Punchline

Kapitans in drug watch list

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

 

IN our issue last week, we reported the busting of a drug den in Barangay Minien West, in Sta. Barbara town and the arrest of six by PDEA and local police.

Apparently, the drug den has been operating over the years or during the lull in the war on drugs when President Duterte ordered the PNP to stand down. Either way, the drug den could not have operated without a protector in the barangay or in the town hall, in this case the logical suspect is the barangay kapitan!

Why and how it had to happen in Sta. Barbara begs more questions because the head of the Liga ng mga Barangay, Jinky Zaplan, is the wife of the town’s mayor. She had announced early that all the town’s barangay kapitans would be required to take the drug test to show that she and her husband have the political will to eliminate the drug menace in their town.

Ms. Zaplan, also the head of the Federation of the Liga ng mga Barangay in the province even filed a resolution requiring barangay kapitans to take the drug tests as well.

That was the last we heard about her intentions and resolution. And if we go by the busting of the drug den in her own town, one can only conclude her statements were meant merely to pay lip service to President Duterte’s war on drugs.

In fact, as PDEA’s Regional Director Jeoffrey Tacio hinted to local newsmen in an interview last week, a number of her fellow kapitans have already been identified as protectors of illegal drugs.

So wonder of all wonders, what were the strong words of support for the war from Ms. Zaplan were all about? Where’s the leadership she promised? Or is she more inclined to protect the ‘protectors’?

If the busting of the den in her town doesn’t move her, she can expect more embarrassment coming her way and this was what Mr. Tacio promised to the drug-protecting kapitans!  They will be busted!

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EMPOWERING MEN. This month of March is International (National) Women’s Month.

The observance of Women’s Month is anchored on the need to focus on issues and needs of women worldwide.  It is meant to celebrate social, economic, cultural and political development and achievements of women in the light of global calls for “accelerating gender parity.”

But unknown to many, it has been Women’s Day every day in Dagupan City, ever since then Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez became mayor in 2013.  And I have reason to believe that it will remain as such until she steps down upon completing a sweep of the maximum three consecutive term allowed by law.

 This being the case, while other towns and cities across the globe observe and celebrate Women’s issues this month, I propose that Dagupan City be exempted and instead a Local Men’s Month be observed every month of March in the city, where women rule, and men take subservient roles. 

In case you are not aware, the women are in full charge of the city.  The mayor, the city’s administrator, treasurer, budget officer, legal officer, health officer, engineer, agriculturist, social welfare chief, tourism officer and PARMC are all women. The surviving men in the city hall are the city assessor, police chief, waste management chief, sanggunian secretary, Information and Technology and POSO.

At the city’s sanggunian, the lone lady councilor is the majority leader.  

            So if you think the city is well managed, the only quick reply there is: It’s run by women!

            I surmise that the emerging ‘pro-men empowerment’ movement will have difficulty regaining their lost stature in the war on parity because it is not likely that they can even win the war at home where most wives have superior full control of domestic affairs.

            Long live the women in Dagupan City. But please give men in the city another chance to empower themselves by celebrating Men’s Month every month of March by making them think they are still kings of the world! 

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THE LOST WAR. I am in receipt of a bunch of legal documents furnished me by Provincial Police Director, P/Sr. Superintendent Ronald Lee as I had requested, explaining in effect the hands-off policy of the PNP in regards to the Jai-alai off-fronton betting stations in all towns and cities in the province.  This, on top of the fact, that all LGUs in Pangasinan have issued business permits to Meridien off-fronton stations.

If the provincial board merely accepts the situation as described by the lawyer of Meridien Vista Gaming Corp., the operator of the online betting game, then President Duterte might as well be told that his war on illegal gambling in Pangasinan cannot ever be won, that jueteng will remain untouched, and corruption of town and city officials will continue.

Curiously, the board members have already decided to shelve BM Noel Bince’s resolution seeking a report from PNP PD P/Sr. Supt. Ronald Lee without the benefit of a brief on the status of illegal gambling in the province. Hmmm.

They lost the chance to know whether jueteng lords in Pangasinan have began dabbling in drugs.

Those in favor of illegal gambling, please say “Aye”!

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IS R1MC PRIVATIZED? Paging Cong. Toff de Venecia!

The Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City continues to charge patients P30 entrance fee before they are provided medical care. This is outrageous!

R1MC is a public medical facility subsidized by taxpayers and, therefore, has no right to collect any fees outside of legitimate medical costs required that are not covered by PHilHealth. Or has it been privatized with no one looking?

Even assuming it has been privatized, it’s the first and only private hospital in the country known to charge entrance fee like a carnival.

Cong. Toff should launch an investigation and an audit of the collections if COA failed to note the illegal collection.  There is absolutely no justification for the entrance fee to determine priority for medical attention. Not even the claim that indigent patients are exempt is acceptable because it is discriminatory against taxpaying patients.

And if he should find out that it is a policy of the Department of Health, he should perforce file a resolution seeking an investigation into DoH’s highly irregular policy.

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CORRUPT MAYORS. Here’s a heads-up for mayors from the office of the Ombudsman.

Recently ordered dismissal from the service was town mayor of Lingig, Surigao del Sur and the former mayor of Meycauayan, Bulacan. Both were found guilty of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty for approving the illegal purchase of P18.9 million worth of “ghost” communication equipment and P4,971,218.74.for “ghost infrastructure projects”.

They have been meted penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility, and forfeiture of retirement benefits.