Shields and Remdesivir

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo (The Philippine Star) - June 22, 2021 - 12:00am

Filipinos look ridiculous and stupid wearing a face shield over a face mask, my friend, Reynaldo Esmeralda, said.

Esmeralda recently came back from the United States; he said face shields were not required in the land of milk and honey.

We’re the only country in the world that requires its citizens to wear a face shield over a face mask.

People behind this ridiculous scheme have probably made oodles and oodles of cash, earned from commissions from importers of face shields.

They could retire with fortunes that will last them lifetimes.

President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte wants the wearing of face shields done away with.

However, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III says face shields should continue to be worn.

Hey, who’s the boss? Just asking.

*      *      *

Who are the people behind the importation of Remdesivir, an anti-COVID medicine that purportedly costs P40,000 per treatment in hospitals?

In India, where it is made, Remdesivir is priced as low as P588 per vial.

Selling the medicine at an astronomical price is unconscionable.

It’s talked about in whispers in hospital corridors and offices: the brother of a health official and a media man have cornered the importation of the medicine.

They will have their just deserts in due time; karmic justice can wait.

*      *      *

A drug with the generic name of tocilizumab supposedly costs P1 million per treatment for seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

A well-known politician and a billionaire, both of whom contracted COVID-19, would have died if they were not treated with tocilizumab, my little birdies told me.

Tocilizumab is used to treat inflammatory and auto-immune conditions, according to the website DrugBank Online.

The medicine was smuggled into the country by a gambling lord.

*      *      *

An official involved in the country’s fight against COVID-19 has been buying many pieces of real estate, including an island, in Palawan lately.

Does it pay to be corrupt?

*      *      *

The Supreme Court has disallowed the granting of bail to convicted plunderer Janet Lim-Napoles, who is sentenced to life imprisonment.

Napoles cited humanitarian reasons for her request.

If her request were granted, all prisoners serving life sentences could apply for bail on humanitarian grounds.

Or they could request to be confined in a hospital until they die.

By the way, Sandra Cam, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member, who has been charged with murder, a non-bailable offense, is confined in a hospital.

The court hearing her case should find out whether she’s just malingering.

*      *      *

Retired police colonel Wally Sombero, a detainee at the Bicutan Jail, is appealing to authorities to vaccinate him and his fellow inmates.

“We are also human beings,” says Sombero.

Sombero is being tried for plunder, also a non-bailable offense.

*      *      *

Sombero’s detention is a riddle, an enigma.

He blew the whistle on two former immigration commissioners, Al Argosino and Mike Robles, for extorting P50 million from Jack Lam, a Chinese gambling operator.

Sombero was caught on video handing the money over to Argosino and Robles in a hotel.

How could Sombero be charged with plunder along with the two former immigration officials, when he only acted as conduit for Lam?

The most that Sombero could have been charged with was bribery of government officials, a lesser offense.

*      *      *

Police Lt. Renato Florentino, former head of the warrant section of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), is now being tried by his peers for grave misconduct.

I exposed Florentino in my column in another broadsheet after some former female detainees complained that they were sexually harassed by the officer.

Florentino, the former detainees said, had the habit of calling into his office good-looking detainees.

He would ask the women to tell him lewd stories involving them and their husbands or lovers.

Or he would make them gyrate in front of him, suggesting sex.

One of the detainees was crying inconsolably after coming out of Florentino’s office.

One of the police officers hearing the administrative case against Florentino said he admitted calling some women into his office to “ask them if they were talking about me.”


Although Florentino denied sexually harassing the women, he had no business calling them to his office.

Florentino, who belongs to an influential religious sect, may be kicked out of the service.

He might even be excommunicated from his religious sect for bringing shame to his fellow members.

*      *      *

A famous former solon who has gone back to his province with his pretty wife is famous or notorious – take your pick – among partygoers for being a cocaine addict.

A pimp told me one of his wards complained that the legislator sprinkled coke on her supine nude body – from her breast to “down there” – and snorted the cocaine.
It’s no wonder that ex-solon frequently was wide-eyed and spoke rapidly, which are signs of abusing cocaine.

*      *      *

Another less famous former solon who has gone back to his province with his pretty wife is also a drug addict.

In his case, the drug of choice is shabu, or methamphetamine hydrochloride.

When he was still in office, he would ask his staff to buy shabu in the streets.

I learned about the ex-solon’s vice from his former staffer.

Clue: the ex-solon is very rich and a bit eccentric due, perhaps, to his addiction.

*      *      *

The diplomat I mentioned in my June 17 column, who’s applying to become a campaign manager for a presidentiable, should be investigated for the murder of a former tourism official in Laguna in 2012.

The ex-tourism official was shot dead, apparently by hired gunmen, in the house of his younger brother in a gated subdivision.

This is a cold case, meaning it’s in the archives, but investigators may want to look into the circumstances that led to the rubout.

Nagkaonsehan (cheating or double dealing) was the motive.

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