Audacious top adviser; Wily legal counselor PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 March 2018 13:16

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — No one suspected her to be the mayor’s audacious top adviser who was handed the tough job of solving  problems confronting the city ... and there are plenty. He should have retired after his Bench appointment for over 30 illustrious years. Ms. Apple Go and retired Judge Jesus Carbon: two of the principal characters in the Climaco-Salazar administration who have been given the blanket authority to decide who’s right and who’s wrong.

Before her latest appointment, Ms. Go was hired as the mayor’s chief economic strategist not because of her chain of “Chinitos” and Chinese lineage, but maybe because she is a graduate of the University of the Philippines. Judge Carbon quickly made a mark in City Hall with the filing of criminal and rebellion cases against some members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that laid siege to at least four barangays and held the city by the throat for 15 days. He has become an indispensable figure, head-hunting corrupt city employees no matter their backers, shady dealers and dishonest personnel as hanging judges would do, not by will but by law.

I have a feeling that Ms. Go and Judge Carbon hold opposite views on the angry attempt to padlock E-Media that’s located beside St. Peter’s funeral homes in Divisoria. Ms. Go wants the scalp of E-Media so badly for a cantankerous reason: she was criticized in an open mike for refusing, twice, to oblige an interview. Judge Carbon holds the legal view that only the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) can close down a en erring (assuming that E-Media went out-of-bounds in the practice of its profession) media entity.

It is said, well, by Lawrence Sterne, that there are worst occupations in this world than feeling a woman’s pulse. So, I won’t do that, but rather contend that an attack on the media is an assault on the freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution — one of the sacred, unbreakable foundations of a democratic government. Ms. Go’s experience in government as an economist and investment strategist may have served her well, but handling the top-most position in City Hall, next to the Mayor, of course, is another matter entirely.

For many years, although lacking in civil service eligibility, Mr. Rustico Varela and Mr. Antonio Orendain, served the city with great cunning — never a pessimist, always a friend of the Press.

And now that he’s “retired” as city administrator and appointed as executive assistant for infrastructure, Mr. Orendain can concentrate on doing his new job by suggesting the opening of new avenues to decongest traffic. For example, Congressman Celso Lobregat announced through Dexter Yap the availability of P200 million for the widening of Veterans’ Ave., the oldest concrete road we’ve had since the 70s that needs not only to be enlarged but repaired. Mr. Orendain, once Mr. Lobregat’s disciple, can recommend — if he, like Ms. Go, commands the genius of his boss — the expansion of Agan Avenue in preparation for the entry of SM, Robinson’s and Puregold to prevent a repetition of the KCC traffic nightmare.

At the moment, Madam Climaco-Salazar has only two visible, but not at all awesome, projects since she sat as mayor in 2013 — the still incomplete housing project for the displaced poor families and the Agan Ave. extension. The way I see it, there was no proper planning to the controversial road project because the owners of the land whereby the road would traverse don’t want to sell their property, hence, that project has been stalled for almost three years now. All other road projects have been put on hold either because the city has limited dedicated funds for it or the zoning designs for new thoroughfares are not yet complete.

You see, it is important that taxpayers and, more importantly, voters know how their money will be spent till the next elections. A new traffic evaluation and analysis are needed because environmental concerns and clearances may be needed, which can again cost a huge, unspecified amount.

Still looking ahead, Mr. Lobregat, in his quest to retake City Hall and his vibrant pronouncement four years ago that the best is yet to come, should initiate projects through the Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of new passageways for rail tracks that one day may be used by freight trains.