‘Barking’ orders and their hitches

Published March 22, 2019, 12:15 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Elinando B. Cinco
Elinando B. Cinco

These days, I find it amusing in observing the progress of a President Duterte’s marching orders, or what are now christened by nitpickers as “barking orders.”

Administration critics aptly call these command or marching orders because they are  given by the Malacanang tenant while in an angry mood. And there are appropriate reasons why.

Being in a belligerent state, the Chief Executive  is aware of the consequences of his “barking” orders from various public sectors, their adverse reactions brought about by his hot temper.

And without his fully knowing it, the resultant orders often result in hitches. All because of mounting public pressure.

For example, he must have been in a raging outburst when he ordered the Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services, Inc., to open up their water connections to Angat Dam in Bulacan. That would have meant easing up the water shortage being felt by Metro Manila consumers.

 Since March 6, millions of customers of the two water concessionaires in the metropolis have had nothing but dry faucets.

Thus, the sight of hundreds of people lining up for hours waiting for their pails to be filled up with the precious commodity was more than enough for the President. Who else is there to blame for the consumers’dehydrated physique but him and his administration.

Now, as everyone can see, with the mid-term election barely a few more weeks away, and with some 16 million Metro Manilans on the verge of dying from dehydration, the first casualties will be the names of the 12 Malacanang-chosen senatoriables!

That is enough to make “El Macho Presidente” exasperated.

So what to do?

In a booming voice, he ordered the two water service concessionaires to connect their service pipes to Angat Dam whose billions of cubic meters of water is just waiting to be tapped.

 But even before the President’s voice could echo back from the dam’s mountains and hills, a huge problem presented itself – the pipes from the Bulacan dam are much bigger in size than those used by the two water services firms, according to published reports.

Ergo, Duterte’s barking order cannot immediately be followed. Some hydrologists said no amount of adjustments can  immediately let the water from Angat Dam go rushing to Metro Manila, for some reasons.

And so what will happen now to the President’s barking orders? That, my dear readers, will depend on how credible are the finger-pointing minions in the President’s circle.

If some of our readers have that keen sense of recall, they can’t help but be reminded  that the government has a poor track record in selecting an efficient partner from the private sector in joint venture projects.

The scenario today again seems to point in that direction. The Palace can always issue a stern warning to its under-performing partners – just like  what it did recently to a telecommunications brand “to shape up or else” it would snap off its franchise.

By now what have we got?

Early morning last Monday (7:00 o’clock), a public hearing was called by the House Committee on Metro Manila Development where more than 30 guest-witnesses were invited. And when you have that number of “experts” anxious to testify, only a crowd at Plaza Miranda can drown out the noise.

The government regulatory agency – the MWSS – fell silent about its earlier statement that the water at the Angat Dam could not be channeled to the two concessionaires due to some technical reasons.

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Another barking order that came as front-page staple of newspapers last Monday was the Philippines’ withdrawal from membership in the International Criminal Court. It has long been on the agenda of the Office of the President.

But experts claimed there were hitches in the executive department’s  move. It is only the Senate of the Philippines, as embodied in our Constitution, that has the sole role to abrogate and terminate international agreements with other countries. And our membership in the ICC is one of those.

The same experts have also asked the Supreme Court to come up with a statement relevant to the matter above.

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MISQUOTATION ANENT THIS COLUMN’S PIECE OF FEBRUARY 15, 2019.The examiner in Labor Law in the 1979 Bar exam was misquoted. He did not say, “I never gave that kind of grading to any examinee.” The examiner, then DOJ secretary, was introduced by a 1979  examinee as guest speaker at the induction of officers and members of the Justice and Court Reporters Association held in a reputable hotel in Manila in 1987.

The 1979 bar examinee said he regretted he did not ask the guest speaker if he ever gave a grade of 42 percent in Labor Law in that particular Bar exam.