Best gifts of the season | Inquirer Opinion
At Large

Best gifts of the season

/ 05:07 AM December 26, 2017

There’s a Facebook thread that I’ve found increasingly amusing.

It asks the question: What would be the best Christmas gift the Filipino people could give President Duterte?

The answers range from boxes filled with Fentanyl, a dermatologist’s services, a toothbrush (to clean up his “dirty mouth”), a mouth guard and my own contribution:

a face guard like that employed to restrain Hannibal Lecter in the movie “The Silence of the Lambs.”


But by far the most popular gift suggestion was a simple “ballpen.” Other variants surfaced: a sign pen, a fountain pen, indelible ink, even a Pentel pen. But all these suggestions centered on a single theme—to enable the President to finally, as he had promised time and again, to sign a waiver to allow bank authorities to release his bank records so that investigators (especially the pesky Sen. Sonny Trillanes) could begin digging into allegations of his and his family’s hidden wealth.

Should he agree to sign the waiver, President Duterte would actually be giving his own gift to the Filipino people. He would finally fulfill his promises of full transparency and, it is hoped, settle once and for all questions regarding his personal resources. Critics say the President and members of his family had accumulated personal wealth amounting to “billions” back from when he was a “mere” city mayor. The President has denied these charges again and again. But if he truly has nothing to hide, then why is he so reluctant to have his banking records opened to public scrutiny?

Trillanes first brought up the issue during the campaign, but the document Mr. Duterte’s lawyers finally presented fell far short of the demands of true transparency.

So yes, for Christmas, the President would do well to finally meet the people’s expectations and sign the controversial waiver. Truth would be the best-est present ever!


By the time you’re reading this, you must have unwrapped all or most of the gifts you found under your Christmas tree.

Beyond the bags, shoes, purses, makeup, books, clothes and devices—all items that fill up adult Christmas wish lists—what other gifts would you wish for yourself?


How about an end to the traffic “Armageddon” we faced almost every day of the last month or so? Surprisingly, the “mother of all traffic jams” that experts predicted last Friday, the last working day before Christmas, proved negligible, since we traversed the distance from Antipolo to Rockwell to the Makati CBD without too much trouble or gridlock. Was this a one-off blessing (people speculated that this may have been because huge numbers of Manilans had chosen to emigrate to quieter destinations the day before), or the beginning of a longer-lasting reprieve from our traffic hell? For our collective sanity, I hope it truly is the harbinger of happier road travels in the coming year!

There are many other things to wish for in 2018. One of these is an end to—or a lasting moratorium on—extrajudicial killings and the reign of terror unleashed in the name of the war on drugs. Haven’t enough people died? Haven’t enough families suffered? Haven’t enough widows and orphaned children shed enough tears? This really has got to stop!

In my list, too, is a new speechwriter for the President. By this time his rants and ravings have become so repetitive we could almost predict the moment he diverts from his prepared speech and launches on his favorite topics: drugs, of course; the sins of the previous administration; the continued rebellion of the communists and the “Yellow Crowd”; and the families and clans who refuse to knuckle under his thumb.

If not a new speechwriter, then a new resolve to curb his tongue and cleanse his vocabulary of the cuss words and sexual innuendoes that he still seems to find amusing.

What else? Perhaps a break from the breathless coverage of luxe weddings staged in foreign locales that only heighten the contrast between the dreary reality of the majority, and the glittering fantasy that is the life of the privileged few.

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And also, speaking personally, brakes on the galloping envy that I currently feel toward those with far more resources than I enjoy!

TAGS: opinion

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