Not their kind of mayor

By November 8, 2021Punchline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


WHOEVER is advising Dagupan City Mayor Brian Lim about the handling of the serious charges of corruption and criminal activities at the Market Division office is doing a good job at sabotaging his reelection in 2022! His/her boss is fast sinking in the quagmire and from the looks of it, he’s already waist-deep… and sinking fast.

Why would, indeed, the city re-elect a leader who’d rather protect illegal activities than help promote the livelihood of lowly fish vendors? Why shouldn’t Dagupeños dump him when he cannot control and stop his henchmen from harassing the fish vendors, worse violating a city ordinance? Why shouldn’t the fish vendors think of campaigning real hard for his defeat at the polls when he doesn’t give a hoot about their daily survival?

The desperation of the fish vendors in seeking help from the city government for protection became evident when they bravely dared to expose what they initially thought they could keep away from the public – the illegal monthly collection of P25k and the P80 daily tong from each vendor!

If that didn’t risk the lives of the fish vendors for exposing the criminal activities of the market marshals, I don’t know what is.

Curiously, the mayor has not even bothered to issue a statement deploring the illegal activities perpetrated by government personnel. Not even a single statement from the PIO that the office of the city mayor acknowledged the gravity of the fish vendors’ exposé.

To their clear disgust, the fish vendors and the councilors were even told in their faces that there is nothing they could do about it.

Today, the aggrieved fish vendors can only hope and pray that there are still heroes, dedicated public servants among the councilors, who will keep fighting for their survival in their fight against corruption apparently being protected by the city mayor.

There are already indications that the P80 daily tong collection is not limited to the fish vendors and what the councilors are looking at is just the tip of the iceberg. I won’t be surprised if some of the councilors are already aware of this but are not talking.

Then, the do-nothing councilors who’d rather wait from the sidelines, to wait for the issue to resolve itself should be identified as well. They don’t deserve a single vote in 2022, too.

This corner would love to hear from the fish vendors who the unsympathetic councilors are. (I already know Mayor Lim is not their kind of mayor).

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RARE OPPORTUNITY. Speaking of the Dagupan City councilors, I’m glad that they decided to return to the table and not to simply turn around and drop the ball.  

I hope they realize that the opportunity presented itself for the councilors to prove that they are the kind of city officials, public servants that the city deserves. What they thought was a simple problem of settling a relocation problem of the fish vendors turned out to be an issue where they have to prove their mettle as champions against corruption and criminality.

 They have been challenged by the market supervisor to do their worst and the latter impressed upon them that he will do his best to ignore and blunt their efforts to stop the racket. That the personnel of the market division had the gall to instruct the councilors how to deal with them is the height of arrogance I never witnessed in the city in all the years I reported on the city government since 1968, until now!

 I’m not exaggerating when I say I nearly fell off my chair on reading the report of our Managing Editor Ding Micua that the councilors were initially inclined to follow the instructions and dictates of the market supervisor!! At that precise instance, what I thought the councilors would have done was to have the supervisor cited for contempt, not for just boycotting the hearings but for directly insulting them with his instruction to officially communicate their concerns to his office so he can “respond” to them!! 

 The last time I heard, the market division in the city is not a co-equal of the sanggunian. So, I hope the councilors will hit back strongly and put these presumptuous tong collectors in their places!

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PACMAN’S TRAPO. The statement of president-wannabe Manny Pacquiao “Ayaw kong maging trapo” is one convoluted thought that can only come from a naïve politician. Is he even aware what a trapo does because its’ exactly what he’s doing?

Mr. Pacquiao obviously thinks that a trapo is one who talks too much and acts less. So, to prove he isn’t one, he talked less and he distributed crisp P1,000 bills to all who came to shake his hand.

So, what was that cash giveaway for? He said it’s ayuda for the pandemic without a qualification or assessment of who were hard hit and who were not. I begin to wonder what the ayuda will be about next time he visits Pangasinan. Will it be for those who lost in e-sabong?

Is he even aware that distributing cash randomly is tantamount to setting a bad precedent for the 2022 presidential campaign even if he is not violating the vote-buying rule in the Omnibus Election Code at this time?

He can call it ayuda but the recipients of the P1k cash know it is to influence them to vote for him since he was never seen in Pangasinan after any calamity that hit the province even when he was already a senator.

Not trapo? My foot!

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ARCHB. SOC IS NOT ARCHB. OSCAR. I miss the late Archbishop Oscar Cruz today. He was the country’s fiercest bishop that never feared to stare down gambling lords in the country, something that Archbishop Soc Villegas will never be.

 Unlike Archb. Cruz, Archb. Villegas would not be seen leading an anti-gambling campaign in Dagupan but would rather be seen arranging a political rally inside the St. John’s Cathedral like he did for then VP wannabe Leni Robredo, and will likely do again for her this time as president wannabe.

 Today, Dagupan is hosting one e-sabong venue in Tapuac District that draws tricycle, bus and jeepney drivers, market vendors to the venue to gamble away their daily earnings. Nothing was heard from Archb Villegas and other pro-opposition outspoken bishops when e-sabong franchises were being handed out like there’s no tomorrow at the House of Representatives.

 There was only one voice that was heard to stop the issuance of e-sabong franchises. It was the voice of former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and, surprisingly, no bishop even cared to echo the protest. Not Archb Villegas who was also mum about the continued operations of jueteng in Lingayen and Dagupan.   

 Will the Catholic Church start to be relevant again to Christ’s teachings anytime soon? That’s truly doubtful at this time.  

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THANK YOU PRECY. Last week I lost another dear friend – Precy Nava, wife of the late Mente Nava, my business mentor.

Unknown even to my friends in the city, both Mente and Precy took me into their home like a brother with no accountability to them, from the day I got my diploma from Ateneo and decided to take on the PUNCH in 1968. I had no home in the city since our family had moved to QC after my father was murdered in 1966.

Precy looked after my meals, my laundry like a doting mom… and her sense of humor was remarkable. I admired her dedication and commitment to civic and volunteerism work particularly in Inner Wheel Club even if her Rotarian-husband Mente had already passed away. I’m certain her fellow Inner Wheelers will miss her as much as I will.

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