Mayor Lim: miserably unrepentant by ELLEN TORDESILLAS

September 27, 2010

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim has become a pathetic figure – a far cry from the anti-crime crusading character that earned for him the compliment “Dirty Harry”, the alias of the fictional character of San Francisco policeman, Harold Francis Callahan, played in several films by Clint Eastwood.

IIRC recommended harshest sanction on Lim

In recommending administrative and criminal proceedings, the IIRC held Lim liable for “assuming the authority of the on-scene commander in negotiations and tactical action… for negligence in his failure to organize and constitute the CMC (crisis management committee), for issuing an illegal order the arrest of Gregorio Mendoza, for abandoning and ordering the on-scene commander to abandon the Advance Command Post at the height of the hostage crisis and, in general, for failure to perform his duties as CMC Chairman… constituting dereliction of duty and gross negligence.”

“Dirty Harry” endeared himself to the audience by stomping on the inept bureaucracy, even taking the law in his hands, to give justice to the underprivileged.

Lim became a legend when he cleared known criminal havens of undesirable elements. For that, he was rewarded a political career after he retired from the police service. He was manila mayor from 1992 to 1998 and senator from 2004 to 2007. He returned as Manila mayor in 2007 and got re-elected last May.

One would think that with his long years as local chief executive, Lim would have handled the Aug. 23 hostage incident with competence and wisdom. What we saw was “utak pulbura” at work.

He has never admitted mistake for the debacle that claimed the lives of eight Hongkong tourists and strained relations with China and its prosperous administrative region, which hosts thousands of Filipino workers.

The IIRC , in fact, put the blame squarely on him. The committee, headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, listed eight incidents that turned the crisis into a tragedy. Lim had a role in almost all of those incidents.

The first incident was the non-activation of the crisis management committee. “Mayor Alfredo Lim of the City of Manila was the person in authority charged with the duty of activating the CMC,” the committee said.

The committee criticized the attention given by authorities concerned to SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, brother of hostage-taker,former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza as co-conspirator and accessory.

“Whether he was shouting or not is not really material. The fact is Col. Yebra (the negotiator) displayed his loss of focus on the task at hand. He was distracted by a peripheral matter,” the committee said.

“More important to addressing the actuations of Gregorio was re-building the confidence of Mendoza, re-establishing contact with him, and salvaging the negotiations that clearly broke down, by working on the offered alternative solution. Instead, Col. Yebra, Mayor Lim, Gen. Magtibay, and other police officers present focused on handling the peripheral matter involving Gregorio resulting to Mayor Lim’s order for Gregorio’s arrest, looking for handcuffs, and conferring on how to handle Gregorio. By attending to the peripheral matter, precious time to salvage the negotiations, already critical at this late hour of the crisis situation, was lost. The windows of opportunity were closing,” the report further said.

The committee noted that the arrest of SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, upon orders of Mayor Lim, “s was the proximate cause of the chain of events that led to Mendoza’s shooting at the hostages.”

The report said:” The potential adverse reaction of Mendoza to an arrest of Gregorio was not lost to Mayor Lim. This is borne by his instruction to the escorting officers to use the back door of the Advance Command Post to avoid media. That Mendoza was viewing television at this time was already known at this point. The instruction to avoid media should be taken in this context.

“Given the tenuous situation, i.e., negotiations having broken down, adding a potential irritant to Mendoza with the arrest of his brother was a lack or absence of sound judgment.”

The committee also cited the departure of Mayor Lim and General Magtibay from the Advance Command Post at a crucial time.

“The absence of Mayor Lim and General Magtibay in the Advance Command Post created a vacuum in command or decision makers. This resulted in the inability of those present to handle crisis events as they unfolded. Everything that Mayor Lim and General Magtibay hoped to accomplish at Emerald Restaurant, including taking a meal, could have been accomplished at the Advance Command Post and even better because they would have been in a position to react to events promptly.

“The most significant of events that transpired after Mayor Lim and General Magtibay left the Advance Command Post were the coverage of Gregorio being arrested, the deadlines being given by Mendoza before he starts shooting the hostages and the actual shooting of hostages.”

When told last Monday about his inclusion among those to be sanctioned as recommended by the Incident Investigating and Review Committee that looked into the tragedy, Lim said he was “insulted.”

Lim is hopeless. It’s now up to Aquino to save the Filipino people from government officials like Lim.

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim was driven to tears Tuesday while defending policemen even as he criticized his inclusion in the list of officials deemed responsible for the hostage mess.

“You cannot rely on anybody except policemen and soldiers who are paid to die. No other professional will offer to sacrifice their lives for you … Every time they step out of their homes, one foot is buried in the ground,” an emotional Lim said, pounding a closed fist on his table at the Manila City Hall.

Lim likened the IIRC report to a “shotgun blast.”

“Everyone who was there was hit.”

“Who of you here will willingly die in the performance of your duty? No one. Only the police. And yet what are we getting into? Blame and keep blaming the police. Let’s place things in its proper perspective. What do we stand to get from keeping up the blame game?” Lim said in a news conference.

The mayor denied responsibility for the bloodbath, insisting that he performed his role “to the letter and to the best of his ability under the circumstances.”

Lim defended his decision to leave the command post at the height of crucial negotiations to eat at Emerald Garden restaurant and denied that it constituted abandonment of his duties as the chair of the crisis management committee.


Lim bears brunt of recommended sanctions in hostage crisis

The Incident Investigation and Review Committee has recommended that administrative and criminal proceedings be opened against Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, the harshest directed at 12 persons tagged as having responsibility for the bungled hostage rescue attempt that resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists and the hostage taker on August 23.

It said his actions during the hostage crisis constitute dereliction of duty and gross negligence under the Local Government Code (RA 7160.

The specific recommendations of the IIRC have not been publicly released.

It said administrative proceedings should be opened against five senior police officials and Interior Secretary Rico Puno. It recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted on their possible criminal liability.

It held Manila Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domogoso administratively liable but was silent on his possible criminal liability.

It said further investigation should be conducted against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to determine whether her offenses qualify as grounds for impeachment.

On Deputy Ombudsman Emilion Gonzales, the IIRC said the Office of the President should determine possible administrative offenses.

The panel said it is referring the results of the investigation of broadcasters Michael Rogas and Erwin Tulfo to the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas for their possible sanctions for violations of the Code of Ethics.

The IIRC said that against ABC 5, ABS-CBN and GMA7, the results should be endorsed to the KBP, or appropriate media “watchdog” organizations, for possible violations of their Code of Ethics.

In recommending administrative and criminal proceedings, the IIRC held Lim liable for “assuming the authority of the on-scene commander in negotiations and tactical action… for negligence in his failure to organize and constitute the CMC (crisis management committee), for issuing an illegal order the arrest of Gregorio Mendoza, for abandoning and ordering the on-scene commander to abandon the Advance Command Post at the height of the hostage crisis and, in general, for failure to perform his duties as CMC Chairman… constituting dereliction of duty and gross negligence.”

On the reference to the arrest of Mendoza, brother of hostage taker Rolando Mendoza, the “Highlights” of the IIRC report said: “There is evidence to support the finding that what Mayor Lim actually ordered was the summary execution of Gregorio Mendoza when, in conjunction with the order to arrest… he also instructed the MPD officials present… that Gregorio be ‘brought to Tondo,’ a euphemism for summary execution…”

The grounds cited by IIRC against Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay, ground commander and relieved Manila police chief, were serious irregularities in the performance of duties and gross incompetence; Director Leocadio Santiago Jr., former National Capital Region chief, “less grave” neglect of duty; PNP chief Jesus Verzosa, “less grave” neglect of duty; Puno, gross negligence; negotiator Supt. Orlando Yerba, negligence, and; Insp. Santiago Pascual III, assault team leader, gross incompetence.

Malacanang allayed fears of a whitewash in the investigation of the August 23 hostage crisis following President Aquino’s decision not to release as yet the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) and to have them reviewed by his own legal panel.

Aquino said Monday a review by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and chief presidential legal counsel Eduardo de Mesa is necessary because the IIRC report did not make specific recommendations on which persons should be charged with what crime.

(The “Recommendations” portion of the report which has yet to be released belies this. The recommended charges were specific to each person.)

He also said he may uphold some recommendations, or add to or subtract from them.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said releasing the recommendations would have an impact on the lives and reputation of the individuals cited in the report.

“Gusto ng Pangulo na he would be able to support everything in the report. That’s why he wants to study the report. Because first and foremost, let me emphasize, the report is recommendatory in nature,” he said.

“Kapag inilabas kung ano ang magiging pag-aaral po ng Chief Presidential Legal Counsel at ng Office of the Executive Secretary, ilalahad po iyong dalawa. So, wala po tayong itatago, ilalabas po natin iyong dalawang iyon in fairness to those people named,” he added.

Lacierda said Aquino has great confidence in Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, head of the IIRC, and her work but the President does not want to make hasty decisions.

“The report is recommendatory, so the final decision rests on the President. Kaya nais niyang maging maayos po ang kaniyang decision sa pag-aaral po ng IIRC report at ang mga recommendation doon sa report,” he said.

He said there is no need for the officials named in the IIRC report to go on leave.

Lacierda said unlike the partial report released by Malacañang to the public on Monday afternoon, the government gave the full IIRC report to the Chinese government through its embassy in Manila a few hours earlier.

He said Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao replied positively to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos, who delivered the report to the Chinese embassy.

He said Hong Kong authorities are conducting a separate investigation but he is not aware if it was finished.


Lima said the panel’s recommendation was basically to initiate administrative proceedings for specific administrative offenses under applicable rules of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and the PNP and the Local Government code, and/or preliminary investigation for possible criminal liability arising from the acts or omissions as determined by the IIRC, or further investigation or referral to appropriate venues.

She also said she is willing to inhibit herself from reviewing any case that may reach the Department of Justice against those who would be charged in connection with the hostage crisis.

This is to allay perception of prejudgment.

She said there is a big possibility the DOJ will be tasked to handle the charges.

“The option to inhibit is always there…Due process must be observed and we cannot be the judge and jury at the same time,” De Lima said.

De Lima also asked President Aquino not to “absolve or exclude” personalities the IIRC recommended charged, and appealed for “minor” changes in report.

“Since under review nga by the President through his legal team, there may be changes there. But on the part of IIRC sana kung mayroon mang changes it would just be minor. Yun bang babawasan lang ng konti ang culpability o dadagdagan yung culpability. Hindi yung outright exclusion o absolution of certain personalities,” De Lima said at the Senate where she attended the hearing of the proposed DOJ budget.

She further defended the report’s “open-ended” recommendation on the liabilities of those included in the report.

“Talagang open-ended yung sa criminal proceedings because of lack of time sa evaluation and study ng committee. Hindi pa namin masyado mai-ugnay o hindi pa namin clear na ma-indicate or specify ang specific charge. So it’s an open-ended recommendation with respect to the criminal proceedings,” she said.

Report welcomed

China welcomed the submission but said it has yet to dissect the IIRC 83-page report, citing its length.

“The initial reading indicates that the Philippine side takes a sincere and serious manner in handling with and looking into the incident, to which the Chinese side expresses its appreciation,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu in a statement released by the Chinese Embassy.

“Since it is a long report, the Chinese side does need time for a careful study,” the official added.

Jiang renewed calls for the prevention of similar incidents.

“We hope that the Philippine side takes effective measures to strengthen protection of the Chinese personnel in the Philippines and prevent the reoccurrence of similar tragedies,” said Jiang.

Jiang added that China is always ready to continue the further advancement of the relations between the two countries “in a sound and steady manner.”

‘Situation room’

Lacierda also said because of the hostage crisis, government is revising its crisis management manual and is cobbling up a “situation room” to monitor future crises. He said the new manual would be released soon.

“We have the manual. We have the resources. We have the forces to deal with any incident such as hostage taking,” he said.

He said National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia will head the situation room.

A “war room” was set up inside Malacañang by President Arroyo in 2004, following the kidnapping of Filipino overseas worker Angelo de la Cruz in Iraq. It was headed by former military colonel Victor Corpus.

The small facility, which was shown to Palace reporters, contained monitoring equipment such as telephones, several television screens dedicated to important news sources, computers and other telecommunications equipment.

Lacierda said the “war room” has been dismantled.

Verzosa ready

Verzosa, through lawyer Benjamin de los Santos, said is ready to face any charge.

Delos Santos expressed confidence his client, who is out of the country, will have no liability.

“We followed the manual and standards and international protocols on hostage situation, and if you have time to read and really analyze the report of the IIRC, they themselves admitted that it is difficult to determine authority due to inadequacy of the manual,” he said.

Delos Santos said the principle of command responsibility does not apply to Verzosa since the buck stops at Magtibay’s immediate superior. Santiago.

Verzosa was at Cagayan de Oro City at the height of the hostage drama and could not immediately fly back to Manila since there were no more flights available that time. He went on early retirement last week.

Con games

The Office of the Ombudsman questioned the basis for the recommendation on Gutierrez and Gonzalez.

Deputy Ombudsman Mark Jalandoni and Assistant Ombudsman Jose de Jesus clarified that Gutierrez never promised the hostage-taker, dismissed Supt. Rolando Mendoza, that he will be reinstated.

They stressed that Mendoza accepted the Ombudsman’s commitment to personally review the case which led to his dismissal.

“Mendoza knew very well that the Ombudsman cannot possibly grant his request that same day. There was no confusion; Mendoza had a crystal clear understanding of what was promised to him. After their phone conversation, he even released one of the hostages as a proof of good faith and acceptance,” Jalandoni pointed out.

As to suggestions that the Ombudsman should have readily agreed to reinstate Mendoza to save the lives of hostages, the two officials explained that the anti-graft body cannot be party to such a deception.

“We are not here to play con games or to compromise with criminals. Doing so would damage the irreversibly damage the credibility of this office. The Office of the Ombudsman is not part of the negotiation; we have no expertise about such matters. We only did our job according to the letter of the law,” De Jesus said.

The two likewise questioned the tone of the IIRC report which they said tended to portray Mendoza as a martyred hero rather than a former police officer who went rogue to force the government to give in to his demands.

“From what we read, the report seemed to depict the hostage-taker as a hero rather than a former lawman who chose to be a criminal. Mendoza betrayed his sworn duty to uphold and protect the law and brought shame to our country,” De Jesus added.

New investigation

At the same press conference, the two officials announced that the anti-graft body will begin today its own investigation centering exclusively on the botched rescue operations.

Jalandoni said Gutierrez has created a special panel of field investigators to be led by Assistant Ombudsman Joselito Fangon. The team was given 30 days to submit its findings.

The new probe was launched at the request of HK-Special Administrative Region, Southern District councilors Henry Chai Man Hon and Andrew Fung Wai Kwong who wrote to Gutierrez last August 24.

De Jesus said their office received the letter last September 16 but the Ombudsman allowed the IIRC to complete its own investigation out of respect to the directives of President Aquino.

Jalandoni said testimonies and other evidence gathered by the IIRC will become part of the Ombudsman’s investigation and will be considered in its independent review of evidence “to prevent duplication.”

He stressed that the investigation will focus solely on the police conduct of the rescue operations at the request of the HK-SAR officials to determine the readiness of police operatives, accuracy of threat assessment by police officials and whether the ground commander made the correct call in not shooting Mendoza when he exposed himself outside the bus several times.

Lim blames Mendoza’s brother

Lim, in a pres conference, blew his top as he lashed at the IIRC for including him and Moreno among those recommended to be charged.

Lim said that contrary to the findings of the IIRC, he did not abandon his duty as head of the crisis management committee.

The mayor instead put the blame on SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, brother of the hostage-taker, for egging the latter to not to agree to the offers of negotiators unless his service firearm was released by the MPD, thus, laying the groundwork for his brother to lose his confidence in the negotiations.

He recounted that Gregorio admitted before him and the other officers present at the advance command post (ACP) that he had knowledge of his brother’s plans. Yet, Lim said, there appeared to be no mention of Gregorio in the IIRC report.

“Baligtad na ba ang mundo?” he said.

Reacting to the portion of the report stating that Lim should have had his meal at the ACP instead of at the Emerald Restaurant, Lim said: “Gaano ba kalayo ang Emerald sa bus? Eh mas malayo pa ang MPD headquarters sa UN Avenue kung saan nandun ang ibang opisyal ng gobyerno. There is no abandonment that took place because all the key officials of the MPD remained at the ACP.”

Aside from Magtibay, the mayor said all the key MPD officers were at the post including the deputies, station commander and the one in charge of public affairs.

Meanwhile, lawyer Harry Roque, who heads Centerlaw, a group of lawyers advocating human rights and press freedom, expressed disappointment at the IIRC recommendation to charge the media, saying bad journalism is not synonymous to criminal conduct.

“While we acknowledge that media may have failed to observe the highest degree of professionalism and self-restraint in their coverage of the unfortunate incident, still this is not a basis for holding them liable for breach of the country’s criminal laws. Bad journalism is not and should never be criminal in a democracy,” he said in a statement. – Regina Bengco, Evangeline de Vera, JP Lopez, Gerard Naval, Peter Tabingo and Raymond Africa


Ombudsman wants Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno, 20 others probed on sale of Century Parkr

April 2, 2010

Ombudsman wants Lim, Moreno, 20 others probed on sale of Century Park

By Charlie V. Manalo
The Daily Tribune

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered a probe of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno along with 20 city councilors and several officials for the alleged rigged sale of a five-star hotel in Manila.

According to Assistant Ombudsman Jose de Jesus, Ombudsman spokesman, they will now evaluate the case against Lim and the other officials of Manila and proceed accordingly with the rules of their office.

The Ombudsman official said after evaluating the case, if warranted, they will proceed with the preliminary investigation of the case to determine if there is probable cause to indict them criminally before the Sandiganbayan or they could be found administratively liable.

“We will evaluate and proceed accordingly (with the investigation) and if warranted we will proceed with the official investigation of the case,” De Jesus said.

He added Lim and the other officials could still be subjected to preventive suspension despite the existing election ban in imposing penalties on government officials because the case filed against Lim and the Manila officials is graft.

It was pointed out that as a general rule, the Office of the Ombudsman could no longer impose sanctions during the election period but the only exception is when the crime committed involves graft and corruption.

“As a general rule bawal ng mag-suspend. But in this case covered yan ng suspension if evidence warrant after the conduct of a proper investigation since the crime involved is graft,” De Jesus said.

The case was already docketed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

In a 24-page Complaint-Affidavit earlier filed by lawyer Reynaldo Bagatsing, Lim and the Manila officials were charged for violating section 3e and g of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for causing undue injury to the government and to private bidders after the sale of the land where Century Park Hotel stands.

Aside from Lim and Moreno or Francisco Dumagoso in real life, also included in the charge sheet were Bids and Awards Committee chairman and secretary to the mayor Rafaelito Garayblas, along with BAC members Lourdes Manlulu, Thelma Perez, Alicia Moscaya, Roberto Amores, Racquel Acosta and Ronald Siojo.

Councilors charged with graft were Moises Lim, Erick Ian Nieva, Arlene Koa, Ernesto Dionisio Jr., Carlo Lopez, Rolando Valeriano, Ernesto Isip Jr., Yul Servo, Maira Sheila Lacuna-Pangan, Luisito Chua, Edward Maceda, Victoriano Melendez, Roderick Valbuena, Raymundo Yupangco, Josefina Siscar, Ernesto Rivera, Danilo Victor Lacuna and Russel Ibay.

The officials were also charged for violating the Local Government Code for giving undue preference to a private party and entering into a contract without the benefit of public bidding.

It was alleged in the complaint that on Sept. 16, 2008 a public bidding was conducted but they announced that it is a failed bidding. The property covered is the real property of Century Park Hotel owned by the City of Manila which is 45,680 square meters.

Bidding was repeated on Sept. 30, 2008 after publication and two bidders participated, namely, Maranaw Hotels and Restaurant Corp. which submitted a bid of P1 billion and AM Oreta and Co. Inc. which tendered a bid of P997,300,000.

Bagatsing argued that Lim, Moreno and the other officials committed criminal acts when they disposed the two parcels of land through a rigged bidding after passing City Council Resolution 176 Series of 2008 which “authorized City Mayor Alfredo Lim to enter into a negotiated sale of the property of the City of Manila.”

This was followed by a malicious notice and defective Notice of Public Auction questionable proceedings of the Committee on Awards of the City of Manila. The three-day notice given in the newspapers of the sale is not fair and equal chance to participate in the public auction.

It was also stated that supplementary contract entered into by and between the City of Manila and Tourist Trade and Travel Corporation on Aug. 1, 2003 clearly shows that the market value of the improvements (Century Park Hotel) is already valued at P1 billion.

It was stated in the final appraisal report the entire property will command an aggregate value of P1,705,339,637, resulting in a deficit of at least P705,339,537.

Bandera Tapatan: Lito Atienza, Alfredo Lim

March 15, 2010

Panayam ng Bandera kay Lito Atienza

SI Lito Atienza, 59, ay ipinanganak sa San Andres Bukid noong Agosto 10, 1941.
Bago naging Secretary ng Environment and Natural Resources, natapos ni Atienza ang tatlong termino bilang mayor ng Maynila. Ngayong darating na halalan ay sasabak muli siya sa pagkamayor ng lungsod. Iboboto ba siya ng Manileño?

BANDERA: Ano ang dahilan kung bakit nais ninyong maging mayor ng Maynila?

Lito Atienza: Kailangan ng programang pangkabuhayan para sa mga Manileño kaya muli akong tatakbo. Noong panahon ko ay mayroon tayong itinulak na “buhayin ang Maynila” which helped the city.
Ano ang tatlong dahilan kung bakit kayo ang dapat iboto ng mamamayan ng inyong syudad? may massive housing program kami at land for the landlesspeace and order. Manila became most peaceful dati-rati. Number one kami sa peace and order pero nawala na. Laganap ngayon ang krimen. Graft and corruption ay dapat lutasin.

Kung sakaling kayo ay mahalal ano ang tatlong bagay na inyong gagawin sa unang 100 araw ninyo sa puwesto?

Ipagpatuloy ang kampanya laban sa droga. Wala kaming naki-kitang drug campaign in Manila sa ngayon kaya ipagpapatuloy ko ang kampanya laban sa droga. Babawiin ang Century Park Tanggalin ang oil depot at ilipat sa isang lugar na malayo sa pamayanan at ilipat sa malapit sa dagat. Hindi totoong maraming nakatira sa Pandacan ang nagtatrabaho sa oil depot, karamihan sa mga empleyado sa oil depot ay hindi taga-Pandacan. Kapag naalis na natin ang oil depot ay papasukin na ng mga negosyante yan dahil papagandahin natin yan. Magtatatag ako ng malawakang urban poor affairs and poverty alleviation office. Diyan natin ilalagay ang programa lahat ng usapin sa pagtulong sa mahihirap. Tatanggalin ang “kamag-anak incorporated”.

I-rank mula sa pinaka importante hanggang sa least important ang mga sumusunod na problema ng Maynila — squatters, garbage, peace and order, drugs, illegal gambling; at bakit?

Hindi inaayos ng isa-isa yan kundi sabay-sabay na asikasuhin. Peace and order, drugs, pabahay lahat yan dapat asikasuhin at ayusin. Ang bottom line niyan ay ekonomiya, kung maayos ang ekonomiya ay walang kahirapan.

Pinaka malaking problema ng Maynila, paano ito sosolusyunan?

Kailangan palusugin ang ekonomiya. Kapag may trabaho, negosyo ang tao, ang gobyerno ay mayroong maayos na koleksyon at marami kang maibibgay para sa mga mamamayan. Babaguhin ko ang pananaw ng mga tao hinggil sa “kotong” at dapat walang kotong. Peace and order pa rin laban sa krimen, drug addict at drug pusher.

Ano ang tatlong bagay na meron ka at wala ang kalaban mo?

Experience in management, 9 years continued service. Naging Cabinet member tayo ng isang pinakamalaking kagawaran ng ating gobyerno national. Vision pa rin natin na buhayin ang Maynila which is to fight poverty. Yung dalawang kalaban natin (Lim at Avelino Razon) ay parehong pulis palagay ko naman ay deperensya ng pulis mentality at civilian ay fundamental and basic.

Ano rin naman ang tatlong bagay na meron ang kalaban mo na wala ka?

Mga pangalan nila (laughs). Wala akong nakikitang kaibahan nila. Actually, I think they are the same sa kanilang kakayahan.

Malaki ang problema ng Maynila sa abortion, paano ninyo ito sosolusyunan?

Yan ang nilalabanan namin. The most heinous crime that a man can commit is abortion, ang pinapatay mo diyan ay ang pinakainosenteng buhay ng tao, ang sanggol. Patuloy kaming magbibigay ng edukasyon sa mga tao na huwag maging iresponsable. Ipagpapatuloy ko ang “responsible parenthood” at proper values. Ang abortion kasi ay galing sa irresponsible parenthood.

Ano ang posisyon nyo sa RH bill?

Kontra ako sa RH bill dahil maling solusyon yan sa isang problema ng bayan. Hindi solusyon ang magbawas ng tao, hindi pa ba tayo natuto na ang China ay pinakamaraming tao pero sila ay maunlad na bansa. Mag-kontrol ka pero gamitin mo yung natural na paraan. Mali yung katulad ngayon na nagkakalat ang “condom” sa Avenida Rizal, para nilang sinabi sa mga kabataan na gawin ninyo ang gusto ninyong gawin basta gumamit kayo ng condom mali iyon.

Anong lifestyle meron si Atienza?

BANDERA: Ilang bahay meron po kayo? Dalawang bahay yung isa town house sa Ecoville.

Sa bahay na tinutuluyan ninyo ngayon, ilang silid meron ito? Dalawa at doon natutulog ang dalawa na-ming ampon dahil yung mga anak ko ay may mga pamilya na at may sarili na rin silang bahay.

Ilan ang cr? Dalawa

Ilan ang kasambahay? Tatlo, yung isa naka-focus sa dalawang ampon namin.

Ilang sasakyan meron kayo? Ang naka-rehistro sa akin ay yung ibinigay ni Manny Pacquiao na Toyota Land Cruiser. Yung ibang sasakyan ay sa mga anak ko.

Ilan ang driver? Isa lang.
Magkano ang ilalabas ninyong pera sa eleksyong ito? Wala pang exact figure ng expenses, pagkatapos ng election saka natin malalaman yan. Galing lang sa mga tunay na kaibigan ang tumutulong.

Maaari ba naming malaman kung sino ang top 3 fund contributors ninyo? Puro long time friends ang tumutulong sa aten.

Panayam kay Alfredo Lim
Si Alfredo Lim, 71, ay ipinanganak noong Disyembre 21, 1929. Naging mayor na siya ng Maynila noong 1992 hanggang 1998. Naging senador at muling nailuklok sa pagkaalkalde ng Maynila noong 2007.
Uubra pa rin kaya si Lim ngayon sa mga Manileno matapos nilang masubukan ang kanyang kalibre?
BANDERA: Anong dahilan kung bakit sa tingin ninyo ay kayo pa rin an iboboto ng mga taga Maynila?
ALFREDO LIM: Marami na rin akong nagawa at ang prayoridad ko ay health. Nagpatayo na ko ng mga ospital at may mga ipinapatayo pa kong ospital. Sa anim na ospital, lima na yung nabuksan yung isa ay under construction pa. May dalawang nabuksang school sa Maynila na libre ang pag-aaral at kahit anong bayarin ay wala ng babayaran ang mga estudyante.

Kung kayo ay mahahalal muli, ano ang tatlong bagay na inyong gagawin sa unang 100 araw ninyo sa inyong tanggapan?Financial center sa likod ng Manila Hotel along Bonifacio drive hanggang sa Delpan Bridge. A 30-storey high rise condo ang gagawin ko para din sa financial center. Ipagigiba ang mga lumang establisimento doon at irerenovate yun para sa bagong financial center.Establishment of City Transport system, na iikot sa buong lungsod ng Maynila ang 10 aircon buses pero 50 porysento lamang ang pamasahe sa original na pamasahe. Build a high rise low cost condominium para sa mga pamilya na nasa squatters area

Paano ninyo sosolusyunan ang mga problema hinggil sa oil depot, squatters, sugal, kotong cops? Ang tungkol sa oil depot, may usapan na diyan na in five years time mag-face out na sila. Tutol ang Canadian, American chambers of commerce and other chambers of commerce dahil maaapektuhan ang kanilang investments. Yung mga nakatira malapit sa oil depot ang tutol dahil yun din ang pinagkukunan nila ng pangkabuhayan. Kung ililipat ng lugar, eh dapat hindi mawalan ng trabaho ang mga mamamayan lalo na yung taga lungsod ng Maynila. I now realized the difficulties of facing out oil companies. Dapat walang displacement para yung mga nagtatrabaho doon eh hindi mawalan ng trabaho. Squatters. Hindi pwedeng tanggalin ang squatters unless may relocation na sila.

Kotong cops. Mahigpit ako lalo na sa kotong. May 22 na akong pinadismiss dahil sa kotong.
Iligal na sugal. Ang mga iligal na sugal ay ipinahuhuli ko, bawal yun lalo na sa lunsod. They have to be regulated. Mahigpit ang kampanya namin laban sa sugal.
Ano ang posisyon ninyo sa Reproductive Health bill? Tutol ako sa Reproductive Health Bill dahil Catholic kami. Kung ano ang sinasabi ng inyong relihiyon ay yun ang sundin nyo. Tutol din ako na ituro sa elementary ang sex education, sa high school pwede. Tutol din ako sa sinabi ng gobyerno na bumili ng mga contraceptives, we never do that.

Ano ang tatlong bagay na meron ka at wala ang mga kalaban mo (Atienza at Razon)?
Dedication sa trabaho at sa public service. Tumutulong sa nangangailangan kaya ako andito.Clean and honest governance focus on highest interest and welfare of the city and its constituents.Walang personal o political interest
Ano naman sa tingin mo ang mga katangian ng iyong mga kalaban na meron ka rin?
Sincerity, pakikitungo sa tao at paglilingkod sa bayan.
Anong uri ng lifestyle meron si Lim?

BANDERA: Ilang bahay meron po kayo? Isa sa Fairview(Quezon City); isa sa Tondo; isang lote sa QC pero tumutuloy ako ngayon sa Legaspi towers.

Sa bahay na tinutuluyan ninyo ngayon, ilang silid meron ito? Three bedrooms

Ilan ang cr?Dalawang CR

Ilan ang inyong mga kasambahay? Tatlo

Ano ang pangunahing pinagkakakitaan ng pamilya? Family business (hindi tinukoy kung ano)
Rough estimate ng family income? P250,000 a month galing sa family business.

Ilang sasakyan meron kayo? Tatlo

Anu-ano po ang mga ito? Isang kotse at dalawang van

Kani-kanino nakapangalan ang mga ito? Sa akin mismo nakapangalan

Ilan ang inyong driver? Dalawa

Magkano ang ilalabas ninyong pera sa eleksyog ito? Wala pang figures dahil sa hindi pa ako nagkakabit ng mga posters dahil sa March 26 pa ang simula ng kampanya.

Maaari ba naming malaman kung sino ang top 3 fund contributors ninyo? Aalamin ko muna kung gusto nilang ipasabi ang kanilang mga pangalan, pero mga close friends ang tumutulong sa atin.

BANDERA, 031210

from → Balita, Bantay Boto 2010: Presidential Election coverage

Graft raps filed vs Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno for P1B sale of Century Park Hotel

March 2, 2010

Graft raps filed vs Lim, Isko for P1B sale of Century Park Hotel
by People’s Tonight
Monday, 01 March 2010 20:13

GRAFT charges were filed yesterday before the Office of the Ombudsman against Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, 20 councilors, four other city officials and four John Does for the allegedly fraudulent bidding and sale of the Century Park Hotel at a bargain price of P 1billion.

Atty. Reynaldo L. Bagatsing, erstwhile legal adviser of Lim and former close friend, pointed out in a 26-page complaint that the transaction should be nullified and the perpetrators penalized as it is “manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the City of Manila. The Century Park Hotel is a five-star crown jewel of the city government and sits on a 4.5 hectare prime property that could easily fetch a P 3 billion price tag.”

Bagatsing also noted that on paper, as reflected by documents obtained from the City Assessor’s Office, the land alone occupied by the hotel at the “mysteriously reduced area of 22, 967 square meters is already worth P 965,261,850 or almost P1 billion. This is not the actual market value because the zonal valuation of the land made by the Bureau of Internal Revenue was conducted in 2005 in addition to the fact that present selling price of prime properties in the Malate-Ermita district ranges from P 50,000 to P 80,000 per square meter.”

The hotel building, Bagatsing pointed out, underwent an upgrading or renovation works few years ago undertaken by the Tourist Trade and Travel Corporation, the original lease holder, at a cost of P 1 billion as reflected in a supplementary contract it entered into with the city government. “This clearly shows that the hotel building alone and the improvements thereat is worth more than P 1 billion.”

Records show that the winning bidder, which now owns Century Park Hotel, and the 4.5 hectare land it occupies is Maranaw Hotels and Resort Corporation which submitted a P1 billion bid. The firm is publicly known to be owned by business tycoon Lucio Tan. Tan’s firm actually obtained the rights to operate the hotel in 2003 from Tourist Trade and Travel Corporation of the Martel family.

Tan is not yet named in the graft complaint pending verification of documents, instead four “John Does” were listed, Bagatsing said. Only lawyer Melissa Saez Co, who represented Maranaw Hotels & Resort Corporation in the bidding, was included in the charge sheet. Aside from Lim and Vice Mayor Domagoso, also named as respondents were Secretary to the Mayor Rafaelito Garayblas, chairman of the bid and awards committee; Maria Lourdes Manlulu, Alicia T. Moscaya and Thelma Perez, members.

Twenty councilors were also included in the complaint for their role in granting Mayor Lim the authority to negotiate the sale of the hotel through City Council Resolution No. 176 adopted on August 5, 2008 and for affirming or ratifying the award and sale to the Tan firm through Resolution No. 278 approved on December 23, 2008. The councilors include Moises Lim, Erick Ian Nieva, Arlene Koa, Ernesto Dionesio,Jr., Carlo Lopez, Rolando Valeriano, Ernesto isip,Jr., John Martin Nieto (the actor known as Yul Servo), Maria Shiela Lacuna-Pangan, Luisito Chua, Edward Maceda, Victoriano Melendez, Roderick Valbuena, Raymundo Yupangco, Josefina Siscar, Ernesto Rivera, Danilo Victor Lacuna, Luciano Veloso, Philip Lacuna and Russel Ibay.

Bagatsing stressed that while it pains him to sue Lim because the mayor was formerly a close friend but find it necessary and an obligation as a taxpayer and Manila resident to bring him and his cohorts before the bar justice. “It is certainly the duty of every citizen to protect their rights. Public interest dictates that Lim should be made to answer for a wrongful act.”

At the same time Bagatsing also challenged the political opponents of Lim to issue a public commitment and assurance that should they win in the forthcoming 2010 elections, they will nullify the sale of the Century Park Hotel. “After recovery, the city government should proceed in disposing the property in a transparent and open public bidding,” he added.

The anti-graft crusader and lawyer also lamented the undue haste the sale of Century Park Hotel was undertaken. “There was evident rush in having it disposed in a period of only five months since August 5, 2008 when the City Council granted Lim the authority to negotiate the sale. It must be noted that the Committee on Bid and Awards immediately caused the publication on September 8 and 12, 2008 a notice of auction in the Philippine Star. The bidding was held September 16 with Garayblas presiding. He declared a failure of bidding because only Maranaw Hotel and Resort Corporation made an offer.

“On September 18 & 23, the Garayblas Committee again caused the publication of a second notice of public auction, also in the Philippine Star. But it contained factual errors so it also caused the publication of an erratum on September 27 clarifying that the sale involved two parcels of land occupied by the hotel and not 20 parcels as contained in the second notice of auction.

“The second auction was held September 30, 2008 with Maranaw Hotels and Resort Corporation offering a P 1billion bid and A. M. Oreta & Co., Inc. that presented the miraculously close bid of P997,300,000.00 or a hairline difference of only P 2,700,000.00. This was obviously a companion bid submitted few days before the September 30 second bidding,” Bagatsing pointed out.

He said the Ombudsman should also look into the mysterious reduction of the lot area actually occupied by hotel which is 45,689 square meters to only 22,967 square meters in the contract or a difference of 22, 722 square meters. “This could actually be a case of a clever attempt to reduce the price tag for the said property which clearly makes this transaction a sweetheart deal,” he added.


February 28, 2010

FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) Updated February 28, 2010 12:00 AM

In deference to the request of Jocelyn Dawis-Asuncion, daughter of Col. Jose H. Dawis who was the Chief of Police of Quezon City during EDSA 1, I am giving her space in today’s column.

She was indignant at the continuous misrepresentation of the facts repeated by her father’s boss then, Gen. Alfredo Lim who by the way is running for reelection as Mayor of Manila. She believes that Lim is burnishing his image for cheap politics at the expense of her father.

Lim used an excerpt from Nick Joaquin’s book as EDSA’s untold story finally narrated.

Here is her version of events told and retold to her by her father while he was still alive. Hers is the real untold story, not Lim’s but she did not know of any journalist who might take it up.

“Each year, every February, stories like this (published in another newspaper, not The STAR) will come out in the papers. My dad, Colonel Jose H. Dawis, the then Chief of Police of Quezon City during the time of the EDSA 1, will always tell us the story of his Commanding General who was cowardly hiding in small Antique shop in P. Tuazon the whole time laden with fear and who actually ordered him to disperse the crowd of EDSA at all cost upon orders of then President Ferdinand Marcos.

My dad, who had less than 300 people under him at the time, was ordered by Gen. Alfredo Lim to disperse the crowd of more than 100,000 and Gen Lim promised him 500 men will come from the military. My dad stood his ground and told Gen. Lim that he will not disperse the crowd who were just expressing their grievances peacefully. He got mad with my Dad’s response and started to berate my dad. My dad did not follow the orders of his superior officer. It did cross his mind that this may break his career but he stood by his decision anyway.

Sen. Butch Aquino is witness to this because my dad has always dealt with him when they would go to Quezon City to hold demonstration rallies. My dad, the Chief of Police of Quezon City, had developed a very good relationship with the opposition leaders led by Sen. Butch Aquino and then students leaders like Lean Alejandro, Senator Kiko Pangilinan, Chito Gascon and Mike Defensor. He would always allow them to protest peacefully in Quezon City and after a few hours the protestors will disperse without any incidence of violence.

It is unfortunate that my dad is not here anymore to refute all the lies peddled by General Lim. Through the years, he kept his silence knowing in his heart who the real EDSA hero is.

But I will not keep my silence. I know who the real EDSA hero is.

It is my father not General Lim. If my Dad is indeed General Lim’s friend as he claims, I wish he would stop using the name of my father and dishonoring him.

My dad is one of the real heroes of EDSA and should be counted among the hundreds of thousands of people who fought the oppression of the Marcos regime.

Atienza son claims harassment by Manila City Hall department heads

February 27, 2010

Atienza son claims harassment by Manila city hall department heads
By Nestor Etolle (The Philippine Star) Updated February 25, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Concerned Manila residents yesterday called on the police and other government agencies to look into the alleged harassment of City Hall personnel who tore down and removed posters of former Manila mayor Lito Atienza.

The residents, led by Atienza’s son Ali, enumerated before mediamen several incidents involving personnel from the City Hall’s Department of Public Safety who almost figured into clashes with supporters of the former mayor and secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The young Atienza said that on Monday men on board an Elf van (SHP-763) tore down and removed information posters of Atienza at the Tanbunting area along Aurora Boulevard. The men were reportedly personnel from the DPS, which is headed by former policeman Caloy Baltazar, a known ally of Mayor Alfredo Lim.

The DPS men were warned by residents not to remove those posters since they were put on private properties and allowed by the house owners to show their support for Atienza, Ali said. However, the DPS men continued with the removal of the posters.

At around 10 a.m. along Honorio Lopez Blvd. in Tondo, another DPS truck (565) arrived and the men on board also removed Atienza posters, Ali said. The same was repeated along Quezon Boulevard in Quiapo past 2 p.m., Ali said.

DPS personnel and residents also clashed in Tondo yesterday when some irate residents broke the windshield of a DPS van. The residents observed that it was only Atienza’s posters that were being removed by the DPS men.

“I am only wondering why these DPS personnel are singling out the posters of my father,” Ali told mediamen.

The young Atienza said that the situation is not fair since Lim also has a lot of campaign materials posted in several places, and asked why Lim has not ordered the removal of his own posters and tarpaulins in Manila.

Ali said they are now gathering more evidence for the filing of appropriate charges on the DPS personnel and Baltazar before the Civil Service Commission. He also called on the police to remain vigilant on the streets to thwart an impending clash of DPS men and residents that could lead to loss of lives and properties.

Lim, Atienza and former Palace adviser on the peace process Avelino Razon will slug it out for the mayoralty race on May 10.

The STAR tried to get the reaction of Baltazar but was told he was not at his office attending to some commitments. – With Sandy Araneta


December 19, 2009

Lost pearl
FIRST PERSON By Alex Magno (The Philippine Star) Updated December 19, 2009 12:00 AM

Manila was once called The Pearl of the Orient Seas. Today, it looks more like Asia’s cesspool.

When a fire hit what was once called “downtown Manila”, the blaze moved quickly through what has become a crowded shantytown. In an instant, 3,000 families lost their homes.

Not only was the city government’s response to the fire poor, it did not have evacuation and relocation capabilities to deal with the human tragedy that followed the fire. Three thousand families are now part of that dark, barely visible mass inhabiting the sidewalks and even colonizing the bay walk — an area once designated as the epicenter of the city’s rebirth.

Instead of quickly evolving a program to mitigate the misery of the thousands of victims of the fire, the city government concentrated on fencing off the burnt out area — apparently in preparation for selling that now cleared area to a property developer. That could be a most profitable deal, not necessarily for the city. Just recently a large piece of the city’s land, where a 5-star hotel sits, was sold for what people in the know say is a bargain-basement assessment.

The once fashionable Avenida Rizal — in another age the heart and soul of Filipino civilization — is now a dark and dingy street, choked with pedicabs and even horse-drawn carriages. There was an effort, some years back, to reinvent Avenida as a brightly-lit pedestrian mall recalling its glorious past as the center of fashion, commerce and the arts. That effort was scuttled by the presently sitting mayor and the area was allowed to degenerate into a dim and dinghy black hole.

One cannot walk the streets of the old city without becoming overcome with fear of pickpockets and holdup artists. I generally avoid going to Manila, except for an occasional golf game in Intramuros or the quarterly exercise of emptying my pigeonhole at the offices of this newspaper. The streets are always choked and traffic flow is always chaotic.

It was once a pleasure to walk through the Luneta Park and listen to live concerts being played there. Today the place stinks. The grass is dead. There is no decent place to eat or have a decent cup of coffee.

It seems this city began dying a little more quickly during the tenure of Mayor Alfredo Lim.

When he assumed office, Lim promised to ban provincial buses from the crowded Lawton area. Today, the place is even more crowded with buses.

He promised the Archbishop of Manila that, in the event his city council passed an ordinance prolonging the stay of the fuel depots in Pandacan, he would promptly veto the measure. When the measure was passed, the Mayor, acting like he was in some sort of divine delirium, pronounced he had heard the voice of the people and not only allowed the depots to stay but invited all sorts of hazardous industries to the banks of the dying Pasig River.

With Lim in charge, everything seemed permissible in this chaotic city. Peddlers of every sort colonized the streets. There was no housing program of any note initiated to absorb the great number of denizens inhabiting the sidewalks. Taft Avenue began to resemble an obstacle course for pedestrians.

There is no economic plan to liberate the city from the grip of poverty, no plan for urban renewal to mitigate the stench. The esteros continued to deteriorate. There are few public services in sight, not one new public toilet and not a new restaurant row.

The city had not upgraded its educational institutions. There is no employment program for precisely the locality with the highest rate of unemployment in the whole country.

I am not sure if public medical services in the city have been upgraded in any way. I have seen no new medical facility that the people of Manila could run to when they need expert medical attention.

For some reason, I recall Autumn of the Patriarch whenever I think about Mayor Lim and the degenerating city he presides over. In the novel, the ageing patriarch just sits and does nothing — and would not go away.

Lim is, of course, seeking reelection in a city that has become even more decrepit since he took the reins. It seems he has spent his entire term tearing down the beautification projects of his predecessor and sending off his barangay officials to Hong Kong for rest and recreation.

His people have mounted a strange sort of campaign against his main challenger: the three-term, undefeated former mayor Lito Atienza. Last week, his people tried to tar Atienza by concocting some story about Atienza’s people tearing down Cory streamers in the city.

That sounds rather unthinkable. When Lim served the Marcos dictatorship, Atienza suffered with the democratic opposition. When the Liberal party rally was bombed in Plaza Miranda, Atienza was among those injured. The current DENR secretary was once of the handful of assemblymen who supported the possibility of Cory Aquino challenging Marcos. He then served the Cory administration as NHA administrator.

Perhaps Lim and his people should try and elevate the quality of the local electoral contest in Manila. He can start by presenting a report of his service as chief executive of the city. He might try to recount the promises he made at the start so the people can see if these promises were fulfilled.

This might be a bit of a challenge: he might try and present a plan for rehabilitating this debilitated city. The danger in doing this, of course, is that any conceivable plan for redeeming Manila will militate against Lim’s record as mayor.