POSTSCRIPT / October 16, 1997 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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MARVEL succession theory: Give me a ‘V’ for next president

SEN. Edgardo Angara, the Lakas presidential aspirant who languishes at the bottom of the list in popularity surveys, may want to take a longer route to Malacañang.

While he still has some bargaining power left, Angara should hustle for the best deal from Vice President Joseph Estrada and agree to slide to being his vice presidential partner in the 1998 polls. (That is, kung may election pa.)

If the votes of Erap’s fans are properly counted by the Comelec and the actor wins, he might just be able to pull Angara with him to victory. Then, as spare tire, all Angara has to do is wait for Estrada to suffer the likely flat tire. 

Estrada is not exactly in the pink of health. There is a perception that he cannot last six grueling years. If you get to see him up close, and often enough, you will come face to face with his health problem.

When Pope John Paul II visited Manila and Estrada had to genuflect to kiss the Pontiff’s ring… no, our Erap was not struck by lightning, he simply wobbled and had a hard time rising had not the old Pope helped him to his feet.

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ARE you by any chance evangelist Mike Velarde or Eddie Villanueva who can muster millions with the flip of a page from the Bible? O baka you are superstar Ate Vi? Or maybe you are a De Villa or a De Venecia huffing and puffing to catch the lead pack in the poll surveys.

The mad scramble for the presidency calls to mind that succession story told during the time of the late Ferdinand Marcos, who consulted seers with as much faith as he did opinion pollsters and political strategists in charting his future.

He was particularly concerned about who would succeed him, as somebody had to cover his tracks when he had to die. (Yes, the strongman conceded he had to die somehow, and Imelda may not be able to step into his shoes fast enough.)

The story says that by some divine process, it was determined that the presidents after Marcos would follow the acronym MARVEL, as in Captain Marvel, with the “M” standing for Marcos and the succeeding letters the initials of those who would follow.

Who ever thought that Cory Aquino was the “A,” or that Fidel Ramos was the “R,” after the Marcos “M”?

Now, who is the “V” who is next in line?

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IF a hit squad of the New People’s Army executes a suspected murderer at the Luneta, we can be sure the Manila police will promptly grab them. If the gunmen “try to fight back” they will get peppered with lead in the process.

Armed partisans of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front executed last week two suspected murderers at a public place in Lanao with full media coverage ‑ and got away with it.

An MILF spokesman even had the nerve to declare that they did not recognize the Philippine Constitution and the due process required by it. To stress the point, he announced that there will be more executions shortly.

“The MILF does not recognize the authority and jurisdiction of the Philippine government over Mindanao, the Bangsamoro and the natives of Mindanao,” MILF chief negotiator Ghadzali Jaafar said. “The Bangsamoro people have a separate government and recognize the authority of the MILF over them.”

The authority and will of the Republic was challenged and it blinked. We are in serious trouble.

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THERE is no question that the public execution by firing squad in Lanao was against the law. Even MILF’s Ghadzali conceded that under the Constitution, such an act was illegal and baseless.

The longer the government delays acting on this travesty, the weaker its position will become.

Sanctions must be swift, especially with people whose concept of law and order is one based on power. To be more specific, they respect that kind of power that blasts out of the barrel of a gun.

Aside from issuing limp statements, the Ramos administration has not done anything to assert the might and authority of the Republic over this openly defiant, rebellious, secessionist, revolutionary, criminal minority in the South.

Is the Ramos administration afraid of the MILF, or is it in cahoots with those Moros in laying the basis for a national emergency that can justify a holdover?

Somebody has to ask this question, so there.

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IF you think printing “No Money Inside” on your mail to the folks back home will save your letter from pilferage, you’ve got another think coming. Some mail from abroad still reach the addressees torn and presumably searched for cash.

After we wrote that Philpost (acronym of the privatized post office) should be renamed Philfer, the firm’s spokesman explained that, indeed, a lot of mail is received from abroad already damaged. He added that they have caught and removed some postal personnel, some of them supervisors, who had tampered with the mail.

Still, next time you send a pair of shoes, send each shoe separately and on different dates. And never, never mail checks or cash.

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