‘Package deal’ in barangays

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


THE results of the forthcoming barangay and SK elections will definitely determine if the war on drugs of the Duterte administration will succeed or come to naught by the time he makes his exit in year 2022.

It’s no secret among barangay folk that one of the reasons why the progress of the war on drugs has been slow and painful is the fact that drug syndicates have been enjoying official support from barangay and SK officials by simply turning a blind eye to the illegal drug trading in the barangays. By not lifting a finger to create and strengthen the Barangay Anti-Drug Advisory Council already spells a profitable venture for the local network of drug pushers and financiers.

It doesn’t take rocket science to make a fair estimate of how much barangay officials, particularly the kapitan, receive as weekly hush-hush money. A barangay kapitan with sizeable constituency gets at least P10k a week! The lowly kagawads, as willing partners in crime of the kapitan, get P3 weekly.

Then there are presidents of SK chapters (particularly the over-aged children of mayors, councilors and kapitans) who are obviously also in the pockets of drug syndicates. They who are told to simply keep their mouths shut when drugs and the youth are raised as issues in the barangays. A P2k weekly allowance is all that it takes to keep their idealism in check.

And how many kapitans in the province actually have their children as their extended network for their criminal activities as SK chairmen? Make a wild guess!

A barangay kapitan that has his/her child as SK chairman presents a juicy proposition to the drug syndicates and to themselves. A parent-child combination in the barangay is a damn good “package-deal”!

I’m sure PUNCH readers know of several ‘package deals’ in the province.

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ONE AND ONLY CHANCE. Personally, I thought PDU30 missed his opportunity to gain the most dramatic momentum for his war on drugs when he chose to postpone the barangay-SK elections last year.

He was almost certain that the drug syndicates would try all to keep their coopted kapitans or candidates elected for more extended terms to be able to perpetuate their criminal connections. But by postponing the elections, he virtually gave the syndicates’ army of corrupt barangay officials the green and go signal to continue victimizing the vulnerable members of families in schools and in the streets.

Families who thought PDU3O was God-sent to end the drug syndicates tight hold on their barangays could only whine in frustration, that they were deprived of the chance to lend their support to the war by booting out the drug-protectors in the barangays. They are only ecstatic today that the elections have not been postponed again.   

Let’s hope that the decision to finally hold the elections this May will stay and DILG Sec Eduardo Año’s advocacy Matino, Mahusay, at Maaasahang” Barangay and SK Officials will have a chance to be lived.  

After all, the elections this year will give families the one and only chance to reject the ‘package deals’ in their midst.

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BIG BUCKS IN SPORTS. The recent successful bid of the Balon Dagupan Team at the R1AA has opened the eyes of not a few prospective young people who realize they too can win with hard work and logistical support from friends, and government as well.

The Cinderella story of Dagupan as a sports powerhouse has made mayors realize, too, that Dagupan was no different from their town when sports development was not their priority as well. The magic came with the priority and willingness to allot funds to support players and athletes. I sense a lot of rethinking of official priorities going on today.

Meanwhile, the triumphant Balon Dagupan’s swimmers, players and athletes are the first to concede that nothing comes easy in real life competition. They, more than anybody, realize that if they had not trained hard enough, their performance would not have mattered at all.

But if there’s something bigger that they need to know, it’s the opportunity opened to them that they can begin to chart their future in their chosen fields today, not tomorrow.

In a growing very competitive environment, the fight to the top is no longer limited to strategies inside corporate boardrooms. Competitive sports is becoming big business that pays big bucks to outstanding sportsmen and athletes.

In the context of globalization, a Pangasinan athlete and sportsman can be raking in millions in North America, Australia, South Africa and yes, China (with Chinese descent) in the next decade.

The young players and athletes can take inspiration from the many stories of hard work and success of famous sportsmen and women today! Check them out, guys and gals!

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SERENO AND RAPPLER. There are two seemingly troubling events in the national front that have made many to quickly draw the lines whether – pro or con.

I refer to the decision of the House of Representatives to send Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno to the Senate for her impeachment trial. The other affects journalists – and I refer to the decision of the BIR to file a case against Rappler Holdings.

First, the Sereno case. Like it or not, I believe the case of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona has a lot of implications on Sereno’s case. Some call her case as a case of political vindictiveness. But you ask – against whom and why? 

The SC justices have every reason to pull her down. Her appointment has made it impossible for any of the present and future associate justices to have a chance to be chief  justice. Nobody gets a chance until she reaches 70! She’s only 57 years old. The only way others can take a crack at the post is if she is removed by impeachment. Or by her resignation. Or by an ‘untimely’ death by reason of health.

Then, it must be recalled that CJ Corona was President GMA’s loyal chief of staff and fair-haired protégé. His impeachment caused her a lot of pain, it was a fate that she knew he didn’t deserve.  To my mind, Sereno’s impeachment is actually a payback for Corona’s humiliation and untimely death. But PDU30 is far removed from either Sereno’s and Corona’s fate. There is no possible political payback to be had for him. So who would have the motive to make her suffer the fate of Corona? PGMA.

And who would have the resources to make it happen?

We move to Rappler’s case. From Day 1 of PDU30’s takeover of Malacañang, there were 3 major media outfits that refused to accord him the traditional 100-day honeymoon stage that all his predecessors were courteously extended by national media. He was provoked no end to the point of being rude to a sitting president each day, those who voted for him felt the deep frustration that he was suffering in the hands of Phil. Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN, and yes, Rappler. All three demonstrated unfair bias and sprinkling of malicious allegations wherever he went and spoke. PDU3O was, and is, constantly being provoked to start a war with media but he won’t bite. He knew too well that a war with media is one he can never win. But he also knows too well that they have their own Achilles heels – business and profits. PDU30’s political allies are well aware of their vulnerability, and they are getting the payback for PDU30 where it hurts, careful not to be labeled as an attack on press freedom. Where money talks, legitimate risks and vulnerability exist. The targets were clear.

That’s my take of Rappler’s woes today. Sure it’s payback but it’s not a press freedom issue.

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