Prison reality show

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Sunday, June 22, 2014


SEN. Bong Revilla is apparently trying to turn the public attention on the plunder cases against him, the surrender, and eventual imprisonment into a reality show.

Playing the role of a persecuted politician, he announced that he will run for president come 2016 and the truth will set him free.

A senator accused of plundering hundreds of millions of people’s money is enjoying modest accommodation at Camp Crame. Revilla’s celebrity wife, Bacoor Rep. Lani Mercado, reportedly mulled simple makeover plans.

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Instead of an air-conditioner, she plans to bring an air cooler. Instead of a refrigerator, Bong has an ice box. He will also have a book shelf.

In an ANC interview, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, on the other hand, says he will ask to be allowed cable TV so he can stay abreast with what’s happening outside the cell. After all, he will remain a senator unless suspended. He recalled that Sen. Antonio Trillanes used to hold hearings inside his jail cell before.

Having been jailed before together with his father, former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy said there is nothing much to do inside aside from eating, sleeping, exercise, and watching television.

I still have to catch television interviews of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, however. I read he merely said his bags are already packed though I won’t believe he will take a taxi.

Nevertheless, we get a sense that the public will see more of these three inside prison and how uncomfortable they are in such privileged prison conditions.

I dare say privileged because equally prominent detainees like the NDF peace consultants and other political prisoners don’t get the same treatment. We are showing our young that a plunderer is better than being a political dissident.

The bigger amount a politician steals from government coffers, the better he will be treated when caught. And like the Pinoy Big Brother, we will be treated to frequent peeks into their life inside prison.

Perhaps we can call this reality show “Prison Big Brother House.” Or maybe, “It takes guts to be a plunderer.”

There is just one more thing. I am worried that Bong’s migraine could be part of a script that ends in the senator getting out of Camp Crame in a wheelchair. A better one was Ruben Ecleo’s “walking time bomb” scenario. Haha!

***

Some might misinterpret rants against the three beleaguered senators as being pro-P-Noy. To disabuse your minds of such thoughts, allow me to say that presidential pork also exists. While legislative pork is generally used “in aid of reelection,” presidential pork had been used to wield a pro-majority coalition at the Lower House and the Senate.

Still, the imprisonment of senators on plunder charges is unprecedented. I hope more are charged in the next few weeks.

***

Cebu City policymakers should also watch a Youtube video on the dangers to bikers of bike lanes in busy New York streets. Perhaps bike lanes would be great at the SRP seafront. But how could ordinary bikers get there without passing through busy narrow city streets?

***

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama is again facing issues raised by COA.

I hope his defenders would stop using politics as a damage control defense argument and instead just address the points raised by government auditors. The annual COA reports are telling us that Cebu City Hall is mismanaged. Sagunson na man gud. Mayor Rama’s team should now focus on resolving the issues so the City’s financial records will pass COA with flying colors next year.

***

This year’s celebration of Cebu Business Month highlighted the emergence of a local start-up community. I am referring to an emerging ecosystem that gives rise to new tech businesses. Frankly, I believe the Philippines should have begun more than a decade ago in spawning tech-businesses.

Come to think of it, the present ICT-BPO industry was planned during the Cebu IT Summit way back in 2001. But had we also focused our attention on also developing home-grown tech businesses then? Those were the years when successful global start-ups like Skype of Estonia and Facebook in the US were founded. Still I see much hope that we will catch up with such game-changing events as the Geeks on a Beach this August.

(Follow @anol_cebu in Twitter)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 23, 2014.

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