Resigning is the decent thing to do
OWNING up full responsibility for the inept handling of the August 23 Quirino Grandstand hostage drama that claimed the lives of eight Hongkong Chinese nationals and the hostage-taker himself would not just stop from there and wouldn’t mean that PNoy’s top henchmen are already free of blame.
Sensing that his men would be grilled the hard way once they face the Commission on Appointments (CA) as what some of its members had earlier implied, the President was quick to say: “…I am responsible for everything that has transpired.”
But it shouldn’t only be embattled Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo that should get the axe. PNoy’s ‘miscommunications” group secretaries Ricky Carandang and Herminio Coloma should better resign and not wait for their boss to be awkwardly forced to have them sacked if they still care to save the President’s face from sagging image.
Aside from the duo’s conflicting statements over Hongkong Chief Executive Donald Tsang’s supposed phone call to PNoy at the height of the botched hostage crisis, they should have effectively used their resources to rein in media practitioners from broadcasting live police rescue operations which was apparently monitored by disgraced ex-police captain Rolando Mendoza, the hostage taker.
Evident is the broadcast media knowledge that its irresponsible coverage of the hostage taking situation live gave the hostage taker full access to the television coverage since they knew there was a TV inside the ill-fated bus. In acting decisively like cutting the media access and the broadcasting as well, precious lives would have been spared and the country would not be in this current condemnable situation globally. Of course, they will cry censorship. Let the high court decide after all, broadcast media are under franchise rules and as such the government has every right to revoke their franchises.
I still believe that if the concerned authorities, in this case, Carandang and Coloma, who apparently are not seeing eye-to-eye, could have enforced an established crisis protocol for media covering hostage-taking incidents, media practitioners would of course follow it to the letter and then the safety of the hostages would not have been compromised.
They couldn’t’ do it anyway since, like PNoy who was said to be at the same restaurant with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno that both left the scene at the time the hostage-taker just started firing shots inside the bus, they were nowhere to be found. Never mind PNP chief Jesus Versoza who chose to go on with his out-of-town “official business” despite having informed about the drama unfolding at the Quirino Grandstand with the cast involving foreign tourists and a main character who’s a former police officer.
Entering the scene is DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno, who was said to be in charge of police matters and public safety issues including critical incidents such as hostage-taking. Practically absolving his immediate boss as he admits that it’s he not Robredo as in charge of the situation, he’s been quoted as telling PNoy to take a sleep and they’d just wake him up if the smoke is already clear. Worse, he has confessed to having no knowledge in such incidents. He should better lead others in resigning go set a good example of a low-key public servant.
It was indeed deplorable and inexcusable for the President and his henchmen to make themselves inaccessible all throughout the almost 12-hour hostage drama because they could have made swift decisions that could have avoided the fatal tragedy and the black mark the country gets internationally.
“Retiring” barangay officials in Valenzuela City can now look forward to more benefits following the passage of an ordinance authored by Liga ng mga Barangay president and Councilor Alvin Feliciano. Known as “Standardized Barangay Officials Welfare Benefits,” the measure is aimed at providing additional benefits to village officials who can be able to complete three successive terms in office.
Under it, a barangay chairman would be entitled to P100, 000 while a barangay councilman (kagawad) would be entitled to P30, 000 once they complete three successive terms. Meanwhile, Feliciano says barangay officials who would be able to serve three terms in succession but in different positions would still be able to get cash benefits, the worth of which would depend on the position involved.
Aside from this, hospitalized barangay officials would be given a P5, 000 cash benefit. Moreover, families of departed barangay chairmen will be able to receive P50, 000 while those of councilmen will be entitled to P25, 000. In filing the measure, Feliciano, elated over the support thrown by Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian and younger brother Rep. Rex Gatchalian (District 1), says it only wants to recognize the hardworking barangay officials who take on heavy responsibilities day by day.