Coming soon, the circus that never left town

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WILL Vice President Jejomar Binay still run for President in 2016 despite his falling approval and preference numbers? Who will be his running mate, if ever? Wily tactician that he is, Binay’s thinking of getting Senator Grace Poe, who’s been rising in the surveys as the electorate’s second most preferred candidate for President.

If Poe runs as Binay’s vice-presidential candidate, that will surely assure him victory next year, despite the devastating impact on his popularity of the many allegations of wrongdoing that’s being dredged up in the Senate practically every week, which include his supposedly taking kickbacks in the construction of the Makati City Hall building, his unexplained wealth and possessions, and even his family’s interests in the company that makes the cakes that Makati presents to senior citizens during their birthdays.

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Freedom’s price

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MAY 3 was proclaimed in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly as World Press Freedom Day on the recommendation of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It has since been celebrated every year by journalists’ and media groups in over 100 countries, with UNESCO leading the commemoration.

World Press Freedom Day, says UNESCO, provides an opportunity “to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence, and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.” The theme of the celebration this year is “Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality and Media Safety in the Digital Age.”

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The coup against EDSA

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ONLY by coincidence are reports of a brewing coup plot circulating on the eve of the 29th anniversary of the EDSA 1 People Power uprising. The usual suspects behind coup attempts may find it convenient to link their conspiracy to the overthrow of the Marcos regime in 1986, but they would be unduly stretching the meaning of their clandestine enterprise if they did so.

A coup is the exact opposite of what happened in 1986. A coup d’etat (literally, a sudden move against the state) is a clandestine, elite undertaking usually instigated or supported by military adventurists acting in behalf of their own or other limited interests. In more recent times, it has often been justified in the name of regime change and has been driven by foreign, mainly US, encouragement. It is a retrogressive, anti-democratic act contrary to humanity’s aspirations for freedom.

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The pope from the third world

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LET’S GET THE usual “separation-of-church-and-state” argument out of the way first. Securing the Pope, whoever he may be, is a State responsibility and no one in his right mind should be arguing against it. No one should begrudge the Catholic faithful among the citizenry the opportunity to at least see the Pope in person either. If providing that opportunity requires declaring January 15, 16 and 19 holidays, then by all means should those dates be holidays.

The point is that neither assuring the Pope’s safety nor providing Filipinos the chance to see him impinges on the Constitutional prohibition against “respecting an establishment of religion.” What does are those State actions that would mandate, say, prayer in public schools, or making one’s religion a condition for State employment.

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Politicizing Ebola

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EBOLA Virus Disease (EVD), or Ebola hemorrhagic fever, which the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as “a severe, often fatal illness in humans” is not contagious until the infected person develops symptoms.

But why take the unnecessary risk of infection anyway by socializing with the very people you’ve quarantined? And yet that’s precisely what Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang and Department of Health (DOH) Acting Secretary Janette Garin did by visiting Caballo Island early this week.

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