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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 13, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

‘Bato' strikes gold

Ninfa Leonardia First there were landslides, then there were floods, fire and earthquakes. The latest was mudslide, affecting a part of California, inhabited by some of its most popular showbusiness personalities. What is the world coming to? The sudden rush of thick mud that immediately left seven people dead, and, who knows, how many more after Wednesday, when it struck. The most badly hit place was Montecito, where popular TV personalities Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres are residents. Both suffered damage on their homes.

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Isn't it strange that barely a week after Oprah's name cropped up as a possible foil to the reelection of Donald Trump, the mudslide happened in her home place? Of course one would be too superstitious or malicious to imagine that Trump had something to do with it. But if he thinks the news is favorable to him, it surely is not, because this will only focus attention on Oprah and the sober way she has reacted to it. As for Trump, he must still be cracking his head trying to find to offset the effects of Michael Wolff's best-selling book, “Fire and Fury in the Trump White House”, that has gone into several printings already less than a week after it came out.

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Back home, it seems a wrong time to announce the whopping salary increase of Philippine National Police Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa after teachers learned that their own expected salary hikes had been put on hold. Imagine what bliss it must be for Bato's family with the 79 percent rise in his pay that will now be P121,143, from P657,500 only, and who knows what it had been before he was catapulted from, whatever it had been when then Davao Mayor Duterte plucked him out to suddenly become the country's top cop? Is it true that it will be the Senate next for him?

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Meanwhile, we feel disturbed over the news that a recall election is being poised over San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez, initiated by the man she beat in the last election, where she was reelected. Now, it is not because we know Guia, and she is a Negrense herself, that we are concerned, but we do know that she has been a competent local government official who had more than adequate experience in the job. But politics is like that, in this country, nobody really fully accepts defeat, and in the case of losers, hope always springs eternal in their breasts.

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That reminds us of Bongbong Marcos, who continues to brag about his supposed “victory” in the polls where he was beaten by newcomer Leni Robredo for the vice presidency. Now the win of Robredo was surely a blessing for her, while the loss of Marcos, the son, must have been a reminder for them that the people have not yet forgotten or forgiven what their family did to the country. And yet the namesake of the dictator, arrogantly refuses to run for the lower office of the senator, claiming he already won the vice presidency! Totally his father's son, isn't he?

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You can hear the people sighing as they realize that the new law, nicknamed as TRAIN, that stands for Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, is now rolling on and could crush them. How they must be praying that it will end up like the trains of the Metro Rail Transit that continues to break down and gives more problems than services. But the President has already signed it, and it is already in effect, and what can they do? The poor find their taxes lowered, but they can't escape the taxes on goods and services, including fuel. I guess what we must train ourselves on is how to suffer.

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Seems the case of the hazing victim from the University of Santo Tomas, Horacio Castillo is still big news, and things are getting worse for those involved, because a member of their group has turned state witness. So far, the state witness has already executed his affidavit that is believed to be damning to the members who participated, or were even just present at that initiation ritual. Worse they are all facing charges, not only of hazing, which is already a crime, but also murder and obstruction of justice. We can only hope that henceforth, parents will strictly prevent their sons from joining fraternities, no matter what the enticements.

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I was stunned by the news that at least 100 sports cars being held in Cagayan de Oro said to have been smuggled into the country, will be destroyed, that is, by crushing, to teach the smugglers a lesson that it doesn't pay to bring in such items into the country without paying the proper duties. Well, that is certainly a criminal act, but why destroy them? Is it illegal to auction them off and earn millions for the government? Imagine the cars are of the Mercedes Benz, Porches, Carrera, Lamborghini and Berlinetta brands. Maybe they can even charge fees for just posting in them? Whatta waste!*

 

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