Wednesday, October 18, 2017
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opinion / Columnists

Sinners and criminals

opinion / Columnists
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At Large

Sinners and criminals

Leading the campaign to put Sen. Leila de Lima behind bars (in which he succeeded), Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and his sidekicks in the House gleefully feasted on the allegations that the senator had had an affair with her driver/bodyguard and used him as a go-between with drug lords incarcerated in Bilibid.

Alvarez’s allies and supporters of President Duterte were not so interested in the how’s and why’s of the supposed drug trade and payoffs taking place in the national penitentiary. Instead, they pounced on the driver/bodyguard and fished for details of the supposed affair, including their nicknames for each other and how intimate they had become. The aim of this line of questioning, it seemed obvious, was not to get to the bottom of the drug dealings, but rather to shame and embarrass the senator. And the tactic worked. In macho Philippines, a man’s extramarital and extracurricular affairs are often “excused” as part of male privilege. But when a woman embarks on these exercises, she is branded a loose woman, a Jezebel, a sinner.

Well, there are red faces all around in the wake of the cat fight (tomcat fight?) between Speaker Alvarez and a former good friend and supporter of his, Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo. Officially, the spat supposedly arises from charges lodged by Alvarez against Floirendo regarding a decades-old transaction involving the Floirendo family’s property being used by penal authorities. But reports have emerged that the differences between the two are rooted in an altercation between the Speaker’s girlfriend (he is still married) and the congressman’s partner. The two women supposedly shouted at each other last year during the Masskara Festival in Bacolod.

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The rift between two leading lights in Congress just shows that not only are men capable of violating their vows and upending public morality (something we all already knew, right?), they are also capable of using their positions of power to pursue their own personal selfish interests.

So who’s the sinner and criminal now?

But women are just as capable of jumping into the moral quagmire. Former social welfare secretary Dinky Soliman has written a letter of complaint addressed to Civil Service Commission Chair Alice Bala regarding the social media posts of Assistant Social Welfare Secretary Lorraine Marie Badoy.

Badoy, recognized by many as a soldier in the “troll army” fielded in support of Mr. Duterte, has been using language “unbecoming of a civil servant,” Soliman said in her letter.

In particular, Soliman cited Badoy’s post attacking the European Union for its condemnation of the government’s “war on drugs.” In her post, Badoy told off the EU: “Mag online child porn muna kayo. Diyan naman kayo magaling eh.” (Just engage in child porn. That’s what you’re good at.)

Soliman said that being an official of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Badoy “should not be making a joke out of child pornography,” and added that a DSWD representative “cannot be flippant about a serious injustice being done to children.”

She also decried Badoy’s attacks on previous DSWD administrations, alleging corruption and negligence. She called on the CSC to conduct an investigation and file charges against Badoy. But the latter shrugged off Soliman’s charges, saying the worst that could happen to her was to lose her job. Maybe so. But I bet the victims of child sex trafficking and pornography and their families would not be so sanguine about Badoy’s flippant remarks. It’s rubbing salt on the raw wounds of exploitation.

I don’t know about you. But I wouldn’t want my epitaph to read: Here lies … killed by vanity. The report on the death of a 29-year-old businesswoman after undergoing an 11-hour operation for three cosmetic procedures has garnered a lot of coverage and headlines.

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While investigation is still ongoing, one wonders what compelled this single mother to run the risk of undergoing three major procedures in one go. And why her surgeons and the clinic where the operation was performed agreed to it. Her death may strike many as unfortunate and unnecessary, but can we at least take away some lessons from it?

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TAGS: At Large, Inquirer Opinion, Leila de Lima, Pantaleon Alvarez, Rina Jimenez-David, Rodrigo Duterte
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