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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, November 17, 2017
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

The things not mentioned

Ninfa Leonardia

lot of people, columnists among them, have zeroed in on the fact that Vice President Leni Robredo seemed to have been totally snubbed during the recent ASEAN Summit in Manila. I bet some of the visitors, especially the heads of state, were wondering about that, but were too civil to inquire. But lots of Filipinos, I am sure, felt hurt that the woman they had voted for as vice president was not given due recognition at such as important international event. And it is not as if she is the pushy type, who would rush in where she is not invited.

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Well, some malicious people might say, the President already had his “partner” with him although there seemed to be no official acknowledgement of her presence, so the vice president was not necessary to do some of the honors. Anyway, it looked as if the gathering was a sort of mind-your-own-business type. Note that everybody seemed to avoid hurting everybody's feelings, so nobody mentioned human rights or extra-judicial killings, nobody said anything about China's incursions into Philippine territory, not a word was said about Trump's boo-boos or his unpopularity, or about the way Aung San Suu Kyi was dealing with the Rohingya problem in her country.

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In other words, let's not rock the boat, everyone, let's just have fun, and make friends. While the media in most of those countries had been bashing ours for the EJKs and HR violations, their leaders kept mum about them, so solicitous were they of each other's feelings and so distracted by all the pleasurable entertainment, that it must have made a killjoy of anyone who spoke out. Next year will be Singapore's turn to host the ASEAN, let us see if everybody will go home happy, too.

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By the way, I did read a report quoting President Duterte as saying that he did bring up the subject of the EJK's with European Union's Donald Tusk, but he “brushed it aside,” kuno. But who is surprised? Seems he had previously cursed those people who criticized his pet project, so they must have been afraid of discussing it before him! Or they must have been too polite to say something unpalatable to their host, who, after all, had been going out of his way to entertain them, to the point of even serenading them! So EJK and HR were all swept under the rug.

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A Congressman from Iloilo is in hot water with the Ombudsman for allegedly releasing P500,000 for the construction of the Iloilo Press Club Building that the Sandiganbayan said was giving unwarranted benefits to the group that was not an accredited non-governmental organization. However, there seems to be some confusion, because somebody else is said to have constructed the building with his own funds. Well, we hope they can thresh the matter out.

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I am relieved to recall that we never had such problems when we built the Negros Press Club Building. Modi Saonoy was then the president and both Bing L. and I, as former presidents, were among the officers then. The city was willing to let us have the lot near the public plaza, but we had to pay for it to “legalize” the matter. So they made me pay the cost of the lot which, I now forget, was either P100 or P1 only, and Modi had to lead the fund-raising for the structure. So the club owns it now, lock, stock and barrel.

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Oops. I must have tuned into a wrong channel, or heard wrong. Seems it was at the Makati Medical Center and not at the Chinese General Hospital where the operation to restore the young woman's severed arm was done. Anyway, let us wish her the best, and that the re-attachment will be successful, and nobody will ever go through such an accident again. It seems, though, that the train or its operator were not really to blame, because the victim is said to get dizzy spells, and must have gone through one when she lost her balance and got caught between the cars.

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What's the latest on the Isabel Lopez caper? The former beauty queen is under fire, not only for trespassing brazenly in the area reserved for ASEAN delegates, but also bragged about her act that she captured and flaunted on social media. Now that she has found herself being made to answer for it, she has cooked up excuses like answering the “call of nature” and also trying to include all the other motorists who had followed her, in the charges. I hope she will not be able to lay the charm on the MMDA and the Police and traffic officers, much less the ASEAN Security Staff. She must be taught a lesson that will resonate in other potential lawbreakers.*

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