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PIA Press Release
2008/10/23

Commentary: From Russia with an apology

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (23 October) -- The one thing going for retired PNP comptroller Eliseo de la Paz, who once served as the PNP Region 8 Director, was his issuance of an apology right after arriving at the Manila airport yesterday, October 21.

He referred to the Moscow cash controversy as an "untoward incident", and he claimed responsibility for it all, not even offering an iota of an excuse on the whole mess.

He was aware, he said, of the battery of probes and investigations waiting to happen in the days ahead concerning his actuations and conduct as the "moneyman" of the Russia trip.

***

But he must also be aware that to face the media with a prepared two-page statement, and to limit only three questions in a hastily carried press conference is not enough to satisfy the curiosity and the envy of many.

Sure, he said in subsequent TV interview that the cash he carried was his cash advance, not a contingency fund, he being allowed to bring "ten M" at most.

And he had expressed his willingness to face any accuser in a Court of Law, if and when a legal case is to be filed against him, just to show to one and all that everything was above board, and to keep his nearly 37 years of government service a clean record.

***

Nice assurances, definitely. Still, those strong words had to be tested with a barrage of queries here and there, to separate the alibi from the legitimate reasons, to establish the motives as well as the purpose.

I can only sympathize with de la Paz. For one thing, was everything just an honest mistake? For another thing, why take an adventure of this kind when one is about to retire, where issues somehow can be raised, as these issues has been raised already.

Then what if the Moscow or the Russian authorities did not discover the excess cash? Will de la Paz take all the pains to explain, to liquidate the fund on his own if not for the furor generated?

***

We will know the answers, perhaps, in the coming weeks. But for now we cannot help but be envious of de la Paz even as we pity him at the same time.

How many uniforms and ammunitions will be bought with that money? Hell, we should stop questioning for there are lots of questions to ask.

There's a saying that says it is easy, much easier even, to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.

We hope that was not the case for de la Paz.

***

LOCAL FRONT: Southern Leyte provincial government distributed last week an additional 2,000 plus Philhealth cards for the poor. At least this is certainly one way of helping our less privileged brothers and sisters to cope with emergency health situations, one way or the other. (If only the excess money de la Paz brought can be given to LGUs to increase Philhealth enrolment, how many would be benefited? Excuse me, I got carried away, and digressing . . .)

ODDLY YOURS: The Bee Gees' hit song "Stayin' Alive" has been found to be in tune with its lyrics. The falsetto music has been credited by some hospitals in developed countries as partly responsible for the recovery and healing of their patients. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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