PEOPLE talk about...
 14-NOTCH DROP IN RATING OF PHILIPPINES IN CORRUPTION INDEX. The Forbes Magazine's 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index covering 180 countries places Philippines as #113, down from #99 in 2018, or a 14-floor plunge.
Opinions are split, between those who slam President Rodrigo Duterte for the increase in corruption, and those who defend him by citing his high popularity rating. One way to harmonize the conflicting views: more Filipinos cheer Duterte despite the increase in corruption. Pinoys can be right about one thing even as they are wrong about the other. The rating is mostly about perceptions, not necessarily rooted in facts.
 KOBE BRYANT, COMPARING HIM WITH MICHAEL JORDAN. The basketball legend's death in a helicopter crash Sunday (January 26) on a California hillside, which nine people, including Bryant and one of his daughters. Michael Jordan was Bryant's idol; yet Kobe famously said once, "I don't like to be the next Michael Jordan." He was like "my little brother," said Jordan on Bryant's death.
Presumed to be regular
Heard on radio Monday (January 27) this rhetorical question, "Does the mayor have the authority to impose a ban on Chinese tourists in Cebu?"
The opinion runs thus: The ban may clash with national policy, which is decided in Manila. The mayor may recommend, it says, what is prudent for Cebu City but the mayor cannot decide on his own. Any such ban will rely on national agencies, which get their orders from Cabinet secretaries or department heads, not from local government officials.
Under the Local Government Code, the mayor heads the local health board, which is tasked with adopting measures to protect the health of the community. The secretary of health may assume the direction and supervision of health operations in case of an epidemic, pestilence or similar health emergencies but only for a limited period.
The president has not yet ordered the health secretary to take over Cebu City's LGU's health operations in connection with the current problem arising from the coronavirus breakout in China. Meaning, the mayor is very much in charge.
As to whether that includes ordering the ban on Chinese tourists, he is presumed to have the right to adopt any measure not prohibited by law or public policy.
The presumption of regularity is in his favor, unless agencies that are told to enforce the mayor's order question his authority.
Nobody questioned, at least not to the point of going to court or complaining to the president, about Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia's ban on pork meat and hog-related products from Luzon.
Locsin, blood money
It's not just netizens anymore complaining about Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin's "violent" language. Kuwait is hopping mad over his remark he'd accept only the lives of the killers of Filipina domestic worker Jeanelyn Villavende, not the "blood money" from her Kuwait employers.
"I renounce & reject any offer of blood money for her torture/murder. I want two lives for the life they took," Locsin tweeted Friday (January 24).
He transgressed "jurisdictions of security and judicial authorities," said Kuwait's official statement. And Locsin, Kuwait decried, had "an unusual approach in dealing with countries." Diplomat's lingo for "he sounds like a thug"?
The terms used -- "blood" in "blood money" -- must have been to irresistible to skip. It drew Locsin's response of "there will be blood" and demanding "two lives" for the household worker's death.
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