Serene village now poised to be under watch list

IN what used to be a tranquil place, a village in Malabon City is poised to be placed under the watch list or to borrow the previous terms “under Comelec control,” following the Sunday killing of its re-electionist Barangay Concepcion chief whose tragic death has surprised many as he has been regarded as a low-profile and approachable person.

No less than Malabon City Rep. Jaye Lacson-Noel and Mayor Tito Oreta were the first to condemn the attack against 56-year-old Maximo Bernardo who expired despite attempts by doctors to revive him due to a fatal bullet wound in the head from the gunman’s .45 cal. pistol.

The visibly-infuriated lady solon says: “We expect the police to get to the bottom of the incident by identifying and arresting the assassins and the brains behind it because sadly it taints the peaceful image the city has been known for for years.”

Lacson-Noel has likewise appealed to residents who could have witnessed the shooting to cooperate with Task Force: Bernardo the Northern Police District has formed to bring those responsible to justice.

Bernardo has just stepped out of an Aglipayan Church where he attended a Mass when the two knife-wielding men attacked the hapless village chief. Just imagine the crime scene was only few meters away from a police community precinct but this didn’t deter the assassins from executing their sinister plot to silence him.

Though it’s still premature to directly hook up the killing, said to be the first poll-related violent incident to be recorded in Metro Manila since the victim is an incumbent village official, to the upcoming Oct 25 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, authorities should question personalities including three bets who run against Bernardo to shed light.

Both Lacson-Noel and Oreta are personally opposed to placing the village under Comelec’s watch list in which more policemen will be deployed in the entire village but they are amenable just the same if that would help in the speedy resolution of the case.

Clampdown vs Erring Drivers, Pedestrians

Talking about enforcing laws, the Navotas City government is undeniably on the forefront as it did not spare anyone may he be a police officer, a government employee or even media man.

Under the leadership of Mayor John Rey Tiangco, it could have obtained the distinct record of having huge number of arrests of violators of ordinances on waste disposal, curfew and traffic rules, among others. For the last three months alone, its Traffic and Parking Management Office and Task Force Disiplina have apprehended some 2,067 violators as a result of the city government’s massive campaign against traffic obstacles.

Tiangco says the campaign also involves removal of illegal and ambulant vendors in all sidewalks, towing of illegally parked vehicles, construction of traffic signs, and strict enforcement of the loading/unloading areas for public utility vehicles.

“I would like to remind everybody, even the PNP personnel and officers, that in Navotas we are strictly enforcing our local ordinances.  To avoid any embarrassments, a no ‘paki-pakiusap’ policy is being implemented here to show that no one is above the law,”  the mayors warns.

Navotas has been adjudged as Metro Manila’s Best POC (Peace and Order Council) for three straight years (2002-2003-2004), for its success in crime prevention, law enforcement, prosecution and courts, corrections and rehabilitation activities like livelihood projects, fire prevention, community development, environmental protection, health and sanitation.

Bigger Number of Govt Officials, Employees into Drugs

It has become worrisome and yet there’s apparent less concern that’s given over an increasing number of public officials as well as workers who have been into drugs, either users or pushers, and remain undetected.

To quote the Dangerous Drugs Board, at least 14 mayors are included in a government watch list of persons suspected to be involved in drug-related activities but they appear to be only a small portion of the unspecified total number of government people in the list.

Popular among them could be Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson’s son, Rep. Ronald V. Singson, who faces drug trafficking charges before a Hong Kong court after he allegedly yielded cocaine and Diazepam tablets, a sedative, at the HK international airport last July 11.

In Oct 2001, Quezon Mayor Ronnie Mitra and an aide were caught with over 500 kilograms of shabu using a municipal ambulance and a van while a former Lanao del Sur vice mayor-turned councilor was held late last month at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport while in possession of 13 sticks of marijuana hidden in a cigarette pack.

What’s insulting is that some of whom, caught or not, are even advocating or proposing measures against illegal drugs. What a shame! Arlie O. Calalo

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