Saturday, June 27, 2020

Hocus-pocus in the 2nd tranche SAP distribution?

IF the money in the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) does not reach the beneficiaries on time, blame the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The distribution of the first tranche of SAP was chaotic as it was coursed through local government units whose leaders either skimmed money from beneficiaries or played favorites.

The distribution of the second tranche to be done through private outlets is expected to be easy and honest.

The DSWD and the BSP have awarded the contract to distribute the second tranche to three mobile payments systems — Paymaya, GCash and UnionBank.
Two other leading payment systems, Starpay and USSC, which have many more outlets than the three chosen outlets combined, were left out.

Consider: In Metro Manila, Paymaya has 103 outlets; GCash, 165; and UnionBank, 245—a total of 513 outlets.

On the other hand, Starpay and USSC combined have a total of 1,916 outlets in Metro Manila alone. USSC runs the reputable Western Union.

What made the DSWD and the BSP choose Paymaya, which is owned by Manuel V. Pangilinan; GCash, which is owned by the Ayalas; and Unionbank of the Aboitizes?

Starpay is owned by Dennis Uy while USSC is owned by Jose Xavier Gonzales.
The BSP recommended the three outlets, and the DSWD followed the recommendation.

My sources at the DSWD said, “money changed hands” in the choice of the outlets, either at the BSP or DSWD.

Subordinates of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista favored Starpay and USSC to distribute the second tranche.

Bautista, however, denied the accusation of bribery in the choice of Paymaya, GCash and UnionBank.

“I am not aware of any money changing hands because it is the BSP who (sic) formulated the matrix for distribution which we intend to adopt because they have the expertise on this. I don’t know yet the content (sic) of the matrix. MoA (memorandum of agreement) was discussed yesterday with reps (representatives) of BSP, FSPs (financial service providers or outlets) and DSWD,” Bautista said in a text message to the office of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, to whom I referred the complaint by Starpay/USSC.

Here’s the Solomonic solution: Why not include Starpay/USSC in the distribution of SAP cash in Metro Manila?

DSWD and BSP can prove that there was no hocus-pocus in the choice of SAP distribution by also including Starpay/USSC.

The more outlets, the faster the distribution of cash to SAP beneficiaries.

Millions of Filipinos are hungry because they’re out of work as a result of the pandemic.

The suffering masses should be given immediate relief by employing as many private outlets as possible.

* * *
I doff my hat to Olongapo City Judge Richard Paradeza for dismissing the sedition charges against Zambales public school teacher Ronnel Mas, who said in his Twitter account that he would pay P50 million to anybody who would assassinate President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte.

Paradeza showed independence of mind amid the popular clamor for Mas’ head.

I may not be happy with the verdict — netizens should be responsible for posting their opinions on the internet — but I respect Paradeza for his judicious decision.

The judge said Mas’ arrest by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents was illegal, as it was not covered by a warrant.

“A court does not acquire jurisdiction over the person of one who is illegally arrested and/or questions his/her arrest before arraignment,” Paradeza said.

Let Paradeza’s ruling be a lesson to NBI agents and policemen who arrest citizens without a warrant.

I wonder how many judges in the country have their own minds like Paradeza?

* * *

The decision of Baguio City prosecutors to file murder cases against three officers and seven cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) for the hazing death of 4th Class Cadet Darwin Dormitorio last year is commendable but….

The three officers are doctors at the PMA Station Hospital while the seven cadets were Dormitorio’s upperclassmen.

I said commendable “but” because the Baguio prosecutors did not include former PMA superintendent Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista and Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, PMA commandant.

The National Bureau of Investigation found that Evangelista and Bacarro tried to cover up the hazing of Dormitorio.

In doing so, Evangelista and Bacarro were complicit in the murder of Dormitorio.

If Evangelista and Bacarro had been included in the murder charge sheet, it would have sent a clear message to PMA higher-ups not to condone hazing under their noses.

Oh, well, Evangelista and Bacarro are probably graduates of the PMA. Could it be the reason why they looked the other way in the hazing death of Dormitorio?

They probably also experienced hazing when they were cadets.

Physical hazing is a bestial form of punishment of a cadet for an infraction.

The United States Military Academy at West Point, after which the PMA is patterned, did away with physical hazing — beating up a cadet — a long time ago.

* * *
Four policemen in Marikina accosted a DZBB Radio reporter for not asking permission from them when he made a live report of the traffic situation in a busy street in the city on Thursday, June 25.

“Dapat nagpaalam ka sa amin na magla-live coverage (You should ask permission from us to make a live coverage).”

Duh! Why would reporters ask permission from policemen to do a live coverage in a public place?

Well, what can you expect from our birdbrained policemen?

And to think that all our cops are college graduates!

I wonder what the criteria are for accepting candidates for the police service.

Source:  Ramon T. Tulfo