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June 11 - 17, 2016



Attorney Manuel “Jun” Enage was one of the most talented person I have met since we moved here in 1999. His mastery of the English language, with an Ateneo accent to boot, and his knowledge of the latest laws made him an intimidating figure in the Regional Trial Courts of Southern Leyte.

Yet it was his talent as a story teller, that I considered his greatest asset. He use to mesmerize guests at the dinners that were held at the Lerias residence when Speaker Yniguez was still alive, and Rosette was the provincial governor. It was a time when you could still talk to our top politicians on controversial topics and receive their honest views on the subject.

However, my friendship with Jun also had its exasperating moments, since he was also my lawyer in a libel complaint that I felt was strong enough to send me to jail for six years.

Fortunately, the case was eventually dismissed when the complainant lost interest in it. Jun resigned as my lawyer half-way through the hearings because of what he felt was my “unwarranted interruptions” during a few of the hearings which he obviously resented.

In his letter of resignation addressed to Presiding Judge Romeo Gomez he accused me of “having an attitude” which he felt was inappropriate. In hindsight, it was probably the Atenean in him, which prevented him from accepting any unsolicited advice from a UP graduate.

In any case, we buried the hatchet shortly afterwards, over Chivas Regals at his family owned disco pub where he would continue his fascinating narrative about the good old days here. I probably learned more about Southern Leyte from Jun, than I did from my friend Attorney Joaquin Chung, Jr. who wrote a book about it.

According to his sister-in-law, Luz Enage, Jun died peacefully while asleep last June 10 while lounging in his favorite couch. Beside him was a half-full ash tray filled with cigarette buts, and an empty glass of whiskey which his doctor had warned him to stay away from. But Jun was a rebel to the end, and must now be thumbing-his-nose at the authorities he loved to outwit.

Farewell, Jun. We’ll miss you!

Antonio M. Reyes is the publisher and editor of the Southern Leyte Times the largest circulating newspaper & website in Southern Leyte.

BAC and Government purchases

Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act clearly provides guidelines for the procurement or purchase of goods and services which shall be governed by the principles of: transparency; competitiveness which extends equal opportunity to eligible and qualified contractors to participate in the bidding; streamlined procurement process… simple, effective and efficient; systemof accountability where public officials directly or indirectly involved are held liable for their actions; and public monitoring of the procurement process and the implementation of awarded contracts performed strictly according to specifications.

Members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) are, therefore, mandated by law to act in accordance with the principles governing government procurement. Quite sadly, so many government projects had fallen below strictly specified quality and standards. We have the unfinished 1/3 portion of the Canturing Bridge; we have the glaringly sub-standard concrete road in barangay Hanginan; the “vanishing” P30 million building of Maasin City which was “swallowed up” by a department store; the alleged Maasin City Jail supposedly under construction in barangay Bactul; the questionable sanitary landfill also in Bactul which at first had a billboard showing P8 million as project amount, but later reduced to P5 million when the Ombudsman’s dismissal of seven city officials became publicly known. May we here ask upright Maasin City officials how true the rumors are that the Maasin City Jail, Sanitary Landfill and the City Plaza are “ghost” projects? Reported as already finished but not really?

This column again reminds the members of the BAC in all levels —barangay, city, province, national—to be honest in their roles in the public bidding process.

To question, to resist, to protest and act accordingly in line with the government’s principles on bidding. Nothing wrong can come up if we are clean in government, just as when we took the oath of office to be upright in public service.

The radio/telephone system’s procurement by Maasin City’s BAC was found anomalous by the Public Assistance & Corruption Prevention Office (PACPO) of the Ombudsman-Visayas. This should be taken as a glaring eye-opener for current BAC members. Three good chances were open to those charged with grave misconduct: two COA suspensions in 2007 and 2009 and the ultimate disallowance in 2010. Negligence or dereliction? The Ombudsman issued the dismissal order and was ultimately implemented by DILG Region 8 last April 20. Two petitions for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) by the aggrieved parties were both denied by the 18th Division of the Court of Appeals in Cebu City. Too late the time for intervention; the case became moot and academic.

It is beyond the question that so many government infrastructure projects were done in haste, in questionable bidding circumstances, and with shady modes of implementation. Did any Maasinhon realize how haphazard had been the asphalting of the provincial road leading to barangay Libhu? So many more will surface when the Ombudsman-Visayas office will be on the process of investigating the existing anomalous projects and those which are still about to come out if rigged bidding processes, in open defiance of the provisions and principles of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

We admire heads of government offices who struggle to implement government projects in accord with established standards of quality and specifications. They must be taken as good models for future generations to come.

Give change a chance

Ubiquitous on every media channel available is presumptive president Rodrigo R. Duterte either dispensing appointments to classmates and friends or squabbling with individual and institutional nemesis like CBCP and others. Far from being a unifying healing leader, he is one who may even box with his shadow, the Lord forbid! Let’s hope for discernment in the choice of official family, those with integrity, credibility and competence, not necessarily of experience with past administrations that seem not at all to miss their services. Anyway, what we see is short of policy statements and how to achieve them and a long dose of ego tripping monologue of recycled footages. What used to be unholy alliances are now par for the course.

Unprincipled partisan groups are jumping ship to the biggest of them all, PDP-Laban engineered by the Pimentels also of the post-Edsa OIC notoriety. From almost being buried in obscurity, PDP-Laban courtesy of presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte, the Pimentels kept the lights flickering for the PDP-Laban. What used to be a dying political party has now its hands full of “balimbings” and flying bees for the honey.

The late legendary eccentric millionaire Protacio Go or Iyo Tasyo, if alive today, could have been very ecstatic over the party which he funded in millions to be organized in Southern Leyte as long as his eldest son could get its support in post-Edsa elections. Iyo Tasyo used to say “litse kana yawa, hatak ta milyon mga kandidato kada eleksiyon. Maayo pa, butang ta ato kandidato.” But, of course, despite his millions, Iyo Tasyo never realized his dream of an elected son, not even OIC, which was reportedly for sale. The PDP-Laban in So. Leyte is not known or recognized anymore.

Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge.

So, the Duterte government has now formed its official cabinet to help run the ship-of-state and be advisers implementing the president’s executive agenda. Well and good, as long as these are consensual or products of consultation, not unilateral whims or caprices. Honestly and frankly, this column sees all too familiar faces and friends recycled from past administrations who did not miss them for their outstanding accomplishments. Many of these recruits have military or police background in character with the appointing authority. But let’s give a chance for the promised change to bring the Filipinos to Canaan, the land of milk and honey. All national leaderships since time immemorial break their campaign commitment – walang KKK, kapamilya kaklase o kaibigan. Add “walang komunista!”





Editorial archives . . .


Slow progress of park project hit

Maasin City airport faces further delay

So. Leyteño pushers nabbed in Palo

Local LP biggest May poll spenders

Netizens slam SOCE of top candidates

Digong wants mining stopped!

Gov’t scholars can now apply on-line

Legal luminary Enage Jr. passes away

So. Leyte now has 422,000 people

Nikko Mercado is biggest city poll spender

DPWH steps up school opening readiness

Hanginan mishap

Residents slam Liloan’s bumpy roads

SLCCI pushes for more boats in Maasin

Provincial hospital gets new CT Scan

Landslides Feared

Lady “possessed” by missing boy?

Pagara to battle Juarez in the US



BAC and Government puurchases

Give change a chance


Engine replacement


Wasted shredder


Man runs amok

Most Wanted Person in province arrested

Libagon’s serial rapist nabbed!



Southern Leyte Divers Celebrates 20 years

Basketball Clinic - Zip Soup

Southern Leyte observes Holy Week


The Floating Table

No water

Honeybees in Southern Leyte

Online comments from netizens





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