Narco list and nasty rumors

By Ermin Garcia Jr. 


NOW that the initial narco list of barangay officials is out, woe is the incumbent barangay official whose name is included. He/she will not have the opportunity to clear himself/herself of the government’s allegation. Such is life. It’s not fair.

But woe, too, to this notorious barangay official whose name was spared in the narco list. Rumors will be rife about this official for not being included because of his/her drug activities. Expect more details added to make him/her look badder than bad.

Worse, if the community is aware that the notorious but unnamed kapitan in the narco list is running in the race by proxy—his/her spouse, children, or mistress or the woman’s lover boy is the candidate—the latter should expect to be pelted with nasty rumors and insults that will be long remembered in the neighborhood that they’d wish a tsunami would drown everyone including themselves.

Rumors, whether fake or not, can hurt real bad.

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MAKE CANDIDATES COMMIT. The barangay and SK campaign period will be rowdy and emotional so I expect the police to have their hands full.

Between rumormongering and public accusations among neighbors, it can’t get anymore personal than that. Candidates and their family members can be expected to invoke amor propio, family pride and integrity to retaliate in every form. After all, this election is about them, not about their political patrons.

As I began to write this, I caught the news report that a former kapitan in Asingan was shot dead.  It is for this reason that I strongly suggest that the town/city police do a campaign tokhang of candidates to warn them of violence and to encourage licensed gun owners among them to surrender their guns for safekeeping.

And, in the absence of CCTV cameras in barangays, I suggest that car owners and motorcycle riders equipped with dash cams and GoPro be on the alert to use their cameras at all times.  They’ll never know when violence can erupt in front of them!

Then, we have suggested in our editorial this issue that at least one Candidates’ Forum be organized in the barangay. But, since such an activity will require some logistics, the town and city officials, from mayors to the councilors can do their respective communities a favor by sponsoring the event but not be present during the forum to lend influence.  Let representatives of the candidates for kapitan meet to decide on the acceptable moderator, and order of the forum, and the representative of the town official be present simply to acknowledge logistical support needed. The involvement of the town and city officials in this manner will not be violative of the law.

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RESTORING FAITH IN PNP.  The filing of cases against the three Dagupan policemen (See story on page 1), whose acts of incompetence were not lost on their superiors in the regional office, is instructive to both investigating police personnel and to families of victims who feel they were made victims twice over for the police’s ineptitude (or conspiracy with perpetrators?).

The administrative charges are serious; they put into doubt the very training of our policemen on such basic administrative tasks. At the same time, the filing of the charges by the regional office, not by the provincial office and the Dagupan police station, also indicates the lax view of the commanding officers of such very serious offenses on the citizenry whom they are mandated to protect.

The complaints against the three personnel were brought to the attention of their immediate superiors at the police station, failing to get a positive response the victim’s family reached out to the provincial office, and still to no avail.  In such a situation, victims’ families cannot be faulted for believing there was a cover-up of the crime among the police. Not good!

So a snappy salute to the men and women of PNP regional office, and to Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula. You’ve given the citizenry reason to continue believing in PNP’s fairness and resolve to serve and protect them!

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DEMOLITION JOB. If you are following the national news targeting DFA Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano putting him in a bad light by some sectors with own political and money agenda, here’s what’s happening in truth.

  1.  There is no move in the DFA to make Mr. Cayetano resign. Note that such news reports continue to have blind attribution. It’s plain and simple hatchet job with no chance for Cayetano to respond to anyone since there is no attribution.
  2.  Cayetano has not made excuses for the video that prompted the Kuwait government react angrily to the extent of expelling our ambassador. He has consistently maintained that there is nothing criminal about rescuing a Filipino citizen being rescued by its government from harm. As President Duterte responded—“I don’t want to see any more OFWS returning home inside coffins.”  This was Mr. Cayetano’s repeated response to media and his detractors. The video was shown by his staff to demonstrate how serious the situations that many of our OFWs are made to face.
  3. The rescue was not a covert operation. If it were, the video would have remained a state secret. Simple logic.
  4. Here are the lies being peddled against Mr. Cayetano and DFA:

A). That Mr. Cayetano had a shouting match with DOLE Sec. Bello over the timing of the signing of the proposed and discussed MOU with Kuwait government. Mr. Cayetano simply asked that the signing of the MOU be withheld until after our government gets an assurance that the remaining 800 OFWs in the shelters who were either rescued or ran away because they were being maltreated by their abusive employers, are allowed to return to the Philippines without consequences. 

B). That the senior diplomats in a letter to PRRD asked that Mr. Cayetano be dismissed. No such letter was found in Malacanang. Also, DFA senior career officers had a meeting with Mr. Cayetano to be updated on the brouhaha but never to ask him to resign. Mr. Cayetano explained that rescuing and helping OFWs is one policy of the Duterte administration that has to be complied with and the government will not renege on this commitment. There were no objections to the policy.

C).  That the Kuwait government purposely disconnected power and water in the ambassador’s residence. There was a temporary brownout and was immediately restored. Water supply was never discontinued.

D). That Mr. Cayetano risked the lives of OFWs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Foreign governments that accept our OFWs are more careful today about their nationals abusing our OFWs. Kuwait government has also sent signals that it wishes to move forward to strengthen the bilateral relations.

So next time, you read more negative reports about our DFA secretary, I believe you can now discern the motives.

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APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE! The organizers of the 2018 Bangus Festival in Dagupan City and Pista’y Dayat of the provincial government in Lingayen ought to take center stage to take credit for the successful staging of the two events that are gaining wider acclamation and popularity here and overseas.

I am personally impressed with the innovations, new creativity and use of modern technology to level up and meet higher expectations of a critical audience in social media.

So to the executive committee chairmen and event organizers of Bangus Fest and Pista’y Dayat… APPPLAUSE, APPPLAUSE! (Our people certainly won’t begrudge them for getting some bonus on the side from the big bosses…hehe…well deserved!).

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