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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, September 14, 2018
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Priorities, priorities

Ninfa Leonardia

Filipinos should all acclaim the three young golfers, who were among the gold medalists at the recent Asian Games, who unhesitatingly gave up, that is, donated, no less than the P16 million cash incentives they received for their accomplishment, because they want to retrain their amateur status that will enable them to compete and represent their country again! Isn’t that heartwarming? And they donated the amount to the National Golf Association of the Philippines, to be used in the training of more players and the development of the facilities for it.

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Let us name those girls so we can always remember them and point out their example to our young people, many of whom have become very materialistic already. They are Bianca Pagdanganan, Yuka Saso, and LX Go. Who was that character before who was referred to as “so young and yet so corrupt”? This time we can refer to the trio as “so young and yet so noble”. I hope not only golf will benefit from their example, and that other young people – and perhaps old ones, too – will be pricked by their example.

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In the Philippines it was “Ompong” who scared us out of our wits when he threatened to blast a great part of Luzon with a force expected to outdo Yolanda that had wrought a big damage still not fully repaired until now. In the United States, it was Florence a “big and vicious” hurricane also described by forecasters as a “monster:” And the state it was reported to be threatening the most was North Carolina, which was just another state for me, until recently, when I found out during the recent La Consolacion College reunion that one of my former students, is now living there and had left Bacolod City only last week. The world is indeed, getting smaller – we now find ourselves with friends and relatives everywhere.

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Also unnerving are the reports that trouble is brewing between China and the United States trade, after America’s unpredictable, and, should we say, unpopular head of state Donald Trump’s decision to impose huge tariffs on Chinese goods coming to the country. Of course we know what a large market China has in the U.S. Who hasn’t gone shopping there to find out that a lot, or even most of the more affordable items are Chinese made. But who wants to see the two at odds? Think of the saying: “When giants fight, the pygmies tremble (or get trodded on).

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Maybe President Duterte should spank some of his closest people for causing him embarrassment. During their televised chat Tuesday, that was supposed to be a talk by the President only, both he and his legal counsel had stated that former President Benigno Aquino III had not signed the grant of amnesty to now Senator Trillanes et al, but had delegated the authority to someone else. But President Aquino’s spokesperson quickly refuted that, saying that Aquino himself had signed the amnesty proclamation!

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Now, who fed President Duterte with that information that was so quickly repudiated? And what other stories have his people passed on to him that were not true or, at least, inaccurate? Was it his Chief Justice Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo? But that led to President Duterte’s issuance of a proclamation declaring the amnesty void from the beginning. Why he singled out only Trillanes, and not the rest of the mutineers with him, is not clear, though. Maybe another lapse from an adviser? That must be the reason why a resolution has been filed in the Senate for an investigation on what it called the “fraudulent and erroneous proclamation” of President Duterte.

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I am still imagining what Duterte thought upon seeing the picture of his two pet peeves, Senator Antonio Trillanes and ex-Supreme Court Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, smilingly greeting each other when the latter visited the former at the Senate where he had sought “sanctuary” after learning that the President had “dis-amnestied” him. And also after learning the Sereno had been telling the media that such an act could affect all other amnesties granted in the past. So far, nobody has gotten a statement from him on that, which I expect will be laced with his colorful cuss words again.

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A letter writer to a national daily has a very sensible suggestion to the President. Instead on focusing on his most irritating critic, Trillanes, why doesn’t he go back to his earlier concentration on drugs and drug addicts and their rehabilitation? Indeed, until now no day passes without a report on what can still be categorized as an EJK, or Extra Judicial Killing, but, somehow, it also looks as if everyday, more and more volumes of the illegal stuff are reported to be coming in. It’s a question of priorities now, Mr. President. If I may say so, that is.*

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