Editorial: EdSa's Statement-A A +A
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
FINALLY, after a long silence, City of San Fernando Mayor Edwin "EdSa" Santiago has weighed in on the controversial bankruptcy issue that has, for all intents and purposes, put the credibility of his predecessor, Representative Oscar S. Rodriguez, on the line.
In fact, Rodriguez made it clear before local media men a week ago that no less than his personal honor was unduly besmirched by the issue that erupted a few weeks into EdSa's assumption or Rodriguez's departure, as the case maybe, as city chief executive.
Bankruptcy, by simple definition, is a state of financial insolvency wherein a person, company or agency is unable to meet its financial obligation. A case in point is that of Detroit, Michigan in the United States which officially declared its bankruptcy. (This case has shattered the myth that no government can become bankrupt).
But EdSa's belated statement – about three weeks after the issue broke into public consciousness -- is not fully reassuring and even raises a few important questions – questions that are at the very heart of his statement's truthfulness.
It's pure arrogance, if not ignorance, for him to say that only the mayor could say if the city is bankrupt. One is reminded of King Canute who thought he could quiet down the waves at his mere say so. There are other city officials, especially members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, who could attest to the city's financial state, whether bankrupt or otherwise. Truth is not his exclusive domain or mandate. We are sure he has heard of check and balance in government.
And then, again, if indeed he alone could say what's true about the city's financial condition, what took him so long to refute the bankruptcy report, which came no less than from an official source in the city government?
Even assuming, without accepting, that the city government is not bankrupt, there are other financial issues/questions that whose answers deserve public explanation.
With a projected budget of P1.2 billion for 2013, only P960 million can be realized, according to the good mayor. That technically means that the city government is deficit by P240 million, which is huge hole or humongous fiction by any imagination.
The city coffers are healthy, he says, but his congressman is donating a one-time deposit of P3-million aid. Match that against the city's P1.2 billion budget, and EdSa's idea of what is financially healthy seems ridiculous. It's like putting a band-aid on a hole in the head to keep it from hemorrhaging or the patient dying from convulsive laughter.
Also, what are the details of the P660 million that is already reportedly obligated – or spent, as he put it -- in social services and projects already done or set in motion?
And then, whatever happened to the huge savings that Rodriguez has disclosed to media before EDSA came out with his own financial story?
Because, truth to tell, those so-called savings – allegedly in the hundreds of millions that Rodriguez himself said he could have spent during his term but decided not to in the interest of good governance, honor and integrity – now fly in the face of EdSa's call for austerity.
EdSa should consider the intelligence of the voting Fernandinos whom he has to face at sometime in the future, at the latest in 2016.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 28, 2013.