Thursday, February 9, 2012

Niel Tupas Jr: Just another Ilonggo lawmaker?

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Niel Tupas Jr- For those who have been into the first impeachment case for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, this spells familiarity and may even become a household name. The Congressman from the fifth district of Iloilo has made his mark not only as a prosecutor in the trial but as someone whom Sen Enrile has addressed with: 

“What way do you want me and the court to be more flexible? Are you suggesting that we should allow misleading questions? Are you suggesting that we should allow hearsay evidence? Are you suggesting that we should allow argumentative questions?”

Congressman Niel Tupas Jr said of his intention as calling for “flexibility” without sacrificing “due process” that made the Senate President continue by saying:

“If you want me to relax the rules, then tell me how I must do it and to what extent. [I am willing to] bend, accommodate [your suggestion to] show you that this court is not for or against anybody… but I must conduct this proceeding in an orderly manner.”

A young lawmaker from Iloilo, Niel Tupas Jr, had his sudden rise to the circle of congressional elites may have been influenced by this famous lines he has said on the opening day of the Impeachment trial against Chief Justice Renato Corona. Here is an excerpt:

"In closing, the message of the House, as the representatives of the people, is the same as that given by Oliver Cromwell when he dismissed England’s Long Parliament on April 20 of 1653. Before God and country, we say: “It is high time for us to put an end to your sitting in that place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice, you are an enemy to good government, as you have sold your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas Escariot betrayed your God for a few pieces of gold. Depart I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

Ilonggos' face off? (From Google)
But, who is Congressman Niel Tupas Jr? 

The eldest of seven siblings, and belonging to one of the province’s prominent political clans  based in Barotac Viejo,  Tupas first served as provincial board member from 2004 to 2007 representing the 5th distric tof Iloilo Province.

Other than being the son of the former Iloilo governor, he is a lawyer for 12 years, with more than half of it spent serving an elective position in Iloilo. He earned his degree in law from the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman in 1998 where he also obtained his political science degree, magna cum laude, in 1993.

He is connected with Belo Gozon Elma Parel Asuncion & Lucila Law Offices in Makati City where he became a junior partner specializing in litigation. His wife, Yvonne Angeli Lee-Tupas, who he has a daughter and a son, is junior partner of the same law firm and is now serving as his chief of staff at the House of Representatives.

The dominance of the Tupas political clan became more prominent under the Aquino administration. His father, former Gov. Niel Tupas Sr., was hailed as a director of the state-owned Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. Former Barotac Viejo town Mayor Raul Tupas is a director of the Department of Agriculture as regional technical assistant for Western Visayas and Northern Mindanao. While their sister, Niellete Tupas-Balleza, is a national consultant of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Tupas’ younger brother Niel Tupas III, is mayor of their hometown, Barotac Viejo.   Nielex Tupas, the youngest sibling, is on his second term as Iloilo City councilor and another brother, Nielo Tupas, is a member of the Iloilo provincial board. 

Image from Google

Bad tastes for Arroyo? 

Tupas denied criticisms that he is now pursuing the removal from office of allies of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Arroyo because of the string of what happened to his father in the past administration.

In January 2007, the Office of the Ombudsman under Gutierrez ordered the dismissal and removal from office of then Governor Tupas and then provincial board members Cecilia Capadosa and Domingo Oso for grave misconduct for alleged illegal disbursement of P85,000 to the regional chapter of the provincial board members league in 2004.

But Tupas Sr. fought and refused to leave the Capitol despite the 200 heavily armed policemen who stormed the provincial Capitol in an attempt to drag the governor out of his office. Tupas Jr. stood by his father and faced the policemen who aimed their M-16 rifles at him.

This later was settled and the dismissal order junked.

Valley Fault System in the Philippines

Image from

As we wait to get the geo hazard map, I will try to present the Valley Fault System in the Philippines as part of shedding light to countless scare messages we all are receiving about great quakes to happen.

When the Valley Fault system in the Philippines move, we will experience shakes. With the Negros quake that devastated areas in the epicenter, many are now scared of the text messages telling predictions of another giant earthquake. Don't be mislead! Earthquake remains to be one of the calamities we are never capable of foretelling, and not even the aftershocks of this Negros quake can be foretold.

So, to my students who would grab their bags and get ready to run out of the room when aftershocks are felt, here is what you need to know about the Valley Fault System in the Philippines.

With our country forming its part in the Asia-Pacific Ring of Fire, earthquake is given. But that isn't the only thing that might cause shakes here. The Philippine Valley Fault System which is an inter-related system of faults throughout the whole of the Philippine Archipelago is the  primarily cause of tectonic forces compressing the Philippines into what tectonic geophysicists call the Mobile Belt of the Philippines. 

The Philippine Mobile Belt is composed of multiple blocks and strips. Most strips like the Zambales ophiolites which is at least 400 km long and 50 km wide  are long and narrow. The strips generally points north-south and the area of convergence are marked by fault lines. 

The tectonic plates compress and lift parts of the Philippines resulting to faulting. The main fault that runs the longest is called the Philippine Fault. In Luzon, as time goes by, it has been noticed that the fault has become stemmed. All faults in the Philippines are interrelated by the tectonic forces influenced by the Philippine Mobile Belt. 

The following are the Active Fault Lines in the Philippines: 

1. Marikina Valley Fault (Montalban-San Mateo-Marikina-Pasig-Taguig-Muntinlupa-S… Pedro-Binan-Carmona-Santa Rosa-Calamba-Tagaytay-Oriental Mindoro)
2. Western Philippine Fault (Luzon Sea-Mindoro Strait-Panay Gulf-Sulu Sea)
3. Eastern Philippine Fault (Philippine Sea)
4. Southern of Mindanao Fault (Moro Gulf-Celebes Sea)
5. Central Philippine Fault (Entire Ilocos Norte-Aurora-Quezon-Masbate-Eastern Leyte-Southern Leyte-Agusan Del Norte-Agusan Del Sur-Davao del Norte)

First on the list, the Marikina Valley Fault System is a group of slip fault which extends from San Mateo, Rizal to Taguig City; running through Makati, Marikina,ParaƱaque, Pasig and Taguig in the Metropolitan Manila Area. 

The fault movement can cause large scale earthquakes with a magnitude of 7 or higher within the Manila Metropolitan Area capable of causing death toll as high as 35,000 and more than three million needed to be evacuated if that ever happens. 

WE better get ourselves armed with information, so we won't panic everytime we receive messages of the "upcoming earthquake" chain messages.  

Here is the map of the Philippine faults from Philvolcs: