POSTSCRIPT / October 18, 2001 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Here's a neat solution to bin Laden problem

SEND HER BACK TO TALIBAN: After we ran that longish caption showing the stark contrast between Miss America and Miss Afghanistan (Postscript 10/16), a number of readers sent this related piece entitled “A solution for Osama bin Laden”:

“Killing him will only create a martyr. Holding him prisoner will inspire his comrades to take hostages to demand his release.

“The better option is: Send the Special Forces, Navy Seals or whoever to covertly capture him, fly him to an undisclosed hospital and have surgeons quickly perform a complete sex change operation.

“Then return HER back to Afghanistan to live as a woman under the Taliban.”

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POWDER-FREE MAIL: In cyberbanter yesterday over the anthrax scare among Americans, we asked what would happen if we slipped a packet of baby powder in a letter to one of the Pinoy brods in the States.

Almost by acquired reflex, Cels in Chicago appeared on the Net with this advice:

“Your envelope containing any kind of white powder will be examined and the substance isolated and extracted for lab analysis. The FBI will be notified and investigation starts.

“If it turns out the white substance is nothing serious, both the sender and the recipient of the letter will be summoned for questioning. If the sender cannot explain the reason for the presence of the white substance in the envelope, maybe he/she will get off the hook — or be charged with threatening the security of the nation, spreading a false alarm or economic sabotage!

“The penalty ranges from 15 to 20 years in prison and a fine of not more than $3 million.

“The reason for such stiffer penalties is that the federal government, the FBI for that matter, is going to spend a lot of resources, money and manpower, to investigate. These could be used elsewhere.

“For example, an employee is being indicted for withholding information that the white substance found on the envelope in a bathroom was just baby powder. He watched his co-employees, stripped and doused with chemical to wash off any contamination, before they found out it was just baby powder.

“An airline passenger aboard United Airlines was arrested upon arrival at O’Hare airport. While the flight was in progress, he took out a plastic knife and motioned to the flight attendant as if he was cutting her throat with it.

“That was enough reason for the rest of the passengers to gang up on him. He was hogtied and placed at the back of the plane.

“There are a lot of sick people who would do such a stupid act to aggravate the situation instead of helping allay the fears of the community. The US Department. of Justice does not consider it a laughing matter and the FBI has lost its sense of humor.

“And being sorry is not enough to get you off the hook. We are living in a crazy world!”

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KIKO’S DEFENSE LINE: Reacting to our questioning the holding behind closed doors of the Senate ethics committee investigation of transactions of Sen. Rene Cayetano that netted him millions from controversial BW Resources shares, committee chairman Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan wrote us:

“Historically, ethics committee hearings have always been held in executive session. Regardless of what public perceptions may be, regardless of the degree of public esteem (or lack thereof) for the Senate, given the quasi-judicial and disciplinary mandate of the ethics committee which I take most seriously, the defendants in every complaint filed before this body will be presumed to be innocent until proven otherwise.

“I will exert every effort to preserve the objectivity of the proceedings and utilize all lawful means possible to give elected officials a fair shake.

“Next up on the ethics committee’s agenda are the hearings on the complaint filed against Sen. Panfilo Lacson. This investigation will be also conducted in executive session. Majority, minority, it does not matter.”

As his letter is long, we’re sending it to our Editor for possible publication in full.

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HOUSE DILEMMA: In the House of Representatives, meanwhile, Speaker Jose de Venecia is in a dilemma over the presence in the chamber of a losing candidate who had managed to have herself proclaimed winner in the last elections, sworn in and given a seat to represent the fourth district of Leyte.

She is Rep. Ma. Victoria. L. Locsin who actually lost by 17,903 votes to her rival, former Ormoc Mayor Eufrocino M. Codilla. She garnered 53,477 votes to his 71,350.

Codilla is banking on the Commission on Election’s nullifying Locsin’s proclamation and declaring him the rightful winner. But Locsin’s supervening proclamation and oath-taking may have to be presumed to be valid and legal until overturned by a competent body.

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COMELEC OR HOUSE TRIBUNAL?: Which is the competent body to resolve the question?

There’s a thinking that with Locsin’s having been proclaimed, qualified and allowed to take her oath and participate in House deliberations, it may be too late for the Comelec to undo all that fait accompli.

This school of thought says that if this were a pre-proclamation case, it would fall under the jurisdiction of the Comelec. But with Locsin’s proclamation, even if questioned, the dispute is to be resolved not by the Comelec but by the House electoral tribunal.

There is no debate over the principle that only the rightful winner should represent the district and that if Codilla beat Locsin by 17,903 votes he must be installed as the lawful representative of the fourth district of Leyte.

With the votes having been counted, the results announced, and the winner clearly identified, it seems to us that what remains to be done is just a matter of procedure: How to install the winner, who appears to be Codilla.

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OPINION BACKS CODILLA: The House deputy security general for legal affairs, G. A. Mendoza, issued last Oct. 4 a legal opinion saying that there are sufficient grounds to replace Locsin with Codilla. He warned that allowing a loser to stay would encourage other losers to resort to similar legal maneuvers to thwart the will of the electorate.

Mendoza said the House must heed the final and executory Comelec decision dated Aug. 29 declaring Codilla winner and ordering Locsin to vacate the congressional seat she assumed when Congress opened last July.

The Comelec had tried to correct the apparent injustice of a loser usurping the mandate of the winner. The poll body nullified Locsin’s proclamation by the Leyte provincial board of canvassers. By the time the Comelec stepped in, however, Locsin was already in place.

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INFOTECH NOTES: We ask for the patience of Smart Talk n Text users sending us messages using their cellphones. We have not been able to find the correct path for responding to most of their messages via our computer’s email facility.

One Smarter,, asked if there is any advantage assembling a computer running on Pentium 4 over Pentium 3. We emailed back using his address, but our reply bounced back. Hence this reply and discussion in print:

Naturally Intel says that P4 is faster and more powerful than P3. It probably is. We’ve not used P4, but only read about it and asked around.

Personally, we are not yet inclined to assemble a machine using Pentium 4. We still see no need for it. We would rather stick for a while to our P3, probably upgrading it to 1-gig or the newer 1.2-gig after our having upgraded our RAM (random access memory) to the max.

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CONSIDER THE COSTS: One factor holding us back from upgrading from Pentium 3 to Pentium 4 is that a P3 motherboard cannot take a P4 processor. To use P4, one must discard his old board and buy a new one dedicated to P4. One ends up with an entirely new machine, thereby spending more.

Assembling a P4 machine is slightly more difficult. Whereas in the old board with the P3 one uses only his bare hands to install the Pentium processor, one now needs pliers to help put in the P4 processor. The rest is basically the same easy procedure.

The cost of a new P4 computer will include a low of P7,300 for a P4-1.5 gig to a high of P29,900 for a P4-2 gig. Add the cost of the new motherboard, which is around P7,500 (Intel 850) and P7,950 (ASUS P4B).

Meantime, RAM prices continue to go down. As of yesterday, 64 mb (PC133) was P380; 128 mb, P650; 256 mb, P1,250; and 512 mb, P2,850.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of October 18, 2001)

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