Discretion versus valor
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2019 - 12:00am

It was William Shakespeare who wrote: “Discretion is the better part of valor” suggesting that it is better to play safe, stay out of the firing line or below the radar when controversy erupts. But in complete contrast to this advice there is the warning from the author of Dante’s Inferno that ‘The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a time of great moral crisis choose to maintain their neutrality” (Dante Alighieri). The civil right’s leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. tweaked it a bit and said: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great conflict choose to sit on the fence.”

Judging from the pot shots that Senator Panfilo Lacson has been taking at DOH Secretary Francisco Duque, I can imagine that Sec. Duque must be feeling hot under the collar. Sad to say, Senator Lacson may be justified in bringing attention to why the entire board of PhilHealth, including its president Roy Ferrer, had to resign while the Board Chairman Francisco Duque was not even singed or slightly torched if the whole episode was all about command responsibility. Mind you, Ping Lacson states that he is not asking for Sec. Duque to resign but pointing out the injustice or the double standards in the situation. Lacson was avoiding saying that Duque should have been more visible, been on the front line regarding the “WellMed dialysis controversy” and stood shoulder to shoulder with his fellows in the PhilHealth Board. In other words, he should have fought for his team all the way to Malacañang or “died trying” or gone down with them.

Sadly that has never been the style of Secretary Duque. He is allergic to controversy, generally manages controversy through delegation and remote control. When the Mafia at PhilHealth or the Band of Brothers attacked Ferrer et al, I remember telling Secretary Duque when he guested on my show that he would have to personally lead the attack against the Mafia or the battle would be lost and Ferrer will fall just like several PhilHealth officials because the Mafia was protected by an elected Senator and the Mafia had connections even in media. I was obviously being prophetic because that is exactly what has happened.

I don’t know what Duque did since then but the fact of the matter is that the only time I heard Duque talk to the media regarding the recent controversy was when the battle was lost and the President had asked for the courtesy resignation of the PhilHealth officials. I know that Duque has always wanted to clean house at PhilHealth and he had given marching orders for the officials to do so. But his choice to handle matters at the backroom was no match to the open campaign conducted by political operators who apparently even managed to convince newbie Senator Bong Go to fast track the resignation of the board members.

The good Secretary with whom I have always been on good terms with, might not like this commentary but as the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “Into each life some rain must fall – Some days must be dark and dreary.” God forbid that future controversies should visit the doorsteps of Secretary Duque, but at the very least he and other leaders should learn from this episode. Sooner or later what goes around comes around.

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Speaking of Mafia, I’m beginning to suspect that there really is a Mafia of sorts behind the efforts to ban provincial buses from entering Metro Manila. Readers will recall that at least 3 separate petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court to block and challenge the Metro Manila Development Authority or MMDA from implementing the ban. This challenge was further strengthened with the election of several new Mayors who are reportedly against the closure of certain bus terminals that they feel are vital to the needs of their constituents.

Apparently “where there is a will, there is a way” and the newest strategy to ban the provincial buses from entering Metro Manila and indirectly subverting the domain of the Supreme Court or taking away jurisdiction on the matter is to get the LTFRB to change Provincial Bus routes! No one can convince me that this is not orchestrated by some elected official or high government official who has the power to order the LTFRB to do so because it is the only legal and logical way to pre-empt the petitions filed before the Supreme Court. The question is why the desperation? Are government officials worried that their great big plan to establish the two major bus terminals outside Metro Manila might fail and land them before the Ombudsman? Have certain commitments been given to investors, business establishment that they will become the center of the provincial bus universe and the millions of consumer commuters? It’s all speculation for now, but this much I’m sure of, things will all come out in the wash after guys like Congressman Joey Salceda and several progressive party list groups tear up the LTFRB, MMDA and DOTr in Congress.

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A frequent sunbather in Boracay sent us word that a new type of corruption is reportedly taking place in the island paradise. You pay protection money so that if your house or structure is scheduled for demolition, the due date can be rescheduled and placed on the bottom of the list. No one really knows just how the “clearing operations” are suppose to be and the absence of an actual plan and schedule reportedly helps some people cloak the shuffle of schedules. Just a heads up for our friends at the DENR to insure that the clearing operations goes on as scheduled.

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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