SO IT SEEMS
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and diehard supporters of the Duterte administration are pushing through their plan to impeach Vice Pre-sident Leni Robredo for committing grave injustice to the nation on the President’s war on drugs.
The impeachment move stemmed from Robredo’s sending of a video message to the United Nations Commission on Narcotics Drugs meeting in Vienna, Austria. They said in so doing, the Vice President committed “betrayal of public trust” by “shaming the country” before the international community.
“Betrayal of public trust” is one of the grounds in filing an impeachment complaint in the so-called lower house of Congress against an impeachable official.
Proliferation of illegal drugs, including extra-judicial killings of people into the drug trade is an internal affair. So, bringing it to the international com-munity is an act that embarrasses the country to the whole world.
So, with the strong determination of Alvarez and company to oust Robredo through peaceful and legal means, there’s a strong possibility that the planned impeachment complaint will be lodged against the VP when Congress resumes session on May 3 after a recess of several weeks.
All impeachment cases emanate from the House with the Senate acting as the impeachment court. According to impeachment rules, the impeachment complaints has to be approved by one-third of all members of the body who number now 290 including party-list congressmen/women.
One-third of that is 96. With the so-called lower house of Congress do-minated by members and allies of the administration coalition, it is not difficult to gather 96 votes to elevate the impeachment case to the Senate for trial. And as everybody knows, the Senate is likewise controlled by members and allies of the Duterte administration.
So, if majority of the senators follow the coalition line, conviction of Robredo and her eventual ouster from the Senate is only a matter of time. The lady Vice President, however, can be saved from the gallows, so to speak, if majority of senators follow the wishes of Duterte who wants his second-in-command to remain in her post come hell or high water, unless senators cast their votes independently at the end of the impeachment trial.
The move in the City Council of Davao to change the identities of barangays from numbers to names is laudable. Numbers are difficult to remember unlike names (of persons, flowers, plants, etc.) which are easy to keep in mind. If and when the move is implemented (which won’t be long from now), credit goes to City Councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta who initiated the idea.
Out of the 82 barangays in Davao City (from the shoreline up to Buda which is the boundary between Davao City and the province of Bukidnon), both urban and rural, majority of them are identified with numbers. This wordsmith has long been wondering why this is so. Of course, there are a few exceptions and among them is Barangay 74-A Matina Crossing. Stretching from Maa Road to Balusong, Matina Crossing is one of the biggest, if not really the biggest, barangay in Davao City both in land area and population.
The GSIS Heights alone has a land area of 61 hectares and a population conservatively estimated at 5,000. During our 43 years of residency at GSIS Heights, we have been wondering why it has not been made into a barangay. Under the law, any place that has a population of 250 is qualified to become a barangay which is the basic unit of public governance in our country.
Despite the big numbers of roads (33 streets and two alleys) criss-crossing GSIS Heights, they are easy to remember by newcomers as well as visitors because the streets are named after planets and celestial bodies and names in the horoscope.
From the very begin-ning the lease of 5,000 hectares from the Davao Penal Colony (now renamed Davao Prison and Penal Farm) to the Tagum Development Company (TADECO) by the Bureau of Corrections has been questionable. Unknown to many, the original area of TADECO consisted only of 1,024 hectares acquired by the family of the late Antonio Floirendo Sr from the national government through homestead.
But in the late 1960s, during the regime of authoritarian President Ferdinand Marcos, Floi-rendo used his closeness with Marcos to expand his banana plantation with the lease of 5,000 hectares of DAPECOL. Both Floi-rendo and Marcos came from the Ilocos region; Marcos was from Ilocos Norte, while Floirendo came from La Union.
At that time, “White Hair”, as Floirendo was called by his workers in reference to his gray hair, was not only into business but also in politics. Marcos made Floirendo the chairman of his political party, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), of Region 11 or Davao region.
The lease contract was virtually a give-away as the Floirendo family paid only a small amount in the widening of his banana plantation by 5,000 hectares to the BuCor.
If we have our way, the lease of 5,000 hectares to TADECO should be cancelled, primarily because it was ques-tionable from the beginning.
The problem, how-ever, is the lease of 5,000 hectares from DAPECOL was renewed in 2003 for another 25 years. TonyBoy (Floirendo Jr.) who represents the second district of Davao Norte in the House of Repre-sentatives is influential with President Duterte. TonyBoy was the biggest contributor to the election campaign fund of Digong.