Corruption in Zambo. City of officials, is negligible PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 30 July 2016 14:19

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

President Rodrigo Duterte’s fight against corruption in government is timely and a must to many cities and provinces, like, in Luzon, the Visayas and many parts of Mindanao except the Zamboanga Peninsula, especially in Zamboanga City. Recent news reports revealed that some chief executives in some cities and towns having served only a few years of their term, already owned mansions, lot of prime properties, having fat bank accounts, fleet of “high end” vehicles and displaying sartorial elegance in their daily appearance. The evidence of corruption is stark and blatant, considering how much a local government unit chief executive is paid every month. One such display of arrogance and wealth that is going viral in the social media, is the wife of a municipal mayor, somewhere in the province of Misamis Occidental in Mindanao, who proudly dangles her wealth in public by hanging 500 and 1,000 peso bills in her living room as a decoration.  A P1,000 bill is more than enough to feed a poverty-stricken Filipino family with four children for a week or more. Probably, if you collect those hanging 500 and 1,000 peso bills  is enough to construct low cost houses for the poor. Not contented with the display of wealth and arrogance, she proudly shows to the public her P7 million plus English-made BMW Super Utility Vehicle (SUV) that she rides for her daily routine of activities. This is indeed one for the “Hall of Shames”.

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Another revelation of corruptionshown in TV news  recently, how another municipal chief executive in one of the provinces of Luzon, was able to construct and own an alleged multi-million peso mansion just barely five years in office. Incredible, but, national news didn’t publish for public consumption without facts.

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In Zamboanga City, many might disagree, not one mayor starting from the past, ever built and lived in a mansion while in office. Not one mayor of Zamboanga City got so wealthy and drove flashy expensive cars in our city streets. From the first mayor since Zamboanga City was founded down to the present chief executive, can not be charged of amazing wealth while in office. This is one reason the city of Zamboanga can be proud of.  Almost all of our past city mayors are pioneers and respected citizens of the city with their own houses and lots and family properties inherited from their parents before they became city mayor. Those inherited family properties are more than enough to sustain them and their families happily without need for corruption.The fact is and the irony most of our city mayors grew poorer while in office.

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As far as I know and during Table Talk’s younger days in high school and college, these are the mayors of Zamboanga City who lived their lives decently, religiously and cleanly and most of them are Zamboanguenos. The late city mayors, Hector “Hecky” Suarez, Tom Ferrer, the legendary Cesar Climaco, who became a Custom Commissioner of the country, Joaquin Enriquez Jr., also a National Assemblyman, and the first lady mayor and Congress Representative Maria Clara Lobregat, Mayor Vitaliano Agan, the first Visayan mayor,  Julio Rini Cesar Climaco, son of legendary mayor Cesar Climaco and first cousin of incumbent Mayor Beng Climaco. Still living today are former mayors Vinnie Atilano, Manuel Dalipe, first chairman of the Zamboanga Ecozone and free port, whose son is now a Congressman, in District 2, Mannix Dalipe,  currently District 1 Congressman Celso L. Lobregat, son of the late Maria Clara Lobregat, Engr. Efren Aranez, civic leader and president of the City Water District, and the incumbent second lady City Mayor of Zamboanga. Maria Isabelle Climaco, dauughter of the late vice-mayor Jolly Climaco and niece of the legendary Mayor Cesar Climaco. All of these mentioned City Mayors have untainted names and those alleged corruption charges hurled against any of them you may have heard are “political harassment” and were all dismissed by the Ombudsman. Tell me, anyone of these past and present City Mayors built and lived in mansions? Or drive fancy and expensive cars? All Table Talk remember is most of these City Mayors drove refurbished second World War vintage Willys Jeep while in office.

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An old proverb says “if you are gold, even if thrown into the mud, you will still shine”. Perhaps that is the most appropriate description of the past and present City Mayors of Zamboanga.

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Scoop: Likewise the first group of City Mayors of  Zamboanga, old timers are saying have been known to be honest and clean public servants and their legacy was passed on to the present set of City Chief Executives, not one of them also lived in mansions. They all stayed in their ancestral homes before and after their terms. Sadly some of them grew poorer while in office and left only enough for their immediate family.