Obvious harassment

By Cha Monforte

Barangay Adecor, Igacos Kapitan Vincent “Enteng” Floirendo is coming out to be uncontested in his bid to become the provincial federation president of the Liga ng mga Barangay with the lowering down of Maniki, Kapalong Kapitana Maritess Timbol to be just in the second in command of Kapitan Enteng. Sources close to Kapalong Mayor Edgardo Timbol, better-half of Kapitana Maritess said that they wished to vie for the presidency but given realpolitik they have to settle for the second. That’s knowing also that Kapalong earlier got the Sangguniang Kabataan provincial federation presidency, which is now being held by Eugene Kristine Estrada, daughter of incumbent Kapalong Vice Mayor Romy Estrada. Last Monday the new SK fed president took oath, and I chanced upon the Kapalong vice mayor at the Capitol SP building, and asked him what’s the secret of her daughter’s win? He replied, “it’s unexpected… I cannot give you why, it’s confidential- how.” Loaded statements. Anyway, congratulations Vice and new SK fed pres Kristine!
On the other hand, Bollokan, Laak Kapitan Felisa Navarro is a sure win for the Comval’s own Liga ng Barangay provincial federation presidency with no one among the municipal ABC presidents filing a candidacy for president except the motherly and soft-talking Madam Fely. Early this year when I still don’t know her I went to the DILG office housed in one of the rooms of the second storey of Laak munisipyo and I saw Ma’am Fely looking familiar to me. I didn’t ask about her and just secretly wrote her name based on her table nameplate while interviewing her about Laak as a town seemed to be isolated and so far away from the Cabidianan Capitol. I asked her as the municipal local government operations officer (MLGOO) what’s the competitive advantage of her town to the rest of Comval towns and she replied it’s the dynamic and strong local leadership. We discussed about Mayor Rey Navarro’s 6 K (Kalinaw, Kalsada, Kalan-on, Kaalam, Kahimsog ug Kalingawan) program and how its results are gaining ground to the development of Laak and to the boosting of the morale and industry of the town people. Before I bade her goodbye, since I kept on recalling where did I saw her that made her so familiar to me while interviewing her, I finally threw the last question – how she’s related to the incumbent Mayor Rey in town? In her usual soft voice, she replied: “He’s my roommate.” Her answer first titilated my mind in few seconds asking why roommate? and ah a thud struck in my mind and shortly I had a hearty laugh knowing that she’s the wife of the incumbent mayor.
Madam Fely retired last October after serving the DILG for over 35 years from an ordinary clerk to full-pledged MLGOO. “She’s one DILG officer who really rose from the ranks,” said the newly returning DILG Comval provincial director Liborio Diana. Ma’am Fely started as a DILG clerk, then an admin officer, LGOO II, LGOO IV and finally as LGOO V after her each passing of DILG exams. Diana said that because she’s the wife of now Mayor Rey, who also became the Comval vice governor, barangay liga provincial president, boardmember, the DILG would at times especially during electoral season reassign her to various places to ensulate her from political doubts and pressures of Mayor Rey’s political enemies. The next day after her despidida held last Oct. 12, she filed her CoC to run as kapitana of Barangay Bollokan and overwhelmingly defeated one rival. With no one opposing her now as barangay Liga/FABC president, like her counterpart in Davao del Norte Kapitan Enteng Floirendo, she’s running for the post unopposed. It would be mere formality of voting of ABC municipal presidents for both of them before they take oath by Friday. Congrats to both of them.
Things are turning awry after my headline on Daneco’s BAPAs (Barangay Power Associations). Persons involved and even those who are not don’t want any explanation and reasons even if they have all the avenues to reply issues or the court to resort to if they feel too aggrieved of my recent headline story- “DANECO’s BAPAs UNDER LANIBA WRACKED WITH FUNDS’ ANOMALIES, LOSING MILLIONS”. Again, I’m saying to them: “shoot the message, not the messenger.” Reply to the issue, don’t hit personal the journalist who writes or reports the news so he can further write on what has been lacking or absent, if he misses at all.
Last Dec. 13, Monday afternoon, past 3:00 from Mankilam Capitol while I was riding on a plying single motorcycle the sister of Mr. Allan Laniba- Mrs. Josephine Laniba Revilla accosted me while she was driving a single motorcycle with a male rider. While she was following or driving right side on the motorcycle I rode she was shouting on the road at the top of her voice with words like “gidaut nimo ang akong manghod”, “put—- ina”, “ayaw pag-ing-ana kay dili ka perpekto”. I answered mildly that she is not my enemy as well as her brother Allan Laniba and I’m only after for the truth. “Ayaw’g ing-ana… put___ina ka!, #%@%#^$^$#! Gidaut nimo akong manghod!” she shouted. Wearing no helmet I could see her face blushed so red with tiger stare cast on to me. I assessed she was reeking in a fit of full anger. I was going to Mankilam barangay hall supposedly to cover from Capitol coverage, and when we reached at the ground of Mankilam barangay hall, Revilla also parked her motorcycle and continued her shouting which had caught the attention of Mankilam barangay captain Antonio Rio and some of his barangay personnel who were inside the barangay hall. The barangay hall has a glass door, but since they noticed Revilla’s acts spiced with fingerpointing, her voice must have penetrated the glass door and her voice must have been heard also by the barangay officials. Holding my cool, I repeated she is not my enemy nor Laniba and said that if they felt aggrieved by my headline last week then they have all the court to resort to, as they have also all the avenues through their “station Radio Caritas” to reply issues. But a visibly unreasoning and enraged Mrs. Revilla was not accepting any explanation and continued her verbal assault against me and left a threat to me before she and her male companion sped off. When they were gone, I went inside the barangay hall and asked a dispensa to Kapitan Rio and his staff for the incident that had me verbally assaulted, and for- her bad words so floated on the air- put me under humiliation. I explained to Kapitan Rio that the verbal annoyance made by Mrs. Revilla obviously sprung from my last week’s headline story about Laniba’s inclusion in a legal case that would be filed by the Daneco officials for his laxity and command responsibility over the unremitted power bill collections amounting to a total of least P2.8 million by at least 9 BAPAs, collection entities that are under the management of the Institutional Service Department (ISD) department which has been headed by Laniba. I have my news sources for the headline story that carried a paragraph about the inclusion of Laniba for “laxity and command responsibility”in the forthcoming legal actions against the involved BAPA officers. This as I have the innocent motorcycle driver and Mankilam barangay officials and functionaries as my witnesses to Mrs. Revilla’s humiliating words and actuations.
This Wednesday I was informed that it was the grievance committee of the Daneco board of directors which recommended that Laniba should be included in the coming suit. Meantime, we’ll wait for the board’s legal action against them in court. As to Mrs. Revilla’s actuations against me relating to a news story made in line of my work as a journalist, if it is not a harassment I don’t know what it is. Mrs. Revilla has obviously that personal and familial motivation being a sister of Mr. Allan Laniba that had her appeared like iskandalosa for that incident.
In this genderized world, I have been treating women as equal to men. Equally both can do good and harm. Equally both can become a bully, rude and thug. But it’s not my nature to fight back with rage -like in situation like that. In my long years as a journalist, I offer reasons and listen, take down notes whenever one comes to say his own story to tell to reply to the story I have written that he says either it lacks or it sucks, and so with that I have something for a follow-up story. (But sucks? I almost not heard about it unless one is too politically partisan). I’m including this for the public to know of the incident since the headline story about the erring BAPA officers is clearly a public interest issue.
Earlier, Mrs. Revilla had been castigating me on the air with obviously libelous charges over the “Radio Caritas 100.7 FM”. They have all their “station” to use to respond to my headline story on BAPAs, and not by verbal harassment bordering on oral defamation. But a Regional Trial Court in the city had required the “station” owners to submit their provisional authority (PA) for the “station” on or before December 31, 2010 to the city government to back up its application for business license. As of press time, Laniba which reportedly co-owned the “Radio Caritas” has not yet submitted the required PA, which is foremost the basic requirement before a radio station can go for commercial radio broadcasting. It looks like they would be having their last radio perorations and ululations against my person as a journalist until December 31, 2010. Like Salman Rusdie (forgive the metaphor), it looks like the owners of illegal “Radio Caritas” have issued a fatwa on me in this case to castigate or put me in ridicule by all their unpaid manpower including the used disc jockeys who poked occasional fun to obviously refer to me as member of the working media. Meantime, Christmas and New Year are fast approaching and we’ll see what would happen to the illegal “Radio Caritas” on January 1, 2011. May true peace still reign in our hearts in this Yuletide Season. Merry Christmas!


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