POSTSCRIPT / December 29, 2009 / Tuesday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Some useful cellphone numbers to remember

PHONE MILEAGE: You just received a cellphone for Christmas or you gifted yourself with the latest model — and you want to make sure it is really new?

To check its lifetime, type *#WAR0ANTY# (that is a zero after the “R,” not the letter “O”) and the phone’s mileage appears. The life-timer should say “000000:00” if the device has not been used. If there is a number other than the zero reading, you are holding a used cellphone. 

The code *#WAR0ANTY# is easy to remember, but if you have a hard time keying it in, you can touch in its number equivalent: *#92702689#. 

To check the cellphone model No., date of manufacture, the version of its OS (operating system), etc., type *#0000#.

Btw, these codes work with Nokia cellphones, the market sales leader. I am not sure about other brands.

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SEND TO 2600: A motorist need not lose his temper or his gasoline money when flagged down by a uniformed holiday caroler suddenly asking to see the vehicles’ registration papers. 

First, not just any traffic aide or policeman may demand to see your registration papers if there is no traffic violation. Only the Land Transportation Office or its deputies are authorized to enforce the traffic code. If you are going your innocent way, even a policeman in uniform must be LTO-deputized in writing to check on you.

Then, if he is deputized but you cannot locate your registration papers (it has been months since you last looked at them), ask him to use his cellphone to verify your LTO record. If he does not carry a cellphone, which is unlikely, lend him yours. 

Key in: LTO (space) VEHICLE (space) XXX000, where XXX000 (no space between letters and numbers) stands for your license plate number consisting of three capital letters and three numbers. Send to 2600.

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FAKE OR KOTONG COP: Your network provider will charge you P2.50 or P2 for sending that message, but the service is worth it. Test it now, then save the data for future reference. 

Aside from giving basic information on your vehicle, the quick response from LTO indicates if your registration is up-to-date and if you have apprehensions or alarms (if the car has been reported stolen of lost). 

If the officer accosting you does not know this phone facility built into the LTO info-tech system by Stradcom Corp., he is a fake or mortally inept enforcer. Do not submit to him, and report him to the authorities. 

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DUE PROCESS: While navigating the bruising traffic yesterday on EDSA, I was listening to the live radio coverage of thepreliminary investigation of the rebellion charges against members of the Ampatuan dynasty and hundreds of their warriors in Maguindanao. 

With the sheer number of respondents, each one represented by a lawyer who wanted to say something and put up one excuse after another to delay the proceedings, it dawned on me that the case could drag on till the media and the rest of the public get tired and consign the case to limbo.

In this country, justice delayed goes by the euphemism “due process.”

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MURDER RAPS SET: Some non-lawyer friends are asking why a special courthouse is already being prepared in Camp Crame for the trial of Ampatuan et al. when the complaints are still in the preliminary investigation stage.

Have the state prosecutors already prejudged the complaints and decided to file the cases in court even before they are resolved at their level?

Justice Nonnie Pelayo who moonlights at the Business Mirror explained to me that yesterday’s preliminary investigation was only for the rebellion complaints and that the earlier multiple murder charges against Andal Ampatuan Jr. have been filed in court with other respondents to be added later.

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STRICTER RULES: Authorities securing US ports of entry are seriously going about their tasks after that scare over a Nigerian who tried to ignite an explosive on a Detroit-bound flight last Christmas. And you travelers better cooperate. 

Last Sunday, another Nigerian stayed too long in the lavatory as the plane prepared for descent. The crew called in security officers when the man refused to open the door despite their banging. It turned out he was just too sick to go back to his seat.

Among the new stern rules adopted was for all passengers to remain seated within one hour of landing. If you have to pee, sorryna lang. An obvious solution for people suffering from incontinence is to wear adult diapers. But what if suspicious officers notice the bulge and demand to tear apart the extra padding? 

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DON’T JOKE: The scare that escalated after the Sept. 11 (9-11) terrorist attackS in New York City and at the Pentagon in 2001 has set off a tidal wave of tighter security measures that constrict normal travel.

Processing of departing passengers that normally took 30 minutes can now take more than an hour. That includes the opening of suspicious luggage and the taking off of shoes.

When you see a sign asking if you have in your luggage some items that somebody else may have put in without your seeing it, do not try to be funny by countering how in the world would you know since you did not see it.

Many travelers who try relieving stress by cracking jokes have learned too late that border inspectors are serious about their jobs and will hold and grill those who crack jokes about bombs and procedures.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 29, 2009)

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