Remember the Judas 9?
By Ermin Garcia Jr.
WHAT is the keeping the new majority (Judas 9) in the Dagupan City council busy these days?
Dagupeños are beginning to wonder. The city council failed to meet for the past two consecutive weeks for their regular sessions. This was not the first time that the members of the majority (Translation: Judas 9) began skipping sessions after the Mc Adore issue was largely settled from their end. Recall that the Judas 9 already skipped a session leaving an empty hall when tricycle operators demanded an audience to air their concerns about their franchises.
The Judas 9 are obviously already on a delinquency mode knowing that there are no more pending issues that would earn them hefty “tips” from the city hall. Is it possible that the last “tips” to be earned were already distributed courtesy of Messrs. Lims (father and son tandem in the city government) with the collusion of Councilor Red Erfe-Mejia, made possible by the millions generated by the 2012 City Fiesta that the 3 refuse to account to the city? (Someone will answer to the Ombudsman soon).
P.S. I realize that people have short memories so allow me to list again the enterprising Judas 9: Brian Lim (gunning for the vice mayoralty in 2013), Red Erfe-Mejia, Alvin Coquia, Karlos Reyna, Guillermo Vallejos (all seeking reelection), Dada Reyna, Chester Gonzales, and Chito Samson. Akauley kila ed sikara!
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ANOTHER VALUE ENGINEERING PROJECT. Last week, Mayor Lim organized a groundbreaking ceremony for his latest “value engineering” project – The Maternal and Child Care Hospital, a 21-lying in bed primary hospital that will cost the city some P50 million!
Like bad habits that are hard to break, Mr. Lim finally set into motion a process to rush the implementation of the project by employing the same pattern that enabled him to pull a blitzkrieg stunt before anyone realized what happened. Remember how he organized the Judas 9 to convene an illegal special session if only to make sure the MC Adore hotel property would be sold on his own terms?
Well this time, he organized a “groundbreaking ceremony” at the Juan Guadiz Elementary School for the purpose of making the project look legit and gambled on one thing – he made sure not one senior DepEd official was informed nor invited to the event. Recall that Mr. Lim called for the illegal special session while Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez was out of the country so she could not stop the illegal session. See the pattern? No vice mayor then, now no DepEd!
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INSIDIOUS PLOT. Judging from recent events, the plot to surprise DepEd with a fait accompli situation that would render any belated decision of DepEd to stop the takeover of the school as moot and academic became evident last week.
Some three weeks ago, the city information office (CIO) trumpeted the inspection of the 3-storey building at the city engineering compound intended as relocation site for the 300 pupils of Guadiz school by the Division Schools Superintendent but quiet about the fact that DepEd had not approved the relocation phase. Last week, the CIO sent a press release (PR) announcing the groundbreaking event. An hour later, the PR was withdrawn. Reason? City Administrator Vlad Mata eventually disapproved the release. I thought it was funny that a seemingly harmless social event would be disapproved even belatedly. I read the PR closely and, indeed, I read something unusual. It listed as invited guests “representatives of the Department of Health, the Liga ng mga Barangay, and various nongovernmental organizations, such as the Philippine Medical Association (Pangasinan Chapter) and the International College of Surgeons (Pangasinan Chapter)” but there was no mention of any DepEd official listed as among the invited VIPs. So I thought that must have been the reason - an oversight was committed, hence the PR had to be withdrawn or perhaps the event had to be cancelled.
The insidious plot to keep the DepEd in the dark was finally bared when Mr. Lim proceeded with the groundbreaking, sticking to the original plan as stated in the withdrawn PR still no DepEd official invited. Recall how Mr. Lim proceeded with the bidding of the hotel property on the day the temporary injunction lapsed and without notice to the court, taking advantage of the time gap before the court could issue a preliminary injunction? See the pattern?
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NO DEPED OK. When I was alerted that the groundbreaking ceremony took place on the date the original PR stated and no DepEd official was in attendance, I sent a text message to the office of DepEd Sec. Armin Luistro to inquire if indeed DepEd had already given its go signal to vacate the school to give way to the Guadiz school’s demolition in order that the planned hospital can already be constructed. The terse reply from Assistant Sec . Tony Umali (at the office of Sec. Luistro) was a categorical “No”! The regional office was not even aware of the groundbreaking ceremony!
So there. Another of Mr. Lim’s notorious value engineering projects has been launched, this time targeting the DepEd as the collateral damage! The biggest victim would be the city whom he wants to literally cough up P2.3 million worth of bed and care for one pregnant mother in the city!
I have a feeling that the school will be demolished as soon as the 3-storey building for 300 pupils is completed. It appears Mr. Lim has no intention of waiting for DepEd to approve the relocation of the school, never mind that DepEd only allows a maximum 2-storey building for elementary pupils. It will be a “take-it-or-leave it” situation for DepEd.
I urge the parent-teachers association of the Guadiz school and the rest of the city to stand guard and protect their children and pupils from potential risks to limb by preventing the demolition of the school and subsequent relocation of the pupils to a 3-story building. Besides, the city does not need Mr. Lim’s P50-M hospital because the government’s Region 1 Medical Center is already set for a P1.6 billion renovation and expansion, courtesy of Cong. Gina de Venecia.
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NO-FEAR GUY. In The PUNCH’s January 27 issue, I wrote about Mr. Benjie Lim’s former business partners Ope Reyna and Manny Roy being the mayor’s worst nightmare yet.
Well, it seems my perception of Mr. Roy is gaining credibility. How so?
Last Wednesday, Mr. Roy parked his Nissan X-Trail before 9 a.m. some 100 meters away from where he holds fort. At 2 p.m., he decided to call it a day and walked the distance to his 4-wheel drive unit not suspecting or noting anything unusual about his day. He boarded his SUV and drove off but for the first time he felt the van was crawling to a start on first gear. When he alighted to check, he was dumbfounded to see all four tires deflated! The vulcanizing shop confirmed what he suspected. – all tires were punctured by an object that appeared to be a crude ice pick.
He called me to narrate what happened, what he suspected and who might be behind it. He laughed it off initially and dismissed it with a primary suspect in mind. He said he was already probably beginning to be someone’s nightmare. And that was that.
Two days later, he went to CSI Stadia for a morning meeting when shortly before noon, his driver barged in to inform him that two of his SUV’s tires were again punctured by someone who was known to him. Yes, there is a positive ID!
So it seems, Mr. Roy has arrived as someone’s worst nightmare…and he is making sure the police and all his friends know who could be the mastermind behind the continued harassment should the harassment escalate.