Graft in Tacloban

searchI had dinner recently with Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban City. That was a first. I have been consistently an anti-Marcos activist since my grade school days. I’ve always thought that the Philippines would be a better place without the Marcoses and their conjugal half, the Romualdezes. Like the Aquino’s, my mother’s immediate family, including the Reyes clan of Pasig that gave the country the great statesman, Jovito Salonga, were victims of the Marcos dictatorship. Scars from those days will probably never heal. And perhaps, they should never heal if only to remind us of what dictatorships can do to a democracy.

But I was touched by the tale of Mayor Romualdez.

We’ve heard over and over again the Palace line that the local government is always the first line of defense. That is true because normally, the national government will not be in the area affected by a calamity.

But this was not the case in Tacloban. Pagasa warned us about the onslaught of Yolanda. This was why P Noy sent Secretaries Mar Roxas and Voltaire Gazmin to Tacloban before the typhoon’s landfall to coordinate disaster preparedness. Ergo, this means that the mantra about the LGU’s being the first line of defense is inapplicable because Malacañang, through the closest allies of PNOY- was already in Tacloban.

Then there was the looting. According to Mayor Romualdez, they repeatedly requested from both secretaries to deploy additional soldiers or policemen immediately after the storm precisely because they anticipated the breakdown of peace and order. This fell on deaf ears and instead, the DILG deployed additional firemen. Naturally, with the people hungry and with no assistance immediately forthcoming, the worse did happen.

Then there is the reason behind the national government’s inaction.  I doubt if anyone who has access to the Internet has not yet seen the infamous video of Secretary Mar demanding the effective resignation of Romualdez as the pre-condition for assistance to Tacloban. I had of course heard about this prior to the video and could not believe it. I had to see the short version and the full version of the video before I could believe that Mar Roxas and P Noy were capable of this.

I have been an ardent advocate for humanitarian law because in times of the worse disasters, both man made or otherwise, humanity deserves humanitarian assistance pursuant to the law of nations, laws of humanity and dictates of conscience. This is otherwise known as the Martens clause. Simply put, civilized people will provide humanitarian assistance to those in need because they are human beings. This is  a right which is not subject to discrimination be it based on race, gender, or membership in a political group. Certainly, the fact that the Romualdezes are the Aquino’s political nemesis is not a reason to condemn the entire population of disaster stricken Tacloban to doom. That at least, is the standards recognized by civilized people of the world.

It comes therefore as no surprise that the media has again reported that despite the misfortune of Tacloban, even the bunkhouses built for the victims of the strongest typhoon in the world would be the source of tongpats for some in the administration. How can these people make money out of the misery of others?

Because the PNoy administration embraced anyone and everyone singing praises to it, including many of those whose business is always to be allied with those in power unabashedly singing “when we hold on together” with the devil reincarnate; we have the mess that we find now in Tacloban.

Make no mistake about it. The fault lies not just with Mar Roxas. PNoy, in his pronouncements in Japan, ratified and adopted Mar’s actions as his own. No wonder the people of Tacloban have lost hope that Malacañang will come to their rescue. Perhaps, it was destined that the people of Tacloban will rise again- no thanks to Malacañang, but with the assistance from civil society and the private sector. Maybe in this manner, we can even spare scarce taxpayers money from benefitting  (again) the plunderers in this administration.

But the administration better watch out. For while it has condemned Tacloban to perish from the face of this earth to benefit its political allies, the law is very clear. Graft can be committed not just by stealing public funds, assuming it is true that the President has not been stealing public funds himself, which I tend to believe. It can also be committed by “(f) Neglecting or refusing,  x x x without sufficient justification, to act within a reasonable time on any matter pending before him for  x x x the purpose of favoring his own interest or giving undue advantage in favor of or discriminating against any other interested party”.

Refusing to assist calamity stricken Tacloban just to defeat a political opponent and to install political allies in the city will fall in this category of graft.

72 comments on “Graft in Tacloban

  1. pchan_august says:

    Reblogged this on Random Thoughts.

  2. Ermin Garcia Jr. says:


      • Hi… Brod. I am with you. You voice is great. but i just want to know if you are aware of the ILLUMINATE movements? it would be similar to this Tacloban case which is happening currently in our national government. We are under the this Illuminate controlled dungeon and our police and military are the worms that slowly eating the Philippines. That is why we are belongs to the most corrupt nation in the world. Only the BRAVE man can stop this and i suggest MAYOR DUTERTE need supports for him to run for the President. I am from Gensan but i found Mayor Duterte would be the best for this task. Good Morning (U.A.E.) 11-Jan-14

  3. Well said attorney Roque. Stay as People’s Champion today and forever…

  4. Jaevi says:

    So dont judge the book by its cover yah.. Alfred being a Romuoldez doesnt mean he is like F.Marcos. Poor us, taclobanons. :(

  5. RicaKintana says:

    Can this action (or non-action by the government) also be considered criminal negligence ? Since a lot of people who could have been saved, died due to the negligence of those in government ?

  6. Junje says:

    Very well said. We Taclobanons are glad that someone from the outside understands what we are going through under this callous, unsympathetic, indifferent and self righteous administration.
    Thanks, Mr Roque.

  7. Blue says:

    The enemies of your enemies are not necessarily your friends. Often there is a reason why they are enemies and don’t have peace – because they might both be bad.

    • Peter Militante says:

      “The good has only one enemy, the bad; the bad have two enemies, the good and the bad.” Our Daily Bread. The game plan of the LIGHTED ONES will always prevail and such game plan of the DARK ONES will ultimately collapse. Just remember that the GOOD will never go against the GOOD while the BAD always go against the GOOD and their own kind for it is written so it shall be done according to The Laws of God and The Creation. So be it and amen.

  8. AfredoC says:

    Tacloban should stop depending on Manila and forge ahead on its own. Easier said than done, but the Romualdezes should rally behind their people and mayor!

  9. clark kent says:

    Way to go harry :)
    Just as sin in God’s eyes is not just an issue of commission but also omission;
    ergo PNOY & Mar are liable of Graft, What bitterness & unforgiveness can make you do :(

  10. anne says:

    Noon pa man, wala na akong sampalataya sa mga Aquino. I always believe, they destroyed the Marcoses because with Marcos around they cannot steal, or they cannot make infinite profits from their Azucarera De Tarlac, their Hacienda Luisita, and their clan’s & friends’ businesses.

    • anne says:

      At sino ba yung mga friends ng Aquino? 1.) ang mga Lopez na ginawang artista yung anak nya, na nagpaganda ang imahe nig mga Aquino sa public at ibang bansa, na pinagbigyan nya ng libre ng Meralco, although binili ng govbierno ni Marcos ang major shares ng Meralco, 2.) Ang mga kamag-anak nya na kung saan nya naman binigay ang major shares ng PLDT, and UCPB

  11. dgreater1 says:

    I argued with people about this as well, why make Helping people who are badly in need of help become a formality that needs to be signed? Not to mention, the issues pertaining DSWD hording the relief goods and repacking them and the monetary donations given to the Government by other countries that could be used to rebuild Tacloban City which was literally erased from the map.

  12. Gloria D says:

    sadly conclude, there’s no “daang matuwid” for tacloban… keep going TINDOG TACLOBAN! we will rise soon…

  13. zion says:

    thank you for publishing this..i felt too this is times of calamity no colors..if you a yellow zombies or what…whatever!!!

  14. demaj says:

    salamat sir from the people of tacloban city very educational information

  15. raymond says:

    i am from tacloban and what you’ve written is not the case at all. i encourage you to dig deeper and not just have dinner with the mayor, naturally, he will tell you what will put him in a good light, talk to the people on the ground, but it is your opinion and impressions and i respect that.

    • harryroque says:

      Thanks for the comment . CNN and the international media corroborated facts

    • joy says:

      kung taga tacloban kaman, cguro hindi ka nandon sa tacloban kasi hindi mo nararamdaman ang totoong hirap dun, AKO taga dito sa catbalogan at weekly ako pumupunta dun para bisitahin ang aking kamag-anak, kung wala ang international community (Buddhist society -cash for work at cash assistance, UN, UNICEF, etc..) kawawa ang mga tao dun!!!

  16. Owen Onida says:

    Atty Roque,

    I think you owe us, people from Palo, Leyte, an apology for what you’ve stated in the 2nd sentence of the second to the last paragraph of this article. If you wanted to point out that the public officials of Palo, Leyte have benefited from their alliance with PNoy then don’t drag our town into whatever you’re trying to point out here. I don’t know what your agenda/intentions are but it is unfair to state that Palo benefited or will benefit from the national government because of this “alliance.” As far as we are concerned we are not better off post Yolanda than those from Tacloban and other towns affected by the typhoon. We are also victims of this incompetence by the national government.

  17. this could be the last nail for their coffin!

  18. Sincerely agree with you. The standard of our moral values has plunged so deep & away from God . We ignore, God’s WORD , we do not obey Him ,we hear about the Ten commandments but deliberately disobey it. We do not love our neighbor as ourselves. We as a nation is called a “Christian.nation” but we do not reflect the Light of Christ in our daily living., .

  19. john mandaya says:

    salamat, natuto ako nito

  20. Lilian Banez says:

    How cheap! You’d been bought by simple dinner. What was broadcast overseas was Mayor Romualdez news of himself and their grand ballroom. How his children and wife was terrified of him saving their resort place. He did not mention what action was done prior to the tragedy nor what leadership he has shown to put place in order. Saw the crocodile tears too.

    • harryroque says:

      Sorry . We don’t have same opinion

    • marianlim says:

      What network broadcasted that? Surely, TFC. And maybe you were also out of the country when it happened. I am a Taclobanon, I was there when it happened. All the necessary precautions and safety measures were done prior to the typhoon. How can we not be ready when two of the President’s angels were already sent to us? You can never be perfectly prepared for something that has not happened in our lifetime yet, but this is the world’s recorded strongest typhoon ever. I think I will forgive Mayor Alfred for being so concerned about his family right after the typhoon because we, the survivors, also did the same thing. We all looked for our family members, relatives and friends. And we did a headcount. You would do that too, if you were there. And would be traumatized too and worried sick for family and relatives.I guess the only people who knew about what really happened there would be the survivors.

      We are supporting our Mayor and all public servants in Tacloban who did their best to help everyone out.

    • knights says:

      Ang ibig lang po ipahiwatig dito ni Atty. Roque ay sana walang discrimination ang ating National Government pagdating sa pagtulong sa mga biktimad ng kalamidad kasi pareho lang naman tayong tao at Pilipino kung kalaban ng Aquino ang Marcos bakit buong apektado ng bagyo ang madadamay sa away nila. Ayon sa batas natin “uphold public interest over personal interest”.

    • Kirkz says:

      Lilian you seem to be so numb… That you yourself is not convinced of the real issue…

    • Karlos Regaza says:

      You may have missed some broadcast that Alfred Romualdez was saying: What can we do? Some people just don’t go with the forced evacuation. “Kulang nalang pagbabarilin ko sila.” See how the mayor wanted to save his constituents? Now maam, if you are living overseas, your comment is good, but if you live here, all, i mean all of Atty. Roque’s blog is TRUE!

    • I was there during the Oversight Committee hearing when Mayor Romualdez said it all. I just hope you could watch the full statement of the Mayor, Ma’am.

  21. Cocoy says:

    The CNN report corroborated and confirmed the content of your article. Thanks Mr. Roque.

  22. aleck says:

    Keep it up Sir Harry Roque.. may you continue to serve our countrymen by bringing justice in un biased writing.. Godbless us all.

  23. Alan says:

    A lot cases awaits them in 2016!

  24. Melvin de Paz says:

    I am a Taclobanon and a survivor of yolanda, I never left the city, I just recently had access to the internet and I was so angry and dismayed at all the lies the Aquino government is making just to cover up for their incompetencies and poloticking. I just hope that they do not overlook the cover up done in Palo by the Petilla’s on the true number of casualties, the Petilla’s, Loreto’s, and Cari’s, they may have different family names but they are just one big clan of politicians, much stronger and powerful than the Romualdezes, they even control three media outlets in Tacloban to do their information war and cover up’s. Thank you Atty. Roque for sharing the truth.

  25. Jinrhay says:

    Boom!!! ikaw na!

  26. cyrus says:

    is there some vacant jobs for us taclobanons?

  27. eClinik says:

    We don’t need a government. Its concept is rendered obsolete. It’s never been the tool that serves us, but of the elite to control us.

    It’s high time to stop fooling ourselves, and start getting rid of it. We can govern ourselves if we so desire.

    We can survive without it. The methods and solutions for survival are in science and technology, not in politics – it has never been part of the solution, but more of a problem.

    All of the solutions to make life better are accessible thru the internet, all of it.

    Stop relying on the government to serve you, and start arming yourself with knowledge on how to live off-grid, off the system. Take control of you and your family’s future.

    There’s no single government on earth that honestly serves its people. It’s time for a new paradigm, so the complaining will stop.

    It’s time to stop subscribing to the Middleman, and start taking responsibilities by ourselves.

    It’s time for everyone to grow up.

  28. Bobz Skee says:

    Mr. Roque,

    I totally agree with everything you’ve stated in your article. The comments to your article also shows that a lot of people agree with you. There are only a few who disagree. This simply goes to show most people’s sentiment on the government’s factoring in of politics in this disaster. Poor Tacloban! BTW, I am a Taclobanon too.

  29. jess says:

    Sana marami pang Abugado ang katulad mo Atty. Harry Roque…Mabuhay ka Atty. Roque!!!

  30. The people must put themselves to GOD , PNOY will perished soon to include his followers… Fight!

  31. june says:

    Nasaan na nag mga billions of pesos donated by a lot of different countries all over the world and the relief goods for all affected people in different cities, towns and barrios . Bakit wala man lang mag lead para saliksikin kung nasaan na ang funds. These should have now been used in building permanent houses for all the victims, not just bunk houses that are substandards. isang bagyo lang na di kasing lakas ni Yolanda ay liliparin lang ang mga yon.

  32. declared death sa media is around 6k but the truth is 40k plus wtf!

  33. jesus bordeos says:

    Ang govt.natin subrang nakakahiya pagdating sa ganitong sitwasyon, wagna po tayo umasa pa sa govt. at talaga namang pakapalan nalang ng mukha ang mga nakapwesto.

  34. Peter Militante says:

    How many more Filipinos have to suffer and die before they realize that their own government is conspiring with Satanists/Dark Cabal/Illuminati/Banksters/Puppet Masters to implement their DEPOPULATION PROGRAM at all costs through wars, crimes, famine, diseases, poverty, weaponized-man-made weathers and calamities, and other WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION to get rid of the “USELESS EATERS”?

    Everyone with a little amount of common sense must watch the video clip below for the sake of the survival of our selves as human species!!!

    YouTube Video URL

  35. Thed says:

    “Then there was the looting. According to Mayor Romualdez, they repeatedly requested from both secretaries to deploy additional soldiers or policemen immediately after the storm precisely because they anticipated the breakdown of peace and order. This fell on deaf ears and instead, the DILG deployed additional firemen.”

    I think the above statement is not an accurate statement, if not misleading. I was in Tacloban after the storm and I saw military personnel and PNPs not from Region 8. Maybe Tacloban needed more, but to say firemen were instead deployed (implying no military nor policemen), is somewhat misleading.

  36. Karlos Regaza says:

    Out of the areas heavily hit by Yolanda, Tacloban is special for the Aquino administration. Pnoy and her sister Kris personally endorsed the nemesis of Alfred Romualdez but failed.

    Now, no other than the three muskeeters of Pnoy cabinet will try to GRAB POWER in Tacloban along with Yolanda. Roxas, Gazmin and Soliman tried to squeeze out Romualdez from Tacloban but again failed.

    Adding to the 3 muskeeters were Petilla and Singzon who offered a RESIGNATION drama to add up all the ingredients.

    Thanks to the vigilance of more and more Filipinos and the international community, the POWER GRAB IN TACLOBAN FAILED!

    May God bless Region VIII and the whole country and punish those people who used the misery of other people for their own gains.

  37. Jonas says:

    Thank you for speaking the truth. I’m a Taclobanon who immediately left 2 days after the storm. Saw the lies in the news by Sec. Roxas and PNoy from Cebu… that angered me that politics and everything evil in it was at work in a time where poor people were hungry, sick, and dying

  38. Audie says:

    Thanks Atty. Harry for showing the world that the Marcoses and Romualdezes are not the most inhuman leaders in the country because of what you and other activists experienced during martial law. I wish you had made it more clear in black and white that there are more acts of SOCIAL INJUSTICE by the Aquino administration than during the Marcos years. As an ordinary citizen, without poliltical affiliations, a lot of Filipinos today, cannot walk around freely without being robbed, held-up,drugged, raped, kidnapped OR traumatically experience being looted, exploited, used and most of all, victimized POLITICALLY at the height of the worst typhoon the world has ever recorded. I agree with my kababayan Owen Onida that this “yellow government” of ours has neglected not only their enemies but even their allies which only affirms the magnitude of its INCOMPETENCE. We gratefully acknowledge though, the “initiative” of THE PETILLAS to rehabilitate the province of Leyte and the town of Palo especially the untiring efforts of Sec. Jericho to expedite electric connections to areas affected by Yolanda.

  39. Khunz Solis says:

    Thanks for the blog Atty Roque. I am a rural doctor and I was in San Jose, Tacloban when Yolanda struck. Right after the typhoon, I treated the wounded victims of the typhoon at home, even suturing open bleeding wounds without anesthesia. On the 2nd day, I rode through my bicycle around the city and saw Mayor Romualdez directing the lone heavy equipment used to clear the road in San Jose. We received no relief goods and there were no visible military personnel securing vital installations and businesses.We then resorted to scavenging and gathering canned goods thrown into the sea. Some resorted to looting. I cannot blame the people. There was no food to eat. Water was fast becoming scarce. We have to save our families, especially the children. We didn’t receive any help from the NATIONAL GOVERNMENT for almost a week. Yung naka receive, nagdusa muna ng todong hirap kasi naglakad ng ilang kilometro para pumila ng almost half a kilometer na pila sa downtown Tacloban. Napakasakit na mabiktima ng super typhoon. Pero mas masakit maging biktima ng POLITICAL bickering ng mga pulitiko. Nasabi ko tuloy, saan na napunta ang taxes ko? Bakit sa kabila ng pagpapakahirap ko sa pagtrabaho sa gobyerno, pagbabayad ng buwis, pagiging isang tunay na Pilipino sa isip sa salita at sa gawa… bakit ganito ang naging kapalit?

  40. nelia delmonte says:

    I am not Aquino and Marcos but I love all my kababayans. Sana naman maawa kayo as amin mga taga Samar I wish na yong gobyerno natin tulad dito sa Israel. anu kaya kayong mga naka upo jan sa gobyerno maranasan ninyo Yong naranasan ng mga taong biktima ng kalamidad? ang dies at Hindi natutulog patas tayo sa paningin niya. I just pray that god heal my land.

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