Panelo’s alternative reality

Lilibeth Frondoso
Plus the mayors' 100-day milestones

 I have 3 things for you today, Friday.

• How Sal Panelo gaslighted complaining commuters
• How PNP chief Oscar Albayalde turned hero to zero overnight
• How media savvy Metro Manila mayors fared in their first 100 days

Sal Panelo was all over the news today, out to prove his statement that there’s “no traffic crisis” in the metropolis. Though he swore he didn’t want to be covered, enterprising media found him on the road, commuting to work, like some poor Juan dela Cruz.

What he said: “If you want to arrive early in your destination, then you go there earlier.” 

The challenge: Progressive group Anakbayan called on government officials to try commuting in order to experience the daily hardships faced by Filipinos who cannot afford their own cars.

Challenge accepted: He left New Manila at 5:15 am, then walked 15 minutes to the main road between Gilmore and Balete Drive for his first jeepney ride. He arrived in Malacañang at 8:46 am – after 3 hours and 30 minutes.

What critics say: Anakbayan national spokesperson Alex Danday says Panelo turned the commute challenge into a mere “photo opportunity.”

Human rights advocate @caloyconde says, “See what Panelo’s stunt has done? It turned the transport crisis into a debate when this has been well-established. The issue was not that public officials don’t experience the problem. The issue was they’re not doing enough to fix it.” 

I call that gaslighting.

Definition of terms: Gaslighting is often used by mental health professionals to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are off base.

A different commuter challenge: Fed up with traffic, Rappler reporter Ralf Rivas walks from Cubao to BGC for work.

Was it fate? When the GCTA Senate hearings meandered to another topic – the police racket of “recycling” confiscated drugs – it implicated the highest police official of the land. 

Why it matters: This is the first time former and present police brass were willing to attest to the “recycling” racket. This is the first time that fellow generals were willing to squeal on another cop. More importantly, It shows how an officer with the right connections can climb his way to the top despite allegedly being involved in protecting dirty cops. READ: ‘Spectacle of a grand cover-up’

Why it’s a compelling story: Only a few weeks ago, our reporter Rambo Talabong noted how retiring chief of police Oscar Albayalde was haunted by the “ninja cops” issue while visiting his alma mater, the Philippine Military Academy. Before that he seemed poised to finish high in his career. He also seemed ripe for a level-up, like his former boss, Ronald dela Rosa, who became a senator.

The big question: Will he be coddled and protected like that lucky chap Nicanor Faeldon, or will he be axed and made an example of Duterte’s “I will ax you even with just a whiff of corruption?”

100 days. Local executives just wrapped up 100 days in office and the most media-savvy of them – the mayors of Manila, Quezon City, Pasig, and San Juan – tell us all about their accomplishments and hurdles.

Manila’s Isko Moreno

Moreno describes the state of the LGU he inherited as “anarchy in our streets and in some agencies in government.” 

He calls his approach “relentless” but adds it’s just “basic governance.” Watch his First State of the City Address.

Quezon City’s Joy Belmonte

As mayor, it’s clear where Belmonte’s priorities lie: better and quicker social services.

She also cites improvements in the ease of doing business in her first 3 months in office. 

Look at her robust numbers.

Pasig’s Vico Sotto

Sotto says the past 100 days have been the” most challenging 100 days of my life,” but notes it was “makabuluhan” (substantial.)

He ends his speech with a call for unity and hope: “Dito sa lunsod ng Pasig, umaagos ang pag-asa.” (Here in the city of Pasig, hope flows.)

San Juan’s Francis Zamora

Zamora promised affordable healthcare and housing – on top of making San Juan a smart city with free wifi.

What are the roadblocks? He says everything was bid out until the end of the year even beyond the term of the last mayor, and his hands are tied until the next year. He reveals he’s uncovering a lot of anomalies in San Juan.

‘Ain’t no river wide enough.’ As we celebrated Teachers’ Day last October 5, Rappler brings you the story of Teacher Cherry, who literally crosses a river to teach young children from poor families. 

From cartoons and animations timelapses
to newsroom tours to Live Jam soundchecks
get access to Rappler’s MEMBERS-ONLY content here

{module 4283}

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Lilibeth Frondoso

She currently heads Multimedia Strategy and Growth in Rappler.