POGO under Lito Lapid’s nose

By Herbert Vego

SENATOR Lito Lapid was reported to have asked the Senate to go deeper in probing the raids done by elements of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) last Friday and Saturday in the suspected hub of Lucky South 99, a Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) in Porac, Pampanga.

To quote the actor-turned-senator, “Nararapat na magsagawa ng masusing imbestigasyon upang malaman kung sino ang mga taong tunay na nagmamay-ari ng mga lupa at building na ginagamit sa POGO at ang kompanyang nagpapatakbo nito.”

The raiders of 46 buildings in the compound rescued two alleged victims of torture. One was a woman being sold online for sexual services inside the compound. Another was a kidnapped male Chinese who confessed to having been handcuffed to a bed frame.

Another Lucky South 99 hub had much earlier been raided and closed down in September 2022 in Angeles City, Pampanga, rescuing 42 foreigners who showed indications of torture.

They discovered torture materials such as a baseball bat and electric rods used for electrocuting people.

The now unlucky Lucky South 99 is now being linked to the POGO hub of Zun Yuan Technology in Bamban, Tarlac.

I find it ironic that Lapid, a native of Porac, has so far done nothing about POGO crimes happening under his nose. Why is he speaking against the POGO hubs in his province only now?

Porac, Pampanga Mayor Jaime Capil waxed defensive when he refuted allegations that, like Bamban Mayor Alice Guo, he is the POGO “protector” in his town. If indeed he denied issuing the mayor’s permit to Lucky South 99 this year, it only bolsters public suspicion that he tolerated its “permitless” operation.

Like Lapid, it’s only after the PAOCC raids that Capil condemned the heinous crimes under his nose. Does that not presuppose an alliance of whatever kind?

Well, it would be more correct to say they are strange bedfellows. Kasi, when independent candidate Capil first ran for mayor of Porac in 2019, he unbelievably defeated Lito’s son Mark, who had been governor of Pampanga (2004–2007). Pero sina Mark and Lito, tahimik lang.

Anyway, Mark is now chief operating officer of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

Sin-o ayhan nga bilyonaryo ang nagpondo campaign fund for Capil? Just asking ah.

-oOo-

‘PERSONA NON GRATA’

ILOILO CITY  Mayor Jerry Treñas and the Sangguniang Panlungsod have finally declared the head of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Iloilo City District Engineering Office (DPWH-ICDEO), Roy Pacanan, persona non grata on two grounds. First, it’s for supposedly disrespecting the mayor.

The mayor had earlier asked the ICDEO to vacate its office on Muelle Loney because it is owned by the city government, which now needs it for the expansion of the Iloilo City Community College and other projects.

Pacanan and company are now temporarily renting an office somewhere in Jaro.

Second, umalis kuno sila without paying a goodbye visit to the mayor?

“After using the city’s property for so long, we had to do everything to make them leave. They left without even thanking the city for using the city property or even apologizing for the tremendous delay,” said Treñas.

“We cannot work with people who do not respect the highest elected official of the city government,” he said.

Second, it’s for spending on projects that have never been finished, including the engineering district’s office at the 2.5-hectare lot in Sooc, Mandurriao, which was donated by the city government three years ago.

The mayor, threatening to file charges against Pacanan, revealed that the national government had already allocated funds for the new building in Sooc.

Incidentally, a persona non grata (originally Latin) is a person who is unacceptable or unwelcome.

Any comment, Cong Jamjam?

-oOo-

MORE POWER’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS

In four years of service, MORE Power, as the power-distribution utility in Iloilo City, has found ways to light up the future by working at present. It has exhausted an investment of P2 billion to build the following infrastructures:

1)      33 MVA Diversion Substation and Control Center

2)      30/36 Molo MVA Mobile Substations

3)      10/12.5 Mandurriao MVA Mobile Substations

4)      69 KV sub-transmission loop in Megaworld and Molo

5)      Banuyao Switching Station

6)      Replacement/installation of over 4,883 poles

7)      Scalable SCADA System

8)      Installation of 45 Automatic Circuit Reclosers and 22 Load Break Switches

9)      Equipment Upgrades and Improvements; Modern Test Equipment

10)  New Control Center

11)  Geographic Information System (GIS)

12)  New Cluster of Current Transformer and Voltage Transformer

13)  Load Break Switch (LBS) Sectionalizing

14)  Horizontal Directional Drilling for Underground Wiring

15)  Acquired Online DGA Monitoring

We look forward to MORE Power doing more to fulfill its vision for a brighter Iloilo.

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