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Commentary: It’s final, they’re out!

By Jun Almeda

"The Smile". This should have been the title of my column this week. Why so? A smile can mean an infinite lot. Of the estimated 81 million tourists who visit Paris every year, at least 33 million of them go to the Louvre museum to see the most famous painting of all times, the Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci.

Those who who have seen it are really amazed what makes it so extremely popular. The painting is barely 18x 20 inches. It looks puny and forlorn where it hangs on a corner compared to the gigantic paintings of Titian nearby, all of which are classics in their own right. But believe it or not, it's the enigmatic smile of Mona Lisa that holds the world spellbound with its magic.
No one has yet been able to fathom its meaning. In the case of P.Noy, it's his smile that gave him his Teflon image and made his victory by a landslide possible. The same smile may damn and doom him. How come? By what leap of illogic have I come to this conclusion? That's something I'll answer next week. The bigger national issues can wait. But not our local concern, especially one that involves Surigao - my very own home along the placid but often stormy Pacific Ocean.

If you recall, I wrote earlier about the Supreme Court decision which has declared the law creating the province of Dinagat Islands unconstitutional and the elections there null and void. At that time, there was a motion for reconsideration filed before the SC and so there was no sense of finality in our discussion. But the inevitable has come to pass. The decision of the High Tribunal,a cause for dread and nervous breakdown to some but jubilation joy for others, has become final. In a town that takes gossiping as a past time seriously, people are agog and every tongue is wagging speculating about the consequences of the SC verdict.
I welcome a contrary opinion. But that will come later ,if at all, after "The Smile".

For now, I will yield this space to Atty. Rene O. Medina whose letter to Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo deals on the effects of the SC decision which he describe as coming into being by operation of law. Medina, a UP graduate with two other petitioners by their lonesome, threesome fought an uphill legal battle before the SC to question the legality of the law creating Dinagat Island province at enormous personal risk on what they maintain is "strictly a matter of principle." Judge for yourself. Every hero is a heel to those who don't agree with him. Here below is Medina's letter:

Hon. Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, Department of Interior and Local Governments, Quezon City

I am writing you as one of three (3) petitioners in G.R. No. 180050 entitled, Rodolfo G. Navarro, et. Al. versus Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et. Al. which involves the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 9355 creating the province of Dinagat Islands. In a decision that was promulgated on February 10, 2010, the Supreme Court has ruled as follows:

"where, the petition is granted. Republic Act. No. 9355, otherwise known as an [An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands], is hereby declared unconstitutional. The proclamation of the province of Dinagat Islands and the election of the officials thereof are declared null and void.

The provision in Article 9 (2) of the Rules and Regulations

Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991 stating,
"The land requirement shall not apply where the proposed province is composed of one (1) or more island's is declared null and void" A photocopy of the said judgment is hereto attached for your reference as Annex "A".

It is also revealed in court records that the said judgment had attained finality on May 18, 2010. This is shown in the Entry of Judgment that I received recently from Atty. Ma. Lourdes C. Perfecto, Deputy Clerk of Court and Chief, Judicial Records Office of the Supreme Court, a photocopy of which is hereto attached for your reference as Annex "B".

As a consequence of the said judgment, it is expected that the Commission on Elections will schedule a special election for affected offices in the province of Surigao del Norte and the congressional seat for the revived First Congressional District comprising the islands of Siargao, Bucas Grande and Dinagat. The rationale for the conduct of a special election had been explained by the Commision on Elections when it issued Resolution No. 8790 issued on March 9, 2010, a photocopy of which is hereto attached as Annex "C". It is also expected that the special elections for the affected provincial offices and congressional seat will be held sometime in January or February 2011.

On the part of the Department of Interior and Local Government, it is my view that your office has the mandate to: (1) make certain that the vacated offices of Provincial Governor and Vice Governor should be occupied by qualified and legally authorized officials between now and the forthcoming special elections to be called by Comelec; (2) appoint caretaker officials for the vacated offices of Provincial Governor and Vice Governor; and (3) to appoint on the authority of the Office of the President five (5) OIC members for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for the original District on sound and legal discretion.

The nullification by Comelec of the May 10, 2010 elections results for the positions of Governor and Vice Governor and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan demands prompt legal action from DILG. For one, it is extremely urgent and necessary that your office should replace the present Governor in the person of Mrs.

Soledad F. Matugas and the incumbent Vice Governor on the of the following justifications: (1) both were not legally elected in the May 10, 2010 elections as explained in COMELEC Resolution No. 8790 (Please refer to ANNEX "C"); (2) both should not be allowed to exercise the powers of their present positions even on hold-over capacity as their right to the office had been nullified by the operation of law; (3) the fact that they may run again in the forthcoming special elections proves that their right to their present positions have become indefensible; and (4) that for every day that they are allowed to continue in office is tantamount to continued usurpation of a public office and a similar derogation of the right of the Office of the President to appoint Officers in Charge for positions that were affected by the judgment in G.R. No. 180050.

Finally, I pray that prompt determination should be made on who is the rightful occupant for the offices of Provincial Governor and Vice Governor to avoid legal uncertainties. I also believe that the continued stay in office of Mrs. Soledad F. Matugas as "Governor" after the finality of the judgment of the Supreme Court on May 18, 201 0 is likely to create a situation where public funds will continue to be disbursed upon the signature of one whose right to the office has become illegal as a consequence of a valid judgment rendered in G.R. No. 180050.

There you have it. What next? Will there be a hiatus in the provincial government and chaos? Or will the law take its due course? This is an unprecedented situation. Let's see if this government of smile can pass this test.

E-mail: almedajun@yahoo.com

A version of this article appeared in print (Goldstar Daily) on October 28, 2010 Thursday.


Anonymous said...

Id rather have Matugas as governor anyday as that clowns from Ecleo clan. They have no credibility and relying on money and violence. I demand that we use the automated voting machines because in manual voting the Ecleo clan will cheat. I know how they do it, and there is no real independent comelec on that Dinagat island that can verify if the votes are real.

Anonymous said...

Why only now.? I am sorry for those deserving winners of the last may 2010 election who spent millions and just flush it down to the drain. . They move to disqualify dinagat as a province should have been done prior to the may 2010 election. . what a waste of money . can you imagine how much the taxpayers will spend for febuary 2011 election.? I suggest that the comelec will use again the automated voting machine to avoid cheating. This is another example of wasteful government spending no wonder philippines is counted as 134th most corrupt country in the world and one of the poorest country too . so go figure.

Anonymous said...

Sure a special election is costly, but having a Dinagat province is a burden for the Philippines and wasting million times more money. Do you know how much money is pocketed by the Ecleo clan for government projects and hundreds of government seats that bring no economic or social progress. The special election is better than a Dinagat province where Billions of pesos worth of minerals ore are stolen by foreign companies and they pay almost no tax but instead go to the pocket of the Ecleo clan. Yet for decades all they can show is a dirt road. The inhabitants come to the mainland and elsewhere to look for jobs because they have incompetent people ruining their lives and future without realizing it.

Anonymous said...

the last 3 comments are worth reading, yet lacks substance as no vivid/valid, 'black-and-white' proof of what (billions!!!) were pocketed from what? and from where? and when? are presented. Where are the Proposed projects and allocations (funds)to prove it?... rather than say that all they have is a dirt road, is libelous...i'm not a "fan" of the Ecleo's nor the PBMA as undeniably true - that's for the every collective (cult)member to follow and believe - for that is their own problem...and yet, how interesting to note that as what is said and i quote "I am sorry for those deserving winners of the last May 2010 election who spent millions and just flush it down the drain???".....In other words...ANY PERSON WOULD RIGHTFULLY SPEND HIS/HER MILLIONS TO GAIN POLITICAL CLOUT AND POWER KNOWING FULLY WELL THAT THE 'ROI' ON SUCH INVESTMENT CAN NOT AND WILL NEVER BE RECOVERED IN HIS/HER TENURE NOT UNLESS AT THE BACK OF HIS/HER MIND, THERE IS A LOT TO SQUANDER AND UNSCRUPULOUSLY GAIN!!! .....So what else is new Surigao??!!!...but to run again like a headless chicken for the investment they already made flew out of the window so fast (roughly100 days and counting) and by the grace of someone up above will be another "deja Vu".....tsk,tsk,tsk, tough Luck!!!

Anonymous said...

Do you know Dinagat is declared as a Mineral Reserve? It contains billions worth of ore minerals. Of course the Ecleo clan will not give up their government position that easily. I expect them to win if there is manual voting. Do you think there are infrastructure projects actually built for the poor? Really its for the Century Peak mining and other Mining firms. In a few month they even make a paved road and a pier for the Mining company. If a private company can do that why didn't the Ecleo who are in government for decades??? Really if you need proof in black and white you must be either from Ecleo clan or the Mining lobby. Just search the internet if you want black and white facts, its has been published in the news for many months now.

Anonymous said...

If you are really interested to see the black and white proof why dont you go to dinagat yourself and take a picture or ask somebody honest and with integrity to take a picture of the place , chicken...

Anonymous said...

What constitutes a Mineral Reserve? when was it declared as one? Lots of (overseas intellectuals) and surigaonons like me never heard of it...and who can (or will) dispense, preserve, conserve, refute, promulgate, direct, empower, control it?...or better yet, obfuscate what is otherwise a trivia of rules, regulations, overlapping jurisdiction and mandates not mentioning various government agencies that exercise rightful dominion? Second, what makes the 'internet' a valid proof of info-gathering when (worldwide web) by itself is a doldrum of misinformation, lies, "what-you-want-to-hear-preach-and-believe" propaganda and a hodgepodge of gazillion information?
Third, as a christian, i even question certain dogmas that runs contrary to what i perceive is "fit-to-the-mill" teachings, how much more for a cult the Ecleo's are trying to assert!! not to be condescending, but the allegations you are trying to conjure is short of being persnickety and irksome...

Anonymous said...

the burden of proof is not on me , as i am not a party who made the allegation or the accusation as to what was accomplished or has not been, but instead, just surprised as to why no one lifted a finger nor cried foul for the misdeeds that transpired -for so long- as per the allegation, secondly, your suggestion is that i go to dinagat to see for myself is not possible quite figuratively and literally, as i really dont care if dinagat would be devoured by anyone interested with it, thirdly , i am halfway around the globe (US) to spend my precious time and money to satisfy your allegation, fourth, your suggestion is perfectly right ..and it came from your comment...to ask somebody honest and with integrity to take pictures of the place , and who is this person you could suggest with your blessing? Lastly, how do you understand and perceive the statement re- running like a headless chicken...because now they have to spend again for the next round of election!!! is it the ecleo's, the matugas', the barbers' or casurra's that was meant? you choose your "chicken bet" and every which way you look and see and side will for sure be hurting them....

Anonymous said...

Here are some facts about Mining operation in Dinagat, these documents are obtained from the mining companies website themselves and the Philippine Stock Exchange website.


Just to share my thought that its not about the mining i am against but the Ecleo clan grabbing of power is tantamount to usurpation of power and disloyalty to the Filipino citizens.

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