Why need emergency powers to solve the traffic mess?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - September 18, 2019 - 12:00am

If government officials do not have the will and the skill to do their jobs, why don't they all resign and unburden the people from the billions paid to them for their incompetence? I remember my Law professor who used to berate us whenever we could not answer his convoluted legal questions. He would shout at us and tell us to go home and plant camote. So, why don't some government officials go home to plant camote?

Well, listening to the Senate hearings on the request by the executive department for Congress to grant the president emergency power just to solve the traffic problem, I was tempted to throw expletives at DOTC Secretary Art Tugade and General Lim of the MMDA. If you, guys cannot do your job without a blanket authority being delegated to you, why did you accept your jobs, in the first place? It is just biting too much beyond your capacity to chew. You are an embarrassment to the president. Your lack of will and skill was broadcast via all media, and the president of Singapore, an action lady, was visiting. She must have been laughing in her hotel suite looking at the miserable president's men crying for help from the legislative.

The traffic mess cannot be solved by a lawyer like Tugade who loves to talk too much and deliver too little and too late. He may be the most brilliant classmate of Manong Digong in San Beda but traffic is a problem in geometry. Lawyers are not often good at numbers, (although they love figures). It is a problem in geometry because it is the dynamics of volumes, speed, density, space, motions and velocity. The lawyers, (don't get me wrong, I'm a lawyer too, that is why I know whereof I speak), are not fond of solving geometry problems involving secant and cosecant, angles and inclinations. That is a job that Ping de Jesus could have done very well because they are experts. Tugade should be transferred to the Justice Department when Guevarra becomes a Supreme Court Associate Justice or even Chief when CJ Luke Bersamin retires.

General Lim of MMDA is not as action-oriented as the former senator Fred Lim and former mayor of Manila. A military man in MMDA may not be the best choice to untangle the traffic mess. They need a very good engineer who knows how to control volume and manage the use of limited spaces over limited time. They need a man who has full support of President Rody. A man like Bong Go or Bato dela Rosa who will jump whenever the president would tell them what to do, never asking question. They do not need a lawyer who would always argue and would love to talk. That propensity to talk did not sit well with the Senate Chair Grace Poe, who wants to be the one talking.

If they need emergency power just to act like a dictator with no regard for human rights and for due process, then they better declare Martial Law in Metro Manila. Senator Poe, like her friends Senators Drilon, Hontiveros, de Lima and Pangilinan may not be predisposed to grant emergency power on silver platter.

Thus, the president should exercise his Martial Law powers, subject, of course, to Congressional consent. And if the LP's would not give it, the majority who are allies of Malacañan will give him that consent. Senators Pimentel, Pacquiao, Go, dela Rosa, Tolentino, Cayetano, Villar, Lapid, even Gatchalian and Villanueva may go along.

Then let the president order all companies to have sliding working hours, so that people won't be on the road at the same time. Then buy a hundred thousand luxury buses and do not allow private cars to be used, except outside Metro Manila.

If there's a will, there will be many ways. We do not have to be a brilliant lawyer or a retired general to figure these out. We just need a little common sense and a little hard work, less talk and more action. If we cannot do it, let's all go home to Ronda and plant camote. By the way, I love camote too.

ART TUGADE
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