Issue of September 10, 2017
     
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2017
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Is the Filipino worth dying for?

Like a prophet predicting his own fate, Ninoy Aquino, just before his assassination, with pride in his voice, twice said that the Filipino is worth dying for. But there was no mistaking the fear in his eyes when he was fetched by soldiers at the airport upon arriving from the United States after living a life of exile for some years.

I have often asked myself – was Ninoy scared that he would eventually be killed upon orders from higher authority, or was he afraid that his death could turn out to be meaningless.

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Whatever, time proved Ninoy to be right and wrong, that his wish for his countrymen – be careful what you wish for – will be just that – a wish.

True, Marcos was ousted from power, and it was the turn of the tyrant to be driven away to a foreign land, and like Ninoy before him, hoped for the day of his return – which did not come to be.

But in death, the hope came alive, and his burial at the “Libingan Ng Mga Bayani” was a dream fulfilled, or as critics of the present regime put it, “a tyrant paying tribute to another.”

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And this is where our story begins.

Who did Ninoy die for? Certainly not for today’s political leaders, or the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and to say that he died for the lawyers and doctors of the land would be a laugh.

Could he have been referring to those who hear mass and receive Holy Communion every Sunday? Maybe, but only until Monday comes.

The average Filipino then, or perhaps the so-called poor, fighting for their place in the sun when being evicted from property not belonging to them.

For the filthy rich who take to social media to advance their greed, the middle class who care only for themselves and not for the less blessed, the addicts and petty criminals, or the police, now a power to reckon with, playing vigilantes when no one is looking, while their superiors make hay anyway they can, turning a blind eye when an envelope is stuffed into their pockets, mayors and governors clinging to their posts for the longest time, or the angry youth taking to the hills in disgust, the college graduates who fly to the U.S. and other countries for better opportunities?

Or maybe Ninoy died for Chinese businessmen now worth billions of dollars, even while requiring their female employees to wear high heels while standing and not paying them enough.

Will there ever be a time when Filipinos get their acts together, drive away foreigners living off the fat of our soil, or march hand in hand towards Congress or Malacanang without being orchestrated by a yellow hand.

Or maybe Ninoy died for Christian Monsod but not for previous (Felipe yes, but not the rest) or succeeding Comelec chair.

Or maybe Ninoy died for my Ibaloy kin, so we can eat meat all day and sleep all night long.

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Once upon a time, Jose Rizal pretty much said the same thing – that the youth is the hope of the fatherland. Well, a thousand times the youth have become adults, and like the guy with the lamp seeking for an honest man, Rizal continues to hope while squirming in his grave. Joining him is Ninoy and other greats like Bonifacio, Del Pilar, the soldiers of Bataan who suffered and died in the death march for God and country.

Ah, but hope springs eternal from the human breast, and we pray for the day when the Filipino of whatever persuasion will listen to the beating in his heart and not to the call of his pocket, to renounce money as his god and savior. The color of heaven is not green, yellow or purple – it is white. Except when it comes to cash, Filipinos are color blind – or just blind.

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Good news: for cockfight aficionados like myself. Soon to open under new management (my friend Raul Sison and company) is the Shilan Cockpit Arena. Newly renovated – tiled toilets, bigger and more cockhonces, reasonable admission fees – it will hold an “ulutan” on Oct. 2.

Someone should tell Raul it is the native custom to butcher a few pigs for any kind of opening.

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Apology: We apologize for our rather sloppy column the other Sunday. It was done in a rush, and on a holiday yet, I submitted my column handwritten, and like most lawyers whose scribble is difficult to decipher, the proof reader couldn’t make heads or tails of it. For example, the line “Duterte accuses the public” should have been “Duterte assures…”

And the redundancy is unforgiving….waiting for the day when one day…Oh boy!

Anyway, we promise to do better next time. He he he.

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Hey, we are now in the brrr months, which means the start of the Philippine Christmas season. Cut down a little on your spending folks, and save a little for the best time of the year.

Life is priceless, and as the saying goes “habang may buhay” to snuff out the life of another for whatever reason is wrong.

All victims of senseless killings have families too, and none had spotty records other than what the killers otherwise claim.

Even more wrong is Bato hastily coming to the aid of his erring officers. The poor guy still doesn’t get it.

A good leader would have said – we will not tolerate any wrongdoing by our policemen, and quickly disarm them, and come up with a verdict soonest. Emboldening policemen is even more wrong.

Oh, early Christmas greetings to our readers.

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