The not so little girl
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - December 21, 2018 - 12:00am

After members of Congress went on the war path over the 2019 proposed budget and the abolition of the Road Board, and asked for the scalp of DBM Secretary Ben Diokno, several veterans have expressed concern that the “Little Girl” of Philippine politics a.k.a.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may not be feeling so little anymore compared to President Rodrigo Duterte. In fact some believe that PRRD should be very careful with his dealings with Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo lest he suffer the same fate as Joseph Estrada who was ousted from office by a conspiracy of so-called representatives of Civil Society and placed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in power. GMA may no longer be in the line of succession, but there are many ways to cook the pig or run the show.

Duterte may find himself outside the kulambo given our political reality that the so-called Duterte Congress has started to orbit around Gloria Macapagal Arroyo just like the good old days! We already have a standoff or as Congressman Danny Suarez put it, a stalemate.

By Jan. 3 Congress and Malacañang may have to play chicken or bluff when Diokno refuses to appear before Congress.

Given his controversial leadership position and how he has managed to piss off the US, EU, “Yellows,” the Church, NDF and human rights groups, the worst thing Duterte can do is to tackle the rebellious lot of Congressmen with “kid gloves.” People in Malacañang know quite well that the attack on Diokno was not only about getting him to release an estimated P11 billion from the Road Users Tax. They know that if Secretary Ben Diokno released the said amount it would be used by allies of Gloria Arroyo to justify their belated and controversial action to rescind a bill abolishing the Road Board.

No less than former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez told me that the Road Users Tax has been raided by politicians and is a favorite source of campaign funds. Alvarez claims that the corruption does not happen through the Cabinet Secretaries or appointees of the President but at the administrative level where the allocation and disbursement take place. Another source also validated this and went further saying that the corruption takes place because there is an SOP or “fee” where 40 percent of the allocation gets rerouted “for the boys.”

True or false, no less than the Commission on Audit has flagged some P90 billion worth of anomalous expenditures but for some strange reason, Congress has not made as much noise about overpriced “walis tingtings” overpriced T-shirts, and padded payrolls for street sweepers, grass cutters and canal cleaners many of whom were employed and spread along national roads months after President Erap Estrada was locked up! However this wrestling match ends up, lets hope this acoustic war does not end in an EDSA 3 or 4 which ever is the right count! Keep your friends close and their dogs on a short leash!                                                

*      *      *

Today may be the beginning of the worst weekend ever in terms of mobility and traffic in the Philippines. Experts from various government agencies as well as media have been busy warning the public that beginning today we can all expect Super Carmagedon in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and going to and in Baguio City due to the last weekend of Christmas shopping, the exodus of people who plan on spending Christmas and/or New Year in the provinces and people who will surely fill up airport terminals in their brave attempt to flee to another destination to celebrate Christmas.

The most common and best advise experts share is to mentally prepare and manage your expectations especially when you go to the airport where traffic on the ground and in the air will surely be congested. Travel light, leave early and expect delays. Dec. 23 is expected to be a really heavy and testy day for those flying out.

The NLEX and SLEX authorities have long prepared for the annual exodus and will provide for emergency assistance teams as well as hiring additional crews to collect payment at tollgates. However, you are all advised to please prepare the exact payment or exact change long before you reach the tollbooth. The simple delay of 30 seconds when you multiply by the thousands of cars taking toll roads will lengthen the line of cars to as much as a couple of kilometers. Sucks to be you if you are at the end of the line.

*      *      *

The decision of authorities to lift the number coding for buses today does not help prevent Carmagedon that also begins today. The one-day relief may seem like a good thing for bus operators and commuters but unless they are all starting from outside Metro Manila (which is not the case), chances are all these buses given the green light will simply add to the traffic and end up being trapped in the traffic they helped create. The transport authorities should simply STOP making exemptions or disrupting established rules and procedures such as the number coding. Stick to the rule and go by the plan!

*      *      *


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with