Espinoza: Internal trouble?

I REFUSE to believe that President Rodrigo Duterte’s people are in disarray. But what is happening now somehow provides a dint of truth to the claim.

When the President was in Surigao City to visit the victims of the 6.7 magnitude earthquake, he promised them (in Bisaya) P2 billion to help them rebuild their homes. But Presidential Communication Secretary Martin Andanar, in a press conference, said the P2 billion is financial assistance for the families affected by the closure of several mining companies. Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a statement to the press, later said that the President’s P2 billion promise is for the earthquake victims.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he wants the Presidential-Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) abolished allegedly for being redundant. This put in line the position of our own Secretary Ady Sitoy, the Presidential Legal Adviser. Playing coy, Secretary Sitoy refused to comment on the statement of Speaker Alvarez.

Also, Alvarez wants the small town lottery (STL) stopped. But in an interview by Aksyon 5, Chairman Jose Jorge Corpus of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes (PCSO) said that while he respects whatever Speaker Alvarez would say but they act on orders of President Duterte, who wants STL expanded to earn more revenues to fund his projects and provide aid, like hospitalization, for the needy.

Is this an indication that rivalry or envy exists among President Duterte’s stalwarts? It’s not a good sign for the Duterte administration.

Speaker Alvarez and Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdia are both from Davao City and are known to be close to the President. Abella is from Davao City while Andanar is from Surigao City. A source said that Speaker Alvarez has allegedly a falling out with Executive Secretary Medialdia on some issues. Or, as a friend puts it, Alvarez is just KSP.

•••

The corruption cases hounding spouses Cesar and Cynthia Moreno, the couple that has controlled politics in Aloguinsan, Cebu for years now, are dire lessons for other political clans to learn.

Cesar and Cynthia have taken turns holding office as mayor or vice mayor every time their term limits end. They’re like untouchables in their turf.

The Moreno couple controlled the municipal councilors and heads of offices under the mayor. As such, checks and balance between the executive and the legislative were in suspended animation. Because of this, they could railroad the procedures if they wanted to. The anti-graft court uncovered that the town’s purchases were done without bidding.

Pity those who were included in the graft cases but were only obliged to follow the orders of their executive. Perhaps, they did not even receive a single centavo from the proceeds of the illegal purchases, if there were any. But because they took part in the transactions then they are also liable.

•••

Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez said her order to close the country’s top mining companies is her “gift of love to the Filipino.” No, it should be understood as a death wish for our economy and for families relying in the mining industry.
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