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The iron lady cries

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Records in the City Council would testify to this claim’s veracity, this corner, the Writing Sniper (WS) makes. Since the era of the Mayor Vit Agan, on to Ma’am Caling’s and son Celso Lobregat’s, he had on several occasions called for the re-strengthening of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu), to include even the Civilian Army Auxiliary (CAA).

No dice. Repeated calls fell on deaf ears.

It is good that now the City’s Chief Executive, Beng Climaco-Salazar herself is reported to have joined the snowballing call of local chief executives all over Mindanao for the return, at least of the of the CAFGU.

Know what? There is still another wastefully unused civilian force that could greatly help repel armed threats to our City. That is, the Police Auxiliary Unit (PAU).

Combined, the military, the regular police, the CAFGU, the CAA and the PAU we could have had potent defense forces ready at hand.

Had all cited forces been jointly in place, the armed MNLF invasion in this city, could have been stopped right on its track. Lives and properties would have readily been spared.

Anyway, it’s high time our Mayor had opened her eyes. Wise move, Mayor Beng.

X x x x X

The iron lady finally melts and breaks into tears, graspinmg for words as she appeared for her address during a press conference on the eve of her incarceration.

Today, Friday, Sen. Leila “Dilemma” de Lima voluntarily submitted herself to arresting Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) officers, escorted by the Senate security following the issuance of an arrest order from the Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204.

De Lima stepped out of her Senate office on the 5th floor of the Senate Building at around 8:05 a.m., to again issue first a brief statement before the media prior to boarding the PNP coaster that was to take her to the PNP Custodial Center inside Camp Crame, Quezon City. And that time her fighting stance re-surfaced, claiming innocence to all charges, and standing proud to be jailed for her fight upholding human rights.

X x x x X

Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, looms to be crafted in the image after his father, nationalist and democracy icon Sen. Jose “Pepe” Diokno, as he drumbeated a call on Filipinos to “fight the fear” blanketing the country under the Duterte administration, which he alleged has waged a bloody war against illegal drugs, expressing concern over the likelihood of the return of authoritarianism.

The young Diokno, a human rights lawyer and head of FLAG or Free Legal Assistance Group, likened Duterte to the supposed Marcos dictatorship that sowed fear and violence, employed with so much effectiveness.

“There is no difference. The only difference is the branding. The label before was fear of communists. The label now is the fear of drug addicts and drug pushers,” he claimed.

X x x x X

Too late the hero, so they say. Environment Sec. Regina Lopez retracted on Thursday her accusation that members of the Commission on Appointments each received a P50-million bribe to block her confirmation.

At a news conference, Lopez claimed she was not accusing the CA members and admitted she has no proof of the bribes.

She also disclosed, “You can quote me on this. Politics is really messy. All I want to do is just to save water,” explaining her move to close 75 mining companies and close to 200 others, said to be operating in watershed areas.

Speaking earlier before the Makati Business Club, where Lopez said there was no media. And simply expressed worry about the CA, and casually added, she heard there was P50 million each.

She then blamed the Philippine Daily Inquirer for coming out with an article based on her “casual” remarks before the Makati Business Club.

She was quoted as saying, “I really heard there’s a big kitty (out) there to make sure I don’t get confirmed. That’s what I heard but I don’t have the evidence.”

She appealed to the CA to give her the chance to “clean the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. That is my promise to the President.”

But then, this could be a case of “Too late the hero,” for damage has been done. The CA’s disgust over her statements showed when it shunned her later request for a courtesy call.

X x x x X

The European Union (EU) and the Spanish government are surely behind the Philippine government, or is it a “Trojan Horse” meant to check on EJKs or extra-judicial killings in the Duterte war versus drugs.

EU and Spain in alliance with the Philippines launched yesterday a P1-billion Governance in Justice program to help achieve a speedy and efficient delivery of criminal justice for the country.

The EU donated P850 million, while the government of Spain gave P150 million for the program.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, and EU Ambassador Franz Jessen during its lauching at the Manila Hotel.

Ambassador Jessen said the program hopes to hasten the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the Philippines’ justice system.

The program also hopes to strengthen the rule of law in the Philippines and ensure sustainability of program interventions through recommendations for legislative, regulatory, and procedural reforms in the criminal justice system.

See? “…accountability of the Philippines’ justice system… and procedural reforms in the criminal justice system.”

To smell a rat isn’t far-fetched. What you say?

X x x x X

The Duterte camp has its own planned mass action separate from the yellow colored band’s. Supporters of Pres. Duterte will storm heaven with prayers on Saturday and Sunday to banish the “evils of society” in a gathering far from the spot where the Philippine democratic movement will mark the 31st anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Social media trolls are helping the Duterte administration in the mobilization, reportedly trying to bring up to 1 million people to Rizal Park in Manila for a “prayer vigil” on Saturday and for a sharing of experiences by relatives of crime victims on Sunday.

Mr. Duterte will not show up at the Rizal Park gathering or at the token observance that Malacañang has authorized to be held on Saturday in Camp Aguinaldo, headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

This would have been Mr. Duterte’s first time to lead a commemoration of the restoration of democracy in the Philippines as President, but Malacañang decided to tone down this year’s observance.

Former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Benigno Aquino III have been invited to the event.

Ramos has confirmed his attendance.

And here in Zamboanga, Duterte allies, among whom are members of the 4 Zamboanga City Eagles Clubs, are spearheading one at RT Lim tomorrow. It will start with a motorcade from the local IBT to the prayer rally site.

X x x x X

A former senator and an incumbent Liberal Party congressman from Laguna offered P100 million to high-profile prisoners to make them recant their testimonies against Sen. Leila de Lima on her alleged involvement in the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II claimed yesterday.

“The inmates were told that they have to recant before Feb. 25, 2017,” Aguirre told reporters in an ambush interview during the launch of the Governance in Justice program at the Manila Hotel.

Aguirre did not name names, as dared by De Lima.

He said the offer was made specifically to eight inmates currently being held at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) custodial center at Camp Aguinaldo.

And De Lima said she could not help but laugh at this “outlandish and hysterical story being fed to the media.”

But Aguirre detailed the information received by his office that there were actually two offers, the first of which was relayed by phone to the inmates last Wednesday afternoon.

The second offer was made through former police officer Clarence Dongail, another inmate incarcerated at the AFP Custodial Center yesterday morning.

“In both instances, the inmates said no,” Aguirre revealed.

Asked for the significance of the Feb. 25 deadline for their retraction, the justice chief merely reiterated information that anti-Duterte forces were set to gather for the commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power revolution.

The named inmates are Herbert Colanggo, Engelberto Aceñas Dureno, Vicenty Sy, Jojo Baligad and Wu Tuan Yuan or Peter Co. (By Jimmy Cabato) ###




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