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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, February 26, 2016
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Imelda in the lions' den

Ninfa Leonardia It was a Wednesday, so Imelda Marcos, now a congresswoman, decided to hear mass at the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, the favorite of devotees of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. As news reports had it, she probably did not know that the mass was a special one being offered for the victims of Martial Law atrocities! But trust it to the Lady with 3,000 pairs of shoes, to have the grit to stay there, on a wheelchair, right before the altar, even as the priest gave a homily focusing on Martial Law!

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Maybe Imelda was praying to our Lady of Perpetual Help for her victory in the coming election, and that of other members of her family who are candidates now, especially Marcos Jr. a.ka. Bongbong. If the anti-Marcos activists and Martial Law victims had not been there, would she have walked on her knees down the church aisle as she used to do when her own case was being tried in the New York court? My cousin, who worked at the United Nations then and also went to the St. Patrick Cathedral for mass, told us they used to see Imelda doing that there.

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I wonder how the congregation at the Redemptorist Church would have behaved if Imelda, who was not in her signature ternos, but in a simple dress, had not been in a wheelchair. As it was, photos taken at the church showed her sitting there, alone, with the massgoers looking curiously at her. If she felt threatened, or insecure, she did not show it, but certainly, she did not look as imperial as she used to. Times have really changed.

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Personally, I am very happy that all the major dailies, as well as radio and TV networks concentrated so much on the happenings at EDSA and the atrocities of Martial Law so the young people could not help being aware of how it would be in case our country is again unfortunate enough to allow itself to be headed by one with dictatorial tendencies. The experience of their parents and elders narrated so vividly in the media should implant in their minds and hearts that never again should they allow or tolerate a regime that could cost our country so many lives and hopes.

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The political party of Vice President Jejomar Binay claims that their candidate has the best record in poverty alleviation. Oh? Whose poverty, then? Of course they probably do not mean Binay's because he has already announced on national TV during the debate with all five presidential bets participating, that he had inherited properties from both his father and his mother. But a lot of viewers were astounded at that, because all these years he had been stressing how poor he had been as a child, a sob story that must have earned a lot of sympathy for him.

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That was until exposés were made about the landholdings he and his family now own, aside from those allegedly in the name of dummies. Of course such properties as the unbelievable replica of Britain's Garden supposedly a project of his wife, herself a former Makati mayor now also facing corruption charges, was declared to be owned by a Filipino-Chinese businessman, who later found himself slapped with tax dues in millions of pesos. Did he alleviate the poverty of his Fil-Sino friend, too?

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It must be true that if you steal, do it by the millions and you have better chance of getting away with it. That is because you can afford to hire the most clever of lawyers who know how to delay your case for the longest possible time, if not get you acquitted with courtroom maneuvers. In the case of a Quezon City prosecutor, what he allegedly did was wrong, but the amount could be considered peanuts compared to the billions other officials stole.

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The Quezon City prosecutor was ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman for allegedly accepting a bribe of P100,000 from a litigant, who squealed on him. Aside from dismissal, he was also imposed a lifetime ban from public office, and fined the equivalent of one year's salary! The Ombudsman also took into account the fact that he sold to the briber P3,000 worth of raffle tickets for a church affair. The foolish man seems not to have let his right hand know what his left hand was doing.*

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