Duterte needs to keep an eye on his Davao circle of friends

Published May 31, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Elinando B. Cinco
Elinando B. Cinco

By Elinando B. Cinco

 

There is little to doubt that the Chief Executive is himself corruption-free, but in recent weeks some of his close partymates from Davao have been dragged into alleged inappropriate issues.

The latest is a top government lawyer, a boyhood playmate of his, that media reports said a security agency that he reportedly owned (now headed by his wife) has been able to obtain security service contracts from three government agencies.

Earlier, the official clarified that the contracts were won by his agency through bidding long before he joined the Duterte administration.

And to show his critics that he is clean, he has already unloaded or sold his corporate shares in the firm. He said he is ready to disprove the issues against him in a proper forum.

Last Monday, he “stormed” the Senate accompanied by a phalanx of staffers. When asked by on-the-spot broadcasters what the purpose of his visit was, the unsmiling official was taciturn.

(Flashback: In my column last February 23, I wrote, in part, that a brilliant lawyer Jose Calida and a fearless prosecutor Rody Duterte organized the Alsa Masa, a civilian vigilante group that fought Communist and lawless elements which sowed terror in Davao in 1984.)

Another Davaweno who heads a branch of government was reported to have bought parcels of land in a province near his constituency said to be worth millions of pesos.

In his defense against those criticisms, the official said he bought those properties in different years long before he was elected to his present position. And that he would readily answer those charges in a court of law.

And, of course, the public has now become aware of what happened to a Cabinet secretary who doled out P80 million to a tourism project that had barely started. Coupled with contracting some P60 million worth of advertising placements in a show produced and hosted by her brothers in a government TV station.

These are all unproven charges, of course, but they already have sparked a ripple of concern to those who genuinely support the President in his oft- repeated drive of “zero tolerance when it comes to corruption.”

Like those dismissed undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, the chief of a government corporate counsel office also saw his head roll down from the hanging ramp.

Some of dismissed personalities were sons of family friends of the President. Their mistake was their callousness and in entertaining the thought of being invincible because of their being “taga-ato,” Cebuano-Visayan of “from our place.”

***

LYSANDER P. GARCIA WRITES “30.” He was probably the only newspaperman whose by-line carried the titles “associate editor,”” business editor,” “section editor,” and “supplements editor,” in four newspapers, and one wire-news service organization, one after the other, of course. Two months short of 74 years old, Sander was a victim of a heart attack last Monday, May 21.

In his senior year at UP as journalism student, Sander held the position of news editor of the Philippine Collegian. His remains were interred at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Paranaque on Tuesday, May 29.

 
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