SO IT SEEMS
The pro-posal of President Rodrigo Duterte to declare all barangay positions vacant so he could appoint their suc-cessors in lieu of holding elections in October smacks of the catapult of plain housewife Corazon Aquino to Malacañang during the Edsa Revolution.
It will be recalled that when then authoritarian President Ferdinand Marcos was ousted from power by a mob called people power in February 1986, all local officials from municipal councilors to provincial governors were removed from office and replaced by members or allies of the “yellow” regime of Cory Aquino .
At that time the mayor of Davao City Elias Baguio Lopez was summarily replaced by a guy named Zafiro Respicio, a native of Makilala, North Cotabato who had been elected city councilor.
Duterte himself was a beneficiary of the revolutionary government of Cory Aquino. Then a city fiscal or city prosecutor he was appointed city vice mayor in 1987.
Digong’s alibi in proposing the removal of all incumbent barangay officials (barangay captains or chairmen and kagawads or councilors) is that 40 percent of them are involved in the illegal drug trade either as drug users or protectors of drug dealers.
We don’t think that’s the solution to the problem. For one thing, barangay captains and kagawads are elected by the people; for another, appointing their replacements would deprive the people of the right to choose their leaders. It should be borne in mind that the barangay is the basic local governance.
In our opinion and following the suggestion of Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, a Duterte ally, Digong’s contention that four out of 10 barangay captains are into illegal drugs should be tho-roughly verified.
Also as suggested by JV Ejercito, the drug list will be made public and the barangay officials in it should be criminally prosecuted.
On the call of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, senators were to hold a caucus last Sunday although Congress is in recess. So far there has been no report on what the senators, specially allies of the President, had agreed upon in the caucus. In any case, both the Senate and the House of Representatives can only act on Duterte’s proposal when Congress resumes session on May 3.
Although President Duterte is convinced that Vice President Leni Robredo is not part of a group plotting his ouster from Malacanang through impeachment, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre disclosed that House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez would proceed with the impeachment bid against Robredo.
If an impeachment charge is filed against the lady vice president, it will be against the will of Duterte. Just a while back, Digong called his allies in Congress to drop the plan.
Impeachment is essentially a political process. Since the House is dominated by Duterte’s allies there is a strong possibility that an impeachment complaint be filed against the VP. Under the rules governing impeachment cases, the charge needs the approval of one-third of the total membership of the House.
In the present Congress, the House is composed of about 290 members, including party-list reps who entered the chamber through the backdoor, so to speak. Since the House (and the Senate as well, for that matter) is dominated by members of the ad-ministration coalition, it is relatively easy for Alvarez and other congressmen behind the impeachment move to gather 96 votes to meet the one-third vote requirement.
Under the present setup, the Senate functions as the impeachment court, and since majo-rity of the 24 senators belong to the administration coalition, the impeachment of Robredo and her eventual ouster from the vice presidency is only a matter of time after the Congress reconvenes from a recess.
We were surprised to learn from a published report attributed to the Department of Health that tuberculosis is still a major cause of death among Filipinos. There was a time, decades ago, that TB (tubercle bacilli) was the top cause of death in this country.
Although this word-smith is a layman on medicine, we are quite familiar with TB, having worked in a government-run hospital exclusively for TB patients while working our way through college. The hospital where I had worked for four full years is the now-defunct Quezon Institute along Espana Extension (now called E. Rodriguez Avenue) in Quezon City
A report to the committee on health of the House of Representatives chaired by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, who is a medical doctor, Secretary of Health Paulyn Jean Ubial said 14,000 Pinoys and Pinays died from TB in 2015, while 4.8 million fell ill, mostly poor.
Although it typically affects the lungs, TB can also affect other organs like bones. TB is a highly infectious disease that’s why during my days at QI, we would wear masks when we entered the ward to prevent the disease from getting into our body through the nose and mouth.
QI occupied a flat area of about 19 hectares. Being owned by the national government, admission at the hospital was free, although there were pay wards for patients from rich families who want special care.
Until we read the report that TB remains as a major cause of death in the Philippines, we thought TB had been brought to a low level with discovery of new medicine, coupled with the abolition of Quezon Institute.