Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, February 25, 2008

PASG bungling its way to extinction

HARDLY anybody (except maybe in some remote corner of Pangasinan were he was a local government functionary) knew who Antonio “Bebot” Villar was until he happened to be plucked from provincial obscurity and thrust on the national arena as chief of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG).

Sure, he has made a reputation of sorts in the local cock-fighting world as a breeder of prize-winning fighting cocks—and is even up this year for the title of “Cocker of the Year.”

But once given the mandate to go after smugglers, Villar—rather than showcasing himself by displaying firm resolve in the fight against economic saboteurs—has instead been exhibiting an insatiable appetite for publicity. Not to mention also a penchant for concocting cock-and-bull stories about the group’s achievements.

Under Villar, the PASG has been all shadow and hardly any substance—his preferred mode of operation being to run the unit with a flurry of press releases and photo opportunities (remember the meaningless smashing up of luxury cars in Subic) with him taking center stage, of course!

This was best exemplified a week ago when Villar—in his usual unquenchable thirst for media mileage that must surely even get the Palace exasperated at times—put it about in the media that the PASG was going after a luxury retailer for technical smuggling and a “politician close to Malacañang whose name I don’t even want to mention” for a lot worse.

A day or two after his media statements it became patently clear why Villar had a pressing need to gasp for the oxygen of publicity to put himself and his unit in favorable light.

He was due to face a hostile hearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Good Government (filled with diligent pro-Palace lawmakers, we might add) where the main business on the agenda was the gross incompetence of the PASG. And, even more alarmingly, several lawmakers accused PASG operatives of themselves being protectors of big time smugglers—throwing up the distressing implication that if a business entity was not willing to pay up millions to be “protected” it would be prosecuted.

There was also concern raised by the lawmakers that the PASG was merely overlapping the functions of the Bureau of Customs. As Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay pointed out: “The PASG’s existence has sown confusion because its functions are now being carried out by the Custom’s bureau.”

Rep. Magsaysay would know what she is talking about since her constituency Zambales neighbors Subic where the PASG has a roving (and all-encompassing) brief that its detractors allege has caused the group to run out of control.

As for the allegations that the PASG is piggybacking on the BOC’s achievements on the antismuggling front—all we can say is that the somewhat bemused look on the face of highly regarded Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales when faced with that question says it all!

The PASG was created by Malacañang by virtue of Executive Order 624 with the good, and commendable, intention of assisting in the government’s fight against smugglers. But we guess even the Palace must sometimes wearily wonder what Villar and his merry band at the PASG are really up to.

And leaking tales to the media about a supposed politician close to Malacañang being a smuggling kingpin was a perfect example of the bungling manner in which Villar is doing his job.

As informed café society contended on that one, the proper and reasonable thing for Villar to do was to go direct to the Palace with his sensitive information—if it did exist, to begin with—rather than try to skewer the guy on the barbecue of innuendo.

From what we are gathering from our sources at both the House and the Senate, it would seem the PASG has squandered its mandate and its days may be numbered.

Certainly, the House Committee on Good Government would like the PASG to be disbanded and relegated to history as soon as possible. And the dustbin of history is never short of space.
OPEN NOTEBOOK By Random Jottings - Manila Times

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home


This is a joint private blog of volunteers from Subic Bay. It is being maintained primarily to collate articles that may be of importance to decision making related to the future of Subic Bay and as a source of reference material to construct the history of Subic Bay.

The articles herein posted remains the sole property of original authors and publications which has full credits to the articles.

Disclaimer: Readers should conduct their own research and due diligence before using any article herein posted for whatever intended purpose it may be. This private web log will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained from volunteers of this private blog.

www.subicbay.ph, http://olongapo-subic.com, http://sangunian.com, http://olongapo-ph.com, http://oictv.com, http://brgy-ph.com, http://subicbay-news.com, http://batanggapo.com 16 January 2012