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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, August 9, 2016
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with Ninfa Leonardia

‘Libingan ng mga Bayani at Iba Pa'

Ninfa Leonardia What a shocker that list released by the President to yesterday's media was to all law-abiding citizens! A lot of people I know said they pray to God that not all of those named are really guilty, because what kind of a government had we been under in the past years ran, it seems, by all those scalawags? Not only local government executives, like mayors and vice mayors, congressmen, were listed, even judges were included.


The most fearful angle is, what if some of them are truly innocent, and in their shame, decide to take their own lives? Who will be responsible for that? I must admit that some of the officials whose photos were published, did look like drug users, but who can really tell? The President insists that the names in his list were “validated”. The problem is that, suppose, just suppose, one or two of them are so humiliated, and they resort to filing charges against the president. Poor fellows, they will not get anywhere. Hasn't he repeatedly declared that as president, he enjoys immunity from suit?


However, there is probably a group that would welcome any drastic “solution” that may be applied to any of those powerful people identified to be involved in drugs. These are the poor users and pushers, hundreds of whom have already been sent to kingdom come, or to the opposite side, who will feel vindicated that not only the poor and nameless are being punished. Could we call that poetic justice?


There is a 24-hour ultimatum for all the “nominees” to surrender, or else. After that has lapsed, it could be shoot-to-kill. At the rate this is going there are probably more drug suspects killed than those that communist insurgents, NPA fighters, and Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in the past four years. That could be a record for Ripley's “Believe it or not”. However, it should be reassuring to Negrenses and Bacoleños to know that, so far, their officials are not included in the list.


So it's final. The President has declared that the remains (?) of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos will be interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, or Heroes Burial Ground. And the day announced is September 18. Why not make it September 21 in commemoration of the Declaration of Martial Law by the same person? That will surely make it more significant. Even if he had declared Martial, if those medals he allegedly got for heroism had not been declared fake, perhaps it could be said that he merited a place there.


Photos have been published showing workmen digging up a grave for this “bayani”. I know there are many, especially victims of that dictatorship who are dismayed by this development. For sure Madame Imelda will also try to be buried there herself if she can manage it. Maybe we should change the name of the burial ground to “Libingan ng mga Bayani at Iba Pa” to justify this. Sounds more appropriate.


An item in the national Daily Inquirer yesterday quoted the President as saying that extra judicial killing must stop. So let us hope he noticed the other reports headlined as

•  7 salvaging victims found in Pasay.

•  Kin of narco-cop slain in sting.

•  2 drug suspects slain in Quezon City, Pasay.

•  Fugitive slain, 20 others fall in anti-drug operations.

And is it true that the House Speaker is backing the shoot-to-kill order against narco-politicians? Oh my, there are than a 100 of them in the President's list!


Something to be happy about is the news that Hidilyn Diaz, one of our athletes representing the country at the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Olympics, earned a silver medal yesterday in her division which is weight-lifting. That should inspire the rest, after two of our boxers already hit the dust in their encounters. Let us pray that Hidilyn's silver will not be the only one, and, please, dear Lord, give us a gold for the first time!*



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