Intimations of mortality

Intimations of mortality

Sen. Lawrence Christopher “Bong” Go said that former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang should face the music, given the mess he’s in.

Bong Go’s statement debunks claims that Yang is being guarded by members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) in a hotel in Davao City.

Go said that Yang exploited his close friendship with President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte and used the name of the Big Boss to become an influence peddler.

“PRRD (Digong’s initials) did not know Michael used his name to pressure some government agencies to award his Chinese and Indian friends contracts to supply the government with apparently grossly overpriced face masks, face shields and personal protective equipment (PPEs).”

“Dapat harapin ni Michael Yang ang paratang sa kanya at huwag niyang gamitin si PRRD (Michael Yang should face squarely charges thrown at him and not use PRRD),” said Go in my dinner meeting with him Saturday, Sept. 25, at a hotel in Manila.

Go said that Yang was introduced to then Mayor Duterte in the 1990s by some Muslim traders who sold knickknacks in his mall in Davao City.

Yang came to Manila when PRRD assumed the presidency, according to the senator from Davao.

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Besieged Pharmally treasurer Mohit Dargani wasn’t known among the Filipino-Indian community in the country until his name surfaced in the Senate Blue Ribbon investigation into the overpricing scandal.

Dargani’s name – his first name, Mohit, sounds like anghit – stinks when it comes to his fellow Filipino-Indians.

“Ngayon lang namin narinig ang pangalan ng hayop na yan (Only now have we heard the name of that animal),” an Indian-Filipino businessman said.

“He’s brought shame on us, and he should go to jail,” said another Indian-Filipino.

Dargani admitted to Senate probers that he set up another company, Business Beyond Limits (BBL), a one-person corporation, for his girlfriend, Sophia Mercedes Custodio, a flight attendant.

BBL supplied two million face shield units worth P37.9 million in partnership with Pharmally.

BBL had an initial capital of P10 million, in stark contrast to Pharmally’s P625,000.

Pharmally’s relationship with Custodio’s BBL goes even deeper because: 1) BBL’s office is in the same condominium complex as Pharmally’s; 2) one of BBL’s nominees in its articles of incorporation was Krizle Grace Mago, Pharmally’s point person for government transactions; 3) another BBL nominee, Anna Marie Chua, was Mago’s assistant, who resigned from Pharmally.

Mago is now in hiding after telling the Blue Ribbon committee that Pharmally was changing the production date stickers of face shields, which would also change their expiry dates, making them appear like they were newly-made.

Mago pointed to Dargani as the one who instructed her to change the production stickers.

Mago also told the Blue Ribbon committee that she was placed in BBL “for convenience,” because she knew how to prepare documents for public bidding.

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San Miguel Corporation’s latest infrastructure project, the Pasig River Expressway (PAREX), is being attacked apparently by paid hacks of the rivals of Ramon S. Ang, SMC’s president and CEO.

PAREX, where SMC will invest P95 billion, would be a 19-kilometer “hybrid” expressway that has been approved by the government.

Hybrid, because it would have lanes for buses, private cars, bicycles and pedestrians.

Contrary to what its critics say, PAREX will run along the banks of the heavily polluted Pasig River, not over it. It will connect the eastern and western parts of Metro Manila.

SMC is already spending P2 billion in dredging operations to remove three million tons of silt and wastes from the Pasig River, in an attempt to solve flooding issues in the metropolis.

Among the critics of PAREX is a former official of the Department of Transportation who, curiously, doesn’t oppose big-ticket infrastructure projects like the Metro Manila Subway or the proposed China-backed Intramuros-Binondo bridge, a portion of which traverses a small and narrow estero in Binondo.

* * *

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 will be here to stay, and the pandemic disease will eventually become endemic (restricted or peculiar to a locality or region), according to my doctor friends.

It will become like dengue and the ordinary flu, said my friends.

However, like dengue and influenza, COVID-19 – or whatever it may be called later – will still have people dying from it even after it becomes endemic.

I’m sure most of us have had intimations of mortality or the impermanence of life because of the deadly disease.

Some people close to my heart – retired police generals Vicente Vinarao and Narciso Cabrera; former senator Sonny Alvarez; former senator and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim; businessman Toto Arellano, a former hunting buddy; and retired admiral Ben Lista, former Coast Guard chief – have died of COVID-19.

I heard some people who passed over unexpectedly had completed their vaccination shots against COVID-19.

Their demise should not mean that we should be paralyzed with fear, such that we get closeted at home and become virtual hermits.

We should strike a balance between our morbid fear of the deadly virus and recklessness or complete disregard for our safety.

Ask any guru on life, and he or she will tell you that you attract whatever you fear most. For example, if you fear getting robbed in the streets, chances are you will eventually get mugged.

The fates of our relatives and friends who have gone ahead of us due to the coronavirus were written in the stars.

It’s perfectly alright to grieve over our loss, but we should never ever feel sorry for them because they’re finally Home, a place where there is no more suffering and strife.

Our turn will come sooner or later.

The reason we’re still here is because we haven’t finished our mission yet.

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