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Trudging back to old haunts and bad habits

HAVE WE RISEN?: As another Semana Santa slips by, we weary workers haul ourselves back tomorrow to the salt mines. Are we rested, in body and spirit, after taking off for a long Lenten break?

Do we emerge better Christians from the penitential rituals of Lent? Or do we trudge back to fall into the same rut of old haunts and bad habits?

What does it take to jolt us to mend our lives? Will it require a magnitude-8 earthquake or maybe a deathly rain of brimstone and fire? Or perhaps a personal tragedy?

Focusing on the brighter side of Easter, however, we assume that many of us have resolved to rise with the Lord into a new life.

At the Vatican, meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI appointed last Wednesday, April 20, Bishop Mylo Hubert Claudio Vergara of the diocese of San Jose as bishop of Pasig (population 1,517,000, Catholics 1,143,000, priests 29, religious 8).

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MARCOS QUALIFIED: On whether or not the late President Ferdinand Marcos is qualified to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Resting Place of Heroes), the answer is Yes, as explained by retired Brig. Gen. Rosalino A. Alquiza (rosalquiza@yahoo.com).

It appears that the controversy arose from the misconception that, because of its name, the military cemetery at Fort Bonifacio is reserved for heroes. And Marcos is not a hero. Alquiza said in his e-mail:

“AFP Regulations G 161-373, subject: ‘Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the LNMB,’ issued on 9 April 1986 by GHQ AFP under then AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos and then President Corazon C. Aquino, prescribes who are entitled to be interred in the LNMB.

“Pursuant to the aforecited AFP Regulations, re-published on 11 Sept 2000 as AFP Regulations G 161-375, there are 10 catego ries of deceased persons entitled to be buried at the LNMB, namely:

“1. Medal of Valor Awardees;

“2. Presidents or Commanders-in-Chief, AFP

“3. Secretaries of National Defense

“4. Chiefs of Staff, AFP

“5. General/Flag Officers of the AFP

“6. Active and retired military personnel of the AFP

“7. Former AFP members who laterally entered/joined the PNP and the PCG

“8. Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1896, WWI, WWII and recognized guerrillas.

“9. Government Dignitaries, Statesmen, National Artists and other deceased persons whose interment or reinterment has been approved by the Commander-in-Chief, Congress or the Secretary of National Defense.

“10. Former Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense, widows of former Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense and Chiefs of Staff.

“In the AFP Regulations, these two categories are not qualified to be interred at the LNMB: Personnel who were dishonorably separated/ reverted/ discharged from the service; and authorized personnel who were convicted by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude.

“Former President Marcos is entitled to be interred at the LNMB in any of four categories, namely: as Medal of Valor awardee, as former President, as former Secretary of National Defense, and as veteran of World War II.

“As regards disqualification, Marcos was neither dishonorably discharged nor convicted with finality of an offense involving moral turpitude. While he was charged with several offenses, he was never convicted. Thus, he died an innocent man.

“Except for the 9th category (Government Dignitaries, Statesmen and National Artists), the regulations do not require the approval of the President or anybody else for the interment at the LNMB of those so entitled.

“All that the next of kin has to do is to notify, not request, The Adjutant General, AFP, or the Deputy Chief of Staff for Reservists/Retirees Affairs, J9, AFP, who shall process the documents and determine from the records if the deceased is qualified, and not disqualified, to be interred at the LNMB, pursuant to the AFP regulations.

“The LNMB is a military cemetery (just like the Arlington Cemetery in the United States) intended primarily for military personnel and veterans. One does not have to be a hero to qualify to be buried there. Conversely, one acclaimed by some as a ‘hero’ is not entitled to be interred at the LNMB if he does not belong to any of the qualified categories.

“The renaming of the military cemetery, as suggested by some, to remove the word ‘Bayani’ from its name, might be in order, to preclude the wrong argument that one must be a hero to be buried there. That is a matter for the AFP authorities to consider.”

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SUBIC APPOINTEES: The announcement that Rodolfo Garcia and Rafael Reyes are to be appointed chairman and administrator, respectively, of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority has surprised many people.

Garcia and Reyes are known to be protégés of former Sen. Dick Gordon, whose political ties with President Noynoy Aquino are not clear. He ran for president in the 2010 elections against Aquino.

During Gordon’s time as SBMA chairman and administrator, Reyes was deputy administrator. In the same manner, Arman Arreza, before his appointment as SBMA administrator, also worked as deputy administrator under Gordon.

Reportedly endorsed by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Reyes is a son of former PAGCOR chair Alice Reyes. In a recent article, Arreza said Reyes knows his way around SBMA, having been Gordon’s deputy administrator. He also said Reyes would continue Gordon’s and Arreza’s legacy of good governance.

The item revived talk of Arreza’s having received flak for his P30-million annual remuneration. There have been clamor also that he be investigated for some contracts he signed as head of the Subic Freeport. Under his watch, the Freeport Services Corp. reportedly went bankrupt.

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