Placing the entire country under a state of calamity is timely and rational, and thus deserves the support of the Filipino people. For one, it will allow the local government units as well as the national government agencies to utilize their calamity funds and Quick Response Fund, in accordance with Republic Act 10121 and other pertinent laws.
Having said that, I cannot imagine that concerned local government officials in charge of dispensing those funds can still have gall and malevolent intention of stealing the monies under their control, considering the seriousness of this unprecedented crisis that we are all facing.
Further, the government, for all its disaster preparedness and response efforts, cannot overcome the threat by itself. We must all do our part, whether as workers rendering frontline services, scientists developing ways to deal with the problem, or responsible Filipinos giving support to them while showing understanding and cooperation with measures from the national government and local government units.
There is no doubt we will survive this, as we have done in so many crises before.
I have always believed that the real test of character of public officials like P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido is power or money. Give them the opportunity to lay their hands on either one or both, and they will reveal who they really are.
I remember then PO1 Espenido during our PAOCTF days as someone who consistently performed his duty with integrity and dedication. At least that was how I knew him in the many instances that he faced those challenges. But that time, he was just a non-commissioned officer at the bottom of the salary grade of police personnel. Rising from the ranks, he held several positions of higher authority until his relief recently.
This morning, I sent him a text message with a simple question: “What happened?” He has not replied, unlike before when he would even text me with early morning Bible quotes.
It is a pity because no less than President Duterte took notice of his performance by publicly acknowledging his contribution to the government’s war on illegal drugs, easily making him the poster boy of the campaign.
Espenido’s case, if true, could be one big reason why the war against illegal drugs is failing.
Being his former superior, I hope he can acquit himself and convincingly disprove this very serious allegation against him. Otherwise, he is just one of the many others I personally knew to have succumbed to the pressure.
When the regular jueteng collections of at least PhP200 million a day or PhP73 billion a year in Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region and Regions 1 to 5 alone translate to a mere PhP4 billion income for the PCSO from Small Town Lottery (STL) operations, a big chunk of which is not even in cash remittances but recorded as collectibles, we do not need an Albert Einstein to figure out how much goes to the individual pockets of STL franchise holders, corrupt politicians, policemen and PCSO officials.
No matter how many congressional hearings are conducted, the palms of these people continue to be greased by gambling money.
The fact is, illegal jueteng merely masquerades as legitimate STL operations, 7 days a week, without fail, whose “kubrador” are armed with PCSO IDs to avoid arrest by the police who may be co-opted anyways.
Should Lotto Have Been Excluded from the President’s ‘Suspension’ Order?
It’s like this: if the intention is to stop gambling altogether, then all forms of gambling, including the PAGCOR-regulated games like casinos and online should have been included.
Since it doesn’t appear that way, then lotto outlets should have been spared since there are no reports of revenue cheating as far as lotto operations are concerned because they are computerized and automated and therefore closely monitored – unlike STL where PCSO, for millions of reasons, has consistently resisted to make it more transparent and foolproof.
In an interview on CNN Philippines, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– President Duterte’s take on the ‘hit-and-run’ at the West Philippine Sea
– newly discovered irregularity involving the PhilHealth board
“To say that our country is treated like trash appears to be true, as in literally, amid news reports of tons of waste being illegally shipped into our lands, no thanks to local and foreign smugglers, unscrupulous Customs brokers and corrupt Customs officials.” – Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, in his privilege speech on May 29, 2019
We spend a great deal of taxpayers’ money for an automated processing system, x-ray scanners, even for brokers’ accreditation, not to mention fairly high salaries for seasoned military men at the helm of the Bureau of Customs. But at the end of the day – all our efforts be damned — we are still one hell of a mess.
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise before you on a matter of personal and collective privilege.
To say that our country is treated like trash appears to be true, as in literally, amid news reports of tons of waste being illegally shipped into our lands, no thanks to local and foreign smugglers, unscrupulous Customs brokers and corrupt Customs officials.
In an interview on DZBB, Sen. Lacson discloses how a whopping P95 billion of the DPWH’s 2019 budget was manipulated for pork. Other topics in the interview:
– Senate’s stand on not signing the ‘manipulated’ budget bill
– investigation of former PCSO GM Balutan
“Sabihin ko na tahasan. Ginulo ng House of Representatives kasi ayaw nila sumunod sa Constitution. Ayaw nila sumunod sa legislative process na tama. Sa ngalan ng pork barrel.”
From the Inquirer: According to Sen. Panfilo Lacson, one of the new manifestations of pork in the budget (is) where contractors shortchange taxpayers by using low-grade materials for infrastructure projects, while gifting agency officials and lawmakers with huge commissions in exchange for the contracts.