Bzzzzz: Woman ‘soliciting’ cut from Cebu projects – pre-election gossip?.. ‘New job’ for Debold Sinas.

·3 min read

Sinas as a civilian

CEBUANOS have kept track of the career of Major Gen. Debold Sinas because controversy usually wraps around his tall and big body (e.g., holding a “mananita” for his birthday in the ECQ-height of the pandemic) and he was assigned in Cebu as chief of PNP regional office-7 (from July 2018 to October 16, 2019).

Sinas retired Saturday, May 8, at 56. But the nation might still hear from him in the next few weeks, depending upon the kind of civilian job President Duterte might give him, as indicated to him at his retirement ceremony.

He is most likely not to lose his bravado (such as reportedly threatening to arrest residents of Naga City who would refuse to leave their landslide-threatened houses) or his humor

(Journalist: “Do journalists face risk of arrest?” Sinas: “Not yet.”)

Tulfo and ‘fund-solicitor’

In a May 6, 2021 column in the Manila Times, Ramon Tulfo wrote that a woman was “reportedly demanding 15% of the cost from winning bidders of projects from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Cebu City.”

Tulfo’s source alleged that the woman “drops the names of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and a Cebu congressman to exact money from winning bidders as ‘SOP’ or bribe. She “reportedly claims that 10 percent SOP goes to Velasco and 5 percent to a Cebu congressman.” “SOP stands for ‘standard operating procedure’ and has been bastardized by corrupt people in government.”

Tulfo said he called Speaker Velasco who told him he doesn’t know the woman.

BLIND, BLIND. It’s an almost totally blind item, raising suspicion and doubt but not leading to a specific good for the voters of Cebu City.

The only clues are “Cebu City” and “congressman.” The city had two but now only one House member from the city since last November: Raul Del Mar for the north district who died at 79 on November 16, 2021. And Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa for the south, who’s alive and well, except for the darts he gets from commuters and residents near the Mambaling underpass each time it rains.

Bebot is already term-limited for the House seat in 2022.

Del Mar’s district has a caretaker, Speaker Velasco, whose “official representative” is reportedly former congresswoman Cutie del Mar, the late Raul’s daughter.

Earlier, Velasco reportedly was to come to Cebu to visit the city’s north district that he is “taking care of” until the voters there will elect in May 2022 Raul Del Mar’s successor. Perhaps during the visit, he can check with the local DPWH if the request for a cut is true or canard. Congressman Bebot, on the other hand, can check anytime since he has been here since last year when the pandemic struck.

The accusation of corruption could be concocted or true, just pre-election gossip or confirmation of an old practice plaguing House-appropriated funds for local projects.

Journ 101 lecture to columnist

“It is incumbent on your paper to do (its) research thoroughly before dishing out unfounded allegations. This is among the basic principles of journalism.”

The lecturer is Carlito G. Galvez Jr., the national vaccine czar. It is the last paragraph of his letter, published as a column in the Manila Times on May 8.

The letter disputes and refutes, for now, the report in the May 6 column of Ramon Tulfo the allegation that the government “hijacked” 13 million doses of Moderna vaccines bought by the private sector for its employees.

Galvez said the column “is not only riddled with many inaccuracies but also contains sweeping allegations... it is not grounded on facts but based on mere hearsay.”

Times editors put off Tulfo’s May 8 column to give its space to Galvez’s letter. It is the kind of right-of-reply unique to newspapers and can’t be duplicated in social media.

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