The ‘happiest’ person in Iloilo flyover House inquiry

By Alex P. Vidal

“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”— Thomas Paine

THE “happiest” person on earth if ever there would be a congressional investigation in relation to the “sinking and stinking” P680-million Iloilo flyover project in Ungka, Pavia was no other than the contractor himself.

You may ask, “are you kidding?” The contractor should be the first to shake in his boots if there’s a no-nonsense scrutiny of any dubious infrastructure project like the one undertaken by the House of Representatives in aid of legislation, since it will result in scurrilous unraveling of a can of worms—if the contractor is embezzler.

But if the contractor is straight shooter, of course, he has nothing to hide and fear. Sun Tzu said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”

Let us assume for the sake of the title of this article that the Ungka flyover contractor is forthright, qualified, and competent—but not necessarily Mr. Clean (for no one walks a saint in this type of business); yet, the project worth hundreds of millions of pesos awarded to him by government still ends up in tatters—like what is happening, or being manifested by the awkward and loudly booed flyover.


Is the project “underfunded”? Ergo, substandard?

If the original amount of funds intended for the contract was properly disbursed, why in heaven’s name, is the particular public works project about to crumple like a sack of onions in the Customs storage?

This is where the contractor is expected to be “ebullient” at least since this will give him adequate opportunity to name the pack of wolves—the 10, 15, and 20 percenters; the avaricious SOP (standard operating procedure) emissaries in government who ruin and sabotage the project by their sheer greed and lack of moral compass.

Who knows if they have long been the contractor’s albatrosses even in the smaller projects both past and present?

At the back of his mind, the contractor may sigh, “at long last, you will all be unmasked now.”


But the investigation will finally give the contractor the perfect leverage to expose and explain how the crooks in government operate to make his business a veritable milking cow.

In a formal House inquiry, nothing can escape the mighty committee members’ avalanche of grilling and inquisition.

But the caveat is once these corrupt officials are named in the House inquiry there is no guarantee they will go to jail. Either they will not answer the allegations or deny them flatly. Just like that.

If the contractor is straight and admits to the sin of tolerating and pampering the crooks in government, this makes him a party to bribery and corruption, and he may not escape the ax of justice.

After all, it’s still the taxpayers’ money that is basically involved in the entire hullabaloo.

It seems there’s really some glimmer of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel after it was reported that Ilonggo Representatives Raoul Manuel (Kabataan Party-List), Arlene Brosas (GABRIELA Party-List), and France Castro (ACT Teachers Party-List) filed a resolution calling for a congressional probe on the Ungka and Aganan flyovers in the city and province of Iloilo.

Nothing concrete has commenced yet, but if not for these vigilant and brave lawmakers, the call for justice by the Ilonggos will just end up as another desperate voice in the wilderness.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)