Salute to the few good men who turned out to be independent-minded and who finally told the objective facts behind the January 25 Mamasapano tragedy.
We refer, of course, to the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry (BOI) who’ve done our nation great service by faithfully doing their assigned task of fact-finding and establishing the truth on the incident.
“The BOI and the people behind it deserve commendation. They did their job well, without fear or favor and according to their sworn duty,” said former senator Panfilo Lacson, who once served as PNP chief.
Lacson went on to say to the board members, headed by Police Director Benjamin Magalong, “Your career ends when you retire. Your character stays until the day you die. You can’t go wrong with the truth.”
Indeed, they can look straight into the eyes of the aggrieved families of SAF 44 and the rest of the commandos who escaped death in the hands of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who protected terrorists Marwan and Usman.
In choosing to uphold the truth, they risked their individual careers and chances for promotion.
It is because they could not turn their back on the people, who are fed up with Noynoy’s repeated lies and arrogance in denying his culpability.
The BOI affirmed that Noynoy violated the principle of the chain of command by delegating a highly-sensitive mission—Oplan Exodus—to a suspended police official, his buddy Alan Purisima.
Noynoy “deliberately failed to inform” PNP acting chief Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas of the operation.
Instead, Noynoy “bypassed the established PNP Chain of Command” by dealing “directly” with SAF commander Director Getulio Napeñas instead of Espina.
Through Purisima, Noynoy also ordered Napeñas to shut Roxas and Espina out of the planned operation.
Worst, Noynoy also failed to send timely reinforcement to the besieged 84th Seaborne and 55th Special Action Company (SAC), resulting in the massacre of SAF44.
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Negotiated biddings and ‘sahod’ at NIA
A feedback on our previous column item has spurred reports that conspiracy in the bidding of contracts at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) remain rampant.
Multimillion-peso irrigation projects or “packages” have been awarded to favored contractors through rigged biddings or most commonly known as “negotiated bidding,” where conniving contractors and dummy bidders participate.
A source within NIA said “negotiated biddings” are arranged even before the pre-bidding date between the contractor and the bids and awards committee officials, with the blessing of course from the administrator.
Once awarded of the juicy project, the contractor will have to shell out 15 percent of the amount of the project as “for the boys” to the Office of the NIA administrator and the BAC group.
To eliminate the competitors or other contractors from the bidding, the “sahod” system will be implemented.
Here is how it works: The contractor who wants to get the project simply pays off or buys out at 3 percent of the project cost each contractor so they will just back out from the bidding. This arrangement is known as “sahod” among contractors.
Thus, on the bidding day itself, the other contractors mysteriously disappear or will not show up.
This “monopoly” of NIA juicy contracts has been going on for years and has worsened during the time of Administrator Florencio Padernal.
Reports have it that the NIA, whose stewardship has changed hands three times under the Noynoy administration, has continued to “irrigate” the bloody pockets of the same culprits as we speak.
Padernal last year vowed to crack down on anomalous awarding and implementation of irrigation projects.
Little does everyone know that Padernal himself had been an enterprising contractor and served in various capacities at the equally notorious Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Obviously, it is easier said than done as Padernal has yet to sack any NIA official at national or regional level who’ve been implicated in rampant irregularities, particularly those involved in violations of Republic Act 3019 or the Graft And Corrupt Practices Act and R.A. 9184 or the Procurement Law.
Correct me if I’m wrong but Padernal’s appointment ends in June.
Unfortunately, he has failed to even put a dent on graft and corruption at NIA.
Formerly an attached agency to the graft-ridden Department of Agriculture (DA), NIA is now being overseen by Presidential Assistant for food security Francis Pangilinan.