The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today declared the Daza political dynasty as an enemy of the people in Northern Samar in exemplifying the rottenness of bureaucrat capitalism in the country. “The Daza dynasty, led by Congressman Raul Daza and his son Governor Paul Daza, runs Northern Samar like a business in favor of the ruling classes of landlords and comprador big bourgeoisie as well as US imperialism,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. “Thus, NDF-EV agrees with those who want to dismantle and do away with political dynasties such as the Dazas of Northern Samar. The revolutionary government also calls on the public to provide information in the continuing preliminary investigation into the crimes of the Daza dynasty towards the filing of formal charges in the people’s court.”
Fr. Salas said the dynasty’s patriarch, Congressman Raul Daza, has made a lifelong career in reactionary politics as well as being involved in the anticommunist and counterrevolutionary social-democratic movement. “Raul Daza has been in Northern Samar politics before and after the Marcos dictatorship, but he really began his family’s stranglehold on the province in 2001 after being elected governor. He and his son Paul Daza merely exchange places as congressman and governor to avoid term limitations. While the province wallows in misery as one of the poorest provinces in the country, the Daza dynasty is filthy rich from massive corruption, plunder and misgovernance. A stalwart of the puppet president Aquino’s Liberal Party, the Daza dynasty is also a willing accomplice to continuing human rights violations under Oplan Bayanihan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. While the puppet Aquino regime fosters the illusion of good governance, the reality is shown by its ally the Daza dynasty that stinks to the skies with its involvement in crimes such as illegal gambling, illegal drugs, and extrajudicial killings.”
The NDF-EV spokesperson noted the following accusations against the Dazas that are being looked into:
1. Plunder. The Dazas drained the P3 billion foreign-funded Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project for their own benefit. While supposedly meant for the peasants, HCAAP’s construction of an irrigation dam, farm-to-market roads and other plans have largely remained unfinished after ten years even as the funding has been used up.
2. Systematic corruption. For one, the Dazas control the provincial projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, where notoriously high 30% kickbacks are enforced on private contractors. Thus, construction projects in Northern Samar are seldom finished, and when finished at all are easily damaged for being of inferior quality. The Dazas also have shares in other major businesses in the province because of their political power. While the people suffer from traveling on atrocious roads, Gov. Paul Daza in August 2012 bought three Toyota Hi-Ace vans for himself and his staff and bodyguards, nine Toyota Innova mini-vans for his allies in the provincial board, and three Toyota Hi-Lux pickup trucks for the provincial government’s reserve use, all these worth P16 million.
Basic social services also suffer from the Dazas’ avarice and patronage politics. Even as the province suffers from natural calamities and agricultural pests, the Dazas do not provide disaster relief or any agricultural assistance to the peasants and the people. The Dazas also use the government’s PhilHealth program to force people to support the Liberal Party, because otherwise they cannot avail of medicines. Only Liberal Party members and those who are pro-Daza can avail of scholarships given out in the province. Teachers who want to work in the province also have to shell out at least P10,000 as grease money to obtain a position.
3. Involvement in illegal drugs and illegal gambling. The underworld criminal activities of the dynasty are handled by a Daza family member who is not involved in politics, along with the current police provincial chief S/Supt. Isaias Tonog and his brother Eman “Abdul” Tonog, a government employee but also a member of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. S/Supt. Tonog was removed from the service in 2009 due to cases related to illegal drugs but was reinstated in 2011, while his brother was involved this November 2012 in the fatal shooting of a pedicab driver in the provincial capital, Catarman.
The Dazas are widely suspected of dealing in illegal drugs and are believed to be responsible for the spread of cocaine in the province and beyond. Their area of operations for drug dealing is said to be at the University of Eastern Philippines in Catarman.
The Dazas are known to rake in millions of pesos every day from illegal “swertres” lotto gambling that is widespread in Northern Samar towns. In a single barrio in a hinterland town, an investigation by the revolutionary government showed the dynasty’s gambling operations made P15,000 every day. “Swertres” is common in the 569 barangays of Northern Samar.
4. Political killings and other human rights violations. The Dazas are suspected to be behind various murders of those who oppose them as well as that of social activists. S/Supt. Isaias Tonog is believed to be the principal henchman of the Daza dynasty in these killings, with ex-Army soldier Jerry Espera as a key accomplice. At least seven people are known to have been killed because of their knowledge of the HCAAP scam and other anomalous projects, as well as the illegal drugs operation of the dynasty. These victims include Engr. Victorio de Silva, Engr. Alex Lim, Atty. Eduardo Potot, and two police officers. The former soldier Espera is also linked to the extrajudicial killings of political activists Fr. Cecilio Lucero and Dr. Bartolome Resuello in Northern Samar. Today the Dazas are also rabid supporters of the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan that has caused widespread militarization and human rights violations in the province.
Fr. Salas said that once the preliminary investigation is over, formal charges will be filed before the people’s court against Cong. Raul Daza, Gov. Paul Daza, and their henchmen such as S/Supt. Isaias Tonog, Eman Tonog, Jerry Espera, and others. “The NDF-EV is calling on the victims as well as the people who suffer under the Daza dynasty’s reign of greed and terror in Northern Samar to provide testimonies and other evidence in the ongoing investigation. When formal charges have been filed against the Dazas and their henchmen, the people’s court may order the accused to appear before it or else order the New People’s Army to arrest them. However, the revolutionary government may also of course order the NPA to arrest the suspects at any time during the investigation should it be deemed necessary.
“Let us dismantle the Daza dynasty and its reign of greed and terror. Let us expose and oppose the political dynasties that arise from the cesspool of bureaucrat capitalism to oppress and exploit the people. Let us fight for justice, freedom and democracy in Northern Samar and the entire country.”#