I have been following the day-to-day developments on the Percy Lapid killing by the self-confessed gunman, and, Santa Banana, this case on “whodunit” can beat all the crime novels that have been written with all its twists and turns.
The revelation by the self-confessed gunman that he and other henchmen got orders from so-called “middlemen” of inmates of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. Santa Banana, how in the world can you beat that with inmates behind bars giving orders to people to kill.
“Onli in da Pilipins,” as they say.
How in the world can inmates of the New Bilibid Prison be able to order any killing, especially for the killing of a broadcaster journalist as the gunman revealed.
The twist that the so-called “middleman” suddenly died is another mystery when the first revelation was that he died of natural causes.
My gulay, this even beats all the murder story novels and crime “whodunits” I have read.
Then came the revelation by known pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun that the second autopsy on the body seems to have revealed that the “middleman” was suffocated by somebody using a plastic bag.
Now, the questions that are asked, who did it and by whose order?
This leads to a lot of speculation that the mastermind must have ordered the killings of the first “middleman.”
Santa Banana, there’s only one person among the 161 “persons of interest who can do all these.
Another revelation is that the P550,000 paid to the gunman and his cohorts came from the inmates themselves. But, why should the inmates pay for the killing of somebody when they have nothing to gain?
We are told that the mastermind of this sordid affair will soon be revealed.
At this time, it would seem that all fingers are pointed to only one of the so-called “persons of interest,” since the questions seem to point to him alone, the mastermind.
Who had the power to order the killing from behind bars of a broadcaster journalist critic? And who was the object of criticism? Who had the power to order the killing of the “middleman?” And who had the power to have prison inmates contribute to the killing?
As I write this column, while beating the Opinion Page deadline, we read that suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag, a BuCor official, and 10 others are now facing murder complaints for the deaths of Mabasa and the alleged middleman Jun Villamor.
The Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation filed two separate complaints before the Department of Justice against Bantag, BuCor’s Directorate for Security and Operations Superintendent Ricardo Zulueta, and various persons deprived of liberty (PDL).
We give it to DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla who vowed to furnish Bantag with the necessary documents to inform him about the charges and testimonies against him, so he can “defend himself […] and answer intelligently (and) we will give him due process. He will have the right to counsel as all people are entitled to the right to counsel.”
Remulla also disclosed that they are thoroughly looking into Bantag and Zulueta’s possible involvement in other prisoners’ deaths recorded under their watch.
I am sure there will be more developments in the coming days.
As I said, “Onli in da Pilipins” can all these things happen.
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With the many super and killer typhoons that have entered the country this rainy season costing the loss of hundreds of lives, devastating infrastructure worth billions of pesos and devastating agriculture, livelihood and properties, still for the nth time, the Senate has not enacted into law the long-pending bill creating a Department of Disaster resilience (DDR).
With so many bright minds (or so they think they are), I am at a loss why it seems only Senator Bong Go is pushing for the enactment of the DDR.
Knowing full well that the Philippines is a disaster and calamity-prone country to super and killer typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and all kinds of calamities, the DDR should have been enacted like yesterday.
Even President Marcos Jr. cannot seem to realize the imperative need for the DDR, even as he visits areas in the Philippines which have been devastated and where residents until now are crying out for relief and rehabilitation.
Instead, the President blames deforestation for landslides when there’s a need for a permanent government agency like the DDR to at least minimize all the devastation, destruction and loss of lives.
There’s an immediate need for the DDR, a permanent government department to handle or at least minimize all the devastation wrought by typhoons, earthquakes and all sorts of disasters and calamities.
The very fact that BBM himself has designated four regions—Calabarzon, Bicol, Western Visayas and the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) – as calamity areas denotes the clear and imperative need for a DDR.
On his many visits to areas in the country reeling under the onslaught of recent typhoons, BBM laments the lack of coordination of government agencies that should be in the forefront during calamities and disasters.
I cannot understand why the President should prefer just an agency under his office to handle problems of disasters and calamities, dedicated and devoted solely to focus and strategize problems wrought by disasters and calamities.
It should be clear as day to BBM the need for a department solely focused to strategize problems on the ensuing landslides that accompany super and killer typhoons, to relocate people living in danger zones.
Landslides in the aftermath of super and killer typhoons had happened so many times before.
Santa Banana, there is need for permanent evacuation centers with all the necessary amenities for areas prone to calamities and disasters instead of making public school buildings and covered gymnasiums for this purpose!
Yes, there’s the NDRRMC or the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, an ad hoc agency under the Office of Civil Defense which itself is an agency under the Department of National Defense which has since devolved to regions, cities and provinces.
But what is critically needed like yesterday is a DDR.
Can’t President Marcos realize that? My gulay, obviously not, at the rate he is prioritizing other needs!
For the nth time, I appeal to Senate President Migz Zubiri and to the other senators to enact right away the DDR which should have its own budget for rescue, relief and rehabilitation and to strategize the need for the prevention of more loss of lives and devastation of infrastructure and agriculture, especially at this time.
Of all people, Santa Banana, doesn’t BBM realize this ?
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With the coming yearend, President Marcos Jr. should now prioritize the appointment of a permanent Department of Health secretary.
If BBM had time to appoint a retired police general to be undersecretary of the DOH, he should have more time to appoint a permanent DOH secretary, considering the fact that the country is still undergoing a health crisis amid the COVID-19 epidemic.
The appointment of a press secretary is another problem and a priority.
If BBM had occasion to appoint an officer-in-charge of the press secretary’s office, I don’t see any reason why he cannot name his press secretary as soon as possible.
Many names have been considered. But to me, having been a journalist for over seven decades now, the name of a former press secretary — Mike Toledo — during the incumbency of former President Erap Estrada is the best choice.
Toledo has the needed credibility and respectability for a press secretary a President needs at this time.
I’m certain if BBM will ask former Presidents Erap and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo their choice, certainly they would say Toledo.
The Malacanang Press Corps, I am sure, would prefer Toledo above all other names being mentioned and bruited around.
And, lastly, I believe it’s time Marcos Jr. resigns as agriculture secretary, having laid the groundwork the department needs to secure food security, which is the country’s foremost concern following rising inflation and soaring prices of basic commodities.
If, my gulay, there’s one thing more needed for BBM before he resigns as agriculture secretary, it is for him to crack down on vegetable smuggling of onions, of fish and meat.
This has been demoralizing farmers, fisherfolk and meat producers.
Mister President, there’s a need for you, my gulay, to show zero tolerance on smuggling, graft and corruption.