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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, July 12, 2016
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Amnesty International comments

Ninfa Leonardia

It has been confirmed: Long gowns and ternos will not be allowed at the gathering for the State of the Nation Address, or SONA, of the President this time. Oh, it will be a dreary SONA if the ladies will not be able to come in their finery, which is among the attractions for those who come to the activity. Seriously, the SONAs are often too long and too boring that the glitter and shine of the dames are an added attraction, or, should we say, distraction?

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And, since the President himself, after conceding to wear the barong, has decided to pair it with denims, what will the dress code for the gentlemen be? Should they take a cue from their leader and pair their delicately embroidered barongs with maong pants, even tattered ones? I bet it will be a colorless parade of ladies and gentlemen coming into the hall, so the audience, especially the women will not have to crane their necks to see what the lady senators and congress members are wearing.

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In the meantime President Duterte has renewed his call to Congress for the revival of death penalty. Well, there are, indeed some senators and congressmen who are of the same mind. But if we consider that more and more alleged lawbreakers, especially of the law against illegal drugs, already falling by the waysides, is there still need for the law to be in place? Already, Amnesty International has slammed our police for “tolerating vigilanteism”. It has also compared the number and method of the recorded deaths to the “DDS operations”. Of course you know what DDS is – Davao Death Squad!

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But there is one point of view about the killings going on and the move to revive the death penalty, that should bear consideration. It came from Rep. Lito Atienza – wasn't he a former mayor of Manila? He says the reimposition could impact on our overseas foreign workers who are in prisons abroad and who are on death row. Before, we could plead for them that such penalty is not existent in our society. With its return, that avenue will no longer be available, if ever it had worked.

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Apparently alarmed by the number of killings allegedly involving drug pushers, traders and users, former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima has pleaded for a stop to what she called summary executions. But how can we stop it, Ma'am, when it was been virtually sanctioned by this administration that had even offered rewards to those who can eliminate the suspects? Well, at least one sector is benefitting from the number of victims who “resisted arrest”, and that is the funeral parlor business.

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So it is not only in Metro Manila where traffic is a major problem. Worse, it seems is Indonesia, where traffic disorders could cause death to commuters. A report Saturday from the wire services said more than 400 motorists were killed during a traffic jam in the city called Brebes, in Java. The report gave few details, but one can wonder how such mortality could result from wayward traffic. That is why, cities with thousands, maybe even millions of vehicles, should take drastic measures to supervise them, or go through similar tragedies.

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I was quite amused to read a report from Cambodia about its Prime Minister giving up the title he had been using for some time now. Perhaps it was the idea of some Information Ministry officials to entitle him as “The Glorious Supreme Prime Minister and powerful Commander.” The Information officials reportedly threatened to revoke the licenses of media outlets who did not use it. However, the title elicited a lot of redicule from some people, and possibly from foreign media, until Prime Minister Hun Sen himself ordered that they stop using it.

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I had the chance to personally meet – well, not in the sense that we were personally introduced – Hun Sen years ago when he was just one of the country's top officials. The leader then was King Norodom Sihanouk who seemed as likable as Hun Sen was aloof. Anyway, Hun Sen did not then look like someone who would want to be “titled” that way, but who could tell then? In fact I remember thinking that he was a look alike to then Bacolod Vice Mayor Boy Drilon. Now he is the Big Man of Cambodia.*

 

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