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Thursday, 07 January 2016 15:35

Sound Snipings

BY Jimmy Cabato

 

At writing time, the net is down. Can’t surf for latest developments. Can’t even check if that Alex/Cising message yesterday is true. Heard none of it on TV nor radio, though. Whatever, later today, we will know for sure. And on the missing net signal, do not fret. There are still fresh stories of yesterday that I can share thoughts of with you.

But on the Poe status, hands off for the moment. Things are unclear. To write about it would be like firing a 12-gauge shotgun even if without a visible target.

* * * *

Truly, while Davao’s Rodrigo Duterte may seem unfazed by the disqualification case he faces, the matter is affecting his candidacy.

Thus, admitted running mate Alan Peter Cayetano, citing difficulties in getting the support of local officials.

Cayetano said some local officials are having second thoughts in giving their full support to the Davao City mayor because of supposed uncertainties brought by the disqualification cases he is facing.

Duterte, the standard-bearer of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), faces four disqualification cases at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) filed separately by four personalities. They are Ruben Castor, radioman Rizalito David, University of the Philippines student JP Delas Nievas and perennial presidential aspirant and a self-proclaimed general of the US Armed Forces in the Far East Ely Pamatong.

The petitioners are questioning the validity of Duterte’s substitution of Martin Dino, who withdrew his certificate of candidacy as PDP-Laban’s standard-bearer because the latter’s COC is for mayor of Pasay City (Metro Manila), not for President of the Philippines.

They want the poll body to cancel the COC of Duterte and declare his substitution of Diño as null and void.

In effect, he also admitted that his own candidacy is also imperiled . “It will be hypocrisy if we will say that we are not talking about the disqualification case or if people are not asking about them. It affects our candidacy on the local level,” Cayetano admitted. (With TMT lifts)

* * * *

Whoa there… Jackpot! The net is back. Immediately — wasting no time — this corner went surfing through the headlines of all major papers in Manila.

Zero. No story on the alleged Poe Supreme Court (SC) decision siding with her.

Like we said, twice over yesterday, do not take the message as Gospel truth.

So, that hullabaloo was all there was to it. Tulduke. Visayan for “write a period”

* * * *

And here are the fresh stories. First, water rationing will be re-imposed in the city later in the week as the city’s water level at source is approaching critical level.

The water level at the Pasonanca dam, ZCWD reports is at 74.10 meters as of yesterday morning, and that is at 74.20 meters under normal level.

In the meantime, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society predicted, the El Nino weather phenomenon, which started early 2015 will linger on until the first half of this year with above average sea surface temperatures.

Also, a CNN bulletin indicated the 2015 El Niño weather condition event is one of the three strongest ever recorded.

On the other hand, NASA says El Niño conditions are still strengthening, and it could even surpass the intensity of the record 1997 event that wreaked worldwide weather havoc.

It is noted, except for some few drizzles once in very few “whiles”, the city has not had any major rainfall the past few months, a factor that rivers and tributaries are heavily dependent on for replenishment.

And the expected rainy days is the still the far-off month of May.

Water District officials say the imposition of the water rationing program will seek to conserve the dwindling water.

ZCWD announced, relief is on its way, assuring that the district has initiated four major infrastructure programs to increase water production in the city.

Assistant General Manager Arnulfo Alfonso, head of the Technical Services Group (TSG), disclosed that these are the 50 million liters per day (MLD” capacity water filtration plant in Patalon of Prime water, the pipeline laying project in the west coast of Ecosystems, the NRW (None Revenue Water) reduction project of Ayala’s Manila Water and the rehab of the city’s main lines.

These are major projects that will cost the district some P1.7 billion to finance and will be completed between this year and the next two years to come. (With DZT reports)

* * * *

At last, even if beaten to the draw by Sulu Vice Governor Sakur Tan, Mayor Beng Climaco has come out of her shell on the proliferation of text message warnings of another armed attack on the city.

As reported, the mayor flatly denied what she termed as persistent rumors of another siege in Zamboanga.

She gave assurance that this time around the city is on alert, ready and capable of repulsing any attackers.

Climaco issued the statement in the wake of a report that some residents in Sta. Catalina had abandoned their homes Sunday night following rumors that the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members were sighted in their vicinity.

The Zamboanga City Police Office under Sr. Supt. Angelito Casimiro immediately dispatched itsquick response team to Sta. Catalina and discovered that the sighting report was purely a rumor.

Climaco, however, urged the people to stop spreading rumors that may cause undue panic and fear among residents here.

* * * *

Malacañang on Tuesday dismissed a warning from Sixto Brillantes Jr., former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman, that the May 2016 national and local polls might not happen unless the Supreme Court (SC) acts swiftly on (the) disqualification cases against two presidential candidates and on petitions to stop reuse of Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in this year’s balloting.

Malacanang spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, said whatever the SC’s decision on the matter will be, the elections will push through.

Owz…, really? Friends, had you carefully read our views expressed time and again in this corner, you will readily see we have been harping on the same Brillantes point.

Unless the Poe and Duterte disqualification cases are resolved before the printing of ballots, pandemonium is not a remote occurrence.

Come to think of it. This could even be the game plan of the Malacanang occupant. Who knows.

So, the tongue in cheek allaying of such a scenario of “NoEl” is not that so believable.

The Brillantes fear — There would be no automated elections at all should the tribunal delay its decision on the pending cases because the official campaign period begins on February 9, 2016 for national candidates.

If the SC takes its sweet time, “it will be chaotic.”

And Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista had said, Poe’s name will remain on the list of presidential candidates until the poll body’s decision becomes final and executory. (With TMT quotes)

See? Plain and simple. Disorder.

* * * *

And read on. Even the present Commission on Elections (Comelec) itself is moving to curtail this apprehension.

It says, if the Supreme Court (SC) does not resolve the disqualification cases against Sen. Grace Poe in time, the scenario for a disqualified candidate winning the elections is imminent.

On Tuesday, the Comelec filed before the High Court a very urgent motion to set oral arguments at an earlier date to expedite the proceedings and ensure that the poll body will be able to stick to its election timeline.

The Comelec contended, May 9, 2016 is an immovable election date. Assurance that all preparations are in accordance with schedule must made. Any stalling, it said, would create problems down the road.

To stick with its timeline, it reason, the oral arguments in the SC must be set at an earlier date.

Poe counsel, George Garcia, Comelec stated in its also wants the case to be resolved soonest. (With TMT quotes)

* * * *

Rigoberto Tiglao continues his rantings against the Aquino government, in relation to its circumvention of the SC-DAP ruling. He said, “The hubris of Aquino and his Liberal Party stalwarts is just mind-boggling. They acted as though the country had no Supreme Court at all, that it did not rule on the pork-barrel system. As if to brandish before the High Court a defiant dirty finger, they even increased the pork-barrel fund from P20.9 billion in 2015 to P24.7 billion under the 2016 Budget.

Tiglao believes, this could be the explanation why Aquino, Roxas Abad and Drilon’s home provinces have been getting huge pork-barrel funds since the yellow regime assumed office.

There can be no other explaination why their provinces have been given allocations of huge pork-barrel funds from 2011 to 2016.

The breakdown - Drilon’s Iloilo, P2 Billion / Aquino’s Tarlac, P995 Million / Roxas’ Capiz, P818 Million / Abad’s Batanes: P336 Million.

The scheme, he said, became so scandalous, astonishing him at how people who claim to be proponents of good government have no qualms about appropriating as much pork-barrel funds they can get.

Tiglao particularly cited the case of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad’s home province of Batanes, with a population of just 18,000 (2015 estimate), or about 4,000 households, smaller than a barangay in Quezon City.

 

Quezon City? Don’t go far, friend, Zamboanga’s Baliwasan, under barangay captain-son Jaime “Boday” has 37,000 in population (A 2010 figure).