But first, really good news.
The president flew to Leyte to inaugurate the Son et Lumiere improvement on the iconic San Juanico Bridge that his mother, then First Lady Imelda Romualdez, initiated and his father Ferdinand Sr. constructed.
It linked Palo, Leyte, which is beside Tacloban City, the relatively prosperous capital of Imelda’s home province, to Basey in then and now, impoverished Samar, where residents used to be ferried by rickety pump boats to the regional capital in Tacloban.
Then Samar representative Sharrie Ann Tan thought as early as 2015 that one way of inviting public attention to her province was to light up the San Juanico Bridge, as if to tell the rest of the country that there is life, and a beautiful and large island on the other side of that bridge.
From Basey, the town where the most beautiful banigs are handwoven painstakingly by its townspeople, one could motor eastwards, first to historic Balangiga, where the bells have been returned through the insistence of President Duterte, and thence to the Pacific seaboard where lies Calicoan and its white sand, and Guiuan’s surfing waves in Eastern Samar.
Further northeast from Guiuan are Taft and Sulat with its islets ringed with white sand.
From Basey, going north, one reaches the seafood capital of Samar, the capital Catbalogan, and therefrom Calbayog City.
Farther north is another province, Northern Samar, whose capital, Catarman has a unique airport where the runway is intersected by a street.
The province, which is where ferries from Sorsogon in mainland Luzon dock to traverse the so-called Maharlika Highway, also has beautiful islands such as Biri with its white sand and beautiful rock formations etched through time by the splashing waves of the sea.
But now Governor Tan’s bright idea to light up the bridge saw fruition only when the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone (TIEZA), formerly the Philippine Tourism Authority, drew up the plans for a light and sound show in 2017 and made it a priority project along with the Boracay improvements and floating piers in several Palawan tourist destinations.
By 2018, work began on the San Juanico project.
Thus did the Son et Lumiere spectacle that Pres. Marcos Jr. witnessed last week see fruition.
The project would have been finished in 2021 had it not been for the pandemic which delayed completion. It is a project that Pres. Duterte should have inaugurated, but perhaps the right timing came with the new president, whose parents built the bridge.
If the light and sound spectacle was of “Imeldific” standards, and would have wowed Dick Gordon as well, I am particularly elated because my son-in-law headed TIEZA at the time.
What we thought was a breakthrough in the Percy Lapid murder case suddenly broke down. It was good news turned bad.
The confessed gunman surrendered to the police on Thursday, October 13, for fear of his being liquidated by the mastermind and his cohorts after he became hot copy with his likeness in the CCTV cameras subsequently flashed in the news.
Within the three days prior to his being presented to the press by the DILG secretary and the OIC-PNP Chief, he had confessed who gave him, two Dimaculangan brothers, and a certain Orlando, the orders to kill the commentator.
Having a solid lead based on the confession of gunman Joel Estorial, you would expect the police to execute a dragnet for a certain Jun Villamor and coordinate with the NBP or the DOJ to secure the guy.
It is not as if there are a thousand Villamors in our jails.
But no, they first had to make a grand show of Estorial before the media.
Three days after, the OIC-PNP chief was telling Karen Davila over Headstart at ANC that they have secured the “middleman.”
Yet just hours later, we were all told that the alleged middleman, Villamor, had died in Munti on October 18, under yet unknown circumstances, just four hours after the gunman was presented to media.
And then, the NBI was called to do an autopsy, but what was autopsied days after Villamor died was his embalmed body, not a fresh cadaver, not even a frozen or refrigerated body.
Contaminated by embalming chemicals, what use was the autopsy?
But wait, the PNP assures us. They have another middleman, this time ensconced in the BJMP, a detainee awaiting conviction by the court. And for sure, they have “secured” him!
Would the other middleman, a certain Christopher Bacoto, yet spill the beans, assuming he knows anything, or was just another layer in the clearly well-conspired crime?
Why would he, after what happened to Villamor?
This is either a case of publicity-hungry Keystone Kops or even worse, some of the “protectors of the citizenry,” the “guardians” of law and order, were part of the conspiracy.
Oh well, this is the Philippines!
I filed this article days before I left for a brief vacation in some other clime. I won’t be around during the Undas holidays and a week thereafter, and would not want to file travel stories while out of the country.