Gone in eight days: ABS-CBN shutdown clock is ticking

Today is Sunday, April 26, 2020.

Looking at my calendar, I counted eight days before May 4, 2020.

That’s the day when the franchise of ABS-CBN expires.

The bells are now starting to ring to signal the demise of a media giant that has raked in billions and billions of pesos in profits in the business of cheap entertainment and deceiving the public.

There is no possibility of a last-minute revival. At long last, this broadcast company that is also in the forefront of a destabilization campaign against the government is about to close its doors. Deaths are always a reason for mourning; in the case of ABS-CBN, its shutdown is drawing applause from the Filipino people. For it is a victory of the people against the oligarchy.

On March 16, 2020, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued Memorandum Order No. 01-03-2020 with the subject heading, “Implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine Over Entire Luzon Island Including Metro Manila.”

When this was issued, it appears that it gave the wrong impression that NTC was giving ABS-CBN a 60-day extension after the lifting of the ECQ. This false hope is anchored on Section C of the Memorandum Order:

section C memorandum order no. 01-03-2020

It takes only one reading of the provision to know that it does not grant a 60-day extension to the broadcast operations of ABS-CBN. It refers to permits “necessary to operate and maintain telecommunication facilities nationwide.” Its scope covers permits for telecommunications companies like PLDT, Globe, Smart, Bayantel and the like. “Facilities” are infrastructure and equipment needed to keep our phones and wireless services running while the country is still under lockdown. Broadcast operations do not fall under its ambit.

At this time, with eight days to go, nothing has changed in the status of ABS-CBN. Its shutdown will proceed as scheduled. There is no Provisional Authority to Operate as yet from the NTC, which is why I appealed to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in my Open Letter not to allow this to happen.

Jurisprudence is crystal clear on this matter. On February 17, 2003, the Supreme Court 3rd Division ruled that the NTC has no power to issue a permit to a television network without its first obtaining a legislative franchise. No franchise, no broadcast. The rule is as simple as that.

What about the resolutions adopted by both Houses of Congress that expressed consent for the NTC to issue a Provisional Authority? This is based on the opinion of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra who stated that ABS-CBN can be given a new lease on life while Congress is still deliberating its application for a new franchise. And what does it make of the commitment made by Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios that NTC will issue such authority?

All these amount to nothing.

Any freshman law student will have no difficulty telling you that a resolution does not have the weight of a law. A franchise is a law, duly enacted by both Houses of Congress, and approved by the President. Resolutions, on the other hand, are mere expressions of sentiment by Senators and Congressmen/women. The opinion of Justice Secretary Guevarra has persuasive effect, but is not binding. I believe the NTC knows that issuing such a provisional authority has no firm legal footing. Besides, Atty. Larry Gadon has a pending case before the Supreme Court seeking an injunction against it.

Hence, the clock on the wall continues ticking toward May 4, 2020.

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE

April 25, 2020

 

His Excellency

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Republic of the Philippines

Malacanang, Manila

 

MR. PRESIDENT:

 

In a matter of nine days, the franchise of ABS-CBN will expire. With certainty, it could not obtain a new franchise on May 4, 2020, or in the following weeks afterwards. Its only recourse, upon the suggestion of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, is to get a Provisional Authority to Operate from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). I am writing to express the collective sentiments of millions of Filipinos OPPOSING the grant of such a provisional authority.

First and foremost, the network has violated the terms and conditions of its legislative franchise under Republic Act No. 7966. These violations are subject of a Petition for Quo Warranto filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida before the Supreme Court. In view of the sub judice rule, I will refrain from delving into the issues.

Second, the network is guilty of defrauding the public with its malicious distortion of information through its news and other public affairs programs. Over the last 25 years, the network has perpetrated upon the public mind a steady diet of half-truths and outright lies to advance and protect the selfish interests of the oligarchy it represents. It has also abused the television, radio and social media platforms to undermine the government.

This program of deception and disinformation has intensified during the last 45 days as the country fought hard to contain the Corona Virus (“Covid 19”) pandemic. Its news and commentaries were deliberately twisted to paint negative images for its viewers, listeners and readers about the government’s response to the crisis. Without a doubt, the purpose was to plant the seeds of doubt in the public mind about the ability of the present dispensation in handling the situation.

I have reason to believe the network is also complicit in a plot to destabilize the government.

On March 4, 2020, one of its talents, actress Kim Chiu, was purportedly ambushed by riding-in-tandem suspects while being driven to her taping session at the ABS-CBN studios at around 6 a.m. Based on media reports, the suspects fired eight rounds from a pistol of still unknown caliber. The bullets impacted upon different parts of the vehicle. Kim Chiu, her driver and personal assistant, were unhurt. Not even a scratch from gunshots at point-blank range from supposedly professional guns-for-hire.

The incident was intended to spark a storm of public protests about the “breakdown in law and order” under the Duterte administration. A number of ABS-CBN celebrities commented on their social media platforms with that message. However, the story didn’t catch fire in the public arena. ABS-CBN quickly buried the issue. After just one day, it stopped reporting on the incident.

Why do I say that this is part of a destabilization plot?

It is public knowledge that the political opposition has formed an alliance with the radical left to attack the government at every opportunity. With the impending expiration of the existing legislative franchise drawing nearer, these groups must have felt a greater sense of urgency to bring down this government. They needed to save ABS-CBN at all costs. Otherwise, they will lose a powerful tool to manipulate and control the public mind.

That establishes the motive.

Call it a “slip of the tongue.” A few days after the incident, Miss Chiu posted on her Instagram thanking some people for the support they gave her after that frightening experience. There were not too many names mentioned. But toward the end of her post, she gave special thanks to “Atty. Aby and Atty. Edwin.” She didn’t give an explanation why she was thanking these two lawyers. Apparently, they are not her lawyers because in another post, she spoke of “my lawyer” about the case. That means she has only one lawyer handling her legal affairs.

It is not far-fetched that these two lawyers are none other than Atty. Abigail “Aby” Valte and Atty. Edwin Lacierda. Both were at the helm of the communications team of then President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III during his term. From what I know, they are also at the forefront of the propaganda efforts aimed at destabilizing the Duterte administration.

I revealed my observation in a YouTube vlog with a conclusion that the ambush was part of a grand evil scheme to topple the present administration on March 29, 2020.

Despite the gravity of the accusation I made, Miss Chiu did not bother to make a rejoinder. Neither did Attorneys “Aby” and “Edwin”. They evaded the issue.

These circumstances support my conclusion that the ambush was fake and that ABS-CBN had deliberately covered up the story after it was exposed as such. This act of covering-up by ABS-CBN is a serious breach of its obligation to the public to deliver the unvarnished information, especially when it involves a high-profile case. It is the final nail to the coffin, so to speak.

Over the last three weeks, I have received an overwhelming expression of disgust and reprehension against ABS-CBN. I believe it is not an exaggeration to say that millions of Filipinos want the network to be closed. The hashtag #YesToABSCBNShutDown has trended as the countdown toward May 4, 2020 ticked off the days.

Now there are only nine days left.

With this in mind, I respectfully bring this collective sentiment directly to you, Mr. President. The Filipino people want ABS-CBN to be shutdown. With the expiration of its franchise under RA 7966 on May 4, 2020, the network will die a natural death. Under existing jurisprudence, ABS-CBN cannot continue to operate without a new franchise. However, it is banking on the opinion of Justice Secretary Guevarra that it can extend its life by a mere Provisional Authority to Operate.

We appeal to you: PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN.

Finally, I join an overwhelming majority of the Filipino people that God will shield you from any harm, especially that potential threat from conspirators working ceaselessly to undermine your administration.

 

Very respectfully yours,

 

MANUEL P. MEJORADA

 

Bogus Part 2: FLM and Norman Mangusin are one and the same

It’s really true that you catch a fish by its mouth.

In probing into the glaring fraud being perpetuated by Francis Leo Marcos, I didn’t have to look far to establish the fact that he is a pathological liar. I just looked at his “official biography” which he peddled to online websites masquerading as news organizations. The tall tales and lies are so obvious it  makes me wonder why most people didn’t detect them at once.

The first, of course, was the lie FLM (that’s what his oversized ego wants himself called) about his education. He claims to have obtained his secondary education from the “National High School of Massachusetts”. It doesn’t exist. Then he embellishes his biography even more with a fatter lie: he graduated from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

On Sunday night I published a video on YouTube questioning this claim. The next day, Francis Leo responded and made a show about how pained he was that people like me could doubt his generosity. More lies. But he never addressed the issue that he had lied about his education. He put up a show to make it appear he is a victim of persecution. Classic performance of a con artist. And then his minions attacked me on social media.

If FLM and his rabid followers thought they could bully me with bashing, they are wrong. Sanay na ako sa bashing sa panahon ni former City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog. When I started exposing his corruption and his connections with drug lords, he fielded an army of trolls to attack me every day, from morning till evening, on Facebook and Twitter. Tinulungan pa siya ng pinsan niya na si Senator Franklin Drilon after I also exposed the corruption in the Iloilo Convention Center and other DAP-funded projects.

At hindi lang bashing. May guns-for-hire pa na palaging bumubuntot sa akin, just waiting for a chance to ambush me. Mga tauhan ng mga drug lord. Tinitira ko kasi ang kanilang illegal na negosyo sa Iloilo. Kaya lang, pinahiram ako ng kaibigan ko na si Rommel Ynion ng bullet-proof na sasakyan. Binigyan din ako ng apat na bodyguards, mga dating sundalo na beterano sa Mindanao. Napatay na ang dalawang drug lords, at nabilanggo ang pangatlo. Salamat sa Diyos at niligtas Niya ako sa Panganib.

Anyway, FLM is a classic con artist. The worst among the lot. His style is crude. But somehow he’s been able to fool hundreds of thousands of people.

In one of his videos, FLM admitted that he and Norman Mangusin are one and the same individual. It came directly from him. It’s almost like a criminal confessing on YouTube. Indeed, “you catch a fish by its mouth.” Here is his confession on YouTube:

This is enough to demolish the fraudulent story that FLM has been peddling to his blind followers. But credit it to him that his rabid supporters refuse to let that damaging confession change their perception of the man.

In part two of my YouTube video series, I explained that FLM’s ostentatious display of his so-called “fabulous wealth” is part of the deception. I showed that he liked to put his hands close to the camera so that viewers will not miss his gold watch, bracelet and oversized rings studded with what looks like diamonds (I use “looks like” because fake diamond rings are a dime a dozen). This is a personality trait that is common among con artists, or budol-budol operators as we know them.

In part three which I am now shooting and editing, I will explain the psychological basis for my claim that FLM a.k.a. Norman Mangusin belongs to the top level of fraudsters. If we use disease as an analogy, FLM is stage IV cancer. Masyadong delikado para sa lipunan. And his victims are not even aware of it.

Yesterday, I found out that FLM tried to solicit donations to his “Volunteers Against Poverty Foundation.” I have screen shots of his social media posters that shows an account number with the Philippine National Bank. I will request the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate this fraud. The posters have since been taken down from Facebook. Natakot si FLM na mabisto. But I have the evidence. Maghanda ka Mr. Norman Mangusin.

Stigma

I found it distressing to read about some people in Lambunao, Iloilo throwing stones at the residence of a family stricken with the Covid 19 disease. It shows the worst in the character of these people. It puts them at a level much lower than humanity. It is a behavior borne out of ignorance. They have no place in civilized society.

From what I read, this family is grieving, having lost a parent to this disease. The rest of the household have been found positive for the corona virus. Nobody could possibly be in a worse situation than where they’re in. They don’t deserve to be treated this way.

What the surviving members of the family needs is sympathy. It isn’t their fault that the disease found its way into their family. It happened because the fatality had travelled from Manila as the pandemic broke out. He just had the msfortune of being at an airport or some other place where large numbers of people gathered. An airport or a church or a conference hall are the most conducive places for the virus to spread.

I hope the LGU will assert its authority and provide the family protection from this kind of assault. We cannot allow the Covid 19 disease to put those it has infected under a stigma, or scorn from their fellow human beings. We have to show compassion and understanding. They need the support of the community to survive this crisis.

As I write this, there is plenty of reason to believe the pandemic is slowing down. The statistics of the last two days (I’m writing this on Wednesday, April 8) indicate that the number of new Covid 19 positive cases have started to slide. After three weeks into the lockdown, our statistics are encouraging. While it can’t be avoided that there are infections, and deaths, the numbers are far lower than what we’ve seen in other countries.

In the United States, for instance, an estimated 400,000 people have been infected. A little over 12,000 have died. And a big factor why this happened is because the U.S. government was slow in imposing strict quarantine measures. We’ve seen the same experiene in Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, France and other European nations. It puts beyond doubt that a lockdown is the most effective way to fight the virus.

When President Rodrigo Duterte ordered that Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon be put under an enhanced community quarantine, or lockdown to be more precise, there was considerable grumblings that the government was over-reacting. One of those who called the measure as a case of “over-reaction” was Senate President Tito Sotto. Other figures in the political opposition also questioned the wisdom of the lockdown.

While it might be too early to call the government’s response a success, the figures that are being reported by the Department of Health are reassuring. We have done a good job stepping on the brakes and prevented the number of cases from spiking to the level of thousands of new cases in a single day.

No government in the world was prepared for this pandemic. Compared to the U.S. and the wealthier nations, the Philippines had almost nothing in its medical arsenal to deal with the pandemic. We lacked testing kits and our hospitals were inadequately equipped, especially personal protective equipment (PPE). If infrastructure and medical supplies were to be the gauge, our country was a candidate for the worst-case scenario.

When this is over, those who had criticized the President’s directive for enhanced community quarantine will likely thank him for being decisive. And credit must go to our doctors, nurses, hospital staffs, the police and military, our LGUs and other government workers who responded to the call to wage battle with Covid 19. Words are inadequate to describe the heroism you have displayed. The country owes you a debt of gratitude.

Filipinos are a resilient people. We have always bounced back from every calamity. This one is no different. Our collective suffering might be a great deal heavier during this period. But I am confident that once we recover, we will emerge a far stronger people and nation.

When people turn off comments or block others on social media

I just read an article about former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay having blocked pro-Duterte netizens because he apparently has no stomach to tolerate ideas that run counter to his own.

At once, this brought back to mind what ABS-CBN actress Kim Chiu when she posted a YouTube video entitled, “The Truth: Breaking My Silence,” two weeks ago. Kim Chiu hid behind a thick studio curtain, perhaps thinking it would disguise the truth.

Both are excellent examples of cowards who cannot handle the truth that in this world, there are always two sides of a coin. Or rather, many shades of gray. In this world of lightning speed travel of ideas, everybody has a word to say about issues. And those who pretend to espouse causes, and yet shield themselves from contradictory opinions, are quickly exposed as frauds.

A good idea can withstand the most severe of assaults from every side of an equation. After going through a rough storm, it will always emerge intact, and will gain acceptance from among the multitudes. Indeed, there are truths that have outlasted generations of people. The Bible is one of them. We also have the classics in literature. Good ideas are not temporary. In Pilipino, “hindi panandali-an.”

This is the reason the propaganda being propagated by the “dilawans” and the left, with plenty of financial support from the oligarchy, do not last long enough to sink into the public consciousness. These are superficial, hollow, empty. It doesn’t take much to demolish the falsehoods they throw into cyberspace. For every distortion and falsehood, a battery of Patriot missiles in the form of counter-ideas quickly shoot them down.

The same thing can be said about the fake news of ABS-CBN. Kung sa Hiligaynon, maalam na ang mga Pinoy. Hindi na ma-into (Filipinos are now smart. They cannot be fooled).

Kaya binisbisto lang ng mga katulad nina Hilbay at Kim Chiu ang kahinaan ng kanilang pinapakalat na propaganda. Ang taong bayan mismo ang dumedepensa sa gobyerno ngayon laban sa mga ganitong banta sa ating republika.

 

ABS-CBN full speed ahead sa fake news!

In 29 days, the final curtain will fall on ABS-CBN with the expiration of its legislative franchise. At habang lumalapit na sila sa finish line, bumibilis din ang takbo ng ABS-CBN sa pagpakalat ng fake news tungkol kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte.

Hinahabol nila ang oras sa pagsikap na mapatumba nila ang gobyerno bago pa man dumating ang May 4, 2020.

Kahapon may pinalabas na naman ang ABS-CBN na fake news tungkol sa nangyaring pamamaril ng isang pulis sa Agusan del Norte ng isang lasing na nag-amok sa checkpoint.

Ito ang headline na pinalabas ng network: “Magsasakang ayaw umanong magsuot ng face mask, patay sa pamamaril ng pulis.”

farmer shot dead headline

Pero iba po ang nangyari.

Ayon sa otoridad doon sa Agusan del Norte, may lalaking lasing na dumaan sa checkpoint. Dahil hindi ito nakasuot ng face mask, sinita ng mga tanod at health worker.

Nagalit ang magsasaki at nagwala. Nilabas ang kanyang hitak at sinugod ang mga nasa checkpoint.

Sa mabuting palad, mabilis na naka responde ang isang pulis.

Hinarap ang nag amok na lasing. Inutosan na huminto at ibaba ang kanyang hitak.

Sa halip na sumunod ang lasing, nag amok na talaga at sinugod ang pulis.

Dahil armado ng deadly weapon ang lasing, napilitan ang pulis na paputokan ng baril. Patay ang amok. Sa mabuting palad, hindi nasaktan ang pulis at ang mga tao sa checkpoint.

DISTORTED ang balita. MISLEADING.

Nabaril ang amok ng pulis hindi dahil sa kanyang paglabag sa regulasyon na magsuot ng facemask kung nasa labas ng bahay.

Nabaril siya dahil inatake niya ang pulis at may balak na saksakin ang pulis.

It was an act of self defense.

Makikita kaagad sa headline ng ABS-CBN ang masamang layunin nito na gamitin ang sinabi ni Pangulong duterte tungkol sa pag gamit ng puwersa sa mga nanggugulo.

Pareho sa Rappler, pinalabas ng ABS-CBN na sinusunod ng pulis ang “shoot to kill” daw na utos.

Hindi naman ganun ang sinabi ni Pangulong Duterte.

Subalit ini-iba ang biased media katulad ng ABS-CBN, Rappler at inquirer ang katotohanan.

Distorted palagi ang balita.

Hindi maganda para sa public perception tungkol kay President Duterte.

Sinasabayan ang ganitong fake news ng mga posts sa social media ng mga artista ng ABS-CBN na minamasama si Pres. Duterte.

May mga nananawagan ng hashtag Oust Duterte Now.

There is no doubt in my mind that ABS-CBN is leading the propaganda war against the government.

Sa bawat pagkakataon, sinisiraan ng network ang gobyerno.

Pinapa-ligaw ng network ang isip ng tao sa maling direksyon.

At sa halip na tumulong upang mapa-calma ang taong bayan, nagtatanim pa ito ng malisyosong kasinungalingan upang magalit sila sa gobyerno.

Napakarami na ang mga kasalanan ng ABS-CBN.

Sa nabanggit ko sa aking investigative report sa kasong fake ambush kay Kim Chiu, bahagi  yun ng isang destabilization plot laban sa gobyerno.

Kaya lang pumalpak dahil mabilis na nabisto na peke ang ambush.

Kailangan mag-ingay ang sambayanan upang ipabatid sa National Telecommunications Commission o NTC na huwag na huwag itong bigyan ng provisional authority to operate.

NO TO THE RENEWAL OF THE ABS CBN FRANCHISE.

YES TO THE SHUTDOWN OF ABS-CBN.

Kung suportado ninyo ang panawagan na ito, paki click ng like at i-share ang video na ito sa inyong mga kaibigan.

We need to confront this threat to our republic as one people.

 

Ambush ni Kim Chiu part of destabilization plot

From day one after the news came out that actress Kim Chiu was ambushed in Quezon City on March 4, a thought had already occupied my mind that this was not what it looked like: an attack on a young celebrity in the streets of the national capital.

And the more I puzzled over the incident, the idea gradually formed that there’s a sinister plot behind it, and the target wasn’t Kim Chiu. It didn’t take long before I became convinced it was a staged ambush to cause widespread anger about the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Isa po itong pakulo ng mga dilawan sa kanilang patuloy na black propaganda campaign against the Duterte government. Their purpose is to bring down President Duterte and pave the way for Vice President Leni Robredo to ascend to the Presidency.

Panoorin niyo ang viral video na ginawa ko sa YouTube:

ILOILO CONVENTION CENTER: Mother of all DAP scams

Press release

January 30, 2020

Front view

 

ICC lease contract ‘onerous’ – Mejorada

 

The lease contract awarded to an Iloilo-based company to operate and manage the Iloilo Convention Center four years ago is “onerous, lopsided and grossly disadvantageous to the government”, former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel “Boy” Mejorada said.

In a six-page complaint filed with the Office of the Solicitor General on Tuesday, Mejorada said the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) can expect to generate only P74 million in rentals over a period of 25 years, which is less than 10 percent return-on-investment (ROI) based on total expenditures of around P750 million.

Mejorada asked Solicitor General Jose Calida to conduct a review pursuant to a directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to look into onerous contracts between the government and private entities.

The contract should be “rescinded, revoked and nullified”, Mejorada said.

“This contract is the mother of all scams,” he said.

Mejorada also wrote a similar letter to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

In his complaint, Mejorada said the lease, operate and manage (LOM) contract signed by and between TIEZA and Premier Islands Management Corp. on March 11, 2016 violated the terms of reference (TOR) issued for this purpose.

The TOR, for instance, used only P330 million as the “asset valuation” for the ICC, which is less than half of the actual expenditures, he said.

He said the actual expenditures of P750 million came from then TIEZA Assistant Chief Operating Officer Jethro Nicolas Lozada.

He said TIEZA removed the P300 million that was spent for the project from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in order to bring down the asset value and make the lease payments feasible to potential bidders.

“There was no legal basis in just writing off the P300 million from the books of TIEZA for the ICC,” he said.

It appears that then DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson waived off the recovery of the DAP money spent for the project during a meeting of the TIEZA board, he said.

“That is a blatant violation of COA rules and regulations in the disposition of public funds, an act constituting economic plunder,” he said.

Moreover, he questioned the adoption of P330 million as asset valuation.

With the actual expenditures placed at P750 million, and the write-off of P300 million, there is still P120 million that is not accounted for, he said.

It is common practice among real estate developers to recover the capital investments after 4 to 6 years, he said.

“That means within that period, a 100% recovery of the capital is achieved,” he pointed out.

In the case of the ICC, the total amount of fixed annual revenues and percentage share of gross sales won’t even reach 10% after 25 years, Mejorada said.

Mejorada said this asset valuation doesn’t take into account the value of the 1.7-hectare lot on which the ICC stands.

At a conservative price of P30,000 per sqm., the lot itself was worth P510 million, he said.

“In real terms, the real value of the ICC for purposes of computing the ROI should be P1.25 billion,” he said. “And that is a conservative amount,” he added.

Mejorada said the TIEZA violated the TOR in awarding the contract to PIMC.

“First, the indicative fixed annual revenue of 1% of the asset valuation was P3.3 million for the first year,” he said.

However, the contract set the fixed annual revenue for the first year at only P1.2 million, he said.

He said the percentage share from gross revenues in the ICC operations was fixed at 15% for each year.

But in the contract, the percentage share was only 5%, he added. (30)

 

 

Lying through his teeth (Part One)

The longer P/Major Rodney Raymund Baloyo IV told and retold his version of what happened on November 29, 2013 inside a plush subdivision in Mexico, Pampanga, the more his credibility sank into a morass of dishonesty. He lied blatantly, and when pressed, made changes to his story, perhaps thinking he could fool the Senate committee on justice and human rights, and the entire nation. Never before have I seen such a liar.

Baloyo had nothing to back his story except his word. On the other hand, a mountain of evidence told an entirely different story. This individual doesn’t deserve to wear that uniform and badge of an officer of the Philippine National Police a minute longer. An orange uniform of a Bilibid prisoner is what suits him.

BALOYO’S VERSION:

At around 2 p.m. on November 29, 2013, a confidential informant walks into the intelligence branch of the Pampanga provincial police office. This “asset” — slang for informants — narrates to Baloyo that there is a big-time drug pusher operating in the Woodbridge Subdivision, Lake Shore View in Mexico, Pampanga. The debriefing took one hour, and Baloyo takes the asset’s story as truthful. Immediately, he organizes a team of 13 including himself and proceeds to the target. He had sent ahead two policemen to conduct surveillance and rendezvouzed with them at a gasoline station at around 4 p.m.

Baloyo was able to raise P100,000 to be used as “marked buy-bust money” in a test-buy before making an arrest. He said it was a certain policeman named Santos who gave him the money. The money consisted of 100 P1,000 bills, with each paper note signed “by the operatives” as the marking.

At around 4:30 p.m., Baloyo carried out the buy-bust and arrested a Chinese national, Ding Wen Kun. They recovered 36 kilos of shabu and P300,000 in cash. The situation became tense when two security guards arrived and challenged the police officers, who were in civilian clothing. “They were armed with shotguns which were aimed at us,” Baloyo said.

To secure his men from this threat, Baloyo said he and his men boarded their vehicles, taking with them an estimated 200 kilos of shabu and a vault believed to have contained P55 million, and drove off toward the Pampanga provincial police office.

His immediate superior, then P/Senior Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, said there was a press conference at around 5:30 p.m. in which the seized shabu and cash were laid out on a table for presentation to the public. This last detail was confirmed by retired Police General Manuel Gaerlan, who was then deputy regional director for PRO 3.

This is the core of Baloyo’s story.

THE TRUE VERSION:

There was no buy-bust. It was an unauthorized raid on the residence of Chinese national Johnson Lee. Apparently, Baloyo had been monitoring the activities of Lee in the distribution of shabu from that house. His superior, Albayalde, knew about it. (After all, the first rule is that the commander must know everything that is happening.) Baloyo was looking for an opening to pounce on Lee. The opportunity came in the morning of Nov. 29. Baloyo learned there was a large shipment of shabu. He had to move fast.

But instead of applying for a search warrant, Baloyo and his men barged into the house of Lee. The Chinese national was able to jump over the fence and ran away to ask for help. He didn’t know that the intruders to his house were policemen. Lee went to the barangay hall to report the forced entry into his house.

The barangay officials telephoned the Mexico, Pampanga PNP station to report the alleged home invasion by the armed men and the presence of Lee in their custody. Three uniformed policemen were dispatched to investigate. Lee was taken aboard the patrol car back to his residence. There, he came face to face with Baloyo and his men, now ready to haul their loot.

This gave Baloyo a bonus. Instead of just the shabu, he had the suspect in custody. But then it wasn’t a legitimate drug buy-bust that he had planned. It was a money-making enterprise. Baloyo had removed a steel safe containing P55 million from the house. He struck a deal with Lee: open the safe and he will set the Chinese national free. Lee was only too glad to comply.

Two blue guards from the private security company assigned to Woodridge Subdivision arrived at the scene to investigate. Baloyo identified himself as the intelligence officer of Pampanga provincial police office. The security guards could not do anything. Baloyo and his group left, bringing with them their stash of shabu and cash. The three policemen, thinking everything was in order, also left and headed back to the municipal police station.

It was just before noon of November 29, 2019. (To be continued)

 

Teaching kids how to write

In any age, good writing skills are always an advantage for every individual. Its importance is even bigger in this era of social media, when we need to write brief and concise posts to convey our ideas. Good thinking is equated with good writing, and vice versa. This is the reason every parent should want to see their children grow up into good writers.

But unlike all other subjects, there is no formal course for teaching children how to write. In fact, the best writers didn’t learn their craft in the classroom. Teaching writing in the traditional sense of education doesn’t exist. There is no one method or approach to teaching children how to write.

I speak from experience. I’ve reached a point that I can fairly say that my writing skills would be proximate to excellent. At 60, I’ve probably written millions and millions of words, most of them in my work as a journalist. I was also a public servant (Provincial Administrator of Iloilo) for nine years. I worked in a bank for eight years. And as a parent, I’ve raised six children into becoming good writers.

I’m sure that my formula — if you can call it a formula — is similar to others who achieved a high level of writing skills and taught their children to do the same. It’s not a big secret. It is very simple.

In 1991, I had the privilege to attend a seminar at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, FL as a 32-year old Filipino newspaper editor. I spent a week with Dr. Roy Peter Clark, considered the guru of American journalism writing. I came to Poynter with a feeling of inferiority. I was at the Mecca of journalism, and I had vowed to bring home as much knowledge about writing.

Dr. Clark asked the participants to write a feature story. At the time, the Apple Mac was still a novelty. I had never laid my hands on an Apple Mac before. Oh boy, did I relish every moment writing on a Mac (I think it was Mac II with floppy discs). It was like being allowed to drive a Rolls Royce; that’s how primitive IT was at the time in the Philippines.

And so I saved my work on the Apple Mac II and waited.

After a day, Dr. Clark invited me to a small conference room for a one-on-one coaching session. My first question was: what mistakes did I make? Was my grammar atrocious? Was I an embarrassment to the institution which gave me an all-expenses paid trip to Poynter?

To my surprise, Dr. Clark was all praises for my writing. “Where did you learn how to write?” he asked. My lame answer was: “In school.”

Of course, that was an exaggeration. School didn’t really teach me how to write. But school was where I was introduced to reading. It helped that my aunts had plenty of old editions of Time, Newsweek and Reader’s Digest. These I literally gobbled up whenever I could.

Looking back, I realize now that this is how most of the great writers discovered their talent. At a young age, they devoured books. It became their introduction to a world of words. Every page that they read became a building block for their writing ability.

No writer who is now famous was given formal lessons in writing. As Dr. Clark told me, “you taught yourself how to write.” This is the same thing with all writers. Later in life, it helped that they had mentors. This is the reason journalism is one of the best ways to sharpen one’s writing skills. Editors teach us what to avoid and how to conserve on words to put across our meaning.

Having great writers as models is also a good way to develop your writing skills. When we read the great books, we come to see how their ideas are packaged in easy-to-comprehend sentences and paragraphs. I do remember a high school teacher tell us: “If you want to write well, just follow the three R’s: read, read, and read.”

So, if you want your children to learn how to write, encourage them to be readers at an early age. That will give them a big headstart in becoming good writers.