Capitol’s silence over P2.5-B shabu operations

By August 28, 2022Punchline

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


IT’S been two weeks since the discovery of the P2.5-B worth of shabu in Pozorrubio town and there is nothing but ominous silence, pointing to a shrouding of the mystery about that criminal operation. Given the fact that it was the biggest illegal drug haul not only in Pangasinan but in the region, one would think that the heavens would quickly fall on some characters in the province, whether political, military, foreigner or local, etc.

It was not even about a simple, run of the mill buy-bust ops on the street. It was a billions-worth of shabu that could have broken or killed some members of families as drug pushers or users.

Totally strange and unexpected is the continued silence on the part of the Guico administration. Not even a statement of concern from Guv Mon-Mon about what happened then and now in his turf. He has not even called a press briefing to denounce the situation, his province being a major transshipment or central illegal drugs operations in the country.

The Sanggunian Panlalawigan would even only go as far as commending the provincial PDEA for its successful operations, yet nothing to indicate that it is concerned that Pangasinan has been a major shabu packaging and distribution center in the country. The known outspoken board members about goings-on in the province are suddenly mute. Is it possible that not a single board member wants to know what the Pozorrubio mayor, chief of police and the barangay officials knew of the bigtime illegal drug operations in their town? Why have they not called any of these officials to its touted Question Hour for answers?

Do the provincial officials actually want their constituents to forget this incident… and move on like no P2.5-B shabu operations in Pangasinan ever happened?

So, ok, the provincial prosecutor has started the proceedings for the filing of the charges vs the four persons caught inside the shabu operating center. That is a given procedure but the charges were filed based on evidence gathered and secured by PDEA operatives (and provincial police?).

The bigger question is: who were behind that operation? How long has it been going on? Who were protecting that operation? Is a political personality, police official involved? I believe so… but who?

Guv Mon-Mon, Vice Guv Mark, P/Col. Fanged (for Pangasinan PNP), why the silence?

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SHORTAGE AS BUZZWORD. The ongoing investigation of the attempt to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar invoking a claimed PBBM’s authority is slowing exposing the pattern of corruption in the bureaucracy that has been allowed or tolerated by high echelons over the past decades.  

“Shortage”, as the investigation is beginning to show, is the buzzword used to trigger a series of responses from “experts” and “knowledgeable sources” in media to bloat some people’s bank accounts. All too sudden, local markets are seeing prices of farm commodities rising because of “shortage”. Then calls for “immediate” importation to prevent further skyrocketing of prices of food hug the headlines but note, there’s hardly any word from farmers in the countryside who are in disbelief about the shortage.

Recall that sometime in 2018, rice traders were identified to be behind the reported rice shortage in the country. How? By simply raiding warehouses where thousands of rice sacks were stored and kept away from the market.

Raiding warehouses is the sure-fire strategy to validate claims of shortages but governments agencies seem inclined to do it only as a last resort.

In Pangasinan, do the offices of DTI, NFA and LGUs have the list of all operating warehouses?  If they claim they don’t, then wonder no more why some agri product traders in the province are part of the “shortage conspiracy” each time.

Can Sendong So’s SINAG update its own list of warehouses in Pangasinan and production data of our farmers that it can release to investigating bodies to aid in the validation of reported shortages?

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POOR PLANNING OF IMPLEMENTATION. The chaotic distribution of DSWD’s educational assistance is a clear example of how most of our government agencies consider planning details of implementation as the least important. They do the definition and purpose in bureaucratic language, identify the target beneficiaries and areas of operations… and a 10-paragraph press release making sure all the titles of the heads of agencies are correct and the protocol is observed.

DSWD Sec. Erwin Tulfo undoubtedly had the best intentions in mind for the parents who during the pandemic have little means to provide for their children’s return to school.

His directive was obviously simple. Release the funds to all regional offices. Distribute to “qualified” parents with children enrolled. Answers to “how and where” were left largely to the capabilities of local DSWD officials to work it out. Then BOOM! Chaos ruled the day for most if not all the DSWD offices given the task to distribute the cash!

Without a doubt, the purpose was noble and objective was accomplished – at least for those who were fortunate to receive their ayuda that Saturday. I saw the school supplies section at the CSI department store full of excited children accompanied by parents picking out pencils, notebooks and bags early Sunday morning!

But what of the thousands of parents and kids who failed to get their due because of the miserable organized distribution system??

Let’s hope the distribution situation in Pangasinan improves in the weeks ahead. (I know Dagupan City will have better plans. Mayor Belen Fernandez already stepped into the picture. A successful micro manager like her has most details covered within the hour).

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GHOST OF AWAI LAND DEAL. The ghost of the sanitary landfill project of the Dagupan City government that never was, reappeared last week. This time it was about burying the claim of the purchased farmland in Barangay Awai in San Jacinto town 100 ft. under the ground to make sure no future city administrations can resurrect the issue ever, again.

By our account, it was a bad deal initiated and nurtured by then Mayor Benjie Lim shortly after he won as mayor for the first time in the 2001 elections. 

It started with a scripted rally in Bonuan by a handful of “residents”, replete with placards lambasting the continued operation of the open dumpsite.  On cue, several weeks later, Mayor BSL came out with the news that the city government was negotiating the purchase of a 29-hectare lot in San Jacinto for the construction of the dreamed sanitary landfill. 

The PUNCH monitored the Awai land transaction closely from day one, from the sale of the farmland by landowner to Jose Mariano Cuna, to the endorsement of the San Jacinto municipal council, to the filing of cases by farmers before DAR, to the adoption of ordinance by the Dagupan City council authorizing the payment of P16 million, to the filing of petition by the city government to exempt the land from coverage of CARP, until DAR rejected the city government’s petition.

It was clearly a plot to defraud the city government. Unfortunately for Mr. Cuna, it is he who’s left holding the bag while those who pocketed their share of the loot are scot free. Will they come to his rescue and help him out of his legal dilemma, obviously not of his own doing? Abangan!

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