Category Archives: Law Enforcement


Photo credit: AFP
Photo credit: AFP

Manila, Philippines – Amid protests from local officials and sharp criticism from international humanitarian agencies, Philippine President NoyNoy Aquino declared coastal areas in Haiyan (Yolanda) typhoon-ravaged towns and cities as ‘zombie zones.’

The presidential directive prohibits construction or reconstruction of houses along the coastlines of Leyte, Samar, Aklan, Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz and other areas affected by the most powerful typhoon ever to hit landfall. Under this new policy, no-build zones (NBZs) will be set up 4o meters from the high-water mark to the coastline. It is estimated that over 100,000 families will be dislocated as a result of the new policy.

The only exception to the rule would be high-rise hotels, condominiums and resorts.

Initially, the new policy was met with much anger by the typhoon victims who refused to leave the coastal areas which have been their home for many generations. But Aquino directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Tourism and the Malacañang Press Office to re-brand the new policy. That’s when they came up with ‘zombie zones’ to replace ‘no-build zones.’

The Aquino administration capitalized on the Filipinos’ fear of ghosts and propensity to believe in superstition to pacify the angry masses. Apparently, it worked.

The government is now looking for relocation areas for the dislocated families at least 15 miles away from the coastlines, where they would be off limits to zombies.


Putin and Palin (file photo)
Putin and Palin (file photo)

Moscow, Russia – Remember Sarah Palin’s famous words, “I can see Russia from my house?”  Well, those words have now come to haunt her native Alaska.

Moments after President Vladimir Putin officially declared that Crimea in Ukraine is now officially part of Russia, he announced before the Russian Parliament that Alaska is next in the country’s ongoing territorial expansion.

A signing ceremony Tuesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of Crimea and the mayor of the city of Sevastopol made Crimea’s annexation official, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Putin has sent Palin an invitation to Moscow to discuss the next steps in officially making Alaska a part of Russia. “Russia and Alaska have many things in common, Putin said, “including cold winters, cold people, clueless politicians, Christianity,  even history.”

Palin in her backyard.  Russia is seen in the background
Palin in her Alaska home. Russia is seen in the background

The earliest written accounts indicate that the first Europeans to reach Alaska came from Russia. In 1648 Semyon Dezhnev  sailed from the mouth of the Kolyma River through the Arctic Ocean and around the eastern tip of Asia to the Anadyr River. One legend holds that some of his boats were carried off course and reached Alaska. “Russia discovered Alaska,” Putin said.

Unconfirmed reports say that Putin offered Palin the vice presidency of Russia should Alaska agree to the annexation.

The White House has declined to comment on Putin’s announcement, saying “we don’t comment on pending matters.”


Arroyo, left, and Napoles
Arroyo, left, and Napoles

Manila, Philippines – It’s like a story out of Hollywood. Like “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” starring Brad Pitt.  Only more serious. And more complicated.

The cast of characters: Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former president of the Philippines and currently a member of the House of Representatives, accused of plunder and election fraud; and Janet Lim-Napoles, businesswoman, accused of masterminding the pork barrel scam that siphoned 10 Billion pesos of taxpayer money into fake nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the pockets of politicians.  Both had petitioned for bail and both were denied.

Arroyo is under hospital arrest in a government hospital in Manila while Napoles is detained in a high-security bungalow in Santa Rosa, Laguna, just south of Manila.

Jealousy ensues. Arroyo complains that she has been denied furlough for her birthday to be at her home in Pampanga while Napoles is living with special treatment in a bungalow. Napoles envies Arroyo because the latter is in a hospital. Napoles’s previous request to be in a hospital has been denied.

Enter Miriam Defensor-Santiago, feisty member of the Philippine Senate.  She demands that Napoles be billed 150,000 pesos per month as reimbursement of taxpayer money being spent for her  bungalow arrest and double security measures.

Enter the lawyers for Arroyo who demand that the government pay not only for her stay and food at the hospital but also all of her medical and treatment expenses.

Finally, enter Senator Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto who proposes that both women become roommates at the bungalow in Santa Rosa. “Equal treatment for equal evil deeds,” Sotto says.

And who’s footing the bill? Sotto says that both crimes the women are charged with involve misuse and, presumably hoarding of stacks and stacks of money. Arroyo and Napoles should have no problem paying for their detention, even if it means for life.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of this curious case indeed.