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There can only be one

I refer to the continued struggle for power at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, between SBMA Chairman Martin Diño and OIC Administrator Wilma Eisma, appointed by Malacañang.

Everything in the former American base went well during the time of its first chairman and administrator Richard Gordon, to Felicito Payumo. And then, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued an executive order separating the two functions.

I recall saying at that time that the result might be turf battle between the chairman and the administrator. Sure enough, it happened with the next set of SBMA officials.

Republic Act 7227, which created the Bases Conversion Development Authority, is clear that there should only be one person holding the post of chairman and administrator.

This conflict between the chairman and OIC-administrator came to a head when there was a quarrel over who should occupy the commander’s quarters at the Kalayaan area of SBMA.

I was in Subic and I saw two armed groups in confrontation.

During a meeting of the special committee on bases conversion, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said a mere executive order cannot supersede a republic act.

I agree with the Speaker.

Last week, Diño issued Administrative Order 01-2017 which created a task force under his office to inspect, monitor and faithfully implement the laws in the conflict of business and financial operations and collection. Consequently, he filled up the task force with his personal staff.

Malacañang must order the reorganization of SBMA.

***

The Constitution mandates that after the president proclaims martial law, he must submit to Congress, within 48 hours, a report in person or in writing. President Duterte did this.

The next sentence of Section 18, Article VII provides that Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation, which revocation shall not be set aside by the president.

It is clear that Congress must vote jointly in such a case. Thus, when Congress argues that there is no need for a joint session, that would be in violation of the Constitution.

This is why I agree with that the Supreme Court should compel Congress to vote jointly. The Constitution is clear.

Other petitions claim that there was no basis for the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus. I think the President had sufficient reason to do as he did.

This rebellion becomes more alarming with reports that some 1,200 “killing machines” are now in the Philippines. As I said earlier, Mr. Duterte had more compelling reason to declare martial law than Marcos did in 1972.

***

Marines have recovered P79.2 million in cash and checks from a house in Marawi City. The question is, where did all these come from?

It is said the Maute Group raided branches of Land Bank and Philippine National Bank in Marawi City. So why did they leave this money?

As for speculation that drug money is financing the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Group, that still has to be verified.

***

There is this move at the House of Representatives to avoid an existing conflict of interest on the part of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., which, aside from regulating casinos, also operates some of them.

Nowhere else in the world do we find this. I have been talking about this conflict for years.

Pagcor’s casinos should be privatized.

***

Last April 17, there was supposed to be a public bidding for the construction of a national penitentiary in Laur, Nueva Ecija. The New Bilibid Prison would be transferred here.

The plan was already approved. In fact, three bidders have already prequalified: San Miguel, DMCI and Megawide.

But a strange thing happened: No bidding took place. Is the government serious about addressing this problem? 

Topics: Emil Jurado , There can only be one , Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority , SBMA Chairman Martin Diño , OIC Administrator Wilma Eisma ,
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