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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, February 26, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Thanks to Interpol

Ninfa Leonardia Who has made the Speaker speechless? Only a woman, and that is none other than the President's daughter who resented his having commented on her recent move to form a political party composed of Mindanaons. What a tirade that roused in her father's daughter! But Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez should have known better than to tangle with Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, or Mrs. Carpio. Now its Madam Sara who is getting a lot of publicity, which should not be a problem, if it is ever true that she is girding for a higher position.

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Speculations are that she may make a run for Congress, which should be a whiz, and then maybe try for the speakership. And will Alvarez have a chance against her? These are all speculations, but they could happen, and the escalating media coverage of everything she now says and does is feasted on by the media. Alvarez had figuratively raised the white flag, but the lady is not mollified. She will not even listen to attempts at reconciliation, saying he was no friend in the first place. Atta girl!

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But was it gentlemanly or even decent of spokesperson Harry Roque to congratulate Senator and former Secretary Leila de Lima on the first anniversary of her imprisonment? Maybe he has a personal ax to grind with the lady, but it does look as if he is figuratively rubbing salt on the wounded reputation of the woman who has even been voted a senator of the country. I do not condone whatever real misdeed or crimes against the law she might have committed, but isn't it a truism that no one should not be condemned until proven guilty? Even international organizations have called for her release, but nobody is listening. Maybe she should just be thankful she had not been subjected to EJK.

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At last the prime suspect in the killing and “freezing” of Ilongga Joanna Demafelis, has been located and arrested by the International Police, or Interpol. To their credit, it was the Kuwaiti government that had sought the help of the Interpol. The husband, Nader Assam Assai was caught in his homeland, Lebanon, but his wife has not yet been accounted for, and is believed to be in Syria, her country. They are the ones suspected of stuffing Joanna's body in a freezer in the apartment they abandoned a year ago. And what is this alleged finding that she was still alive when placed in the freezer? At least the long arm of the law has caught up, let it stretch farther to grab the other in Syria, so justice can be served.

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What do Americans think of the new brainchild of their president? A few days ago President Donald Trump was quoted as saying that he wants teachers to be armed. That was his reaction to the recent incident in Florida where a crazed former student got into the school and started a shooting spree where 17 students were killed. To that, their president's remedy is to provide the teachers with guns. I doubt that the teachers will agree. For one, most of them may not even know how to handle a gun, for another, they might lose their temper at a recalcitrant pupil, and use it!

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Anyway, the teachers were cool to the idea, one saying they had more on their hands handling their classes than to be providing guarding duty as well. Some parents suggested more guards, and that seemed more acceptable. What worries me, as far away as we are from that carnage in Florida, is the effect on the children of that bloody incident. The school should provide counseling for those who were exposed to the shooting and even psychiatric help, if possible. One never knows how long that incident will stay in the minds of those who survived, but had actually witnessed it.

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A scary news for us here in the Philippines, however, has something to do with our finances. A business report yesterday said that investments from foreign countries already pledged to us have dropped by 83 percent in the last quarter of 2017. Where the pledges totaled P123.7 billion in 2016, it was only P21.6 billion in 2017! As reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the bulk of these pledges came from the United States, Japan and Singapore.

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They said there would be less EJKs, or extra-judicial killings because the drug war has been assigned to the police. But it seems that, until now, not a day passes without a report about a drug suspect being killed, and in fact, a news item Saturday said “Cops kill 88 more drug suspects in three months”. But the reports no longer say “Nanlaban”, or “they fought back”. So it was just a change of hands?*

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