Press "Enter" to skip to content

ROUGH CUTS | Walden Bello’s credibility as petitioner

Well, as it was during the last many years, the onset of the Fire Prevention Month of March this year was welcomed with a fire incident in Davao City. No, not on the first day of this month but on the third day (last Sunday) March 3, at 3:49 p.m. in Purok 8, Zone 2, Kilometer 13 in Panacan.The fire gutted some three houses and injured two persons. Fire investigators estimated the damage at about P1 million.

Indeed the incident is ironic because it happened at a time when supposed to be, people have already been bombarded with lessons on how to prevent fire from happening as a prelude to the Fire Prevention Month

Yes, long before the month of March the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), as the office did in the previous years, already kept on reminding the people of all measures that will help them prevent the occurrence of fire whether in the households or in the workplace.

Despite all the reminders however, fires still happen and many of these incidents occur while the country is in the thick of the Fire Prevention Month. With the number of incidents within the duration of the celebration, it is safe to assume that either the awareness campaign is wanting to reach the people’s consciousness, or the people themselves prefer to be unresponsive and complacent.

The other possibility is that government regulators may just be too lax that the offices concerned seldom conduct actual inspections of establishments seeking permit for electrical connection. It is in this aspect of the regulator’s responsibilities that they make money.

Here is one case in point. We know of a building owner who allowed his contractor to use a 3-story plan for the acquisition of a building permit. But in actuality the building was a 4-level edifice. And since the approved building permit is the basis of granting the permit for electrical installation then it follows that what was granted electrical permit was the electrical plan for a 3-story edifice.

Naturally the additional electrical load installed in the added floor was not considered by the regulators. And if the building contractor who normally is charged by the owner/s to also take care of the electrical installations, will look for means to have bigger profit in the contract, it is expected that they do it by under-sizing the wires used, or by reducing his or her standard of the quality of the workmanship.

That is where the usual attribution of fire incidents to “faulty” electrical installation gets its justification.

But as they said, the occurrence of fire incident is either natural or caused by man’s negligence. However, whether the fire is caused by either of the two, the fact remains that a fire incident is something preventable. That is why the BFP has a continuing program for fire prevention lessons. The peak of the campaign though is highlighted during the whole month of March. But it is also during this time that occurrence of fire happens quite often.That is why we feel it is very ironic.


Defeated Vice Presidential candidate Prof. Walden Bello, through his lawyers, has filed a petition with the Supreme Court to decriminalize libel. The main basis for his petition is that the law that makes libel a criminal act violates the Constitution of our country which guarantees the freedom of speech and expression.

But what makes Bello a less credible petitioner? What else but his being a respondent in a cyber libel case filed by the former Information Officer of Davao City who Bello insisted in his social media post to be among those apprehended during a buy-bust operation inside a beach resort in Davao de Oro. The guy subject to Bello’s social media post happened to be working with then Vice Presidential candidate and one of Bello’s opponents, now Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte.

Of course Bello will not admit it but he was certainly hoping then that with his tirade against Sara’s guy he can drag Sara into the controversy and eventually pull her down from the lead.

The prosecutor handling the case however, found enough evidence that the respondent committed libel against the former city official. So the case is now in court and its trial on the merits has already started.

Meanwhile, Bello’s petition to decriminalize libel is now waiting for action by the Highest court. Will the Supreme Court favor the professor’s petition and exonerate the petitioner without having his trial continued? Bello’s feat is on the line here. So do those members of media who are not afraid to castigate public officials and even private persons.


Powered By ICTC/DRS