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De Lima, Henares take ‘ice bucket challenge’

Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo

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MANILA, Philippines–Two senior women officials of the Aquino administration on Tuesday got on the bandwagon and had themselves doused with cold water.

A third official, who apparently relishes his macho image, declined the challenge, saying he didn’t need it.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had herself doused with freezing water by aides as she took the “ice bucket challenge”—a social media drive that aims to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative nerve ailment also known as the Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The “ice bucket challenge” has set off an international “craze.” Former US President George W. Bush, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are among those who have taken it up.

A game Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares showed she was more than willing to make fun of herself—she also agreed to have a bucket of ice-cold water dumped on her.

But Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada declined, saying he didn’t have to accept the challenge put up to him by gambling buddy-turned-accuser, former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson.

“Why? I don’t need to wash myself. Maybe it’s him (Singson) who needs it. He has many sins,” the former President said in jest when asked by reporters if he would accept Singson’s challenge.

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A worthy cause

Across Manila, De Lima signaled two aides carrying a pail of icy water each to pour it on her as she sat on a chair near the flagpole at the Department of Justice quadrangle.

“I’m taking this challenge for a worthy cause so here we go. Go!” De Lima said.

De Lima, who wore her office clothes, including her trademark shawl, quickly stood up shivering but recovered her poise and told media men she was nominating Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, former Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas to also accept the challenge.

$100 pledge

COLD PLAY Justice Secretary Leila de Lima cringes as buckets of iced water are dumped on her. ALEXIS CORPUZ

Asked why she nominated the three, De Lima replied: “Nothing, I just thought about them. And I hope they will accept my challenge. Many have already accepted the challenge all over the globe. That’s why I tell others, take the challenge, too, because it’s for a worthy cause. We can all help.”

De Lima also pledged to donate $100 (about P4,400) to a still undetermined institution undertaking research in ALS.

Employees of the justice department cheered De Lima as she was being doused. They also jostled with media men to get pictures and videos of the spectacle.

Choice for Henares

A television anchorman earlier dared De Lima and others to take up the challenge.

On Monday night, De Lima sent text messages to reporters, saying she accepted because she “loves challenges.”

A video of Henares showed her wearing an Ateneo de Manila hoodie and black Adidas sweat pants.

Water from a red bucket was poured on Henares’ head.

“It was a choice between Ateneo and La Salle. I chose Ateneo so (President Aquino) wouldn’t tease me about it,” Henares said in an interview.

Henares earned her degree in accounting from De La Salle University before taking up law at Ateneo.

‘Just for show’

Estrada said there was no reason for him to douse himself with a bucket of ice-cold water just to extend assistance for other causes.

Estrada said he had been supporting several advocacy groups and scholarship foundations since he first became mayor of San Juan City.

“That challenge is just for show. It’s just for show-offs. I have many charities. You don’t have to tell people about that,” he said in an interview after attending the bail hearing of his son, detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, in the Sandiganbayan.

Added Estrada: “If I want to help, I don’t need to make it public. It will not just be for show. I have done it silently.”

Referring to his previous incarceration on a plunder charge, Estrada said: “In fact, I was jailed because I helped (send kids to school). I placed the money in a scholarship foundation. I didn’t benefit from it.”

He was referring to the P200 million deposited in a bank under a group called Erap Muslim Youth Foundation. The Sandiganbayan ruled that the money was actually part of Estrada’s supposed kickbacks from the illegal numbers racket “jueteng.”

His son Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is also facing plunder charges in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.–With Tetch Torres-Tupas

Originally posted: 4:05 pm | Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

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