CEBU

Seares: Lacson’s insertion, rotten rice from barangay chiefs, CQ pass snafu, Tomas sniping

The Short of It

‘Stealth? Not me’

LACSON DENIES. Senator Ping Lacson has denied he “stealthily inserted” a section into the Senate bill that would become the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 (Republic Act 11479).

In a July 3 blog post, Raissa Robles alleged defense committee chairman Lacson inserted stealthily Section 25, which Robles said is the most dangerous provision of the terrorism law as it empowers Cabinet officials to tag a person a suspected terrorist and order his arrest.

Lacson said the section provides a mechanism for freezing assets of terrorists and terrorist groups by the AMLC or Anti-Money Laundering Council, based on a proposal from AMLC. And it was discussed, Lacson said, when the Senate approved during the period of amendments the bill that would substitute the Human Security Act of 2007.

Lacson must resent the implication of having “inserted” a provision, and “stealthily” at that. It recalls the acts of some House members whom he accused in past years of “inserting” their pork barrel in the national budget. And it could mean, as Robles pointed, the controversial provision didn’t go through legislative discussion and public debate.

Robles was specific that Lacson inserted the provision stealthily and “personally” “at the last minute” on February 12, “only two weeks before the Senate passed the bill on February 26.

Lacson said Robles should’ve gone through the records. The journalist said she did “weeks of research, backtracking and interviews” to conclude that “Section 25 was never a part of those years of debate and public consultations” that the bill’s defenders said the critics had all the time in the world to do.

NOW A MATTER OF CHECKING THE RECORDS. Robles and Lacson should present the records that would back their respective claims. Unless those records are tampered, they should tell the public who was lying.

***

Barrit’s new eruption

THIS TIME ABOUT ROTTEN RICE. DyLA radio broadcaster Art Barrit raised such issues as missing chickens, snafu in quarantine passes, and donations to Project Noah.

The chickens were never missing, they were parceled out to beneficiaries but City Hall and COA still have to publicize the audit on the distribution. The ECQ pass controversy exposed some kinks but appears to have been resolved. Former councilor Joy Pesquera explained to Barrit how donations to the Noah project and past purported donations to the city hospital were being managed. She insisted on the honesty of the people handling it and threatened to sue the broadcaster.

Now in another eruption, Barrit said he “heard” about “contaminated/spoiled” rice being given to Cebu City residents as aid during the health crisis.

He is not making any hard accusation yet. He is asking recipients to give him samples, “a kilo of rice” each, which he’d take to the Department of Agriculture to test for “toxicity” and fitness for consumption.

An exchange on Facebook between Barrit and former Busay barangay captain and now Milo (mayor’s information and liaison office) chief Yody Sanchez disclosed the problem: It is possible the barangay captain/s purchased the rotten rice, using barangay funds. Who must be blamed for it, the mayor and City Hall? Who’d go after the supplier? Who would fix the mess?

Not Barrit, who seems preoccupied with uncovering dirt during the pandemic, nor Sanchez, a Barug stalwart, who naughtily told the broadcaster to go after one suspected barangay captain -- who belongs to BOPK.

***

‘Resolved by police’

THE ECQ PASS SNAFU. Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella said he’d remove the kinks in the procedure on issuance of new ECQ passes, following the confusion after president’s overseer on the Covid-19 crisis in Cebu.

There were the same problems that bugged the release of the first quarantine passes two months or so ago -- the number not enough for each household, unsystematic distribution – plus the unclear method of detecting bogus IDs and the instruction given to the police.

The noise has died down for a few days but not before those incidents occurred involving police from out-of-town (“Tagalog-speaking”) who detained even persons who had the documents for APORs or authorized persons outside residence.

A City Hall official announced that the “issue with the police has been resolved,” without clarifying the rule that would govern: were the cops “re-instructed” or would the police requirement now apply?

***

‘Motingug lang to...”

TOMAS OSMENA NOT TALKING. A known Tomas Osmena partisan commented Sunday, July 5, on a social media post saying that Tomas should be talking about what’s going on in the city.

The Osmena supporter said the former city mayor is “still very much alive, abtik pa kaayo, sharp pa kaayog utok, daghan nang na bihag, mga ubos pa niya og edad” (meaning, he has outlived many others younger than he). Tomas, the Tomas defender said, would speak out only “kong hilabtan.”

Not quite accurate, a City Hall watcher said. Tomas had spoken out at least twice already on how to handle the health crisis, not counting the moves made through surrogates. “Dako kaayong dunay labot si Tomas sa mga atake batok City Hall.”


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