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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, October 10, 2019
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Looking for an honest man

Ninfa Leonardia

There is a story from the Greeks that I once chanced upon. It told of a man called Diogenes who was said to be a very wise man and a philosopher as well. People went to him for advice which he was always ready to give. But the time came when there was so much of what we now call “graft and corruption” in the country and the people could not do anything because they were afraid of their rulers. One day, one of the officials of the town saw Diogenes at noontime carrying a lamp. Curious, he asked, “Why are you carrying a lighted lamp when the sun is shining so brightly?” Diogenes looked at him and said “I am looking for an honest man”.

***

The story of Diogenes came back when I saw a headline yesterday saying “Palace: Honest, competent PNP Chief needed”. But the President does not need to go around with a lighted flashlight at noontime when he looks for the ideal police chief. It could be a very hard job, because of the number of police officers as well as their subordinates who have been found to be in cahoots with lawbreakers. The daily news reports are full of stories of policemen who are either shielding criminals, or actually working with them, or of drug operators who are working with police officers.

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Now, will President Duterte be able to find such a man? Alas, some of them may have entered the police force as innocent as little children, but the temptations offered by the job must have been too strong to resist. Maybe he can find competent ones, but what if they are not honest, and may easily be led into temptation? Or he may hire them for being honest, but they cannot perform the multifarious jobs they have to do? If he finds that ideal chief for the Philippine National Police, who knows? Maybe he could whip both honesty and competence on his men, too.

***

Would you believe? The United Nations has no more money and has a present deficit of $230M. It may not be able to pay its workers their salaries for this month, unless member countries come forward to pay their dues, but nobody has complied. One can’t blame its Secretary General Antonio Guterres for being desperate, and to think he has to cough up the amount to pay the 37,000 employees of the U.N. by the end of this month. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it?

***

It is strange to hear that until now, Bongbong Marcos, the son and heir of the late dictator, still cannot concede his loss to Vice President Leni Robredo. This, despite the fact that another election has already been held since the one he continues to contest. In the very unlikely case that he is found to have more votes than Robredo, what of it? Another term has gone by, and what can the state do for him? Nobody can turn the tide of time around.

***

Is Mayweather titillating Pacquiao? The unbeaten boxer said in Tokyo recently that he is thinking of an “exhibition fight” with Manny to be held in Tokyo. He mentioned that to some sports personalities known also to Manny. However, our champion, who apparently takes his sports seriously, would have no time for it. Not for an exhibition, that is. What he wants is a real fight, so he can redeem himself from their first encounter in which Mayweather was declared winner. Seems Floyd M does not trust himself for another bout, with Manny. He only wants a show, but our man wants to fight seriously.

***

In Manila, a lot of kidnappings have been going on, but those involved are mostly Chinese, especially the ones who come to the country to gamble. But what happens is that they kidnap their fellow Chinese to whom they lend money for gambling and cannot pay them. However, it is a different story in Mindanao, where kidnapping is now referred to as a “cottage industry”. And foreigners are the most frequent victims, which is very detrimental to our tourism industry.

***

Well, well! Is marijuana going to find its way into the list of plants acceptable for medication? For so long, it has been ostracized, even considered illegal, but now it looks as if its benefits are being acknowledged at last. But it is better known to those going for it as cannabis, but I do not know if they are one and the same thing. Anyway, several countries have now accepted its medical values, and it is now time for lawmakers to open their minds to that. I hear there is now a law proposing its acceptance and, why not? Other countries have long been taking advantage of its benefits. Let’s see what our lawmakers think.*

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