Who’s on the list?

NO, the list will not contain those who probably will win next year. Instead it is a list being prepared by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) of at least 50 government officials being investigated to determine their culpability before their names are reported to the President.

The PACC is also working to establish a Truth and Justice Coalition to be composed of organizations and individuals to support the fight against corruption in government.

This can be like the “list” of people involved in drugs. Is it true some in Negros are in the list?

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Now that the MassKara Festival is on, the city’s traffic will be a monstrous challenge. The good thing about this is that it will end soon and bring us back to the same old traffic glut that drivers and passengers in Bacolod had learned to live with. Thanks Heavens for little blessings.

Try to avoid the inner city where almost all entrances and exits are closed. Plan your trips if it is necessary to go to the city, or don’t go at all and save fuel. Park far where you can and learn to walk. As one gag says, people have legs for walking and not for kicking. Television coverage in several channels is fine so stay at home and leave the visitors space in the city.

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Forty-five percent of Filipinos replying to a survey said they are concerned with the health of the President; others are not – they think President Duterte is all right and the reported Barrett’s oesophagus that he is diagnosed to be suffering, is not death threatening.

It is serious but not that alarming. If he and his family went to Hong Kong, it was to rest not to get treatment. Malacañang even brushed aside reports that they went shopping.

Some ask, however, is Hong Kong a place to rest or shop? It really does not matter but the political rivals are happy he was there to rest which means he is tired. Part therapy for his health problem? His enemies surely are not praying for his recovery as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines is asking the Filipinos to do.

Of course others hope that it would be serious enough that he should resign. What happened, however, is that his spokesman, Harry Roque, took a leave and some will resign before the filing for candidacy ends next week. Roque was reportedly offered another cabinet post but nothing happened to it. Anyway, he wanted to run for the Senate, but President Duterte told him he would not win. What a way to leave a position where he is almost daily in the news!

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What is this report that former Talisay City Mayor Eric Saratan is being discouraged from running for his former post by Cong. Alfredo Benitez? Benitez was shown on television offering Saratan to be the second nominee in Abang Lingkod party list. Will Dr. Saratan bite being second fiddle to Stephen Paduano and become another Sancho Pancha? He is the only one capable of defeating Mayor Neil Lizares, although many doubt he could dislodge the incumbent. Well, in politics nothing is certain except having to spend a lot of money to corrupt the voters while campaigning against corruption.

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Are drug lords fighting back? The ambush of five Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agents in Lanao del Sur is the first of its kind. Everybody fears the PDEA. Even just its list can cause people to fear for their lives, honour and freedom. I hope that we do not turn this country into a Columbia where drug lords dominate.

The ambush means that the drug cartels are no longer afraid and unless this perfidy is curtailed, the other drug mafia will be emboldened. They probably went into hiding and bidding their time until the anti-drug campaign slows down. Indeed, it has slowed down with fewer casualties reportedly daily while international criticism went into a crescendo.

With billions of money involved, the President no longer imperial as he was during his first year in office and the nation is reeling from the effects of inflation, drug lords will be encouraged to fight back. The killings PDEA agents and policemen and the payoffs to corrupt officials can intensify.

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