Something very important has just occurred in the City of Makati with the sudden emergence upon the scene of one Ronnie Puno, currently Secretary of the Dept. of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in implementing a preventive suspension against Mayor Jejomar Binay, the Vice Mayor and the entire City Council. The suspension involves long-standing accusations over ghost employees in Makati, but immediately drew fire for evident political color, which Puno brushed aside by reeling off a series of recent suspensions that he claimed were of administration mayors.
But the very first one he mentioned was Baguio City, and I happen to know a lil about that situation. The suspension of Mayor Braulio Yaranon, who only recently joined the Administration party is really all about a long term plan, allegedly masterminded by Luis "Chavit" Singson to put a casino in Baguio, a move long opposed by Mayor Yaranon. His recent suspension was seen as the beginning of that plan, since many who are on the City Council are said by locals to be controlled by those who want a casino back.
Sec. Puno also mentioned the cases of Sta. Rosa, Lemery, Pasay City, and "some place" in Bukidnon, where he repeated the claim of impartial application of the law. Is there no political color to the preventive suspension of the entire elected officialdom of Makati City, the country's premiere financial district? What situation exists to justify a preventive suspension of such a provocative scope. Puno says it is to prevent the dissipation of evidence. Gee then how strong is the evidence DILG has if perhaps it can be "dissipated" by the mere continuance in office of Mayor Binay (who HAS been there for years and presumably long ago "dissipated" the evidence of his wrongdoing?).
The problem for Ronnie Puno is, there is no more Goebbelian character in the political firmament around here than him. Puno's whoppers over the decades are as black as his dyed hair! I can feel the hackles rising of everyone that remembers WHO he is and what evil lives on in him. They'll get his sorry ass, coz if we buy his snake oil again, shame on us! Even the media at the DILG Press Conference were certainly onto him, asking if for example, the Mayor of San Juan was next. To which the DILG secretary, with Dukakis-like density, said he was not aware of any complaints against the Mayor of San Juan Prodded by USec. Andanar, (who kept butting and chiming in on his Boss's Press Conference with knowledgeable tidbits, for which he's probably getting it right now!) Puno even added that the COA was all praises for Mayor JV Ejercito. We shall see how impartial the DILG and Puno turn out to be. There are many glass houses in this town, and insofar as he has decided it's okay to use a slingshot on people like Jojo Binay and Peewee Trinidad in the service of the Palace, Puno may yet meet with a hail of stones one of these days.
12:30 ABSCBN News reports that President Cory Aquino has expressed her support for Jojo Binay, vouching for his integrity. She knows what we're talking about here with this Ronnie Puno character.
14:00 DILG Undersecretary Wencelito Andanar is a really talkative underling. On ABSCBN's Korina Today, he just about admitted that today's brouhaha is indeed imbued with lowdown politics. While claiming the DILG has nothing to do with the decision-making, he laughed as he told Korina that "it's those who want to run for Mayor" that are filing these complaints with the Office of the President, the Sandiganbayan or the Ombudsman. Bobby Brillantes? Hehe! And of course, he says he "knows nothing" about all the other Mayors that have charges and cases filed against them. He's just Ronnie Puno's triggerman and go-fer, after all. Nice fez. Nice grasshopper-style sunglasses.
14:20 Excellent comments from House Minority Leader Francis "Chiz" Escudero: (1) Unlike all the other Mayors that have recently been suspended by the DILG, who were suspended by orders from the Sandiganbayan or Ombudsman's office, the order of preventive suspension against Mayor Jojo Binay came directly from the Office of the President; (2) Unlike all those other Mayors, Binay will apparently be replaced by a non-elected person who doesn't even live in the City of Makati, NCR Regional Director Rodolfo Ferraren. The latter tried to call a meeting of Department Heads to get the business of the country's premiere business district going. But no one showed up. (3) The preventive suspension may actually be illegal and irregular since "the issues have not been joined" since the suspension order does not identify WHO the alleged ghost employees are, and merely lists 600 names with the allegation that "some of these" are ghost employees.