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Noynoy, Garin and Abad deserve to rot in jail over Dengvaxia mess

At long last, the Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon has found more than enough basis to seek the prosecution of former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III, former DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin and former DBM Secretary Butch Abad for their conspiracy to put the lives of Filipino children at risk with the Dengvaxia mass vaccination program at a cost of P3.5 billion.

Right from the start, I was already convinced about the culpability of these former officials, especially in undermining the Government Procurement Reform Act and related laws, just to roll out this mass vaccination program over the loud protests of experts on dengue.

Everything about the transaction smacks of what we call “lutong makaw”, a Filipino slang for a transaction that was rigged to favor Sanofi Pasteur and ensure that it bags the P3.5 billion contract even before it was given final clearance on the safety and efficacy of Dengvaxia.

Senator Gordon is correct: the bureaucracy moved like an express train, with each move so well coordinated one would think it was a Philharmonic orchestra performing. Even the manner the P3.5 billion was obtained and released through a SARO was unbelievably fast, knowing that the bureaucratic red tape normally would take one year to do that.

When the bureaucracy behaves that way, one can easily conclude the directives go all the way up, and not just at the Cabinet level.

Hopefully, the Ombudsman would pick up from where the Blue Ribbon Committee and redeem itself just as Tanodbayan Conchita Carpio Morales is about to retire. The graft investigators have mountains of evidence to sort out and build an airtight case against these three individuals who have committed the greatest sin against the Filipino people. This is a case that cannot be allowed to fail; the people have been betrayed more than enough.

And justice must be swift. The Ombudsman should elevate the case to the Sandiganbayan within a year. The souls of Filipino children who have died because of Dengvaxia are crying for justice. Noynoy, Janette and Butch should rot in jail for justice to be delivered to the victims.

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The new jueteng lord

Few people have heard about Boy Jalandoni. That’s Julio J. Jalandoni to be exact, married to Sylvia Espino. But his name shot to national prominence on Tuesday morning, Sept. 21, when his name was mentioned as the “jueteng” lord of Bacolod City during the Senate Blue Ribbon investigation into the illegal numbers game. Boy Jalandoni isn’t even from Bacolod City. He grew up in Jaro, Iloilo City and lives in the national capital, with address at 13 Apostol St., San Lorenzo Village, Makati City.

This man has kept a low profile for many years, although a quick check on Internet search engines reveal that he was among the favored few of the Arroyo administration, having been appointed to financially-rewarding positions. He sits on the board of directors of the Philcomsat Holdings Corp. and Philippine National Oil Co.

The search didn’t end there, however. The search engines kept turning out the names “Julio J. Jalandoni/Sylvia E. Jalandoni” on the radar screen. So I plunged deeper. This became a voyage of discovery at how rich (or maybe appear to be rich) the couple have become. Several giant corporations in the country list the couple among their top 100 stockholders, rubbing elbows with corporate securities firms and the super rich of the country. Consider the following:

  • In a disclosure report submitted by Atty. Ma. Caridad Gonzales, corporate secretary and compliance officer of Globe Telecom, Inc. dated July 14, 2009 to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the spouses Julio J. Jalandoni and Sylvia E. Jalandoni are ranked number 62 in the top 100 with 2,500 shares representing 0.0018% of the outstanding stockholdings.
  • Ayala Land Inc. listed the spouses at number 59 with 1,000,000 shares representing 0.0076%.
  • Jollibee disclosed that the couple owns 110,000 shares.

I have little knowledge about the stock market, but I can surmise that these stock holdings are worth in the hundreds of mllions of pesos. How did the couple amass so much wealth? So I dug deeper. From reliable sources, I learned that Julio J. Jalandoni  is a trusted aide of former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and his brother, the billionaire congressman Iggy Arroyo. He is described as a “bagman” of the former FG. Add one plus one, and you can easily figure out that Julio J. Jalandoni didn’t make all that fortune through hard labor. In fact, in the tradition of Jose Pidal, one can surmise that Julio J. Jalandoni is a “front” for the former FG.

Indeed, such services deserve to be rewarded. And rewarded, Julio J. Jalandoni was. The franchise for the Small Town Lottery (STL) for Bacolod City and Negros Occidental was awarded to him before the end of the Arroyo administration, although he isn’t really from the place. Indeed, it pays to be working for the right people. And recently, sources in the jueteng industry told me that Boy Jalandoni expanded into the more lucrative jueteng operations, with Iggy Arroyo as his patron in Negros Occidental. He is reputed to reap millions every month from this illicit operation.

This is how a little known individual became a national by-word when the Senate Blue Ribbon committee began its probe into jueteng operations. Retired Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz named Boy Jalandoni as the jueteng lord of Bacolod, and when he did, many people asked: “Boy who?”

While Jalandoni’s clout and power was anchored upon the Arroyos, he has his own power-base to lean on now that his patrons are out of power. Boy Jalandoni happens to be the father of Mark E. Jalandoni, deputy ombudsman for Luzon, and the acknowledged right-hand man of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.  This detail helps explain why Mark Jalandoni was appointed to the position over a more senior and better qualified candidate, Roque Dator. Jalandoni had the blessings of FG Mike, and his wife made sure he can perform the role of back-up for the Ombudsman during crunch time.

Meanwhile, the BIR might want to open the bank accounts of Julio J. Jalandoni and his spouse, Sylvia Espino-Jalandoni. The paper trail to the Arroyo plunder could start there. And the Blue Ribbon committee should summon Boy Jalandoni to its next hearing so he can start telling his story about how he became a super-millionaire.