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Fighting corruption destabilizing?


BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER

Last Saturday(July 23), Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog was guest at Kape kag Isyu hosted by Peter Jimenea. Atty. Dwight Trasadas, Larry Locara, Joel Estuche and Nitz Gobuyan were co-panelists.

He enumerated a lot of projects that are being implemented and many more are in the pipeline. Incidentally, not all of these programs have been brought to public attention as Mayor Jed’s political spinners appear to be more interested in answering tit-for-tat the tirades of critics to the point of proffering ludicrous arguments.

One spin master of his, for instance, scores the critics of Mayor Jed as “destabilizers” while another one, a businessman at that, warns that too much criticisms would scare away investors.

We don’t know how could a legitimate taxpayer “destablize” local governance by exposing shenanigans in official service. The spinner is referring to Rommel Ynion, source of the sharpest tirades on Mayor Jed.

The main issue that Ynion hurls at Mayor Jed is the grossly overpriced construction of city hall. P368 million has already been spent for the structure but, after one year, only the shell of the 7-storey edifice was done.

The balance of P92 million of the P450 million loan contracted for the purpose would have sufficed to finish the structure but for some reasons, Mayor Jed changed orders. He scrapped the old plan and adopted a new set that would cost city taxpayers P262 million more on top of the P450 million.

That would make Iloilo City Hall priced like Taj Mahal at P45,000 per square meters when the industry estimates consider P25,000 per square meter already a luxury.

How could Ynion scare away investors with his advocacy for public interest, by preventing Mayor Jed from executing his scheme of splurging millions for the overpriced building, and in the process, bury taxpayers deeper into debt?  That stretches our imagination.

Responsive and transparent governance are Constitutional guarantees. Mayor Jed’s spinner is not alone in dangling that twisted logic that good politics destabilizes.

At the national level we had the inglorious woman named Gloria whose graft-ridden regime was fond of pulling the expression from her verbal armory when criticisms swamped her.  And P-Noy is learning to utter the word.

Put the other way, how can one who demands and works for good governance be anathema to business, as the businessman-friend of Mayor Jed puts it?

We recall, that in our previous column that also airs criticisms on the city administration, a reader commented by belittling my writing style and commenting: “be a part of the solution to the problem instead of merely criticizing”.

We don’t know what that means but in problem solving, one can’t find a solution unless the problem is identified.

It is almost impossible to heal a person whose ailment cannot be identified. How can one prescribe a cure to an unidentified disease?

Journalists, opinion writers especially, point out the problem when they write critiques. A listening public official who has nothing to hide would rather thank the critic for identifying the problem.

So Ynion must be part of the solution? He already does that amply by pointing to Mayor Jed what the problem is and where it lies for which the latter should be thankful.

The words Ynion and his media allies use in delivering the message might sound harsh but I would like to think though that Mayor Jed’s conscience is clean and that he can always sleep soundly only that people surrounding him are unhappy and thus, act like mad dogs growling at those deemed to be critics of their boss.

***

Congratulations to the officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Iloilo Chapter, led by its president Atty. Boy Salmon on their induction last July 22.

Meanwhile, Team Hinun-anon, led by Atty. Dan Valenzuela, who lost to Atty. Salmon, continues with their commitment  holding free legal clinics in poor communities.

I have yet to volunteer to the legal clinics done every Saturday morning. It conflicts, incidentally, with my schedule as panelist at Kape kag Isyu.

May Atty. Valenzuela’s tribe increase and the current IBP-Iloilo leadership continue with the project of rendering not just legal clinic, but also referral of pro bono cases involving indigent litigants, to fellow lawyers.

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