Malaya – Pageantry after fraud

By Dody Lacuna | Malaya

TEDDY Locsin, Jr.’s savage language would find easy targets in the Marcoses and political critics of the late President Cory Aquino. A former newspaper columnist and the son of a highly-respected newspaper publisher, Locsin has struggled to break away from a journalist’s fiery meanness and, as DFA secretary, has failed to assume a level of civility and statesmanship which his office demands.

His brand was exceptionally insightful but grating journalism that burned through skin and bone. The Vice-President of the Republic he called “boba” citing her “accident of fortune” later in the day as the cause of his insulting remarks. Locsin, of course, had singled out former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert Del Rosario but tried to insulate his unwelcome move by altogether cancelling the diplomatic passports issued to previous DFA officials.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman lashed out at Locsin, calling his remarks against Vice President Leni Robredo as “patently disrespectful and culpably crude.” To her credit, Robredo is not one to engage in heated and colored exchanges but has, instead, pointed out that Locsin’s order might be a violation of the Passport Act of 1996 or RA No. 8239 which says that “passports may only be canceled if the holder is a fugitive, convicted of a crime or if the holder acquired the passport fraudulently.

If Locsin is made accountable and faces censure by the Senate and congressional leaders, it is almost certain that President Duterte, also known for the kind of language that his mother would not have wanted to hear, will exculpate him. Cabinet officials should be confronted with ethical and lawful standards that will ultimately define their character, especially so with Locsin who embodies the values and culture of his nation. He now faces an aghast and embarrassed diplomatic corps.

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As the 18th Congress is set to open the nation is again to be treated to the frivolities of official pageantry that would shield the rigged computer count and corruption in the recent elections.

President Duterte was well aware of the impact of the numerous computer glitches on the outcome of the national balloting as he called for the disqualification of Smartmatic from future electoral exercises. And yet, raising his strong objection against Smartmatic before the elections was not an option for him and his chosen candidates who would not have stood a chance if he had called out the operators of the cheating apparatus of the Comelec in connivance with Smartmatic.

The presidential disgust only confirmed the validity of hundreds of electoral complaints on the broken credibility of the poll body and its technology provider. The open patronage was awkward and visible when top Comelec officials quickly came to the defense of Smartmatic, announcing that it could not be disqualified from bidding for the next polls for what amounted to be unpersuasive and ambivalent reasons.

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The opening ceremonies at the plenary hall of the House of Representatives next month will exhibit once again the glamour and glitter portrayed by the ruling political class and warlords whose new elected positions had been otherwise smeared by political violence, betrayal, intimidation, extortion and excessive vote-buying. For instance, the seven-hour interruption in the transmission of votes did not seem scandalous enough to warrant a senate investigation which most of the sitting senators then had resolved to collectively initiate.

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In a noble act of compassion, a police officer of the NCRPO took pity on a girl who would have dropped off from school. The parents of the six-grader are in jail for drug charges and unable to pay for her tuition. The officer sought donations from fellow officers at NCRPO and other precincts. We are sure there were other police officers and men overcome by kindness and sympathy who have shown similar gestures to indigent family members of arrested drug suspects.

Still, many had been stricken with grief for those senselessly killed in police operations. They knew better than to be misled by their colleague’s contrived accomplishment reports which did not restrain their deep humanity.

NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar would do well – and God bless his soul – to lead his men in this rewarding journey of redemption. Philanthropist James Dy got wind of the pupil’s situation and offered to pay for her tuition in high school and college.

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