THERE is no stopping now the sale of what used to be the MC Adore International Palace and a more than nine-hectare lot in Barangay Talibaew, Calasiao, both properties owned by the people of Dagupan, priding themselves as the Bangus Capital of the World. There is nothing wrong with the selling per se, especially given the city hall’s justification that the proceeds of the sale will be used for “priority development programs and projects”. But the problem is the route towards the two planned transactions has been shady, marred with too many obviously irregular proceedings.
To begin from the very beginning, those two properties were purchased using public funds with a specific purpose, not with the intent to re-sell them. The Calasiao lot was supposed to be the site for a government housing project for city employees. On the other hand, the MC Adore, formerly a privately-owned grand hotel in the heart of Dagupan’s downtown, was envisioned to become the new city hall and a center for government agencies by Mayor Benjamin Lim, now himself the one who has been in eager pursuit of selling it.
Granted that Dagupeños would benefit more from the sale than the original objectives, why the apparent railroading? It must be stressed that the resolution that gave the mayor blanket authority to initiate the negotiation and sale of the two properties was hastily passed during a special Sangguniang Panglungsod session called by Lim. And now the choice of committee chair, City Administrator Vladimir Mata, an appointee and close ally of Lim, is suspect. Remember that Mata was part of the cabal that railroaded the purchase of the overpriced 30-hectare lot in San Jacinto during Lim’s earlier term, ostensibly for the sanitary landfill of Dagupan.
If city hall is sincere in pursuing what’s best for the city, it should name a chair who is independent-minded, knowledgeable in property assessment, and a career employee – and that would be City Engineer Virginia Rosario. So why wasn’t she even made a member of that crucial committee? Something really smells fishy in the city, and it’s not just the unresolved problem of garbage.
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Today not yesterday
LETTER-to-the-editor writer Ed Dames of San Lorenzo Village, Makati City, wrote: “Chief Justice Renato Corona was found guilty by 20 senators and found innocent by a joker, a son of a dictator, and a lady supposedly with a questionable mental condition.” Dames was referring to Joker Arroyo, Bongbong Marcos and Miriam Defensor-Santiago in that order. But the trio’s votes did not surprise anyone anymore; they had shown naked bias for Corona each time they stood up to argue a point during the impeachment trial.
Joker was a staunch anti-Marcos during martial law and made himself a niche as a human rights lawyer; today, he sides with Bongbong, Marcos’s son. Indeed, history is replete with ironies. Miriam herself is an irony; her misplaced lectures during the trial were enough proof to this.
One is judged on what one is today, not on what one was yesterday.