Random Thoughts

THE LAW IS HARSH – The suspension order from office for one year without pay by the Ombudsman to Asingan Mayor Heidee Chua and Vice Mayor Carlos Lopez Jr. served as a wake-up call to elected officials, especially local chief executives.

As soon as news spread mid-December that the two officials were suspended from office for posting their faces and names in a newly-acquired town ambulance, other local officials, including a mayor in a sixth district whose big face was also displayed in their ambulance, immediately did what he knew he had to do.

Natakot sila bigla at pinagtatanggal ang mga mukha nila.

Most officials love to display their names and faces to inform the people about their projects.

Kaso nga lang minalas sina Mayor Heidee at Vice Mayor Carlos. Sila ang nasampolan.

To those who missed the first part of the story about this case, here’s a brief background. Municipal Councilor Evangeline Dorao filed a complaint with the Ombudsman saying that the posting of the names and images of respondents on the newly-acquired ambulance of the municipality constitutes a violation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular (DILG-MC) No. 2010-101 that bans the placing of names, initials, images or pictures of government officials in billboards and signage or on government programs, projects and property.

Lesson: Hindi porket ginagawa ng marami ay okay lang gayahin. The mayor and the vice mayor cried foul, saying the penalty was too harsh for such a simple misconduct.

Kaso nga lang, may kasabihan tayo na, “The law maybe harsh but it is the law“.

A little refresher here. Remember what happened to then mayor Art Chan of Pozorrubio who was removed from office several months ago for signing the marriage contract of a couple which he did not solemnize. A lowly staff did it in his behalf!

Marami ring mayors ang gumagawa nun pero minalas din lang si Mayor Art Chan.

Again, Lesson? Follow the law. Times have changed. Marami na ang matapang mag- file ng kaso ngayon sa Ombudsman at mukhang mabilis nang umaksyon ang Ombudsman sa pag desisyon ng mga kasong naka-file sa kanila. Eva Visperas

 

PARTYING IN MALACANANG – I was in Malacanang last Friday to attend PNA’s Christmas Party and for a get-together with old friends from various provinces and the metropolis whom I seldom see except on special occasions like this.

No, President Digong was not there. I was informed he flew home to Davao as early as Wednesday. But even if the President was not there, security was as usual tight. It was cumbersome to get into the Palace grounds and any building therein.

While I and some others were lucky for not being subjected to mandatory check at the gate, most of my colleagues were not. They were made to go through it at the gates manned by marines, backed by sniffing dogs, and were made to leave their heavy bags with the duty guards. (Of course, we’re all required to stick visitor’s pass on our shirts).

In my case, I managed to hitch-hike on a van loaded with goodies and appliances to be offered as raffle prizes during the Christmas party. Naturally, it was stopped to allow a guard holding the leash of a dog summoned to sniff for contraband items. The guard told the driver, “Sorry, Sir. It is SOP” (Special Operating Procedure).

This means that even without President Digong and other top ranking officials in the Palace, the Presidential Security Group will never relax their guard, especially not now after the New People’s Army (NPA) and its political arm, the National Liberation Front (NDF) were declared as terrorist groups by the President.

Imagine what one NPA rebel posing as a media man can do if he succeeds getting inside the Palace. Any destruction inside the Palace would be a big embarrassment to the government.

We heard that no one is allowed to take pictures inside the Palace grounds, except the official photographers accredited by Malacanang. But this is often breached because every Palace visitor has one or two smart phones in their bags for quick selfies.

We also heard that most of the guards are from Davao, which should not be an issue because President Duterte is from Davao.

The party was a barrio fiesta type where any one can pick any food served at the kiosks. The most awaited part was the raffle where televisions, refs, smart phones, ovens, fans were among the prizes at stake. We just won a salad pot. Last year, I brought home a Sanyo electric fan.

The party lasted till 10 p.m. But I and my colleagues from Baguio, Tuguegarao and Laoag, did not see it end. We had to leave at 9:00 p.m. because we had bus trips to catch to get home. An office vehicle brought us to the bus terminals in Cubao.

My friends from Cotabato and Tacloban wanted me to stay till the next day, but I had to beg off. Before leaving, I gave Connie (from Legaspi with an Ilocano mother from La Union), a hug and wished her good luck as she will tie the knot on Dec. 28.

I was in Dagupan at 2:00 p.m. and had to wake up early as I was reminded of the text message I received from my PNP friend about the visit of their new boss.

Merry Christmas to one and all. – Leonardo Micua

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