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The contract should be “rescinded, revoked and nullified”, Mejorada said.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

National Heroes Day musings

We honor our heroes today, not just those who figured in our history and whose names we had memorized while still in elementary and high school, but also current day men and women who have died for our country, or put their lives at risk so that their countrymen could live in freedom and peace.
It’s not just the dead who are heroes. Every man or woman who has served in the armed services and law enforcement is also a hero. When a person is willing to give up his or her life to protect our institutions, he is elevated to that status as well.
Ordinary people can also be heroes. We have seen countless examples of individuals braving fires, or rough seas, or any other dangerous situation, to save lives. We witnessed this kind of heroism a month ago when three pumpboats capsized in the Iloilo Strait, sending 31 passengers to their deaths. Without hesitation, porters and crew members of other pumpboats rushed to the scene of the accidents to rescue the victims. We can only imagine how many more lives were lost without these heroes.
It’s unfortunate that as a people, we don’t really show appreciation for the sacrifice our heroes have had to do for our nation and for our people. On National Heroes Day, most of us look at it as a public holiday, a long weekend. This is perhaps one of the reasons we haven’t developed a strong sense of patriotism.
I salute our heroes, both living and the dead. I hope their sacrifices will ultimately build a badly-needed patriotism among our people.

More radio reporting bloopers

Fire call in Barangay Baldoza, Lapaz, Iloilo City.

Anchor:  Gina-interrupt naton anay ang ini nga programa para sa isa ka flash report gikan sa aton patrol. Patrol, please come in.

Lady reporter 1: Naga sunod kita subong sa mga firetrucks sang BFP nga madasig nagapadulong sa Barangay Baldoza, Lapaz. Makita na naton subong ang maitom nga kalayo.

Anchor: Maitom nga aso (gently correcting her).

Lady reporter 1: Ay huo gali, maitom ng aso.

Anchor: Kuhaon naton ang report gikan kay Lady Reporter 2. Lady Reporter 2, please come in from your location.

Lady reporter 2: Tama ka dako na gid ang maitom nga kalayo sa sunog nga nagaluntad diri sa Baldoza, Lapaz.

Anchor: Maitom nga aso buot mo silingon (with no sign of exasperation).

 

How stupid can stupid be?

Anchor: (In Tagalog) Boracay island is now on its second day of closure to tourists, and tourists and workers in hotels and other establishments have started leaving the island since yesterday. Our reporter is live from Boracay to give us a situationer report on what is going on. Reporter Juan, please come in.

Reporter Juan: That’s right, Boracay has suddenly become a ghost town as thousands of tourists left the island yesterday on the first day of closure. Workers are also leaving the island after their establishments heeded the order of President Duterte and allow an inter-agency task force to start rehabilitation efforts. With us right now is Pedro, who is one of the displaced workers, and is now packing up his things to leave the island. Sir, does your boss still intend to keep his place open (for the duration of the island closure)?

Now, isn’t that a stupid question? What business owner would keep his place open, paying salaries of his workers for six months when there would be no tourists to patronize their hotel or restaurant?

Radio networks should provide training for their reporters and anchors to avoid embarrassing situations like this.