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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, May 12, 2018
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OPINIONS

A sense of déjà vu?

Ninfa Leonardia

Consummatum est. It is finished. Over. The move against the sitting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines has succeeded, and yesterday, those among her own colleagues who had worked so hard to kick her out must have been rejoicing at their success. It is now the people of the Philippines who will be watching again, this time to see if those who had initiated the actions against her will succeed again, in taking over.

***

Well, Ex-Chief Justice Sereno fought a good and valiant fight. To the end she did not succumb to the calls for her to resign. “Resignation is only for cowards”. No coward then was she, in the way she stuck to her guns despite all the odds. But the way a lot of people appear to be on her side must be great consolation for her. Even now, there are still groups continuing to rally for her, and questioning the process through which she was ousted. It should be reassuring for her that, unlike a lot of other officials, she was not outrightly kicked out. She braved the process, knowing all the cards were stacked against her.

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Unfortunately for Sereno, she started on the wrong foot with the President. I can no longer recall what it was that had caused the unbridgeable rift between them, but it was something she must have done or said that made her his “enemy”. And that’s not hearsay, because, as the Philippine Star recounted in a recent issue, the President, before leaving for China, had said, “I am putting on notice that I am now your enemy. And you have to be out of the Supreme Court”. So, yesterday, it happened. Sereno found herself out of the Supreme Court. It did not happen while she was on leave. She returned to office to face the music. Attagirl!

***

He did it! The 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad was elected prime Minister of Malaysia shocking the incumbent, Najib Razak, whose people must have thought he would still be a shoo-in for the post. But the voters probably remembered how they were when Mahathir was their leader. And the outgoing Najib Razak is going to have a lot of headaches with Mahathir sworn to run after him for alleged graft and corruption during his six years in office. And I am glad I predicted right that Mahathir will pardon his former deputy whom he had put in jail. Anwar Ibrahim, although in prison, still batted for Mahathir. Yesterday reports quoted the new, recycled leader as saying that Anwar will be pardoned and, in fact, he will make him his successor! Ah, politics!

***

Meanwhile, the national indignation that has risen among our people is giving an ominous tint to our conditions now. Wasn’t it such incidents in our country that had slowly eaten into the consciousness of our people and convinced them that enough was enough, when they were reeling under the heavy hands of Martial Rule? It seems similar feelings are now waking up among the Filipinos who still have a conscience and feel that some of the things that are happening are no longer in tune with their concept of what it is like to be living in a democratic country.

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Perhaps we should all listen and ponder on the advice of our religious leaders that we should all pray for our country and people, and especially for our leaders that they be endowed with the discernment to see and know that what is going on is no longer what their constituents had expected from them when they voted them into office. Our prayers should also include wishes that our officials, like the members of Congress and the heads of our cabinets, develop more guts to speak for and work for the people they are supposed to serve.

***

Maybe we should perk up a bit and discuss more positive things, like our surprise and pride in seeing our Gilbert Bayoran’s story on Leni Robredo, that initially appeared in the your DAILY STAR, appear on the front page of our “tocaya”, the Philippine Star. I’m sure Gilbert was tickled pink over it. For record purposes, by the way, your DAILY STAR is older than the Philippine STAR. I once had to correct a member of the family owning the P.S. on that.

***

Also, we have reason to rejoice in the latest win of the local football team, Ceres-Negros over their opponents from Myanmar. It was quite a decisive win, for the local team that scored four points against its opponents two points. I understand this brings them closer to their dream of getting to the zonal finals of the AFC cup. The game was held at the local Panaad stadium, so Bacoleños and football fans from other towns and cities in Negros Occidental were able to watch and cheer for them. Congratulations to the busmen, and good luck in your next encounter in Yangon next week.*

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