By March 25, 2013Opinion, Punchline

The truth and lies about the fish pens


By Ermin Garcia Jr.


FINALLY, one Dagupan city official had the courage to emerge and admit to the truth about the proliferation of illegal fish pens in the city, belying earlier arrogant claims by the camps of Mayor Benjie Lim and City Agriculturist Emma Molina that the PUNCH reports are untrue. The duo thought they could flippantly dismiss The PUNCH’s factual reports, tsk-tsk. They forgot about Butch Gutierrez who finds it hard to cover-up for needless lies.

When Mr. Gutierrez, the only no-nonsense enforcer of legitimate rules in Mr. Lim’s team, admitted to The PUNCH (see story on page 1) that there are, indeed, illegal fish pens that proliferated over the past months, the proclivity of the Lim administration to lie to the people has never become more manifest. What disgusts  most of PUNCH readers’ is the contemptible hubris with which they and their lapdogs deny The PUNCH reports including the authenticity of the pictures published.

I salute Mr. Gutierrez for easily admitting to the obvious unlike Mr. Lim and his incorrigible lapdogs who think they can fool the people al the time. They have had the gall to claim that our published photos were dug from old files when the presence of the illegal fish pens could easily be seen around the city.  Need I describe what hush money can do for desperate lapdogs? Tell them to jump from the 5th floor of a building, and they will jump from the 10th floor!

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While Mr. Gutierrez attempted to be less candid about the circumstances that led to sudden proliferation of the illegal fish pens, citing lame alibis and excuses including the decision of city hall not to penalize the violators, his statements actually spoke volumes about the massive corruption at the city hall courtesy of the fish pens.

Mr. Gutierrez forgot that the Lim administration had earned a lot of praises when it demonstrated its political will and demolished the illegal fish pens all in a week’s time after the grace period lapsed. How is it possible that Mr. Gutierrez now claims his office is ill-equipped and ill-manned today to explain his inability to demolish the illegal pens for the past 3 months? Then, he continued that for “humane considerations, the violators will be allowed to harvest and get away with no penalty. (Ms. Molina was quoted by Mr. Lim’s lapdogs on radio saying the same thing). No matter how I look at that statement, I see the an official protection racket at work , and “humane considerations” was actually spelled in their computers  as “hu-money considerations.”

Again, I wonder what the representatives of the DILG and CENRO are doing about it. Are they now part of the protection racket as well? They have not been heard to raise a howl over it in spite of the blatant violation of the national and local fishery codes.

Magkano share nyo?

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THE FINAL SCENE. If you are one of those who thought nothing of the rush sale of the MC Adore property that led to the city’s loss of some P100 million in opportunity gain, well you are now about to see the true agenda behind it unfold before your very eyes.

The Judas 9 (Onor-onors Brian Lim, Red Erfe- Mejia, Chester Gonzales, Guillermo Vallejos, Alvin Coquia, Jess Canto, Chito Samson, Dada Reyna-Manaois (and Karlos Reyna(?), now a member of Veem Belen Fernandez’s ticket) are poised to ram the  approval of the P47 million Supplemental Budget down the throats of Dagupeños this week.

Here’s the giveaway:  they want millions to be allocated for representation and transportation allowances of all government officials and employees, for terminal leave benefits of employees of four departments without citing who and how many employees will be the beneficiaries, for the overtime and night pay of the City Mayor’s Office and the Sangguniang Panlungsod, for projects and activities under the non-office account, etc.

These were the same accounts that were already funded in the 2013 annual budget so you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that these are the convenient items for technical malversation.

Clearly, the monies will be withdrawn using fictitious names that will avail of terminal leaves, of funds will be distributed for non-existent programs since these were not identified in the budget, etc. Watch the Judas 9 and the city hall occupants go to town with the people’s money until May 13!

So wonder no more why Mr. Lim and the Judas 9 rushed the fire sale to the extent of risking a contempt of court charge, that started with P1.5-M “take-hone” for each of the Judas 9. It’s now every man for himself for the members of the MadiLIM and MakuLIMLIM ticket for a share of the loot!

Kaskasian lan talaga so Dagupan!

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IRRESPONSIBLE. I have nothing but deepest sympathies and regrets for the number of anchormen of political blocktimers and their host radio station networks. 

For their irresponsible and malicious statements maligning the integrity of Lyceum Northwestern University and its president and PUNCH player Gonz Duque and many others, they are going to find themselves behind bars (libel has not been decriminalized) and lose everything they’ve got in their homes faster than they can say “So so so sooooo sorry”.

I was shown a copy of the source of the libelous comments and statements repeatedly uttered by Mr. Lim’s lapdogs and I was aghast that they could be so stupid not to know the basic info about the libel law as to use an unsigned document as a basis for unwarranted comments. (I was told by mutual friends in the local media that the same suspects also dared The PUNCH to publish the malicious allegations against LNU and Gonz described in the unsigned document as a sign of the paper’s impartiality. Gosh, did they honestly think I can be stupidly ignorant like them? Heaven forbid!).

From where I sit, their libelous statements will cost them plenty even before the cases go to trial. Each count of libel filed fetches a P10,000 bail bond. Compute the number of times the libelous statements were made, then multiply it by the number of plaintiffs (Note: The slanderous statements placed many masteral and doctoral degree candidates under a cloud of doubt and can therefore file libel cases on their own).

Then there is the matter of their KBP licenses being revoked and the fines that go with proven cases. There will be no more work for them except to write as columnists in local papers in the pockets of Mr. Lim.  

There is also the possibility that the radio networks that will be charged as well for  airing the libelous statements, will resort to cross-filing damages against them to prove their absence of guilt, that the anchorpersons were employees of the blocktimer and not of the networks. To convince the judge that they had nothing to do with the libelous statements and to prove it, the networks will have to file damage suits against the blocktimer and the anchorpersons say for P10 million each! That would already be charitable on their part.    

Finally, did it occur to them that for each count of proven libel, the convict faces at least six years in jail? Three counts of libel mean 18 years!

I do feel for them but they only have themselves to blame. They have no respect for the community journalism practice.

The PUNCH will publish their names once the cases are filed but till then we will respect their right to be protected against any malicious imputation by their acts.

P.S.  I wonder who advised them to go to town with an unsigned document that lists very serious allegations without any proof of verifiable evidence?  Was it, indeed, Councilor Brian Lim who I am told is the legal adviser of the Judas 8 and the lapdogs. I wonder if they are aware that the young Lim has not earned his spurs as a licensed lawyer since he completed his law studies. Translation –  he remains “under bar” after failing the bar exams twice (?)! 

Then will Mr. Lim, their patron, for whom they risked all, go to their aid? Perhaps but knowing Mr. Lim, I’m sure the costs of the bail bonds will be deducted from their present and future retainers. Tsk-tsk.

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