2016 WAS a rollercoaster ride, with dipping lows and immense heights. The year had an interesting start with the national and local elections peaking for the May elections, and ended with a bang (literally) with the bombings in Hilongos, the first ever to happen in the region in 34 years, at exactly the same day (December 28). To remember the year gone by, we have compiled the Top 10 stories that we published for 2016 starting from the latest.
MORO TERRORISTS EYED IN HILONGOS BOMBING
3 days short of New Year, the country was rocked by news that the town of Hilongos, Leyte, was bombed on the evening of their fiesta celebration. Two IEDs were deployed at the venue of a free
boxing bout, hurting 32 people when one exploded fully. Luckily for the town officials, to include Mayor Albert Villahermosa, only the blasting cap of the second bomb which was near where they
were seated, went off. Nobody was killed. Eyed as suspects are Moro terrorists linked to the Maute group whom President Rodrigo Duterte himself said has teamed up with a drug ring for their financing. The Hilongos bombing is the first to happen in the region since December 28, 1982 (the Hilongos bombing also happened on December 28) when a fragmentation grenade was thrown inside the Holiday Theater in Baybay City, killing 10 and injuring 60 people. The perpetrator was never that it was a military man because fragmentation grenades were new then, and only the military had access to them.
GOMA SUES ESPINIDO
The President’s war on drugs was marred with the politicking of Ch. Insp. Juvie R. Espinido, known to be beholden to the Codilla family, who tried to besmirch Ormoc Mayor Richard Gomez’s reputation as an anti-drug crusader by imputing he was behind the Espinosa drug syndicate. Gomez would be vindicated when self-confessed drug lord Espinosa said he was not involved in his trade, albeit he had been giving a donation for the fiesta activities in Ormoc to Ondo and Violy Codilla for six years now (to include the time of Mayor Eric Codilla.) Gomez sued
Espinido for allowing four known criminals under his custody to roam around Ormoc City, disregarding the Court Order of Judge Carlos Arguelles that they must be in strict detention
all the time. Gomez sued Espinido for reneging on his duty to ensure peace and endangered Ormocanons by allowing these criminals to roam around.
PALOMPON IS HALL OF FAMER AS MOST TOURISM- ORIENTED MUNICIPALITY
Palompon makes the headlines after it wins the prestigious PEARL Award anew, this time landing in the Hall of Fame. P 1.19-MILLION 2012 SCHOOL SUPPLIES AT GSD BODEDA The newly minted Gomez
administration would discover they have inherited more wastage of public funds. One of them is the P 1.19-million worth of crayons, useless ballpens, and pencils that are already brittle and unusable bought in 2012 (during the time of former Mayor Eric Codilla) for distribution to public school pupils, but were never given out. Mayor Edward Codilla did not also distribute it, in his three years. GSD said the items would have to be disposed as rubbish because they were not usable anymore.
BAYBAY CITY HAS OWN DIALYSIS, LAB CENTER
In Baybay City, Mayor Carmen L. Cari fulfills her dream of putting up a dialysis center for constituents who need it.
GOMA IN, ONDO OUT
The elections in Ormoc City would prove to be a big upset to the 24-year rule of the Codillas in the city. Actor Richard Gomez would win with a record-breaking 8,781 lead on his second try, while wife Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez routed Violy Codilla with a 26,230 lead in Ormoc alone, and a 55,713 lead all over the 4th district. Vice Mayor Toto Locsin Jr., on the other hand, routed
challenger Godiardo Ebcas with 14,995 lead. Similar upsets were noted in other areas, with newcomers like the Ongs in the 2nd district winning over the Apostols who have held sway in the area for more than two decades also. In the 5th district, the Caris showed the Galenzogas they were still the candidates of choice by the people, scoring by some 75% over them. The third district also saw the rise of Rep. Vicente “Ching” Veloso.
COA ASKS MAYOR, DEPARTMENT HEADS TO SUPPORT P 15.8- MILLION FUEL EXPENSE
Another multi-million expenditure would rock Ormoc City after the Commission on Audit suspended in audit some P 15.8-million fuel expense. The total sum covers only 6 months, or more than P 2-million a month, aside from the observation that there was a breakdown in the control and inventory in dispensing gasoline and diesel from the Codilla-owned Petron Station. The expenditure has
yet to be fully liquidated until now.
CITY COUNCIL PASSES RESOLUTION FOR MAYOR TO FILE CHARGES AGAINST RD RAMOS
Yolanda would also play a big role in the state of government affairs of Ormoc City. The relief efforts, bugged by questionable transactions, resulted in the city council passing a resolution urging Mayor Edward “Ondo” Codilla to file charges against DSWD regional director Nestor Ramos for the allegedly irregular transport of GI sheets to the city for Yolanda victims, only to be diverted to victims of Typhoon Nona.
3,112 MENTAL CASES RECORDED IN EV AFTER YOLANDA
Yolanda or Typhoon Haiyan continued to affect the lives of Leyteños and Samareños more than 2 years after it wreaked havoc in the region. EV Mail Reporter Lottie Salarda, in an interview with the Department of Health, learned that mental cases in the region increased because of the trauma brought by the typhoon, said to be the strongest to make landfall in modern history.
INSIDER BARES BLACK PROPA VS. RICHARD, LUCY AND TEAMMATES
The year started off with political stories. In an interesting twist of events, a highly placed mole inside the Codilla camp bared the elaborate and well-oiled black propaganda “Oplan: Lucy-fer”. The plan was to demonize the well-loved Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, who is now on her second term (her first three years was declared null and void by a protest filed by Winnie Codilla who lost to her in 2010 by 24,701 votes). The mole’s information proved accurate. Media men who were deemed “neutral” bared their real colors and became partisan. The same media men also did not have qualms in being identified with personalities directly linked to narco-politics.