TIMESMAN| How young am I?

WHILE buying native materials for household cleaning at Davao Bohol Trading Monday afternoon, my attention was caught by a tear-sheet of the Opinion page of this paper where this corner is. The page was used as wrapping paper by the saleslady entertaining me. (Unsold copies of the TIMES are disposed after a year from the stockroom  - LDT).

I asked the salesgirl: “Kilala mo ba ang nasa picture na yan sa Timesman column?”

“Hindi, sir,” she answered.

“Ako ang nasa litrato, hindi ba kamukha ko?” I asked her again.

“Hindi siguro sir, kasi mas bata ka tingnan kaysa sa litrato.” (The picture was taken more than ten years ago).

I showed her my ID and after taking another look at my column, she was finally convinced. Then she called her fellow employees and told them: “Si sir, writer pala siya!”

I felt I was a sudden celebrity as everyone inside the store looked at me with a smile.

When I asked the saleslady if she could guess my age, she said: “Siguro mga 56 ka na, sir!”

“Nagbibiro ka ba, mahahalikan kita diyan,” I told the girl jokingly. Although every time I ask new acquaintances about my age, not even one can guess it correctly. Most often, their answers were lower than my actual age.

“Hindi, sir.”

I almost gave her the change to my P1,000 if I didn’t notice it was still more than five hundred pesos. Sayang rin!

Anyway, I promised the saleslady I will give her a space in this corner the moment she gets married. And she asked: “Sir, hindi ba mahal ang bayad n’yan?”

“Walang problema sa akin, basta maganda, libre,” I said.

 She just smiled.

Until I left the store with the shopping bag, I can’t believe that there are still people who can be misled by my real age, especially that pretty saleslady. Salamat.

–ooOoo–

The police need not search houses and climb mountains to look for criminals because bad elements already abound in their own premises. I mean not those already inside cells but in the police rank.

The capture of Supt. Maria Christina Nobleza, the Regional Crime Laboratory Office (RCLO) deputy chief in Davao linked to Abu Sayyaf Group proved me correct on this.

Nobleza, together with her alleged lover Renee Lou Dongon, an alleged ranking ASG member, was captured in a checkpoint in Clarin town in Bohol on the way to rescue fellow terrorists holed up in the area on Saturday.

Nobleza’s superior RCLO director Chief Supt. Georby Manuel explained that he was saddened with the involvement of his second-in-command with the terrorist group and quick to say it was Nobleza’s “personal choice” and his office has nothing to do with her action.

The police director may be correct there but the TIMES editorial the other day seems more believable than his explanation. It says:

“,,, It boggles the mind why the superiors of arrested police officer Supt. Maria Christina Nobleza never had any inkling on her involvement with the Abu Sayyaf when she was assigned  at the national headquarters of the Crime Laboratory Office and in the region. How could they not have noticed an aberration in her movements and communications? She seemed to be in an enviable position as she could be invisible even if she was right under their noses.”

The fact that Nobleza was billeted in a hotel instead of renting a residential house since her transfer to the regional office for personal and religious reasons, according to Manuel, is even for an ordinary man of the street to suspect that something is wrong somewhere. Why not her superiors monitor her movement 24/7? And the police need not apply a James Bond to do the job as ordinary hotel boy can do it for them.

“This story stretches credulity especially because the foundation of the Duterte administration is based on fighting terrorism and illegal drugs above all else. The police and the military are in the frontline of this campaign from the start of his term, and the marching order of the President was clear: Stop terrorism, stop illegal drugs…!” the editorial continued.

Posted in Opinion