Saturday, December 10, 2022

Delivering Stories of Progress


FIRING LINE: Foolish declarations

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Emblazoned on the front page of a major daily yesterday was the President’s vow to solve the problems of the country’s sugar industry which, by his own reckoning, had been neglected for many years.

BBM made that promise in his speech in Talisay City last Sunday while diving into the colorful sea of people at the MassKara Festival in the heart of the country’s top sugar-producing province Negros Occidental.

Very unfortunately though, I was told that he came and left without even talking to the sugar industry leaders based in that very province. So what does that tell us about his promise as both the Agriculture Secretary and the President? “Hala bira!”

*         *         *

By police investigators’ reports, the contract to kill radio commentator Percy Lapid was sealed by two alleged “middlemen” – Jun Globa Villamor, locked up in the New Bilibid Prison; and Christopher Bacoto, an inmate at a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility – who placed calls via mobile phone to the hitmen.

One might ask: “Aren’t cellular phones banned inside jails, much less in the hands of persons deprived of liberty or PDLs?”

You’d be surprised to know that in the NBP alone, hundreds of mobile phones are in possession of PDLs. My spies say it would cost a PDL a hundred thousand pesos or more to own a mobile phone inside prison. It’s one of the lucrative businesses inside “Munti” aside from illegal drugs sale, they claim.

While none of these are the reasons why Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director-General Gerald Bantag was suspended from his post, they should be considered before letting him back.

*         *         *

I can only label as foolish Brigadier-General Kirby Kraft’s statement to SuperRadyo DZ Dobol B recently that the Lapid case is already “solved.” How could it be when your investigation team is empty-handed on the mastermind?

Now that journalist Roy Mabasa, brother of Lapid, stands as the grieving family’s representative in seeking justice for the slain veteran radioman, he, too, is now receiving death threats. Obviously, the one who wanted Percy dead is behind this.

Unless Kraft can give us this person’s name with evidential certainty, he’d best refrain from claiming false glory.

*         *         *

Jun Globa Villamor, the inmate pinpointed by self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial as the “middleman” who contracted them from inside the NBP, has already turned up dead on the very day Kraft’s team presented the surrendered alleged hitman to media last Oct. 18.

And just as foolishly as Kraft’s declaration of a “solved case” without the criminal mastermind unmasked, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) rushed to tell media that there were “no signs of foul play” in the death of Villamor.

Perhaps, what we’re actually seeing here is that there are “no signs of common sense.”

*         *         *

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

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