MANILA, Philippines --- Not only are there ghosts in Manila City Hall, there is a veritable cast of denizens from the beyond populating the nooks and crannies of this venerable edifice. Harmless are the “white ladies” who shimmer at all hours along dim corridors and unused staircases in the interior; these troubled souls (victims of Japanese atrocities?) do not gnaw at the city coffers although they leave employees who happen to see them in a state of shock and awe.
Every office must have a resident group of merry “borrowers,” a type of poltergeists, moré playful than malignant, who purloin important documents like payrolls, vouchers, supporting papers, liquidations, thus aggravating red tape and irritating citizens who expect efficient public service. Recently, there was a mad hunt for the title of the Basa-Guidote property which a previous city administration purchased for R34 million to relocate the Sampaloc market. It is still nowhere to be found and has been missing for more than 10 years now; pranks of these pesky “borrowers,” you can be sure! No amount of ghost-busting by the relentless Dirty Harry – a. k. a. Mayor Alfredo S. Lim – has produced said title.
The Commission on Audit (COA) is showing signs of impatience and has sharpened its scrutiny of city finances. And when the indisputable COA is in a ghost-busting mode, everyone had better march to the same tune, or there will be hell to pay at the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan. In fact, it was the COA who recently alerted Dirty Harry that taxpayers’ money seems to have been falling into the ethereal unseen hands of ghost employees. An experienced detective of NBI fame, Dirty Harry successfully unearthed the ghastly operations and was constrained to expose to the public the ghastly operations of these phantasms that lurk around the Office of the Mayor and the Manila Council, respectively the executive and legislative branches of the local government.
Just like in vampire movies, when Dirty Harry busted the ghost operations of these blood-suckers, thunderbolts shook the earth, blinding flashes of lightning scorched the damned, and a burning hail of tri-media brimstones fell upon the malevolent, screeching creatures of Dante’s Inferno. Fear not, for as long as Dirty Harry is around, there will be no more ghosts at Manila City Hall. (gemma601@ yahoo.co