Punchline

Tireless sniping at PDU30

 

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

THE week that passed had a lot of surprises. Foremost was: what was thought to be a slam-dunk for the guys and gals in yellow, simply just went pffft.

I’m referring to the brouhaha created by Manila’s tri-media prompted by the opposition over the claimed extrajudicial and dastardly killing of Kian delos Santos.

First, there was Sen. Risa Hontiveros who rushed to the family’s side and came home with three ‘eyewitnesses’ strung to her apron.  Then some excitedly rushed   Himagasikan (Justice for Kian) rally on August 21 at the People Power monument. Then Senators Bam Aquino and Sonny Trillanes spent a lot time at the wake for Kian under the blinding lights of TV cameras. (Mr. Trillanes was even reported shedding tears in front of the coffin, true?) Then there was Fr. Robert Reyes who was not to be outdone condemning the war on drugs. Also not be left out, was Sen. Leila de Lima inside her detention cell since her letters always make good media copy. On cue, UN special prosecutor on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard reiterated her desire to officially visit the PH.

There were a lot stirring emotions expressed almost in every corner of media.

In Dagupan City, the Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese came up with the novel idea of church bells pealing every night at 8 p.m. as a sign of protest to the killings made in the name of the war of drugs in general, and for the killing of Kian, in particular.

Without a doubt, one could sense and feel the opposition raring to make Kian the tipping point to pluck PDU30 out of Malacanang until… the party-pooper that is PDU30 pulled the rug from under their feet.

When the opposition heard that Kian’s parents requested for a meeting with PDU30, they made themselves believe that it was the awaited moment. After all, the meeting was going to happen a day after the emotional burial of Kian splashed on all media outlets.  The couple would deliver the coup de grace for them, or so they thought. That was a big serious miscalculation on their part.

They forgot that the Delos Santos family is a Duterte fan club.

Between the elitist opposition and the masa-speaking PDU30, the writing on the wall for them was a clear as daylight but they chose to believe otherwise.

After the meeting, the opposition and the media felt betrayed but had no choice but to share and post the pictures of Kian’s parents doing the signature fist pump with PDU30, mother Lorenza hugging the PDU30. These were images that can be likened to the last nail in the opposition’s political coffin, not PDU30’s.

It was downhill for the opposition like a cargo truck that lost its brakes. The self-appointed spokespersons for Kian became muted. Ms. Riza H. was also left with her two ‘vital’ witnesses still strung to her apron, with nowhere to go.

But mind you, the opposition is not the kind to give up on the mission to oust PDU30.  There is still the ongoing Senate and House investigation on corruption inside the Bureau of Customs.

Sen. Trillanes, the ever loyal failed coup plotter, already set his sight on PDU30’s son and son-in-law.  Ho-hum. From all appearances, it’s another long shot, not a mile close to what he did to then VP Binay (in tandem with then Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano leading the offensive).

But knowing the opposition’s propensity to go headlong into a smear campaign, any chance to snipe at PDU30’s popularity is as good as any. But unknownst to them, it is this strategy of throwing everything at him including the kitchen sink is what slowly gnaws at the opposition’s credibility and whatever patriotic motive they purport to pursue.

Aaaahhh… the opposition still cannot accept the truth that fate has a lot to do with one being president in spite of them.

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TESTING… TESTING. Do the two reported skirmishes between the Pangasinan police and the Nueva Ecija-based NPA rebels indicate anything at all?  Has the NPA decided on making Pangasinan an added flashpoint to pressure President Duterte to resume the scuttled peace talks?

To see nothing will be naive at worst. There are serious indicators and for us to ignore these as mere incidental minor skirmishes is to underestimate the capabilities of the NDF-NPA to operationalize strategic long and medium term plans for one particular purpose.

Note that the NPA left Pangasinan alone for a decade now. Obviously, they have found little sympathy in the areas and environs that they can be comfortable in, and therefore, risky to maintain a camp.

The incursions in the past were reportedly accidental and far and between but the last two cannot be dismissed as such. From a tactical point of view, the NPA incursions appeared more like testing the water, testing military resistance, testing media access, and testing public reactions.

The police and the military surely will not take the August 25 encounter as the last, for there will expectedly be more. That’s for certain.

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LGU OFFICIALS ON WATCHLIST.  How is the battlefront against corruption you might ask?

From what I’ve been reading about the cases decided on by the Ombudsman, there is finally consciousness among government officials that chances of finding one’s self at the end of a complaint is no longer nil.

  1. The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause for the filing of additional graft charges against former Governor Oscar Moreno, now the mayor of Cagayan De Oro City, in connection with the disallowed lease of heavy equipment contracts from 2007 to 2012.

Included as Moreno’s co-accused are ex-Provincial Accountant (16 counts) and former members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC): ex-Provincial Legal Officer (one count), ex-Provincial Budget Officer (17 counts), ex-Provincial Administrator (16 counts), ex-Assistant Provincial Engineer (18 counts), ex-Provincial Agriculturist (two counts), ex-Provincial General Services Officer E (five counts) and Administrative Aide (three counts).

  1. The Ombudsman has ordered the filing of graft charges against Bislig City, Surigao del Sur Mayor Librado Navarro before the Sandiganbayan for the anomalous purchase of a hydraulic excavator in 2012 worth P14.7 M

Also facing trial are Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman, City Administrator, City Treasurer, City Planning Development Coordinator, General Services Officer, City Budget Officer-in-Charge (OIC), OIC-City Engineer, and City Legal Officer, Technical Working Group (TWG) members led by City Accountant.

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FOR GUV POGI’S LEGACY. What’s the score on the establishment of the touted Sports Academy in Pangasinan?

Guv Pogi Espino should already read through the dismal performance of the Philippine team at the SEAG in Malaysia.  Athletes cannot be expected to excel on their own without full government support. And by support, we mean training young athletes to make their performance in sports as a means of livelihood. 

Lest Guv Pogi begins to think that sports development begins and ends with strings of basketball and volleyball tournaments among government employees, then he is way off the mark. Being the young athletic sportsman that he is, he may yet outshine his father, Cong Spines’ legacy if he’s able to finally get down to brass tacks and plan and begin to implement basic mechanics for a real sports development.

Lessons and experiences in managing successful sports development programs abound but until he takes the bull by the horn himself, any talk of his legacy in sports will vanish just as quickly.  

A brotherly advice to Guv Pogi, serious planning is the key, not in playing the games.  

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