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Thursday, 21st August 2014
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Town execs sacked for rigged bidding

By: Louine Hope Conserva and Florence F. Hibionada

THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman-Visayas dismissed three active and retired officials of the municipality of Sta. Barbara, Iloilo for the alleged manipulation of several infrastructure projects in the town.

In a 13-page decision, the Ombudsman found municipal engineer Noel Jaspe, municipal budget officer Ma. Negemia Araneta and former municipal agriculturist Sanny Apuang guilty of grave misconduct.

The respondents were charged for “allowing the bidders to withdraw their bids despite objection of one of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members and the noted procedural flaws which act resulted in the alleged rigging of the bidding process.”

Aside from dismissal from service, the trio was also meted perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits.

The decision was penned by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer I Carmelle Baybay-Suson and approved by Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol.

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Ilonggo appointed to High Tribunal

By: F. Allan L. Angelo

THE NEWEST member of the Supreme Court, who is a full-blooded Ilonggo, is expected to inhibit from the case of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

President Benigno Aquino III appointed Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza as associate justice replacing former justice Roberto Abad who retired in May 2014.

Jardeleza, a native of Jaro, Iloilo City, graduated cum laude at the University of the Philippines College of Law in Diliman, Quezon City in 1974. He placed third in the 1974 Bar exams with a general average of 88.35%.

He secured his Master of Laws at Harvard Law School in Massachusetts, USA in 1977.

Jardeleza was in private practice until 1996, including a long-term stint at the ACCRA Law Offices as chief litigator.

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Bloomberg takes notice of Iloilo City

By: Maricyn A. De los Santos

RECENT developments in Iloilo City have caught the attention of the world's leader in global business and financial information.

A story by Karl Lester M. Yap posted on Bloomberg.com and headlined "Sleepy Philippine Towns Wake Up to Answer World's Phones" heralded the city’s transformation.

The article stressed on the fact that Iloilo City is “very receptive and friendly” to investment opportunities offered by firms which expand outside major urban centers such as Metro Manila and Cebu.

The business boom in Iloilo City began with the stabilization of the power supply, courtesy of the 164-megawatt coal-fired power plant operated by Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) in LaPaz, Iloilo City.

PEDC is a subsidiary of Metrobank Group’s Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC).

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It can be traced back to the juicy position of the Secretary of Labor during the time of former Pres. Corazon Aquino. It could have been for King Arthur but then Executive Secretary Drilon gave it to Ruben Torres. Now you know what that means!

But in politics there are no permanent friends or enemies only permanent interest. Thus, I predict the eventual reconciliation of the two Ilonggos before the upcoming 2013 election. This is not good, however, for Niel Tupas Sr. who had long planned his return to the Kingdom by the River as governor.

The entry of Defensor with the Liberal Party could be good for Sen. Drilon. This may also be an assurance of his solid political leadership among kingpins and warlords of the province. What about its consequences? I just hope this beautiful dream is not a nightmare for others.

Once Gov. Defensor decides to join the Liberal Party, for sure, as a precondition, he is entitled to seek reelection. Because of the equity of the incumbent, this would surely deprive the elder Tupas his dream of a comeback and rule once again the Kingdom by the River in 2013.

This is a dream comes true for King Oca of the First District if the Defensor-Garin tandem remains unbroken until 2013. King Oca knew that he lagged behind King Niel in the competition for expansion of political empires in the province.

The Tupas family has control of the Fifth District and their patriarch has gained a foothold in the Fourth. This was proven in the last election when Niel Sr. ran for congressman against Cong. Ferj Biron. But the parameter of King Oca’s turf is only confined in the First District of Iloilo.

Without Tupas’s interference, the unbroken Defensor-Garin tandem in 2013 elections would ensure the warlord from the First District that in the event King Arthur resigns in 2016, a member of the Garin family could eventually become ruler of the Kingdom by the River.

This is not good for King Niel Sr. But peace must stay that Sen. Drilon must offer an appointive but enticing position the King will accept. If not, another option is to run for Congress in the Fourth District against Mayor Hernan Biron Sr. or son Biron Jr..

There is a growing public belief that the planned transfer of Gov. Defensor to the Liberal Party is the handiwork of King Oca. He is probably alarmed by the expanding empire of King Niel in the province and fears its affect on his foothold in the nearby municipalities of his turf. In fact, Lex Tupas, the youngest Tupas son, has already invaded the city as member of the city council.

No wonder if all the Garins will join the fray in 2013 to stay in tune for 2016. King Oca may field his wife or daughter-in-law for vice governor and/or board member vice versa. His vice governor son Richard may settle for mayor of Guimbal and his daughter Sharon, mayor of the town will run for Congress.

If the transfer of Defensor to the Liberal Party pushes through, King Niel has no choice but to abide with the ruling on “equity of the incumbent.” The Tupases are now “in sequenter” - not in the proper order of succession. King Niel may run for Congress in the Fourth District, but is the prize at stake in that war more worthy than the Capitol battles he has been fighting?

Here’s something for coffee habituates. A neophyte politician wants to challenge Cong. “Boboy” Syjuco but failed to get the nod of Sen. Drilon who prefers Mayor Kadz of Pavia, Iloilo. So he went straight to the temple of gods at the northern part of the island for blessing. A bright boy indeed, good luck Jojo!

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Esplanade a game changer?

August 21, 2014 01:10 AM

By: Ronie Ticaya

ILOILO Esplanade a game changer? Interesting concept.

One need not have to be a savant to know the rationale behind it. One can say that the Iloilo River Esplanade project was about preservation of the environment.

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Amnesia antidote

August 21, 2014 01:08 AM

By: Juan L. Mercado

“NATIONAL amnesia causes us to forget who and what we are.” Is that the fix we’re in when the country marks, this Thursday, the 31st anniversary of Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.’s airport tarmac murder?

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PAGCOR Casino in Iloilo illegal?

August 21, 2014 01:06 AM

By: Ranie Z. Jangayo

I AM publishing the letter I sent to Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog regarding the controversial PAGCOR Casino operating in a hotel in downtown Iloilo City.

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Modern scourge

August 21, 2014 01:04 AM

By: Modesto P. Sao-noy

THE surge in the number of infections of the HIV-AIDS has hit 32,000 in the Philippines. This number is only on those reported but how many more are there that has not been reported? Fear of social stigma is a major reason for keeping this disease a secret that surely makes one an outcast.

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Iloilo's Jardeleza checkmates Sereno

August 21, 2014 01:02 AM

By: Alex P. Vidal

“There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.” – Mahatma Gandhi

A CHECKMATE. And a big slap on the face of Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno!

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