Rough Cuts | Who’s going to blink first?

Well, there are strong indications that business establishment and building owners have learned their lessons. But not until a disastrous fire leveled to the ground a multi-billion peso home-grown mall, and a councilor forcefully encouraged building owners to use luminescent markings on hallways leading to fire exits and other emergency escape doors.

Yes, because of the fire that left 38 persons dead reportedly because they could not find the route to the mall’s fire exits, first district councilor Mabel Sunga Acosta, chair of the City Council Committee on Peace and Public Safety, strongly urged the use of photoluminescent paint to guide people inside buildings find safe passage.
And soon enough, according to Acosta, during a recent public hearing her committee conducted to get the position of establishment owners on her planned resolution ordinance requiring the use of luminescent paint, the building owners and leasees volunteered to adopt the councilor’s proposal even before it becomes an ordinance.
The proposal of Acosta is actually an adoption of the standards used by the Canada and New York building codes
Actually, Acosta’s proposed measure has already passed first reading. And we believe that the immediate show of support by the various stakeholders on the measure of the firstg district councilor has a lot to do with the pace of the measure.
It would also show that the building owners or the lessees have realized that even if they may have to invest more for the photoluminescent or glow-in-the-dark paints, it is worth the added expenses as it will ensure safety of lives of their clients and even those of their own.
For this, it is apparent that Councilor Mabel did not just hit the nail on the head, she sinks it deep in the consciousness of critical stakeholders in the building leasing and related businesses.
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Last year the Ombudsman ordered the suspension of Sen. Joel Villanueva for alleged graft and corruption.
The Ombudsman’s order never had the opportunity of being implemented by the Senate leadership as Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III refused to carry out the suspension. As expected, the reason cited is that the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction insofar as disciplining a member of the legislative body is concerned.
We can be certain of the frustration of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales knowing that the order emanating from her office is totally ignored by the Senate. She could be thinking of a high level of disrespect to the office that was created by no less than the Constitution of the country.
But despite her earlier vocal protestations the Senate leadership just simply turned deaf to the lady Ombudsman.
Now the Ombudsman may have her time to do a Senate. But this time however, she would be up against the Executive Department of government headed by no less than the President who has no qualms in his disdain against the constitutionally created office and to the Ombudsman herself.
This time the one suspending her senior assistant Ombudsman is the Office of the President no less, believing that the executive still has the power to impose sanctions on non-impeachable officials. Of course Morales is one of very few government officials who can only be removed from office by impeachment. But her associate is not, so Malacanang believes it can suspend all other lower gods at the Ombudsman’s office.
Late last week Ombudsman Morales broke her silence for the first time since the announcement by the Palace that it is suspending her top associate. And she was emphatic she is not going to implement the Malacanang order.
Clearly the feisty Ombudsman appears ready to lock horns with the top Malacanang tenant. And since the Palace is reported bent on having the associate Ombudsman suspended for grave miscionduct the certainty here is that the case would be elevated to the Supreme Court for resolution as to the aspect of jurisdiction and authority.
Let’s see who between the two – the President and the Ombudsman – will blink first sans the possible high court intervention.

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Posted in Opinion