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Sunday, September 22, 2019
CEBU

Malilong: Welcome to the club

SEN. RICHARD Gordon has just been inducted to the exclusive club of victims of President Duterte’s barbed tongue.

In response to the senator’s criticism of the President’s appointment of ex-military men to civilian positions in government, Duterte lashed at the former, calling him a “fart away from disaster.”

The President also called Gordon presumptuous and a smart-ass who moves like a penguin.

Gordon is no shrinking violet himself when it comes to belittling a person or his ability. A number of times in the past, he had called out witnesses in Senate investigations and even colleagues whom he regarded with disdain for perceived lack of intellectual parity with him. Now he knows how it is to be on the wrong side of a severe scolding.

The funny thing is that Gordon took the President’s insults meekly, even giving a positive spin to Duterte’s description of his beer-belly as stockroom of his melting brain, by claiming that it only showed the President’s concern about his waistline.

I said it before about someone who was used to bullying everyone who caught his fancy but who kept quiet when Duterte scolded him and threatened to slap him right in his own home turf: the thing about being a bully is that a bigger bully will eventually come along.

***

What do the Carbon market, Quezon Blvd. and portions of Colon St. share in common? They are cleaner now, that’s what. Looks like Mayor Edgardo Labella is serious about cleaning public spaces and reclaiming the city’s streets and sidewalks from illegal occupants.

What is noteworthy is that the occupants have so far been cooperating fully with the City Government. In the past, they would obstinately resist any attempt to relocate them or their business. This time we have heard no complaints except from bleeding hearts who feign concern about dislocated vendors and their loss of livelihood.

What the do-gooders do not know or simply refused to acknowledge is that the City will still allow the affected vendors to continue to ply their trade subject to certain conditions such as being able to organize themselves and agreeing to operate only in designated areas.

Most of the time, it was Labella who dialogued with the affected settlers. That City Hall did not have to resort to forced eviction shows that his direct approach has been successful. I was told that a number of residents, mostly women, even hugged him after he had told them the bad news that they had to move out.

At lunch last Thursday, I saw him nursing a bad case of cough and colds and teased him about slowing down on the hugging. I know he won’t.


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