Wrong to exempt lawmakers from gun ban

- Federico D. Pascual Jr. - The Philippine Star

WHAT insanity is this? After including in the election gun ban the senators and congressmen who are running for public office, the Commission on Elections is now saying that since they are still lawmakers pala they should be allowed to carry deadly weapons.

So what if they are lawmakers? Does that tag make them extra special, critically endangered or more qualified than others to carry guns?

The Comelec led by Chairman Andres Bautista flip-flopped after being reminded by its law department that senators and congressmen, unlike less privileged officials, are not considered automatically resigned when they file their certificates of candidacy.

(That is another anomaly. Why does the law exempt lawmakers from having to resign when they run for another office – thereby allowing them to simply walk back to their congressional seats if they lose? Answer: Because they were the ones who enacted that self-serving law!)

What for would lawmakers carry deadly weapons during the election period from January 10 to June 8? Are guns now part of their campaign paraphernalia? Are they afraid that taxpayers grown tired of their corruption might harm them?

Somebody should tell politicos that toting a firearm, concealed or in full view, will not save a target from a determined assassin.

On the other hand, we encourage politicians and officials who do not relish carrying a gun to speak up. We know there are many of them out there.

The law imposing an election gun ban, although defanged by numerous exemptions, actually promotes a kind of arms race. Assuming that their foes have armed goons, many politicians are pressured to also arm their camp. It becomes a cycle of one trying to outdo the other.

The “gun ban” law should disarm EVERYBODY – exempting only soldiers, policemen and security personnel in PROPER UNIFORM and on OFFICIAL DUTY.

The authorities will find such a law easier to enforce, because any civilian caught with a gun is presumed to be violating the ban until he can show otherwise.

How to cut cost of hospital, medical care?

AS POLITICIANS spend millions daily on TV campaign ads alone, it wrenches one’s heart to see plain folks reeling from the rising cost of hospitalization and medical care – not to mention the padding of bills by wrong diagnoses, unnecessary tests, exorbitant fees, et cetera.

Why cannot the government and organizations of medical doctors and hospital owners work together to lay down enforceable rules to ensure competent, timely and affordable medical attention for the lowliest of patients?

The complaints sound repetitious, but they keep coming. We received another letter last week, this time from an Adelaida Sanchez, a widow who poured out her woes in an email (edited to fit):

“My son Ismail was at work in Eastwood, Libis, Quezon City, when he suffered severe chilling. He was taken to (a hospital in Pasig). When they called me, I requested that he be confined there instead of in Marikina where we live. I am 68 years old, a widow, and it would be hard for me going back and forth.

“When my son felt better, he was allowed to go home. Then our troubles began. We took him at 3 a.m. last Nov. 20, 201, to (a private hospital) in Marikina, suspecting dengue fever. Since he is covered by HMO with a max limit of P120,000 we thought it was okay.

“When we entered the emergency room, the staffs were asleep at their desks, and my son stood waiting for a long time. Finally his case was diagnosed as a massive bacterial infection. He was confined at the male ward at 1 p.m.

“After more than a week of treatment under an EENT, a heart specialist, a nephrologist, a surgeon and several lab tests, X-rays, ECG, 2-D Echo, etc., his fever was still there. We were then passed on to an infectious disease specialist, whose diagnosis was pulmonary infection. By this time the max limit of my son’s HMO had been consumed.

“My son was transferred to a private ward for isolation. On Dec. 12 the doctor allowed his discharge. By this time, his bill had risen to P130,000 net, minus the Philhealth and HMO card already. We were not prepared for that as we are an ordinary family and my son is the only one supporting us.

“I was able to raise P40,000 from friends and relatives, but it was not enough. The billing section was willing to accept a promissory note, but required collateral, with everything to be paid in two weeks. I could not produce that, so my son had to stay while I was raising money.

“I requested that he be transferred to an ordinary ward from P1,800 down to P800, but the doctor would not allow it. So every day the bill got bigger, and my son’s fever raged on. A new doctor, a hematologist, is attending to him now, meaning continued lab tests and medicines which we are paying in cash.

“We have asked the help of the local government and the PCSO. The Sweepstakes office guaranteed P13,300 and the local government P5,000. I sought reconsideration, but the hospital would not give me an original copy of the final billing and an abstract of his sickness until he was discharged.

“I do not know what to do. Maybe, Sir, you can help?”

(FDP: Unlike the President, cabinet officials, senators, congressmen, and GOCC executives, most of us working newspapermen are just as hard up. One thing we can do is call attention to a patient’s predicament and hope a Good Samaritan will come to his succor. That is how constrained we are.)

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ADVISORY: Access past Postscripts archived at www.manilamail.com (if necessary, copy/paste url on address bar). Follow us via Twitter.com/@FDPascual. Email feedback to [email protected]













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