CEBU

Bzzzzz: Duterte at Sinulog; guess who’ll be at private dinner. The speed gun ‘snafu’

People talk about...

[1] PRESIDENTS SPLURGE OF GENEROSITY. From the salary increases of government employees, including public school teachers, to giving each Philippine marine a service gun and P50,000 to each marine birthday celebrant (on that day, Monday, January 13). Interesting bit about the service weapon: Duterte told the marines to use the gun on oneself in case he is captured by the enemy.

[2] WHO’S NOT IN THE SINULOG NEWS. It’s the Sinulog execom chairman Councilor Dave Tumulak or the mayor himself who’s appearing and talking in news about the 2020 Mardi Gras. Notably unheard of, or less heard from in this year’s Sinulog celebration, is Vice Mayor Mike Rama who has been reduced to board member of the Sinulog Foundation, whose role has been diminished by the mayor-led Sinulog Governing Board.

Duterte will be here

WITH Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino confirming that President Duterte will attend the ceremony capping Sinulog 2020 in Cebu this Sunday (Jan. 19):

[1] Speculations about the shutdown of internet signal shifted from whether it would be done to how long and where it would affect mobile phone users.

[2] And on what the President will talk about: projects for Cebu, how the local officials he endorsed in 2019 are doing, and will he take a potshot again at two Cebuanos linked to the illegal drugs traffic?

The president’s attendance is billed as his first at the Sinulog, the civic part of the annual fiesta in Cebu, but the forum may not be any different from other occasions attended by the president. Meaning, the discussion may touch on anything that comes to the presidential mind.

The interesting part is that he is not coming to win votes (he won in Cebu in the 2016 election) but what he will say may help give Cebuanos some idea on what will happen during the the second part of his six-year term.

Guests at dinner

OFTEN the source of small-talk and “tsismis” during each Cebu visit of President Duterte is the “private dinner” that he holds on the night of the function where he is the special guest.

The dinner’s guest list is always interesting because it is not publicized and tells who are “in the loop” among the local personalities.

Sometimes, some juicy stuff one can’t get at public wells of information spills out and indicates some important turn of event or presidential decision to come.

‘Koryente’ over speed guns

When President Duterte complained aloud in his speech before the Philippine Marines Monday (Jan. 13) that the police were buying speed guns at P950,000 each “when in Davao City, it costs only P10,000,” was he given correct information? A speed gun for the police is a device to measure the speed of moving vehicles, an equipment to enforce the law and ordinance on speed limit.

After Duterte’s public outburst over another possible PNP scandal -- followed by his order to remove the department’s power to procure supplies and the investigation of the purchase -- police officials explained they were only referring to a “wish list,” which includes the expensive item. The speed guns were still to be presented for public bidding and specifications were not yet fixed. Curiously, the president reportedly gave the go-signal on the P330-million purchase Tuesday (Jan. 14), the day after his speech.

The incident tells us that (a) information snafu can still occur even in the highest echelon of government or (b) someone is trying to delay the appointment of the next PNP chief, whose last occupant was linked to corruption.

The “false” info, Malacañang watchers theorized, “tended to poison” the mind of the president, particularly on incumbent PNP officials who are included in the shortlist of nominees for national police chief. That would spoil their chances, aside from lengthening the delay in filling up the position. Oscar Albayalde, the last PNP chief, reached mandatory retirement age at 56 last November 8 yet.

Senator Ping Lacson waded into the issue, apparently using the “wrong” information. He speculated that now Duterte would wait for some PNP officials to retire before he’d name the next national police chief.

**

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