WHAT could have been the No. 1 witness of Sen. Leila De lima on the extrajudicial killing issues against President Duterte turned out to be a big dud after failing to pass the initial credibility test by Sen. Panfilo Lacson during yesterday’s Senate investigation hearing.
At the start, the revelations of the witness appeared to be credible but they were immediately reduced to baseless information later on when Ping started throwing simple clarificatory questions that startled the whistleblower who began issuing conflicting answers.
The seat became even hotter for the beleaguered witness when Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano took his turn to grill and tried to establish a link between the Liberal Party and the whistleblower. Cayetano believes the appearance of the witness is part of Plan B.
Plan B is said to be LP’s fallback after the defeat of its presidential candidate Mar Roxas in the last national elections. It’s supposed to pave the way for Vice President Leni Roberedo to replace Duterte in Malacanang.
Better luck next time, guys.
* * *
Come to think of it, there is really only one deparment helping Duterte fulfill his promise of change in the country.
There are maybe some trying to do so but not as hard as what the Philippine National Police is doing to make the reforms vowed by Duterte felt by the people.
Aside from addressing criminality, Duterte aims to deal with the horrendous traffic situation in Metro Manila which is reportedly causing the government to lose P3 million in revenues each day.
However, the agency tasked to figure out and implement the solution for the traffic woes -- the Department of Transportation or DoTr -- appears to be lazy as it has not done any notable accomplishment since Duterte sat in Malacanang.
Such delivered a very bad signal to huge supporters of the President like House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who recently berated DoTr officials during a budget hearing for their dismal performance.
Alvarez raised the fact that undersecretaries at DoTr are mostly from private companies with vested interests in the projects of the agency, prompting the House leader to question their loyalty.
Are DoTr executives serving Duterte and the people or their former corporate employers?
This corner understands Alvarez’s doubts on Transport officials because indeed, the Duterte administration is nearing its first 100 days in the Palace and the traffic in the metropolis has gone worse instead of improving.
Upon his assumption of the presidency, Duterte declared he will not hesitate to fire appointed government officials who can’t do the job.
Earlier, a top executive at the Land Transportation Office, an agency under DoTr, didn’t wait for his head to roll and voluntarily resigned earlier amid unresolved issues on corruption and the never ending complaint on the thousands of unreleased plate numbers and license cards. Are we expecting the same resignation from executives of the DoTr or will they wait for heads to roll?
At the recent meeting at the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, the DoTr miserably failed to satisfy queries of disappointed lawmakers who raised issues on the slow implementation of the mass railway projects and oversupply of buses on EDSA.
Members of the committee shook their heads in utter dismay and decided to do the problem solving themselves even to the point of teaching DoTr officials how to effectively run what is now described as an inept agency.
Marikina Rep, Bayani Fernando inquired about delays in the LRT extension project and was sad to learn that many of its aspects are still in the planning stage. The former chief of the Metro Manila Development Authority called on the DoTr to stop granting projects to bidders who don’t have final and complete plans to avoid what is called ‘regulatory capture’.
From what I understand, regulatory capture pertains to a situation wherein the government becomes helpless to a project gone wrong because it was already given to a favored bidder. Such, Ferando said, is the case in so many government projects causing the much complained delays in their completion.
As for the colorum buses which are seen as the culprits behind the perennial traffic on EDSA, Fernando pushed for a more radical measure such as destroying them. He said these illegal buses should be ‘burned’ or buried in the deep seas to discipline hard-headed bus operators who don’t pay their dues to the government. Let’s not forget that these operators also own the killer buses that ruined so many lives and they continue to be threat against public safety.
Fernando’s brand of discipline could be harsh but its the kind our society needs so we can have order. It compliments the campaign of the Duterte administration to bring reforms in the country.
* * *