Interesting phase in Davide’s rule

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Friday, June 6, 2014


IT LOOKS like the administration of Gov. Hilario Davide III is entering its interesting phase—that phase when the new kids on the block begin to cash in on their acquired power and influence. And I find this unfortunate because Davide is only one year into his governorship. What will happen at the Capitol from now until his term winds down in 2016?

The controversial bidding for the services of blue guards that will secure the Capitol compound and other structures owned and run by the Provincial Government in various places of the province can be a case in point. The bidding and the seeming haste with which the winning bidder deployed its blue guards smell. Surely, the odor has a source.

But I understand where the governor is coming from when he defended the bidding process. Davide is a good man and surely is not one to throw his people under the bus.

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So he had to insist that the bidding, which was won by Black Pearl Security Agency, strictly followed procedures.

Given Davide’s nature, however, I doubt if he really got into the bottom of the whole mess. Okay, Black Pearl won, but the haste with which it took over the Province’s blue guards services over Tactical Security Agency Inc. even if a contract is still to be signed can be questioned. Tactical got the contract when Gwendolyn Garcia was governor.

The twist there is that Davide has said that Capitol will still pay Black Pearl for its services even if the firm won’t snag the contract. That is a twist because when Davide took over, he refused to pay contractors that the province dealt with under Garcia. Now, despite the questionable circumstance of Black Pearl’s take over, it gets paid.

But there is a positive spin to it. Because the speed of Black Pearl’s take over allowed the public to get a glimpse of its logistical and organizational capability.

People realized this when many of Black Pearl blue guards functioned even without guns.

Based on the record of the province’s bids and awards committee (BAC), Black Pearl exceeded the minimum number of tools required like handcuffs, etc. and has enough items like pistols and shotguns. But when the blue guards showed up without guns, that invites the question: how did the BAC define “enough”?

For blue guards, having a gun trumps their other needs. Indeed, how can they be secure in securing an important facility if they are unarmed?

There are other questions, like when Black Pearl was constituted as a security agency, but I won’t tarry there. Rather, it would be good to mention rumors about questionable dealings of some of Davide’s people in other transactions the province is involved in.

On this, I am tempted to paraphrase an old saying this way: since there is smoke wafting through Capitol’s windows, could there be a fire gently burning somewhere in its innards? Is Davide starting to lose control of his people? Has the “daang matuwid” been derailed?

Considering the stories I heard about Davide’s character, I won’t be surprised if some of his people have gotten bolder. Many of his allies are not saints. He has with him politicians and former civilians who are able to strut like peacocks at the Capitol because it has a governor who may be good natured but is soft.

After a year as governor, I think it is time for Davide to show an iron will. On this, it would not be enough to reshuffle the bureaucracy. He should also start checking the backgrounds and current acts of his political allies and shun the questionable ones.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 07, 2014.

Opinion

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