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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, August 7, 2014
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Glamor at Camp Bagong Diwa

Ninfa Leonardia A Manila daily carried on its front page yesterday a report about a hearing-impaired girl who won the Queen of the Philippines beauty contest. Alanis Pura, the silent beauty queen, may be a “first” nationwide, but Bacolod had its first and only hearing-impaired MassKara queen sometime in the 1980s when Cecile (?) Villacin won over several contestants with her beauty and spunk.

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Because she could not hear, the audience was surprised at the way she could dance with the rest of the contestants, and keep time. Later we heard that she did it by “listening” to the vibrations on the floor of the stage! Her feat made news, but it seems she has slipped out from public view since. I recall, though, that her proclamation was one of the most-applauded ever hereabouts.

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Anyway, it is refreshing to read or discuss such light, heartwarming matters as beauty contests when all that one hears from the international news sources are scary stories about bombings and bloodshed, especially in places like Israel, Palestine and Libya. Just between us girls, I now switch channels whenever I hear the reporters talking about “Hamas and Gaza.” But I do stay when it is Christiane Amanpour interviewing some big shots because I really admire her guts in the way she tells those VIPs: “I want you to tell me…” Do we have any local, even national media hosts with such guts?

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As for our countrymen and women in Libya, it's time to let them lie in the beds they are making for themselves by refusing to avail of government help to evacuate them. Until now, only about 2,000 of the 13,000 Filipinos there have come home, or are on the way. Even Malacañang has already been begging them to leave, but few are willing. Someone has asked them to choose between lives and jobs, but that still does not scare them. Are working conditions in Libya so good that even threats on their lives cannot move them?

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Perhaps the government, through the Department of Labor, should step in and negotiate with the agencies that had arranged for the posting of those Pinoys in Libya, to ease up on those loans they took out in order to go to Libya and get hired. That seems to be the main reason why many are hanging on. It may be foolhardy, but somehow, their stand is also understandable. Who will help them?

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Going back to beauty contests, a favorite activity of our people, the female inmates of the Camp Bagong Diwa Jail in Taguig, are said to be excited over the possibility of having former model Deniece Cornejo among them. The court has issued an order for Cornejo to be transferred there, although she wants to remain at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group facility. Seems the women in the Taguig jail hold beauty contests now and then and are planning to get Deniece as a candidate. How will she react to being crowned Miss Camp Bagong Diwa Jail?

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Well, she will have good company there, with lawyer Gigi Reyes, who used to be called the “25 th senator”, as the chief of staff of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and the acknowledged Pork Barrel queen, Janet Lim Napoles. Their presence will certainly glamorize the female dormitory of the jail. By the way, what about the cohorts of Deniece, the ones she was with when the unfortunate Vhong Navarro was almost beaten to a pulp? I hear they, too, will be transferred to real jails, instead of their more comfortable quarters now at the NBI.

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There are still almost two years before elections will be held, but the political pot has already started, not just to simmer, but to boil fiercely, with all the propaganda and maneuverings about who will be fielded, who will give up, who will form coalitions, and so forth. As further distractions, there is even the obviously planted canard about moves to extend the term of President Benigno Aquino III, or to amend the Constitution to accommodate him. Of course we know those are just silly speculations, our President fully knows that our laws will not allow that.

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Meanwhile, there is good sense in what former Malacañang security adviser Jose Almonte said when he addressed a group called the National Transformation Council. Almonte said the best solution to our problems is to remove the oligarchy in government. He said we continue to have a government run by a few, and, really, we do seem to continue having people from the same families or groups running the country. And that is not only true of the national government, it also exists in local governments where members of the family of the local leaders get into the act, and they all behave as if they belong to a monarchy. But is anybody listening to Almonte?*

 

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