“Will Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo do a Ramona Bautista?”, our 15-year old grandson Adrian asked over lunch.
“Mara” is one of Ramon Revilla’ Senior’ s 45 children, the senator’s sister Rowena says. No, disagrees a spokesperson for the 84-year old former senator. Revilla Sr. sired 84 kids from 16 mothers. The man said 80 — after his son Ramgen was murdered.
Ramona, brother Ramon Jose (RJ) and three companions were linked by Paranaque police to the rubout. Mara was to testify, on November 8, on flip-flopping statements. Instead, she skipped to Hong Kong Friday, leaving RJ in the slammer.
Her departure card and one-way ticket indicated she could fly on to Istanbul, immigration spokespersons confirmed. She is married to a citizen of Turkey.
Return and sing. Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. urged her half-sister. Turkey has no extradition treaty with the Philippines. So, he asked Ramona’s mother Gemeleyn Magsaysay to weigh in. “Stay out of my family’s affairs,” snapped Mara’s mom.
The Justice Department may request International Police to add Ramona’s name to it’s “Red Notice List.” Few bet that Bautista will buy a return ticket for Manila soon.
In contrast, former president Arroyo and the ex-First Gentleman will book round trips, says GMA chief of staff, Elena Bautista Horn. That ‘d reinforce GMA’s request that government allow her to seek “metabolic bone biopsy” abroad. This procedure can’t be done here. Physicians, however, zippered their lips.
Supposedly ailing, GMA wants to make side trips. These include the Clinton Global Initiative and International Commission Against Death Penalty. Will GMA and Mike use their return tickets from venues sans extradition treaties?
“Should we take the word of someone who said she would not run again but did?,” asks ”Sun Star columnist Melanie. “Gloria’s word is not worth much today.”
We’re seeing a replay of Aesop’s fable: “The boy who cried wolf”. A shepherd-boy cons villagers with false cries of wolf attacks, the Greek storyteller (c. 620 — 564 BC ) wrote. Then, a wolf actually tears into his flock. But villagers shrug off his screams.
Across the centuries, the English idiom ‘to cry wolf’, evolved to mean triggering false alarm. “The punishment of liars is when they speak truth they are not believed”, Aristotle wrote. Wait. GMA can give you the Pampango version: Ing malaram maniabiya mang catutuan, E no mapaniwalan capilan man.’
The word of a Don Sergio Osmena was gilt edged. But GMA’s? Just over half a century separates the first president of postwar Philippines and the 14th President of the republic. Yet, palabra de honor has been severely devalued. Why? This merits discussion.
For now, it is enough to note that GMA accepts the “the boy-who-cried-wolf” syndrome crimps her wish to scream and, sad to say, her diminished state. The former president submitted a notarized statement that she will return, her spokesperson says. Isn’t that enough?
Well, no says Senator Panfilo Lacson. GMA should first submit counter-affidavits on the plunder and electoral sabotage cases she is being accused of. These are non-bailable offenses. “That way, GMA does not delay or frustrate the preliminary investigations being conducted by the Department of Justice.”
Will anything be required of the First Gentleman? The Senate Blue Ribbon committee necklaced Mike Arroyo with dumping overpriced second hand helicopters, after GMA’s campaign, on the Philippine National Police.
Ping should know. He kept a step ahead of a court posse for 14 months in the murder of PR man Salvador Dacer and driver, by Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force men when he was top honcho. That case remains unsolved.
Justice Secretary Lilia de Lima has the unenviable task of balancing the constitutional right to travel, which the Marcos dictatorship shredded, with the likelihood of flight, which is high.
She crafts recommendations for President Aquino’s decision even as Dinagat congressman Ruben Ecleo continues to elude arrest. After four reviews, the Supreme Court confirmed, Sandiganbayan’s October 2006 decision, sentencing Ecleo to 30 years for graft. A Cebu court reconfirmed validity of an arrest warrant for murder of Ecleo’s wife.
Gloria, Ramona and Ecleo are not just more of the same. These cases underscore that “premium must be put on building a judiciary and police force that are seen as honest fair and acting with integrity, says the new Asian Development Bank study “Asia 2050 Realizing the Asian Century”.
To “reinforce an “Asia on the cusp of historic transformation”, ensure that the rule of law applies to everyone. Build strong transparent institutions.They define success. If graft is unchecked, it will eventually suffocate rule of law. Devise participatory and accountability mechanisms.” Build a civil service on merit. Implementation is what matters.
The costs of missing the “Asian Century” would be staggering, says this new ADB analysis. GDP per capita would only be $20,600, not $40,800. Zones of modernity would coexist with zones of misery. “Billions will have to wait for another generation, or more”, for better lives.