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Sunday, May 31, 2020
 
Home Opinion Op-Ed Columns Independent investigation of Covid-19 source

Independent investigation of Covid-19 source

 

LAST week, I wrote:
“One unfounded theory that many seem to believe and amplified by right-wing news channels in the United States is the claim that Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) was allegedly created at the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, which is reportedly in the forefront of research in coronavirus in the US.

“The UNC rumor, albeit not widely reported in the mass media, continued to spread on social media and message boards although experts and researchers in the field who have examined the genomic structure of Covid-19 have overwhelmingly concluded that the virus originated in wildlife, that it is the result of natural evolution rather than bioengineering.”

An anonymous reader (U Lh) commented thus:
“You say unfounded? Here’s an excerpt from the scientific/medical journal that published the creation of the virus:



“‘In plain language, the research team did it by combining the spikes of the bat coronavirus with mouse-adapted SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome)-Covid virus backbone. This novel Covid spike protein results in ‘efficient’ replication in primary human airway cells.

“‘The hybrid virus allowed us to evaluate the ability of the novel spike protein to cause disease independently of other necessary adaptive mutations in its natural backbone.’

“So, the virus is not natural,but a laboratory hybrid-virus creation that didn’t naturally mutate.

“For the sake of saving humanity and stopping wmd (weapon of mass destruction?), an independent investigation is necessary.

“But proper credibility not by China, nor by Anglo/US/NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) alliance, but by others like Cuba, Korea, Russia, Japan, Argentina, India.

“But a simple way to prove if it did come from that North Carolina lab is to do the experiment again.”

With US President Donald Trump insisting that Covid-19 was manmade in a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan and demanding that an investigation on it be made, it would seem that the writer’s suggestion to also have an independent investigation of the rumor that the virus originated in a University of North Carolina laboratory is reasonable.

The writer’s alternative suggestion, i.e., “to prove if it did come from that North Carolina lab is to do the experiment again,” not only is also reasonable but, well, simpler.

ABS-CBN closure
Although the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) promised to extend the ABS-CBN Corp.’s franchise beyond May 4, as alleged by the House of Representatives, Solicitor General Jose Calida had to comply with his duty to warn the NTC that under the law, only Congress has the authority to do so. Hence, the NTC would be liable for prosecution if it did so.

The NTC, therefore, had no choice but to heed the “advice” of the solicitor general, the legal arm of the executive branch of the government. Whether or not Calida had the go-signal from President Rodrigo Duterte, aka Digong, to warn the NTC is simply a matter of conjecture.

The position of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra that contradicts the solicitor general’s, is also a matter of conjecture, i.e., whether or not he had the green light from Digong.

In any case, it would appear that the blame rests squarely on the House, which did not act in a timely manner on the application for franchise renewal of ABS-CBN. Why House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano dilly-dallied on the issue is also a matter of conjecture.

But no less than Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd blamed Cayetano for the delay. Sotto promised that once the bill extending the franchise of ABS-CBN reaches the Senate, it would act on it posthaste.

On the other hand, Cayetano vowed retribution against the NTC for reneging on its promise to extend ABS-CBN’s franchise and against Calida for the “unconstitutional meddling” in the work of Congress. Another congressman threatened to file criminal charges against them.

Cayetano also promised to do “our job” and “fix the mess others make” and tackle the franchise renewal bills in a fair manner.

In doing so, it is hoped that the honorable congressmen will not fail to consider the reported unpaid taxes and huge debts to the government allegedly accumulated by ABS-CBN over the years, as well as the constitutional violation that it may have allegedly committed insofar as partial or full ownership by foreigners of media outfits is concerned.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said President Digong was “neutral” on the matter.

He added that “unless there is any constitutional infirmity,” he doesn’t think that Digong is inclined to veto a bill passed by Congress extending the ABS-CBN franchise.

In the meantime, ABS-CBN has sought a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court on the NTC’s “cease and desist order” for it to stop operations from May 5.

As the Frank Sinatra ditty goes, “Let’s watch what happens.”

Locsin opens his big mouth again
Incidentally, as is his wont, Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Tweeterboy” Locsin Jr. dived into a matter that does not directly concern his turf and in so doing, revealed his partiality toward ABS-CBN.

First, he tweeted: “Everything everyone’s worked for so hard in government in the service of the Filipino and the first President who genuinely cares for the least Filipino flushed down the toilet with all the great work of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) in the pandemic swirling like turd. Thank you NTC and fuck you.”

Then he tweeted: “AND THANK YOU HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. I COME FROM YOU WHERE I WAS PROUD TO SERVE BUT YOU NOW, YOU TODAY HAVE SUNK LOWER THAN IMAGINABLE — AND IN THIS PANDEMIC. THE RENEWAL OF A MEDIA FRANCHISE IS NOT WHETHER YOU OR ANYONE ELSE LIKES IT: IT IS FIRST PRIORITY IN A DEMOCRACY.”

Locsin is a member of the Yellow Horde as are the owners of ABS-CBN. He also used to host the editorial segment of the “The World Tonight,” the nightly newscast of ANC, ABS-CBN’s cable news channel.

Further, he tweeted:
“I don’t watch TV much if at all but shutting down a major media outlet that has provided entertainment and comforting connection to tens of millions of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and 80 million Filipinos, not to mention dependable news of real not made up events is a shame for NTC and Congress,”

Has the fellow never heard of the complaints of his boss Digong against ABS-CBN, one of which was its unfair, unbalanced and sometimes fake news about the administration? What about its reported unpaid taxes, huge debts to the government and the questionable citizenship of its owner? Shouldn’t he have considered them first before opening his big mouth?

Incidentally, Digong said he wants the Justice department to study if it would be legal to stop the migration of health workers.

He said Covid-19 is here to stay and that he does not want to see Filipinos go abroad and return home in coffins.

Perhaps Digong is not aware that Locsin emphatically once said it would be a violation of the constitutional right of a Filipino to travel anywhere and whenever he wants to.

Let’s watch if Locsin dives into this matter again.

US meddling
The US government, through its State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus, expressed “concern” over the shutdown of ABS-CBN.

“We are concerned by the situation regarding ABS-CBN. An independent media plays a critical role in facilitating the open exchange of information and ideas which is vital to free, prosperous and secure democratic societies,” she said.

We know that! But the closure of ABS-CBN has nothing to do with freedom of the press. It has to do with noncompliance with the law!

In any case, it is none of the US government’s bloody business!

What if we told Washington that the capture of two Americans by the Venezuelan government for an alleged attempt at invasion of that country is reminiscent of the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba years ago, wouldn’t it feel the same way, i.e., that it is none of our business.

* * *

From an internet friend:
No one can say blondes haven’t done their share of inventing. Here are 10 ingenious blonde inventions:
– Waterproof towel
– Solar-powered flashlight
– Submarine screen door
– A book on how to read
– Inflatable dart board
– A dictionary index
– Ejector seat in a helicopter
– Powdered water
– Pedal-powered wheelchair
– Waterproof tea bag.

https://www.facebook.com/reynaldo.arcilla.9847

 

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