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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, October 17, 2016
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

The courting of Duterte

Ninfa Leonardia Now, I am not saying who is going to do the courting. It could be our president, who is going a-visiting with an entourage of some 400 hangers-on or more, or China, who will lionize him and company so they will all forget about the decision of the International Court of Arbitration that the West Philippine China Seas that they are claiming are legally and historically yours.

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The editorial cartoon of the Inquirer yesterday couldn't have said it better. It displays our president bringing to the Chinese a request to fish in his own territorial waters. Ironic, but couldn't that happen? Another one should come out showing both leaders thumbing their noses at the International arbiter. What a sad story, but it could be true, you know. Of course we are not the only one doing the wooing, China has already waved some $3 billion dollars as “assistance” and other favors for us. It is even bestowing our President a Doctorate degree from the University of Beijing. Let him thumb his nose now at Ateneo that reportedly expelled him!

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And so what if the International Criminal Court may charge our president and other officials for “supposedly condoning and encouraging” the bloody campaign against illegal drugs? The Philippine Senate has already preempted them and has already absolved the President while the ICC is still thinking it over. The head of the Senate Committee on Human Right and Justice, Senator Richard Gordon, has cleared him of any liability, so there!

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Meanwhile, the national media continue to report on news regularly, even everyday, like: “7 more dead in drug hit” in Malate, and Pasig; “Manila village chief slain, drugs eyed”; 231 dead over drugs since July – Quezon City Police District”; “12 drug suspects killed” in Bulacan, Ilocos Sur, Cagayan, Camarines Sur, and Batangas; 3 drug suspects gunned down” in Calamba, Mandaluyong, and Pasig; “2 barangay officials in Manila shot dead in drug raid,” and so on. Expect more in today's news, too.

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Probably stung by the criticisms of former President Fidel Ramos about his concentration on drugs, to the apparent neglect of other issues, President Rodrigo Duterte signed and released on Thursday the development plan prepared by the National Economic Development Administration that projects “No more poverty in 2040” in the Philippines. Now, isn't that heartening news? In 16 years, nobody will be poor anymore in our country. Sadly, though, few of us now reading that wonderful news, will be around to see if it comes true. Not even the President himself, who claims to be 71 now, can be sure of still being around to see happy, healthy and progressive Pinoys, who no longer have to go to other countries to earn a living. Our millions of overseas workers will just be characters of history, with our young people probably asking what were the OFWs. Why did we have them? What a Utopia this country should be, by then. Cross your fingers.

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Meanwhile, brace yourself for the very likely event that the burial of the unlamented Philippine dictator and Martial Law author, Ferdinand Marcos, will take place after the President and entourage return from China. Reports say he has already assured the late dictator's family that he will see to it that the transfer of the Libingan ng mga Bayani takes place as he has promised. I bet there will be a lot of turning in the graves there when this happens, from the real heroes who might be crying out, “Let us out of here!”

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I got an email from my cousin Amiel Leonardia in Canada who commented on my mention in this column about the mythical Trojan Horse in connection with the President's visit to China. Amiel said Trojan Horse is now associated to the “Iliad” by the Greek writer Homer, who also wrote the Odyssey since they came first. Virgil is supposed to have been inspired by them. Oh! Wikipedia only says that “the event is also referred to in Homer's Odyssey”. Anyway, the moral of the story continues to be applicable to our times, doesn't it?*

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