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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, June 13, 2018
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Roilo Golez, the patriot we lost

Ninfa Leonardia

Yesterday was Independence Day. It marks that date in history when we were granted our independence and we have thrilled to this commemoration every year, especially during our young and idealistic years. But today, haven’t you, like me, been getting apprehensive about how long we will continue to be able to maintain this status? Don’t you fear the signs from what is happening in the West Philippine Sea, and how this administration seems to be so trusting of the offerings of help from another country, now that we have no more fetters that had tied us to, first, Spain, and then, the United States?

* * *

I got these thoughts especially when I heard the news about the death of former Congressman and cabinet member Roilo Golez, a man we can truly call a patriot. Because, aside from the various positions he had held in government, he had also been a National Security Adviser, he was probably the one man, who could convince our other officials about the tenacious condition of our so-called friendship with China. It was reported that a few hours before he died, he been interviewed over the radio where he discussed what was happening in the West Philippine Sea.

* * *

He must have taken the matter so much to heart, that it was when he was about to be interviewed again in another channel that he suffered that heart attack that immediately took his life. In him we lost a champion, a brave man, who had even dared to direct an appeal to the President to announce a public protest against the recent incident of a Chinese aircraft landing in Davao City, supposedly without clearance. Now he is gone, will there be anyone else with his guts and knowledgeability?

* * *

I knew the late congressman and security adviser very casually, and only whenever he came to Bacolod where we used to meet him for an interview. And he was very accommodating and friendly, even making us promise to let him know whenever we are in Manila. It was directly from him that I learned how he got his unusual name “Roilo”. He said it was because his parents came from Romblon and Iloilo. I can no longer which one, whether it was his father or his mother who was Ilonggo, but they combined their names to form “Roilo”. Our country will surely miss this great man. What a tragedy to our country that he died on the eve of Independence Day.

* * *

There has been a bit of good news lately, though, and that is about the rollbacks in oil prices that had been frightening us. Of course we cannot be sure how long this will last, but let’s be grateful for small measures. One wonders, how come the OPEC and other oil-producing countries have decided to ease up a bit. Maybe they learned that our country is considering looking to Russia and other non-OPEC members as sources for our fuel? Meanwhile, how real is the Alegria oil “find” in Cebu that the media had made a great to-do about, with the President himself inaugurating it? How soon will it be operational, and how much is stored in there?

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By the way, former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has announced that in the 2019 election, he will run for reelection (in Manila) in tandem with former Manila Mayor Amado Bagatsing. Well, at least we can say that both have the experience and charisma that cans still entice voters. But what will the so-called millenials be thinking? I am not sure, but I think neither is less than 70 years old now. But since neither is also afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, why not? Note that neither has also been charged with anything connected with their incumbencies.

* * *

It must be a great consolation to ousted Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno that the biggest aggrupation of lawyers in the country, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, is taking up the cudgels for her. The group is appealing the decision of the Supreme Court that seems to be composed of non-fans of Sereno, dismissing her on a quo warranto petition. But the Supreme Court has not acted on any petitions filed by other groups or individuals, using the same argument. There are only, how many, 15 lawyers making up the Supreme Court. Can the numbers of the IBP ever outweigh them? Can they dream?

* * *

First it was the prosecutors. Then they included the foresters. Later, also the barangay captains. And now the proposal is to arm the priests! Is that the answer to the spate of merciless killings now taking place in various parts of the country? And, aside from the move to provide the so-called “threatened” group, who will be the next to be allowed to carry firearms? But wasn’t this culture of death started with the start also of the abominable EJKs, or extra-judicial killings, which recent reports claim to have cost the lives of 22,983 deaths, according to Philippine National Police figures?*

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