Random Thoughts

HUMILIATION ENDS. Will there be peace now at the Pangasinan State University?

I hope so.

The clashing parties held on and fought hard. Fortunately, they soon realized only the court can put an end to the enmity.  So far, the Ombudsman and the Court of Appeals decided against Dr. Dexter Buted and co-respondent Marcelo Gutierrez Jr., in favor of Ricardo Tapia. But the last word has yet to be heard from the Supreme Court.

A brief background on this legal battle can be read in this issue so our readers can appreciate the facts for themselves.

Moving forward to that historic day (April 11) when Dr. Buted finally stepped down, The PUNCH and ABS CBN Dagupan were invited to witness the proceedings. When I asked a professor who invited me if I could bring a fellow media reporter from another outfit to attend the Stakeholders’ Forum, the answer was a flat ‘No’. So off I went and was only happy to see fellow PUNCH reporter Nora Dominguez arrive later. We stayed until the audience who felt for Dr. Buted shared “crying moments”.

Makabagbag-damdamin and eksena. I felt goosebumps. Saying goodbye is, indeed, always the hardest thing to do.

Listening to him, I realized he was consistent with his thoughts. I recall the times I tried to get Buted’s reactions to stories and talks about the humiliation he was getting from Pangasinan officials who declared him persona non grata, from nasty criticisms in both the local media and social media alleging of corruption and oppression, among others, and he was always calm and preferred to stay mum.

Ayaw ko silang patulan. Alam kong tama ang ginagawa ko dahil ito ay sa kabutihan ng nakararami. Salamat sa pang-unawa. Antayin na lang natin ang desisyon ng Supreme Court.

And I heard him say the same thing at the forum.

Tapia is one of Buted’s accusers who opted to bring his allegations to the court.

That to me was better and a decision was rendered.

Tapia won. Buted has to step down and he decided to do it days before the Board of Regents can rule to implement his nine-month suspension. He must have realized it was futile. He fought hard but lost and it was time to respect the court.

Some rejoiced. Many cried about the turn of events at the PSU in that Stakeholders’ Forum.

What cannot be denied are the accomplishments he achieved for all PSU’s campuses in the province. It succeeded in accomplishing reforms and introducing new ideas in just four years (cut short by his suspension) what all his predecessors failed to do.

But PSU, it seemed, was not ready for him, for his kind of leadership and vision.

Now that Buted has bowed out of PSU, may all the jitters finally calm down.

Give him a break in his solitude as he reminisces his sweet and bitter past in PSU. Let him take his next steps and direction in life. Enough of humiliation.

As Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”

Tapos na. Life must go on whatever that means for PSU without Buted, and for Buted without PSU. — Eva Visperas


RELOCATE THE DISTRICT JAIL NOW — If the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will strictly enforce the Water Code of the Philippines providing for 25-meter area plus 5 salvage zone as it is doing now in the island tourism paradise of Boracay, it will find that the Dagupan District Jail and many other establishments along the coastline of the Lingayen Gulf need to be removed.

It is a fact that the Dagupan City Jail has long been a bane to the Lingayen Gulf. Time and again, we hear residents of Paras Street in Bonuan Gueset complaining about the nauseating stench of wastewater seeping out of the sewerage system of the now overcrowded jail.

The CENRO no less admitted that it investigated these complaints and called on the jail management to build a new and bigger septic tank, which the latter did. But this may just be temporary, if not a partial solution to the problem of water pollution in the Lingayen Gulf as the new septic tank will surely not last long.

At the rate inmates are being admitted there for temporary detention until their cases are resolved by the courts, the newly built septic tank will eventually overflow and again pollute the air at the expense of Paras Street residents.

Since DENR has not started conducting assessment and delineation of establishments along Dagupan coastline, it is time for the Dagupan District Jail to relocate it to any area in the fourth district but far from the shore.

The jail was built during the first term of then Mayor Alipio Fernandez Jr. purposely to house only inmates of Dagupan but this was later expanded into a district jail. Today we have a facility intended for 300 inmates hosting more than 1,000 if I am not mistaken.

The old city jail used to be located at the parking lot of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), a reason for its relocation to Bonuan.

The DENR must now discuss real options for the district jail’s relocation with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). We cannot have the district jail where it is today because it not only pollutes the Lingayen Gulf but above all it violates the law. — Leonardo Micua

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