Saturday, October 1, 2022

Delivering Stories of Progress


FIRING LINE: ’Little president’ wished too big

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Hotel Okura Manila
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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Gracefully as he could, the executive secretary resigned his post. Lawyer Victor Rodriguez had silenced all controversy that pounded him since being appointed President Marcos’s chief alter ego.

But brutally opposite that, he tried to have himself reappointed to a newly created Cabinet-level post – that of presidential chief of staff – which he proposed to bear more power to make executive decisions than his previous post.

Good thing Juan Ponce Enrile, the President’s chief legal counsel, proved that his age was worth more wisdom than a joke and shut the design of a “little president” who wished to become a little bit too big.

 *     *     *

When the power outage last Friday night practically shut the country’s premier gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, damage control had to be personally supervised by Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista and Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Cesar Chiong.

Still, without electricity, the airport was paralyzed for seven hours till the morning of Saturday. Eight flights had to be canceled, and 23 more were delayed. The weekend before that, a significant part of Luzon, including Metro Manila, experienced a sudden simultaneous power outage.

Can somebody from the Department of Energy (DOE) tell us if this will be a regular weekend thing?

Now, I’m sure these brownouts were not our problem before Aboitiz family associates Raphael Lotilla and Monalisa Dimalanta were appointed DOE secretary and Energy Regulatory Commission chair, respectively.

Heads up, Mr. President. You might be giving too much premium on your closeness to people in deciding appointments. Isn’t keeping Sabin Aboitiz as head of the Private Sector Advisory Council of Malacanang enough favor?

 *     *     *

During the House Committee on Appropriations hearing on the proposed budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for 2023, Secretary Manuel Bonoan was dared to shut down the “syndicate” within his agency that fixes the awarding of projects to contractors it favors.

Bonoan vowed to investigate this supposed syndicate from within and fire all those involved in it.

But wait. When that happens, shall they activate the syndicate that awards infrastructure projects to favored contractors of congressmen in their respective districts?

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at

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