FIRING LINE: Bautista has no one left to blame

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

It’s not difficult to sense jeers and sneers in the upper reaches of government over Land Transportation Office (LTO) Chief Jose Art Tugade’s resignation last Monday. With a resignation letter in one hand and a list of achievements in the other, the son of accomplished Duterte-era transportation secretary, Art Tugade, threw shade at the ridiculous shortage in plastic cards for drivers’ licenses, under the weight of which his executive ego was left in tatters.

The way I see it, the younger Tugade could be the unfortunate victim of Secretary Jaime Bautista’s uncooperative ways as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) boss. 

Since the heart of the issue was the manner of deciding the dispensation of funds for the purpose, Tugade’s departure was likely prompted by their differing methods of achieving success or perhaps Bautista’s preference for a “partner in crime.”

As Tugade steps down, one can’t help but wonder if he’s left behind a mess for Bautista to clean up. Or perhaps, Bautista had to treat Tugade like trash to gain handle of the wheel with more finesse and a little hidden interest here and there for the profitable plastic cards deal.

What’s clear is that Bautista has turned a straightforward task like procuring plastic cards into a full-blown bureaucratic circus. He may be a master of PR smiles with a talent for pinning the blame on someone else, but in the final analysis, it’s still a testament to the DOTr’s indecisiveness and inefficiency.

With Tugade gone, and a nasty problem left unsolved at the LTO, Bautista now has no one else to blame.

Is the Manila Central Post Office for sale?

In the smoldering ruins of the Manila Central Post Office, suspicion dances like flames. The historic landmark, a symbol of Filipino heritage, now lies gutted, a victim of a mysterious fire. 

Back in 2012, the whispers began. Plans were afoot to transform this architectural gem into yet another soulless hotel. The Fullerton group, scouting for profit-making enterprises, had set its sights on the iconic structure. A greedy dance of negotiations ensued, disregarding this edifice’s significance for the Filipino nation.

But wait, this isn’t just any post office. It’s a survivor, rising from the ashes of war, rebuilt to serve a proud people. Yet, as fires raged through the night, reducing history to rubble, one can’t help but wonder: was this a convenient opportunity to erase our past, all in the name of profit?

As we mourn the loss of our heritage, we must question if there were fiery motives behind the blaze. The stench of ulterior motives hangs heavy in the air, just like the smoke that once billowed from the post office’s grand facade.

If puppet masters are pulling the strings, Firing Line challenges the Marcos administration to expose any attempts at ill-gotten gains.

Before giving in to greed, we can salvage something from this tragedy, preserving its shell as a monument rather than a shrine to the relentless pursuit of profit at the expense of our history.

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SHORTBURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at https://www.thephilbiznews.com

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