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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 13, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Try calling Bato Hotline 2286

Ninfa Leonardia Nobody seems to be talking about libel or libelous items now, have you noticed? The “in” words now are “fake news”, and this has become the talk among journalism and media groups these days. Is there any difference between what is termed as “fake news” and what is “libelous”? Maybe it is because the former need not to be destructive of a person's reputation or good name, while the latter can do irreparable harm to one and even his or her family.

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I wonder, however, how the focus happened to fall on fake news. That didn't seem to have come out in the past administration. It has to be admitted, though, that a lot of fake news had also been purveyed even then, and it could usually be discerned by perceptive readers when the writers or opinion purveyors are fond of using the term “Sources said” or quoting people they cannot name to make shocking revelations. So what readers must do is to be cautious in swallowing reports or statements quoting just “sources”, because it could be their own invention or something relayed by an unreliable “source”.

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I take my hat off to the members of the Commission on Human Rights for openly announcing that they are going to assist the International Criminal Court in the “preliminary examination” of President Duterte. Careful, careful, guys. Of course the president himself may just laugh off your brave announcement. But remember what a former first lady of the Philippines warned a staunch critic of her unpopular dictator of a husband? She said, “There are people loyal to us who cannot be controlled.” And the same goes for you, too.

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Good news, at last, at least for vehicle owners and those in businesses involving oil. Prices of fuel are reported to drop drastically in the next few days because of a drop in crude prices abroad. So fill ‘er up, as soon as you can, because one never knows when a sudden surge will happen again, as it had done in the past weeks. As volatile as oil prices have been, however, one can never tell when prices will soar or fall. Anyway, I myself cannot guarantee that this new low will last, so let everyone trust his or her instincts.

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It is not surprising that Senator Grace Poe has initiated moves to simplify proceedings for adoption of children in the Philippines. She is planning to file a bill that will make the Department of Social Welfare and Development the agency to attend to the process. The present procedure is for the courts to do this which, in almost all cases, take years and so much red tape to accomplish. In some cases, people go through illegal procedures, like faking birth certificates in order to expedite the adoption.

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Senator Poe knows whereof she speaks, claiming herself to be an adopted child. Records say she was a foundling who was left in a church in Iloilo and was later adopted by the king and queen of Philippine movies then, Fernando Poe, Jr. and Susan Roces. It must have been a truly tedious process, considering that, as a foundling, there were no real parents to sign the documents allowing the Poe couple to adopt her. That is why, until now, many still do not believe that foundling story. But the bill, if it becomes a law, will be a blessing to many childless couple and poverty-stricken, or unwed parents.

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Nobody is surprised that most professionals, and even top government officials are backing the plan of President Duterte to allow the entry of another telecommunications company in the country. Who has not heard the incessant complaints of the public over the very poor and unreliable service being offered by the present ones allowed in the Philippines? I am sure business and other transactions would improve greatly with better communication services. A lot of high blood incidents, or perhaps even heart attacks, could have been prevented among people who lost their tempers while trying to communicate! So let's try a new one, even if that may sound unpatriotic. After all, the present ones do not serve us for free.

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Who wants to be the first to try the new method announced by Police Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa for informing him directly about any abuse or unruly behavior of policemen? “Bato” has given a hotline, 2286. The line is supposed to be open 24/7, but the report was not very clear on whether it is available countrywide, or limited to selected areas only. Anyway, who wants to try?*

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