It all started during the infamous Luneta hostage debacle. It was then expressly revealed by no less than Malacanang itself that the DILG has been in fact effectively divided into two separate agencies. The Local Government Section is headed merely by an “Acting Secretary” with acknowledged administrative skills in governance. But the PNP is placed under the direction of a permanent Undersecretary whose principal credential is friendship of long standing with the Chief Executive. Incidentally, the said Acting Secretary is known as an anti-Jueteng crusader. On the other hand, true or not, the Undersecretary is a suspect in the working and benefactions of Jueteng in the Country.
Recently, it was officially announced by Malacanang that the Cabinet was due for a shake-up at the beginning of this year. Translation: Some four or so members thereof are on their way out. And the same number of fortunate and well-chosen individuals is on their way in. Their names have been mentioned now and then, here and there. Being an Office of interest and influence by reason of its authority and scope, the loaded question asked these days is one and the same: Whom will Malacanang appoint as permanent DILG Secretary?
At first, there were but whispers here and there. Thereafter, one text after another were sent and received. Ultimately, media joined its voice in naming names heard from the grapevine: Former PNP Director Gen. VERZOSA. Never mind if he was grilled by the Senate about the so called “Euro Generals” accompanied by his wife. Never mind if right or wrong, his name has been linked with the same workings and benefactions of Jueteng in the Country - exactly like the incumbent DILG Undersecretary.
Such is one big bad news. Jueteng is a known and effective exploiter of the poor. Jueteng is also a corrupt and corrupting syndicate – with local public Officials as its primary beneficiaries. There is the DILG Undersecretary who is already a suspect Jueteng beneficiary. And would there be a DILG Secretary who is also a suspect jueteng beneficiary? In the event that this pairing would become a reality, a sad and saddening conclusion would come to order: The loud and repeated proclamations of self-righteousness and integrity by the Chief-in-Command would be but big blows of bad air.
Is this why the same Chieftain is sticking to his official declaration that eradicating Jueteng is “not a priority” of his government?
07 JANUARY 2010