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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, September 3, 2019
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OPINIONS

Sen. Drilon steps in

Ninfa Leonardia

It’s not something to jump for joy about, but it’s better than nothing. Oil prices are expected to go down today, but the cynical will probably sneer upon learning that the reduction will only be P0.20 per liter for diesel, and P0.10 for gasoline. But reports in the print media differ, and the prices could be vice versa. Anyway, it’s better than nothing, so let’s be grateful for small blessings.

***

It was a disappointment to read the news item about our Pambansang Kamao, or National Fist, Manny Pacquiao, being so vocal about his support for the return of the death penalty. And he is said to be backed by a group that calls itself the KKK or Katipunan Kontra Krimen at Korapsyon. And what are the “heinous crimes” that will be covered by the law, if approved? Aside from the basic ones covered by the abolished law, this one will include plunder, election fraud, land-grabbing, vote-buying, online investment scams, and planting of evidence.

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` Whew! That’s a lot of misdeeds to be meriting the loss of one’s life. But when you think of those sentenced to life imprisonment, who continue to live luxurious lives even in prison, or get pardoned without serving even a fraction of the terms they have been meted, well, the extreme penalty may seem justified. As for Senator Manny Pacquiao, who is the one proposing it, will he agree if we propose that convicts, instead of being meted the death penalty via electric chair or gassing, be made his punching bag for 24 hours?

***

Meanwhile, the one who is in hot water is the very soft-hearted head of the Bureau of Corrections, Nicolas Faeldon, who is believed to be the one responsible for the granting of pardons to hundreds of inmates, including those serving life terms, such as the former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez, who is supposed to serve SEVEN life terms! With all the lawmakers and enraged citizens cursing him and calling for his ouster, perhaps Faeldon should get out before somebody starts a move to lynch him!

***

What a fuss the proposal to ban homework for schoolchildren has brought about. I guess not only students, but even parents are happy about the prospect of having nothing to do after classes are over, and, for the children, to play games or hang on to their gadgets to entertain themselves. I notice, though, that a lot of parents are not in favor of the idea, probably knowing that having no academics to occupy themselves with after school, could only lead them to mischief.

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Have the proponent, or proponents, of this no-homework gimmick realized how much more in knowledge and preparation homework allows the students? How many minutes is each subject given in formal classes? As I recall from my teaching days, no more than 40 minutes. Surely that is not enough to pound into the often distracted young minds the subjects being taken up. Homework could re-enforce what had been taken up in class, or prepare the student to face the next day with enough preparation to participate, as well as to understand what is being taken up. By the way, have those bright boys or girls among our lawmakers made research on how other countries deal with the education, especially of the young ones? Are we the only ones giving homework?

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Trust it to Senator Franklin Drilon to get to the heart of the matter. It was Sen. Drilon who revealed recently that the release of more than 1,900 inmates serving life sentences was invalid because they were not approved by the Secretary of Justice. And they were freed based on “good behavior” as supposedly authorized by the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law. He cited the case of the rape-murder convicts in the case of the Chiong sisters in Cebu, in whose case the release order was signed only by a technical superintendent!

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And it was Action Agad for Senator Drilon, because a sub-poena has already been sent to Bureau of Corrections Chief Nicolas Faeldon to appear before the Senate to explain how the releases were authorized. The sub poena was sent because his reply to an “invitation” was that he had a prior engagement. It looks like he is in for a grilling, because a spokesman of the Philippine National Police has also piped in, saying that the BuCor should inform the PNP about the release of convicts.*

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