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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, March 15, 2018
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with Benjamin Calderon

Am confused

Rock & Refuge

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) panel of prosecutors’ decision to dismiss the charges against confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa dated 20 December 2017 and only made public this week has me confused or bewildered.

This, in my opinion, is a result of trying to comprehend legal minds that are also confused or a state of being unable to think clearly. It is a slight comfort to know that some Senators are also perplexed on this matter. What is frightening being the shrugging of shoulders, no comments, even the ambivalence manifested by the general public on this development and its implications on our government’s implementation of the “war against illegal drugs”.

The dismissal of charges against the confessed drug lord because of weak evidence may actually be a result of having a weak character augmented with a twisted mind.

On the other side of confusing is clarifying or to make clear or easily understandable which former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. made on his concern with the recent moves made by the enemies of the current Chief Justice. He criticized the call of some judges and court employees for the resignation of the Chief Justice and equated it with resorting to "rule of men" instead of the rule of law.

"The call is condemning without evidence, judging before hearing, applying additional political pressure of the chief magistrate rather than according her rights to a fair trial, to substantive and procedural due process, and even to the rule of law," he said. Let us commend the decision of the Negros Occidental Regional Trial Court Judges Association (NORTCJA) officers and members of not joining the call for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to resign and remain neutral.

What is also clear is the price of copra which stood or rather stooped to P26.50 per kilo yesterday. Copra prices have steadily dropped for the 1 st quarter of the year from a high of P41.50 per kilo. The P15 per kilo drop translate into a 36 percent reduction in gross income for coconut farmers. The reduction in copra prices has been attributed to buyers shifting to purchase soybeans, one of the leading competitors of coconut oil in the international market. Soybean production has continued to increase. Meanwhile, it would be interesting to know what is being done in research and development for alternative uses or markets for copra and how the industry can become more internationally competitive.

Let us end with an anecdote that encourages us make clear our faith with the following: A religious woman upon waking up each morning would open her front door stand on the porch and scream, “Praise the lord.” This infuriated her atheist neighbor who would always make sure to counter back, “there is no Lord.” One morning the atheist neighbor overheard his neighbor praying for food, thinking it would be funny, he went and bought her all sorts of groceries and left them on her porch. The next morning the lady screamed, “praise the Lord, who gave me this food.” The neighbor laughing so hard he could barely get the words out screamed “it wasn’t the Lord, it was me.” The lady without missing a beat screamed “praise the Lord for not only giving me food but making the atheist pay for it!”*


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