Cloned “onor-onors”

By November 1, 2021Punchline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


JUST when I thought the Dagupan City councilors would finally step up as dedicated public servants for the small fish vendors who rushed to them for relief and protection from the harassment of the Lim administration, they ended up quietly walking away after being kicked hard in their butts by mere market marshals!

The councilors response to the last humiliation dealt them by the market administrator was a surreal mix of bullying and abject submission.

On the councilors’ table was a deck of allegations of illegal, if not totally criminal, collection of fees from hapless vendors by the office of the market administrator backed by thugs of market marshals for years since their creation. It was an opportunity for both the councilors seeking reelection and councilors wanting a lasting legacy for their public service to demonstrate what stuffs they are made of, but it was going to be their Waterloo after all.

I could not believe it when the councilors took the second snub of their invitation by the market administrator and market marshals on the chin like the latter were entitled to it. But to find the councilors submitting to the terms dictated by the entitled bunch as a response to the third invitation was simply beyond belief.

Well, it dawned on me that “onor-onor” councilors of then Mayor Benjie Lim that did the whole routine to fleece the city, are no different from our totally intimidated councilors who felt they had no choice but to turn their backs on the small vendors.

It turns out Mayor Brian Lim had the councilors cloned by making his henchmen and their illegal activities protected by the councilors themselves. Only in Dagupan City.

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WHERE’S THE P1-B? The cat is out of the bag.

 The Lim administration has yet to complete its 3rd year in office, and it already asked for another P77 million Supplemental Budget No.2 ostensibly to fund the city’s COVID-19 response.

 But didn’t the Lim administration inherit an unprecedented P1billion in surplus funds from the Fernandez administration? It looks like the tradition of his then father-Mayor Benjie Lim is being kept alive – to end his term with unpaid bills, too!

 The city treasurer and city auditor should come clean in their reports about how the city’s P1-billion was lost in less than 3 years. Was it possible that the city government never earned anything from its operations to fund the city’s annual operations for two years?

 Paki sagot city treasurer at city auditor!

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MAKE MAYORS, KAPS ACCOUNTABLE. Pangasinenses certainly have every reason to be optimistic about their prospect of facing the New Normal in 2022 with more hope and confidence.

The provincial government has not left any stone unturned to cover all bases in combatting COVID-19. Perhaps the only weak link that most observed was the inconsistency of mayors and barangay kaps in enforcing the health and distancing protocols in their communities. It was this that made the containment of the contagion erratic in the past months.

Their poor effort was also compounded by weak performance of contact-tracing in many barangays.

Knowing their weaknesses that marginalized aggressive efforts of our provincial government to neutralize new infections, let’s hope our mayors and kaps will be more conscious in weeks ahead of how they can be more productive and masterfully lead their communities to the New Normal.

Our mayors’ constituents were fortunate that they have not seen the worst like they did in Metro Manila – not having access to hospital beds and treatment when needed! They will surely face the same if they don’t count their blessings today and be content with just leaving health issues to resolve themselves.

Given the improved situation in the province, Guv Pogi can already set the standards for accountability of our mayors and kaps. The data of the provincial health office can readily tell which mayor is helping his/her communities.

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PING LACSON, NOT GUILTY. Last week, I posted a meme on Sen. Ping Lacson on my Facebook account.

 I did it to remind friends who are mindful only of the horse race via political surveys, that there is one candidate whose qualifications and integrity to lead the country are unmatched by those leading in the surveys.

 The leaders: BBM Jr., Isko Domagoso, Manny Pacquiao are mainly media personalities with strong name recall.  Their charisma projected on media clearly made an impact while VP Leni’s performance as opposition leader is there for everyone to see.

 But what of Ping Lacson?

 What I did not expect was to read comments about Ping that were influenced by what the vicious black propaganda told about him for years since 2002! These were the same issues I had written about him – “Lies and truth about Ping Lacson”- in 2004.

 Many think of him as a murderer and a fugitive without any thought of the facts about him.

Take the Kuratong Baleleng case. Firstly, the group was a notorious kidnap for ransom gang with roots in Mindanao and Visayas.  The group was involved in contract-killing, prostitution, drug trafficking, armed robbery and illegal gambling. In 1995, they were captured by the team of then Col. Panfilo Lacson and they were later found shot dead inside the van.  He and his men were charged for murder by FLAG led by Atty Chel Diokno. The case against him was tried by a regional trial court in Quezon City and it was dismissed. The case was again sent to the Supreme Court by the Arroyo government and the same was again dismissed.

He’s not guilty. But why did he hide when the case was refiled by the Arroyo administration?  He did so out of concern for his own life. His detractors knew they didn’t have a case to pin him down but the plot to detain him while the new case was being reviewed was obviously the intent.  His detention could have led to his perpetual “disappearance” and Ping knew it.

Then there’s Dacer-Corbito murder case. Again, he was never charged but the constant reference to him as the senior officer of those charged created the impression that he was the involved. A testimonial by one of the accused that tended to implicate Ping was thrown out by the Court of Appeals for being without credible evidence.

But why are people of the impression that he was guilty? Ping was not and is still not the PR-oriented guy. Throughout the black propaganda leveled against him, he chose to be quiet to a fault. He was not a politician and left it to media to discern the truth. Alas, many in the media were continuously fed with false information. Still, he kept quiet and merely hoped the truth will set him and people’s mind free. Apparently, it was not to be.

Ping is not guilty. But the efforts of his political enemies to paint him as a murderer have not relented. But the Ping I knew just focused on his work, like he did as chief PNP, and as senator who refused to take his pork barrel for the past 17 years.

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