viewpoint

Spell ‘invisibility’

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Was Osama bin Laden’s death “Murder or self-defense?” Viewpoint asked last June. “It is lex talionis or an eye for an eye,” e-mailed A. Salvador. “(That is) biblical justice for innocent victims, dead and physically or emotionally injured.”

From Hong Kong, Betty Escoda asked: “Amidst the brouhaha over the killing and sea burial of Osama bin Laden, can someone tell me which other countries, besides China and North Korea, have monuments for their home-grown despots? (Syria and Libya?—JLM )

“Do all nay-sayers believe it would have been better to present OBL’s corpse to his followers or Saudi Arabia, his birth place, so shrines could have been built for him?” Escoda added. “‘Good riddance to bad rubbish’ sums it up well. Unless we forgot about attacks in Nairobi, Madrid, Bali, London and Mumbai.”

Intelligence experts have long known OBL’s sick mind was fixated on injustice in Palestine and hatred for the West. A backlash from OBL’s rabid followers may come, since tit for tat is human nature.

“But surely a lesson has been learned. The only one to feel sorry for is poor Pakistan which has got egg all over its face.”

From lower Manhattan Angioline Loredo wrote: “There were New Yorkers, like me, who read about Bin Laden’s death, listened to interviews of everyone who had connections to the story, including families of the victims of 9/11, and, in the end, felt nothing more than: ‘Let it be.’

“Let the politicians drone on, let families of the victims cry again, let the zealous lot chant ‘USA! USA! USA!’ Or let Pakistanis voice their versions of reality.

“The events of 9/11 are as unfathomable now as they were 10 years ago, like other horrific events in history. Think Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, etc. Perhaps the question should be about the nature of evil. But there are no definitive answers to that either.

“Since then, America got involved in another war it could not possibly win. Who would have thought people power would come to Tunisia, Egypt and other places in the Middle East, and, yes, that Bin Laden would be news again?

“Whether we realize it or not, 9/11 changed many of us. I remember being on a night ferry from Napoli to Capri, two months after 9/11. With me were visitors from Indonesia, Canada, Australia and the US. That day an American Airlines jet crashed in Rockaway, New York. Everyone immediately assumed it was another terrorist attack. Knowing we were from New York, the tour director solicitously sought us out to break the news. He reassured us that, no, the crash was not a terrorist act.

“That simple act of kindness was writ large following a dehumanizing event like 9/11. Or maybe I am just getting old(er)? Either that or it’s the fault of Italy.”

“US Navy Seals rappelled into Bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout and got their man,” engineer Leonor Lagasca of Iloilo City e-mailed. “In contrast, our police, who are duty-bound to serve arrest warrants on Congressman Ruben Ecleo Jr. for graft and parricide, are unable to locate the Dinagat Island representative. Or are they just playing blind, as Pakistanis did in Abbottabad?”

In 2006, the Sandiganbayan sentenced “Supreme Master” of Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association Ecleo to 31 years in jail for corruption. As mayor of San Jose, Surigao del Norte, Ecleo paid P2.86 million for the construction of a public market and a new municipal building. Both were never completed. He also bought a guesthouse, which turned out to be a privately owned building.

In Cebu City, Regional Trial Court Judge Soliver Peras ordered the arrest of Ecleo after the congressman repeatedly ignored orders to appear in connection with a parricide case lodged against him.

Ecleo has been on trial in Cebu since 2002. That was when his wife Alona Bacolod-Ecleo, a fourth year medical student, was murdered, then dismembered. Ecleo denies he’s guilty. The court scrubbed his P1-million bond—only to learn that the bail company, Commonwealth Insurance Corp., went kaput.

Ecleo strung out his parricide trial over nine years now, Lagasca noted. One Cebu judge after another chickened out and asked to be replaced. Ecleo claimed “medical problems” that permitted him to leave jail.

Depicted as a “walking time bomb,” Ecleo ran in the last congressional elections. “Shouldn’t the Philippine Medical Association’s ethics committee examine if medical certifications are peddled here?” Lagasca wondered. “And when will the Lower House expel a member who has been convicted?”

Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson at least resigned when he was convicted in Hong Kong. “Not Ecleo,” Lagasca added.

Today cops say Ecleo, like Bin Laden, vanished. We hope his invisibility is not spelled “m-o-n-e-y.”

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Viewpoint on Pope Pope John Paul’s beatification (Inquirer, 4/30/11) recalled for Austrian honorary consul Arcadio Areglado March 13, 1981. With his wife Marle and their daughters June, and Julie, he watched John Paul in St. Peter’s Square.

“Then, we heard several shots. People wondered what it was. There was no panic. A sober and controlled voice later announced, in several languages, that the Pope had been shot. We were asked to stay calm and pray. Tears welled in our eyes. The only additional announcement was that the Pope was taken to the hospital.

“Years later, we met John Paul in Davao. We were happy to see him well—and now see him beatified.”

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Email: juanlmercado@gmail.com

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