Daily Star LogoOpinions


Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, February 15, 2018
Front Page
Star Business
Opinion
Sports
Star Life
People & Events

 

Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

De-fanging the Ombudsman?

Ninfa Leonardia The last time it happened was 73 years ago, so reports say. That is, the coincidence of Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day falling on the same day, a Wednesday, this year. Yesterday at mass, I kept sizing up the people around me and tried to determine which were senior citizens and which were minors. This was because, ever since I was a child, I knew that Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season, was a day for fasting and abstinence for Catholics. Which means they are expected to mortify by limiting their food intake, and avoid eating meat.

***

But it was also Valentine's Day, and if you had made a survey of eateries in Bacolod City, you would have seen how full of diners they were and some were not even accommodated because they had not made previous reservations. I knew most of them were Catholics, too, so did they get any dispensation for breaking the fast and abstinence rule? The rule, of course, exempts seniors and those who are sickly or ill, but what about the hale and hearty ones? I once had a friend who, before breaking that rule, would just make the sign of cross on her mouth and stomach, and tell us she was exempted.

***

I caught a feature on TV the other day showing former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle with their newly painted portraits and the artists who did them. The couple seemed very pleased with the art work, but since they had different artists, there was a great deal of difference between them, and even in the artists' interpretations. The former president was seated in a relaxed pose with a background of leaves and flowers, while the former first lady had a starker pose wearing a black blouse and a billowing stark white skirt.

***

Will those paintings be displayed in the White House, or in their own home? The artists, by the way, were identified as Kihinde Wiley for Barack, and Amy Sherald for Michelle. Both are also African-Americans. Oh, and, by the way, the artists were featured on CNN that showed their paintings and were interviewed by no less than CNN's girl wonder, Christiane Amanpour. Will she do the same when Donald Trump and his Melania have their portraits done, too?

***

It looks as if the Office of the Ombudsman is gradually being defanged, as shown by some cases it has decided on, and penalties it has imposed that may have no teeth, after all. The case against former Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia could be an example. After the Ombudsman ruled for her dismissal and prohibition from public service, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to whose office she now belongs, refuses to implement the order. It does seem as if he has justification – she was, after all, a governor when the alleged violations took place and that was the office from which she should be dismissed. Don't be surprised if this case goes from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court as well. By the way, couldn't Garcia have invoked the “unreasonable delay” plea? But Garcia has announced a plan against the decision. She said she may run for governor of Cebu again in the next election. Abangan!

***

My, my! I wish I had a chance to work with the incumbent Tourism secretary, too. Imagine, a front page item in the Philippine Star reported that she takes along members of her staff, even her make-up artist, whenever she travels abroad! Seems she is so kind, she gives them all opportunities to travel with her. Her utility workers, clerks, messengers, drivers, bookkeepers, accountants, have all gone on various trips abroad with her, to such countries as Dubai, London, Taiwan, Russia, the United States, Australia, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom Canada and perhaps more.

***

Why didn't I think of applying for a job at the DOT? Maybe they need someone to write glowing press releases? The campaign of the DOT was supposed to be the recycled “Bring Home a Friend”. Maybe it should be changed to “Bring out your friends”. Some people are wondering how the President will react to that report. I think he may even justify her decisions. Or maybe her brother, the influential columnist Ramon Tulfo of the Inquirer, will explain why all those employees had to be taken along. Let's wait and see.

***

Now what? The President is very mad at businesswoman and philanthropist Loida Nicolas Lewis for allegedly conspiring with the International Court of Justice to probe him for the incidents of EJKs (extra-judicial killings) in the country after he assumed office. But feisty Loida reportedly laugh it off, saying, well, not exactly “fake news”, but not true. The President's claim that he had transcripts of her phone conversations on the matter, she said, is “bogus” because they only use the internet and teleconference for communication. So who is telling the truth? Another exciting development is in the offing.*

back to top


   
  Email: visayandailystar@yahoo.com