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Opinion

Wrong advice

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. director Linconn Ong is not getting the right advice from Ferdinand Topacio, his publicity-seeking lawyer.

Topacio told his client, now being held due to a contempt citation by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, not to participate in a closed-door tell-all session.

The controversial lawyer called the hearings a “kangaroo court.”

A kangaroo court is defined in the dictionary as “a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted.”

Topacio, who finished his law studies at the University of the East, practically challenged members of the Blue Ribbon committee – mostly law graduates of the Ateneo de Manila and the University of the Philippines – to engage him in a word war.

“Why should we dignify an ambulance chaser?” said a committee member.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson says Ong might spend Christmas and even New Year’s Eve in his detention cell at the Senate if he continues to be uncooperative with the Blue Ribbon committee.

The more Ong refuses to participate in the Senate hearings, the longer he stays in jail, and the more publicity mileage Topacio gets.

Ong was cited in contempt for refusing, in part, to divulge to senators how much money former presidential adviser Michael Yang lent to Pharmally.

Pharmally, which had an initial capital of only P625,000, was able to bag billions of pesos in contracts to supply face masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment to the government.

Yang, a Mainland Chinese influence peddler who is close to President Digong Duterte, introduced Pharmally officials to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

*      *      *

Brig. Gen. Antonio Yarra, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director, has ordered the closure of Peryahan ng Bayan outlets and the arrest of their agents in the city, while looking the other way when it comes to illegal loteng.

Loteng is so named as a play between the words “lotto” and “jueteng.”

Peryahan is authorized by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and is, therefore, legal.

Yarra’s subordinates who received the order to close down Peryahan outlets have expressed apprehension that they could be charged in court for illegal arrest.

“We can’t do anything, just following orders from the DD (district director),” said some of the subordinates.

There are reports that a QCPD officer is one of the financiers of loteng in the city.

*      *      *

President Digong wants vaccinations against COVID-19 made mandatory, invoking the police power of the state.

Digong advised government personnel who refuse to be vaccinated to resign or retire.

“Go out of government. Why? Because when you are with the government you face (citizens)” who go to public offices, said the Chief Executive.

However, in the absence of a law requiring all citizens to be vaccinated, many business establishments in Metro Manila refuse entry to unvaccinated customers.

Refusing to serve unvaccinated individuals is a step in the right direction, as they will be compelled to get inoculated.

Most citizens want to be inoculated against COVID-19, but where is the vaccine? COVID-19 vaccines come in trickles from abroad.

Had the government allowed LGUs and the private sector to buy vaccines from their sources, many more citizens could have been inoculated by now.

For reasons only they know, IATF officials want to control the importation of the vaccines.

*      *      *

Sen. Joel Villanueva proposes the abolition of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, saying it’s useless.

Villanueva said local government units (LGUs) are doing better than the IATF in addressing the pandemic.

“They (LGUs) know better and they’re doing better than the national government,” the senator said.

Villanueva is absolutely right. Something is wrong somewhere when an agency that handles a medical emergency is run by a retired military general instead of medical professionals.

*      *      *

Here’s a text message on Viber I received from my Swedish friend Mats Hillerstam, whose family is vacationing in Sweden:

“Mon, more good news from the (former) Viking countries of Sweden, Denmark and Norway: 1) The pandemic is from now on declared as done and over; 2) COVID-19 is from now on treated just as a seasonal flu; 3) all restrictions are lifted; 4) the only recommendation is to stay home if you are sick; 5) no PCR tests or vaccine passport needed; 6) everything is back to normal as it was before the corrupted (sic) World Health Organization declared a pandemic.

“Let’s hope the rest of the world will wake up.”

*      *      *

Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo “Guilor” Eleazar, national police chief, assured the public of a thorough investigation into the death of Cadet 3rd Class George Karl Magsayo due to hazing at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA).

PNPA senior cadets who beat up junior cadets might bring their bestial behavior to the PNP when they graduate, Eleazar said.

The PNPA is a very poor cousin of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), where hazing is also practiced. However, scions of prominent people are untouchable at the PNPA.

A good example is Rock dela Rosa, son of former PNP chief and now senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who graduated in April this year.

Rock failed in several subjects but was still retained, in stark contrast to a PMA cadet who is dismissed when he fails in at least two subjects.

The PNPA was very lenient to Dela Rosa, a dull student, according to his classmates and some of his professors.

The senator’s son was also always late to his classes because he slept outside the PNPA campus instead of in the barracks.

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