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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, April 28, 2016
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

The graft courts are cramming

Ninfa Leonardia An item in yesterday's Daily Inquirer said that, while campaigning in the Solid North, a.k.a. Marcos Country, Senator Grace Poe praised the Marcoses and their alleged legacy to the country. Oh! Is she that cunning as a politician already? Perhaps it is because, after noting the ratings of Marcos Jr. in the surveys, she wants to ensure that, if both of them win, she will have planted a good base for them to work together already. But the report seemed to underscore the fact that Imee Marcos, now governor of Ilocos Norte, was non-committal about what she thought of the Poe candidacy.

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But me, I am wary about surveys because we have had some experience in the past when the supposed frontrunners got left behind by supposed tail-enders. I recall that when President Fidel Ramos ran for the post, he had President Cory Aquino behind him, but he didn't seem so hot as a candidate. And yet he won that election. Of course there is someone who continues to claim that it happened through cheating, but could not prove it. Well, we have only about 11 days to go before the moment of truth. Let us just continue praying for our country and guidance to our people, so we can choose the leaders our country can be proud of.

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In the meantime, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan continue to burn the midnight candle as they work on the graft and corruption cases filed against government officials, many of whom are still seeking reelection. Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay has been indicted by the Ombudsman for spending P1.5 million on his sponsorship of an international chess tournament when he was yet head of the Local Water Utilities Administration. And Caloocan Mayor Oscar Malapitan is facing a complaint for allegedly overpriced gifts for senior citizens. The City Sanggunian approved grocery gifts costing P2,000 each, but when the seniors checked, they claimed the packages only cost P200 to P300.

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In North Cotabato, Gov. Emmylou Talino Mendoza has been ordered arrested by the Sandiganbayan for three counts of graft, while a farmers group is also asking the Ombudsman and the Commission on Human Rights to file charges against her for alleged malversation. I guess both the Ombudsman's office and the Sandiganbayan are trying to clean their desks of cases as much as possible before a new administration takes over. As for the LGUs whose officials are facing charges, or are already indicted, maybe the two anti-graft bodies want to spare them from voting for a leader who may end up convicted, or, worse, in prison.

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So it's true that there is a possibility of including professional boxing in the Olympics scheduled to be held in Rio, Brazil this year. And it is also true that the president of the International Boxing Association, Dr. Wu Chingkuo, is just waiting for Manny Pacquiao's decision as to whether he will represent the Philippines in Rio this time. It has been noted, too, that a great excitement awaits the “yes” of Manny, whose international fame precedes him. Will he accept, after having announced retirement? But I agree with all those who think Manny is our best bet to win, at last, a gold at the Olympics after all these years.

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I heard recently that there is a group in Manila, and other parts of the country calling themselves the ABB. Do you know what it means? “Anybody But Binay”! I'm sure that if they make it a national organization, they could still get a lot of members and volunteers, even as of this late day. The fact that the Vice President does not face questions about the charges against him squarely, only saying they have all been answered already, even if not satisfactorily, has probably turned off a lot of his voters. That must be the reason why he tumbled from his 20 percent rating to only 14 in the last survey.

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All the while I had thought that when Grace Poe filed her certificate of candidacy for president, her family were all Filipino citizens already. It turns out that her husband, Neil Llamanzares, only renounced his American citizenship this month! But there was another bit of news that again focused on the family. It said that Llamanzares was not only a military man in the U.S. Army, he was also occupying a very sensitive position as an intelligence officer.

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But what are our courts, our police, our National Bureau of Investigation, our Human Rights organizations doing about the “confessions” of candidate Rodrigo Duterte about the people he had killed? Not only once, but several times, he has boasted about killing people himself, or ordering their killings. All those were recorded in media. Isn't he liable for any of them? That psychiatrist said people like him believe they have impunity in what they say or do. Is it working for Duterte?*

 

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