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Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jr. (4th from left) with supporters, including the author at extreme right, during a previous political fundraiser.


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JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Yesterday [June 14], I had a telephone conversation with our fellow Filipino-American Rolando Lavarro, Jr., the Jersey City Council President.

I’d like to confirm what I have written in this column in the past that Council President Lavarro is determined to run for mayor of Jersey City in the event incumbent and popular Mayor Steve Fulop decides and announces he is running for New Jersey governor.

Councilman Lavarro has scheduled a political fundraiser on July 13.

Venue will be announced later.

More than ever, it is high time, if opportunity permits, that a Filipino-American heads the executive branch of the Jersey City government, the second largest in the state with an annual budget of $550 million.

This is another unique and rare calling for Filipino-Americans to get ready and stand behind the honest Lavarro.

Fil-Ams comprise close to 10 percent of the city’s population of 250,000.


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Mr. Lavarro with friends during his birthday party.


In terms of race, Asians comprise 24 percent of the city’s populace.

Historically, when Filipinos in this city stood behind a mayoral candidate, Pinoy or not, that candidate won.

It happened in three mayoral elections I have witnessed.


Maguindanao mass killing victims more than Orlando


The Philippine mass killing of 2009 in Maguindanao Province was worse in terms of number of victims and number of alleged killers.

Fifty-eight persons, including journalists, were murdered in the Maguindanao massacre.

But the difference in the number of casualties of those two massacres does not diminish the violation on life’s value as a gift from God each time a righteous life is taken.

President-elect Duterte’s appointed spokesperson, Atty. Salvador Panelo, was the lawyer for Andal Ampatuan, primary suspect in the 2009 massacre, until late last year.

Atty. Panelo must have the trust of the President-elect that’s why he was named the President’s alter-ego.


The biggest irony


Perhaps, the biggest irony happening in the native country these days is a story which appeared on the home page of the Internet edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer earlier this week.

The story says top crime and drug lords in the PH are raising P1 billion as bounty to whoever could assassinate President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and/or three more top government officials.

Here are excerpts from the news:

“TOP DRUG and crime lords are raising a P1 billion bounty for the heads of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, incoming Philippine National Police chief Ronald de la Rosa, a new senator and a prisons official.

“A source told Inquirer.net that about 20 crime bosses, mostly drug lords doing time at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), would contribute to the kill-Duterte fund.

“According to the source, who sought anonymity for obvious reasons, earlier reports of a P50-million bounty on the heads of Duterte and de la Rosa “are not true, but bigger.”

“Not only one person will pay, but people from different organizations,” said the source, who has intimate knowledge of the illegal drug trade.

“There are probably 20,” the source said, of the “main players” who each pledged to toss P50 million into the pot, which would total P1 billion.”

Unless the story is a cover up as prelude to justify what President-elect Duterte has repeatedly said (last Sunday was the latest) that he would order killing of top drug and crime lords, if they resist arrest, this news is highly ironic.

Mr. Duterte was voted into office by 36 percent of the total Filipino electorates because of his promise to eliminate crime, drugs and corruption in six months counting from July 1, 2016, his first day in office.

Yet, this story is exactly the opposite of what President-elect Duterte promised to do.   

We pray that those planning to kill the President-elect and three other would-be top officials will not succeed in their demonic plan.

Probably, this is happening because the drug and crime lords are made to feel they are pushed against the wall.

They will do anything for self-preservation.

Maybe, there are other ways to solve this social menace without risking lives.

Perhaps, the incoming administration in the native country could look at www.stoptheharm.org.

It is about an effective way of solving the global drug problem being implemented by a global anti-drug group in Switzerland.

They could also look into the recommendations of Pope Francis, which is along the same line that the global anti-drug group has adopted.

The approach is through rehabilitation.

Peaceful.

No salvaging.

No guns.

It works.

Waging war against drugs has proved ineffective.

The full force of the U.S. Government has not stopped the drug business in Mexico.

Nor will it be stopped by building walls.


***


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Ambassador Mario L. de Leon, Jr.  with wife Eleanor in a recent photo at the United Nations event of the Bohol Restoration Group. At background is Roosevelt Island, N.Y.


Happy Birthday


We greet our Consul General in New York, Ambassador Mario L. de Leon, Jr., Happy Birthday.

His term is about to end soon.

But, who knows?

He could be moving his office only to another state.

Oh, it’s not even a state.

Best to you, Ambassador de Leon.

May this be your lucky birthday.

In tennis, we say that being lucky, sometimes, is better than being good.

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