Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Whereas, the SP forwarded to the Hon. Sergio Valencia, through the Chairman, PCSO, Resolution No. 48, s. 2006, requesting for the temporary suspension of the operations of the STL in the province of Occ. Mindoro;
Wjereas, said Resolution No. 48, s. 2006 was mailed to the Hon. Romualdo Quinones, Special Project Department, PCSO, under Registry Receipt No. 1020 dated June 22, 2006 and duly acknowledged by the PCSO through its return card on June 29, 2006;
Whereas, in giving accord to the favorable recommendation of this august body for the granting of franchise to STL under Resolution No. 163, s. 2005 dated September 26, 2005 on the belief that the STL operation shall redound to the best interest of our people, as early as May 2006 this body has been receiving adverse reactions from various civic and religious organizations, people's groups and sectoral federations that the SP had to pass Resolution No. 48, s. 2006 to temporarily suspend STL operations in this province;
Whereas, the matter on the continued operationof the STL has unjustly dragged the good name and reputation of the SP to this controversial issue inspite of the strong appeal of this august body for its suspension on the grounds of morality, legal impediments and technicalities, loopholes in the system of sharing between the franchise holder with the province and defective agreement on remittances to the disadvantage of this local government coffers and our constituents;
Whereas, on matter of technicalities, RVRC in their letter for reconsideration for the suspension of operation of STL dated June 13, 2006, declared that the operation of the STL in ur province is merely a test-run for one year, and that after the one year period, the august body and the PCSO may now assess whether or not the operation of STL is beneficial or damaging to the communities in pilot areas. Therefore, on this issue of assessment, after the one year period has elapsed, and on the basis of general clamor of the constituents, this body hereby makes and openly manifests the same stand under our Resolution No. 48, s. 2006 on the immediate suspension of STL operation in this province;
Whereas, on the matter of morality, the operation of STL has been found to be no different from jueteng in the simple sense that most bettors come from the "isang kahig, isang tuka" group that still dominates our society who are easy prey that are lured to bet their last centavo futher, during their trial period of one year, there had been no significant improvment on the lifestyle of this sector that could be attributed to the STL operations;
Whereas, on matters of defective agreement that resulted in unfair and (not) equitable sharing in proceeds by the failure of the franchise holder to present the complete receipts or statements that would show actual income from daily bets, the local government is believed to have incurred tremendous losses during this year of STL operations in this province;
Whereas, having been deprived of the much anticipated recognition from the PCSO-CSO in a period of one year regarding our people's strong manifestation on the STL suspension in our province through our Resolution No. 48, s. 2006 this august body again respectfully seeks any course of action taken by the PCSO on this issue since their receipt of the request up to this time or respectfully consider now disenfranchising STL operations in this province;
Whereas this august body further respectfully requests the PCSO, Board of Director to direct the STL franchise holder, the RVRC to appear before and answer to the SP on the maters of concern as stipulated under our Resolution No. 48, s. 2006 dated May 22, 2006...
This resolution is a product of the board members who were elected in May 2007. Those who signed in favor of the resolution were: Hon. Randolph Ignacio, Hon. Antonio Rebong, Hon. Arnold Abeleda, Hon. Robert Dawates, Hon. Ernesto Pablo, Hon. Roderick Agas, Hon. Gaudencio Espiritu, Hon. Marian Haydee Villarosa, and Hon. Ma. Antonietta Villarosa.
Those who voted for continued operations of STL in the province , hence agains this resolution were: Hon. Rocky Legaspi (PCL), Hon. Inocencio Fabular and Hon. Nathaniel Cruz. Hon. Manuel Mintu, who was expectedly to vote for STL, was absent.
I am reprinting in here the arguments of the capitalist-operator of STL in Occ. Mindoro.
Dear Vice-Governor Mendiola,
Our warmest greetings!
The undersigned are the representatives of Royal Viva Research Corporation, a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines. We are also the "bonded authorized corporation" granted authority by the PCSO to test-run Small Town Lottery (STL) in our province, by which recently, the august body wants to suspend our operation of the said number game.
In this regard, may we respectfully move for the reconsideration of the decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Occidental Mindoro in suspending the operation of the STL on the following grounds, to wit:
- STL has contributed significantly to the income of the local government units in our province;
- STL generated jobs;
- The august body itself initiated the operation of the STL in our province;
- The operation is merely a test-run.
In the first two months of the test-run of STL in our province, Royal Viva Research Corporation has remitted a total of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY EIGHT THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN 12/100 PESOS (P1,558,647.12) to the province of Occidental Mindoro. The following shows the breakdown of remittances of RVRC to the different local government units in our province (for the months of April and May, 2006):
- Calintaan -- April: 22,919.31; May: 53,405.52; Total: 76,324.83
- Magsaysay -- April: 79,684.47; May: 117,610.00; Total: 197,294.47
- Mamburao -- April: 23,920.65; May: 52,822.84; Total: 76,743.49
- Rizal -- April: 15,248.07; May: 33,444.18; Total: 48,692.25
- Sablayan -- April: 54,408.88; May: 98,105.00; Total: 152,513.88
- San Jose -- April: 116,459.28; May: 256,068.72; Total: 372,528.00
- Sta. Cruz -- April: 20,402.21; May: 61,459.74; Total: 81,861.95
- Province of Occ. Mindoro -- April: 178,533.14; May: 374,155.11; Total: 552,688.25
For the month of April, the RVRC remittances amounted to P511,576.01; for the month of May, P1,047,071.11. Thus, for the months of April and May, 2006 the total remittance is in the amount of P1,558,647.12.
Notice the almost 50% increase in our remittances during the month of May. It is expected that the remittances will still increase: we believe it has not yet reached its highest level.
In that very short period, the STL has generated substantial funds that could finance development projects, local charitable undertakings and social amelioration activities of our local government units.
Especially during this rainy season, we are expecting several typhoons to hit the province. Through our local government units, these funds could definitely help ameliorate those who will be greatly affected by these typhoons.
In that short period of two months, the STL has provided jobs to more than ONE THOUSAND residents of Occ. Mindoro. We have four hundred sales agents, five hundred sub-agents, and one hundred ten employees to operate the test run.
By virtue of Resolution No. 63, s. 2005 issued by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan... it was resolved... to request the Hon. Sergio Osmena Valencia, Chairman of the PCSO to grant a franchise to operate STL in our province of Occidental Mindoro.
From this Resolution, the RVRC seek authority from PCSO to conduct actual test run for a small town lottery project in Occidental Mindoro, which was granted on March 27, 2006 (conformably to RA No. 1169, as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 42, and PD No. 1157 and PCSO Board Resolution No. 118, s. 1987.)
STL in itself is among the fund raising activities of PCSO to finance health programs, medical assistance and services, and charities of national character of our government.
In line with the mandate of the PCSO, the objectives of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan... in allowing the PCSO-STL is very laudable, quoting from Resolution No. 163:
- To discover additional sources of charity funds;
- To generate at the provincial and municipal level, funds for local charitable undertaking, economic development, and social amelioration activities;
- To combat jueteng and other illegal number games;
- To find alternative sources of income for those who might be economically dislocated by the eradication of jueteng and illegal number games through the absorption of their dependents into the PCSO--STL.
We strongly believe that, with the STL, these objectives of the SP can be attained.
The operation of the STL in our province is merely a test-run for one year.
With all due respect we believe that the august body has yet no basis in suspending the operation of STL.
After the one-year period, the august body and the PCSO may now assess whether or not the operation of STL is beneficial or damaging to the communities in the pilot areas. This can serve as a guide in the decision of the august body on whether to continue the operation of STL in our province or not.
Despite being a test run however RVRC has to shell out a substantial amount to start and sustain the operations of STL.
Aside from the expenses in concluding the contract with the PCSO to conduct the test run in Occ Mindoro, RVRC has to post a ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) cash bond to the PCSO (which it did on March 27, 2006).
Notwithstanding these expenses, however, the RVRC, in order to help the province of Occ. Mindoro, went ahead and sealed the contract with the PCSO to conduct the test run in our province.
Wherefore, in the interest of the province of Occ. Mindoro and its inhabitants, so that we may be able to finance development projects and undertake local charitable undertakings and social amelioration activities, we are most respectfully praying before the august body to reconsider and vacate its decision suspending the operation of the STL in our province.
San Jose, Occ. Mindoro, June 13, 2006
signed: Nelson C. Siquioco and Rolly Diaz
Is this the reason why Resolution 48, s. 2006 was deemed inutile?
This time, it might interest every one to know about Provincial Council Resolution No. 48, s. 2006. This Resolution was prompted by advocacy work spearheaded by the Catholic Church. At least, in this occasion, the politicians heeded the voice of the Church calling for observance of morality.
Resolution No. 48 was approved on May 22, 2006 at the Sangguniang Bayan Session Hall, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.
- There is no proper monitoring system to establish the exact and correct amount of the bets being collected from day to day in every participating municipality;
- Winning bettors have no guarantee as to whether or not they will receive the prize as there are no claim tickets or receipts being issued;
- There is no control as to the genuineness of the papers being used for the lottery;
- There is no defined contract between the PCSO--Provincial/Municipal Government-- Agent Corporation binding the three entitites on the terms and conditions of the sharing and remittance scheme;
- Allegedly, winning bettors were paid only P600.00 per P1.00 bet, which is P200.00 lower than the specified amount of P800.00 for every bet of P1.00 as stipulated under the prescribed rules and regulations;
- On moral grounds, the above conditions created negative impressions leading to contradictions from among the different sectors of society.
Now, therefore, on motion to temporarily suspend the operation of the STL in Occ. Mindoro by the Hon. Arnold Abeleda, duly seconded by Hon. Ma. Antonietta Villarosa and Hon. Randolph Ignacio, and on the basis of the division of the house conducted wherein (four voted in favor of this Resolution -- Hon. Arnold Abeleda, Hon. Fe Abeleda-Legaspi, Hon. Randolph Ignacio, and Hon. Ma. Antonietta Villarosa) as against four members who voted no to the motion (Hon. Rocky Legaspi, Hon. Vicente Camandang, Hon. Nathaniel Cruz, and Hon. Inocencio Fabular), with one -- Hon. Ulysses P. Javier -- who abstained, and which said tie was broken by the acting Vice Governor and Presiding Officer Rey C. Ladaga who voted in favor of the motion to temporarily suspend STL in the province....
What has happened after the Resolution No. 48, s. 2006?
STL, up to now, still operates... Very effective move by our legislative body, huh...
Sunday, July 29, 2007
There had been in the past an initiative for the creation of the Municipality of San Jose of this province as a city. The fact is that, Resolution No. 0023, s. 2001 was already passed by the municipal council for this purpose and objective. However, for some reasons, the said resolution had not been pursued forward for its realization. One of the reasons, maybe, is that contents of the resolution need to be updated along the line of the present socio-economic situation of our municipality (income and population of the municipality).
Motivating factors that encourage this presentation to sponsor, and be one among those taking the initiative of making the Municipality of San Jose to become a city, is that several sectors now in our society are clamoring for these developmental change -- the change from the municipal way of administration to a city governance.
While the province of Oriental Mindoro has a Calapan City to boast, Occidental Mindoro still wants to have one. It is also interesting to note, that the municipality of Sablayan was seriously working to make their municipality to become a city. Once the Municipality of Sablayan is enacted by the Congress as a city, then San Jose has to wait for a hundred years to be proclaimed or enacted as such! A delay caused primarily will be attributed to local legislative inaction! Pray, it may not be allowed to happen by this honorable august body.
It is also the honest and sincere belief of this presentation that San Jose is now qualified to become a city, since it had already established its capability in compliance with the requisites for a component city, having an annual income of P116,803,109.26 for the year 2006; with a total land area of 446.7 square kilometer; and with a projected population of 121,936 for the year 2005; and will be more than 150,000 projected by the year 2010 (The municipality of Sablayan has a projected population of only 72,099 for the year 2005!). these requisites are for cityhood provided in RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.
The conversion of the municipality of San Jose as a component city will promote socio-economic development and effective management of its component barangays and are beneficial to the general interest and welfare of the public.
City government power will be enjoyed such as: police power, eminent domain, and taxation. It can exercise effectively and efficiently its corporate powers. Unique with the taxing and revenue raising powers of cities is that all the collected revenue shall exclusively for the benefit of the city. The city however shall abide and be guided with the fundamental principles of taxation.
There are many advantages and opportunities for development and beneficial to our constituency, if San Jose will be made and become a city. Numerous, to be enumerated in this Explanatory Note.
Praying that this Resolution for the cityhood of San Jose will be given consideration for deliberation and approval by this honorable august body.
(Signed: Hon. Emiliano R. Villanada)
(Mga kababayan, ito ang kaisipan ng ating Konsehal sa kaniyang pagsusulong ng pagka-siyudad ng San Jose.)
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I caught him being interviewed in a local radio station on this topic. He was asked about where on earth did he get the idea that San Jose be turned into a city when the municipality to date has a lot of problems mostly related to governance. Particularly, the query was: Di po ba mas dapat unang ayusin ang kuryente, basura, utang ng San Jose, drainage system, pasugalan sa napakarum at dis-organize na palengke, atbp. upang mas maging nasa posisyon tayo sa pagiging isang siyudad?
His logic is simple: Maging siyudad muna tayo upang mas maayos natin ang mga tinutukoy ninyong problema.
I beg to disagree, Honorable. For obvious reason.
What do have for now? Glaring mark of the government's hybridization program of agriculture is the inability of the hybrid palay seeds for second generation. This is a result of the modification of genetic make-up of the seeds which were originally naturally designed for propagation. As we know, scientific advancement has already gone this far.
Likewise, thanks to the capitalists who have caused the introduction and eventual proliferation of these kinds of seeds in the market. And, of course, to the government that has included as element(s) of its government programs for the farmers the use of these kinds of palay seeds.
In the concrete, this has resulted to the disappearance of that locus where the farmers used to claim independence from the claws of the capitalists. The farmers were using seeds that can generate itself for infinity. Now, the available seeds need to be bought from the agricultural enterprises -- every cropping season -- and in so doing the farmers are held by their very neck.
Isang pagkakataon na naman ng pagtatanikala sa mga magsasaka..
Thursday, July 26, 2007
As I pointed out in the previous post, the province does not get anything out of her extra-curricular activity as a lawmaker. I said extra-curricular activity for her main activity is supposedly to craft law(s). In this area, actually, her performance is quite not satisfactory (please refer to the older postings pertinent to Rep. Villarosa's legislative performance in the 13th Congress).
If this is not in any way bringing benefits to the province, then why her need to consort? A view is there that her consorting the president really intended to project the image that she's close to the president of the Philippines. Again, the question that begs for a straightforward answer: why does she need to consort?
Let me posit a possibility. She needs to because she needs the clout of the president for whatever help it could serve her husband in jail.
Yes, it's a bold assertion.. I just hope I am mistaken.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The President, on her way to the hall of the Congress, was flanked by two lady-solons. On her left is the fiery Senator Miriam Santiago; and on her right -- wearing a gown of the same color with the President's -- is the Representative of Occidental Mindoro.
It isn't strange, actually, having seen similar photo ops of the President with our Representative. Rep. Villarosa made herself "famous" as she travels around the world with the President. She stands -- among with other congressmen/women -- quite very frequently behind or beside the President as a bill is signed into law for instance.
One thing is sure, though. From all of this, Occidental Mindoro which she happens to represent in the Congress does not benefit. Has she gotten projects for the province, or investments from foreign capitalists out of her globetrotting?
Pang-konsorte lang talaga...
How's that? Actually, it's nothing new. It's a high-profile wrongdoing -- I would say -- that is anyway done down to the level of the Barangay. It is no different when I got my driver's license that I really cannot pass the exams I took twice, I was offered to pay extra to have my license to drive. Or when I happened to be in another government agency to ask for a certification -- a task which I suppose they are paid to do -- they asked for a pang-merienda. Or when I was to ask for a barangay certification the issuing clerk collected a fee presumably for the service that was rendered to me.
Yes, a high-profile wrongdoing... that is being done and practised also by those in lower ladder of government service..
Ano ba ang tamang lohika dito -- ginagawa ng mga nasa itaas, kaya ginagawa rin ng mga nasa ibaba? O nakamulatan nang ginagawa ng mga nasa ibaba, kaya sa pag-akyat sa pamumulitika dinala na rin sa itaas?
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Now, I am here to tell of one "distortion" that is very observable in the ranks of the farmers of Occidental Mindoro. This has been a handiwork of insistent government proddings, since the time of the Green Revolution during the KBL heyday, for the farmers to switch to "modernized farming technology" -- one of the characteristics of which is the use of chemical fertilizers.
It seems that the volume of fora, symposia, trainings, FGD's, and the like cannot cause the un-learning of the use of synthetic inputs in farming activities. It seems no appeal for ecological reasons and no amount of presentation of the "economics of hybrid farming technology" can effect farmers' paradigm shift on matters of farming technology to adapt.
It seems no amount of teaching them to do backyard production of organic fertilizer can be effective in bringing down the bulk of the use of chemical-based farm inputs in the ricefields of the province...
It seems the difference of P900.00/cavan of chemical fertilizer and the P200.00/cavan of organic fertilizer is not enough to do the persuasion.
For the farmers of Occidental Mindoro, the preference is on going to the market and bringing home the ever-available chemical fertilizer and other farm inputs than to exert extra effort to produce an ecologically-friendly farm implements.
Epekto ng pagbabagong teknolohikal? Malamang... Kasi dati naman, hindi ganito ang sistema ng pagsasaka.. At mas may pera ang mga magsasaka sa kanilang dating sistema.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
For this posting, it is deemed helpful to have a listing of the numbers of voters of Occidental Mindoro. This has nothing to do with the October/November elections. But, who knows if anyone can find substance on these listings for whatever end this may serve on the c oming elections?
Occidental Mindoro: No. of Voters
Taken from Inquirer.net
Sunday, 13 May 2007
OCCIDENTAL MINDORO No. of Voters: 194,802
Towns / Municipalities -- Registered Voters 2004 -- Registered Voters 2007 -- Increase / Decrease (%)
Abra de Ilog -- 12,215 -- 11,562 (-5.35)
Calintaan -- 9,555 -- 9,652 (1.02)
Looc -- 6,459 -- 7,626 (18.07)
Lubang -- 13,305 -- 13,721 (3.13)
Magsaysay -- 14,097 -- 14,669 (4.06)
Mamburao -- 16,140 -- 18,038 (11.76)
Paluan -- 7,373 -- 7,814 (5.98)
Rizal -- 13,299 -- 14,026 (5.47)
Sablayan -- 28,451 -- 29,426 (3.43)
San Jose -- 48,527 -- 50,175 (3.40)
Santa Cruz -- 15,886 -- 18,093 (13.89)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
"The most outstanding event of the post-war period in regard to Mindoro was the division of the province into Oriental and Occidental Mindoro on November 5, 1950. That meant the division of the coasts of the island, characterized by uneven economic, infrastracture, and demographic developments, into two separate provinces. Politicians stated administrative-technical reasons for that decision. But political reasons should be added as well. The administration of this gigantic island from Calapan proved to be very difficult, expensive and time-consuming. There was neither a connection overland between east and west coasts, nor a direct regular linkage by ship. The division took cognizance of this fact.
"The west coast had been politically primarily dominated by the Abeleda family and their many relatives (i.e., the Liboro's) for decades. They could, however, barely have gained a political leadership in the entire province of Mindoro for long. Felipe Abeleda had been elected governor in December, 1940; but, due to his role during the war, he and family were discredited. They would have been unable to gain a majority on the east coast where they lacked a power base.
"In congress, Rep. Raul Leuterio introduced the 1950 bill seeking to divide the island. In November, it was enacted into law. Thus, he paid back the political loyalty the Abeleda's had been giving him since the pre-war period. Leuterio supported the Abeleda's in their plan to gain political dominance in the povince of Occidental Mindoro. For the time being, San Jose became the new provincial capital owing to its prosperity and general importance. A group of influential citizens, among them Jesus Abeleda, started a campaign of the recently founded "Mamburao for Capital Club" in favor of Mamburao as the provincial capital The Abeleda's succeeded finally. Since January 1, 1951, Mamburao has been the capital of Occidental Mindoro. Mamburao is located within the power base of the Abeleda's. This important decision considerably increased the Abeleda's prestige in the province.
"In Oriental Mindoro, Gov. Conrado Morente stayed on in office. In Occidental Mindoro, Damaso V. Abeleda was appointed governor until December 31, 1951. Until 1951, Rep Raul Leuterio represented both provinces in congress in Manila. In the governatorial and congressional elections of November 31, 1951, the Abeleda's came out as the sole winner. Jesus Abeleda became representative of Occ Mindoro in congress, and Federico Castillo, a close friend of the Abeleda's, governor. Thus had the division and the balance of power been also legitimized by elections."
The landowners then and now lord over the landless peasants. They have control over the production, too, since it is most likely they who finance the entire cropping season of, say, rice. They do not soil their feet, and still get the most of the pie -- as it were -- of the farm produce.
The landless peasants (katiwala, or kasama) do not possess a land. They work on the field owned by the landlord. Usually, the landless peasants reside where the fields that they till but do not possess are. They are paid based on a pre-agreed terms. Some are paid on a regular basis; some are dependent on their share of the produce of the land.
Between the landowners and the landless peasants, a dependence-relationship exists. In this relationship, as in capital-labor equation, the landlord (capitalist) always has the upper hand.
Observably, another strata in the sector of agriculture has emerged. These are the -- in the parlance of the progressive groups in Occidental Mindoro -- manggagawang bukid. Like the katiwala, they do not have land to till; but unlike the katiwala, they roam around for labor. They come from one barangay and proceed to another barangay where the planting or the yielding of palay is. They are paid on a daily basis. No work, no pay. I wonder how they make both ends meet during the lull period, i.e., between the planting and the harvesting season.
Also, it is to be mentioned here that the manggagawang bukid are practically governed by a kabisilya. The kabisilya is a middle man. He serves to bridge the gap between the landowners and the manggagawang bukid; that is, he negotiates for both parties.
I suppose, there is a reason to include among these groups the capitalists -- who may not be owning a farmland, or may not have any interest in growing palay or any agricultural products -- whose only stake in this sector is the loans that they extend to the farmers -- usually with a very high interest rates -- and the agro-chemical business that they maintain and from which their wealth proceed.
Hindi nakakapagtaka... Ang agrikultura ay hindi na itinuturing ng iba na hanap-buhay...
Monday, July 16, 2007
The Affidavit was executed on May 15, 2007 and notarized on May 16, 2007.
The affiant is Mr. Gaspar Bustillo Bandoy of Barangay 3, Poblacion, Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.
Mr. Gaspar Bandoy was the duly designated poll watcher of Mayor Joel Panaligan stationed at Precinct 3-A, Poblacion 2, Mamburao, Occ. Mindoro.
As a watcher, he positioned himself at the back of Mr. Romulo de Jesus, the BEI chair.
Around 9pm of May 14, 2007, while the counting of the last bundle of fifty ballots was about to begin, Mr. Bandoy saw Mr. de Jesus opened the drawer in the table where he was reading the votes and took a bundle of folded ballots therein.
As Mr. de Jesus opened the drawer, Mr. Bandoy saw another bundle of folded ballots hidden inside the said drawer aside from the aforementioned bundle of ballots.
Immediately, Mr. Bandoy requested Mr. de Jesus to stop the counting and said: "Teka muna buksan natin ang drawer dahil mayroon pang naka-bundle sa loob e, huling bundle na dapat itong hawak mo. Bakit mayroon pa sa loob"?
Mr. de Jesus refused to open the drawer and ordered (Mr. Bandoy) to get out of the room.
Mr. Bandoy went out of the room and directly to Mr. Panaligan to report the incident.
Mr. Bandoy went back to Precinct 3-A to resume his duty as poll watcher.
After the counting of the ballots, Mr. Bandoy saw Mr. Randole Bool who was at that time in Precinct 3-A and told him: "Bro, tingnan mo nga ang pangyayari dito at may dayaan."
Subsequently, Mr. de Jesus took the bundles of ballots inside the drawer and placed it in a brown envelope and placed it inside his bag which was placed under his table.
Mr. Bandoy is charging Mr. de Jesus for violation of Article 261 (z) 14 of the Omnibus Election Code.
For videos of Mr. de Jesus, you may see http://www.i-site.ph/blog/?p=202. In this site, one will also find the police report on the transpiration, the search warrant that was issued for Mr de Jesus to surrender his bag to the police, and some other documents.
The following is a reproduction of the article.
"ON May 14, 2007, around nine in the evening, a teacher in Occidental Mindoro was caught red-handed switching two bundles of ballots at Precinct 0003-A in Mamburao Central School.
"Earlier, poll watcher Gaspar Bandoy allegedly saw de Jesus taking out a bundle of folded ballots from his drawer as the votes were being read, while another bundle remained inside. Bandoy then immediately called for the counting to be stopped. Bandoy said de Jesus refused to open his drawer and ordered the poll watcher to get out of the room.
"When Bandoy returned, he saw de Jesus taking the same bundle from the drawer, placed it in a brown envelope and shoved it inside his blue backpack kept under the table. Poll watchers then alerted the police.
"Tension grew as a crowd started to gather around the precinct, pressuring de Jesus to open his bag. He however refused to yield and even tied his backpack around his neck. Police then took de Jesus to the municipal hall where the canvassing was being held.
"He was kept under watch in the municipal hall for two days, until the search warrant was served on May 16, 7:30 pm. The search warrant was issued for violating Article XXII Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code or for “knowingly” using ballots other than the official ballots. (See the search warrant and police reports on the case.) When the police opened the bag, two bundles of ballots inside a manila envelope were found.
"Each bundle contained 50 ballots. All of the votes cast in the 100 genuine ballots were reportedly in favor of incumbent Mayor Joel Panaligan, who lost in that precinct. Results show Panaligan got only about 40 votes in Precinct 3-A, while rival Anthony Voltaire “Bambi” Villarosa had about 120 votes. Despite the ballot-switching, Panaligan still emerged as the winner in the mayoralty race in Mamburao.
"De Jesus was placed under arrest and was brought to the police station for booking. But the 43-year-old teacher had to be taken to the hospital because of hypertension. On May 17, 2007, he had to be released because a complaint had not been filed within the prescribed 18-hour period. Bandoy, who is now in hiding as he had reportedly been receiving death threats, failed to file a complaint.
"Under the Omnibus Election Code, the Commission on Elections has the power to conduct a preliminary investigation on all election offenses and to prosecute. However, it cannot act on a case without a complaint being filed. Any person found guilty of election offenses shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years, and shall not be subject to probation.
"In another town, at about the same time in May 14, three teachers of Caminawit Central School, San Jose were found reading votes from allegedly 90 “spurious” ballots that bore one serial number (0410158).
"The genuine ballots, as in de Jesus’s case, were found hidden inside the drawer of BEI chair Elenita Pesigan.
De Jesus and Pesigan are allegedly among the teachers tasked to switch ballots in favor of the Villarosas, a powerful political clan in that part of Mindoro.
"It was reported that on April 12, 2007, 34 teachers trooped to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa where former Occidental Mindoro Rep. and San Jose mayoralty candidate Jose ‘JTV’ Villarosa is jailed for double murder.
"The teachers, according to sources, were promised P10,000 as downpayment, and P1,000 for every ballot switched.
"Villarosa, husband of re-electionist Occidental Mindoro Rep. Ma. Amelita Villarosa, dismissed the allegations as lies and mere propaganda; although he did not deny that teachers from Mindoro still visit him from time to time.
"Despite these allegations, Villarosa was defeated by re-electionist Romulo Festin this elections. His son, Bambi Villarosa, also lost to Panaligan by 69 votes in Mamburao, where the ballot-switching involving De Jesus took place.
"This is not the first time that the Villarosas had been accused of poll fraud. In 2004, the National Bureau of Investigation was tasked to look into the alleged ballot-switching of 27,000 “fake ballots” in favor of Jose Villarosa, who then ran as governor. Governor Josephine Ramirez-Sato, who again won in this midterm elections, was subsequently declared as the winner.
"Meanwhile, PCIJ sources say some of the teachers who were willing to confess are now preparing their affidavits. Some had also reportedly returned the money they were paid to switch ballots.
The three teachers in San Jose now face criminal charges for violating Article XXII Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code or for “willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously” using ballots other than the official ones.
"De Jesus, meanwhile, went back to Mamburao on May 21 and sued the townspeople for arbitrary detention and kidnapping."
For one, in Occidental Mindoro, political parties do not really count. Actually, the two contending political personalities are under the party of the present administration. Hence, kung hindi ka kay Sato, kay Villarosa ka.
What accounts for the solidification of personalities' political stronghold? Let me suggest one explanation.
I am a believer that Occidental Mindoro has a pool of potential leaders. That the so called dearth of leaders in Occidental Mindoro is a myth.
The only thing is, these potential leaders are nipped in their buds. What do I mean? Concretely, we have the Sangguniang Kabataan. This mechanism is -- true to its purpose for existence -- a training ground for future politicos (no pun intended). This provides occasion for grassroot-based young people to be in position of leadership. Those who get voted are given training for leadership skills, for facilitation, for consultation, for inter-personal skills, etc. They have their time to manage projects intended for their fellow-youth.
Young as they are, however, they already get a taste of what it means to be immersed in partisan politics. Actually, the SK is and should not be partisan. But, as only the naive would contest this, the SK leaders are reduced to pawns in the process of political machinations of the lording political personalities. This happens specifically when the SK leaders of the barangays come together to choose among themselves the municipal SK leader. And this is repeated in the selection of the provincial SK leader.
As they would eventually narrate, the selection of the municipal and provincial SK leaders are not never influenced by the cold-blooded trapos. Their votes are being courted -- nay, ... are being bought.
One can only wish that these young leaders, who are full of idealism and fiery desire for service, go through a school of leadership where they could have a solid education on the ideals of governance that is based on law and morals and others-centered.
One can only wish that these leaders would finally come to realize that to sit at the foot of the present leaders and learn from their self-serving political styles will not only lead them to become principled future leaders, but is actually more hurting to the province -- that is already suffering at the hands of those who disguise themselves as servants of the people.
Young leaders, rise! Let us change the face of Occidental Mindoro!
Sunday, July 15, 2007
To date, there are private individual-farmers and even cooperatives of farmers who are into production of non-synthetic fertilizer. This kind of fertilizer is cheaper and is actually as effective than a chemical-based fertilizer. A bag of commercial synthetic fertilizer is worth little than a thousand pesos; while an organic fertilizer is more or less two hundred pesos. This can even be produced in one's backyard, and hence would entail no cost -- only sweat. And laboratory tests attest to the latter's efficacy, which is more often than not obstructed by the disturbed of altogether destroyed equilibrium of soil nutrients accounted for by the long-time use of synthetic fertilizer.
However, the production of organic fertilizer in the province is not sufficient. Fact is, big volume still comes from Batangas City. Hence, the idea of DA (in cohorts with the Provincial and some Municipal Governments, and other line agencies) for Occidental Mindoro to produce its own consumption. Good and laudable idea!
Besides, I suppose DA has its pool of qualified and competent scientists and technicians. And they, in consonance with the findings of other agriculturists' groups worldwide, must have been aware of the advantage of using non-chemical or non-synthetic farm inputs. I have my relative who works with DA and who's telling me that if not for his work in the government he would not propagate nor teach the use of chemical fertilizers.
But,... And this escapes from my rationality... The concentration/focus of the DA programs in the province is into hybridization of palay or rice. Which demands the use of more and more chemical farm inputs..
Is this not a case of "the right hand knowing not what the left hand does"? Is this not an indication of dysfunctionality of a government agency?
Kawawang Magsasaka (at Mangingisda)...
Saturday, July 14, 2007
The Road to Peace and Development in Occidental Mindoro
(Lt. Col. Elmer Quiros, CO, 80 IB)
"Occidental Mindoro has never been known to many as the land of the promise. But to Mindoreños, the province is very rich in natural resources and agriculture is the major source of income to the majority. In fact, the province remains to be the food basket of southern Tagalog and is second in rice production in the
country years back. With more projects at hand, Occidental Mindoro will soon take off and boost its productivity to its highest level.
"The province has been synonymous to insurgency. Accordingly, the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC), known to be the most active front of the communist terrorists (CTs) nationwide has surreptitiously established its headquarters in the northernmost part of the province. Based on some revelations by rebel returnees, the STRPC set its foothold in the late 90s and has orchestrated its operations
in its sphere of influence not until its discovery and dismantling in the year 2004. Since then, they were able to capitalize on the broad mass base that eventually slowed down progress in the region. Coupled with bitter rivalries in politics which has claimed so many innocent lives, the province has struggled to achieve its goals.
"The rest is history. Today, the province is in the bloom. According to Governor Josephine Ramirez Sato, the province has achieved so much in terms of agricultural production which is her administrations centerpiece. She has provided farmers with farm products to include financial assistance to improve production. Furthermore, she has set on the drawing board attainable goals that will benefit all sectors of society particularly in her drive versus insurgency. Lately, the provincial government dispersed high breed cows with the hope of bringing back the glory to the province as the premier cattle raisers in the country.
"Politics is another problem the province has to deal with caution. Governor Sato remains to be very approachable to anybody. Everyone benefits in all her programs to include times of emergency. Still, the pressure of politic is felt by everyone. If only this situation never existed as every Mindoreño had wanted, the province could have been more progressive and more peaceful. Hopefully, this dream will come to a reality.
"Still, insurgency cannot be defeated overnight. In fact, it continues to destroy society at its grasssoots and remains to be the major threat to peace and development especially in the countrysides. Based on latest intelligence assessments, the CTs have established their foothold in some barangays and continue to
influence rural activities in their favor. Not for long, they will try to enhance their sphere of influence in neighboring communities until they will finally encircle the urban centers. This maybe is the desire of the CTs but notwithstanding, the present administration will not allow such situation to prevail.
"Networking and pooling of resources by all stakeholders has been the ultimate formula to eradicate not only CT presence but moreso, its roots. Poverty, injustice, illiteracy and adventurism are at the forefront of communism and if not addressed in its infant stage, you will have a situation similar to what the country has at present. Luckily, the present administration of the different municipalities is very keen in addressing
the malady. Everybody, directly or indirectly, strives and works the extra mile in achieving development. But development has to pay the price before achieving peace."
Now, what does the article say?
First, the province is very promising -- primarily with its natural resources. As an agricultural area, the province is a major rice producer (in the region of Southern Tagalog and in the Philippines). These should have placed the province at the forefront of economic progress.
Second, what hampers the advent of economic development in the province is insurgency. Since 1990's the NPA's were able to put up a command in the northern part of the island of Occidental Mindoro -- until 2004 when it was overran by the military. Col. Quiros must have been reporting about the camp that allegedly the military took over after a massive military operations was launch in the first quarter of 2004 after the NPA's did a big damage to the Calaca power plant in Batangas. The NPA's, as they made their retreat, crossed the sea between Batangas and Paluan, Occidental Mindoro.
Likewise, the good colonel made mention of the NPA strongholds in barangays, and the sympathy that these communists are still enjoying from the rural people.
Actually, and this Col. Quiros never mentioned in his article, Mindoro is said to be the area for rest and recreation of the NPA's. For one, they cannot put up a steady camp in the island. Thus, NPA's from Luzon or from the Visayas are coming and going -- while a little less than a hundred are mainstays in the province. And for them, a batallion is stationed in Occidental Mindoro. The military does have an edge in almost all aspects of these possible engagement with the NPA's -- especially in number.
Thirdly, the military colonel is optimistic of what the provincial and municipal leaderships are doing. This, he asserts, can be a facilitating factor to defeat the cause of insurgency.
Fourthly, he says too that development is hampered because of the presence of the insurgents. Curiously, one may ask the question: which is the cause of which? Is it because of insurgency that development is obstructed? Is development is not coming in so there is insurgency?
Lastly, the causes of insurgency -- or that which fuels insurgency -- are the following: poverty, injustice, illiteracy and adventurism... Precisely, it was my main query in the fourth point.
Friday, July 13, 2007
"Another structural problem is the inadequacy of irrigation. Most of the river systems in the province no longer have the demanded volume of water to make irrigation feasible. This is attributed to the greatly deforested watersheds.
"In the fishing industry, one of the serious causes of depletion in the fish catch is overfishing. Since 1965, fishing fleets from other parts of the country have joined the locals in the fishing grounds. It was aggravated by the use of environment-destructive methods, disabling the marine resources to replenish. Other causes of the low fish population is the destruction of habitant, particularly, mangrove forests and corral reefs."
The above citation of agricultural problems in Occidental Mindoro is supplied by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occidental_Mindoro.
Can we take off from this, and further the discussion of problems that plague Occidental Mindoro's agriculture?
To me, the description of the true state of power supply in the province is not reflected in the above-cited statement. The following is Didaskalos' perception of the real state of power industry in the province:
- The supply of electricity in the province is not going to improve in the near future, unless the Villarosa's rescind the contract that they maintain with the OMECO. In 1990's, the IPC -- a power producing corporation that is owned by JTV and some other known and moneyed personalities -- came to terms with the Occ Mindoro Electric Cooperative -- the power distributor in the whole province -- for an exclusive contract of supply of power for 25 years! And this is renewable for another 25 years. Now, the problem is not because there is a contract of exclusive supply, and that the party with which OMECO got into a contract is the family of Villarosa and their business partners. The problem is IPC IS NO LONGER DELIVERING AND YET THE CONTRACT IS STILL IN EFFECT!!! Occ Mindoro has no adequate supply of power because the National Power Corporation's capacity is quite limited. Actually, it is already supplying the volume of electricity that IPC should have been producing. And, mind you, IPC is not and will never be penalized for its failure to deliver. This is mind-boggling! So, one may think aloud: Then, why not challenge the contract in the court? Really, that is the only course insofar as we cannot expect the Villarosa's to finally obey their conscience and decide for a unilateral rescinding of contract to open the provincial requirement for electricity for bidding among competent and able independent power producers. However, since this is a potential civil case, it is doomed to drag in court for as long as the provided lifespan of the contract would last.
- Secondly, on account of the abovementioned exclusive contract, there is no independent power producer in its right mind to ever dare to venture to supply power in Occidental Mindoro. Anyone who dares would have to deal with the Villarosa's, and pay them millions of pesos for royalties. Simply because the Villarosa's hold and maintain an exclusive contract with the OMECO.
- OMECO, for its part, is and should be a subject of social scrutiny. For one, for the entire 2006, it was consistently losing an average of P6M per month. This loss was accounted for by, among others: excessive administrative costs, engineering lapses resulting to extraordinarily high systems loss, payment of past dues, etc. Likewise, the GM should also be subjected to a lifestyle check -- for the use of the service vehicle of the organization for his family's affairs, his lavish style of living, the dining and wining and womanizing that he affords the members of the board of directors, etc. Organizationally, OMECO is beyond comprehension too. It is cooperative just by name, and not in reality. It is not registered to CDA; and its future prospect of registration to CDA is being blocked by the administration. The GM, because of his close affiliation and connections to the NPC, is more powerful than the Board of Directors. The BoD does not possess the power to hire and fire GM's.
- That not all the barangays in the province have electricity is made more complicated by the three conditions of the state of power industry in the province.
Anyway, ... we're still better off than in the days of Stone Age. At least, we have an electric supply that is akin to a smouldering wick.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
IT’S been said that “victory finds a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” This quote accurately sums up the fate of three Catholic priests who threw their hats — or habits if you will — in the political ring in this year’s midterm elections.
While Father Ed Panlilio’s electoral victory has been hailed as a triumph of good versus evil, and has even merited a statement from the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), which welcomed the “exceptional” victory, not a squeak was heard about the fate of two other priests who ran — but lost — in the May 14 elections. Their names, much like their crusades, have faded into political oblivion.
Panlilio, who ran for governor, anchored his campaign on providing a “credible alternative candidate” for the people of Pampanga. The incumbent governor, Mark Lapid, has been accused of pocketing bribes from quarrying operations in the province, while the other candidate, Provincial Board member Lilia Pineda, has been associated with jueteng, being the wife of alleged gambling lord Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda.
Panlilio vowed to stop corruption and gambling in Pampanga. He won, despite being the subject of a smear campaign for allegedly fathering children with different women, a charge he vehemently denied.
In Occidental Mindoro, Father Ronilo Omanio’s gubernatorial bid seemed to mirror Panlilio’s: man of the cloth running for a local position, seeking to provide an alternative to long-time politician and incumbent governor Josephine Ramirez-Sato, and banking on the people’s sentiments against issues like mining and small town lottery.
Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), the political party of reelectionist Representative Ma. Amelita Villarosa, as well as her husband Jose and son Anthony Voltaire, had no gubernatorial candidate on their slate. Kampi adopted Omanio.
On election day, no “miracle,” like the one that happened in Pampanga, was to be expected in Occidental Mindoro; Sato’s clout proved too much for the priest.
Although, Mindoreños were a witness to a miracle of a different sort, cooked up allegedly by the Villarosas, a powerful political clan in the province.
On May 14, a school teacher in San Jose was caught red-handed allegedly switching spurious ballots in favor of former congressman Jose Villarosa who ran for the the town’s mayoral post. The genuine ballots confiscated from the teacher showed votes for Omanio’s opponent, Ramirez-Sato.
The ballot-switching was allegedly masterminded by Jose. It was not clear whether Omanio knew of, or condoned, the alleged plan to rig the elections.
Meanwhile, in Zamboanga City, a priest’s mayoral bid met an even more controversial conclusion. Monsignor Crisanto dela Cruz, who resigned from priesthood when he decided to run for public office, lost to incumbent mayor Celso Lobregat.
Dela Cruz, who was the parish priest at St. Joseph Parish in the city, was suspended from the priesthood by the Zamboanga Archdiocese and was prohibited from using the title “mosignor” when he filed his certificate of candidacy.
A month after dela Cruz signified his intention to run as mayor, a sex video showing what reportedly looked like dela Cruz having oral sex with another man circulated around the city. The video was allegedly taken inside a hotel room using a phone with a video camera.
Dela Cruz has sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to apprehend the former priest’s bodyguard Ramil Luna.
Luna, a member of the Philippine Air Force, reportedly extorted money from dela Cruz in exchange for the videotape.
On election day, the video was once again circulated, providing an easy ammunition for dela Cruz’s political opponents.
The former priest denied that he was the man in the video, saying “with the advent of technology, nothing is impossible.”
All three members of the clergy were suspended from their priestly duties after launching their political bids.
Father Omanio’s suspension came from Occidental Mindoro Bishop Antonio Palang. A church circular stating that Omanio is not an official candidate of the Catholic Church was read in all parishes in the province.
Monsignor dela Cruz, according to Zamboanga Archdiocese spokesperson Monsignor David Alonzo, was suspended because the priest “violated Church Law when he decided to enter politics.”
The suspension was based on Canon Law number 287 Paragraph 2, a provision, the monsignor added, that specifically forbids the clergy to engage in partisan politics.
In a statement issued after Panlilio’s victory, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP president, has explained that in Panlilio’s case, the suspension was “to ensure that there (will) be no confusion between priesthood and politics, thus respecting the separation of Church and State.” Panlilio’s suspension came from Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto.
Archbishop Lagdameo earlier said that he would be discouraging priests from running for public office, and added that Father Panlilio’s election is an “exception” and the bishops “want to keep it that way.”
The outspoken Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, meanwhile, voiced doubts on the possibility of suspended priests being accepted back by the Church.
“Rome will not likely allow your return. Once you leave or are dismissed, there’s no turning back,” Cruz said in an interview.
The latter it was under whose incumbency did the Small Town Lottery began to legally enter into our social life.
Small Town Lottery (STL) is said to have been conceived to "kill" the illegal numbers game of jueteng. Jueteng is illegal, and has been a source of corruption among government officials. The bets of people enrich the jueteng capitalists -- the most prominent of whom is a kumpadre to PGMA.
Thus, to get rid of an illegal number game the government solution is to make it legal. This is just one of the impressions on STL. For mechanics-wise, it is no different from jueteng -- only that it has more numbers (36 for jueteng, 40 for STL) that is tantamount to lesser chances of winning, and lesser pot money for winners.
It was advertised as a potential fiscal source of up to six to ten billion pesos (P6-10B) annually for financing of the government's social services to its people.
Likewise, it is said to be under the PCSO. That means, this requires franchise. It is being claim that the actual operations of the STL is also under the monitoring of the LGU's. This set-up gives the impression that there is nothing wrong with the set-up and the system of the STL. For a government agency -- which is even directly under the Office of the President -- exercises supervision over its operations.
In the province of Occidental Mindoro, STL is being operated by Royal Viva Research Corporation. Frankly, I do not know the corporators of this corporation; what I knew is that it is being housed by the Syquioco family along Mabini Street, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. And its operations is provincial-wide (hence, in this case the Small Town Lottery is misnomer.)!
The fact is it gained its way to Occidental Mindoro by virtue of Resolution 163, s. 2005 of our Sangguniang Panlalawigan being the basis of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office for granting the Royal Viva Research Corporation a franchise to operate STL in the province. Another fact is that the Resolution 163, s. 2005 is a pro-forma of PCSO, upon which the provincial board members will only to affix their signatures. Actually, the said Resolution asked for only a year for a trial run, after which the succeeding years of its existence and operations will be based.
The Resolution contended that there are reasons for the operations of STL in the province: (1) it is for employment; (2) it is a source of revenue for the LGU and the national government; (3) it is going to annihilate jueteng; among others.
It has been two years since Resolution 163. The trial run has ended. Actually, I fear that STL is here already to stay. However, I am still trying to psyche myself to be optimistic that it's going to stop anyway and anyhow.
First, because of the present composition of the provincial board members. I understand among the provincial board members, there are those who would like to have STL disappear from the face of Occidental Mindoro. However, understanding the Implementing Rules and Regulations of STL, it actually does need the nod of the provincial council for its continued existence. That is why it is called Small Town Lottery. Any mayor of any municipality can decide to have it within its municipal territory! Already now, the Mintu's of Sablayan have been saying that they are to have it in Sablayan. Fact is, Board Member Manuel Mintu -- a nephew of Mayor Godofredo Mintu of Sablayan -- is one of the prime endorsers of Resolution 163.
Secondly, the trial run of STL can stand against its succeeding operations. It was learned that the monitoring of the LGU is sham. For to totally monitor its operations, the LGU has to assign its personnel to each and every agent of the STL. To just wait when all the bets are in and monitor the recording proves to be counter-productive and self-defeating. However, crumbs it may be that LGU receives, these are still money. Ang a potential source of extra money. Governor Sato was able to launch a project called YAKAP NI NENE out of the STL money. Rep. Villarosa reportedly gets her share -- and as the LGU's point out, the lone district of Occidental Mindoro does not have receipt for any amount that it receives.
And, lastly, in a society of which people's predilection is to gamble, to argue and campaign against the "legalized jueteng" is too taxing. For such people, truth is determined by number of believers and not by the substance on which it stands. Thus, that STL is demoralizing is negated by the fact that Royal Viva Research Corporation is able to maintain a big number of followers.
At least, to their mind...
Of course, this post is never complete withou mentioning that one of the board members, Hon. Nathan Cruz, who is an avid supporter of STL is said to be payrolled by Mayor Hagedorn of Palawan -- the nationally known conceiver of STL.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
"WE take our hat off to Judge Ma. Theresa Yadao of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court-Branch 81 for finally rendering the verdict on the murder of the Quintos brothers more than eight years after it took place in Mamburao, Mindoro Occidental. Her courageous feat in resolving the sensational case in the face of pressures from the powers-that-be and threats of harm by communist insurgents vividly illustrate that our judiciary is not lacking in men and women in robes who can be relied upon to dispense equal justice and punish those who have run afoul of the law without fear or favor from anyone.
"In her decision on March 1, (2006) Judge Yadao meted out the death sentence to former Rep. Jose Villarosa, and six farmers for the twin murder of Michael and Paul Quintos, sons of former congressman and 1971 Constitutional Convention delegate Ricardo Quintos, arch-political rival of Villarosa.
"The decision was deemed earth-shaking enough to merit banner headline treatment in a leading national daily and some tabloids in Metro Manila.
"It came as a shock to Villarosa and his wife, incumbent Mindoro Occidental Rep. Amelita Villarosa, who had both expected an acquittal. “Unfair, the judgment is unfair,” muttered an angry Villarosa as he walked out of the courtroom, handcuffed and escorted by jail guards.
On the other hand, the elder Quintos and other members of his family, never lost any hope of seeing the case decided in their favor. They believed they and their lawyers had gathered more than enough evidence to build an airtight case and nail down the perpetrators of the gruesome crime.
"In the 86-page decision, Judge Yadao said she found sufficient evidence that Villarosa and his coaccused conspired to kill the Quintos brothers.
"Also sentenced to die by execution were Josue Ungsod, Manolito Matricio, Mario Tobias, Ruben Balaguer and Gelito Bautista, the so-called “Mamburao Six” who were alleged members of the New People’s Army.
"Michael, a barangay chairman, and Paul were attending a birthday party in a neighbor’s house in Mamburao on Dec. 13, 1997 when five armed men barged into the premises and shot the brothers in cold blood. The killings hogged the newspaper headlines for weeks.
"Villarosa and other suspects were arrested by the police on the strength of the testimony of Eduardo Hermoso who served as one of the lookouts. Hermoso fell under the hands of the police two weeks after the murder. He also pinpointed Villarosa as the mastermind of the murder where seven gunmen and the congressman’s driver and police escort were supposedly involved.
"In February 1998, the double murder case was transferred from Mamburao to the Quezon City RTC upon the order of the Supreme Court in response to the petition of the complainants. The case suffered a setback when Quezon City RTC-Branch 76 Judge Monina Zenarosa, on April 28, 1998, granted bail to Villarosa, Bautista and Balaguer although murder is a nonbailable offense.
The case suffered another blow in October 2001 when the remaining suspects were almost freed from prison. Upon recommendation of the Department of Justice, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo approved the release on recognizance of the Mamburao Six as part of the government’s confidence-building measures to help restart the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front. But the motion to free the suspects was denied by Yadao.
"The elder Quintos was convinced that Villarosa, a retired military colonel was behind the killing of his sons. The crime was traced to the bitter feud over the 600-hectare Golden Country Farms owned by the Quintos family and managed by Michael. Farmers, many of whom were squatting on the vast farm, wanted it parceled under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), but the Quintoses resisted it.
"Two years before the killing, Villarosa confronted Quintos and told him the squatting problem at the Golden Country Farms could be solved easily. According to Quintos, Villarosa imposed a stiff price: his family would have to give up half of the farm. So incensed was Quintos that he walked out of the meeting.
"At the time of the killing, Villarosa was congressman of the province. In the May 2001 elections, Quintos and Villarosa fought in the gubernatorial contest. Villarosa was proclaimed winner by the Commission on Elections despite the alleged strong proof of fraud. Quintos, who lost the election by a mere 1,000 votes, filed an electoral protest. In the May 2004 elections, Amelita Villarosa won as congressman but her husband was defeated by Josefina Sato in the gubernatorial race. It is said that Rep. Villarosa, who is a member of the ruling Lakas party and a staunch ally of President Arroyo, exhausted all means, using the political clout of her office, to influence the outcome of the case and get her husband off the hook.
"In the face of pressures and harassment to which she was subjected to in handling the twin murder case, Judge Yadao refused to be intimidated, making it clear to all that she would decide on the case purely on its merits and the evidence on hand.
"A judicial official of lesser stuff would have easily thrown in the towel in the face of the forces trying to influence her handling of the celebrated case. In fact, three other RTC judges inhibited from the case one by one for perplexing reasons. Following a motion from the prosecution, Judge Monina Zenarosa inhibited herself from the case in September 1998. It was reraffled in two other Quezon City RTC branches but the judges also inhibited themselves. The case was again reraffled to the sala of Judge Yadao, who proved herself to have the balls to preside over the prosecution of the case down to its logical end.
"The exemplary deeds of Judge Yadao in resolving the case regardless of who gets hurt stands out in stark contrast to the shameful behavior of another judge in Tacurong City who dismissed the murder charges against the suspected masterminds and the triggermen in the assassination of antigraft crusader and community journalist Marlene Esperat despite the fact that the killers had confessed to their crime and squealed on the persons who paid them off for the hastly crime.
"Yadao’s admirable feat should also put to shame the top honchos in the Office of the Ombudsman who keep on sitting on the plunder charges against the commissioners of the Commission on Elections involved in the anomalous P1.3 billion election automation contract.
For posterity's sake, yes it is. Banking on what may be learned from this line: we are doomed to repeat history should we fail to learn from it.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The Context of Justness and Sincerity (As Among the Demands of Ethical and Accountable Conduct of those in Public Service:
- Elections -- For example, vote buying and padding of voters' list.
- Legislation -- The perks and privileges of our solons; they have discretion over the allocation, use and disbursement of development funds.
- Revenue Assessment and Collections -- Bribes are paid to lower assessments or into into compromises.
- Regulatory and Licensing Arrangements -- Money is given to obtain licenses.
- Law Enforcements -- Bribe money is paid to avoid prosecution or to settle cases.
- Appointments or/and Promotions --- Preference is given to relatives or friends in appointment or promotion, some positions are "sold" to highest bidder.
As we identify these failures, we must over and over again remind ourselves with the national condition that they have brought us to. Lest we forget that as public servants we are potential contributors to our already sad state.
- In 2000, it was estimated that 34% of the Filipino population lived below the poverty threshold level. The cost of living escalates, while the purchasing power of our monetary unit depreciates. The prices of basic commodities steadily rise, while the minimum daily wage remains the same, even eroded by the decelerating value of the peso.
- Social inequity, i.e., concentration of landholdings in landlord's hands, political power in political dynasties, and wealth in the hands of the rich
- As of January 2004, the country's foreign debt is P3.41 trillion. If the liability is equally divided among all Filipinos, each must cough up PhP41,585.00. 40% of the national budget is for debt servicing (big thanks to PD 1177!), while the budget allocations for health, education and agriculture, among others are on steady decline.
- It has been observed that, after deducting debt servicing and personnel expense, at least 20% of the national budget is eaten by corruption.
- Corruption wolfs down 30% of tax collection, 20% of government's procurement budget, and 50% of allocations for road building (2004 World Bank Report: Combatting Corruption in the Philippines).
- The Corruption Perception Index survey conducted annually by Transparency International reveals that corruption in the Philippines is worsening -- 65th least corrupt in 2001 when 91 countries were surveyed; 77th among 102 countries in 2002; and 92nd among 133 in 2003.
Lord, help us...
Monday, July 9, 2007
2. HB03320 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A FARMER'S CENTER IN EVERY MUNICIPALITY IN THE PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
3. HB05983 (AN ACT ESTABLISHING FISHERY HATCHERY AND/OR BREEDING FARMS/CENTERS FOR THE PRODUCTION/MULTIPLICATION OF BANGUS FINGERLINGS, LAPU-LAPU, ALIMANGO AND TILAPIA IN THE MUNICIPALITIES OF MAGSAYSAY AND STA. CRUZ IN THE PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
2. HB04374 (AN ACT ESTABLISHING A THIRTY-BED CAPACITY HOSPITAL IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF MAGSAYSAY, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, TO BE KNOWN AS THE DR. FRANCO S. BARRERA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
3. HB05627 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A BARANGAY HEALTH CENTER IN BARANGAY CASAGUE, MUNICIPALITY OF STA. CRUZ, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
2. HB04366 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE UPGRADE OF THE EIGHT KILOMETER PROVINCIAL ROAD FROM BARANGAY ADELA UP TO BARANGAY MALAWAAN, MUNICIPALITY OF RIZAL, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO AND APPRORPIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
3. HB04945 (AN ACT CONVERTING THE MAMBURAO-PALUAN PROVINCIAL ROAD IN OCCIDENTAL MINDORO INTO A NATIONAL ROAD AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
4. HB05465 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE REHABILITATION OF 1.8 KILOMETER FARM-TO-MARKET ROAD IN BARANGAY CLAUDIO SALGADO, MUNICIPALITY OF SABLAYAN, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
5. HB05477 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A CONCRETE BRIDGE ACROSS THE PINAYPAYAN RIVER AND THE REHABILITATION OF THE FEEDER ROAD TO BARANGAY STA. LUCIA-TUBAN IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF SABLAYAN, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
6. HB05755 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE UPGRADE OF FARM-TO-MARKET ROADS IN KEY BARANGAYS IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF RIZAL, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
7. HB05985 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE REHABILITATION OF FARM-TO-MARKET ROADS IN KEY BARANGAYS IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF SABLAYAN, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
8. HB06026 (AN ACT APPROPRIATING THE AMOUNT OF TWO MILLION PESOS (P2,000,000.00) FOR THE IMMEDIATE REPAIR OF MALISBONG BARANGAY ROAD AND THE KAMBINGAN SECTION OF THE NATIONAL ROAD IN BARANGAY SAN AGUSTIN, MUNICIPALITY OF SABLAYAN, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO)
2. HB06058 (AN ACT CREATING AN ADDITIONAL BRANCH OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT IN THE ISLAND OF LUBANG, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTION 14, PARAGRAPH (E), OF BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 129, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE JUDICIARY REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1980, AS AMENDED BY R.A. NO. 7154, AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
2. HB05907 (AN ACT DECLARING THE APO REEF LOCATED IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF SABLAYAN, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, AS A PROTECTED AREA UNDER THE CLASSIFICATION OF NATURAL PARK AND ITS PERIPHERAL WATERS AS BUFFER ZONES, PROVIDING FOR ITS MANAGEMENT AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES)
2. HB04768 (: AN ACT DECLARING A PARCEL OF LAND OF THE PUBLIC DOMAIN LOCATED IN BARANGAY STO. NINO, MUNICIPALITY OF SABLAYAN, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, AN AGRICULTURAL LAND OPEN TO DISPOSITION FOR RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL, AND FOR OTHER PRODUCTIVE PURPOSES)
2. HB04628 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A GYMNASIUM IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF CALINTAAN, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
3. HB05610 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A GYMNASIUM IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF STA. CRUZ, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR)
2. HB05810 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE IMMEDIATE ELECTRIFICATION OF IMPORTANT SITIOS IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF RIZAL, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO)
2. HB05984 (AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A POTABLE WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM FOR BARANGAY SAN AGUSTIN IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF SABLAYAN, PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR )
As a summary, Rep. Villarosa's remaining thirty (30) bills were for: agriculture and fisheries (3); health (3); government building (1); roads and bridges (8); RTC in Lubang (2); for conservation of apo reef (2); land re-classification (2); daycare centers (1); sports facilities (3); electrification (2); water supply (2); and protection dikes (1).
Frankly, the bills -- that are reflections of what's in the mind of our congresswoman or of what she intended to afford us as her service to her constituents -- are simply potential sources for kickbacks. Pardon me, if I have this bias. But, our province longs to see and use infrastractures that are of good quality. For one, when the national road from San Jose up to San Pedro, Rizal was being constructed by a foreign construction firm, the usual observation was the ocean of difference between the craftmanship of local contractors and Han Jin construction company. Obviously, there should not be any point of comparison. Precisely, the foreign company was better equipped than the local contractors. But this was hardly seen as an acceptable explanation. In the minds of people, that the politicians had hard time mulcting from the "big company", or if the former succeeded in asking for grease money the latter had deeper pocket to compensate for the lost financial resource.
I also have this inkling that the reason for such bills is Madam Girlie's pork barrel -- that occasion for graft and corruption, as it is never liquidated. Pork barrel does not reach the solons' hands in cold cash. Sometimes, this is in the form of contracts or projects -- which, if realized, are font of easy money.
May nagawa na sa para sa bayan (daw!), may maibubulsa pa!!!
Unmistakably, too, why are there bills for the construction of gymnasiums for Calintaan and Sta. Cruz? Are these separate from the now-existing gymnasiums? Is the population of Calintaan and Sta. Cruz big enough to be probably afforded with two different gymnasiums? Mas madalas na ngang nakatiwangwang lang ang mga nakatayo na, magtatayo pa uli ng isa...
From the records of the House of Representatives, there is really no indication that the bills on electrification were approved. At least, from what's available on-line. But even before I came to know of this bill (particularly that for Dungon in Mamburao), I understood that Rep. Villarosa was to have Dungon "electrified". How? It was the campaign promise of her son, Bambi Villarosa, who ran for mayorship of Mamburao. Actually, after the defeat of Bambi, the continuation -- hey, was it started? -- of the electrification of Dungon is no longer sure.
Well, this is not what is expected from a member of the costliest Congress. You know, when her husband was the congressman, JTV crafted a law -- the present Fisheries Act -- that's really sensible; at least, by the choice of the subject.
But her husband is now languishing in jail... Hanggang kailan pa tayo magtitiis, Mindoreno?
Will someone better than her take the lead?