Why only 7
SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda (The Philippine Star) - January 12, 2013 - 12:00am

Singer Allan “Apl de Ap”, Pineda led the 7 awardees of The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) for 2012 at ceremonies presided over by President Aquino at Malacañang.

The other awardees are Azkals star footballer Chippy Calingdong, DIWA party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay, GMA-7 reporter Jiggy Manicad, veterinary doctor Warren Baticados, occupational therapist Abelardo Apollo David and conservationist Ivan Anthony Henares.

In previous years, as many as ten were awarded TOYM trophies. Why only 7 seven this year? With 97 million Filipinos, only 7 qualified for the award? How about outstanding teachers, rural health physicians and policemen?

Justice Arturo Brion headed the Board of Judges.

President Aquino called the 7 awardees “world class” citizens and challenged them to do more.

STANDARD PRACTICE… Under the Constitution, the Senate President and the House Speaker are authorized to realign savings to augment the budget of the Senate or the office of every individual senator or representative.

The realignment of savings has been done by all Senate Presidents and Speakers. It is used also to provide additional 14th  or 15th month pay for employees as well as bonuses.

It is, of course, to be explained why after the end of the year an additional MOOE of P1.6 million has to be given to senators.

As to how much is given and who are to receive the augmentation rests on the Senate President’s discretion. It is within his discretion to withhold additional funds for 4 senators who belong to the Minority. Again, it has been standard practice that members of the Majority received a bigger budget than Minority members. This is partly explained by the fact that Majority senators usually chair three committees.

What the COA should look into is the huge amount as high as P10 million given for oversight functions of Senate special committees.

Meanwhile, at the House it was reported that 283 members also got a Christmas gift of P500,000 each, increased from P350,000 in 2011.

CEBU UPDATE. . . 10,000 Cebuanos attended a prayer rally at the Cebu Provincial Capitol in support of suspended Governor Gwen Garcia.

President Aquino maintained the suspension order was done regardless of political affiliation and that Garcia’s violation of the law was “so clear”.

The President’s statement coincided with the oral arguments at the Court of Appeals.

DILG Sec. Mar Roxas announced there are no plans to remove Garcia bodily from her office at the Provincial Capitol.

NAZARENE RITES ORDERLY. . . Congratulations to the organizers and the authorities for an orderly Feast of the Black Nazarene procession with no deaths reported.

While there were 1,431 injuries reported, only about a dozen were serious or less serious.

The procession ended at 11 p.m. or 7 hours faster than last year. One major reason for the shorter period was the redesign of the wheels or andas of the carriage bearing the image.

Congratulations should also go to MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, PNP Chief Alan Purisima and the Red Cross for efficient monitoring and supervision of the event.

An estimated 9 million people attended the blessed event. It is notable that MMDA street sweepers immediately went into action to collect 30 trucks of garbage, again a feather in the cap of MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.

QUEZON RUBOUT OR SHOOTOUT. . . 3 investigations are now ongoing on the Atimonan, Quezon incident which resulted in the death of 13 persons. The PNP, Napolcom and the NBI have entered the case.

No less than PNP Director General Alan Purisima admits several violations of rules regarding checkpoints.

A new question has cropped up: was the operation approved by PAOCC?

Another significant question is how much the 2 SUVs were carrying in cash or even in gold. DILG Sec. Mar Roxas already admitted that P255,000 have been recovered from the crime scene while as much as P100 million in jueteng money has been mentioned. Certainly, the P255,000 recovered is not believable.

The other main factor to be explained is why 25 Philippine Army soldiers led by a Lt. Colonel was on the scene to back up 25 policemen which indicates it was a planned operation. An explanation is in order. Did the officer commanding the soldiers and policemen get clearance from higher authority? It looks like even the Provincial Director was kept in the dark. Why were more than 200 bullets fired into the two SUVs? What role did a Police Colonel have in accompanying a known gambling lord in the trip?

The NBI and the CHR should investigate this incident completely and answer all these nagging questions.

The President himself is asking questions.

NO PERMIT ISSUED. . . Mayor Annaliza Gonzales Kwan of Guiuan, Eastern Samar wrote us to deny that she has allowed the cutting of mangrove trees.

She said the NHA has put up a housing project to resettle 300 families which was given approval by the DENR in 1996 when she was not yet Mayor of Guiuan.

Vice President Jejomar Binay approved the land development of the housing project on Sept. 21, 2012.

She reiterated she has not issued any permit for the cutting of any tree.

POLITICAL UPDATE. . . The Comelec has granted Nueva Viscaya Gov. Luisa Cuaresma’s appeal restoring her candidacy for Congresswoman.

Borgy Manotoc, son of Gov. Imee Marcos has withdrawn his candidacy for Mayor of Batac.

In the Batangas congressional races, it is a neck to neck race between Rep. Tom Apacible and former Rep. Eileen Ermita Buhain in the Ist dist. Tom Apacible’s edge: he has the support of Gov. Vilma Santos Recto and Sen. Ralph Recto.

In the 2nd district, actor Christopher de Leon is facing Jun Berberabe of the established Berberabe family.

In the 3rd district, it’s a close fight between Rep. Sonny Collantes and Tanauan Mayor Sonia Torres.

In the 4th district, Rep. Dong Mendoza is facing the wife of Lipa City Mayor Maynard Sabile.

*      *      *

Greetings to: Mayor Leandro Masikip of Pililia, Rizal; Mayor Juanidy Vina of Concepcion, Misamis Occidental; Mayor Batara Laoat of Pudtol, Apaya; Mayor Simon Lacsawa of Bauko, Mt. Province; Mayor Doroteo Palconit of Calubian, Leyte; Mayor Jose Santos of Orion, Bataan and Mayor Cris Equia Jr. of Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte.

Greetings also to Mayors Ace Manalang of Tarlac, Tarlac; Dennis Go of Gerona, Tarlac; Concepcion Zarate of Pura, Tarlac and Miguel Rivilla of Paniqui, Tarlac.

Happy birthday greetings to Norma Samson, Alma Ebdane and Jenny Napoles.

Greetings to avid readers Dulce D’Bayan and Lita Obordo.

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