18 March 2007

UAP-PICE war escalates in the week that was

SEN. AQUILINO Pimentel visited Naga two weeks ago to headline a seminar on the controversial Republic Act 9266 or the Architectural Law of 2004 sponsored by the local chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines. In that seminar, Pimentel cautioned the UAP against a head-on collision with their nemesis, the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE), and instead called on the Professional Regulations Commission to broker talks to put their row to rest.

But the UAP ignored their guest's advice and has escalated the conflict, starring Arch. Hernani Aguilar, the city building official, who chose to reject the building application of no less than PICE-Naga's president Don Santy. All the details are available from the banner headline of Bicol Mail -- which thankfully is back online.

What the online version, however, does not have is a Page 2 paid ad of the PICE calling on all civil engineers to stand up for their rights. The call is anchored on three documents: (1) Mayor Robredo's reminder to Aguilar that a preliminary injunction on the new IRR of the Building Code is in effect and advised him to observe lawful orders; (2) former DPWH Sec. Hermogenes Ebdane's memorandum directing all building officials to discontinue carrying out the questioned provision of the Building Code IRR until further orders; and (3) a Legal Opinion issued by City Legal Officer Nelson Legacion in response to a query of Arch. Juan Villegas, then City Planning and Development Coordinator, sustaining the PICE's position.

How this plays out remain to be seen, especially since both Pimentel and Atty. Pio Martin Gerardo Borja, UAP legal counsel, have both pointed out that no such injunction on RA 9266 exists and the law continues to be in force since its approval and publication in the Official Gazette three years ago.

Elsewhere, Bong Villafuerte might end up facing his younger brother and incumbent Gov. LRay in the gubernatorial race after term-limited Baao Mayor Melquiades Gaite begs off and decides to run for vice mayor instead. Last Friday, LRay went on air to denounce reports that he had been stripped of the authority to appoint Lakas candidates as provincial head, pointing towards his father's direction as source of this disinformation.

With two weeks to go before the start of local campaigns, all is still not well in the Villafuerte camp riven by the Lakas-Kampi intramurals. And with Gaite's decision, we are seeing in Baao -- home town of Joker Arroyo and the reputedly more enlightened politicians in the province -- decency, or whatever tiny bit of it that remains, flying out of the window. It rivals the recent decision of incumbent Magarao Mayor Lourdes "Unding" Señar to seek another term, this time with his husband Salvador aka Bading as running mate.

Vox Bikol and Bikol Reporter both declare that Albay will get the lion share of the public works component of the P5-billion Bicol Rehab Fund. Happy days are truly back in the province that gave us the P250-million and counting Pantao Port anomaly, which Senator Panfilo Lacson fingers on two Bikolano legislators, one of whom has left Congress for Malacañang. Now I understand why the same guy said on primetime news that jueteng is too small for him. Tim Yap will surely enjoy his company.

In the punditocracy, Bicol Mail's editorial chides Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo for choosing Batangueño Manuel "Ower" Andal (who I previously mistook as the Arroyos' cabalen) of the Philcomsat infamy as campaign manager and another Batangueño transplant as spokesman, betraying his lack of trust on locals. Vox Bikol, on the other hand, takes issue with the David-vs-Goliath frame that is defining the Abang Mabulo-vs-Dato Arroyo fight in the first congressional district, claiming that reputation and performance-wise the former is actually a Goliath. In begging the "which is which?" angle, the editorial comes up with this money quote:

For the voters of the First District of Camarines Sur, the answer to these questions is gravely important. It will reveal not only who would win, but more importantly, what they consider the election is all about.
Bikol Reporter bats for changing Plaza Quezon's name to Plaza Arejola, arguing that the name change affirms "that Naga today loves not Quezon less but it loves Arejola more and it resolved to give...honor long due him." Its columnist behind "Ini an Totoo" seconds the motion. Lawyer Luis Ruben General however vehemently disagrees in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Bicol Mail two weeks back, and still unavailable online. General argues the city should leave Plaza Quezon alone, in honor of the former president who helped crystallize the concept of nationhood during his tenure.

The Catanduanes Tribune apologizes to Bato Mayor Lorenzo Templonuevo over an unintended slant arising from its headline, but bats for more more transparency among local government units, using Local Governance Reports produced under the Local Governance Performance Management System (LGPMS). But when I checked, the LGPMS website, remains largely a promise, especially for guest users of the system.

107 comments:

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I thought all this was just a rumor, but now I can see I was totally wrong! I just hope this issue could be solve soon.

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General argues the city should leave Plaza Quezon alone, in honor of the former president who helped crystallize the concept of nationhood during his tenure.

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How this plays out remain to be seen, especially since both Pimentel and Atty. Pio Martin Gerardo Borja, UAP legal counsel, have both pointed out that no such injunction on RA 9266 exists and the law continues to be in force since its approval and publication in the Official Gazette three years ago.

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