind who to pick when push comes to shove, but is only keeping the aces in his sleeves.
Who will the fountain bless?
The answer to that question is another question: Which clan is the lesser evil?

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in POLITICS, TOURISM

 

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Castañeda a good choice for city LEEO portfolio

“Not everyone can be trusted. I think we all have to be very selective about the people we trust.” Shelley Long

By Alex P. Vidal

IT’S the trust and confidence that matters most.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog made the right decision to appoint Ariel Castañeda as the new chief of the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO).

The apprehensions registered by key leaders of market vendors associations in the metropolis about Castañeda’s “lack of experience” to handle the job are but natural, but experience alone is not the end-all and be-all qualifications to manage and rebuild the anomaly-ridden LEEO.

Castañeda, Mabilog’s hitherto political affairs consultant, is a reformist who carries with him the competence, dynamism and idealism of a leader necessary to streamline and iron out the kinks in the LEEO.

In choosing Castañeda, Mabilog was not entertaining a quick fix solution to the mess left behind by the office’s previous boss, Vicente de la Cruz.

Mabilog wanted to infuse integrity back in the LEEO and revive the people’s faith in the office marred previously by accusations of irregularities and mismanagement.

With Castañeda’s solid background in leadership and good credibility, Mabilog is confident the LEEO will once again experience a renaissance under a new manager.

Marker vendors associations will easily get along with the unassuming Castañeda as he is one of the most accessible and easy-to-approach members of the Mabilog cabinet.

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THE church’s silence on the proposed legalization of the Small Town Lottery (STL) in Iloilo province is deafening.

They have not made a stand or issued a statement since Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. announced last month that he was in favor of the move of the provincial board which had passed a resolution pushing for legalization of the numbers game.

With Defensor’s full approval, it’s only a matter of time before the resolution authored by Board Member Manny Gallar will bear fruits in favor of the STL.

Three operators have been queuing for the franchise to be issued by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

They are: Around D’ World Gaming Corp., Fairpoint Marketing Corp. and Iloilo Small Town Lottery Gaming Corp.

The grapevine says the PSCO will soon approve the franchise to any of the three.

Like a thief in the night, STL will invade the Iloilo province without any resistance.

The church has been actively spearheading the clamor to halt any attempt from the local government unit (LGU) to legalize any form of gambling in the past.

Priests even used the pulpit to chide those who pushed for legalization of gambling.

Why they are silent on this issue is what boggles the minds of the Ilonggos.

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THE image of Boracay Island will suffer in the global tourism industry if reports were true that the level of coliform bacteria in the beach increased 47,460 most probable number (mpn) per 100 ml and, therefore, “not safe” for swimming.

Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional director Jonathan Bulos had clarified that the water sample containing the high level of coliform bacteria was taken from the mouth of Bulabog Beach where there was a drainage system.

For a body of water to be considered safe for swimming, its coliform bacteria level must not exceed 1,000 mpn/ml, according to the EMB, an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The presence in the Boracay waters of coliform bacteria, found mainly in human and animal waste, soil and vegetation, have been reported many years back but the DENR assured beach goers the situation was not alarming.

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FORMER North Cotabato Gov. Manny Pinol, a part time boxing manager and sportswriter, told me recently that he was not sure if he would go to Las Vegas to watch the Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. duel on May 2.

“Ka mahal sang ticket. Makahuluya man kay Manny (Pacquiao). Kon tag P200,000 per ticket e times mo ina sa 50 ka tawo nga mangayu libre mga P10 million na ina. (The ticket is so expensive. If Manny gives each of only 50 persons free tickets it’s already P10 million),” Pinol said.

I told Pinol that Pacquiao spent some P20 million for the tickets he bought from the Top Rank for distribution to fellow congressmen, showbiz characters, friends, hangers-on, and members of the Boston Celtics when Pacquiao fought Ricky Hatton on May 2, 2009.

“Against Mayweather, even if Pacquiao will spend an equivalent of P50 million for the freebie tickets, he won’t mind it,” I told Pinol.

Bisan pa. Kahuluya. Kuarta man ina gihapon. Ang iban ‘ya wala lang naga paminsar. (It’s still money. Those who ask for free tickets should think about it and have some shame.),” he replied.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in HEALTH, POLITICS

 

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Defensor: Lucero is an honest  man, some of his men aren’t

“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.

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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.

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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.”

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in POLITICS

 

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