2016 News­mak­ers and Noise­mak­ers

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FROM start to fin­ish, many of this year’s big­gest news sto­ries, news­mak­ers and noise­mak­ers cen­tered around the 2016 na­tional elec­tions, the war on drugs and ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings, and a fore­bod­ing sense of change in many as­pects — lo­cal and na­tional gov­er­nance, health, flood­ing, even the wicked weather.

We look back at the year’s events and the peo­ple that made them so mem­o­rable — across West­ern Visayas and around the coun­try.

PRES­I­DENT RO­DRIGO DUTERTE

No doubt he’s the most talked about per­son and topic in 2016. From his foul mouth to his war on drugs, from his ver­bal at­tacks on the United States to his pro­claimed ad­mi­ra­tion of com­mu­nist China, from ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings to his non­stop tirades on Sen. Leila de Lima, he is the most head­line- grab­bing Filipino this year.

This for­mer Davao City mayor’s rise to the pres­i­dency is in it­self his­toric — he’s the only lo­cal chief ex­ec­u­tive to be­come the coun­try’s high­est leader. With the ex­cep­tion of Co­ra­zon

Aquino ( a plain housewife), the coun­try’s pre­vi­ous pres­i­dents held na­tional po­si­tions (ei­ther as vice pres­i­dent, sen­a­tor or Cab­i­net of­fi­cial) be­fore be­com­ing the high­est elected of­fi­cial of the land.

He is also the first pres­i­dent to come from Min­danao.

MAR ROXAS

He was the big­gest loser in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. He had the back­ing of then in­cum­bent Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino III, the ma­chin­ery of the party then in power (Lib­eral Party) and the sup­port of al­most all lo­cal of­fi­cials across the coun­try, but th­ese were not enough to bag the pres­i­dency.

Though he handily won the Visayas votes, he lost the Lu­zon and Min­danao votes. And he al­ways trailed in the sur­veys.

MELVIN “BOYET” ODICTA SR.

Past mid­night on Aug. 29, 2016 gun­men at the jetty port i n Barangay Cat­i­clan, Malay, Ak­lan shot to death this Iloilo City busi­ness­man whom Po­lice Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Ron­ald “Bato” Dela Rosa tagged as the drug lord “Dragon” op­er­at­ing in West­ern Visayas.

The as­sas­sins also killed Odicta’s wife Me­riam while the cou­ple were at the walk­way of the port ter­mi­nal. They had just alighted from a roll- on, roll- off (ro-ro) ves­sel from Batan­gas.

The Odic­tas, res­i­dents of Barangay Tanza Esper­anza, Iloilo City, were gunned down nearly three days af­ter Dela Rosa vis­ited West­ern Visayas and four days af­ter the hus­band and wife met In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment sec­re­tary Is­mael Sueno in Camp Crame in Que­zon City to deny their in­volve­ment in il­le­gal drugs.

MAYOR JED PA­TRICK MA­BILOG

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte named him a drug cod­dler dur­ing a speech on Aug. 7, 2016. Of course, he de­nied this.

“Th­ese are try­ing times,” said Ma­bilog as he tried to steady his voice while read­ing a pre­pared state­ment hours af­ter the Pres­i­dent spoke. “I can cat­e­gor­i­cally say that I am not in­volved in the pro­tec­tion, trade and use of il­le­gal drugs.”

In a hastily or­ga­nized press con­fer­ence at city hall, he opened his state­ment by say­ing he sup­ports the Pres­i­dent’s cam­paign against il­le­gal drugs.

“I f ull y un­der­stand his de­ter­mi­na­tion to de­feat the men­ace. It is very un­for­tu­nate and dis­con­cert­ing that my name is linked and in­cluded in the list,” said Ma­bilog.

The mayor said he was “will­ing to open my­self for any in­ves­ti­ga­tion, co­op­er­ate and sub­mit my­self to any court of law.”

ILOILO CITY / PROV­INCE

“Most shabu- l i zed” was how Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte de­scribed Iloilo as he linked four may­ors, in­clud­ing Iloilo City’s Jed Pa­trick Ma­bilog and sev­eral po­lice of­fi­cers to drug traf­fick­ing.

The three other Iloilo may­ors he named on Aug. 7, 2016 were Alex Cen­tena of Calinog town, Siegfredo Betita of Car­les and Mar­i­ano Malones of Maasin.

“Iloilo grabe ta­laga,” said Pres­i­dent Duterte as he or­dered the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice to re­move from th­ese may­ors the power to su­per­vise their po­lice units.

The Pres­i­dent also or­dered the can­cel­la­tion of all firearms li­censed to the may­ors.

CHIEF SU­PER­IN­TEN­DENT

BERNARDO DIAZ

The for­mer West­ern Visayas po­lice di­rec­tor and four other po­lice gen­er­als were linked to il­le­gal drugs by no less than the coun­try’s Com­man­der-in-Chief.

At the Philip­pine Air Force’s 69th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion at Clark Air Base, Pam­panga on Aug. 5, 2016 Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte or­dered Diaz to re­port to the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) di­rec­tor gen­eral for in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

PNP Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Ron­ald “Bato” Dela Rosa sacked Diaz from the Po­lice Re­gional Of­fice 6 on July 1, 2016.

Diaz attracted con­tro­versy weeks be­fore the May 9 elec­tions. He was one of f our po­lice gen­er­als in ac­tive ser­vice seen in the com­pany of men iden­ti­fied with then Lib­eral Party stan­dard- bearer Mar Roxas at the Araneta Cen­ter in Cubao, Que­zon City.

SEN. MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SAN­TI­AGO

A known graft-buster “eat­ing death threats for break­fast,” this feisty Ilongga l ost her nearly three-year bat­tle with can­cer on Sept. 29, 2016 at age 71.

She was di­ag­nosed with Stage 4 lung can­cer in June 2014 and made a pub­lic an­nounce­ment about it the fol­low­ing month.

But for the last time in May this year, she joined the elec­tion for the coun­try’s top post. She fin­ished last among five as­pi­rants with only 1,415,876 votes.

I n the 1992 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, San­ti­ago nearly won, los­ing by only 870,000 votes to Fidel Ramos.

She ran again in 1998 but placed sev­enth out of 10 pres­i­den­tial wannabes. Joseph Estrada won the poll.

CONG. JERRY TREÑAS

He sur­prised friends and sup­port­ers when he an­nounced just this Dec. 3, 2016 that he’s quit­ting pol­i­tics by 2019 when his third con­sec­u­tive and fi­nal term as con­gress­man ends.

Only a few be­lieve him. A three- ter­mer con­gress­man barred from seek­ing a fourth con­sec­u­tive term, he pre­vi­ously an­nounced he would be run­ning for mayor again in 2019.

But Treñas in­sisted, “I don’t know what can change my mind.” He de­nied try­ing to de­ceive his ally Mayor Jed Pa­trick Ma­bilog as what the po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion was try­ing to paint. “I am straight­for­ward,” he told

Panay News and stressed he did not have “po­lit­i­cal train­ing” in lay­ing traps.

Treñas served as Iloilo City mayor for three terms ( 2001- 2004, 2004-2007, 2007-2010). He sur­prised ev­ery­one in 2010 when he ran for con­gress­man against his then po­lit­i­cal ally Cong. Raul Gon­za­lez Jr.

JE­SUS “JING-JING”

ESPINOSA JR.

Ranked No. 2 in Po­lice Sta­tion 1’s list of sus­pected drug per­son­al­i­ties in Iloilo City Proper, this barangay

ka­gawad of Mon­ica Blu­men­tritt, City Proper sur­ren­dered on July 18, 2016.

In a pre­pared af­fi­davit, he de­nied be­ing a drug pusher or user.

On Oct. 2, 2016 po­lice­men raided his four-storey house. They failed to ar­rest him but man­aged to con­fis­cate shabu, guns and am­mu­ni­tion.

On Oct. 4 Espinosa turned him­self in to Branch 31 of the Re­gional Trial Court at the Chief Jus­tice Ra­mon Q. Avanceña Hall of Jus­tice. He, how­ever, clar­i­fied his sur­ren­der had noth­ing to do with the raid. He said this was in con­nec­tion with his frus­trated mur­der case.

2016 NA­TIONAL ELEC­TION

This was prob­a­bly the most ex­cit­ing even if di­vi­sive elec­tion in the coun­try’s re­cent his­tory.

So­cial me­dia be­came a new cam­paign tool and was ev­i­dently ef­fec­tive most es­pe­cially in the pres­i­den­tial can­di­dacy of then Davao City mayor Ro­drigo Duterte.

The elec­tion was held on May 9, 2016. This was the 16th pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in the Philip­pines since 1935 and the sixth sex­ten­nial pres­i­den­tial elec­tion since 1986.

The con­tin­u­a­tion of out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino III’s poli­cies was the main theme for the elec­tion. For­mer In­te­rior sec­re­tary Mar Roxas promised the con­tin­u­a­tion of the “Daang Matuwid” an­ti­cor­rup­tion drive, which was ap­peal­ing among the elites. Vice Pres­i­dent Je­jo­mar Bi­nay’s poli­cies were seen to be op­po­site of Aquino’s, such as the for­mer’s op­po­si­tion to the en­act­ment of the Bangsamoro Ba­sic Law, and on how to ap­proach China con­cern­ing the ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes in the South China Sea, while pre­sent­ing him­self as a man of the peo­ple, and fight­ing out al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion while serv­ing as mayor of Makati.

Sen. Grace Poe’s cam­paign was seen to be an al­ter­na­tive to Roxas and Davao City mayor Ro­drigo Duterte; her im­age as un­tar­nished by cor­rup­tion was liked by the elite, while she sent messages that were pro-poor.

Duterte was bank­ing on a law and or­der plat­form, which in­cluded the pro­pos­als con­cern­ing fed­er­al­ism in the Philip­pines.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-San­ti­ago, who al­most won the pres­i­dency in 1992, in­sisted that she had re­cov­ered from can­cer.

Duterte’s poli­cies were heav­ily fa­vored by older work­ing- class who were mostly poor and have na­tion­al­is­tic/eth­no­cen­tric views.

TRIBU SALOGNON

This Di­nagyang 2016 cham­pion from Jaro Na­tional High School pulled a stun­ning upset.

Peren­nial Di­nagyang Fes­ti­val cham­pion Tribu Panayanon of Iloilo City Na­tional High School was com­pletely shut out of ma­jor awards in this year’s Di­nagyang Fes­ti­val ati-ati tribes com­pe­ti­tion.

Tribu Salognon bagged three other awards: Best in Per­for­mance, Best in Chore­og­ra­phy and Best Chore­og­ra­pher ( Er­rol J ave Vil­lalo­bos).

TribuPa nayanon, the Di­nagyang cham­pion for three straight years ( 2013, 2014 and 2015) failed to get even any of the four run­ner-up hon­ors though it bagged three mi­nor awards (Best in Mu­sic, Best in Costume and Best in Street-Danc­ing) and three spe­cial awards (Best Costume De­signer, Best Head­dress and Best Mu­si­cal Di­rec­tor).

It was later learned that the riser that Tribu Panayanon used dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion caused its down­fall.

The riser – a the­ater plat­form used to pro­vide vary­ing lev­els to make a show more vis­ually i nter­est­ing – ex­ceeded t he di­men­sions t hat t he I l oilo Di­nagyang Foun­da­tion, Inc. set in the cri­te­ria.

ILOILO CITY COUN­CILORS PLAR­IDEL NAVA AND JOSHUA ALIM

Th­ese two fierce crit­ics of Mayor Jed Pa­trick Ma­bilog in the Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­lung­sod frus­trated the lo­cal Lib­eral Party (LP) from re­peat­ing i ts 2013 elec­tions’ land­slide win.

While re-elec­tion­ists Ma­bilog and par­ty­mates Vice Mayor Jose Espinosa III and Cong. Jerry Treñas left their chal­lengers biting the dust in the May elec­tions, op­po­si­tion coun­cilors Nava and Alim made a strong show­ing in the polls and were re-elected.

Ma­bilog would have wanted a vic­to­ri­ous clean sweep for his group down to his 12 LP can­di­dates for the city coun­cil.

Weeks be­fore the elec­tions, barangay cap­tains were ru­mored to have been promised huge sums of money as re­ward should their turfs achieve a clean sweep for the LP can­di­dates.

AN­TIQUE’S EX-GOV. EXEQUIEL JAVIER

His de­feat in the May 2016 elec­tion was deemed “bound to hap­pen.” The peo­ple have waited too long for him to per­form. He was per­ceived to be a medi­ocre gover­nor and, pre­vi­ously, con­gress­man.

He lost to Rhodora Ca­diao, who won with an in­sur­mount­able 134,693 votes against his 102,686 votes – a lead of 32,007 votes.

J avier had been run­ning un­de­feated, ei­ther for gover­nor or con­gress­man, for 30 straight years since 1986. So this was the first time he en­coun­tered his water­loo in the hands of a “lady David.”

ILOILO VICE GOV. CHRIS­TINE GARIN

Guim­bal, Iloilo mayor Chris­tine “Tingt­ing” Garin de­feated Cong. Niel “Jun-jun” Tu­pas Jr. for Iloilo vice gover­nor.

She is the first wo­man vice gover­nor in the prov­ince’s his­tory.

The Garin clan had hoped she would be en­dorsed by the Lib­eral Party (LP) as its bet for the vice gu­ber­na­to­rial post. How­ever, they were sur­prised when Tu­pas filed his cer­tifi­cate of can­di­dacy (COC) for Iloilo vice gover­nor, claim­ing that he was nom­i­nated by the ad­min­is­tra­tion party to be its of­fi­cial bet for the said po­si­tion.

This led to Garin fil­ing her COC un­der the Na­tional Unity Party – an af­fil­i­ate of LP.

Garin dom­i­nated the race in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th dis­tricts of Iloilo. Tu­pas was strong only in the 5th Dis­trict.

FLOOD­ING IN ILOILO CITY

This city al­ways get flooded when it rains. No thanks to its poorly maintained drainage sys­tem.

Early this month, the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works and High­ways an­nounced Ap 100- mil­lion drainage project to solve once and for all the con­stant down­town flood­ing.

But cit­ing pre­vi­ous DPWH projects, Coun­cilor Joshua Alim ob­served ,“Sig el an gkutkot, wala man di­rec­tion. Re­sulta:

baha gyapon. Their drainage plan, I’m telling you, will not solve the flood­ing.”

NE­GROS IS­LAND RE­GION

Will this newly cre­ated re­gion carved out of West­ern Visayas and Cen­tral Visayas be abol­ished? Cit­ing the lack of bud­get, Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte said he may do so.

Ne­grenses took to so­cial me­dia their protest. On Face­book, sev­eral users shared a profile of Ne­gros Is­land with the text, “Let’s hope the progress in Ne­gros Is­land will stay and con­tinue to flour­ish.”

A de­scrip­tion ac­com­pa­ny­ing the graphic stated, “The 20-year dream de­serves re­al­ity! Ne­gros Is­land Re­gion de­serves to stay!”

ZIKA VIRUS

A 45-year-old married wo­man from Iloilo City tested pos­i­tive for the Zika virus, mak­ing her the sixth lab­o­ra­tory-con­firmed case in the Philip­pines since 2012. She was found pos­i­tive through blood and urine tests in Septem­ber.

The Zika virus is trans­mit­ted by the day- biting Aedes egypti mos­qui­toes that live and breed in clear, stag­nant water. It is prompt­ing world­wide con­cern be­cause of its con­nec­tion to a neu­ro­log­i­cal birth dis­or­der – mi­cro­cephaly – and its rapid spread across the globe.

This is the first case of lo­cal trans­mis­sion in the coun­try.

BARANGAY MARIA CLARA FIRE

Late night of March 28, 2016 fire gut­ted 78 houses in Barangay Maria Clara, Iloilo City – one of the big­gest con­fla­gra­tions in the city this year.

It was a case of ar­son, ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of Fire Pro­tec­tion and a sus­pect was charged – Barangay Maria Clara res­i­dent Rodolfo “Boy” Supremo from whose house the fire started around 10:30 p.m.

One vo­cal res­i­dent, Elsa Bil­lon, told Panay News she pre­vi­ously heard Supremo threat­en­ing to set their barangay on fire.

The City So­cial Wel­fare and Devel­op­ment Of­fice listed 54 to­tally dam­aged houses and 15 par­tially dam­aged ones in Barangay Maria Clara.

In the ad­ja­cent Barangay Rizal Ibarra, the so­cial wel­fare of­fice listed five to­tally dam­aged houses and four par­tially dam­aged ones.

SEN. LEILA DE LIMA

From her al­leged in­volved in il­le­gal drugs to her amorous re­la­tion­ship with her driver- body­guard, Sen­a­tor de Lima is a fod­der for tabloids.

On Aug. 17, 2016, Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte al­leged that de Lima had been hav­ing an af­fair with her driver, Ron­nie Dayan, who Duterte also al­leged func­tioned as de Lima’s col­lec­tor for drug pro­tec­tion money when she was the Jus­tice sec­re­tary.

The Pres­i­dent later an­nounced that he had in his pos­ses­sion wire­taps and ATM r ecords con­firm­ing his al­le­ga­tions. He ex­plained that he had re­ceived them from an un­named for­eign coun­try.

I n Septem­ber 2016, de Lima was re­moved from her po­si­tion as chair­per­son of a Se­nate com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­gat­ing ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings.

She l ater ad­mit­ted her re­la­tion­ship with Dayan.

De­spite the con­tro­ver­sies and se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions about her, early this month de Lima re­ceived praise from in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights ad­vo­cates and jour­nal­ists for her crit­i­cism of Duterte’s drug war.

FOR­MER PRES­I­DENT FER­DI­NAND MAR­COS

Even in death, the dic­ta­tor still makes the head­lines. He was sur­rep­ti­tiously buried at the Libin­gan ng mga Bayani to the cha­grin of mar­tial law vic­tims and their fam­i­lies. A hu­man rights vi­o­la­tor and plun­derer of the coun­try’s cof­fers could never be a hero, they say.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, how­ever, stuck to his guns and al­lowed a hero’s burial for Mar­cos – it was his prom­ise to the dic­ta­tor’s daugh­ter, Ilo­cos Norte’s Gov. Imee Mar­cos, who sup­ported his pres­i­den­tial bid.

KANLAON VOL­CANO

This ac­tive vol­cano in the Ne­gros Is­land Re­gion spewed ash once more on March 29, 2016.

The ash erup­tion lasted for 12 min­utes, ac­cord­ing to the Philip­pine In­sti­tute of Vol­canol­ogy and Seis­mol­ogy (Phivolcs). The vol­cano emitted plumes of ash some 1,500 me­ters high in its south­east­ern por­tion, re­sult­ing in thin ash fall­ing on Si­tio Guin­tub­dan, Barangay Ara-al, La Car­lota City, Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal.

Prior to the erup­tion, Phivolcs recorded three vol­canic earth­quakes.

With the vol­cano’s pe­riod of un­rest, the in­sti­tute or­dered the pub­lic not to ven­ture be­yond the 4- kilo­me­ter per­ma­nent dan­ger zone of Kanlaon. Air­craft pi­lots were also ad­vised to avoid fly­ing close to the vol­cano’s sum­mit; sud­den phreatic erup­tions are haz­ardous to air­crafts.

Kanlaon Vol­cano re­mained un­der Alert Level 1 sta­tus since Nov. 23, 2015.

SEN. GRACE POE

MANY thought she would win the pres­i­dency. She had been lead­ing the elec­tion sur­veys since 2014. She had the name and pop­u­lar­ity af­ter all (her adop­tive par­ents were movie king Fer­nando Poe Jr. and movie queen Su­san Ro­ces).

She caught the imag­i­na­tion of the Ilong­gos, too. As a baby, she was found on Sept. 3, 1968 in Iloilo City by a wo­man in the holy water font of the Jaro Metropoli­tan Cathe­dral. She was chris­tened by Jaime Sin, the arch­bishop of Jaro, who would later be­come arch­bishop of Manila and a car­di­nal.

Con­tro­versy sur­rounds the iden­tity of her birth par­ents, with a per­sis­tent ur­ban le­gend stat­ing Poe to be the daugh­ter of for­mer pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand Mar­cos f rom an af­fair with Rose­marie Sonora, Ro­ces’ sis­ter and a for­mer movie star.

Dur­ing the May elec­tions, she faced tough ques­tions about her ci­ti­zen­ship and com­pe­tence and th­ese is­sues side­tracked her from her elec­tion cam­paign.

VICE PRES­I­DENT LENI RO­BREDO

Her win­ning the vice pres­i­dency is still be­ing chal­lenged by ri­val, for­mer sen­a­tor Fer­di­nand “Bong­bong” Mar­cos Jr. She won by less than a mil­lion votes and Mar­cos claimed he was cheated.

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte re­luc­tantly gave her a Cab­i­net post as the coun­try’s hous­ing czar but she re­signed – some say she was fired – af­ter only some four months. The Pres­i­dent did not want her to at­tend Cab­i­net meet­ings any­more./

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