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Opinion

Like father, like sons

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

Rep. Arnolfo Teves of Negros Oriental and his two sons, Kurt and Axl, are hotheaded and known troublemakers.

Kurt and his bodyguards beat up a security guard, Jomar Pajares, made him kneel down and kicked him while kneeling at the gate of BF Homes in Las Piñas, when the watchman refused them entry into the village because they didn’t have a car sticker for residents.

Father and son Arnolfo and Axl ganged up on a policeman and hammered him on the head with a pistol butt after the cop allegedly disobeyed an unlawful order from Axl.

The cop, Axl’s former bodyguard, now sports a “souvenir” from that incident: a deep dent in the head from the pistol butt.

Kurt and his bodyguards also mauled a woman in Negros Oriental and, like what they did to the security guard, also made her kneel down before them and made her bite the muzzle of a pistol.

The elder Teves once challenged a fellow congressman from Camarines Sur, Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, to a fistfight in the halls of the House of Representatives over an issue of budget allocation for lawmakers.

Looking for trouble seems to run in the family. As an ancient proverb goes, “like father, like son(s).”

Reacting to reports of Kurt’s caper, the elder Teves said, “I don’t know why they are trying to hype it up in the media. I think it’s politically motivated.”

Bayawan City in Congressman Teves’ third district in Negros Oriental is a dangerous place to live in.

The city’s crime rate, particularly murder, is high. Drugs proliferate in the city because the elder Teves was once a drug lord.

The congressman himself admitted in a privilege speech that he was into drugs.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) once had a record of Congressman Teves’ involvement in the drug trade.

The elder Teves quit after former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte became president. Candidate Duterte won on a promise he would eradicate illegal drugs by killing traffickers and street pushers.

However, Congressman Teves is now into an equally decadent form of vice: He is an operator of e-sabong in the Visayas.

E-sabong is a 24/7 online cockfighting platform which has been responsible for families breaking up and children becoming addicted to the game. There are records of a woman selling her infant to support her e-sabong vice, and at least one policeman engaging in robbery so he could have money for e-sabong.

One wonders if the hotheaded lawmaker would go back to his old trade after Mr. Duterte steps down.

*      *      *

Vice presidential aspirant Walden Bello has been declared “persona non grata” by the Davao City Council after he said that the city was the “drug center” in Mindanao and that corruption attended the city’s big infrastructure projects.

Persona non grata is a Latin term for “an unwelcome person.” In law, a person with such a tag is told to return to his or her native country/place or is not welcome in a specific place or territory.

The council resolution says Bello “is not welcome to enter the borders and the entire territorial jurisdiction” of the city.

A persona non grata declaration, however, is non-binding and a person who is so tagged cannot be driven from the place that gave him the tag.

Bello made the derogatory statement about Davao City during the Commission on Elections-sponsored debate of vice presidential candidates on March 20.

Hey, guys, what’s the matter with you? Why are you so pikon or onion-skinned? Bello was just expressing an opinion.

I may not agree with Bello, but last time I heard there was freedom of expression in this country.

It is as the French philosopher Voltaire believed in: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

If Davaoeños continue to be pikon, they will become the laughingstock of the free world.

In 2014, comedian Ramon Bautista was forced to apologize to a fiesta crowd after he made jocular remarks about women in the city being “sexy but ugly.”

A few days later after his apology, Bautista was declared persona non grata by the Davao City Council.

What did Bautista do wrong?

To borrow and modify from William Shakespeare’s famous line, a joke by any other name is still a joke.

*      *      *

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered a crackdown on illegal numbers games – among them bookies, jueteng, loteng and “last two.”

In a directive to Gen. Dionardo Carlos, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Año said only numbers games authorized by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) should be allowed.

Año told Carlos to coordinate with the PCSO on what numbers games it allows.

There has been a proliferation of illegal gambling lately, and this has reached Año.

The honcho of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which has supervision over the PNP, said his department has no power to authorize any form of lottery, bingo or other numbers games.

“Any claim or proof presented to the contrary is void and has no effect,” Año said.

In the past, Año’s predecessors at the DILG did not order illegal numbers games, particularly jueteng, stopped for one reason or the other.

It is public knowledge that illegal numbers games operators set aside millions of pesos every month for local officials, regional police directors, provincial directors and city or town police chiefs as intelihensiya (bribes), so they would not be disturbed.

Judging from his directive to the PNP chief, Año is not on the take.

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