June 14, 2024

Philippine National Police Chief Archie Gamboa has come out with a directive that all persons violating the extended enhanced community quarantine regulations shall be apprehended, detained, and charged accordingly.
Wait a minute, exactly what crime has been violated that warrants prosecution?
Why, are we already under martial law? True, these are extraordinary times, but civilian rule still prevails.
So, aside from being trigger happy, they are also jumping the gun.

Let Congress pass a law that penalizes quarantine violators, assuming that it does not impair or infringe constitutional rights of each and every Filipino citizen.
Ang titigas kasi ng ulo, is the excuse given, but sino nga ba ang matigas ng ulo, insisting on police and military control sans martial law.
Declare martial law first, Mr. President, if only to justify the oftentimes highhanded actuations of your men in uniform.
“I have your back,” President Duterte says, “do your duty.” Exactly, the duty of the police is to serve and protect, not to harass an already harassed citizenry, Covid-19 and all.
Even with the pandemic, it is the police and military calling the shots, not the Department of Health. I agree, Secretary Francisco Duque should be fired. He should be the one issuing directives with guidelines to be followed. But that’s how it is, scared rabbits scamper to safety, seeking refuge instead of taking charge.

Sending the wrong message to our men in uniform can be dangerous, even fatal.
The Holocaust happened not because Hitler ordered the extermination of all Jews, but the mindset of the Gestapo and the 3rd Reich generals was that it was what Hitler wanted.

Briefings, briefings every now and then, but the police are not being briefed on how to act under the current situation, other than to man the fort and let no one pass without a barangay pass.
Renewed power for the police and military, new power for the barangay officials.
We are at their mercy. Your marketing days and hours are limited, the rest of the time, stay home.
Mr. President, kindly deliver crochet yarns and needles to every household, so we can spend our idle hours and days knitting sweaters and socks.

When I first came to University of the Philippines Diliman as an Octoberian for the school-year ‘58 to ‘59, I was kidded, rather warned by other students ahead of me that if I am not careful, I could be booted out of the university or, they add with a laugh, end up like Heherson Alvarez, a perennial UP student.

Maybe those guys had crosses on their tongues.
After spending a year and a half in Diliman, one year at Padre Faura, UP Manila, and another year at UP Baguio, including two or three summer classes, all I could show was an accumulation of 63 academic units.
A brod of mine advised me to apply for an Associate in Arts (AA) certificate which would make me a UP alumnus, just like Diosdado Macapagal. Huh, would I ever get to be president of anything, except maybe head of the heartaches club.
I was told, however, that the last AA certificate was that given – you guess right – to Diosdado Macapagal.
But hey, I treaded DM’s footsteps, since he moved over to University of Santo Tomas after and so did I, to good old Saint Louis University.

Anyway, during one birthday party of Senator Frank Drilon held at Club Filipino, I chanced upon Heherson Alvarez, then Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Since he greeted me with a smile and a handshake, I gathered enough nerve to mention to him Baguio Colleges Foundation’s problem with the land in which the foundation was sitting.
I had earlier met with then BCF President Ricardo P. Pama, who asked me if I know anyone who had strong connections to Sec. Alvarez. I remember telling president Pama that the only person Heherson couldn’t say no to would be his wife Cecile (Guidote) of Santa Zita fame.
After hearing what I had to say, Heherson said, “Sure, bring the school owners to my office, they are the kind of people we should help, those who are into education.”

Now comes the funny and painful part. “Let’s go and meet the President (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo), she just arrived,” Sonny said. GMA, putting up her arms as if to embrace Heherson, said, “Sonny, you are here, how nice to see you.” I bowed my head in GMA’s presence, and again thanked her for my appointment as city prosecutor.
The next day, trying to picture Jerry Salvosa’s face when I would tell him the good news, I managed to get hold of a copy of the day’s papers.
And there it was, to my shock, Sonny Alvarez had been replaced as DENR Secretary, by Cerilles, if I recall rightly.
Like my son Marc often reminds me, “Dad, it’s not right to say never trust a woman over 30. Never trust a woman period.”
Anyway, fare thee well, nice guy, Sonny. Godspeed!