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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, April 27, 2015
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Lacson for island prisons, too

Ninfa Leonardia So Indonesia has its own version of the infamous Gulag Archipelago? We learn that the country has an island called Nusakambangan where maximum security prisoners, particularly those facing execution, are taken when their sentence is about to be implemented. That is where our countrywoman, Mary Jane Veloso is now, waiting for her turn at the firing squad that is scheduled tomorrow. So far, none of the appeals from our government, and even from concerned human rights groups have managed to move the hearts of their officials. So, unless our concerted prayers for a miracle are answered, we will lose her tomorrow.

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Meanwhile, an item on Saturday about the presidential plans of former army general and senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, said that he is in favor of setting up an island prison in our country. I hope he didn't get inspired by Indonesia's Nusakambangan? Not really, because the one he is proposing is for the detention of grafters, especially government officials who had made free with government funds entrusted to them. Is he thinking of sending the likes of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla there? And maybe even former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, too?

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It was mentioned that the islands being considered include Corregidor and Culion. Oh, please, not Corregidor! That will desecrate the memories of the heroism that had been displayed there. What about Culion? That used to be the island where those afflicted with leprosy were taken. At the time, it was an incurable and deforming ailment, but thanks to advances in science and medicine, it has been controlled already. Should the grafters be sent there? Like lepers?

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Even before the island prison of Senator Lacson has been approved, much less prepared, the Office of the Ombudsman seems to be very busy readying potential residents of the place. Note that everyday, more and more reports are coming out about government officials, or former ones, being charged for graft cases. Are they among the prospective “islanders”? Only this weekend, we see reports of several graft charges filed by the Ombudsman, and those involved are people quite popular during their stints in public office.

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There is Rep. Abraham Mitra of Palawan who has been charged for graft and malversation involving only P3 million from the fertilizer fund with connections to a non-government organization. Then there is former mayor Carmencita Daep of Maninto, Albay charged also for graft involving only P2,999,500. Note that it only lacks P500 to also total P3 million. There is also former Bataan Governor Leonardo Roman, also facing graft raps for P3.7 million, the irregularity of which was discovered by the Commission on Audit. And so many others just popping out in the media everyday. What kind of officials did we have in that past term?

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That was a terrible report about an earthquake in Nepal where the latest casualty list is said to have reached 2,500. This is where the famous Mount Everest is located and, as of the latest report, the aftershock from the 7.9 magnitude earthquake are causing more avalanches that are burying people in their paths. What could have happened to the adventurous climbers who continue to dare the trek up that very challenging mountain? Let us pray for the people there who will be needing help, not only to survive, but also to locate the bodies of their loved ones buried in the snow and ice.

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The heat and tension over the coming “fight of the century” between American Floyd Mayweather and our very own Manny Pacquiao is becoming white hot with only a week to go before the clash at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It seems our countrymen are all upbeat over the chances of our Pacman, no matter what the trash-talking Mayweathers, father and son, can say. Me, I think all that bold talk can only be signs of panic, because, as a boxing analyst said on TV, Mayweather has everything to lose, while Manny has everything to gain.

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They may never admit it, but the Mayweathers must be feeling something about the way support and encouragement for Pacquiao keep coming from all kinds of people, and from all over the world. Even showbiz personalities have been flocking to Pacquiao's training areas to show support and wish him luck. Now, our only problem is that all the judges, as well as the referee, are Americans, Mayweather's kababayans. Can they get away with a biased judgment of this fight? They might get lynched!*

 

 

 

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