By Now, Defiant Public Transport Workers Know Fernando Means business.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Article excerpt

THAT the armed forces shall be insulated from partisan politics - that is, that no member of the military shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity except to vote, - which House Deputy Speaker Raul Gonzales referred to as provided for in (3), Sec. 5, Art. XVI of the Constitution, was a strong argument he advanced to support his view during our conversation in Bayview Hotel last Wednesday. He contended that the RAM would be guilty of violating the Constitution if they join forces with the People's Consultative Assembly (PCA) to oust President Gloria Arroyo for her failure to effect reforms by weeding out graft and corruption within two months' time from now. As a trial lawyer appearing before me, Raul always fortified his premises whenever he would argue in court.

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By this time, all jeepney and bus drivers and operators should know that MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando really means business after the people have seen how he has performed his official duties so far. Although the Pinagkaisahang Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) - which initiated the protest action by a transport stoppage to oppose the increase in prices of gasoline and diesel - failed to attain their objective, Fernando will do something that has not been done under the same circumstances before. Fernando has promised to go after those who joined the strike by filing cases against them before the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board for violation of their franchise. The MMDA has the strikers' plate numbers. Penalizing them surely will deter similar public inconveniences.

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There must be a factual basis why Dean Roman Dannug of the PUP College of Economics, Finance and Politics who, as the immediate supervisor of Zenaida Pia, should describe the latter as a troublesome person at the PUP. How else could you better characterize this woman, who used to file graft charges against past PUP presidents, who were all absolved, than what the Dean describes her. This time Pia again filed charges against another PUP president, the incumbent Ofelia Carague and vice president-finance Carmela Perez for "misuse of public funds." For filing harassment cases against several former PUP presidents, Pia should have been administratively sanctioned. I chose this case to illustrate government apathy in protecting the innocent and in not disciplining trouble-makers such as in this case.

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Why does Malacanang have to convince the Public Estates Authority directors to resign? Whether or not they will allow themselves to be persuaded, the Palace may cut their salaries. If they insist on clinging to their job even without being paid for it, then what else but that this would be a clear indication that they don't need to be paid for being there. It means they have so much money that they can dispense with their salaries. They want their names to be cleared first before resigning. Malacanang should have no problem acceding to their demand. Just don't let them do anything related to the project. While the investigation is going on from which they hope to be absolved, have other people replace them. Meantime, they could twiddle their thumbs and count their toes while waiting for their verdict.

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