Pangilinan is playing Kiko-A A +A
By Jun Ledesma
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
KIKO recently came to town ostensibly to listen to the plight of the small banana growers whose exports are being rejected in the China market. Sen. Kiko Pangilinan may be a Harvard graduate but I have serious misgivings about his being the committee chairman of agriculture in the senate. He is a classic example of a square peg in the round hole. It was not a surprise, therefore, that he left Davao with no viable solution to offer to the farmers as when he came ignorant of what bedevils the industry.
Even with law, Senator Pangilinan seemed to be out of sync with realities. He passed a law that makes criminal of law enforcers who arrest and detain minors. He based his bill on a New York law forgetting the cultural nuances and gaps between his idols, the Americans, and us Pinoys. Kiko is now being blamed by local government officials for the surge of criminality all over the country. The senator may not be aware of this or dismisses this unprecedented rise of crime index in the country as he dwells in gated upscale subdivision. It’s a pity. In Davao City, for example, there never was a time when minors involved in criminal activities are not armed with birth certificates in addition to the weapons they bear. Senator Kiko must be kidding himself or making a fool of Pinoys when he crafted that juvenile delinquency bill.
Last week, in Davao City where he is most unpopular, he blamed everybody for the failure of his pet bill. He pointed at ex-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for not supporting the law. The poor woman is already behind bars and still gets all the blame. But isn’t Kiko in Congress for the past several years? Years back, there were already loud noises coming from local government units. The crux of their complaint is that the law did not provide funding for rehabilitation program. Kiko presumed that the local government should take care of this problem. It was a simplistic assumption that proceeded from ignorance of the dire limitation of majority of local governments in terms of funds to set up rehabilitation centers and qualified personnel to man them. Kiko thinks every nook and corner of the Philippines is like Metro Manila where rehab centers are in place and are receiving regular budget from the national government.
He has stayed long in the senate hall to initiate the move to amend his infirmed legislation so that this will be able to address the problem of the juvenile who are in conflict with law. In Davao City for example, the government did not have problem dealing with the young offenders in the past as the city has been running its own rehabilitation center. But with the passage of the Pangilinan law, the facilities in the center are not simply enough. There is a move to set up another center next to the home for the aged in Cabantian but the way the young offenders get bolder with the sense of security they enjoy under Kiko’s law, no space will be adequate.
Let’s face it, sparing the rod definitely spoils the child. We have very little problems with small offenders in the past until the Pangilinan law came into being and abetted the commission of crime rather than preventing it.
I am in full accord with Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s advice: amend the law or altogether scrap it. After all, he said, that experiment failed in New York the same way it is failing in the Philippines. Unlike in the US where the legislation was ultimately consigned to the garbage bin, our political leaders want to perpetuate it. If it is of any use to Pangilinan, he made another cross of his law to crucify PGMA. Well, what else is new?
Pangilinan as secretary of Justice? Nah! I would rather have the fighting Leila de Lima. She might have made a booboo out of that alleged extra-judicial killings in Davao City but I think she has learned her lesson in not believing or taking hook-line-and-sinker every bit of information fed her even if this one comes from a Speaker of the House.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 20, 2012.