Something new in old Cebu-A A +A
Thursday, September 26, 2013
THE title of the privilege speech that Sen. Jinggoy Estrada delivered the other day was very appropriate. It was an “untold story,” yes, remarkable, not in what the senator said but in what he did not tell.
I was waiting for Jinggoy to declare categorically that he was innocent of the plunder charges that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima filed against him, Janet Napoles and two other senators, among others. Instead, what I heard was him saying that many others were guilty, too.
His speech should provoke a lot of denials and accusations from the people that he mentioned and if only for that alone, I praise Estrada for his initiative. The Senate, at least, will no longer be an old boys’ club where everyone has the other’s back covered.
Jinggoy’s speech should also convince Senate President Franklin Drilon to reconsider his position not to subpoena Napoles. If he stonewalls, people will conclude that many other legislators are indeed involved in the pork barrel scam and Drilon is trying to
protect them. Or that Drilon himself has something to hide.
The Senate has been known to be zealous about iits prerogatives so it is perplexing to watch Drilon’s meek surrender to the Ombudsman of the Senate’s inherent power to inquire. In explaining that we are “a government of laws and not of men” and in invoking the confidentiality of the Ombudsman’s proceedings, Drilon only succeeded in sounding like he was lawyering for Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales.
I wished that he had issued the subpoena and let Justice Morales argue – all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary – why Napoles cannot testify in any other proceedings while her office is conducting its preliminary investigation on the plunder charges. Apart from being the more appropriate move, that would have spared him from suspicion.
What’s new in old Cebu? The question was first asked two years ago, said Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmena. And here is your answer, she told a select group of Chinese businessmen and professionals at the Cebu Country Club Monday evening. “Here” meant the Cebu Chinese Heritage Museum that is going to rise soon at the historic Gotiaoco Building, built in 1914 and the first building in Cebu to be equipped with an
The museum is the first public-private partnership on culture and heritage in the country’s history, according to Jeremy Barns, national museum director, who flew in from Manila for the signing of the memorandum of agreement with the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum Foundation, Inc., represented by its chairman, Bob Gothong.
The MOA grants the SCHMI possession and use of the Gotiaoco Bldg. for a period of at least 25 years, subject to an extension of the same duration.
A bigger challenge now awaits the foundation, Gothong said in his opening remarks during the program preceding the MOA signing. “We will have to knock on doors to raise P200 million” in order to rehabilitate the building and operate the museum. He expressed confidence though that they will be able to find enough benefactors who will help fund the project.
Aside from Margot, Gov. Junjun Davide and Mayor Mike Rama also delivered short messages during the program. Davide traced the history of the Chinese presence and influence in Cebu while Rama pledged the city’s support to any effort to promote Cebu’s cultural heritage.
Gus Go and wife Beth, Margaret and Jack Gaisano were among the descendants of Pedro Lee Singson Gotiaoco who witnessed the MOA signing ceremony.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 27, 2013.