Punchline

Competence of SITG doubted

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

SOMETHING is amiss in the investigation of the slay attempt on the life of former Cong. Spine Espino.

Firstly, it’s taking so painfully long for the police to establish with the motive that could lead to the identity of those behind the assassination attempt. One would think that with the public personality of Cong Spine, nothing would be spared to see to the early the solution of the case. 

Ironically, many believe that the case should already be nearing its solution at this time since the suspects left all the vehicles, firearms and explosives for the police to easily trace the mastermind. Frankly, I actually thought the suspects and the people behind it had no intention of hiding or want to make it known who are behind the ambush by purposely leaving all the damning evidence. 

Under other normal circumstances, criminal conspirators would plan carefully not to leave any possible trace that could lead investigators to them. This is why I find this a curious situation if not unusual. And the long delay in uncovering identities of plotters does not speak well of the regional police’s Special Investigation Task Group’s competence and efficiency.

Worse, it’s already beginning to appear that the SITG has the wrong suspects starting with its insistence that Jewel Castro, a businessman from Baguio City, be charged as primary suspect because he allegedly owns one of the vehicles that the ambushers used.

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LTO CERTIFICATION. Mr. Castro is vehemently protesting his inclusion, not only denying his involvement but ownership of the Hyundai Elantra which the SITG insists is registered under his name.  Well, to back his claim, he produced a certification from the LTO head office dated Oct. 4, 2019, that there is no record of any Hyundai Elantra registered under his name. (A copy of that certification was provided me). 

Of course, that is another matter for SITG to verify and validate. But until then, given what the SITG has and what Mr. Castro has as proof to counter its claim, it’s not difficult for many to share Mr. Castro’s suspicion that he is being made the fall guy! This is becoming easier to believe given what has transpired in recent senate hearing on the “ninja cops” who allegedly released the Chinese drug lord for P50 million and presented another Chinese drug suspect instead as the alleged owner of the alleged 200 plus kilos of shabu.

If there is truth to Mr. Castro’s suspicion, the question that begs an answer is: Why the need for a fall guy? If so, then the SITG must already know the mastermind. Who?

The long delay is not doing justice to Cong. Spine and his family. Speculations about those behind the ambush will continue, will not also be fair to those who are being alluded to without any evidence to back it. I even dare say that even the suspicion of Cong Spine that the motive is political is unfair to all his past political protagonists.

Without any evidence to indicate that it’s political, or personal grudge, or business, it’s a no-win situation for the Espino family, political allies and families, business partners and competitors and for the police leadership.

But with the LTO certification, it’d appear that the police are again facing a blank wall. Are they?  

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LEGACY FOR POSO CHIEF.  Now that the Dagupan’s Public Order and Safety Office has proven its capacity to carry out its mandate, keeping traffic flowing and motorists in check, POSO chief Rob Erfe-Mejia should now look further to make the city earn the reputation that it’s only in Dagupan where order in the streets is both felt and visible.

Here’s what I suggest he considers resolving. Perhaps Mr. Erfe-Mejia hasn’t thought much of it but parking in and around the city’s business districts is chaotic. It doesn’t help that parking slots are not painted so motorists and tricycle drivers park any way and anywhere they please. Worse, we have stores and shops arrogating public space as their private parking slots while tricycles, buses and jeepneys convert areas as their terminals.

POSO should already consider making a serious study on how it can improve parking policy in the city’s commercial districts considering the fact increasing volume of vehicles and population. Should there be, diagonal or perpendicular parking, pay-parking areas, parking for tricycles and motorcycles, incentives for parking buildings, penalties for violations, etc.?  

The implementation of such a study should be supported by the city council posthaste.

If he succeeds in establishing further order in the streets of the city’s business districts, that will be a legacy that will surely overshadow that of his father, Robert, former POSO head under Mayor BSL period! But he is not up to overshadowing his father, then there’s nothing more that the city can and should expect from him.

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BLIND, DEAF AND MUTE COMMISSION. In our editorial this week, we pointed out the return of the illegal fish pens in Dagupan City with impunity.

It is important for the Lim administration to act decisively on the issue because if it doesn’t, it loses the moral high ground in its accusation that the Fernandez administration should be faulted for the worsening flood in the city.

Worse, the refusal of the Lim administration to demolish and banish the illegal fish pens will totally discredit the Dagupan Anti-Flooding Commission that Mayor Lim created for the purpose of studying and planning mitigating measures to check flooding in the city. Right before the very eyes of the members of the commission is one of the major causes of flooding – the illegal fish pens! Or are they also all blind, deaf and mute like City Agriculturist Emma Molina? 

Or is everyone blind, deaf and mute for the money? I sure hope not!

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