Bzzzzz: Gwen slams sitio checkpoints; Trump uses Bible as prop; basketball player, wife cyber-libeled

Rejecting an OFW

DRAMATIZING her planned June 12 "declaration of independence" from fear of Covid-19, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia ordered the "removal of all barriers and sitio or purok checkpoints in Cebu province, starting Tuesday, June 2.

That, following the reported "mistreatment" and rejection of a repatriated overseas worker from entering a sitio in Barangay Panalipan, Catmon, Cebu where the OFW's house is located.

Apparently, the barrage of government propaganda that created fear of Covid still has residues in the public mind.

That fear prevailed in the sitio leader's thinking, despite the drill on protocol about returnees and the current shift of the governor's stance towards coronavirus.

Defamed couple

A former national basketball player and his wife have been heaped on with a pile of defamatory accusations in social media. What would be the couple's recourse, a radio broadcaster asked Wednesday, June 3.

One, they can libel back, which lawyers call an act of self-defense. They can strike back, provided the response is proportionate to the attack.

Two, they can file criminal and civil action for libel against those responsible.

If they are not known or identified, the couple may ask the help of the anti-cybercrime unit of the NBI to trace the names and addresses.

Identifying the persons responsible, particularly those who ordered and financed the hit, is crucial to answering the offensive posts or taking them to court.

Meantime, though the libelous posts are re-posted, circulating the accusations further. They provide juicy morsels of gossip for people who have a lot of idle time in their hands.

Church as backdrop

It was infuriating enough for US federal guards to clear Lafayette Square for President Trump to visit outside the St. John's Church across the White House Monday, June 1 (Tuesday in the Philippines). The protest was "100 percent peaceful," news media accounts said, didn't provide any reason to be dispersed.

But Trump needed the church backdrop for him to have a "photo op" with the president holding aloft a Bible. Why St. John's? Part of the church was set on fire by protesters Sunday night.

Obviously Trump used the Bible, the word of God, as a political prop. Before, in other times, he used the American flag as propaganda tool. He would hug the flag, kiss it, even drape his leg around it.

Last June 1, before he left the Oval Office to walk towards the front of St. John's, after troops had cleared the area of protesters using mounted guards and throwing gas pellets at the crowd, he mysteriously announced to the media covering him, "I am going to a sacred place."

He used the "sacred place" for the photo session. He didn't go inside the church; it was boarded up. When asked if it was his Bible he was holding, he said, "It's a Bible." No, he didn't quote any verse.

'Use the words instead'

Trump should try reading the words inside the Bible, said a reverend who heads the Poor People's Campaign and a book writer in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post of June 2:

One verse says about Jesus calling out hypocrites, "Woe unto you... you have neglected the weightier matters of the law." We know, said the two op-ed writers, "at the very heart of our faith, we are called to challenge those who try to twist belief to use it for their own ends."

Ridiculed in social media

Social media users have ridiculed Trump's photo op, including:

[1] The use of an edited image of Hitler, alongside Trump's Bible photo, also holding aloft a Bible. (Historians say Hitler had anti-Christian views although he was baptized and confirmed at a Roman Catholic Church and in his book "Mein Kampf," he expressed himself as a Christian.)

[2] Edited photos that made it appear Trump was holding a "Dictatorship for Dummies" book and a porn magazine displaying Stormy Daniels, his alleged ex-mistress.

Why the church-and-Bible photo-taking? Trump reportedly wanted to be photographed outside the official residence after Friday's news that he hid in a White House bunker amid the growing outrage over the police killing of black man George Floyed in Minnesota.

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