An earlier statement by Mar Roxas that he does not need the votes of Filipino Overseas Workers (OFWs) to win the May election will farther inflict a heavy toll on the already losing presidential bid of the standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party.
Roxas made the boast at the height of the Laglag Bala (Bullet Planting) scandal at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The racket involved corrupt airport employees and security personnel who “plant” live bullets in the luggage of airplane passengers who are later extorted when the ammunition is “discovered” by X-ray machines.
Many of the victims, who cough up large sum to get off being charged with violation, were OFWs.
The militant Migrante, an international association of OFWs, slammed Laglag Bala as part of the Aquino government’s incompetence in protecting the OFWs.
As the Aquino administration was being severely criticized for the airport racket that sparked negative publicity worldwide, Roxas, former Interior secretary of President Benigno Aquino, said OFWs knew it was a crime to bring bullets into the airport and should not be blaming the government if they are found to have ammunition in their luggage.
Roxas said OFWs have right to vote any candidate adding he would not shed a tear if they pick his rivals.
Roxas’ statement triggered a storm of criticism from the OFWs.
Migrante said it would launch a “Laglag Roxas” campaign worldwide to frustrate the presidential bid of Roxas.
Under the Overseas Voting Act, overseas Filipinos numbering more than a million registered by the Commission on Election (Comelec) are allowed to vote in the May election.
Migrante said the “Laglag Roxas” campaign generated strong support from the OFWs.
But OFWs may no longer need to push the campaign hard to stop a Roxas presidency.
Aggregated results of pre-poll surveys by prestigious pollsters Social Weather Stations (SWS), Pulse Asia and Laylo have already doomed Roxas’ presidential bid.
The survey results showed a statistical tie at third place between Roxas (20%) and Vice President Jejomar Binay (19%).
Top running Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte leads the race with 33% against second placer Senator Grace Poe’s 22%.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has abandoned his threat to force members of the laglag-bala (bullet-planting) syndicate to swallow live bullets.
This time, Duterte wants communist rebel hitmen and death squads to finish off the syndicate.
He also called on President Benigno Aquino to take “drastic action and not lip service” against the syndicate.
The syndicate, allegedly involving aviation, police and civilian personnel at the aiports, victimizes airplane passengers going abroad, nostly Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), through extortion after secretly planting bullets in their luggage. The victims are fleeced of large sums and allowed to board their flight. Bringing bullets into aiports is a violation of the country’s firearms and ammunition law.
The bad press over the shakedown of passengers at Philippine airports has gone international that even the United Nationas (UN) warned its personnel travelling to the Philippines against the racket.
The government has ordered an investigation following public outcry over slow action against the syndicate by President Benigno Aquino. The laglag-bala racket is said to have been operating for years without airport authorities moving to stop it.
With the 2016 national election coming in May, the brouhaha over the laglag-bala has become a hot political issue against the administration.
Lately, Mar Roxas, the presidential bet of Aquino’s ruling Liberal party, reaped a flood of criticism after saying that government should not be faulted if passengers bring bullets into the airport. Roxas is Aquino’s former Interior Secretary.
Migrante, the militant group espousing and defending rights of the OFWs, said the millions-strong Filipino overseas workers would not vote for Roxas.
In his latest pronouncement, Duterte gave the syndicate members caught at the Davao International Airport the choice of getting a bullet shot to the head from the “Sparrow or the DDS.”
The Sparrows, coined after Special Partisan Unit (Sparu), is the liquidation squad of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The deadly hitmen were blamed for the killing of hundreds of police and military personnel and civilians during the height of rebel occupancy in the 80s of Davao City then widely known as the Philippines’ “Killing Field.” The urban guerillas moved up to the city’s farflung mountain districts after Duterte, known for his close ties with rebel ground commanders, won his first mayoral term in 1988. Peace has since reigned in Davao City, considered today as one of Asia’s most peaceful cities. Duterte is on his way to three decades as mayor of the premier city of Mindanao.
Even as Davao City has shed off its image of the 70s and 80s as the NPA “laboratory of urban guerilla warfare,” the Sparrow unit is said to be behind some of today’s liquidation of targets in downtown Davao.
The DDS is the motorcycle-riding 45.cal.-armed Davao Death Squad tagged as behind more than a thousand summary executions of suspected criminals, nostly involved in the drug trade. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has investigated Duterte for human rights violations for his alleged links to the death squad, which surfaced as an anti-crime vigilante group during the first mayoral term of Duterte in 1988.
You choose, the Sparrow or the DDS, said Duterte as an alleged victim of the laglag-bala racket carried luggage snapped by X-Ray at the Davao airport with two 9mm bullets.
The victim, a 62-year old male hydrologist was on his flight out for Manila after attending a business meeting in Davao City. The victim, the first recorded at the Davao airport after the laglag-bala controversy exploded in Manila, has been charged with illegal possession of ammunition but fred on bail. He denied owning the bullets and told police he could not know why the bullets were in his luggage.
Duterte earlier said that he would force to swallow live bullets syndicate members caught at the Davao airport.
He also said he would himself finish them off at the hospital if they go for operation to have the bullets removed.
Duterte said the syndicate has “jeopardized” the Filipino people and called on President Aquino to take “not lip service but drastic action” against the syndicate.
Duterte has emerged as a strong contender to the presidency but is not running despite his high ranking in pre-poll surveys and strong public clamor for him to join the 2016 race to Malacanang.
Presidential bet Mar Roxas has dug his political grave deeper by saying he does not need the votes of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to clinch the 2016 presidential derby.
Roxas dished out the boast as Migrante, a militant group defending the rights of overseas workers, faulted the slow action by the administration of President Benigno Aquino against the bullet-planting (laglag-bala) syndicate which has been victimizing passengers, including OFWS, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and provincial airports.
Roxas said the victims, not government, should be faulted for bringing bullets into the airport.
Migrante earlier warned the group would not vote for Roxas, Aquino’s former Interior secretary and standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party.
Migrante and other groups have right to vote or not to vote for any candidate, said Roxas, unfazed by the Migrante threat, in an interview in Santiago City in Isabela Province on November 4.
Roxas is already facing rough waters in the race with his franchise over the bottom of surveys for presidential preference.
Roxas has consistently been lording as cellar dweller in surveys of both the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia, miles behind independent bet Senator Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
The 2016 presidential race is a four-cornered fight between Binay, Poe, Roxas and Senator Miriam Santiago. A fifth contender, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is not joining the derby despite strong public clamor.
Poe is not known to be involved in OFW concerns as a Senator and has yet to take a position on the laglag-bala issue.
Binay, on the other hand, has espoused the OFWs as a major concern as Vice President and took a direct hand in helping overseas workers in legal trouble.
The vote-rich OFW sector was expected to matter in the coming polls, with Roxas earning the ire of the overseas workers, lauded as “modern-day heroes” by his boss, Aquino, for their contribution to the national economy.
In what is seen as a fatal blunder, Roxas in the Santiago City interview
defended the Aquino administration against public criticism over the laglag-bala controversy by blaming passengers caught by airport authorities with bullets in their luggage.
It is not the government’s problem if you are caught at the airport with contraband, he said.
Laglag-bala victims say airport personnel plant bullets in their bags in an extortion racket.
The public has criticized the Aquino government and airport authorities for not immediately addressing the scam that captured international attention and earned a bad image for the Philippines. Even the United Narions (UN) has issued an advisory to its personnel to guard against the racket that has sparked an investigation by Congress and calls for the resignation of top Aquino officials including Transport secretary Jun Abaya.
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