Lifestyle check on the Ampatuans


“Sensing possible misuse of government funds by the Ampatuans, the Office of the Ombudsman also ordered a lifestyle check on the family.” Lording it over one of  the poorest provinces in the country and with no known on-going legal family-business, the Ampatuans managed to acquire several mansions located in some of the most expensive residential enclaves in the country including some in Davao city’s exclusive villages and expensive real property in Metro Manila. They are also notorious for moving around with “bodyguards” aboard long convoys of more than 10 vehicles of current-model SUV’s and other top of the line cars. They have amassed fire-arms worth at least tens of millions of Pesos and support,  on a monthly basis (salaries, food, housing, etc.), hundreds if not thousands of people that comprise their “private army” and hangers on. They spend millions of pesos every three years to ensure they get re-elected to the many government posts they have occupied over the years. They also “accommodate”  national candidates and manage to deliver votes in their favor. It shouldn’t take the Ombudsman more than a minute to come to a conclusion in their on-going “lifestyle check” on the Ampatuans (Hello!?). Having said that, on second thought,  based on the track record of the Ombudsman, we’re afraid to ask what their conclusion might be!

It is beyond comprehension how some people try to hold Congressman Ferdinand Marcos II (Bongbong) “responsible” for his father’s declaration of Martial Law almost 40 years ago especially now that he is running for Senator. Bongbong was barely fifteen years old when Martial Law was declared in 1972 not to mention he was in England attending to his schooling and probably, more so, worrying about where to get tickets to the “sold out” Rolling Stones concert for that fall season as most youngsters his age were concerned with or with the likes of it. As for the entire period of the controversial Marcos Rule, it would be best to leave to historians the rendering of a dispassionate accounting of that period in the history of our nation, where his father, President Marcos, stood at the helm of government as President of the Republic of the Philippines.  Bongbong Marcos, in fairness, has declared that he is ready to be judged by the voters not based on anyone’s actions, good or bad, nor even on his father’s achievements, but based on his own performance the last 15 years he has been in public office – nine years as Governor of Ilocos Norte and six years as Representative of the 2nd district of the same province. If we let his track record speak for itself, and the voters decide based on that record, then he will surely be elected to the Senate in the coming elections, half a century after his father was first elected to the same post.

If one were to  look objectively into each Presidentiable’s track record including their credibility, it would not be difficult to conclude that Gibo Teodoro is the most qualified among all of them to be the next President of the Philippines and, one might even add, has the potential of a great leader. Sadly, voters, and not a few, will resist voting for him if only to send a message to GMA that they have not forgiven nor forgotten the many accusations of graft and corruption involving the first family. Many have also not forgiven her involvement in the alleged cheating (Hello Garci) in the last Presidential elections. And for these reasons, it is a pity that the country would have missed-out on the chance of good if not great leadership from a candidate whose only fault is his association with GMA. There’s no other way to say it: GMA’s support is proving to be the “kiss of death.”  Gibo will have to convince the electorate that a vote for him does not translate into forgiveness of GMA’s sins. His work is cut out for him. Otherwise, we will have to make do with, hopefully, whoever is second best and who that may be is to us, still a toss-up.

It used to be that the favorite Christmas carol of Filipinos was “White Christmas,” an absolute absurdity because as much as we would be “dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the one I used to know,” the fact is, it will never snow here in our tropical islands not to mention it never did (“…just like the one I used to know”). It seems the popularity of that Christmas carol waned as the hope, of not a few, for Philippine Statehood slowly dissipated. In both respects, we’ve finally come to our senses. MALIGAYANG PASKO!

In the wake of Tiger Woods’ scandalous “transgressions,” he has decided to change his nickname but still keep it within the cat family — Cheetah. He has also announced his indefinite leave from professional golf; he will be resting his balls and keeping away from the holes to concentrate on his life as a husband and father. From our talks with friends regarding Tiger’s womanizing, we would say there are as many men envious of him as there are women who now find him disgusting. Whatever we might think of him now, we all ought to remember that our opinions are just that, mere opinions that can change from day to day depending on what’s happening in our respective personal lives which we should all be reflecting on instead of Tiger’s private life. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  

And for the new year, we share this other simple quote: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow.”  On that note, we wish everyone a HAPPY, PROSPEROUS, AND SERENE NEW YEAR — 2010. Cheers!!

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