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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, March 9, 2018
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OPINIONS

The dreams of Imee

Ninfa Leonardia

“Don’t look at me”. That seems to be what President Duterte is saying about the problem that Supreme Court Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno is facing, or should we say, faced yesterday? But some people obviously do not believe that, because the government’s Solicitor General and congressmen and women identified with him are the ones working on the impeachment case against the woman chief justice. No wonder the women’s groups are looking askance at the whole business with some of them considering it another issue against their sex.

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But the woman is fighting back, slamming the administration for persecuting her. Maybe former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima is of the same thinking? Worse, De Lima continues to be detained and cannot even perform her duties as senator, although she has not been judged by any court yet. Somehow, nothing in her experience as a lawyer and even as a Justice Secretary, has given her the know-how on how she can get out of the situation she has been placed in.

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Once again the issue of the National Identification system has come up and expect a lot of objections from various groups, especially when it was disclosed that the project is going through even without a law being passed authorizing it. Me, I have always held to the position that there is nothing wrong with it, especially if it can serve as an all-around identification that can facilitate matters without the old red tape winding through every transaction one makes, especially with government.

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The national I.D. if it does get implemented, should be like an omnibus one that can get individuals through so many transactions, with banks, with government offices, with transportation companies, etcetera, etcetera. Including even for availing of senior citizens discounts, buying travel tickets, enrolling in schools, and all these. I am sure it will facilitate a lot of transactions, to say nothing about being saved from carrying several cards on your person wherever you go.

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But I did raise my eyebrows when I saw in the news item about it that the one announcing it is National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon. The name rang a bell and I remember him as among the security people of former President Fidel Ramos during one of his state visits abroad, of which I was among the media people in the party. The news report yesterday also said that Esperon was questioned by Philippine Star columnist and associate editor Marichu Villanueva and he evaded answering her.

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Now Marichu and I were among those with the President in that trip to, I think it was to the Czech Republic, and Esperon was on the security team of the President. I don’t know what Marichu’s impression were of him then, but me, I thought he was rather high-handed. Maybe I imagined it, but when I met him again later, I was with my cousin who had been his superior in the military before, and he seemed to be a different fellow, very respectful and accommodating. Maybe I should have told him while abroad that President Ramos is also my relative!

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Well, it was too good to be true. We had just heard that the Manila Railroad Transit trains had been moving smoothly for several days, and then news came out that passengers were again unloaded recently because it malfunctioned again. Was it a lemon that our government had purchased? It seems as if it has spent more time being repaired and waiting for parts to replace worn-out ones, that it has ferrying passengers. Wasn’t there some guarantee that accompanied its purchase? Wasn’t it blessed before it started operations? My grandmother would have said they should ask a “sirjuano” or witch doctor, to perform some rituals on it to drive away evil spirits. Will they try it?

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Maybe she was inspired by the President’s statement about dynasties. Now Imee Marcos, daughter of the late Martial Law dictator, has announced that she may seek a national position in the 2019 elections. Seems she is banking on her late father’s legacy that they are proud of, citing the dams, irrigation, rural electrification, and highways that he built which she called his “legacy”. Alas, a lot of people only remember him for the killings, the repressions, the rise of insurgency triggered by his dictatorial government, and so forth, and so on. But let her and her family dream on.*

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