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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, April 16, 2018
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OPINIONS

Are only two being charged?

Ninfa Leonardia

When I saw the name Nestor Mata in the news, I was puzzled at first. Where did I hear the name of the guy? But the first line of the story recalled everything. He was the lucky passenger who was the lone survivor in the airplane that killed very popular President Ramon Magsaysay in that accident where their group came from Cebu. This was years and years ago, we were in school then, but the mourning for Magsaysay was palpable everywhere. He was the hope of the country after he defeated the elderly one in power who was being hounded by a lot of reports about irregularities.

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Mata, indeed, still had a mission in life. He was a journalist and was covering the trip of the president and according to reports, he survived because he was seated at the tail-end of the plane and was fast asleep when the crash happened. He continued his work as a journalist, working for several daily newspapers until his retirement, and when he died, he was already 92 years old. It was if he was making up for all the other young lives that were lost in that crash.

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Now the excitement is all about the coming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections and let us hope those in charge will be very serious about weeding out the candidates, for either position who may be involved in illegal drugs. So it is the responsibility of every voter in this election to reveal to the authorities any candidate they know who has any links to the use or trading of the substance, if they want their barangays to be free of the plague and their youth to be free from it.

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A former secretary of the Department of Energy and his mother, who is mayor of Palo Leyte, are facing charges for their alleged involvement in the infamous fertilizer fund scam. Remember? That was the scandal of scandals where so many officials were named and supposedly involved. But why do we hear now of only these two being indicted? What about the others, holding various positions who were also initially named as involved in that scandal? Why only former Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla and his mother, Mayor Remedios Petilla? What about those other officials who had also been named in reports before?

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A lot of people are wondering why Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is discouraging her father, the president, from going into talks with the rebels. Maybe the woman has the good sense to believe that it may all come to nothing except for the rebels to gain some time to recoup. Will her pa listen to her? I will not be surprised if he does, and also if he is training her for some bigger responsibilities in the country. The recent exposure in China could be an indication. But what if the anti-Dynasty law is actually passed? Will it mean his giving way to her? This is something to watch out for.

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It looks like the season of sports in the Philippines now with the opening of the Palarong Pambansa yesterday in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Some of the country’s biggest names in sports are expected to be at the opening rites, probably to give inspiration to the students athletes. The noted sports personalities include bowler Paeng Nepomuceno, billiards whiz Efren “Bata” Reyes, sprint queen Lydia de Vega Mercado, weightlifter Hidelyn Diaz and boxer Manny Pacquiao, among others. President Duterte was the scheduled guest speaker at the opening rites.

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Speaking of Manny Pacquiao, it has been announced, and I think, confirmed that he is due for another fight again soon and that he will face a certain Martin Matthysse who, I understand, is a younger and very capable opponent. But why has Pacquiao left out his usual team in this fight? For one, he has ditched Freddie Roach who has trained him in all his big fights. Then I hear, too, that Bob Arum is no longer in the picture. What happened? He has lost faith in those men who had shared so many of his triumphs? I wish he will have a change of mind.

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In other field of sports, we also have our Azkals – do you still remember that they were named after stray dogs or asong kalye? – are now in high spirits because they have qualified for the Asian Cup, a dream long nurtured by this team and others before it. Well, football can be considered among the really big league games, so being able to clash with the best of ‘em in the running is surely a great achievement already. And I am sure Philippine fans will be rooting and praying for them all the way.*

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