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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, July 18, 2016
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

A FAMAS worthy performance?

Ninfa Leonardia WOW! The award-winning Philippine movie director Brilliante Mendoza will direct the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte. Mendoza is, of course, the Pinoy director who was twice won awards at the movie world's most prestigious center, Cannes. I wonder if President Duterte's performance will merit an award for him, too? I just hope he will remember directions and not burst into adlibs all the time. If not from Cannes, maybe FAMAS will do.

***

Last week, an item in the Tribune said that an Indian firm had sent candidate Donald Trump 6,000 tea bags because it is supposed to “cleance his soul”. Evidently, it worked soon enough, because it looks as if Trump had the inspiration to choose a man who appears acceptable to Americans as his vice president. Mike Pence, the one he chose, is presently governor of Indiana and a former radio talk show host. The report on him say he is the opposite of Trump because he is more conservative. Will he be able to calm Trump down?

***

It is just like in the Philippines where we have a blustering guy for president and a very calm, conservative lady for vice president. I note that she even seems to affect President Duterte and makes him act like a schoolboy, punctuating his sentences to her with respectful “Ma'ams”, and asking her not to call him “Sir”. Seems like our political conditions are running parallel with those of the United States. Meanwhile, I haven't found out yet who has been picked by Hillary Clinton for her running mate. In the U.S., I understand the vice does not have to worry much, as he or she gets elected with the president.

***

Have you noticed that China has not been issuing as aggressive statements about the Permanent Court of Arbitration decision in our favor lately? Maybe it has realized that a lot of other countries are accepting it to honor the ruling of what it is believed to be the oldest court in the world. For one, Japan has issued statements rallying delegates to the Asia-Europe Summit to respect the ruling of the International court. Also, members of the European Union are urging countries involved to see a peaceful end to the dispute. Let us hope China will listen to reason.

***

Even members of royal families are no longer spared by intrigues these days. A wild rumor went around, not only in Japan, but in international media that emperior Akihito of Japan is abdicating in favor of his son. This was because of reports that the emperor has been suffering from prostate cancer as well as heart problems. But the imperial household has promptly denied the stories and say that there is no such plan of abdication.

***

Now that he is no longer vice president, and his immunity from suit has been stripped off, former Makati mayor Jejomar Binay has to brace himself for all the charges that have been hanging in the air while he was in office. And so we now see headlines about the case he had managed to evade before. The Office of the Ombudsman wasted no time in filing, rather, indicting him for graft, malversation of public funds, and falsification of public documents.

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But now ordinary citizen Binay beat them to the draw by posting bail before his arrest warrant could be issued. This involved the P2.28 Billion Makati City Hall Building II. Why there had to be a second city hall, we don't know. But, in posting bail, the former vice president was with his son and namesake, Jejomar Jr., better known as Junjun, who succeeded him as mayor, and who is also being charged for the construction of the Makati Car Park Building that was began by his dad and completed by the son in 2007. For his part in that, Junjun was dismissed from office and disqualified perpetually from holding a government position.

***

The former vice president has belittled the charges against him, and I supposed also those against his son and his wife, who had also been mayor of Makati somewhere in between his term and that of his junior. Now the mayor of Makati is a daughter, one who used to be a congresswoman, referred to as Mayor Abigail Binay, although I understand she is married, and legally carries the name of her husband. The other daughter Nancy Binay, is now a senator, also married, but still using the family's “magic” political name of Binay.*

 

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