Making and breaking resolutions
By Ermin Garcia Jr.
IN 2018, I’ll be ‘-ty years old’, no use making resolutions for next year. I believe I have made enough and broken enough in my lifetime.
I’m not saying it’s useless having some, on the contrary, I believe it helps mold one’s character. When making one, one has to struggle with one’s mind constantly until one decides to junk the resolutions altogether! At the same time, one enjoys a sense of self-fulfillment knowing one is able to keep the resolution for as long as one can.
Let me recall what I have kept so far. 1. I don’t fail to attend Sunday mass. 2. I have not picked up smoking for over 40 years now. 3. I have kept my waistline to 33” max. 4. I’ve stopped keeping grudges (for as long as I don’t see the hateful persons). 5. I’ve stopped racing my way on the highway, trying to overtake any car in sight. 6. I listen more and talk less. 7. I believe I’m more tolerant today. 8. I’ve stopped buying watches and mobile phones that fancy me. 9. I’m more conscious of my sugar intake with someone’s help. And, 10. I’m still doing The PUNCH every week without fail!
Now, my failings. 1. I still have not managed to read 1 good book a month. (Keeping up with current events easily draws me away from a book. 2. I have not learned to like the taste of beer, brandy and scotch. (Gin, tequila and rum are ok). 3. I keep forgetting to have an annual executive check-up. (I guess I just hate being told and reminded how sick I can be). 4. I can’t break some bad habits. (Because people who know me enough and care about me tolerate me, that’s why!). 5. I still have a hard time remembering names and faces. (I find the recommended tips and exercises tedious and boring). And, finally, 6. I only remember a resolution I made the year prior on New Year’s Day. So allow me to remember the rest on the eve of January 1.
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WAR JUST BEGUN. Pangasinan PNP Director Sr. Superintendent Ronald Lee is obviously pleased that he met his self-imposed deadline to clear all towns and cities of illegal drugs. He certainly deserves credit for his efforts to create that impact in the province.
But I am certain as well that he, more than anyone else, realizes that the real war on drugs has just started for him and his command. Clearing towns and cities on paper is one thing but to keep things that way on the ground is another. Pangasinan, being a thickly populated province, is a huge market for the drug syndicates. And as one might expect, the syndicates are almost always two steps ahead of the law enforcers.
How to cope with the drug lords and keep them at bay to keep province continuously free of drugs is now going to preoccupy Mr. Lee’s mind. That, at least, I hope that will remain his priority throughout lest he wants the province to burn with drugs under his watch. Besides, less drugs translates to less heinous crimes.
We must accept that there is no end seen in the war on drugs, where the government can claim complete victory. He or she who keeps the drug lords running for their lives can only be credited for being ahead of the game. The incompetent, lazy law enforcer will undoubtedly simply choose to be a protector of the drug syndicates. Wanna bet?
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CRIME STILL DOES NOT PAY. Gone are the says when complaints and cases filed with the courts and Office of the Ombudsman were occasions for negotiated bidding by respondents – erring public officials, government employees and suppliers.
Nowadays, it’s no longer uncommon to learn of public officials being suspended and or removed from office, fined and jailed at will.
For instance, who would have known that the mere filing or non-filing of Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) could lead to one’s conviction and jail sentence? The case of the late Chief Justice Rene Corona exemplifies that.
The former University of the Philippines Dean of College of Home Economics who failed to file her SALN in 2008 and 2009, and failed to declare two real properties in her 2010 and 2011 SALNs was convicted by the Sandiganbayan.
A Bureau of Customs Operations Officer was convicted of 15 counts of perjury and meted upon him four months imprisonment for each count. His sin? He failed to include not only his house and lot located in Muntinlupa City in his 1998 to 2004 SALNs, but a Taurus pistol in his 2010 and 2012 SALNs, a Colt pistol in his 2012 SALNs, the acquisition cost of his real properties in his 2005 to 2010 SALNs.
Then, a former Butuan City Mayor, together with former officials (a licensing Officer and Acting City Fire Marshal) were charged by the Ombudsman. Their sins? A razed establishment was issued a business permit by the mayor despite the lack of a Fire Safety and Inspection Certificate (FSIC); the licensing officer recommended approval and the fire marshal did not notify the mayor of the absence of certification.
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IMMEDIATE SUSPENSIONS. The recent suspension of Asingan mayor and vice mayor was not without precedent.
The mayor of Pili, Camarines Sur is facing a 90-day suspension pendente lite. The Sandiganbayan underscored Section 13 of the Anti- Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which makes it mandatory for the court to suspend any public officer who has been arraigned under a valid Information. “Once the information is found to be sufficient in form and substance, then the Court must issue the order of suspension as a matter of course. There are no ifs and buts about it,” stated the court. “The presumption is that unless the accused is suspended, he or she may frustrate the prosecution of the case, commit further acts of malfeasance, or do both,” added the Sandiganbayan. The mayor was under trial for causing the dismissal of municipal employee instead of mere suspension, knowing that the dismissal had no legal basis.
The Ombudsman also ordered the suspension of the Dapitan City treasurer for one year without pay after she was found guilty of two counts of Simple Misconduct, two counts of Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations, and Gross Insubordination.
The mayor of Jimalalud, Negros Oriental was ordered suspended by the Sandiganbayan for 90 days as a preventive measure since he’s being tried for violating the anti-graft law. The mayor was indicted for taking took advantage of his position as mayor by granting himself a permit to operate or engage as a cockpit promoter for one year “thereby gaining direct financial and pecuniary interest in cockfights within the municipality.”
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NO DEMISE IN SIGHT. For the last 7 years, I have been warned of eventual demise of the paper edition of our Sunday PUNCH.
Well, 2107 is about to end and it’s not likely that we will fold and stop publishing The PUNCH, not until we have loyal readers and advertisers who believe we should keep the old newspaper format in circulation.
Meanwhile, we’ve been running our online edition since 1997 mainly for our overseas kabaleyans. The downside of it, admittedly, is our newsstand dealers have
begun to note that they have lost some of their weekly PUNCH sukis to our online edition. Tsk-tsk. While this was not our intention, we submit that’s beyond our control.
But you, our readers have the choice to keep the newspaper industry going – to keep the paper in circulation, to enable the newsstands and newsboys to earn their keep, and be able to keep our weekly copies for posterity, for clippings or for cleaning!
So if our loyal newspaper readers would be so kind to continue to support the newspaper industry with their usual habit of holding the paper, our print edition will go a long way and newsstands will survive as well!
Would you please keep your habit of holding The PUNCH in your hands?
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Happy New Year dear reader loyal readers. I look forward to engaging you with more thoughts and issues in the next 52 weeks! Keep Punching with us!!