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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, November 8, 2019
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Show ‘em how, Leni!

Ninfa Leonardia

If President Duterte had been laughing when he first learned that Vice President Leni Robredo had accepted her appointment to lead the war on drugs, he must be laughing from the wrong side of his mouth now. This is because he must already have noted how many officials, as well as private personalities, are willing to come out and help her in the formidable task. And who knows? Remember that it was Mary who is portrayed as stepping down on the head of the serpent.

***

Now, now, I am not referring to the President as the serpent, I mean the drug menace that has been like a deadly serpent preying on our people and destroying even our youth. And since the original ploy called the EJK, or extra-judicial killings, did not work, and even seemed to magnify the problem, desperate measures are needed. Could Leni be the “desperate measure”? Not that she could be better than the President, but, for one thing, she may be more open to suggestions and help which many officials and even ordinary people are eager to offer.

***

And I am sure there will be many praying for her to succeed, because it seems we are all at the end of the rope in seeking a solution to this problem. I also noted that several members of Congress and the Senate are ready to give their inputs, too. They say that too many cooks spoil the broth, but there’s another that says “Many hands make light work”. I hope, though, that those officials who have been quoted as ready to help really mean it. So, Leni, go! Show ‘em how!

***

It also appears that Robredo’s acceptance is welcomed by majority of the people and seems to be the same with the members of Congress. That could mean they will be protective of her and give her the support she will need. Me, I have the feeling that she will be up to the challenge. Women have their own ways, you know, and she is a woman of grit. I hope, though, that the President will not change his mind and say he was just joking.

***

As if the water problem plaguing Manila and other parts of the country were not enough to worry about, a prediction has also been reported about the return of El Niño in the year 2020, or next year! I can’t remember anymore what year it was when we experienced El Niño in the Philippines, but I do recall the scorching heat we went through that made life so languid, and people listless as well. The report from the international news agency, Reuters, says it is threatening Pacific countries, the Philippines among them. Unfortunately for our country, especially for Manila, this could mean that the water problem will worsen.

***

It was quite a surprise to read a news item yesterday saying that the judge in the Maguindanao massacre case is asking for more time to release his verdict. Maguindanao? Ah, yes the infamous massacre where 58 human beings, among them 32 media people were mowed down mercilessly, allegedly by the Ampatuan family, led by their patriarch. But that case happened in 2009 yet – exactly ten years ago this month! Is that really how slowly the wheels of justice roll in our country? Even such a notorious case as that?

***

I clearly remember that I was in New York visiting my niece, Peachy and her family, and we were at lunch, when she suddenly called out: “Tita, come, look, a terrible massacre has just taken place in the Philippines!” We all rushed to the TV and caught footages of the scenes, so unimaginable it was, that I don’t think anyone of us, except the babies, finished our meals. The whole day, we tried to follow up the developments and details only to see them getting “worser and worser”.

***

A few weeks ago, an item came out in the dailies about the death of Andal Ampatuan who, I think was the patriarch of the powerful clan in Maguindanao. Aside from him, seven other suspects have also passed away. I am afraid the time may come when only the least guilty will be left and the principals are no more. Will they get justice in the other life? Worse is that 80 more of the suspects have not been accounted for, one an Ampatuan himself, and a datu at that, who could have been spirited out of the country already.*

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