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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, March 20, 2018
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OPINIONS

Is she the least guilty?

Ninfa Leonardia

First it was Xi Jinping of China, now its Vladimir Putin of Russia. These two leaders of two great and heavily populated countries have apparently been granted by their people the luxury of staying in power as long as they want. Who’s next? Don’t look at our President, because he keeps saying over and over that he is not even seeking a second term and is getting fed up with the job. But then, who can say?

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It might be very easy for his circle to convince him that the country needs him, and he and no other can lead his people to “Utopia which, in modern lay translation, could mean a place where there are no more drug addicts, no drug suppliers, no drug pushers and no drug traders who can somehow manage to bring in the illegal substance despite the precautions being taken against them, and the killings that have taken place in the initial attempts to stop it. And it seems to continue to worsen, with even police officers among the suspects and the accused.

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What does it really mean when a person who used to be tagged as the most notorious character who was able to lure senators and congressmen into her trap that enabled them to convert their Priority Development Assistance Funds into their personal funds with her scheme? Remember the infamous PDAF, sarcastically given the alias of “pork barrel”, that had landed several officials, including senators and congressmen, in trouble, and even detention? There was a time when the government seemed to regard Janet Lim Napoles as somewhat of a wicked witch who enticed officials into her web.

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But now, how come she has suddenly been mentioned as a state witness against all those officials? Did she agree to squeal all and sing at the top of her voice about what had happened? And I thought only those who are the least guilty can be accepted as state witnesses. Is the inventor of the convertible NGOs, or Non-Government Organizations, where most of the pork barrel money had been diverted, the least guilty? Some reports are saying that there was no bargain, that she has not been promised exoneration. Then what? I recall that even her daughter, said to be living the life in the United States, has been charged by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Is she part of the deal? Just wondering.

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So the National Identification System is almost a done deal? Me, I admit being among the few who are in favor of this. I think it will mean less hassle for citizens when they will need only one “omnibus” or multi-purpose ID to get along, whether in public or private entities. The only catch in its final approval, is that the House and the Senate versions are a bit different, so its passage could be delayed. Some say that they do not want to be identified as a number, but for sure, one’s name will also be in one’s card. Anyway, let’s see.

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As for the proposals to pass a law banning dynasties, I think we should forget it. So far, a lot of officials interviewed on the matter seem to be defensive and immediately respond with the benefits of allowing members of families to get elected into office, or maybe appointed to positions in office where another member is also connected. The “defenders” all claim that, anyway, the officials are elected by the people, and if the people want members of the same families to run, so be it.

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Yesterday was the feast of St. Joseph, spouse of the mother of Jesus, and even if the day is not a holy day of obligation for Catholics, most Churches were full of massgoers who wanted to honor and pray to the saint who is also considered as a patron of families. We attended mass at the Sacred Heart Shrine, or Lupit Church, and, indeed there was a big congregation. But one thing that made it a special day was because it marked the installation of the statue of St. Joseph with the child Jesus in one of its secondary altars. Our family is very happy about that because devotion to St. Joseph has been a tradition with us for more than a hundred years (of course before I was born). It was started by my grandmother with the birth of my father, who would have been 110 years old this year.

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Another special event at the Lupit Church yesterday was the installation also of the statue of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (pronounced “Alacok”), the blessed nun who initiated the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Like most saints and martyrs, St. Margaret Mary began seeing apparitions with the Lord talking to her, but her superiors would not believe her and even theologians said they were delusions. It was only a Jesuit priest, himself a blessed man, who later wrote a book on her revelations that led to the devotions to the Sacred Heart. I do remember hearing about her during my schooldays at LCC, after she had been canonized, and we were all encouraged to develop a devotion to the Sacred Heart. Now her statue stands on the right side of the shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.*

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