POSTSCRIPT / January 14, 1999 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Golez's document is not a House resolution

THE document that Parañaque congressman Roy Golez rushed to the Supreme Court to show the “sense” of Congress affirming the death penalty law is nothing but a sheaf of papers scrawled with more than a hundred signatures.

Sorry to douse cold water on the mob crying for the blood of child-rapist Leo Echegaray, but Congress is yet to convene. The House of Representatives still as to look at the Golez initiative and act on it.

While the signatures may turn out to be genuine, the high court cannot presume so, because they are affixed not to a House resolution but to mere pieces of paper gathered by Golez with one eye on media coverage.

The tribunal was burned once when it accepted a claim of Echegaray’s lawyer that there was a move in Congress to repeal or revise the death penalty law. It should not allow a second “kuryente.”

* * *

ANYWAY, the document is expected to be approved by the House in due course. But until then, it is not a House resolution expressing its ‘sense” on such an important issue as the death penalty.

It is also a foregone conclusion that the court would withdraw its controversial TRO, not on the basis of the public outcry against it, but on the merits of the motion for reconsideration that government lawyers have filed.

There should be no fretting from the gallery since the court did not reverse or commute the death penalty on Echegaray. Nor has it withdrawn its other ruling affirming the validity of the death penalty law.

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DESPITE the supposed waning of Church influence over its flock, a rise has been observed among the faithful going to church, not necessarily for Sunday Mass but going to church on private visits.

This is one of the informal indicators that we use to gauge the qualitative state of the economy. We have observed that when times are going from bad to worse, there is an increase in people praying and going to church.

This is also one of the reasons why jueteng, lotto, bingo and other forms of gambling continue to attract players.

When people are in trouble and are desperate for deliverance, they turn to dasal or sugal.

This is another explanation for the popularity of such mass prayer movements as the El Shaddai of Bro. Mike Velarde and other TV and Araneta coliseum evangelists.

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THE lotto, which President Estrada once denounced as benefiting mainly its Malaysian patrons but which he now enthusiastically supports, continues to be haunted by speculation that it is not on the level.

This is mainly because under its present management there is a total lack of information on how it has made instant millionaires of its many winners. The public is not told if there are winners.

This information vacuum feeds the suspicion that some syndicate, or some officials, feast the mountain of money that is collected daily from millions of bettors.

We are not even updated on what major prizes have remained unclaimed. Is this news blackout deliberate? We’re asking because prizes not claimed within one year goes to a special fund that is at the disposal of officials.

While winners have one year within which to claim their prizes, the paper that the lotto bets are printed on do not last that long. IN a few months, the text and numbers printed on the lotto ticket disappears.

Some winners who failed to check their tickets early enough discover to their horror that their betting slips had been invalidated by the disappearance of the numbers on them.

* * *

LOOK what just came our way via the Internet:

In a recent taping of the Oprah Winfrey show, the host asked her guest Tommy Hilfiger if he actually made racist statements attributed to him.

One such statement was that had he known that African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians would buy his clothes, he would not have made them so nice.

Hilfiger was reported as having said further that he wished that these people would not buy his clothes since they were made for upper class, white people.

IN response to Oprah, Hilfiger simply said yes.

Immediately, Oprah asked him to leave the show.

The incident has triggered a chain-mail campaign on the Internet among ethnic sectors to boycott Hilfiger products.

* * *

ALSO on the Internet are listed a new strain of computer viruses. Some of them are:

Lewinsky virus: Sucks all the memory out of your computer, then e-mails everyone about what it did.

Ronald Reagan virus: Saves your data, but forgets where they are stored.

Mike Tyson virus: Quits after one byte.

Oprah Winfrey virus: Your 300MB hard drive suddenly shrinks to 100MB, and then slowly expands to 200MB.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian virus: Deletes all old files.

Ellen Degeneres virus: You can no longer insert disks into your computer.

Titanic virus: Your whole computer goes down.

Disney virus: Everything in your computer goes Goofy.

Prozac virus: Screws up your RAM but your processor doesn’t care.

Joey Buttafuoco virus: Only attacks minor files.

Arnold Schwarzenegger virus: Terminates some files, leaves, but it’ll be back.

Lorena Bobbit virus: Turns your hard disk into a 3.5 inch floppy.

* * *

THERE is a proliferation of vanity plates despite (or because of?) the order of President Estrada banning low-numbered plates and the indiscriminate use of sirens and flashers by unauthorized persons.

Instead of the license plate No. 8, some congressmen have begun installing plates announcing their being a “CONGRESSMAN.” Maybe they want to make it easy for disgruntled commuters and pedestrians who are itching to stone vehicles of congressmen.

Akala ng mga congressmen sila lang? As you might have guessed, lesser mortals have followed suit. Now we see plates emblazoned with “MAYOR,” “VICE MAYOR,” and “COUNCILOR.”

No, there are more. We’ve seen plates boasting “BARANGAY CAPT.”

Okay, assuming we can live with plates saying “MAYOR,” what are we to do with “OFFICE OF THE MAYOR”?

Where will all this madness end?

* * *

EQUALLY irritating to road users is the continued use of sirens and flashers even after the President said only top officials are allowed to use them.

Reader B. C. Flores of Makati (sarina@pacific.net.ph) writes in:

“Your comments on the use of low-numbered plates, sirens and flashers to avoid existing traffic rules and to bully other motorists to give way, hit one of the real problems that cause traffic chaos.

“No less than President Estrada and MMDA chairman Jejomar Binay have issued orders prohibiting the use of emergency sirens, but it seems these has gone the way of our “ningas cogon” habit, meaning no enforcement.

“With reference to the official who (HR) who did not have the nerve to identify himself, may I just point out that it is precisely people like him who have sirens and use low-numbered plates who irritate and bully us. Are they the only ones who have important appointments and do they have the right to inconvenience the rest of the public?”

Nobody listens to President Estrada anymore?

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of January 14, 1999)

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