RULE No. 1: The boss is always right. Rule No. 2: Disagree at your own risk.

Retired Armed Forces chief Dionisio Santiago apparently forgot both rules or remembered them too late, which is surprising because he came from an organization where one is repeatedly taught to “obey first before you complain.” As a result, he is out of the job that he took only five months ago.

Santiago was asked by President Duterte, through his executive secretary, to resign as head of the Dangerous Drugs Board, a few days after he called the construction of a huge rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija impractical and a mistake. Duterte obviously does not like his decision to be challenged by a subordinate, especially publicly.

What is ironic is that Santiago may have a valid point in advocating for the establishment of smaller community-based drug rehabilitation facilities instead of the 10,000-bed mega drug rehab center even if the latter did not cost the government a single centavo since it was financed by a wealthy Chinese businessman. Indeed, when you imagine thousands of drug users housed in a single compound, the first thing that comes to mind is how do you manage them?

Santiago, however, should have brought his observations directly to the president instead of publicly airing them. In breaking bureaucratic protocol, the ex-DDB chief only succeeded in embarrassing his boss. Retribution came swiftly.


Mike Rama is keeping his political options open. That’s what he told us during an interview on Frankahay Ta! the other day in answer to our question if he wanted to be king or kingmaker in 2019.

Rama acknowledged that there had been a lot of speculation on his political moves: that he wanted to replace Hanz Abella in the city council, that he planned to run for vice mayor, switching places with Edgar Labella, and that he was aspiring for Congress, representing the city’s south district.

He had promised Labella last year that the latter would be Team Rama’s candidate for mayor in 2019. Three months ago, he told me he would honor his commitment. The other day, he was no longer as unequivocal.

Why the apparent change of heart? “I am adopting a fluid strategy,” he said. He wanted to keep his political enemies guessing. And maybe, even his allies, too. After all in politics, you do not only have to guard yourself against your enemies but also against your friends.


Can the city not provide waiting sheds for those waiting to get a ride in the busy Banilad-Talamban road? Lawyer Pio Go wants to know. He said that every time he passes by the area near the Aboitiz headquarters and the Gaisano Country Mall, he sees people standing on the sidewalk, unprotected from the sun or from the rain. What do you say, Mayor Tom? It’s not too much to ask for, is it?