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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, March 16, 2019
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OPINIONS

The pork by any other name

Ninfa Leonardia

What will happen to the luckless 46 identified in the “horror roll” of the President? Somehow, I thought that it would not happen, that the announcement that he would name those persons suspected to be involved in the illegal stuff was only a sort of warning. And then yesterday, it blew up in all the media, and worse, in the print media, because readers could read them over and over and identify those they knew, and those who are occupying high positions, or planning to.

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The reports also underscored the fact that all of those listed will be charged. The most affected will, naturally, be the ones who are running for public office, and those seeking reelection. Of course they can seek bail, and be free to continue campaigning, but will it be worth it, with the virtual “Sword of Damocles” hanging over their heads? I will not be surprised if some of them back out, but then some could reason that they can still contest their cases in court. Well, they know how our courts function, and that may give them hope.

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Now it is not only Manila, Cebu has also started experiencing water shortage and several towns and cities have also resorted to water rationing. Apparently, they are undergoing the same problem as Metro Manila. Now their water supplier is timing the provision of water to the various sectors, and homeowners have to watch for their schedules and be ready with their containers. In places where water is still available, consumers complain that the water comes in trickles and even stop intermittently.

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What about the suggestions for cloud-seeding to induce rain? It is a very expensive process, but if it could help, why does the government not resort to it? But I guess each town and city affected will have to answer for the expense. Meanwhile, we who are still blessed with sufficient water, should already start praying to be spared from such problem. Remember that we are going into April, which is usually the hottest month of the year.

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Meanwhile, a law has been approved by the President that imposes stricter rules for motorcycles and this, I believe, will be welcomed by the public. First the new law will require that plates carrying the motorcycles’ numbers will be bigger and easily readable. That will certainly facilitate the apprehension of cyclists who get involved in accidents and often get away with it because witnesses, much less the victims, fail to take down their numbers.

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But that is not the worst of the problem with motorcycles. The worst is their use for the commission of crimes from which they easily escape responsibility. Now the term “riding in tandem” is almost always used to identify criminals who execute their intended victims with impunity because their numbers are virtually invisible, especially at night time. The same law also makes it a more serious crime when it is accomplished with the use of a motorcycle, and severe penalties will be imposed on those found guilty of doing it.

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It is now the third month since the new year came in, the new year came in, but believe it or not your country still does not have a new budget, and we are still using the old one, in other words, a re-enacted one. How come? Haven’t our so-called lawmakers not been doing their jobs? Talks abound that the delay has been caused by discoveries on insertions of certain amounts intended for what used to be called “pork”, but probably has a new name in today’s congressional lingo.

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But is it true that the delay was caused by the discovery of some P95 BILLION re-aligned to the districts of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her allies? If that is true, then it is not surprising that the non-allies will squeal. But even if they didn’t – or did not recognize it – there was the eagle-eyed Senator Ping Lacson who blew the whistle. So we may be using the old 2018 budget for some time, and one can only wonder what disruption that will bring. Some people must be looking daggers at Senator Ping, bless him!*

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