Issue of December 1, 2019
     
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Vaping

Today is Dec. 1. It is supposed to be the first day of the merry month of Christmas. But then, of course, that is a little anti-climactic.

In the Philippines, we start celebrating Christmas as soon as the “ber” months arrive. And that was in Septem “ber”.

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Of course, the Philippine hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games was a debacle, embarrassing, and shameful. But there is nothing we can do anymore to erase the black eye that the country received.

Our worry is, what if in the next SEA Games, the next host country will also do to the Philippine delegation, what we had done them? Will they also let us feast on their own version of “kikiam”?

But you know, “kikiam” is not so bad, is it? As long as you do not serve it every meal, every day. It is a sausage-like dish that is of Chinese origin. It’s like lumpia, but wrapped in bean-curd sheets (tawpe).

* * * * * * * * * *

President Rodrigo Duterte to Vice President Leni Robredo: “Mas bright ka? Sige ikaw. Subukan mo.” And so Robredo was appointed co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

It was Leni’s fault that she was fired after only 18 days. She asked too many questions she was not supposed to ask.

She did not seem to understand that she was placed there only as window dressing and as a softer and kinder poster face for the brutal drug war. She did not also understand that she was there to fail, and not succeed. She should not have tried too hard.

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We never liked smoking. As a young lawyer, we thought we should smoke a pipe just for effect. But we gave it up almost immediately because smoking a pipe made us cough incessantly.

In fairly recent times, a new kind of smoking came into vogue. They first called it “electronic cigarettes,” then “e-cigarettes,” but now better known under the more popular term – vaping. It was supposed to be safer than cigarettes because it should reduce or give zero nicotine intake.

Unfortunately, reports say it may be more dangerous. And with all the thick smoke that it emits, we thought it was rather unsightly as it looked more like a fumigator or insect defogger. And it is more bothersome, and rude, to persons nearby. There is now a move to ban it here and abroad.

Pres. Duterte verbally ordered the arrest of people who used a vape. But is there a law prohibiting vapes and vaping? How can one be arrested without a law prohibiting the act?

The Philippine National Police arrested over 200 persons they caught vaping, but had to release them immediately for want of a law upon which they could be charged. We hope they are not charged for illegal arrests or something.

Then a “diligent” researcher found a Marcos decree (Presidential Decree 984) dating back to 1976 allegedly prohibiting “vaping”. This, they claim, should be the law used to justify vaping arrests. The PNP spokesman claims that PD 984 supposedly includes vaping as a form of pollution.

Marcos must have really been omniscient. E-cigarettes became commercially available only in 2004, that is after Marcos had already passed away. He died in Hawaii in 1989. The first known use of the word “vape” was in 1999. Yet Marcos declared them illegal as early as 1976?

Of course, if you read PD 984, nowhere does it mention vaping. But then in current times, the law can be read in many ways. Sometimes no law is even needed.

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