Full investigation is in order to unravel the whole truth in Virginia Torres’ involvement with smuggling of P100 million worth of sugar from Thailand being held by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
There is a wide anticipation of a cover-up of Torres’ culpability.
Torres, of course, was a controversial Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief, a close kabarilan (shooting buddy) of Noynoy Aquino and a prominent official of an influential religious group.
Despite the media clampdown imposed by Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina, information leaked that Torres had demanded release of 64 container vans of sugar seized by the BOC intelligence group.
As usual, Malacañang was quick to wash its hands off the case.
Not so fast. The consignee of the contraband, Philip Sy, reportedly conducts business in Hacienda Luisita, the Cojuangco-Aquino sugar estate in Tarlac.
Torres said she merely went to “make an appeal” in behalf of Sy, whom she tagged as her friend. But Sy turned out to be her sugar business’ financier.
She was also quoted as saying eight containers of the smuggled sugar intercepted recently are also hers and Sy’s, and she wanted those also released.
So, Torres was not only meddling, she is clearly involved in smuggling.
Noynoy’s favorite kabarilan must face raps.
Kotong, tong worsen traffic
While higher authorities muster all of their genius to alleviate the traffic congestion along EDSA, unscrupulous traffic aides and some policemen manning other routes are having heyday extorting from motorists and collecting tong from jeepney drivers.
Decongesting EDSA is not enough to ease traffic flow in the entire Metro Manila. The gridlock extends to the alternate routes, side streets or access roads.
These include Taft Avenue, Buendia, Vito Cruz, Burgos, Pedro Gil, Liwasang Bonifacio, Rizal Avenue, Quezon Boulevard, España, Aurora Boulevard and Osmeña Highway. It’s as frustrating taking these alternative routes as it is traversing EDSA at most times of the day.
What makes it all worse is the negligence of local traffic aides, particularly in Manila and Pasay, who post themselves away from the traffic hotspots. Instead, you find them grouped at remote locations, apprehending motorists for various infractions and milking bribe.
Unfortunately, some members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are engaged in exactly the same enterprise, especially at night.
These favorite preys of these prowlers in uniform are the container trucks out of the pier. We received a report that this takes place along P. Ocampo Avenue (Vito Cruz) corner Taft Avenue where a group of policemen on motorcycle accost these trucks.
Usually, the truck drivers have their grease money ready, and they are off the hook as soon as it is handed to the cops. On Tuesday night, they even stopped a concerned citizen who took pictures of the bribe-taking.
Unfortunately, these traffic aides and policemen are nowhere to be seen at locations where traffic is such a mess. So, we are calling the attention of the PNP leadership regarding this.
I suggest these scalawags be posted permanently where they can be monitored with CCTV cameras.
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