Do It Now Boy
IF I were Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo I wouldn’t wait for any more embarrassing scenarios and statements like the one coming from his boss, PNoy, who turned out has differences with the former in terms of their “core philosophy” and “working styles.” Resigning, as I’ve pointed out in my previous column, is the most decent thing to do amid the brouhaha over the bloody August 23 hostage drama that left eight Hongkong Chinese nationals and the hostage-taker dead.
Without admitting he’s becoming Palace’s sacrificial lamb, Robredo should have long stepped down even before his boss who showed dislikes in him that erupted during presidential campaign days could utter such face-saving statements that only exposed the President’s apparent lack of administrative and managerial dexterity as well as direction to lead his young administration.
Why wait for the closing of the Department of Justice-led probe panel or PNoy’s order for him to vacate the DILG portfolio, anyway, he’s only an acting secretary which means he could be sacked anytime or in the extreme could stay until the President’s six-year term expires. That’s why his appointment doesn’t have to be submitted to the bicameral body for confirmation as revealed by Malacanang. He’d surely be ineffective to his current post given the scenarios surrounding the tragic incident with PNoy himself indirectly castigating him for a failed job he actually had no participation of.
But to the public mind, the Ramon Magsaysay awardee is mainly accountable and responsible for the bungled rescue of the pitiful foreign tourists because he’s the DILG chief who’s supposed to be in charge over the local governments and the Philippine National Police and its other attached agencies. Neither he could blame his undersecretary, Rico Puno, nor chastise Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno for the black mark and insult the country gets around the world due to the grievous incompetence of concerned government people from PNoy down to the police officials.
He could not have allowed such scheme imposed by the President for him to be in charge of local government issues while police matters would be handled by Puno who admitted having no knowledge on hostage-taking situations and yet he continued to be on top during the 12-hour crisis, the result: a violent ending that left eight Chinese tourists and the hostage-taker dead as Secretary Leila de Lima’s panel goes on with the inquiry that now takes days trying to pinpoint the culprits, sending rage to the already exasperated Hongkong people.
Well OK, granting Robredo doesn’t have command and control over the PNP but since he takes charge of local governments, he still had say on what had happened because he has jurisdiction over Lim and Moreno who both were visible during the hostage crisis. Nevertheless, he opts to be on the sideline and let the unskilled Puno, who is PNoy’s target shooting buddy, do the maneuvering and look what happens, he absorbs the blame and humiliations all the way.
Robredo would have earned the admiration of many if he immediately quits his post even before an inquiry for the purpose has started and surely it would pacify the enraged Hongkong Chinese community here and there unlike in the present set-up in which no heads yet are rolling despite PNoy’s pronouncements and obvious accountability of the concerned government officials.
It’s better late than never for ex-President Erap who after more than two weeks since the worst fire incident occurred in the coastal city of Navotas appeared before over 7, 000 hapless fire victims at the evacuation centers and gave out packages of rice, assorted food and used clothing. His presence has somehow enhanced the spirits of the homeless residents as shown by their smiles as they shake hands and hug Estrada they call President Erap.
Grateful by Erap’s gestures to their constituents, brothers Mayor John Rey and ex-Mayor and now Rep. Toby Tiangco, who accompany the former in distributing relief goods, say the former President’s visit at the evacuation centers has largely contributed to the efforts of the city government to provide the much-needed help to the affected families.
But they said, the fire victims can eventually have piece of mind if the national government could be able to help the local government in establishing a permanent relocation site for them as the place from the fire-torn villages of Navotas West and Sipac Almacen has already been declared to unsuitable to live in.