Season of political plunder
By Ermin Garcia Jr.
AS we await the outcome of the initial investigation of the Ombudsman on the basis of the case filed by Bugallon Mayor Ric Orduña against Guv Spines, here are some interesting trivia revealed by Sen. Miriam Santiago in her privilege speech in 2010 during the series of senate hearings on illegal gambling.
Her speech cited the following daily income and “operators “of jueteng in region 1: Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur raked in P2-M each and operator was ”Gov. Singson”; Abra had P.9 M by “Bonito Singson”; La Union had P.8 M by “Cong. Singson”.
Pangasinan, the senator said, raked in P9 M and the operators were “M.Urduña/Boy Bata”.
It appears that official government records already had a “Mr. Urduña” identified early on but the latter was never taken in for investigation at the very least. I find it incredible that that the Aquino government would now lap up Mr. Orduña’s “revelations” today as a “whistleblower “ but would not lift a finger to bring him in as well for his being the jueteng operator? Have they even attempted to verify if “M.Urduña” and Mayor Orduña are one and the same?
Where are the Singsons in this government’s supposed campaign vs. illegal gambling?
It appears PNoy is not really keen on eliminating jueteng in the province and elsewhere but only his political allies’ foes.
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There is something about Pinoys that tend to be hypocritical when they sensationalize issues when making their cases before the pubic. I am talking about the penchant of politicians to cry “Plunder!” if only to make waves in the media for better effect.
First there was the plunder case filed by Bugallon Mayor Ric Orduña against Guv Spines. His allegation? Guv Spines allegedly pocketed revenues from jueteng operations in the province as the jueteng operator. Plunder? Since when did pocketing jueteng payola become a crime in this country? It is immoral and unethical, yes. But to deem it criminal to amass wealth from jueteng? Not even the case of ex-President Erap proved it. Our jurisprudence has nothing on it. But if so, then it behooves upon the Ombudsman to indict all governors, vice governors, board members, mayors, chiefs of police and some councilors, kapitans and media practitioners in Luzon for pocketing jueteng revenues. The next question is: are collected jueteng bets already deemed part of the government’s daily collections?
Jueteng is an illegal numbers game and those who operate it must be arrested and charged in court. Yet the rules of evidence of our system hardly give police (the honest ones) a chance to arrest an operator which explains why the operators named in Senator Santiago’s and in the revered Archbishop Oscar Cruz’s lists are out there still living it up. Is it any wonder why “M.Urduña” was never arrested nor charged? And the “Singsons”? Bah! Except in the case of Mr. Estrada who was found guilty after Gov. Chavit Singson and a bank official implicated him in the plunder case, proving plunder from jueteng operations is ultra difficult to prove. Easier to arrest and charge cobradores.
Then, we have 15 barangay kapitans of Alaminos City who accused its city mayor now a governor-wannabe Nani Braganza of plunder. Mr. Braganza allegedly amassed illegal wealth amounting to over P100- M! Huh? They may not like Mr. Braganza as their mayor but to even remotely suggest hat he had pocketed P100-M (or is it P4.7-B?) is simply not in the character of the person (at least to my personal knowledge). For the charge to stick, they must have a direct knowledge of Mr. Braganza soliciting a kickback at anytime in the past. Do they? I surely doubt that.
So give us a break.
At the rate things are proceeding, we might as well get used to hearing “political plunder” cases being filed, cases that lead to nowhere but waste our time and pollute the air. The only good it does is to call attention to the weakness of the country’s system and the lack of courage of many of our politicians and professionals to do what is right for their constituents and the country.
What the province needs is more Leo Angeles, he or she who has no political motives and files cases against corrupt public officials supported by documents as evidence. His cases vs. Dagupan Mayor Benjamin Lim deserve public attention and support, not Mr. Orduña’s, not the 15 kapitans’ flippant cases!
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BACK TO SQUARE ONE. The lawyer in Fire Player Gonz Duque prompted him to diligently study Mr. Lim’s MC Adore plot while the latter was rushing to sell the hotel, and voila! He discovered a critical factor that will surely send the whole MC Adore escapade back to square one, and the winning bidder demanding for a return of its cash bond?
He said the city resolution that authorized the purchase of the MC Adore property in 2002 expressly cited that it was specifically for the conversion of the hotel into the new city hall of Dagupan.
Hence, the resolution of the Judas 9 simply authorizing Mr. Lim to sell the hotel property is infirmed and defective because it did not revoke the resolution that specified the conversion. How can the city sell it when it violated the terms of the 2002 resolution? It needs a resolution to explain, at the very least, why Mr. Lim failed to accomplish what he pledged to do to justify the P50-M purchase! Touché!
Gosh, with one legal blunder after another, I don’t know how Mr. Lim et al. can turn around now to correct themselves without looking stupid. More importantly, how can the Judas 9 return their P1.5-M “tip”?
And how can “lawyer” Brian Lim explain this serious legal oversight? I have a word for it. Greed. It blinds people.
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ANOTHER SCAM IN THE MAKING. Here we go again!
Remember the time in 2010 when the Dagupan City council was meticulously examining the submitted annual budget of the city hall and both Mayor Lim and City Administrator Vlad Mata did a tag team warning of the stoppage of the feeding program for malnourished children in the city if the approval of the budget took a day longer?
When the budget was finally approved, city hall led by the feeding project head Beep Beep Tan (now a candidate for councilor under the MadiLIM & MakuLIMLIM slate) rushed out to buy the food from a favored store. The PUNCH later discovered that the food items were purchased at 80-120% higher than retail prices of the Magic Supermarket in Dagupan. Note: The ridiculous and costly P7-M Tsunami Hill that is not expected to benefit the community was another pure and simple scam.
Now comes the Lim-Mata tandem again warning that if the sale of the MC Adore to the Cabangon Group is eventually foiled by the court, plans for the city’s major projects, i.e., lying-in hospital, etc., will be stopped! Hint-hint!
But of course, I know that the planned preposterous P50-M hospital for 21-lying in beds will not see the light of day because the DepEd will not approve the demolition and relocation of the school that the city plans to demolish to give way to the hospital. So what is in store? If Mr. Lim gets re-elected, we can expect another land “deal” scam, yet another mother-of-all-scam deals under a Lim administration because the spoils of the MC Adore sale are there for the picking. Wanna bet?
So, if you want to stop and protest the emerging scam, junk the MadiLIM & MakuLIMLIM full slate in May!