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Efren Danao

Efren Danao

“FMD outbreak strikes Florida State University” – news report.

For a moment, I thought this was another example of erroneous reporting by foreign media. My suspicions were allayed when, reading further, I gathered that the report was about Foot and Mouth Disease, not about our very own Senate President Pro-tem Franklin Magtunao Drilon. Foolish me! How could I possibly believe that our FMD is as popular in Florida as he is in our dear Philippines?

On second thought, the initials “FMD” are actually more widely known to stand for Foot and Mouth Disease. Drilon can’t choose his own initials, the same way he can’t choose his relatives, especially those linked by President Rodrigo Duterte to the illegal drug trade in Iloilo.

Going back to FMD, it is caused by a virus in the gut and is highly contagious. (I’m still referring to the disease, not to Drilon, although many are convinced that Foot and Mouth Disease is common among Filipino politicians.
Speaking of contagion, I hope the example set by Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque will not run on his colleagues. The neophyte lawmaker filed recently House Resolution No. 339 seeking an investigation of, among other things, the massacre by American soldiers of about 1,000 Moros in Bud Dajo, Sulu, in the early 1900s.

Roque obviously got his inspiration from the President. At the Asean summit meeting, President Duterte cited the massacre as an example of human rights violations by the United States of America, while arguing that the USA has no moral high ground to question him about the way he was waging war against illegal drugs.
Blame it on Roque, some wise guys are now asking him to seek an investigation also into allegations that Emilio Aguinaldo ordered the assassination of Antonio Luna in Cabanatuan City in 1898. The problem with such investigations, however, is that most investigators worth their salt want first-hand information, not hearsay.

First-person account was expected when the Senate Committee on Justice headed by Sen. Leila de Lima presented a witness on the extrajudicial killings in Davao City during the term of then Mayor Duterte. Witness Edgar Matobato told the Senate panel that he was an original member of the “Lambada Boys” selected by Duterte. No, Matobato didn’t dance at the Senate hearing. Instead, he sang, although Senators Ping Lacson and Alan Peter Cayetano complained that he sang out of tune.

Well, there were at least two instances where Matobato’s testimony was unreliable. The first was his claim that hotelier Richard King was killed at the McDo restaurant. Lacson pulled out a news report stating that King was killed inside his office. (De Lima came to Matobato’s rescue, cautioning him to stress that he merely heard the supposed assassins describe the killing and that he didn’t participate in it.)

The second “off-key” singing of Matobato came when he testified that he was in a meeting with the PAOCTF (Presidential Anti-Organized Task Force in 2002 where they discussed a recent killing. Lacson, the former PAOCTF chief, said there could be no such meeting because the task force was already disbanded in 2002 and he was already a senator.

Another questionable claim by Matobato was the “killing” of four security aides of former Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles Jr. allegedly upon Duterte’s order. He said the bodies were thrown into the waters off the Island Garden of Samal, weighed down by three hollow blocks each.

Nograles subsequently refuted the claim, saying all his security officers are alive. However, there’s a post on FaceBook questioning how come Nograles had already forgotten that in 2010 when he ran for mayor, two of his most ardent followers, “Ka Onald Miranda and Barangay Councilwoman Juliana Noquera, were kidnapped and killed.”

Incidentally, former Bataan Rep. Tong Payumo said that “testimony” came from the Latin root word “testes.”
“Whenever a testimony is asked of a captive, his testicles are held in hand, to be squeezed if he is suspected to be lying,” Tong added.

Matobato should feel relieved that Cayetano and Lacson didn’t squeeze his balls even if they believed that he wasn’t telling the whole truth. Otherwise, this would have been a bigger story, even bigger than the row between Sen Antonio Trillanes 3rd and Cayetano.

When Trillanes was still detained for leading a coup attempt against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, he had allegedly challenged his jailers to a fistfight a number of times. He didn’t challenge Cayetano to a boxing match but should he do so, I don’t think Cayetano will scamper away. All children of the late Sen. Rene Cayetano are sports minded, just like him.

Come to think of it, why don’t they settle their differences inside the ring? This could generate a bigger gate than that between boxer (!!!)- lawmaker (???) Manny Pacquiao and welterweight boxing champion Jesse Vargas in Las Vegas on Nov. 5.


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