A scapegoat? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 November 2015 13:40

Sound Snipings

BY Jimmy Cabato

With Acting City Administrator and concurrent CDRRMO chief Dr. Elmeir Apolinario assuming full responsibility for the ghastly public market dawn fire Saturday where 15 people including children and women perished and 15 others injured, what does make of him?

A scapegoat?

And where does that leave administration officials?

Free of accountability?

From the words of Cong. Celso Lobregat, clearly it must not.

“I condole and sympathize with the Hasiddin, Salahuddin and Hamis families who lost their loved ones in the Zamboanga City Public Market fire incident. But in this tragedy, condolences and sympathies are not enough.” Cong Lobregat,“ he said.

“Immediate and thorough investigations should be made not only by the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Police, but also simultaneous investigations by the National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Interior and Local Government, the City Government and even the Sangguniang Panlungsod, ” Lobregat continued

True enough DILG investigators from the central office arrived Monday morning to investigate the fire incident. This was learned from DILG Secretary Mel Sarmiento through Lobregat.

Sr. Supt. Dominador Zabala, Jr., District Fire Marshall, also informed the congressman that he has received instructions from the central office to leave the area as is pending the probe.

Lobregat rued “I do not recall any fire incident in Zamboanga City that claimed so many lives. Many questions are being raised about the incident. Like, how come the firetrucks could not immediately penetrate the fire scene, what are the policies on dwellings inside the public market and its operating hours, and what are the security and safety measures in the public market”. (Italized quotes lifted from the pages of DZT)

Lobregat added he received the Spot Investigation Report and the Progress Report of the local BFP but none of these questions were answered.

* * * *

This corner feels it will be a double whammy today for the Monggueh Cabinet.

Following the birthday of Vice Chairman Michael Chiong yesterday, today is of legendary-size KingKong.

Whereas, the cabinet’s morning sessions are conducted over cups of coffee, this morning it was followed by bottles upon bottles of brown and clear bottles, gifted Retired Allied Bank VP Mr. Virgilio Shia to KingKong.

As I left the cabinet early refraining to take even a sip, I can only forecast that Cabinet Chairman Monggueh Gan and his Vice Michael chipping in for more.

Tonight is foreseen to be a longer evening as KingKong is treating the group with papait and caldereta cabrito.

Indeed, truly a double whammy.

* * * *

The chilling effect of the “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) scandal at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals, has started to manifest among foreign tourists planning to visit the country, the president still wants the matter merely validated.

Although the incidents of “tanim-bala” is said to yet make a dent in the country’s tourist arrivals, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said that its chilling effect has already taken its toll on foreign visitors.

Queries are now mounting from among foreign tourists if it is true, Tourism Undersecretary Maria Jasmin said yesterday at the Christmas countdown event at the DOT’s main office in Makati.

It is a problem that we don’t need, thus the importance having the disgrace to government resolved soonest, she added.

Enter the dragon. Irked by the tanim-bala outrage, the latest victim being a 65-year-old woman who was to travel to Singapore, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte beckoned President Aquino to initiate something drastic on the growing controversy at the airport.

Steps like ordering the relief of all officials and employees connected to the CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines), the aviation security command, including those in the porterage services and drivers must be undertaken.” According to Duterte.

* * * *

Following the revelation Sen. Bongbong Marcos revelation yesterday, an administration congressman has called for a congressional inquiry into the reported non-release of a huge part of the over P1-billion calamity funds to victims of natural and man-made disasters.

This move comes four days before the observance of the second anniversary of super-typhoon “Yolanda”, code named Haiana, which devastated Tacloban City in Leyte, and many parts of Central Visayas.

Two years past and the Aquino government simply sat on these funds, which prompted Marcos to call the inaction as the regime’s callousness and insensitivity to needs and care of the long-suffering “Yolanda” victims.

Of the P466-million foreign and local donations to assist sufferers of various disasters, the OCD reportedly disbursed only P81-million, COA said.

Of he total sum received amounting to P137 million, the OCD had only released P38.7 million thereby leaving a balance of P98.2 million as of Dec. 2014.

The “QRF (Quick Response Fund) which accumulated a huge amount of P923,153,721 as of Dec. 31, 2014 was not utilized as envisioned, and became idle, thus, depriving the intended beneficiaries of the benefits that could be derived there from,” the audit agency revealed. (MB)

This could possibly be simple inutility of the Aquino regime.

* * * *

Senator Cynthia A. Villar has expressed optimism that the bill seeking a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the monthly pensions of 1.9 million Social Security System (SSS) members will be passed.

At the resumption of the Senate’s regular session the other day after a three-week recess, Villar, chair of the Senate Government Corporations and Public Enterprises Committee, said the measure contained in House Bill No. 5842 is among several priority measures which Senate President Franklin M. Drilon had earlier vowed to support.

She also expressed optimism that they will have the votes, saying majority of the senators support the measure believing that what pensioners receive after working for 20 years or more, is definitely inadequate and insufficient to cover the rising cost of living.

* * * *

Unknown to this corner and probably to many others, talks ran around the mill that Sen. Grace Poe has withdrawn her candidacy for the presidency.

This was, however, immediately quashed by her spokesman who said the e-mail message that circulated on Tuesday was fake, that probably speaks for its unnoticed rumor here.

* * * *

Having already infuriated China recently by sailing close to artificial islands it is building in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the US military still stands  firm on the ground, flaying tough talk, asserting that international seas and airspace belong to everyone and are not the dominion of any single nation.

Further, the spokesman said, The US military will continue to fly, sail and operate whenever and wherever international law allows, boldly adding, the South China Sea is not–and will not be–an exception.

* * * *

Are President Benigno Aquino III, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala holy cows? Four months after being accused of plunder, the Office of the Ombudsman has taken no action on the complaints since they were filed.

Facing charges of plunder, malversation, graft and corruption, incompetence and collusion in four separate complaints filed before the Ombudsman, for allegedly colluding with one another to monopolize the importation of rice, vegetables, fish, meat and poultry, and enabled the cartel to dictate prices of these commodities, the President, Abad and Alcala, along with the members of the so-called Quezon mafia, up to now remain unscathed.

This just could be justice, Aquino mode.