Accountability is the key
By Ermin Garcia Jr.
Thank God for the indefatigable and distinguished lawyers in our midst! Led by former CA Justice Ted Regino and Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo, they have upped the ante for the safety and welfare of our kabaleyans against priorities of the San Roque Dam by filing a class suit against the latter.
Their determination to exact accountability is in stark contrast to the seeming gullibility of our elected officials who, after listening to the dam’s officials disavowing responsibility, now appear to be inclined to simply forgive and forget the wanton destruction of lives and properties caused by irresponsible officials operating the San Roque Dam.
And thank God too for the likes of Cong. Mark Cojuangco who is pushing the provincial government not to forgive and forget, but to sue! He believes the Espino administration must seek compensation for and in behalf of families, farmers, businessmen and yes, the local government units, who suffered immensely on account of the dam’s misplaced priorities that dictated its protocol.
If our public officials don’t respond, and God forbid, another massive flooding occurs owing to another untimely and irresponsible release of a huge volume of water by the dam’s operators, they will be long remembered as those who didn’t do anything to prevent another deadly flooding in the province.
The group that filed the class suit is showing the way to effective management and good governance via accountability.
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What our gullible officials missed through all the sing-and-dance refrain of the San Roque Dam officials were two facts that clearly pointed to the shared accountability and responsibility of the dam’s operators for the massive flooding in the province: 1) the dam is operated by San Roque Power Corporation. 2) the re-regulating pond structure was not in place.
What these point to are: the protocol that the dam’s operators followed was aimed mainly to serve their business mission for power generation and to ensure continued viability and the projected return on investments. All the ballyhooed claims about the dam serving the irrigation needs of the province, providing better quality of water and prevent flooding were never in the equation precisely because the re-regulating pond was not in place!
Listening to the NPC spokesmen’s technical mambo-jambo was a sheer waste of time when the real answers for the flooding were staring at their faces.
Without a doubt, the NPC and the SPRC must therefore, be made to account, to pay for making their profits unconscionably at the Pangasinenses’ expense!
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STRENGTHENING THE CAUSE OF COMMUNITY JOURNALISM. I am personally distraught not only by the senseless mass execution of the community journalists in Maguindanao and the extremely violent manner by which some of the women were tortured and killed mercilessly but the temporary void and helplessness felt by communities in Maguindanao.
I only have mixed feelings when politicians target each other for extinction simply because all parties involved know that political violence is part of the landscape. Warlordism has always been either an option or a matter of consequence for any politician, hence to die by it is always a given in Pinoy politics, where politics is still treated primarily as a personal affair, and public service, a second or a poor third purpose.
When community journalists who are true to their calling are killed whether by assassination (the popular way) or by mass execution (as introduced in Maguindanao), with them die the aspirations of a community to be told the truth about themselves and their government. Fortunately for our communities, there are always men and women who are willing to fill in the shoes of those who have fallen before them.
So while our government leaders and politicians continue to fidget about the handling of the massacre, I have no doubt that the cause for community journalism will be strengthened across the country on account of it.
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RACHEL WAS, AND IS IT. I have it on good and reliable source that the electoral protest cases filed against Cong. Rachel Arenas have been finally settled. And contrary to the claim of defeated candidate Galant Soriano, it was Rachel, not he nor Generoso Tulagan Jr., who was declared the legitimate winner in the 2007 congressional race in the 3rd district by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
While the case may have been settled, much is left to be desired about the way HRET (and the Senate Electoral Tribunal) disposes the cases before it. We have yet to see an election protest settled a year after it is filed, effectively denying justice to both the protesting candidate and the winner declared by the Comelec.
When a case drags on till the next election, it unduly casts an aura of doubt over candidates who cleanly won, while candidates who unabashedly cheated and declared winner by the Comelec have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Let’s pray that the poll automation in 2010 will finally put an end to this aberration in our political exercise.