Protected scalpers — #JUSTICEFORDOM
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

The Battle of the Katipuneros a.k.a. UP versus Ateneo version 2018 may be over, but one malingering issue that was widely talked about but never really addressed by the proper authorities, is the persistent issue of “ticket scalpers” during such big games and events specifically at the Araneta Coliseum. During the pre-game lull, many friends and associates who could not buy from the authorized ticket outlets of Araneta Coliseum turned to ticket scalpers who sold tickets at five to 10 times their printed price. According to sources, there has long been an established syndicate making money from such manipulated shortages and that certain personalities have extended protection and influence to protect or seek the release of ticket scalpers, giving credence to suspicions that there is a company or big name behind this “multi-million peso sideline.” The NCRPO and NBI should not spare the sacred bull.

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When businessman Dominic Sytin was gunned down inside SBMA, one of the first official calls to local authorities was reportedly from Secretary Bong Go who called for updates and gave instructions presumably from President Rodrigo Duterte that reports be submitted daily until the case is resolved. Within hours of the murder, the local and regional police heads also received calls and “requests” from Senators, Congressmen, as well as PNP officials from the national headquarters for the area command to submit daily updates on the on-going murder case. All 24 Senators crossed party lines to move for the speedy resolution of the case as well. The question is can all the King’s horses and all the King’s men actually find the Mastermind who put out the hit or contract on Dominic Sytin?  This will surely test both their resolve as well as their authority to get things done.

Now that the dust has settled, it is time to consider the consequence of such a murder or assassination. Sytin was no ordinary businessman as his company, United Auctioneers, is the nation’s biggest source and supplier of high quality and affordable heavy equipment. Sytin was also on top of Foton Philippines, into mining, owned one of the biggest resort hotels inside SBMA called AZEA as well as power generation. He was the low profile type but very much into relationship building and supporting politicians as well as public and private NGOs. While we can never really second guess or predict when a cowardly assassin or his master will strike, there is now a need to find them before such an event begins to affect investors’ confidence in terms of peace and order and safety. If a well-loved and well-connected man can be gunned down in public by a professional shooter, what are others less connected to think in terms of personal safety?

We undoubtedly cannot rush the process of investigation lest it ends up as a failed attempt producing the wrong people, or worse, ends up being misled or misdirected by the perpetrators as some are now expressing concern for. I can only hope that those who now have the power in life will not forget someone who one way or another helped them get there. #JUSTICEFOR DOM.

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I would rather think that officials at the Department of Finance and Malacañang are simply taking a gamble on their decision to go ahead with the added excise tax on fuel for 2019, hoping it won’t be as disruptive as the first tax in 2018. I presume that they have reason to believe that fuel prices will be much lower in 2019 and that economic policies will have a lowering effect on inflation and consumer prices. I would rather think that it’s just a gamble rather than an excuse or a means to anger people and have an excuse to extend martial law from Mindanao to the entire country.

This is no conspiracy theory. Anyone who has been watching or reading about the current crisis in France knows that exorbitant fuel prices and fuel tax led to violent and persistent anti government demonstrations. Things got so bad that cars were burned, public property destroyed, people hurt and the government eventually deciding to take back the excise tax. Unfortunately the damage was already done and more to follow when the next election takes place.

As far as the Philippines is concerned, pushing for the additional 2.00 to 250.00 next year could lead to several unpleasant situations. God forbid it triggers price surge for consumer goods, inflation and loss of consumer confidence and spending. Consequent to that, all aspiring politicians gunning to be Senator etc., can simply kiss our butts goodbye because they will certainly be on the voters kill list of people you want to actively campaign AGAINST! I also hope and pray that the DOF and Congress have a way of immediately suspending the entire excise tax, not just parts of it, if fuel prices and inflation go to hell. Let’s make sure there is an off switch rather than having to quell riots in the streets.

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After a rough couple of weeks I had hoped to go on a road trip with my family anywhere east or west of Luzon or up north. But it seems that many of the roads particularly toward Zambales to La Union province are pocked marked or excavated for repaving. In fact many roads are undergoing the same rehabilitation because contractors want to make sure they have dug up roads before the Dec. 31 deadline or before they are covered by the Comelec ban. So those of you planning on driving out like we did, I strongly recommend that you check your route with truckers, Highway Patrol or DPWH in order to know what areas will be traffic hell. DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat ought to sit down with Sec. Año of DILG and Sec. Mark Villar to put a stop to this massive demolitions because they are very much Anti-Tourism.

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