Not negotiable

By November 15, 2021Punchline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


THE integrity and dignity of the Dagupan Sanggunian Panlungsod are non-negotiable!

This sums up the message of City Councilor Teresa Coquia to Councilors Librada Reyna- Celia Lim tandem when the duo tried to stop and derail the proceedings on the reported criminal activities of the market marshals and collectors of the Market Division.

The ploy of the tandem was to make the city council stop the investigation and move on, given the assurance that the City Legal Officer Terrence Marata will continue the investigation of the P25K protection racket of the Market Division and overcharging of daily fees imposed on market vendors. I thought that was a cheap shot, hoping a tinge of intimidation from the mayor’s mother would work.

Ms. Coquia quickly saw the ploy and stood steadfast.  “No way”!

Why would Ms. Coquia and others believe the Reyna-Lim tandem when their boss, Mayor Brian Lim, would not even allow department heads invited to the hearings to appear and to respond to questions? A simple one-line text “Don’t do it” from Mr. Lim will throw away all documents out the window and Atty. Marata will be the robot that will say – “the investigation is ongoing” on cue.

Besides, the city legal officer is not like the market supervisor and the marshals who can tell the mayor what to do! In fact, he couldn’t even stop his boss from issuing a simple executive order on curfew that ran counter to an existing city ordinance. (Read story “Conflicting E.O., city ordinance on curfew baffle police).

Secondly, Mr. Lim was never heard to have thought of asking even the police to investigate and arrest any city hall personnel involved in the P25k protection racket and the overcharging of daily fees by P80 being collected from hapless market vendors.

And thirdly, the city legal officer does not investigate but merely studies and presents legal positions as options for the chief executive. Does he have to study whether a protection racket and overcharging are illegal or not?

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MAKE PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE. The move of the market vendors to involve the NBI regional office in the criminal investigation was prudent.

 With Mayor Lim making every effort to keep the protection racket and overcharging by market personnel under wraps, hoping that the whole thing will simply vanish in time, there must be an effort to make government employees and public servants like him to be made to account for their criminal acts.

 Meanwhile the City Treasurer and City Auditor must know that they are on notice. Sure, they can invoke having been ordered not to attend the hearings at the city council as reason for their absence. But, if they as much do anything to provide the cover-up for the collected funds, legitimizing the illegal activities with fake official receipts on mayor’s orders, they are seriously risking their retirement benefits. 

 A thorough investigation by NBI can easily uncover their participation in collusion with the mayor, the market supervisor, the OIC and market marshals and collectors. (Note: The market vendors have copies of receipts issued by the market marshals).

 Be forewarned.

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DUQUE AS LTFRB’s VILLAIN. I made a brief inquiry on the status of plans of Pangasinan buses on their plans to resume their normal direct travel trips to Metro Manila in the light of the relaxed restrictions health restrictions in the region.


Well, there are still no buses originating from Pangasinan allowed to make trips non-stop to Metro Manila and vice versa despite the improved situation in MM. Recall that IATF issued a resolution last year restricting use of terminals in Metro Manila for regular passenger buses owing to critical health situation there.

Well, LTFRB is still not inclined to allow buses to travel direct unless the bus companies agree to unload and load passengers at the North Luzon Express Terminal in Bocaue, Bulacan. It is still invoking last year’s IATF resolution.

Bottomline, LTFRB is not hesitating to make a villain out of Sec. Pincoy Duque, being the head of IATF, forcing bus companies to toe the Bocaue policy, obviously for a profitable reason.

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STAY SAFE. I won’t be surprised if a surge in Covid cases is reported in Metro-Manila a week after the IATF gave the OK signal to families to bring their kids out.  

 Everyone quickly planned for a family outing forgetting the announcement that minors must be registered for their vaccine inoculation. All too sudden, most families forgot about the continued risks and threats of COVID-19 simply because the parents are fully vaccinated.

 Families in Pangasinan can do themselves a big favor if they keep a close tab of reported consequences of the relaxed mood dictated by Alert 2 in MGCQ areas like Pangasinan.

Let us not forget that enclosed areas remain high risks, so malls should still be avoided with children in tow, and if it cannot be avoided, allow only for limited time inside any mall.

 Nothing can be more terrifying than to learn that our kid or apo contracted Covid after an outing and doctors tell us even a simple home care would not be advised. The worst is having to surrender our child to hospital care where no parent can be allowed to be with the child.

 So, stay safe… and stay safe!

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NEW POLITICS. “What’s in a name?” That’s what we usually ask each time a controversial or important issue is raised or when a name is attached or attributed to it.  But that question is now overshadowed by the question: “What’s in a color?”

Over the past weeks s candidates in both national and local were focused on identifying themselves by a color of the shirts they wear.

Note that VP Leni and Sen Kiko Pangilinan, both top LP officials, listed themselves as independent candidates.  They dropped LP.  Instead, they bandied “Pink” as the symbol of political opposition to the Duterte power bloc. Pink ribbons, no longer yellow ribbons.

The Marcos group dropped the NP label as its official political party and strategized to be identified as “BBM” and symbolized by the color “red”.

The camp of Isko Moreno is promoting itself as the “white” and “clean” candidates.  There is no effort to make voters recall what their agenda are, much less the political party they claim to be associated with.

Only the tandem of Senators Ping Lacson and Tito Sotto have started to promote an acronym that defines their advocacy and mission: KKK (Kakayahan, Katapatan, Katapangan). It promotes no specific color but is apparently working on printed pattern shirts for easy recall.

The Manny Pacquiao team only has one strategy so far to be remembered by: Distribution of grocery items with crisp P1K bill to any pre-selected persons in any area, and arrival of his luxurious black van with “Mahirap” emblazoned on it. No PDP-Laban mentioned.

The tandem of Senators Bato de la Rosa and Christopher Bong Go will always have the picture of PRRD in the background. No color so far.  It bandies PDP-Laban – Cusi camp.

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