IN ruling that former congressmen Antonio Cuenco and (especially) Antonio Yapha Jr. could no longer mount a good defense because of the 10-year delay in the filing of graft charges against them, the Sandiganbayan cited memory loss and age (80 and 79, respectively).

The dismissal of the charges against them for “violation of the right to speedy trial” didn’t just consider the delay. (It took the Ombudsman more than 10 years to investigate the complaint of misspending their P6 million pork barrel). It also looked at their ages and mental condition.

Relating the respondents’ age and mental health to their right to speedy trial may be a stretch, but to the Sandiganbayan, or the division that issued the ruling, it was material.

One got away earlier

A third congressman wasn’t indicted at all. He didn’t give his share of the pork to a questionable NGO but to a local government unit: Argao, Cebu.

Argao presumably benefited from the pork.

By poisoning, too

President Duterte’s method to kill has been expanded to include death by poisoning? Before his meeting with governors (scheduled today), he let out his favorite expletive (“p..ang ina”), promising “to ambush and poison” local officials who are into drugs.

The poorest Cabinet member, Department of Agrarian Reform Sec. Rafael Nemenzo, reported a net worth of only P30,000, which must cover only his clothes. No car, no house, no land, no valuables. Compare that with the richest Cabinet secretary, Finance’s Carlos Dominquez: P322.1 million. The SALN figures, read one after the other, sound almost obscene.

New terms circulate

These were not used before: such terms as “narco mayors” and “narco govenors,” “ninja cops,” “tokhang” or “double barrel.” But then again, expletives were not said by this President’s predecessor.

BE OUR TIPSTER!

[bzzzzz@sunstar.com.ph or paseares@gmail.com]