Unconvinced of ‘tanim-bala,’ P-Noy takes extorters’ side
GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) - November 24, 2015 - 9:00am

Subalterns have misinformed him that there are only two victims. Based on that he thinks there’s no problem after all.

The fear of Manila airport travelers came true. “Tanim-bala (bullet-planting)” shakedowns resumed right after Manila’s APEC summit. But no one expected it to be this worse. As single bullets again were being “found” in carry-ons of two or three departing passengers per day, P-Noy finally spoke on the matter that has been bugging Filipinos for three months now. And what he said practically exonerated the extortionists.

It’s only news sensationalizing, P-Noy smirked. His (flimsy) proof: of 34 million airport users each year, only 1,400 have been recorded in 2015 with bullets in luggage, only 70 have been booked – and only two have complained of frame-up. So he concluded: someone must be on a smear drive, knowing the issue can be prolonged since investigations would take some time. Then his warning: we’ll investigate too whoever thought this up.

That last line sounded so much like Marcos losing grip on power. To cover up for plunder and military abuses, the dictator had blamed plots on usual suspects – till he fell from the weight of his many lies. With seven months left to his term, is P-Noy turning despotic too?

P-Noy has not named his suspected “tanim-bala” schemer. Perhaps he’s leaving that dirty work to the Justice department and NBI. Poor co-terminus appointees heading those agencies; they must be wanting to depart with good names, but must put up with the boss’ bad intents. So far, from probe updates, they have been doing right: calling “tanim-bala” victims to file narratives, and repeatedly proving the airport security screeners incapable of detecting bullets that agents sneak in, in jackets and bags. Now they may have to nab not the crooked screeners who plant bullets for mulcting, but some likely imagined anti-P-Noy plotter.

P-Noy can’t get why the investigation is taking so long. It’s because his airport GM-cousin Jose Angel Aquino Honrado, Transport Sec. Joseph Abaya, and Press Sec. Sonny Coloma played the three monkeys who saw-heard-spoke no evil. Along with P-Noy’s anointed successor Mar Roxas, airport security screening head Rolando Recomono, and PNP Aviation Security Group chief Pablo Francisco Balagtas, they were first to cite faulty statistics, claim “media blowing out of proportion,” point to supposed smear plots – and generally belittle the shakedown victims. Honrado and Abaya later were exposed on nationally broadcast Senate inquiry to be unaware of their jobs and lying through their teeth. Calls loudened from ordinary citizens and civic-religious leaders for their resignation, if not sacking, for unparalleled incompetence. They stayed.

By taking the side of his incompetents, P-Noy in effect covered up for their mulcting screeners and cops. Expect their extortion to escalate.

This is not the first time P-Noy is covering up for scammers. His mere silence in the face of documented shenanigans means consent. He uttered no word when his Liberal Party-mates and MRT-3 commuter rail GM were exposed by the Czech ambassador of attempting to extort $30 million from the visiting chairman of Czech train maker Inekon. Mum too when the extortionists diverted the media fire to P-Noy’s own sister, brother-in-law, and a cousin who had informed him of the fraud.

That cover-up by silence led to bigger crimes. Abaya subsequently granted P1.85 billion, by private negotiation instead of public bidding, to two unqualified companies of the LP-mates for the MRT-3 maintenance that never was. Two weeks ago Abaya awarded those same LP-mates a P4.5-billion maintenance starting Jan. up to two years beyond P-Noy’s term, again by mere closed-door talks in lieu of open bidding. Still, P-Noy is silent.

P-Noy claims there are only two complainants of P30,000-P80,000 shakedown. Wrong! At least ten victims have come forward: a domestic returning to work in Hong Kong, an American missionary and his father and step-mom, two new US immigrants, two vacationing Filipino Americans, a dutiful granddaughter who took her lola to Singapore for medical treatment, and an overseas worker bound for the Middle East. A lawyer of one of them says some “investigators” have been intimidating his client into shutting up. If that Marcos-type scare tactic persists, then the witnesses might dwindle to zero. That’s what P-Noy obviously wants. As long as they speak the truth, he would look so insensitive about their plight.

Insensitivity has been the hallmark of P-Noy’s tenure from the start. He haughtily refused to console the survivors and kin of the eight slain Hong Kong residents held hostage by a crazed Manila cop. He has let citizens left homeless by the Zamboanga City siege two years ago to live in tents till today. He stopped the Super Typhoon Yolanda fatality count at 6,500 because he initially had estimated only 4,000. He looks at the 44 police commandos killed in his botched raid in Mamasapano as mere statistics of his coveted Nobel prize for forging peace with the massacring Moro separatists.

P-Noy can’t seem to grasp in the end that one “tanim-bala” victim already is too much. So he wants to see more victims first before finally admitting that there’s a problem.

The victim-domestic’s lawyer has had to remind P-Noy that it took the assassination of only one man at the tarmac of that Manila airport in Aug. 1983 to change the history of the Philippines.

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ, (882-AM).

Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarius-Bondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA

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