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What an election!

The pundits, the analysts, the media and just about everybody had Hillary Clinton as a narrow winner over Donald Trump. The forecasts were only half correct. Clinton edged Trump by two million popular votes. But Donald trumped Hillary where it really counted, in the electoral votes.

It was a bitter, divisive contest where both candidates viciously attacked one another. President Barrack Obama even joined the fray on the side of Hillary. But once Trump crossed the magic number of 270 electoral votes, Hillary – although obviously disappointed – called Trump to congratulate him. Trump all of a sudden “metamorphosed” and became very gracious in his victory speech. He acknowledged Hillary’s long record of public service for which the American people owed her a huge debt of gratitude.

The traditional courtesy call with the sitting President was a lesson in civility and good will. The visit lasted for one and half hours – much longer than customary – and the two leaders discussed a wide range of topics. Trump, who once questioned the citizenship of Obama, called Obama a good man. Obama – who once described Trump as mentally unsuited to become President – pledged to ensure that Trump would succeed.

Pockets of demonstration occurred in several cities but the NY stock market greeted Trump’s victory with consecutive days of rally.

President Rody Duterte congratulated Trump and promised not to quarrel anymore with the United States.

El fallo del juez es inapelable
Jai alai afficionados who used to frequent the fronton along Taft Avenue are quite familiar with the words boldly emblazoned on the fronton wall. “El fallo del juez es inapelable. (Pag sinabi ng referee, tapos.)”

That should be the ideal scenario. But here in the Philippines, there seems to be no end to controversies.

Last week, the Supreme Court, voting 9-5-1, ruled that President Rodrigo Duterte was within the bounds of his powers when he decided to allow the burial of President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The decision immediately drew extreme reactions from martial law victims, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and the academe.

Much earlier, the Supreme Court came under fire for being too slow in ruling on the petition. And now that the SC has decided, the institution continues to find itself in the center of the legal storm.

Within the court itself, the dissenting justices (including the Chief Justice) advanced very passionate and cogent reasons for not allowing the burial of President Marcos at the LNMB. The dissenters fell short. Unfortunately for the dissenters and the petitioners, in our legal system, the law is what the majority of the Supreme Court says it to be.

The losing petitioners have the option of filing a motion for reconsideration but to expect the majority justices to reverse themselves appears to be a long shot. Which only means that the decision will at some point become final and executory.

What then? Abangan…..

Change has come
I left the house very early last week to go to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to secure my clearance in connection with my application for a License to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOPF). I brought along my trusty IPad to keep me occupied during what I anticipated would be a looong wait.

Sitting at the back of my car while enroute, I conjured images of long lines snaking around the NBI complex. But surprise, surprise. When I arrived at the at the NBI Clearance Center along UN Avenue before 8 a.m., the line of clearance applicants was already long, but moving.

The guy at the reception directed me to the senior citizens lane where the clerk took less than 5 minutes to encode my personal data. (But even in the regular lanes, the applicants appeared to be efficiently attended to.) This was followed by a short walk to the cashier section where it took me just ten minutes to pay the NBI fees.

I was then directed to the 4th floor where the biometrics section was located. Surprise, surprise again. Quite unlike those rickety units found in some old government buildings, the NBI elevator was well ventilated, well-lighted and even had a uniformed elevator attendant.

At the 4th floor, small posters proudly proclaimed “No Lunch Break”. I just waited for my turn and when I was called, it took under ten minutes to have my biometrics taken.

“Please come back around 9:30 to claim your clearance,” the lady biometrician told me with a smile.

On the way out, I could not help noticing two uniformed attendants busily keeping the rest rooms spic and span. At the ground floor, there were also wheel chairs readily available for persons with disabilities.

I don’t know when all of these started but without any doubt, the NBI is one government office where change has come.

Note: You may email us at totingbunye2000@gmail.com. You may also “like” us on Facebook at “Speaking Out”.

may also “like” us on Facebook at “Speaking Out”.

The guy at the reception directed me to the senior citizens lane where the clerk took less than 5 minutes to encode my personal data. (But even in the regular lanes, the applicants appeared to be efficiently attended to.) This was followed by a short walk to the cashier section where it took me just ten minutes to pay the NBI fees.

I was then directed to the 4th floor where the biometrics section was located. Surprise, surprise again. Quite unlike those rickety units found in some old government buildings, the NBI elevator was well ventilated, well-lighted and even had a uniformed elevator attendant.

At the 4th floor, small posters proudly proclaimed “No Lunch Break”. I just waited for my turn and when I was called, it took under ten minutes to have my biometrics taken.

“Please come back around 9:30 to claim your clearance,” the lady biometrician told me with a smile.

On the way out, I could not help noticing two uniformed attendants busily keeping the rest rooms spic and span. At the ground floor, there were also wheel chairs readily available for persons with disabilities.

I don’t know when all of these started but without any doubt, the NBI is one government office where change has come.

Note: You may email us at totingbunye2000@gmail.com. You may also “like” us on Facebook at “Speaking Out”. You may also “like” us on Facebook at “Speaking Out”. (Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye)

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