POSTSCRIPT / January 29, 1998 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Erap still leads the pack; SanMig to cost 9% more

AS the problem of Hillary Rodham Clinton is transformed, rather unfairly, into a (the) problem of the American people, a similar scandal has hit the gossipy Manila press like a juicy durian whetting one’s sexual appetite.

Yes, it’s true that Cristina Cas-tañer Enrile, 40 years the wife of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, has left the Cagayan politician and flew last Jan. 15 to the States to nurse her wounded feelings and move to annul their rocky marriage.

But no, it’s not true (according to the 73-year-old senator) that he had been carrying on with lawyer Gigi Reyes, his pretty 35-year-old chief of staff. And still no to gossip that Gigi was the reason for Cristina’s abandoning him in the twilight of his political career.

Unfortunately for Enrile, he does not have a Saddam Hussein to bomb to kingdom come and, thereby, distract everybody from his marital woes.

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WE doubt if Enrile would bother to compare notes with lothario Vice President Joseph Estrada, who reportedly needs a loyal aide to guide him where to go home on some evenings.

Estrada, who is most likely to emerge president in the May 11 elections, somewhat defused the marital infidelity bomb when he recently admitted his well-known indiscretions. But Enrile, like your Bill Clinton and our Eddie Ramos, is not admitting anything of that sordid sort.

Opus Dei’s Sen. Francisco Tatad, meantime, does not intend to let the issue of marital infidelity against Estrada be forgotten. Taking off from the Clin-ton caper, he renewed his warning that he who routinely cheats on his wife will have no qualms cheating the people.

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IF the bulk of the $540-million Marcos hoard in Switzerland being transferred to a Manila bank is owned by Rep. Imelda R. Marcos, as she claims, can victims of human rights abuses claim compensation from that portion owned by the former first lady?

If the late President Marcos was held by a US court as responsible for the torture of some 10,000 Filipinos, can his wife Imelda be jointly held liable for the human rights violations? Must the victims now also run after Mrs. Marcos and her share in the $540 million? Must they now prove also that Mrs. Marcos participated in the crime?

One of the conditions of the Swiss government for the release of the funds held in escrow is that Mrs. Marcos be convicted first in a fair trial involving a crime related to the Swiss account.

Lawyers of Mrs. Marcos are resorting to this legal hair-splitting, stressing that “there is no money judgment anywhere in the world against Imelda Marcos.” She had been convicted in Manila of corruption, but this case is on appeal and is not related to the Swiss account.

A tortuous legal labyrinth awaits torture victims.

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LIKE cocks spurred for the kill, preachers Mike Velarde of El Shaddai and Eddie Villanueva of Jesus Is Lord were made by sadistic senators to lunge at each other in a tasteless grand derby of a hearing the other week.

The two have been quarreling over control of Channel 11. It seems they were both promised this government-sequestered TV network, and they both believed their forked-tongue patron in the Palace.

Was that Senate hearing in aid of legislation? No, no legislation came out of it.

Who lost? Both Velarde and Villanueva, plus their respective religious movements, lost. Even the Senate will have a hard time living down that sorry spectacle.

Now Brother Mike knows how much he has to pay for turning his back on his promise, made to President Ramos in a mammoth prayer meeting, to survey his El Shaddai legions on the proposal to lift the term limit of the president.

If Villanueva has any complaint at all in his corporate dealings with Velarde, the proper venue for the case is the Securities and Exchange Commission, not the sabungan in the Senate.

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IN a sudden show of ferocity, the police hit two places the other week and killed eight alleged kidnappers. How they knew the dead were all kidnappers was not explained.

The anti-kidnap task forces should be told to leave a few more suspects alive ‑ in case either Joseph Estrada or Fred Lim, whose main qualification is their capacity to exterminate criminals, becomes president.

If either Estrada or Lim comes out president and hits the ground running after crime syndicates, we can imagine that big-time crime will be gone in a year’s time. Or maybe in two years.

After they neutralize the big crime syndicates, what else will ‑ or can ‑ they do?

Maybe the two crime-busters eyeing the presidency should sign a covenant with their vice presidential team-mates and with the electorate that after solving the crime problem they will turn over the reins of government to their more qualified vice presidents.

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