PUBLICITY, whether good or bad, is publicity. The recipient of the good exposure gains while the brunt of the bad exposition is borne by the opposite side.

Whatever, we often see, hear or read about the so-called trial by publicity, an awkward terminology for the media bashing of a personality, who gets the lower hand for the tirade and expectedly suffers humiliation, anguish and tarnished reputation and credibility.

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The unfair treatment was accorded Mrs. Carolyn Pecson, a Grade 1 teacher at Bitas Elementary School in Arayat, Pampanga. While her side of the issue or controversy was not obtained by a columnist of a local daily, she was casually accused of Serious Illegal Detention, a serious offense punishable by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, by that writer, perhaps upon prodding of the alleged victim's kin and one know-it-all male intervener, who detested probably Mrs. Pecson's unsullied teaching career.

Per copies of the documents furnished me by the aggrieved party, it can be gleaned that the matter of locking up Emgel Ramos was brought before the Punong Barangay of Bitas, Arayat, first on December 18, 2009 and then on January 11, 2010.

In the December 18th setting, Punong Barangay Castro asked Mrs. Carolyn Pecson to have the child victim medically examined for trauma because, according to the village chief, she could not answer questions thrown at her. I am baffled by the conclusion of this Punong Barangay that the child was suffering from trauma. Was the victim subjected to medical or psychiatric examination? If she was, where is the medical certificate?

In the January 11th meeting, the intervener, one Ricardo Ingal cursorily asked Mrs. Pecson to admit the deliberate locking up inside the classroom Emgel Ramos. No resolution yet has been reached in this latest barangay hearing with Mrs. Carolyn Pecson, Melanie Castro Ramos, mother of alleged victim and Ricardo Ingal signing as witness.

Mrs. Pecson informed me that since January 4 up to date, the child victim was already reporting to class as if nothing serious really happened to her. For lack of space, I will deal in my succeeding columns the case study on Grade 1 pupil Emgel Ramos done by Bitas Elementary School Principal Marilou H. Gonzales, Punong Barangay Armando Castro, teacher Carolyn Pecson, Barangay Investigator Ursulo Agorto and Melanie Castro Ramos, mother of the alleged victim.

Paid for by friends of the candidate so and so… The Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial of January 16, 2010 hit it hard and squarely on the faces of candidates for the May 2010 elections and, by extension, by their supporters. It said the fancy political advertisements trumpeting out loud the good sides and virtues of the candidates are not really paid for merely by the supporters but by the candidates, but in a cunning circumvention of the law (particularly the Omnibus Election Code), these costs of the ads appear to have been paid for by the friends and supporters. Hah!

If I may excerpt some parts of the editorial, I would zero in on the requirements of Section 98 of the said Code, thus: the contributor must disclose his real name and amount of contribution not later than 30 days after the election. I tell you, this is a simplistic provision but it is rarely, if ever, followed. Filipino candidates are that sly and cunning that they violate every election law without feeling remorse. So perish the thought of full disclosure by the candidate of the contributions by supporters. It can never happen. No, not in the Philippines!

Party-list groups are not that important in law-making. To be sure, their nominees would only be out-shouted and out-pointed by their more grandstanding and regular counterparts. Besides, the 57 party-list seats will only bloat the gargantuan budget of the so-called honorable numbering some 287 bill pushers.

Is there really a need to elect party-list nominees from funny-sounding names like Ang Ladlad (gays and other perverts), Abakada, Agap, Ahon and Akap Bata (mostly pedophiles, perhaps)?

Are these party-list groups really essential to make up a competent and effective Congress? Dagdag gastos lang sila sa bayang naghihikahos, di ba, Ted Casino?

You may also like to note other ludicrous and preposterous-sounding names of these party-list groups: Oragon (in Bicol, this may mean a very sexually active person), Babae Ka, Banat, 1-AK (does it refer to the communist-patronized rifle, AK 47, or Automat Kalashnikov), Kakusa (a group of former inmates?) and 1-Utak (those belonging to Rows 4 and 5 in class?)? Ha, ha. Di ba nakakagulo lamang ito sa balota? E napakarami na nga nating ipipindot sa makina, dumami pa sa mga party-list na pagpipilian.