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Bacolod City, PhilippinesSaturday, June 16, 2012
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with Rolly Espina

DAR Secretary stays in office

Rolly Espina

Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes remains in office and is not resigning.

This was announced by Edwin Lacierda, presidential spokesman, Thursday at 6:03 p.m. over Interaksyon of Chichi Conde.

“The confidence of the President in Secretary Delos Reyes remains steadfast,” Lacierda said.

Delos Reyes later confirmed the latter announcement on DZRH Radio Thursday, that he would not quit.

Before that, de los Reyes had been on the receiving end of a spate of criticisms for his alleged failure to meet the land distribution targets of DAR.

Malacañang also denied previous reports that Akbayan Rep. Arlene Bag-ao was poised to replace de los Reyes as DAR secretary.

As if to allay apprehensions by de los Reyes himself about the criticisms from several quarters, Lacierda said the President realizes the difficulties in the implementations of the agrarian reform program.

Bag-ao was a former member of the House prosecution team on the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona. She was also former DAR consultant and lead counsel of the Sumilao farmers who in 2010 walked 1,700 kilometers from the Mindanao province to Manila to receive the title to the land they had tilled.

Akbayan, incidentally, is the political party of political adviser Ronald Llamas.

Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel and former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod as well as the TFM farmers are the among the most vocal in calling for de los Reyes’ resignation.

There had been a spate of reports on impending Cabinet revamp leaked to the press when President Benigno Aquino III was still in the UK and the United States on official state visits.

This was followed by a series of alleged policy decisions that struck consternation among sugar workers and land owners and lawyers, mostly controversial and violative of the Constitution.


It was clearly a slap on the face of the unanimous petition by the Sangguniang Panlungsod to declare June 18 as a non-working holiday in Bacolod because it was celebrating the city’s 74th Charter Anniversary.

But Michael Aguinaldo, deputy executive secretary for legal affairs, stressed that a contrary proclamation by the President may be construed as a violation of the legal precedence that the law can only be repealed or modified by another law.

Aguinaldo noted that the city charter of Bacolod was signed on June 18, 1939, but the first City Mayor of Bacolod, Alfredo Montelibano, Sr., was appointed on October 19.


Members of the family of Teodoro Lopez III, meanwhile, are readying a legal complaint against Mayor Evelio Leonardia and the city council for their continued failure to pay the remaining balance of more than P3-million.

Lopez, in an official letter stressed that the city officials and the Lopez family have not come up yet with a solution on how the city’s going to pay us.

“Our family’s sole purpose for the sale of the property was to help the city solve the garbage problem, Lopez stressed.

In short, Bacolod citizens should know what is happening to their garbage. Where does it go after being collected? How is the city going to solve the problem? Do they really know what they are doing? Our waste, if you just throw it into the dumpsite eventually become something else. It could sip into our water as toxic and affect the fish that we eat and the water that we drink.

So the next question. What is RA 9003?

Lopez stressed that and can make a difference. Let us be an example to showcase the Solid Waste Management of Bacolod City or be known as the City of Smells.”

I guess that’s something that city officials can very well answer. The first issue is to pay the balance for the dump site.


Customs Commissioner Raffy Biazon had announced the apprehension of a cargo of smuggled sugar worth several millions of pesos. And he has also been talking about the apprehension of several tons of smuggled meat products from abroad.

But the thing that he has never announced was the results of the review by the Custom Bureau of the ruling by the RATS that the premix sugar imported by Coca Cola Philippines is worth more than a billion pesos.

Why the silence on this score, Mr. Biazon?*

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