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“If President Benigno Aquino believed in transparency, he’d not have pushed for that ridiculous Right of Reply (RoR)” rider smuggled into the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, Political Jaywalkers blogged.

The President repeatedly cartwheeled on FOI, noted Viewpoint in “Indifference’s penalty” (Inquirer, 11/17/12). His grudging façade of support masked apathy. This spurred Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino to insist that his RoR bill—scavenged from measures discarded by the 14th Congress—be stitched into the long-stalled FOI measure.

“There is no connection” between a bill broadening access to information and an RoR that allows “dumb nuts to respond” to critics, Political Jaywalkers added. “Only idiots in the Philippines” try that.

Like Sen. Tito Sotto? “He plagiarized for his anti-reproductive health bill speeches—at least with good judgement,” e-mailed engineer Leonor Lagsca from Iloilo City. Sotto had cribbed from the late Robert F. Kennedy and other reputable sources.

Antonino, in contrast, scoured his RoR from the garbage bin of bills scrubbed by the previous Congress, namely: Rep. Monico Puentevella’s House Bill 3306 and Sen. Bong Revilla’s Senate Bill 2150. Antonino dolled up HB 4252 as an FOI measure.

“Section 10 is an RoR. Antonino hijacked it without by-your-leave. The sources are discredited. No wonder Rep Antonino skipped attribution. To plagiarize from someone, then make it worse, is a rip-off,” Lagsca added.

“Ang magtanim ng hangin, bagyo ang aanihin,” e-mailed “TinimbangNgunitKulang” in reaction to Viewpoint’s column “Unsought legacy” (11/13/12). He who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind. “Man is doomed,” he said.

That column cited the report of Science journal that global warming could overshoot the danger threshold of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Consequences could range from shriveled rice harvests and dwarfed fish sizes to villages swamped by rising sea levels. Too late to cut greenhouse emissions, some scientists argue. Countries should focus on “policies to mitigate harsh impacts of altered weather.”

“Albert Einstein said, ‘Problems cannot be solved at the level of awareness that created them,’” commented The Gum. “[He’d probably] begin solving this daunting problem by saying ‘Consume less, share more, and consider everyone as your equal.’”

Indeed, “the signs are somewhat grim. I’m worried about the arctic permafrost melting, leading to uncontrolled releases of previously trapped methane gases. Time to tax carbon usage and use that revenue to climate-proof the world. But ours is a deaf world. What will we tell future generations? Sorry?”

Viewpoint’s “Those pesky proverbs” (11/5/12) discussed the $345-million contempt fine clamped by the US Court of Appeals on Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The Marcoses tried to secretly ship out of the United States paintings, etc. In exchange, they demanded a 25-percent tax-free share. “Contumacious conduct,” the US court fumed. The Marcoses attempted to bootleg estate assets under litigation. “This caused direct harm to martial law victims.” The court whacked the Marcoses with a daily fine of $100,000.

“The bigger scandal is the Marcoses—Imelda, Bongbong and Imee—still hold government positions,” Pert Cabatana e-mailed. “They dish out the same junk that they’ve been heaping on the Filipino people for decades. We need divine help to stand up against [such]. This is urgent. Please note: the Binays are waiting in the wings.”

“When Marcos won the presidency in 1964, our foreign debt totaled $600,000. Within Asia, we were second to Japan economically,” Greg Andymar wrote. After almost 20 years, our foreign IOUs have ballooned to about 33,333 times the original $600,000.

“In simpler terms, the Marcos presidency borrowed an average of about $2.74 million every day—for 20 years! This explains how the Marcoses and cronies became multibillionaires. The very sad part is we are still paying up to now money borrowed by the Marcos presidency.”

Where did “he Marcoses get the nerve to gripe and “adopt pathetic royalty postures?” wonders Lilia Firme. Puede ba, sa Libya o Syria nga kayo tumira?

And Romeo asks: “Bakit walang plunder case laban sa kanila?”

“It’s Cory’s fault,” says TinimbangNgunitKulang. “She should have had them all executed during her rule. To make up for her shortcoming, her son should finish the job.” Indeed. The Marcoses should be thankful that they are residing in a civilized country, Domingo G says. If what they did happened in Libya, Iraq or Egypt, matagal na silang nadispacha.

Viewpoint’s “Faces not forgotten” (11/3/12) was “a moving piece,” writes Phoenix Political Party. That column remarked on the passing of Tom Palmeri, a former Jesuit scholastic. Palmeri and wife Diane spent over 30 years feeding thousands of malnourished kids on Camiguin Island. They treated wounds, got crutches for the lame, enrolled hundreds in schools—without self-seeking publicity.

“When Palmeri wrote, ‘They are no longer there, they are here,’ was he pointing to his heart?” asks Phoenix. “The poor will always be there, pathetically struggling. Look at the good things you got!” the musical “Superstar” (referring to Christ) says. In the movie “Desiree,” Napoleon addressed his defeated troops: “Though I love you all, I cannot embrace you all.”

“My heart goes out to Palmeri’s wife and family. And in his final resting place on the island, may the winds sing a hero’s eternal song.”

(E-mail: juan_mercado77@yahoo.com )


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Tags: column , freedom of information bill , Juan L. Mercado , right of reply



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