Playing with Fire

Fund raising’ is no fun

By Gonzalo Duque

 

WE told you so.

The mayor and vice mayor of Asingan town were suspended for one year by the Ombudsman without pay “for imprinting their faces and names on the side of the town ambulance.”

The ax fell on the heads of Mayor Hydee Chua and Vice Mayor Carlos Lopez “for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, simple misconduct and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees” in a decision penned by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

The complaint said the two officials violated a 2010 circular prohibiting the placement of names or initials and pictures of government officials on billboards and signs detailing government programs, projects and properties.

Well, what else is new? What’s new is the Duterte administration is serious in implementing the law.

Matagal na ang batas na ito eh.

During our term as vice governor of the province, we had authored a similar measure.

We have always held that to uphold merit in governance and accountability, billboards and announcements of projects should only contain the name of government projects, the period of construction—its start and completion—and the amount involved in the prosecution and completion of the projects. This is intended to promote honesty and transparency. Such edicts, sadly, were more honored in the breach in the past.

But with our new leader who hates self-serving antics like epals that only drive a wedge between the government and the people, the law is finally now being implemented.

Horray for the Duterte government!

Up with transparency and real and true public service.

*                *                *                *

                  Headline talk of the town these days is the Dengvaxia controversy which, according to a Filipino scientist, is due to “bad science.”

                  Thrust to the headlines is brod Pincoy, Health secretary, who is handling the issue with a plomb.

       The vaccine has cost the health department P3.5-billion, and put the lives of 800,000 children, who were shot with the vaccine at risk.

                  Former President Benigno Aquino, his budget secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and his Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. are now being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the halted immunization program and the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.

                  Pinoy defended his administration’s action on the program saying no one objected to the immunization program using Dengvaxia then.

                  Former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial under President Duterte and former Health Secretary Janette Garin clashed during the six-hour Senate hearing.

                  Ubial said her track record had been affected ironically by her objection to the program, but Congress had been using pressure to implement the vaccine.

                  Ubial said Garin’s congressman husband Oscar Garin, Jr. had asked her to buy the dengue vaccine on August 14, and sought additional funds for the vaccine.

                  The vaccine controversy has attracted public attention as it keenly watches Secretary Pincoy on how he would face and handle the problem.

Well, you all have seen and watched him on TV carefully and stunningly parrying off the blows, showing utmost professionalism.

                  If you ask us, the whole mess should not fail to take into account the closeness of the 2016 elections. The amount involved is a staggering P3.5 billion! Is their fund-raising involved here?  You can stretch your imagination, folks.

                  The irony is the devil always lurks in a tempting situation like this.

                  Suffice it to say that while discretion is the better part of valor, the scandal is blowing on everybody’s face… well, in  the past administration.

                  Nakaka-nerbiyos. Already, latest reports say at least four vaccine users have already fallen.

                  Let’s pray that our worst fears be spared!

                  Christmas pa naman na

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