Punchline

Speculations about attempted assassination

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

WONDER of all wonders. Is it possible that our police have not gathered enough solid evidence to warrant the arrest of the 22 suspects it named in the assassination attempt on the life of former Cong. Spine Espino last September 11 that the Provincial Prosecutors’ Office could not see itself filing the cases?

Believe it or not, it’s been 2 months since a sensational attempted murder case vs a popular politician of Pangasinan and nothing is moving on the case.

I’d like to believe that Gov-Cong Spine is himself impatient over the failure of both the police and the prosecutor to seek justice at least for his two loyal security aides who were killed protecting him.

Already, not a few in Manila have asked me about the status of the case prompting others to speculate on the motives behind the assassination attempt. For most, the political motive appears implausible. Why would any politico worth his salt attempt to get rid of Gov-Cong Spine who lost in his last political battle, they ask.

Is it about business deals that went awry? What business could it be? Whatever business it was, it must have meant a big loss to his competitor to resort to violence.

But what astounds the politicos in Manila is why no suspects have been arrested after 2 months. As far as the PNP is concerned, it believes it has done its job, but the prosecutors obviously disagree.

Back to square one, huh, P/Brig. Gen. Joel Orduña? Where does the SITG Espino Jr. stand on the prosecutor’s position?   

This is one sensational murder attempt this year that needs a closure –  the conviction of the mastermind and the suspects.

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IRRELEVANT DILG DIRECTIVE? The DILG’s directive to local governments to continue to clear primary and secondary roads of obstructions, including sidewalks and pedestrian lanes is obviously already not being taken seriously by mayors after that first evaluation.

In Dagupan City alone, we are seeing the return of sidewalk vendors, extension of stores’ merchandising on sidewalks, illegal parking on main roads, etc.

The belated ordinance closing two streets in the city may have legitimized the complete takeover of the streets by vendors but I wonder how that is taken by DILG.

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BULSAHAN GANG? But far more serious concern about the two occupied streets for baratillo and food strip.  Neither the city hall and the city council has established who’s accountable for the revenues that the city stands to earn from both occupation of the streets.

This year’s Hermana Mayor Dada Reyna-Macalanda already made it clear that she has nothing to do with the operations of the baratillo and the food strip even if traditionally as in the past, the hermano mayor was on top of all the revenue-earning activities during the fiesta period. But since Councilor Dada had made it clear that she’s not party to the negotiations and collections of daily fees and rentals, who is accountable?

Our memory is usually short but not on corruption activities in past decades. I do recall that then Councilor Red Erfe-Mejia, Market Administrator Sta. Maria, among others were embroiled in controversies on their failure to account for revenues collected. Sadly, no one was charged before the Ombudsman. Will this change this year?

It’d be interesting to know if the city council would dare pose the question to Mayor Brian Lim. “Who’s accountable?” If it would not, then it’s fair to conclude that everyone excluding Councilor Dada has a personal stake in the daily collections that would amount to millions by January 10, 2020! After the Judas 9, will we be meeting the Bulsahan Gang anytime soon?

I’m certain PUNCH readers will keep a close watch on the personnel at the city hall and market administrator, ‘friends of the mayor’ and some ‘special’ councilors if no one is being held accountable for the operations of the baratillo and food strip.

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NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS POLICY?  Speaking of Dagupan City, I note that most if not all local media outlets are not privy to official actions and programs of the various departments in the city under the Lim administration.

In sharp contrast to past administrations that kept Dagupeños abreast of the city government’s engagements with the residents even just on a weekly basis, Mayor Brian Lim’s administration appears to have adopted a news blackout policy since his assumption to office. It’s puzzling because the information office is headed by former PDI correspondent Ging Cardinoza, he who understands what news about governance is important to the citizenry.

The Facebook account of PIO Dagupan mostly shows Mayor Lim in photo ops of social events. The most recent single city event relevant to governance featured in PIO Facebook is the meeting of a technical consultant, not even a department head, for the implementation of “Pandaragupan ed Barangay.” And obviously, it is treated as a minor story, because the news has little details. (The Jayeekens’ Manrosas project of Rex Catubig has more details to tell).

Could this be the reason why Mayor Brian did not find a need to deliver a “Post 100-day Report” to the city? Wala talagang nangyayari sa Dagupan?  Or is it because the PIO had no journal of programs and activities of the various department heads? Or in fairness to former newsman Ging, is it possible his boss is only depending on the continuation of the programs launched by his predecessor Mayor Belen Fernandez?

If the policy of the administration is to stick to “no news is good news”, then Dagupeños should no longer hope to see Dagupan a recipient of the “Seal of Good Governance.”

So what happened to “Shared Responsibility”? Nothing to share, huh, Ging? 

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READERS’ POST. Paging Dagupan police chief P/Lt. Col. Abubakar Mengelen: Who is protecting the drop-ball gambling in the heart of downtown behind the building of a prominent bazar, owned by a prominent family?

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