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LATE last year, during the centennial celebration of my alma mater, I was invited to talk about an interesting and rather difficult topic, “On Service to the Country.” This column is based loosely on this speech which I delivered during the alumni homecoming of the University of the Philippines-College of Business Administration last December 6, 2016.

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UNITED States President-elect Donald Trump found himself in a truly difficult position when reports came out that Russian hackers, on orders of President Vladimir Putin, interfered in the recent US presidential election. They allegedly broke into the files of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Russian teams then allegedly leaked the information, some of it embarrassing, through Wikileaks and mobilized an army of paid trolls who deluged US voters on social media with posts and comments designed to hurt Clinton and help Trump.

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On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-inlaw lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also.

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Let us see

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The recent pronouncement of Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson about the presence of “pork barrel” in the 2017 national budget is alarming particularly because the Supreme Court has already ruled against such system.

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Extended

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And all along we thought that the world’s longest Christmas season ended with the Feast of the Epiphany, popularly known as The Three Kings (although they were astrologers, or magi), signifying the end of the gift-giving season on Jan. 6.

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The national budget for 2017 has already been approved by Congress and signed by President Duterte but suspicions remain that it still contains “pork barrel” funds which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2013.

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