Friday, May 15, 2009

Politics in the Philippines Election in 2010

By Joe Espiritu

    We should have been writing on the changes of flora and fauna in our environment but we seriously doubt that this would be interesting to our readers. The hottest topic today is politics. There are people who would ask us about the present local political situation every time we meet. It we do not always have up to date information, we would ask them in turn if we sense that the question is rhetorical. From this we learn a lot.

     Since the local political situation depends usually on the national scene, we would start from there... The administration is not yet firm on who would be the standard bearer. Though opinion pollsters rate VP Noli de Castro as a front runner, administration handlers are still open to Sen. Manny Villar. Villar had declared himself as an oppositionist. But since the opposition is not one solid body but a conglomeration of splintered groups Villar might form his own party or join the administration.

     Though Noli is an honest, plodding do gooder, free from controversy – except for the running gun battle with his comare Loren Legarda – he is less colorful than Villar. The latter, with his considerable logistics would make and ideal presidential candidate. Besides another opposition presidential aspirant Sen. Panfilo Lacson is after his scalp. Then there is another hopeful in the person of Sen Mar Roxas. If Villar jumps the fence, Noli would be left out in the cold and if his sympathizers object, then it will be the turn of the administration party to be splintered.

     Nearer home, we have no information on who will run for congressmen in the First and Second Districts. We can only speculate that Erico Aumentado would want his old post as congressman of the Second District. Rene Relampagos has three options. He could run as congressman of the First District, governor or mayor of the City of Tagbilaran. Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap is interested in the congressional seat of the Third District. He would be a formidable opponent of Boy Jala...

     The Edgar Chatto – Roberto Cajes tandem would be the administration gubernatorial candidate. That is; if Cajes agrees to play a second fiddle to Chatto. Since both were congressmen of different districts, equal in rank but different in localities, there would be an intense horse trading before the team will be formed. They will be opposed by VGov Julius Herrera and Provincial Administrator Tomas Abapo. 

     By geographical considerations, they are evenly matched. Chatto and Herrera are from the First District while Cajes and Abapo are from the Second District. However, exposure-wise .Herrera and Abapo has the edge since they had been holding provincial offices. How to translate that advantage into votes is another story. The gubernatorial dark horse will be Cesar Montano. Never count this Baclayanon out. This multi awarded actor, director, producer had not earned such distinctions through acting alone but by using his administrative and managerial skills to produce successful projects.

     In Jagna, the contest boiled down into a three cornered fight between Fortunato 'Bicbic' Abrenilla, Joseph Rañola and Paris Macarayan. Capt Cipriano Madera has faded out of the picture. While Abrebilla attends to his political fences personally, Rañola has his Jagna Renaissance. Macarayan, who has recently come home fro abroad on the other hand, has his cadre of seamen working for him. Bicbic and Paris are both about to retire... Rañola on the other hand can simply move his operations within the reach so he could serve Jagna effectively if elected.

     Since Abrenilla would be the administration candidate for mayor, his governor would doubtless be Chatto. Rañola is for Cesar Montano while Macarayan would wait for one who comes to him. He seems to be sure of his assets. Since the starting gun had nit yet gone off, we could not say who has the edge. Partisan say they have but those are just speculations. The situation is still fluid. Logistics, campaign strategy and sustained effort would decide who will win. 

Jun Lozada Victim of Injustice

By Joe Espiritu

    For days now, the case of Jun Lozada had been in the top of the news. He had been out of public attention but this time he has been resurrected. The Senate shelved ZTE scandal temporarily it seems .pending resumption after more urgent business had been disposed. If no further political mileage could be gained from this case, chances are it would have died of old age. Some people had breathed easier after the Senate inquisition. When this case is again in the public attention, there would be people who would feel uncomfortable if not threatened.

     This started when the government proposed to link the islands by a broadband network. With this technology, orders, information and other important communications would e beamed directly to persons concerned even to those who are in the outlying places. In turn, the needs and aspirations of the people in the boondocks could be communicated directly to those who really matter. This would mean bringing government nearer to the people.

     One of the companies, which offered to furnish the required network, was the ZTE Corporation a giant technology company in the Peoples Republic of China. Another bidder was a company represented by a son of the former Speaker of the House. At that time Roberto "Jun" Lozada Jr was a consultant. It was not clear whether Jun Lozada was a retained consultant of the ZTE or he was hired for this particular deal only. Lozada claimed to be present when Comelec Chairman Abalos and a well connected private citizen, the First Gentleman brokered the deal. For a sizable consideration, he said. 

     What made Lozada decide to blow the whistle is debatable. He might have done it out of conscience or patriotism or out of pique having been left out in the cold on this deal. At any rate, there were people who would want to get their hands on Lozada. One group said to be identified with the administration wanted him to remain quiet while the other, particularly from the opposition dominated senate wanted him to tell the whole story... When he came home via the international airport, he was allegedly escorted by personnel identified with the administration around allegedly for his protection. Lozada claimed he was kidnapped and released only when the issue became too hot to handle.

     Lozada faced a Senate investigation. His statements were explosive but administration senators pointed out some inconsistencies. To the uninformed observers, which most voters are, the  ZTE bomb blew up like a dud. The only casualty was Comelec Commissioner Abalos. The investigation, if one might call it that ended inconclusively. Lozada was left off for the time being.

     Things were slowly dying down. The ZTE deal like the fertilizer fund scam starring Jocjoc Bolante appeared to be heading towards limbo. Then an administration henchman Mike Defensor accused Jun Lozada of perjury. To project himself as a martyr, Lozada refused to post bail. It worked. It firmed up his image as a persecuted whistle blower. The judge, who presided over his case refused to commit him to the city jail and was too happy to grasp at the technicality, which allowed him to release Lozada to the welcoming arms of the Senate.

     Does Lozada really hold damaging information that he has to be either discredited or neutralized before thing blow up? If he does not, why make an issue of the word of a disgruntled whistle blower? Did his accusers fail to predict the repercussions that would follow his arrest? Any amateur analyst could see that. There must be something bigger than what is apparent. 

Citizen’s Charter of Tubigon

Now in the making, the Citizen's Charter of Tubigon will be designed to empower the townfolk by promoting transparency and accountability in public service.

      Mayor Luna Piezas ordered each office in the municipal government to submit their respective share in the proposed Citizen's Charter on May 18 to the office of the Municipal Local Government Operations Office (MLGOO).

      Piezas tasked MLGOO Sharon Marimon to consolidate and package them.

      The presentation and critiquing is scheduled on May 22.

      The Citizen's Charter is designed to promote good governance and quality service to the public.

      It describes the key services of the municipal government for the benefits of its citizenry, and contains the step-by-step procedures for availing each service, the response time for its delivery, and the municipal officials, department heads and staff responsible for the service.

      It will include the list of requirements the clients must comply to facilitate service delivery.  

      Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) of 2007 mandates the formulation of the Citizen's Charter to improve the efficiency of government service.

      It essentially redefines public service by putting the interest of the public first and foremost as the end goal of government service delivery.

      ARTA seeks to establish an effective system that will eliminate bureaucratic red tape, avert graft and corrupt practices and improve efficiency of delivering government frontline services.

      It also mandates all government agencies and instrumentalities to deliver public service in the most efficient manner for the public's convenience.

      A project team has been formed, composed of municipal officials and department heads led by Mayor Piezas who convened a steering committee and task force for the purpose.

      The Steering Committee serves as a primary advisory body to the local chief executive in the overall direction and supervision of the Citizen's Charter Initiative.

      The Task Force on Citizen's Charter takes the lead in the formulation, writing and packaging of the Citizen's Charter. Crafting a Citizen's Charter is a big thing.

      Upon the mayor's instruction, the Steering and Task Force Committee conducted a special meeting on April 20 at the Mayor's office conference room, in coordination with Marimon and Human Resource and Management Officer Crisologo Emnace, to discuss the status of its preparation.

      On April 23, the concerned department and section heads presented their identified frontline services to the public.

      Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator Noel Mendaña facilitated the activity.

      Marimon defined the frontline services and Mendaña presented the model Citizen's Charter that will serve as a guide.

      The frontline services being identified on per office basis will be the basis and focus of the Citizen's Charter that they will draft. 

Cebu Pacific Cheap Flights

News dispatched by Cebu Pacific Air.

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