Mass mur­ders, sur­prise burial, and other things that were nor­mal­ized in 2016 (last part)

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORY! -

THE year 2016 is now be­ing col­lec­tively re­garded by many as the “worst year ever” due to its se­ries of tragedies that shook the global sta­tus quo.

Brexit, Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion, the rise of Isis, these are just some of the things that hap­pened in 2016 that will surely re­de­fine the years to fol­low.

De Lima chal­lenges pres­i­den­tial im­mu­nity After fil­ing a res­o­lu­tion open­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion against the spate of sum­mary killings in the coun­try un­leashed by the Pres­i­dent’s dec­la­ra­tion of an all out war against drugs, De Lima’s name has never left the lime­light.

The probe against Duterte and his al­leged in­volve­ment in the ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings in the coun­try how­ever did not flour­ish after some Se­na­tors re­fused to back De Lima up and con­tinue the probe she ini­ti­ated.

De Lima, the un­daunted and staunch­est critic of Duterte, is now the sub­ject of the probe be­ing con­ducted by the De­part­ment of Jus­tice on the il­le­gal drug trade in the New Bili­bid Prison.

In the House hear­ing on drug pro­lif­er­a­tion in the state pen­i­ten­tiary, high-pro­file in­mates ac­cused the then-Jus­tice Sec­re­tary of re­ceiv­ing monthly pay­ola from drug lords for her se­na­to­rial bid.

All these ac­cu­sa­tions, how­ever, were de­nied by the Se­na­tor.

Chal­leng­ing the pres­i­dent’s im­mu­nity from suit, she even­tu­ally filed a writ of hebeas data with the SC seek­ing to stop the Pres­i­dent and his al­leged co­horts from ob­tain­ing pri­vate in­for­ma­tion about her life and com­mit­ting un­law­ful acts that vi­o­lated her right to pri­vacy, lib­erty and se­cu­rity.

Ro­bredo trumps Mar­cos Leni Ro­bredo, the Lib­eral Party bet, de­feated Bong­bong Mar­cos by only 263,473 votes. Her vic­tory is con­sid­ered as the shock of the May polls since his ri­val Mar­cos was a con­sis­tent top placer in pre-elec­tion sur­veys.

Claim­ing that Ro­bredo’s vic­tory was marred by “mas­sive elec­toral fraud, anom­alies and ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties,” Mar­cos there­after filed at the SC, act­ing as the Pres­i­den­tial Elec­toral Tri­bunal (PET), a poll protest seek­ing to set aside the oath tak­ing of Ro­bredo and de­clare him the coun­try’s Vice Pres­i­dent.

Act­ing on the pe­ti­tion of Mar­cos, the High Court on July 12 is­sued a Pre­cau­tion­ary Pro­tec­tion Or­der (PPO) di­rect­ing the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions to pre­serve the in­tegrity and safety of all the bal­lots and elec­tion re­turns used dur­ing the May 9 polls.

Pend­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the fi­nal­ity of the Court’s de­ci­sion, Ro­bredo will re­main as Vice Pres­i­dent of the coun­try.

SC Ac­quits Ar­royo On July 19, the SC has or­dered the re­lease of for­mer Pres­i­dent and now Pam­panga rep­re­sen­ta­tive Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo from de­ten­tion.

After 4 years of hospi­tal ar­rest, Ar­royo walked free after the SC granted her pe­ti­tion for de­murer to ev­i­dence and dis­missed the plun­der cases filed against her in con­nec­tion with her al­leged in­volve­ment in the re­lease of the con­fi­den­tial and in­tel­li­gence funds of the Philip­pine Char­ity Sweep­stakes Of­fice from 2008 to 2010 when she was Pres­i­dent.

A de­mur­rer chal­lenges the suf­fi­ciency of ev­i­dence pre­sented by the pros­e­cu­tion to sus­tain a ver­dict.

The grant of Ar­royo’s pe­ti­tion means that all the ev­i­dence the pros­e­cu­tion filed against her were not enough to prove her guilt.

Months after her re­lease from the Veter­ans Memo­rial Med­i­cal Clinic, Duterte ap­pointed her as House Deputy Speaker.

Ex-Dic­ta­tor Mar­cos’stealth burial Al­most three decades after his death, for­mer dic­ta­tor and late pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand Mar­cos Sr. was buried at the Libin­gan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City.

On early morn­ing of Novem­ber 18, Mar­cos’re­mains were se­cretly air­lifted from his fam­ily’s mau­soleum in Batac, Ilo­cos Norte to LNMB.

Mem­bers of the me­dia were only in­formed of the news two hours be­fore the in­ter­ment. They were also barred from en­ter­ing the ceme­tery.

The Mar­cos fam­ily re­quested a “sim­ple and lowkey burial” for the for­mer pres­i­dent. He was given a 21-gun salute while the in­ter­ment was wit­nessed by his wife, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Imelda Mar­cos, his three chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and close friends.

The much-con­tested in­ter­ment at LNMB came after Duterte made true to his cam­paign prom­ise to bury the late pres­i­dent to the he­roes’ceme­tery.

Last Au­gust 7, Duterte gave his go sig­nal to process Mar­cos’burial ex­plain­ing that the lat­ter should be af­forded a rest­ing place at LNMB as he was an ex-pres­i­dent and served in the mil­i­tary.

A to­tal of six pe­ti­tions were filed at the SC chal­leng­ing the ex­ec­u­tive de­part­ment’s de­ci­sion to al­low Mar­cos’in­ter­ment. It ar­gued that the burial is “il­le­gal, and con­trary to law, pub­lic pol­icy, morals, and jus­tice” as Mar­cos has been es­tab­lished by the High Court it­self as “dic­ta­tor”in at least 20 ju­rispru­dence.

But on Novem­ber 8, vot­ing 9-5, the SC dis­missed the pe­ti­tions filed by hu­man rights groups and vic­tims of Mar­tial Law. The SC said there was no grave abuse of dis­cre­tion on the part of Duterte when he or­dered the re­mains of Mar­cos to be buried at LNMB.

Hidi­lyn Diaz’s Olympic sil­ver Hidi­lyn Diaz made his­tory after end­ing the coun­try’s 20-year Olympic medal drought.

The 25-year-old se­cured the Philip­pines a sil­ver medal in the women’s 53kg weightlift­ing com­pe­ti­tion at the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Diaz recorded a to­tal weight of 200kg, bag­ging the coun­try’s first sil­ver­ware in weightlift­ing.

The Zam­boanga City na­tive also be­came the first fe­male ath­lete to win an Olympic medal for the Philip­pines.

Manny Pac­quiao’s fake re­tire­ment In April this year, a month be­fore the elec­tion where he was run­ning for a se­na­to­rial seat, cel­e­brated boxer Manny Pac­quiao fought with Ti­mothy Bradley, Jr. in Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada, the last in his decade long ca­reer, ac­cord­ing to him. He won in the fight, both in the ring and in pol­i­tics.

Pac­quiao, con­sid­ered as the most delin­quent law­maker dur­ing the pre­vi­ous con­gresses where sat as rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Sarangani, said he wanted to fo­cus on one job this time: as a Se­na­tor. But that didn’t last long. In an ESPN in­ter­view, the Se­na­tor said: “Why stop my box­ing ca­reer? So, I changed my mind and de­cided to con­tinue my jour­ney...Pub­lic ser­vice is my call­ing but box­ing is my pas­sion. I re­al­ized this sum­mer I was not ready to re­tire from the ring. I made his­tory when I be­came the first con­gress­man to win a world ti­tle and now that the good peo­ple of the Philip­pines have elected me to the se­nate, I want to make more his­tory by be­com­ing the first se­na­tor to win a world ti­tle,” Pac­quiao said.

In Septem­ber, he took a break from his job in the Philip­pine Se­nate and went back on the ring to de­feat Jessie Var­gas, 27 years old, ten years his ju­nior.

In his five month short re­tire­ment from box­ing, Pac­quiao made a mark in the Se­nate by ini­ti­at­ing the ouster of De Lima as head of Jus­tice panel.

As early as now, Duterte has branded Pac­quiao as the next Pres­i­dent of the Philip­pines. It seems 2016 has been pretty good for this leg­endary ath­lete. (Sun­nex)

— Chris Navarro

PAT C H -U P. Main­te­nance crew of the DPWH-Pam­panga 1st District En­gi­neer­ing Of­fice take ad­van­tage of the good weather to patch up dam­aged por­tions of Jose Abad San­tos Av­enue in Barangay Dolores, City of San Fer­nando.

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