April 2, 2023

As always, this column is being written in a rush, using only pen and paper – nor typed, not computer printed.
So, if you spot any error in spelling, grammar or sentence structure, blame not the proofreader, but my chicken scratch.
For example, “on” is not “in,” nor “in” is “on.” Confused? Then have faith “in,” not “on” Digong.
And as actor Russ Tamblyn will tell you, he “trembles” rather than “tumbles,” in his boots.

At my age, I should follow Governor Ututalum’s lead, who once said to Marcos while riding a plane together, “Fasten the belt of your pants, Mr. President, plenty pickpockets.”
When reminded by his three wives that he probably meant seatbelt and air pockets, Ututalum snorted, “Important is, President understands.”

But why am I nitpicking over a seemingly petty matter?
Well, last Sunday’s issue of this paper featured an interview by the never growing old Stella de Guia of the forever young Bucky Bugayong, who mentioned that I was his former student.

Bucky was not only my professor in Economics, he also mentioned me on a few other things.
Each time Bucky would return our quiz and exam papers, mine always had notations – the incorrect spelling, the wrong grammar, the improper use of “there” and “their” etc.
With Bucky, it was good prose that merited a high grade.
The last thing I want is to hear a disappointed Bucky say “Didn’t you learn anything from me at all?”
I hope to be still around when Bucky celebrates his 100th birthday – seven or eight years hence.

Like all other freedoms, press freedom is not absolute, but only insofar that it should not be used to malign another.
Now if the purpose is to serve public interest, the writer must take pains to verify the facts.
Evidence need not be beyond reproach, but documentation and eyewitness accounts would still be needed to support the story.

Of course, a refusal to reveal one’s source should be taken as being part of the game, but if suit is brought before the courts, the identity must be revealed, but only in private, with only the judge and counsels present.
Cross examination should only be done by the judge to test the credibility of the source, but suggestions from counsels should be welcomed.

But why go through a proceeding like that? It is because the press loves to issue statements coming from someone who spoke only “on condition of anonymity. This is fiction, pure and simple. A lot of crap, so to speak.

In the Maria Ressa cyber libel case, motive is suspect. What is or was Ressa’s agenda, using press freedom as a shield from prosecution.
But why is government keen in running after Ressa – to scare media and stifle dissent?
All those in favor of Ressa’s conviction, raise your right hand(s). All those against, raise both your feet.
What is bothersome is that the law was given retroactive effect, something that can be done only if for an accused, and not against him or her.

So, was the presiding judge otherwise influenced?
Certainly not, the judiciary is an entirely independent body, and all judges decide cases on the basis of law and evidence.
But then, who appointed her in the first place?
To avoid public speculation, and also so as not to unduly influence other magistrates, the judge who decided Ressa’s case should not be appointed to the Appellate Court till after Duterte’s administration.

Whichever way a woman dresses, she just wants to be fashionable or to look good. Sexy too, yes. It is an invitation to the men to look but not touch; to admire, but hands off; to desire, but not be a predator.
There are ways to convince a woman to reciprocate your affections, but never in a beastly manner, and when she says no, she means no.
When it comes to women, there is no room for stupidity, naiveté, or savagery.

But why am I coming to the defense of the women, given all the unflattering things I have said about them in the past, including two or three scrimmages?
It is because the men who do not know any better are on the attack, vicious and uncompromising, which I have never been, like I have never been an admirer of the Tulfo’s.
It is hypocrites who make the lives of both men and woman miserable, pretending to be who they are not.

There are only two kinds of individuals working for Duterte – those who talk, talk, talk, like Roque and Panelo – they are lawyers after all – and those who do – Bernie Romulo – Puyat, whose tourism program has been derailed by the virus, unfortunately, and soft spoken Baguio boy Roy Cimatu, who surprisingly does not have the bluster and braggadocio so unwelcomed of other Philippine Military Academy generals.
Step aside, Romulo, et al, Cimatu for President.

Trivia: To most well-heeled tourists back in the good old days, the natives live in tin houses because they couldn’t afford lumber or concrete.
Not so. Rats can gnaw through wood, and believe it or not, reduce a hollow block to debris.
But not through tin. Tin will chip off their sharp teeth, so all tin houses are rat free.
When it comes to brains and smarts, the Ibaloy has his moments.
Oh, yes. Rats can also smell if the owner of the house is a rat himself.