Getting more than what they bargained for PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 11:38

Sound Snipes

BY Jimmy Cabato

Last ditch effort by Congressman Celso Lobregat for the City Council to respect the administrative and legal rights of Councilor Ismael Musa has fallen into deaf ears. The Council just the same refused to give to the same treatment they accorded colleague Teodyver Arquiza. Lobregat acknowledges that Councilor Arquiza has all the rights to sit as a city councilor despite the fact that he has been issued a warrant of arrest, and had gone earlier into temporary hiding and consequently posted bail.

Arquiza, he said, is considered innocent until proven guilty and presently he is undergoing trial. And even if he is convicted locally, he still has the legal right to file for a Motion for Reconsideration and a later appeal to the higher court, Lobregat explained.

The decision will only become final when the highest court of the land makes its final verdict, Lobregat added.

He, however, lamented, the same remedy given to Arquiza was denied Councilor Musa, even if his removal by the NCIP-9 is yet under appeal before NCIP Manila. Under the prevailing circumstances, as a  decision has not yet been rendered, the NCIP-9 order should have been stayed.

Furthermore, Lobregat went on, even if the NCIP-Manila en banc affirms the local decision, the same can still be raised to the Court of Appeals.

And WS repeats what he wrote yesterday to be the sole cause for the haste. “… the haste of the Yellow Team in grabbing the majority number in the City Council membership is what motivates them (yellows) to prematurely go for the jugular and oust the Indigenous People representative to the City Council and install their choice. No more, no less.”

Addendum - When power is up for grabs, “All known norms, be they legal, moral, social or what have you (are) thrown to the garbage can.”

They succeeded.

And as predicted, as soon as the yellows had the numbers, greed for committee chairmanships set in.

Folks, the yellows got more than they bargained for. After arrogating unto themselves, the juicy slots, the reds were baited with what they felt are inconsequential posts. Earlier, disappointed with the set-up, the reds declined to receive any of the committee chairmanships pre-allotted for them, but had a change of heart of heart at the last minute. And last of all to accept was Boday Cabato, who said, both the yellows and the reds convinced him into it. Notable names, intimated were Jerry Perez, Sang Jimenez and Charlie Mariano. Sang, he said, even dropped the name of WS.

* * * *

Sen. Leila de Lima may truly find herself in a gigantically-scoped jeopardy in charges of involvement for alleged drugs pay-offs.

That is if we go by what Duterte allies declared.

First, the driver-bodyguard, this time not tagged “lover” of Sen. Leila de Lima will (take note of the word “will” and not can, nor may or might. It’s “WILL”) the  be the star witness in the proposed House of Representatives’ inquiry into the proliferation of drug syndicates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during her term as justice secretary, according to a senior Davao Associate.

Second, Former justice undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, who supervised the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) when Sen. Leila de Lima headed the department, could (Good for her, the word is “could” and not “will”) qualify as a state witness against her along with Dayan, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said yesterday.

Several BuCor chiefs also allegedly benefited from drug money from high-value inmates, according to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

“We already have the goods on the former BuCor directors,” Aguirre told The STAR.

With that kind of a statement, Aguirre appearing so sure of himself, any culpable prison official will definitely bite the offer to be a state witness. That’s the only way out.

On the other hand, basic instinct tells us, if indeed, Dayan is lovey-dovey with de Lima, very likely Dayan would not turn against her.

Basically, yes. But depending on how close they were - as de Lima said so, only declining to say how close, saying the the matter is too personal - we will know soon which or who weighs heavier. Closeness or freedom by turning state witness?

In any case, de Lima is still in jeopardy even if Dayan chooses feelings, BuCor officials with whom she has no closeness, are still there. Danger danger danger.

* * * *

At first glance, reading now of lump-sum appropriations in proposed national budgets because of the previous administration’s penchant for it, drew some sort of eerie feeling - PDAP, DAP, BuB. Yieeeh..!

But Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), while admitting there are no such funds in Dutere’s 2017 annual appropriations, yesterday clarified that the lump-sum funds in the proposed national budget will be used for the salary increases of military and police personnel and for the construction of 47,000 new school buildings.

He said the Duterte administration allotted P39.59 billion for uniformed personnel and a substantial amount for the infrastructure program for the Department of Education (DepEd).

Kabataan party list Rep. Sarah Elago grilled Diokno over a lump-sum P1.4 trillion listed as Special Purpose Funds (SPFs), which appeared to be discretionary in nature. The SPF, she noted, was P1.28 trillion in 2016.

“The SPFs have been subject of much scrutiny in the past years due to its lump sum and discretionary nature. So we have to ask why a third of the budget now belongs to such funds,” Elago said.

“When we say lump sums in agencies, we mean funding for programs without a clear breakdown down to specific activities and projects. We stand firm in the belief that Congress should exorcise items in the budget that are lump-sum and discretionary in nature, as these funds are vulnerable to corruption and patronage politics,” Elago said.

She also noted the presence of “DAP-like provisions” in the proposed 2017 national budget, particularly Sections 55-59 of the General Provisions of the 2017 budget act.

“The fine print of the P3.35-trillion national budget proposal reveals that the provisions on savings and augmentation that were first inserted in the 2015 General Appropriations Act have all been carried over to the 2017 budget proposal. This is not the real change we were expecting,” Elago said.

Section 59 provides that as a general rule, departments, bureaus, and offices of the national government, including constitutional offices enjoying fiscal autonomy and SUCs shall spend what is programmed in their respective appropriations in this Act.

No congressional action on that angle has yet been mentioned.

* * * *

The shame campaign of Pres. Duterte starts bearing fruit. Having named five PNP narco-generals, cases will soon be filed against two tagged as protectors of drug syndicates.

Interior  Secretary Ismael Sueno bared charges would soon be lodged against Police Director Joel Pagdilao and Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio.

Sueno, however, admitted that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) had yet to complete airtight cases against the three others named drug coddlers, Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, retired chief superintendent Vicente Loot, and retired deputy director general Marcelo Garbo Jr.

* * * *

Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. has clarified President Duterte did not make an outright threat to withdraw Philippine membership from the United Nations but merely expressed frustration at rapporteurs who criticized his administration as if it was behind the summary killings of drug suspects, as he touched on the hum an frailties of the president.

Yasay explained it must be understood that the President made the statement in the wee hours while being bombarded with a lot of media questions.

“When you are tired, disappointed and frustrated and angry under these circumstances, we must give a leeway on the part of the President for this kind of reaction,” Yasay said at a press briefing on Monday.

“Like us, he is only human,” he added.

At his two-hour early morning press briefing in Davao City on Sunday, the President described the United Nations as “inutile” and a “stupid body,” which has “done nothing” for the Philippines.

But that Duterte is determined is to pull out the Philippine membership in UN is far-fetched, Yasay concluded.