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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, July 21, 2016
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

GMA thanks Duterte

Ninfa Leonardia The Supreme Court has reportedly created 241 courts that will handle illegal drugs cases exclusively. My, that's very good news, as it could mean that the cases will be decided quickly. But what if all those who surrendered will be considered pardoned, as the President has hinted? The new courts may not have anything to do anymore. But then, perhaps some new kind of crime will come up that could be assigned to them.

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Many people are astounded at the speed in which the Supreme Court had acted on the appeal of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Some ask why she had never sought the dismissal of the case before. Was it because she heard President Duterte say that he would free her from hospital arrest? That must have been the cue for the court, and for her lawyer. Other appeals take years, but this one, I think, took only weeks.

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And, indeed, the first statement from Madam Arroyo was to give her “most profound appreciation to His Excellency, Rodrigo Duterte”. Well, the High Court justices voted 11-4 in her favor. Of those 11, eight were appointed by her when she was president. And of those who voted against, three were appointed by President Benigno Aquino III, and only was an Arroyo appointee. Now Mrs. Arroyo has warned that she is going to run after her “tormentors”. Will President Duterte help in the running?

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Meanwhile, one of the latest big shots indicted by the Ombudsman is the former chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority and also former Marikina mayor Bayani Fernando, who used to be considered one of the best mayors in the country, who is being charged for allegedly receiving P1.6 million in birthday gifts. Fernando claims the money was given to him as honorarium, but the Commission on Audit does not agree with that, since the amount is said to have come from government funds. So it won't be a very happy birthday for him this year, or at least, until he can convince the Ombudsman that it was all on the level.

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Former Vice President Jejomar Binay got mad at Senator Antonio Trillanes for suggesting that the fabulous Batangas hacienda, a la Kew Gardens in England, be converted into a rehabilitation center for drug addicts. Of course Binay had been repeating over and over again that his family does not own the tourist attraction, but who believes him? There was that Chinese man who came out and claimed ownership of the hacienda, but, alas, nobody believed him also. So if there is no real owner, why not go with the Trillanes brainstorm and convert it to a rehabilitation haven? I'm sure many drug users will fight to be held there.

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President Duterte is said to be eyeing links between China and the coming in of illegal drugs to our country. Why, has there ever been any doubt about that? Note that the biggest hauls from raids on drug traders were found to involve Chinese men. And, just recently, a ship, discovered to be a laboratory for producing shabu, was found to be manned by Chinamen. One even wonders if the deadly shabu was not invented by them. Perhaps the intention was to drug as many of our people as possible so we will lose all resistance to their plans.

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By the way, what happened to the project of Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr. of paying P50,000 to every drug offender who surrenders? I'm sure that must have cost a good amount of cash, while all over the land, users, pushers and traders, were jostling each other in surrendering for free! Anyway let us all hope that what is happening will be a real end to the country's drug problem, and that those who had given up will continue to stay away.

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It is quite exciting to think about the Miss Universe pageant being held in our country, but I hope the President will not insist that everything be kept “simple” as he is ordering for the SONA dress code. Can he stop the candidates from displaying the fabulous gowns their countries' best couturiers and designers have created? Of course I don't expect him to say that about their swimsuits. I even think he will say, the less coverage, the better.*

 

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