Happy for Ermita?

(This is supposedly my column for Sun.Star Cebu last December 2, 2017. I sent this because I was not able to open an earlier email officially informing me about the cost-cutting measure. When friends began texting to ask about my absence, I decided to post this in my blog. In fact, I promise to write regularly in this blog now. This way, I will be able to provide balance to the views of my mainstream media colleagues — Anol)

They say it was wrong to speak ill of the dead. But Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña was frank about what he felt. He was happy for Barangay Ermita with the death of an alleged drug protector.

After all, Ermita was the breeding ground of such drug lords as Tata Negro (who found it safe to often play basketball there with you know who when alive), Franz Sabalones, and Yawa Secretaria.

Was it best for the mayor to just keep his sentiments unsaid while his detractors, in seemingly similar talk points, chorused that he has a hand in the killing of Barangay Captain Imok Rupinta?

Was it not wrong for political enemies to immediately pin the blame on Osmeña even before the police could issue any statement on its investigation?

Imok was not even a candidate for mayor while Tomas is known for defeating, not killing, political enemies. I remember the killing of Tata Negro in May 2010. But Tata Negro as an issue against then mayoralty candidate Mike Rama. The ambush was said to be drug-related.

After the suspect Jimmy Largo was arrested, Tomas critics immediately call him a “fall guy.” At least one Osmeña critic even casted doubts on the positive identification by the lone witness.

Yesterday, police investigators released a CCTV footage proving Largo was in Liloan some 15 minutes before the Rupinta ambush.


Impatient supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte went to the streets the other day to express their preference for a revolutionary government and thus give the president a free hand in carrying out the changes he wants done.

However, the president himself did not give his blessing on the mobilizations. He said revgov is an option only when government is already weak. But neither has he blessed with his presence the massive mobilization of PDP na pud in Cebu City.

President Duterte apparently prefers to attend the launch of his administration’s anti-poverty program called “Biyaya ng Pagbabago” in Davao City on December 9, 2017. The pro-Duterte mass movement Kilusang Pagbabago is mobilizing for this launch.


The usual practice is for government anti-poverty projects granted patronage style by local politicians. The Biyaya ng Pagbabago program, on the other hand, taps non-government groups through the Kilusang Pagbabago and the Office for Participatory Governance (OPG) to “claim” these projects and implemented as their own.

Is this kneejerk reaction to the president’s so-called waning popularity? I don’t think so.

Duterte’s first Executive Order when he assumed office was to reorganize the Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS). EO 1 placed under CabSec Jun Evasco 12 agencies that prepared grassroots anti-poverty projects. The concept of participatory governance was integrated in the Philippine Development Plan for 2017 followed by the formation of the OPG.

Note that the 2018 budget will fund these projects even as KP is expected to go full speed with federalism. Duterte and Evasco apparently think strategic.


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