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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

SALVACION “Inday” Espina-Varona recently sent me a private message, asking me to sign a petition to demand the resignation of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramón Revilla Jr., and José Pimentel Ejército Jr. a.k.a. Jinggoy Estrada.

The Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to file plunder and graft charges against the three. Of course, due process demands the assumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

I knew Inday way back during the closing days of the Marcos dictatorship. She has just returned to Bacolod fresh after her college days at the country’s premier state university.


Being both products of UP Diliman, we hit it off immediately in churning anti-Marcos propaganda during the Justice for Aquino, Justice for All (JAJA) days until the closing days of the regime.

Inday was the better known anti-Marcos activist, because of her pedigree, the daughter of the well-known journalist Rolly Espina and the fact that she writes much better. As the senior activist, though, I guided our writing collective what to accentuate to expose the various perfidies of the dictatorship in Negros Occidental.

Under the Cory Aquino presidency, we cooperated in our work against the military abuses of the New Armed Forces of the Philippines under Brig. Gen. Raymundo Jarque’s Operation Thunderbolt in the hinterlands of Negros Occidental.

Eventually, Inday and I parted ways. I headed to Manila for a different line of work. I lost contact with her as the reason for my relocation turned sour in the Big City. After two years in Manila, my family and I went back to Bacolod. Meanwhile, Inday went back to the metropolis.

Fast forward to the second decade of the 21st century, I found myself linking up with old friends, colleagues, and comrades in the anti-dictatorship struggle through the power of social media. Inday was one of my first Facebook friends.

In the meantime, Inday has matured immensely both in her journalistic skills and political commentary to become the editor of the Philippine Graphic and later worked with María Ressa in ABS-CBN.

María made her an offer to work for the Kapamilya network she was unable to refuse.

As with my long lost relatives and friend whom I found over Facebook, we interacted via our Wall posts, sometimes agreeing to disagree, but still manage to find common grounds against bad governance of our national politics. Otherwise, we respected each other’s views.

When the stink over the pork barrel scam and Janet Napoles came out, Inday turned out to be one of the prime movers of the Million People March to express our indignation over corruption and the Pdaf scandal. She was at the Luneta, and I together with hundreds of Negrenses at the Bacolod Lagoon.

Last week, Inday sent me a private message over Facebook, “Bok, maybe you might be interested in a column... any questions, here lang .... Resign or Expel petition gallops overnight, gets 1,100+ signers.” She signed her message “Inday Espina-Varona Campaigns Director Philippines.”

We all know that this is a small portion of the sum total that is stolen from taxpayer’s money every year. The evidence of corruption against these three senators came out last year, but until now nothing has happened.

“In other countries, executive and legislative officials step down from their posts when their wrongdoings are exposed. This is why the Scrap Pork Network launched a petition calling on Enrile, Estrada and Revilla to resign immediately from the Senate,” wrote Inday. “Let’s pressure them to step down from their positions! In other countries, just a hint of scandal is enough for public officials to resign.”

Well, this is the Philippines where officials remain on to their posts even when caught with their hands on the cookie jar. But then, we did help oust a dictatorship that tried to hang on to power like barnacles.



Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 09, 2014.


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