Misuse of the road users’ funds

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It’s something everyone knows but don’t have the facts and figures of The Road Board , according to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who cited Commission on Audit report, has been losing an estimated P90.7 billion in government revenues siphoned off by officials handling the funds.

“It’s just another layer of government bureaucracy which serves as an avenue for graft and corruption,” said Alvarez, citing CoA findings. The Road Board officials are being ordered to account for missing funds from 2001 to 2012. A lifestyle check on these erring Road Board officials who filched the funds should be conducted. They chose the road to perdition; the law should not let them enjoy their ill- gotten wealth.

That’s a lot of money with not much to show in terms of road construction projects. Motorists have been complaining all these years about traffic made worse by pot holes on major roads and thoroughfares. The increase in the volume of vehicles every year outpaces the opening of new roads and skyways. Although there have been two or three elevated expressways built in the last two years of the Noynoy Aquino administration, the funds collected from motorists as road users’ fund did not match the government’s road building projects. The elevated skyway from Naia terminal 3 cuts the trip to Roxas Boulevard and Macapagal Avenue by more than 30 minutes. The more ambitious elevated expressway from Magallanes Village which is supposed to go all the way to nearby Bulacan . however, is taking longer to finish because the Aquino administration only started the project in the last two years of its term.

The public, particularly the motoring sector, rues that many road repairs are repeatedly done to cover the sub-standard asphalt and cement. These contractors who won bids for new roads use substandard asphalt and cement so they can continue doing repeat jobs for repair and maintenance. Often, road reblocking and tearing up asphalted roads are then left unfinished adding to the heavy traffic and misery of motorists in Metro Manila.

It’s not all brickbats for the Land Transportation Office. The LTO started issuing driver’s licenses with an expiration date of five years. This would lessen the long lines at the LTO for drivers renewing their licenses. Long lines translate to facilitation fees which applicants themselves have come to accept because they don’t have the time to spend half a day at the LTO offices at the main office in Quezon City and the many branches in Metro Manila.

Two major cases unfolding

We are going to witness the unfolding of two major cases. The murder charges against three Caloocan policemen who allegedly shot drug suspect Kian delos Santos is going to proceed after President Rodrigo Duterte said the law must be allowed to take its course. It was a departure from his usual defensive stance to protect law enforcers accused of shooting drug suspects dead during police operations.

The impeachment case against Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista is also proceeding in the House of Representatives. The Comelec chief is in deep trouble after his wife, Patricia, provided the President and the National Bureau of Investigation documents showing Bautista had stashed away hidden wealth totaling more than a billion pesos not reflected in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth. This is contrary to law which requires public officials to state their financial status truthfully. The Bautista are estranged with each side accusing the other of having lovers.

If impeached, Bautista will go the way of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona who was convicted by a Senate-convened impeachment court for not stating his true assets in his SALN.

Tension in Korean peninsula

The fringe lunatic Kim Jong Un is escalating tension in the Korean peninsula. His latest mindless act was to fire three intermediate ballistics missiles over Japan while the United States and South Korea were holding military exercises. Pyongyang has been protesting the US-ROK military games as a provocation. It says this is inimical to its security.

With this latest missile launching, Kim Jong Un is really inviting a preemptive military strike from the US because the North Korean missiles has a range that can reach Guam and the US West Coast.

Japan which is also threatened by the North Korean missile launch might take matter into its own hands to protect its people from Pyongyang.

“This latest missile firing poses a peril not only to Japan but also the stability of the entire Asia-Pacific region,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The US and treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Taiwan could already ready be talking about military options against North Korea.

No information is coming from inside Pyongyang. Will the military junta backing Jong Un and finally decide it’s time to topple the unhinged leader whose erratic actions could cause the junta’s own downfall?

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