Sometime in October 2006, then Armed Forces spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said Makati City mayor Jejomar Binay could be liable for wearing a Marine uniform. He said wearing of military uniforms by civilians is prohibited.
I almost fell off my seat upon reading this statement of genius from the military establishment.
At that time, Binay was ordered suspended from office, but he defiantly protested the order, alleging it was illegal. Binay is a lawyer and he knew his law. So, he barricaded the Makati city hall and, together with his supporters, faced the media wearing a marine jacket.
I remember writing in my blog about the prohibition as insane. Well, the threat to sanction Binay for his sporting a military attire was crazy. I said that many civilians, among them drivers and jueteng collectors, wear military uniforms without getting noticed or threatened like Binay. Why would the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo make an issue of an opposition leader’s wearing a marine jacket when ordinary folks do it with impunity?
I remember this incident because the other day I received a text message from, I think, an employee at the Romblon capitol. The message was not about illegal wearing of uniforms, however. It was about the lack of uniforms to wear. The message reads:
“Gud a.m. D2 sa capitol, ng march kinaltas s clothing allow cy 2008 ang 3700 para daw sa uniform. Tanong namin s pagador kung nasaan n ung pera 4 uniform wala n daw sa knya. Ang pera n 3700 bawat empleyado ay aabot sa 1.2M at ito ay naisurender kay raylin. Tapos n ang taon nasaan n ang uniform. Pls do not publich my cp. Takot malipat sa san jose. Pkpasa sa magiting na awe eranes at pkimbestigahan.”
A short explanation about the text.
The message was clearly saying something about a P3,700 deduction from the provincial capitol employees’ clothing allowance in 2008 for office uniforms. The deduction was made in March.
The ‘pagador’ could be the provincial cashier.
The name ‘raylin’ refers to Raylin Famatiga who, according to my source, is the ‘sidekick’ of Gov. Natalio Beltran III. She allegedly received the P1.2 million. If there is a “sidekick’, there must be a ‘frontkick’ and a ‘back kick’, a total of three. Who are they? Are they also ‘uniform-ly’ collecting from the provincial cashier?
And Awe Eranes? Awe is the Romblon Sun’s courageous reporter-columnist, to whom the text messenger would like to send his/her message.
The text messenger’s plea not to publish his/her number for fear of being exiled or re-assigned to far-away San Jose was proof the ‘texter’ was a capitol employee. It was understandable, because the governor has a history of getting personal with employees who cross his way or do not do his bidding. Remember Amy Mallen?
Now, I pieced the story together and it goes like this:
In March 2008, the provincial employees’ clothing allowances were deducted the amount of P3,700 for their office uniforms. It’s already 2009, but many of them have yet to see the color or the cloth of their uniforms.
I, myself, am wondering. Inggwa aboy it butkon kag mga uniporme? Kumpleto ara it butones? Subaling pareho sa mga uniporme it sundalo it AFP nak inggwa minsan it malip-ot it butkon o a-usang rangaw ka zipper ag kung minsan pay usang suksok yang ay pangtatas-tas sey.
I pray the uniforms are OK—if they are delivered at all. I hope the employees are not going to the office in street clothes. Or, God forbid, naked.
You see, a good uniform speaks of the office where one works. It lends the wearer an aura of decency and a wholesome personality. And it also reflects the taste of the head of office.
In this case, we can deduce that the head of office, Gov. Beltran, has no taste. Why? Because no one has seen his employees’ uniforms yet. Waya pa natatabas?
In this case, one can only ask a lot of questions. What’s the reason the uniforms remain undelivered? Who is the tailor-contractor of the uniforms? Was the purchase bid out? If yes, who are the other bidders? If no, what were the guarantees, if any, of the negotiated contract? What was the role of Gov. Beltran in the purchase of the uniforms? Why was the amount of P1.2 million entrusted to Raylin Famatiga? Is she a bonded personnel?
When I received the complaint about the undelivered uniforms, I immediately texted Gov. Beltran and asked for his comment about the matter. He did not answer. His phone must be on a silent mode. Or, maybe I got the wrong number.
What can I say? As a writer, I am intrigued. I have texted political personalities higher than a governor before and they respond.
Rep. Budoy Madrona answers my phone calls and text messages. Just last week, I called up former Rep. Lolong Firmalo and he was quickly on his phone. It is not that I am complaining or feeling important, because I am nobody, but you know, phones are there to be answered. It is a polite thing to answer phones.
My point is that if you are a public official, you must be accountable to your constituents—the voters. More so if there is an issue invested with public interest. The P1.2 million is public money and the people are entitled to know why, if it was intended for uniforms, the uniforms have not been fully delivered. It’s a simple question, really.
This governor, really, has lot of explaining to do. Awe Eranes called up to tell me that Gov. Beltran told him he is already following-up the uniforms.
Good grief! Is that what a governor good for? Is that his job? To follow-up with the contractors the things purchased by the capitol, such as uniforms? How long has he been following-up the uniforms? Since March 2008?
And who, again, is the contractor? My informer said it was the governor’s wife, Susan.
Gov. Beltran, tell me this is not true. Hurry up. 2010 is just around the corner. And my phone is open.