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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, May 5, 2016
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

He doesn't need the Catholic vote!

Ninfa Leonardia Jesus Maria y Jose! This is what one of Bacolod's most successful law practitioners texted me last night, quoting what presidential candidate, Rodrigo Duterte, said probably in reaction to the latest exposé about him, and the exhortations of some groups against his behaviour: “I don't need the Catholic vote! I have many supporters. P_ _ _ I_ _ _, ang daming religion diyan!”

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And my lawyer friend also quoted what Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said: “When we find vulgarity funny, we have really become beastly and barbaric as a people. When a revered and loved man like Pope Francis is cursed by a presidential candidate and the audience laughs, I can only bow my head and grieve”. Indeed, Duterte is a disgrace to Filipinos and to the country.

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How can we save our country from Duterte? With so many of our fellow Filipinos apparently mesmerized by his crass behavior and foul language that respects no one, and his plans for the country that can only send shivers down our spines, what should we do on May 9 to save our country and awaken our people from their fascination with someone, who, like the legendary Pied Piper of Hammelin, played his pipe and lured all the children of Hammelin to perdition?

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In Kenya, a baby, only one and a half years old, was discovered, still alive after three days in the rubble of a building that had collapsed and killed more than 23 people. The baby was dehydrated, but otherwise, unharmed and is now being nursed back to health in a hospital. Everyone I know who heard the story reacted by saying, “This child had a guardian angel watching over him”. Dear Lord, please activate the guardian angels of our country and save us from impending evil. Amen.

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I like the idea of senatorial candidate and Red Cross boss Richard Gordon to require that plate numbers of motorcycles be made bigger and more visible. The way those cycles wind in and out of traffic, often with another person, or persons, riding with them often covering the number, and making them impossible to identify when they are involved in accidents. Note that not a single day passes without a motorcycle accident reported, some cases with fatal consequences.

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The report about three foreigners who drowned while vacationing in Boracay could give a black-eye to our number one seaside resort. This week it was reported that a Japanese who went snorkeling had drowned, and after him, a Taiwanese swimming near the Willy's Resort also drowned. A South Korean woman was the next victim, and it was noted that she had suffered chest pains while swimming. One wonders if the life-guarding system in Boracay is efficient enough.

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Meanwhile, have you noticed how often accidents are reported about buses, jeepneys, and even private vehicles falling into ravines, and causing deaths and injuries to passengers? Most of the reported cases are in Luzon, so it is a wonder why the Department of Public Works and Highways does not do something to mark out and provide those danger spots with railings strong enough to block a stray vehicle. Maybe some of the accidents are due to drivers' faults, but if the safeguards are there, at least lives will be spared.

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One can only wonder what is in the once erudite mind of Miriam Santiago. I am saddened to hear or read about her statements of being deprived by the surveys, or of the people not being discerning enough to appreciate what she has to offer. But it seems clear to everyone how sickly she is now, so who would want to put her into a position what would stress her so much? I hope it is not because she is hoping to go with a state funeral, in case her cancer conquers. And I also hope all the stress and problems of the campaign will not show their effects before this is all over.*

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