‘No others’S PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 August 2016 13:44

Sound Snipes

BY Jimmy Cabato

Then there were three. The police are now searching for three fugitives of the law, two of whom sat as barangay chairmen, and one a barangay kagawad. All are charged implicated in graft and corruption, and have gone into hiding.

The latest barangay official to be issued a warrant of arrest by the court is Tagasilay barangay chair Hanisa Francisco.

Charged in the sala of Judge Vera Vergara in RTC branch 14, Francisco faces charges of falsification of public documents and perjury.

Francisco reportedly falsified the signatures of her kagawads so she can encash barangay checks.

There were also documents she allegedly falsified for the implementation of ghost projects.

When the police served the warrant on Francisco, she cannot be located.

Last May, Abe Tan resigned as barangay chairman after COA found that over P2 million in cash and checks were missing from the coffers of the barangay.

Complaints of several bouncing checks are supposedly also piling up against Tan, especially after he went into hiding following his resignation.

Reports disclosed that Tan may now be in Singapore which the police are still verifying.

Councilor Teodyver Arquiza, former Talon Talon barangay chairman is at large.  He is accused  in the sala of Judge Gregorio dela Peña for malversation of public funds and Graft and Corruption.

Both Mayor Beng Climaco and Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, who worked hard for Arquiza during the past elections are appealing to their partymate to surrender and respect the law. Issued two days ago, the appeals remain unheeded.

* * * *

President Rodrigo Duterte has made a public apology to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for his recent tirade against her over the country’s illegal drugs trade problem.

“I got entangled with the Chief Justice. I would apologize to the Chief Justice for the harsh words. It was never intended,” Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City late Thursday night.

The President earlier warned Sereno against interfering with his anti-drug efforts or else he might be forced to impose martial law.

Duterte, in his visit to a military camp in Cagayan de Oro City last Tuesday, cautioned Sereno against creating a constitutional crisis, saying he would order officials in the executive branch not to honor her.

The President was visibly irked of Sereno’s letter criticizing as “premature” the announcement of government officials including judges as allegedly involved in the illegal trade.  She also advised the judges not to surrender to authorities unless arrest warrants are issued.

The Palace however tried to clarify the President’s martial law remarks, saying it was just a rhetorical question.  It insisted that the President is not inclined to impose martial law just to advance the government’s drive  against illegal drugs.

Rhetorical his statement may or not be, to combat the drug menace imposition of martial law is out of the question. The matter is not one of only two grounds mandated under the amended Philippine Constitution.

These are invasion and rebellion, if public safety so demands. In chabacano pa, “No others”

* * * *

Originally announced to be on 18th September, the latest word is that no date has yet been finalized for the planned burial of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery amid the opposition from various groups.

“There is no definite date as of now. The only ceremony certain is he will be accorded rites befitting a president,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a Palace press briefing.

“There is no definite date as of now,” Abella added.

He declared, Pres. Duterte allowed Marcos’ burial at the hero’s cemetery because he is a former soldier and president.

* * * *

For interfering in the country’s internal affairs, President Duterte stands pat on his controversial statement saying US ambassador to Manila, Philip Goldberg, deserved to be called “gay” and a “son of a whore” .

In a speech before soldiers in central Cebu City last week, Mr. Duterte said he was piqued of Goldberg, who at the height of the May election campaign expressed disappointment at the President for joking about how he missed the queue when an Australian missionary was being raped during a prison siege in Mindanao in 1989.

Goldberg was widely quoted as protesting the statement, saying that his government did not condone statements that demean a misfortune.

While Mr. Duterte said he had no problems when he met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in June, he said he had a “fight” with the American official’s “gay ambassador” referring to Goldberg.

“I am annoyed by him. Son of a bitch. He meddled in the elections, giving a statement. You’re not supposed to do that,” the President said in Cebu.

Washington was displeased with the “inappropriate” homophobic remark and subsequently summoned Manila’s charge d’affaires Patrick Chuasoto early this week to clarify.

President Duterte’s office has been trying to manage the diplomatic fall-out of his controversial statement, arguing that it was not meant to be made public, even as the speech was broadcast live on government television.

The United States remains as the former American colony’s largest defense and trade partner, and there have been concerns the remarks could affect Filipinos living and working there. It also comes at a time when Manila is facing an expansionist China in the South China Sea, despite a UN-backed court ruling favoring the Philippines.

Ernesto Abella, the President’s spokesperson, dismissed the issue, justifying that the President’s statement had been sufficiently explained.

“The explanations have been made. The explanations have been properly made,” Abella told a press briefing when asked if the government would offer an apology.

* *  * **

Soldiers and policemen  may come out frustrated over the promised salary increases, Pres. Duterte has been announcing.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson revealed this trepidation, baring that there’s no money for raises until 2018.

Lacson explained that the 2017 national budget has already been drafted without any provision for salary increases for the military and the police.

And you will recall, only last month, Duterte told soldiers and policemen, they would be getting an incremental pay hike starting this month.

“That’s not possible anymore because the 2017 budget is about to be submitted. I don’t see how the salary increases for police and military officers can still be incorporated,” Lacson told reporters .A former Philippine National Police chief, he stressed, the salary raise  next year, is highly improbable, if not impossible, .

This development was first voiced by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, when he told the Senate there was no allocation for the salary increases under the 2016 and 2017 national budget.

On the sides, Trillanes said, Diokno should tell the President not to make rash promises.