There can only be one Duterte


People in Malacañang seem to think that when they speak on behalf of their boss, President Duterte, they will be adored by the people just because he remains popular with the masses.

Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar dished out their own versions of sex jokes—it only revealed they are such bad copies of their boss.

Santa Banana, now comes newly appointed presidential spokesman Harry Roque doing a hyperbole by threatening the President’s critics that he would throw hollow blocks at them.

My gulay—he is as fake as his hairpiece!

There can only be one President Duterte who cant rant and curse. While majority of the people like him for that, it does not mean they will like anybody else who does the same.

* * *

My family has stopped going to the cemetery on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. We go on other days where there is no crowd and the traffic is light.

I still recall one time when we went to Loyola Memorial Park from our house in Philamlife Homes in Quezon City. When we reached Katipunan Avenue, the traffic was impossible. So we decided to walk.

Now we just pray at home for our beloved dead.

Halloween, the day before All Saints’ Day, is the worst. There are even contests on who could decorate their yards most ghoulishly.

* * *

With all the scary stories being peddled during Undas, I recall what I experienced when my parents rented an old stone house in Pidigan, Abra. I was about eight or nine.

In several instances, during the night, I heard eerie noises like doors opening and closing, footsteps, and chairs moving. They kept me awake. I told my mother about them but she said my imagination was getting the better of me.

I pleaded with my father to transfer houses—luckily he listened.

My father used to tell me stories of how spirits would appear to him during his many travels across Abra. He was a schools supervisor. I can believe that, knowing how Abra was so primitive at that time. People also believed in superstition.

And whenever he saw dark images haunting him, he said he just uttered a prayer and the images disappeared.

Indeed, the antidote to all of these is prayer. They never fail.

* * *

Every now and then, we come across reports that say the trade of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prisons continues. It seems that despite threats and cases filed against prison officials and jail guards, the drug lords keep engaging in their nefarious trade,

This brings us back to the need to relocate and decongest the NBP. This has long been delayed, for reasons unknown. It does seem that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is not fully aware of the urgency of the matter. The prison was built for 2,400 inmates but actually houses more than ten times that number.

I cannot understand the delay in the relocation. There are three consortia that have qualified for the bidding to transfer the facility to Nueva Ecija for a cost of P50 billion.

The consortia are San Miguel, Megawide and DM Consunji. As far as I know the bidding was supposed to have taken place last April 27. What happened?

According to plan, both the NBP and the Correctional Institute for Women are set to be moved to Laur, now occupied by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. This is ideal —the military would help secure the prison facilities.

President Duterte should tell the DOJ to go ahead with the plan.

* * *

I have long proposed the privatization of the casinos of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. They cannot compete wth privately owned casinos.

Nowhere else in the world can we find a government regulator like Pagcor competing with private operators.

Both Macau and Las vegas have regulators but they don’t compete with operators.

There were plans early this year by Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez and Pagcor Chairperson Andrea Domingo to privatize the casinos. It is almost the end of the year and nothing is happening.

I wonder why they forgot.

* * *

If there were an award for best comedian in the administration, I would vote for Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa.

We have heard dela Rosa promising Christmas bonuses for cops engaged in the war against drugs. Most recently he called those criticizing the police ingrates, since the PNP has in fact made streets safe again.

Safe? He must be kidding.

* * *

I am postponing the launch of my memoirs. I thought it would be finished by October. I am moving it to February or March next year.


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