Let’s all fight corruption for the year 2019
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2019 - 12:00am

The STAR headlines show that the Department of Health (DOH) recorded a 68 percent drop in firecracker injuries last New Year’s Eve revelry. I guess we also saw this as a phenomenon in Cebu. My father constructed our house in 1959 and we were the only house up in the hill and every New Year revelry we get to witness the fireworks. It usually starts an hour before the clock strikes 12 midnight and ends 30 minutes later. How things have changed since… when the fireworks started exploding three minutes before 12 and ended 10 minutes later… now that was a very short greeting for the New Year 2019 and the DOH report didn’t surprise me at all!

While I stayed home that whole day of Jan. 1, my son went out and he reported to me that the roads were so clean. Usually after the New Year celebrations our roads would have spent firecracker trash all over the place, which is another proof of what the DOH reported. Best of all, there was not a single bullet victim or fatality, that made the New Year greeting for 2019 more joyful and meaningful. So it’s really a great year to start although there was that reckless bombing of a shopping mall in Cotabato City, which gives more credence for the need of extending martial law in Mindanao.

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President Rodrigo Duterte’s plea to Filipinos is to help him fight and defeat drugs and corruption. Actually this really starts with the administration of Pres. Duterte. If you allow me, those who steal from public funds should be the first to be arrested and imprisoned. Look at the example given by our neighbor South Korea… almost all former Presidents of that nation were tried for corruption. Not so in the Philippines.

It’s been five years already since the Supreme Court (SC) announced its en banc decision against the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) which happened only a little over six months after the SC had decided also against the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) which was filed by my good friend Greco Belgica in the Belgica, et al v. Ochoa, et al, GR 208566, on Nov. 11, 2013. What did then P-Noy Aquino do? Filed a request to the SC to reconsider its decision! A President who is totally against corruption would never dare file a case to the SC to reconsider its decision…which for me is enough proof that then Pres. Aquino did not want his allies to be jailed for corruption!

But like I said, it has now taken five long years since that SC decision was upheld… and no one who was part of the DAP or PDAF has tasted a night in jail… except three Senators, Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Ramon Revilla. But what happened with then Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla last December 2018? The Sandiganbayan cleared him of plunder and freed him… but they asked him to pay P124.5 million of the money he was supposed to have gotten? Of course his lawyer refused to pay the amount since his client wasn’t convicted of this crime! Now that is a decision of a smart lawyer.

But why did the Sandiganbayan make such a stupid decision? They probably think that we Filipinos are so stupid to fall for such a reckless decision? At this point I hope that this year we would have a Judiciary that would give out a clear decision against corrupt elected officials. We read yesterday a report in the Philippine STAR that Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin ordered a “purge” of “misfits and scalawags” in the Judiciary. As the late Sir Max Soliven once wrote… about “Rogues in Robes.” Now, how would my good friend Court Administrator Midas Marquez act on his marching orders?

I suggest that the SC start with the Sandiganbayan. Someone has P124.5 million in illegally gotten money, so how do we get this money back into the national treasury? In my book getting this issue straightened out is a good start for the New Year. Either the SC overturns the Sandiganbayan decision or the SC would make the justices of the Sandiganbayan pay the P214.5 million that they can no longer collect from former Sen. Bong Revilla. Whatever it is, a decision has to be made.

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It is high time that the PNP in Region 7 order its traffic enforcers to patrol two areas in Metro Cebu. The South Road Properties (SRP) and the Fernan Bridge because trucks and multi-cab drivers, including new drivers always drive on the leftmost side of the road when in almost all countries including Metro Manila’s SLEX and NLEX, these motorists are violators. Slow moving vehicles especially trucks, vans or buses should use the rightmost side where they belong. But it is happening in Metro Cebu because traffic enforcers are not apprehending these traffic violators.

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com.


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