‘Advice unasked, advice unwise’

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

With Vic Rodriguez out of Malacañang as executive secretary and even as chief of staff, which he tried to bargain for when he knew he would be replaced as ES, the bureau directors that he appointed are not far behind.

Many heads are on the chopping block.

Two of Vic’s appointees are in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC), whose appointments raised eyebrows among those in the know.

One of these two appointees was in the drug list of the Philippine National Police (PNP); the other was charged with graft during a previous administration.

“Apparently, PBBM wasn’t aware that shady characters were placed in sensitive positions, relying on Rodriguez in making the choices. I hope that PBBM has learned his lesson from Rodriguez, and should have a direct hand in appointing people to key and sensitive positions,” said an official who asked for anonymity.

The “PBBM” referred to is none other than President Ferdinand “BBM” Marcos Jr.

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Aware of the saying “advice unasked is advice unwise,” may I humbly suggest at least three names for various positions: Clint Aranas for the BIR, Ariel Nepomuceno for the BOC and Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Jaime Santiago for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Aranas is an expert tax lawyer who was the BIR deputy commissioner for legal affairs. He was kicked upstairs – as the general manager of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) – for being a fly in the ointment to his superiors in the BIR during the previous administration. Aranas had a clean record at the BIR.

At the GSIS, the previous administration had to let Aranas go – a euphemism for being dismissed – after he tried to demand payment from a very powerful individual for pieces of real estate owned by the GSIS.

Nepomuceno was customs deputy commissioner for enforcement during the Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III administration, but he resigned when Isidro Lapeña took over as customs commissioner during president Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte’s watch.

Nepomuceno told this columnist he could not stomach the “unacceptable” activities of the men that Lapena, a retired police general, took with him to the customs bureau.

Like Aranas at the BIR, Nepomuceno had a clean record at the customs bureau when he resigned.

My third nominee, if I may, is Judge Santiago, who started as a patrolman at the Manila Police District (MPD) when I covered it as police reporter for the Manila Bulletin.

Santiago was a favorite subordinate of then Col. Vicente Vinarao, head of the MPD’s intelligence and special operations division, or ISOD. Santiago, a sharpshooter, was always at the scene of hostage incidents. He always got hostage-takers in the head.

The unassuming Jimmy Santiago was taking up law while he was a Manila police beat patrolman.

He would be an excellent choice as NBI chief because of his experience in law enforcement.

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Speaking of the NBI, my apologies to Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala, who were recently reinstated to the bureau.

Esmeralda and Lasala were reinstated by the Court of Appeals (CA), not by the Sandiganbayan as I wrote in an item in a previous column.

The appellate court ordered both of them reinstated to their former rank of Director III and back salaries.

Esmeralda and Lasala were dismissed from the service by former justice secretary Leila de Lima without charges being filed against them.

The only reason the two NBI officials could find for their dismissal was that they were appointed by president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as deputy directors and the newly-installed Aquino administration needed to have their men to occupy their positions.

The CA ruling protects NBI line agents and other civil service employees from executive overreach or abuse.

Some salient features of the appellate court decision re Esmeralda and Lasala:

• Two organic laws creating the NBI do not require additional qualification for appointment. Top career NBI officials, who are either lawyers or certified public accountants, are not required to take the Career Executive Service Officer (CESO) course because of their high educational attainment.

• Dismissal of a permanent government official or employee without investigation, charges and hearing is illegal and violates the Constitution and civil service laws.

• The position of NBI deputy director is not covered by the CESO Law.

*      *      *

Roel Degamo was defeated for the governorship of Negros Oriental in the last election on account of a nuisance candidate that was made to run by his detractors under the name Ruel Degamo.

The real name of the nuisance candidate is Grego Gaudia.

Roel Degamo, the incumbent governor during the last election, has been proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as the real winner.

Because of Gaudia, the nuisance candidate, the real Degamo only garnered 281,773 votes with the fake Degamo getting 49,953.

As a result, Degamo’s rival, Pryde Henry Teves, was proclaimed winner with 301,319 votes.

With the Comelec transferring nuisance candidate Gaudia’s votes to the genuine Degamo, the final tally for the incumbent governor was 331,726 votes against Teves’ 301,319.

The poll body annulled Teves’ proclamation as governor and proclaimed Degamo as governor.

Teves is the brother of Arnulfo, reelected congressman of the third district of Negros Oriental.

Arnulfo’s son is Kirk Matthew Teves who, along with several bodyguards, mauled a security of the subdivision in Parañaque and made him kneel and beg for mercy before them.

Congressman Arnie Teves, who once admitted to being a drug user, defended his son’s abusive behavior.

The Teveses are known in Negros Oriental for their alleged abuse of power, reportedly beating up people at the drop of a hat.

Brothers Pryde Henry and Arnulfo Teves should be prosecuted in court if investigation finds they conspired to put up the nuisance candidate.


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