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Will Teo be the exception?

Do not take the President literally, but take him seriously, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said on President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to the military to shoot female members of the New People’s Army in the genitals.

Mr. Duterte also said he would sell his soul to the devil just to make the lives of overseas Filipino workers more comfortable.

By now, we should be used to the chief executive’s hyperbole. And, my gulay, the people seem to love his style. I would even say this is why he is so popular.

The problem however is that some Filipinos like to take the jokes as the President’s way of showing his exasperation.

I have been a journalist for 70 years and covered 10 presidents. I don’t mind President Duterte’s making jokes out of serious matters. To each his own style.

Santa Banana, President Duterte must also realize that there are still many Filipinos who would want him to consider their feelings and sentiments.

* * *

Following the President’s guidelines on foreign trips of public officials, Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo’s trips are now public.

According to records, there were instances when Teo brought her make-up artist, utility clerk and other staff to the UAE, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, United States and Canada.

I do not begrudge Teo her trips. It’s her business to sell the Philippines to foreigners. But to bring her make-up artist, clerk and drivers at government expense?

I now wonder how the President would apply his policy on foreign trips with Teo. He has fired others for their excesses. What about her?

Teo says she is now focused on promoting domestic tourism.

But would that excuse her for bringing messengers, bookkeepers and drivers at our expense? I think she should be made to answer for all these.

She seems to be a favorite of Malacañang. I wonder whether Mr. Duterte can prove otherwise.

* * *

I think it is funny that retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide and former Commission on Elections Chairman Christian Monsod are leading a group of activists preventing the amendment of the 1987 Constitution.

They claim it is the best Charter ever.

These people are out of touch with reality. How can it be perfect when there is now a quarrel between the House of Representatives and the Senate on how they would vote in a constituent assembly. If the Constitution were perfect, all would be clear as day.

The framers of that Charter—including Davide and Monsod—were contemplating a parliamentary system of government in unicameral form.

And then, there is that provision on the party-list system. We know how flawed that is – look at our party-list representatives now!

These infirmities are just two of the worst.

* * *

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has found 51 establishments in Boracay as polluters. They violate the Clean Water Act by refusing to connect their drainage and sewage system to the pipeline of the local government.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu has given these establishments five days to comply with the law. If they don’t, they would be closed down. I agree this is the only way to make these erring businesses comply.

* * *

There is something I find difficult to understand about the rice shortage in the country. The government claims it is the fault of the rice hoarders.

When supply from the National Food Authority started getting scarce in some regions, the NFA and Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco (head of the NFA Council) claimed that the country had enough rice supply. When this happened, it was harvest season.

Now, government is importing rice from Vietnam and Thailand to avert a shortage.

My question is this—why didn’t Evasco and the NFA foresee this alleged shortage when they should have been on top of the situation at the outset? They kept on assuring us that we have enough rice for 35 days. So why are we importing this much, then?

Yes, there are always rice hoarders who take advantage of the situation to make money. But this is only possible when people in government fail to do their job well.

* * *

Santa Banana, after the International Criminal Court came out with the decision of its prosecutor that it would pursue a preliminary investigation on President Duterte amid the war against drugs, the ICC Facebook page was swarmed by supporters of the President.

These Duterte supporters, often called trolls, attacked the ICC by resorting to non-sequitur arguments. I wonder how these trolls can be controlled. They contribute to a lot of misunderstanding and create enemies where there should be none.

* * *

Now they tell us that the Office of the Ombudsman did not find enough evidence to support the plunder case filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV against President Duterte in May 2016.

Solicitor General Jose Calida announced that the probe had been terminated last November. This was reportedly conveyed to him in a letter from Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, who handled the probe after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales inhibited herself.

I have at least two questions. Why was this fact not made earlier? This was exactly why Malacanang was after Carandang. Second, what happens now to the President’s order for Carandang to step down?

If the public were informed earlier, a lot of misunderstanding could have been avoided,

Why Morales did not inform the President that the plunder case against him had been terminated is something she must explain.

Topics: Will Teo be the exception?

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