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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, February 3, 2016
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

What's in Davao

Ninfa Leonardia Davao Mayor and now presidential wannabe Rodrigo Duterte announced recently that if he wins, he will not sleep in Malacañang Palace and will go home to Davao at the end of every day. That should not surprise anybody, did he not say that he has two wives and two girl friends there?

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But he could change his mind, perhaps that was only intended to catch media attention. We know how often he changes his mind. Remember how he had declared over and over that he was not interested in the presidency, and then suddenly filed his certificate of candidacy? Now, last week, he declared that he will go to the Vatican to apologize personally to Pope Paul for cursing him when the Pope's entourage caused a traffic jam in Manila.

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Then yesterday, another news item said he is postponing his trip to the Vatican until after the election. Aha! Does he mean that he wants to go there AFTER he has won the presidency? But some people here, knowledgeable about Vatican audiences, suspect that he may have tried to get one, but getting admitted to the Papal presence is no easy matter, you may have a better chance of calling on President Obama than on the Holy Father. What will the Papal Nuncio, for instance say in his comment on the request for an audience? “Your Holiness, this is the guy who called you P-I-M when you were in Manila”?

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The Supreme Court has ordered the unseating of another congressman when it declared his opponent as the real winner in the 2013 election. Surigao Sur Rep. Philip Pechay has been ordered to give up the post to Elizabeth Ty Delgado. A similar case was that of Marinduque Congresswoman Regina Ongsiako Reyes, who has been ordered to give up the seat to Lord Allan Velasco, but who has tried to cling on until lately. Doesn't it seem unfair that these real winners get to sit less than four months before the next election? Shouldn't the High Court assign a special division to work only on election protests like these? Or does it not believe in the saying “Justice delayed is justice denied”?

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Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is challenging President Aquino to a debate. Of course he knows that his dare is not likely to be accepted, not only because PNoy may feel he is no match for the seasoned lawyer and lawmaker, but because he might be obliged to hold his punches in respect for the 91-year-old solon, who seems to be looking for opportunities to shine, now that he is long past retirement age, and may go without the shining glory he has been expecting.

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After what seemed to be a brilliant career where he was interchangeably hero and villain, now that he is, undoubtedly, in his twilight years, he is facing grave charges, for which he has been detained, and is now only out to do some last minute fling, before finally facing the charges that could mean a disgraceful end to his career. And for that, he probably blames President Aquino because this happened during his administration.

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Well, debates are in fashion these days, what with election looming, not only in the Philippines, but also in the United States where the characters who are offering themselves to the electorate are as colorful or questionable as those running in our country. They have their Donald Trump, former owner of the Miss Universe franchise, who is refusing to join a major debate because he does not like the host, and would rather go out on his own making corny jokes about his opponents. Who is his counterpart in the local scene? But the Great Debate is yet to be staged, and let us see who will back out.

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Oh, oh! The decreases in transport fares have just been announced, and already another hike, a rather big one, has also been reported. Gasoline yesterday went up by P0.45 and diesel by P1.05. So what will the transport officials do now? Recall the orders reducing fares they issued yesterday? Anyway, when the price of fuel started going down, I knew it was not going to last. So when diesel went down below P20, I always kept a full tank. How long the latest one will last, I can only hope it will come when another slash in prices comes.*

 

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