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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, March 10, 2018
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Are the men afraid?

Ninfa Leonardia

It was a foregone conclusion. And the House of Representatives lived up to it by casting 38 votes against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, and only two for her. The only two who did not go with the crowd – note that I didn’t say “mob” – were Congressmen Kaka Bagaso of Dinagat Island and Jose Christopher Belmonte. Well, at least the two had their names in the news for being “different”, when all the others were being “careful.”

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But it is interesting to note what two officials have declared about this impeachment process. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, as glib as ever, reportedly said that this showed that “constitutional processes are at work”. On the other hand, the defendant (do we call her that), embattled Chief Justice Sereno, had also said, “This is a fight for judicial independence”. Brave words, Madam, but I guess all the cards are stacked against you now, to resort to a cliché.

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I congratulate the people who thought up what they have called the “Bantay Bastos” campaign. But tell me, who is the main object of their campaign, and dare they name him? I refer to the person who has been letting loose a lot of “bastos” remarks from his mouth, but has not been chastened by anyone. Will this group be able to do it? Honestly, the shockers that he has mouthed have been condemned by many, but do they have any means of stopping him?

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Anyway, he does not seem to spare anybody. Lately, he has even been blasting members of his own family, calling his elder son a “gangster” and the younger a “womanizer”. Meanwhile, the “BB” (Bantay Bastos”, what else) seeks to hold men, especially those in power accountable for their “bastos” remarks. When will the group move on to their “Bastos” behavior and actions? That is just as important.

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There is a conclusion to all those misogynistic actions and words from the men, the item on Bantay Bastos concluded. It said that the men in government are fearful of woman power! But is that true! Well, statistics seem indicate so. The latest report from “Women in Business 2018 Report” states that the Philippines ranks as the Number One country with the most number of women executives. This was shown in the survey done by Grant Thornton Ltd., said to be one of the biggest networks of accounting and consulting member firms that made the survey on 35 countries!

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Finally, the Justice Department has filed charges against ten members of the Aegis Juris, the fraternity from the University of Sto. Tomas, for the death from hazing of their would-be member, Horatio “Atio” Castillo III. However, other members of the fraternity are now in the clear, and only those who were actually identified and had participated in the vicious hazing have been indicted, so far. Will those who did not even administer a pinch on the victim be charged, too? Well, if they were present and had made no attempt to stop their cruel “brothers”, they could still be included. It is said that in a conspiracy, the crime of one is the crime of all.

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But it should be of little comfort to the parents of young “Atio”, who, from his photo, seemed to be a good-looking young man, who did not deserve to die the way he did. His death, because it had been widely publicized, has moved lawmakers to file measures to put more teeth into the existing law against hazing, but will it accomplish its purpose? I doubt it, because, from all the happenings involving fraternities, previous laws passed had little effect on those college students who seem to be grouped into sadists and masochists, the former probably wanting to get even for the way they had gained entry, and the latter for willingly seeking membership, despite knowing about the sacrifice required for admission. As for those who have been accused, our sympathy is with their parents, who may never see their hopes for their sons realized.

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Meanwhile, a report from the Agence France Presse about a man who saved himself from a fatal heart attack in a clinic in Perth, Australia, could be another “Believe it or not” story. The man who was a nurse, was alone but was quick thinking enough to hook himself to an electrocardiogram that confirmed that he was having an attack. He then e-mailed the results through the Emergency Telehealth Service and an emergency doctor was able to talk to him and give him instructions, which he followed, thus saving himself, and the next day he was flown to a heart hospital, and was released two days later. But doctors warned other people not to try their luck this way, as there is no guarantee it will work for everybody.

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It’s March again and it looks as if it is living up to its reputation as a month for fires everywhere in the country. On TV one sees and hears about fires in various parts of the country, and at the same time sound advice for people to listen to about how to prevent being victimized. Among the most common causes reported are those of “unattended lighted candles” and faulty electrical wirings. So let’s look out for these, and be safe.*

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