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They never learn, or is it because of the money , though illegally, they earn in the process. In spite  of the noticed incessant anti-illegal drugs campaign that practically all police stations are seriously conducting, hauling in the process  - day in and day out - hundreds of pushers, the illicit drug trade just does not end. On Sunday, 8 July, a 19 - year old man was arrested in a drug bust operation in an east coast village of Zamboanga City. P/Chief Inspector Arlan Delumpines, Station 5 chief, identified the suspect as Jaymar “Batman” Climaco of Sibiktul Drive in the village of Arena Blanco. The young man was arrested in a bust operation along Daisy Road in Guiwan.

Confiscated from Climaco’s possession were P200 marked money, a sachet of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as "shabu," worth P900 and prohibited drug paraphernalia. Delumpines reported, the suspect was detained pending fling of appropriate charges against him.

X x x x X

A mysterious occurrence was recorded in Rizal town, Zamboanga del Norte, where 20 students of a provincial  school, for unexplained reasons, fell unconscious while attending a holy mass inside a Catholic church last Friday.

All subjects students are from the Colegio de San Francisco Javier in barangay East Poblacion, and were brought to a local hospital for treatment, and the Rizal Rural Health unit failed to explain the reason behind the incident.

The happening remains unexplained to this day.

X x x x X

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is rushing up the completion of the nationally-funded Baliwasan-San Jose Gusu road widening project in Zamboanga City. DPWH Reg. Dir. Jorge Sebastian said they are finalizing the road preparations and demolition of affected structures, after the problems on road right-of-way has been randomly resolved with the intercession of District 1 Representative Celso Lobregat. Lobregat, House Committee on Public Works and highways chairman, who was very instrumental in the conformity of land owners who refused earlier to negotiate with the DPWH and are charging the government with high market value of their properties affected by the road widening project, according to Sebastian. With the intercession of Congressman Lobregat, the owners have agreed to the terms and amount to be paid by the national government and has agreed to conform with the permit to enter and demolish their existing structures which are affected by the said project.

Sebastian said that if plans do not miscarry, the Baliwasan-San Jose Gusu stretch of will be completed before the yearend.

X x x x X

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants martial law in Mindanao to stay until 2022 or until President Rodrigo Duterte steps down from office, saying subject extension  could give the President more time to quell the over 40 years of rebellion and armed conflict in Mindanao.

He clarified, however, that this was his personal position and not the stand of the House of Representatives.

“You should realize that rebellion in the area has been there for more than 40 years. Up to now, it continues to beset the country. We should put an end to it even just in Mindanao,” he said.

“You know that the problem is not all about the ISIS (Islamic State). There is the New People’s Army. They want to oust the government. That is rebellion, too,” he said.

In the Senate, the majority bloc said they see an easy approval of an extension of martial law in Mindanao should the President requests. “Yes, if the situation so warrants,” said Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III.

Senator Francis Escudero expressed the same view, saying Congress would give its approval if the President and military officials can show that problem on Maute terror group still subsists and that martial law is still needed to address it.

Senator JV Ejercito added that it will be easier to approve an extension of martial law since no abuses or human rights violations were reported during the period.

These statements, collectively taken from their context, clearly indicate they speak solely on the  Marawi situation, sans Alvarez’ stand on the communist aggression.

But earlier, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. acknowledged that martial law was  indeed directed against the communist New People’s Army.

The leftist youth organization Anakbayan, however, said the proposal to extend martial law to tackle the communist insurgency exposed “the facist bent, ” of those behind the plan.

“Even without martial law, peasant leaders, indigenous people, activists, and ordinary people have been harassed and killed by trigger-happy military and policemen on the mere accusation of being NPA rebels. Martial law must be stopped now. Extending its duration and scope will only make things worse,” said Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan national chairman.

In the end, Duterte will have his way. That we know.

X x x x X

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday called  for an immediate end to the Muslim ID card system being implemented in certain towns in Tarlac province to screen potential security threats as a result of the ongoing conflict in Marawi City.

“The Muslim ID card system is a discriminatory policy that violates the constitutional right of Muslim Filipinos to equal protection under the law. It should be scrapped immediately,” Gatchalian said.

Such travesty, as gleaned from his succeeding pronouncement, “Even though the policy might have been carried out in good faith by local governments and police forces in the area…”

See the point? - “carried out in good faith by local governments and police forces in the area.”

Admitting, without agreeing, while the system, as in his words, “… singles out Muslims in an unfair and patently illegal manner,” still and all, Mr. Senator, security concerns are primordial. Let us then leave that matter in the hands of the local authorities. They know what is best for their constituents, who include Moslems themselves. And clearly, even Christians also bear IDs as does everybody.

It just so happens the marauding terrorists are misguided elements radicalized to extremism who belong to the same ethnic group.

For security purposes, people have to adjust to what authorizes deem best for all. Under the circumstances, we can surmise the system adopted by local authorities are not intended to discriminate one or the other. The ides is for thwe safety and security forall - Muslims and Christians alike/

Borrowing the favorite phrase of a cousin, “of fleeting thoughts” and shared two cents of view. No pun intended to no one.

X x x x X

Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Sunday predicted that election victory of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo would soon be overturned with recounts in just three provinces.

Marcos made the statement ahead of Tuesday’s preliminary conference on his election protest in connection with the 2016 vice-presidential race before the Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

Marcos identified the three provinces as Camarines Sur, Robredo’s home province, Iloilo, bailiwick of erstwhile ruling Liberal Party leaders, and Negros Oriental.

The former senator and Ilocos Norte governor denied allegations by the Robredo camp that he was fishing for evidence and that he did not know where cheating took place.

The three provinces, Marco voiced, are the areas where he was cheated enough to overcome his lead.

He said his lawyers were ready for Tuesday’s preliminary conference, the first part of the protest. The Marcos camp aims to prove the protest’s merit based on pieces of evidence it had gathered.

“In fact, for the last three months volunteers from provinces where cheating occurred never stopped coming to us, to give their affidavits and pinpoint to us where these documents are. We have voluminous files of pieces of evidence,” said Marcos, son and namesake of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

“One year had passed, it is too long since May 9 last year. People approached us because they want the public to know what really happened,” he added.

He urged the camp of Robredo not to resort to delaying tactics, pointing out that people needed to know who really won the 2016 vice presidential election.

Marcos, who lost the vice presidential race by 263,473 votes, accuses Robredo of benefiting from “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded data storage cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote-counting machines, and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes or “undervotes.”

In his protest, Marcos is assailing the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts. He paid for a recount in 36,465 clustered precincts, and wants the results annulled for the remaining 2,756.

Marcos last April 17 paid the P36-million first installment of the protest fee, which will cover recount expenses. The P30-million second and last installment is due on or before July 14.

Robredo paid P8 million for her counter-protest last May 2. The remaining P15.4 million is also due on July 14.  (By Jimmy Cabato)




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