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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 3, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Marijuana has
found its place

Ninfa Leonardia The news item was headed: “2 drug suspects arrested”. How lucky they are! A few months ago the report would have said “28 drug suspects shot dead”, or some similar headline. At least the EJK is no longer in fashion, and the police are actually arresting suspects, not meting death sentences as they go. Well, how many were victimized by the EJKs (extra-judicial killings in case you have forgotten)? Did the figures exceed 3,000, and how many of their families were able to seek justice and file charges against those responsible for the deaths of their sons, brothers, husbands, fathers?

***

But they say this is now just “tokhang”, so the suspects are no longer liquidated, but just arrested. And we have not heard yet about any of them shot for “trying to resist” or fighting back, as the old victims were said to have done. But is it true that some of the agents who are implementing the new version of tokhang are carrying Bibles as they go about their missions? No wonder some clergymen are protesting. They think it is not proper to carry the Holy Book while engaging in such activity.

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Why do we have such combative officials in our government nowadays? Note how the Senate and the Lower House are so often at loggerheads, especially over the issue of amending the Constitution. Until now, it is not clear if it will go through the Con-Ass (Constitutional Assembly) or the Con-Con (Constitutional Convention). And it looks as if the Lower House is using its members to intimidate the Senate because the Congressmen, especially the Speaker, seem hell-bent on the Con-Ass.

***

Why don't they want the people to have a share in the decisions involving the amendments to our Charter? Jokes have already come out saying that the Con-ass will be a gathering of asses. Truth to tell, the people of the Philippines should be given a chance to share their views and this can only happen if a constitutional convention is created to work on the changes. Will the Senate, that has only 24 members be stampeded on by the representatives?

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But it is not only the House and the Senate that seem not to see eye-to-eye on issues. We also have no less that the President himself and the Ombudsman who are locking horns over the suspension of a deputy Ombudsman whom Malacañang wants suspended for being the one who had allegedly disclosed false information about the President's bank accounts. Now, the Lady Ombudsman is no pushover and refuses to have her deputy suspended. Madame Conchita Carpio Morales is standing her ground and insisting that Malacañang has no power to suspend a member of her court.

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Those who believe in her position are pointing out a Supreme Court decision in 2014 that the President does not have the power to suspend an Ombudsman, but Malacañang apparently does not believe it applies in this case. So the Supreme Court may have to come in, but will it go against a ruling by a predecessor? This will be a test of the High Court's mettle, but what if its Chief Justice also gets impeached, as a case for it is going on?

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We congratulate the Manila Bulletin on its 118 th anniversary that it marked yesterday. Oh how wonderful it is to think that a newspaper has survived that long in this country. So many others have come and gone, but it has steadfastly gone on, hewing to the middle ground and keeping up with the later and more aggressive ones. We in the DAILY STAR, who are celebrating our 35 th year in April, can only sigh and pray that our little Star could also find its way to serve that long! By the way, it was the Manila Bulletin that had given Bacolod City the award as the “Most Livable City in the country” recently.

***

Now, this is very interesting. The city of San Francisco is said to be “wiping clean” all convictions for the use of marijuana back to 40 years ago because the state of California has legalized its recreational use. Does that mean that those convicted and jailed will all be set free? I can just imagine marijuana, or pot, smokers doing their thing in public. Will the smoke they emit can make those around them high, too? I am sure that other countries may soon follow suit and also legalize pot. This was how tobacco also got legalized long ago, after being declared a menace, wasn't it?*

 

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