"Is there no one else?"
A note to my readers: Beginning next week, this column will appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
* * *
In 1960, five years into my marriage, I told my wife I would take her on a world tour as I had earlier promised.
This was after I had made some money at the stock exchange. At that time, the foreign exchange rate was at P2 to a dollar. And with $10,000 in my pocket, I thought I was rich enough to buy anything I wanted.
So my wife and I visited Tokyo, and stayed at the old Imperial Hotel. Then we went to New York via Anchorage. That was the first time I saw snow. In New York, we met friends of my mother-in-law; they showered us with gifts. To avoid paying for excess baggage, we decided to send our first suitcase back home through mail.
Later on, as we visited London, Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Madrid, we again sent back our suitcases through the mail. This went on as we visited Rome and Vienna, and then went back to Rome where we boarded to go to Bangkok, and then Hong Kong, and then finally Manila. My wife and I sent home a total of seven suitcases through the mail.
At that time, doing this was safe.
Now, not anymore, Even balikbayan boxes are pilfered—if they do not disappear in the first place.
That tour is a memory my wife and I love reliving.
* * *
If you follow the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings on ninja cops, who recycle illegal drugs that they confiscate during buy-bust operations, you’d think that the Philippines had the worst police force in the world.
Santa Banana, ninja cops exist only here!
They send the drugs to convicted drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison, in connivance with corrupt security guards. And then the drug lords continue the nefarious activity.
Where else in the world can you find ninja cops protecting a Drug Queen, a mistress of the leader of the ninja cops? She was once a barangay captain, but since she has become a fugitive in the United States with her US visa canceled, she is back here.
The Senate inquiry has turned from bad to worse with no less than the chief of the Philippine National Police Oscar Albayalde now being implicated in the mess. He used to be a provincial police chief. Baguio City Mayor Banjamin Magalong says Albayalde intervened for 13 ninja cops; Albayalde supposedly asked that they not be fired.
Santa Banana, in my 70 years as a journalist, and I have covered the police beat, I have never encountered such police corruption!
This all reminds me of a joke: In New York, when a crime is committed, it takes the cops 10 minutes to get to the scene. In Tokyo, it’s five minutes. In the Philippines, the police are instantly at the scene of the crime—because they are either involved or they committed the crime in the first place!
Albayalde has some serious explaining to do. He says though that he would not resign unless the President tells him to.
With no less than the police chief dragged into the drug mess, how else can we feel safe?
* * *
Some people in Malacañang must be terribly in love with Mocha Uson, that dancer who became a blogger and Duterte supporter. Now she has a new position in the government.
After failing to get herself elected as the first nominee of AA Kasosyo, a group that advocates sustainable development (whatever that means), now she is back as deputy administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
She is back with a salary of P155,030 a month. I wonder how she can help OFWs, though—entertain them by performing lewd dance routines?
Another thing to consider is the ban on losing candidates; they are not supposed to be appointed to any office less than a year after elections. The Comelec claims, though, that this does not apply to party-list nominees. People should bring this matter to the Supreme Court.
I would like to ask Malacañang: Is there nobody else?
* * *
It’s a crucial position at OWWA that Uson has assumed. This is an agency mandated to advance the welfare of OFWs. However, Uson’s past actions have been detrimental rather than helpful to the migrants. Remember that “rescue mission” she did in Kuwait? The Philippine government was forced to apologize to the Kuwaiti government after this incident. That daring act was described as inappropriate behavior” and “an infringement into a country’s sovereignty.”
Is this the character that Duterte wants in promoting the welfare of our migrants? The Palace has to be more judicious in its appointments.
* * *
It appears that media failed to realize the implications of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin’s statement that the MOUs and MOAs signed between China and the Philippines were minimal compared to agreements with Japan.
This means that the billions of dollars Duterte was supposed to have brought home from state visits did not materialize as expected.
I notice that every time Duterte visits China, the Palace says it is “successful” because of billions of pesos in investments. But how much of all these investment pledges actually materialized? I have gone with presidents in their visits to other countries. I know for a fact that before any such visits, embassies and trade officials have already set up these MOUs and MOAs. When a head of state arrives in any country, all her has to, really, is to observe cabinet people sign these agreements with their counterparts.