Monday, June 1, 2009

A mole in the capitol

Awe Eranes and Tony Macalisang, Romblon Sun’s indefatigable duo of reporters, have not validated it, but I suppose they will after they arrive on a short trip from Manila.

I refer to an e-mail from the provincial capitol (yes, Virginia, the capitol is connected to the Internet!) that was sent to the newspaper, and which I was also furnished a copy. The e-mail named names that heretofore were only whispered about relative to the continuing saga of the provincial employees’ uniforms. Undelivered in full, until now.

You see, I had written twice about the controversial issue hoping that the capitol will explain the inordinate delay in the uniforms’ delivery. The capitol issued a rejoinder, alright, through an email of one Salvador Hernandez, but his attempt to shed light on the matter only managed to raise more questions rather than resolve previously-raised ones.

Hernandez didn’t say if he was authorized to say something about the matter. He never wrote again and so we don’t know if Gov. Jojo Beltran ordered him to shut up. Maybe he didn’t know much of the facts, so rather than put a foot in his mouth, he just clammed up.

Now here comes another capitol factotum writing on the matter. Unlike Salvador, however, this one has no name. Unknown. An “X”. A faceless talking head. I’m used to nameless letter writers who have something to say but cannot own up to what they blabber about. I can understand them. Fear—real and contrived—is great at making cowards out of even the most courageous of souls.

The writer, whom I will call ICU for Informant from the Capitol Underground, claims that he knew many things that if made public will “bring down the Romblon capitol”. Really?

ICU’s e-mail was addressed to the ‘Gentlemen of the Romblon Sun’. So as not to inflict sore eyes on my readers, I edited his juicy revelations.

“First and foremost, I trust that any info I will feed you and divulge to be confidential will not lead to the disclosure of my identity. From the name or username of the e-mail address alone, it is already very clear that I am from the capitol,” he began.

I doubt you, sir! How can we disclose your identity when we don’t know you? Your username is not proof of who you are, so don’t state as fact that “it is already very clear” you are “from the capitol”. For all I know, you might be Gov. Jojo Beltran.

But thank you for writing. At least we know there are still people like you, nameless though you are, who have the balls to come forward and say what they know about the shenanigans happening in the house of Jojo Beltran. Stricken by guilty conscience, or simply patriotic? I would tend to believe you are the latter.

“If you will assure me of this total confidentiality, I will divulge everything most serious and interesting matters of interest to you and to the public,” ICU continued.

Identify first yourself, sir. Don’t hide. Then we discuss the matter of changing your identity, even your gender, if that is needed, to protect you from the fate that informants often suffer: the pain of being ostracized by peers, if not kidnapped, finger nails pulled out, and then dipped into vinegar. We don’t want that to happen to you, so please say your name. Having a name is a safeguard in itself.

Seriously now, I assure you I will not tell Jojo Beltran who you are (because I don’t know you, for God’s sake!).

Is that assurance enough? You want me to swear? No? Now, tell me everything. Wait! You said you will “divulge most serious and interesting matters that are of interest” to us? I tell you, nothing interests this writer except the truth and the wellbeing of the Romblomanons. So, stop invoking our interest. How about you? What is your interest in telling us what you know?

Notwithstanding my own doubts, let’s hear some of ICU’s surprising revelations.

He said that one Raylin Coje Famatiga, who is purportedly a cousin of the governor, is not at all Beltran’s relative.

“The Famatigas of Sibuyan are not related to the Famatiga clan of Odiongan, which is former mayor Diday Famatiga’s clan,” the mole wrote. “I investigated,” he added. On official time? Just curious: What’s your position in the capitol? Deep penetration agent? Oh, I forgot. You are a mole, an informant.

Who is Raylin Famatiga? She is ambition personified. That’s what I understood from ICU.

In the saga of the uniforms, she was the one who allegedly bagged the uniform allowances of the 439 employees in the amount of P1.6 million.

Our mole said she was a former planning officer at the provincial planning and development office (PPDO), but when Gov. Beltran won, she was promoted to the position of cashier, apparently in preparation for a much higher position which she covets, that of an assistant provincial treasurer. This will happen, the mole said, when Beltran is re-elected. Temporarily, she was made officer-in-charge of the provincial budget office.

Our friend from the governor’s kingdom added some juicy stuff about the private life of Ms. Famatiga, but they are steamier than the Hayden-Katrina bed encounter--and private--hence, unprintable. Suffice it to say that the mole mentioned the names of one Engr. Jojo Rugas and one Fiscal Almadin who, I can describe based on the mole’s account and using astronomy as metaphor, are among the planets orbiting in the galaxy dominated by Ms. Famatiga as sun. Neither of the two knows the reach of the sun’s gravity.

There are lesser stars in Ms. Famatiga’s galaxy, according to the mole. Two of them are the lady’s manicurist and masseuse all of whom, according to ICU, are in the provincial payroll even if they don’t report for work.

Kung waya gi susuyor sa trabaho kag manikurista, pagkahaba ey kag mga kuko ni Raylin? Ag inapaka-budlay yey kung waya ra gihapon gi tatrabaho kag masahista? Kalulu-oy!

The mole said Ms. Famatiga is so influential with the governor that when Beltran is away (why, where does he go?), she allegedly acts like a governess. “(W)ala siyang hindi ginusto na hindi niya nagagawa at nakukuha.”

She is also a contractor, ICU said, and is even called “Engr. Famatiga” behind her back. She allegedly contracted the renovation of the provincial treasurer’s office.

What foresight! When she becomes assistant provincial treasurer (if Jojo wins again, which I doubt because lightning never strikes twice), she will have a ready-to-occupy work station.

Questions: If she was the contractor, how did she win in the bedding, oops, bidding, if it was held? If she is the provincial cashier, how in God’s name did she bag a contract in the capitol without any of its over 1,000 employees noticing a conflict of interest case? This is already too much. Kailangan ney nak paki-alaman ni Cong. Budoy kali-ong trabaho ni Jojo Beltran.

Sorry, Mr. ICU, I can’t follow your advice to check Ms. Raylin’s account with the PNB because of the bank secrecy law. Subali rang masyaro’t kubos si Raylin kada nagtitigruha-ruha it trabaho. Badyangey. Aya gi kaila. Sa masunor ray ka.

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