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Bacolod City, PhilippinesSaturday, October 26, 2013
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

A really gutsy lady

Ninfa Leonardia Now I am convinced that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is really gutsy. She has sought the cancellation of the passports of former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla because they have been charged with plunder in connection with the P10 Billion pork barrel scam. Would any other in her position have dared? And to think that her appointment as Secretary of the Department of Justice has not even been approved yet by the Committee on Appointments!

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I can’t recall how many times her appointment has been submitted for approval by that committee, composed of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and how many times it has been turned down. This latest action of hers will certainly not assure that her position as cabinet member will ever be confirmed. Those lawmakers have their own code of conduct, and may gang up on her later. Who knows if they, too, may find themselves in similar positions as Enrile et al?

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However, interest in the happenings in Congress may have been eclipsed by the more salacious one involving a popular singer-composer who has virtually been tagged a D.O.M. (Dirty Old Man) by many for his love affair with a 16-year-old girl. Now, Freddie Aguilar is said to be in his sixties, and some are shocked to know that he could be a seducer of children. And he seems quite proud of the feat, and had reportedly shown photos of them together in what may be called compromising poses.

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So indignant did this lawyer named Fernando Perito feel that he promptly filed charges in court against Aguilar, citing Article 337 of the Revised Penal Code, for qualified seduction that, I take to mean, seduction with consent, this time, not only of the girl, but of her parents as well. Well, Freddie must have serenaded and charmed them, too. So, will the charge stand in court? That we have to see.

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And Perito, a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, has a lot of harsh words against Aguilar in the case he filed. Not only did he call him a “predator,” he even said he should be castrated! But Freddie seems unperturbed, saying the country has too many problems to be concerned with his love-life. It looks as if the Aguilar family has this tendency to get into the news. Remember that case of his nephew who is accused of killing someone in a road-rage incident? By the way, what has happened in that case of Jason Ivler, the son of Freddie’s sister? Is he still in jail, or has he flown the coop already?

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But Freddie Agular’s dalliance with a very young girl is not really a world shocker. In London, a popular broadcaster of the British Broadcasting Corporation has just been sentenced to 30 years for sexual offenses. Stuart Hill of BBC, who is already 83, was convicted for seducing girls 11 to 16 years old. So what’s new. Freddie has even announced that he is marrying the girl, but isn’t he still married to another woman?

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Meanwhile, interest in the pork barrel scandal has not abated, despite the fact that one case involving those funds has already reached the Sandiganbayan. With the intense pressure being created by anti-pork groups, who have been very innovative in the types of protests they are waging, the two agencies – the Ombudsman and the Sandigayanbayan – will surely have their hands full of urgent cases, if only to prove that they, too, share the indignation of the people against the shameless ones who deprived their constituents of the benefits intended for them, and pocketed the cash themselves.

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On the lighter side – the Philippines has just received a new ambassador from the United Kingdom who has proven to be a quite a surprise. For one, Ambassador Asif Ahmad has a name that does not sound British at all. For another, he stunned a lot of people when he started talking to them in Tagalog! Apparently, the guy did his homework by getting himself tutored in the language before coming here. Now, isn’t that a nice gesture that all envoys should copy? Ambassador Ahmad already got a lot of pogi points with that to make him more acceptable to our people.*

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