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Faces of the News: Sept. 29, 2019

/ 05:38 AM September 29, 2019

Illustrations by Rene Elevera

Guia Gomez Castro

The chair of Barangay 484 Zone 48 in Sampaloc, Manila, was described as a “drug queen” by law enforcement agencies last week. Rogue policemen, or “ninja cops,” reportedly supplied her with illegal drugs seized during police operations.

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The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said Castro could distribute as much as P13.6 million worth of drugs in just a week.

Data from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) showed that of the 16 policemen said to have coddled her, nine were already dead, while one was detained on drug charges.

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The rest have either retired, gone Awol, or were dismissed. The alleged drug queen had managed to get on a flight to Bangkok days before the Manila Police District chief Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao revealed her identity to the media.

The NCRPO chief, Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, said Castro’s drug operation was an “open secret,” but Barangay 484 officials expressed shock at the allegations.

Ronnie Evangelista and Bartolome Bacarro

Brig. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, erstwhile commandant of cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), was awarded the Medal of Valor in 1991 for engaging 150 communist rebels in a 10-hour gunfight with government soldiers and militiamen in Maconacon town, Isabela province.

A member of the PMA “Maringal” Class of 1988, Bacarro was an Army second lieutenant when he was honored for gallantry.

He and Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista, former PMA superintendent, exhibited the same measure of integrity when they stepped down last week as the academy’s top officials and acknowledged command responsibility over the hazing death of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio.

As commandant of cadets, Bacarro oversaw the investigation of Dormitorio’s death.

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One of Evangelista’s last acts as the PMA superintendent was to initiate expulsion proceedings against three cadets said to be involved in the plebe’s hazing.

Greta Thunberg

From the Pacific to the Atlantic, Greta Thunberg inspired hundreds of thousands of people to march against climate change on Sept. 20.

Three days later, the 16-year-old from Sweden was at the UN climate summit in New York telling off world leaders for failing the world’s youth with their unfulfilled commitments to cut down greenhouse gases.

“How dare you!” she roared.

But who could blame Thunberg for being emotional? UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said humanity was losing the race against climate change, and Thunberg was only speaking up for millions of young people who would inherit a world that could be uninhabitable in a few years.

For others, like French business magnate Bernard Arnault, the girl is a doomsayer full of pessimism who is demoralizing the young.

Whether one believes Thunberg or not, the fact is, storms are getting stronger, the world is getting hotter and something must be done, and fast!

Richard Durbin

In his Twitter account, US Sen. Richard Durbin describes himself as “Serving the people of Illinois.”

But Durbin is  serving more than his constituents when he tweeted on Friday his elation over the US Senate appropriations committee’s passage of an amendment he and fellow Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy made to a budget bill.

The amendment called on the United States to ban the entry of Philippine officials “involved in the politically motivated” imprisonment of Sen. Leila de Lima, currently on trial for alleged involvement in illegal drugs.

The staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte has described the charges as fabricated.

In April, Durbin was one of five US lawmakers who filed a resolution calling for De Lima’s release and the dropping of charges against her.

The Palace described the US action as interference in local affairs, and told Durbin and his colleagues to mind their own business.

De Lima is “no prisoner of conscience,” Malacañang said.

Donald Trump

You have to hand it to US President Donald Trump to inadvertently thrust himself in the limelight.

This time for allegedly pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to find dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

Biden is Trump’s possible challenger in the coming US presidential election.

His controversial phone call to the Ukrainian leader had Democratic Party leaders rushing an impeachment investigation against Trump, with Democrat stalwart and Speaker Nancy Pelosi sending three key House committees on overdrive over the issue.

Trump has denied claims he abused his power and dismissed the Democrats’ impeachment bid as a “joke.” Zelensky also denied he was pressured to investigate Biden on Trump’s instigation.

But there is no stopping the Democrats even when some analysts warn that the issue may be Trump’s ploy to put Biden on the defensive as he battles for the Democratic nomination in 2020.

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TAGS: Bartolome Bacarro, Donald Trump, Faces of the News, Greta Thunberg, Guia Gomez Castro, Richard Durbin, Ronnie Evangelista
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