Hall of fakes

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Some of the bad Filipino traits are ningas kugon, mañana habit, colonial mentality and crab mentality. The latest addition to this list is lust for fakes.

Quiapo is a testament to this notorious trait. The melting pot in Manila continues to defy intellectual property enforcers with its strip and mall that host stalls selling pirated CD and DVD movies. These stores along Elizondo and Arlegui streets are just a few meters away from the Barbosa Police Station. Optical Media Board agents used to raid these stores but they had to be backed up by troops for protection against “resistant” Muslim vendors. The board failed to sustain the crackdown because of, you guessed it, ningas kugon.

Along Quezon Boulevard across the Quiapo Church are stalls that make fake diplomas, transcript of records, driver’s license, NBI clearance and other official documents. On the same street beside the Isetann mall, tailor shops make jeans with fake Levi’s labels and buttons.

Not to be missed is Divisoria where counterfeit Adidas, Nike, Guess, Polo and other signature brand apparel, bags and shoes are sold wholesale or per dozen. The trade in fake merchandise is replicated in other parts of the country.

Lately, authorities are not only encountering fake products but also fake train parts, fake news, a fake chief justice and a “fake senator.” Fake bidding documents were discovered by Department of Transportation (DoTr) examiners recently. We may even have a fake vice president and fake mayors, those who were nowhere to be found when typhoon “Ompong” was pummeling Northern Luzon with its 200 kph winds last weekend.

In June 2017, Bombardier Ltd. of Canada, the supplier of MRT-3 signaling system, released an audit report saying the private maintenance contractor for the trains installed bogus vehicle logic units on two coaches. That led to the termination of the Busan Universal Rail Inc.’s (BURI) contract with the DoTr in the name of passenger safety.

Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go exposed an online news site as a source of fake news for reporting in February that he intervened in the Philippine Navy’s choice of supplier for a multibillion-peso warship. But it was not surprising as the Security and Exchange Commission found out earlier that such online news site was masquerading as a news company. President Duterte’s description of that online news site as a “fake news outlet” was apt as it was owned by a foreign entity, in violation of the Constitution and the Anti-Dummy Law.

In August 2012, former President Benigno Aquino III appointed then Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice based on the careless recommendation of the Judicial Bar Council. Fortunately, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto case against Sereno in August last year after finding out that the required Statement of Asset, Liability and Net worth that she submitted in her application for the CJ post was incomplete. In May, the SC removed the “fake” CJ.

The Sereno application anomaly was not an isolated incident. The amnesty application of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was flawed in the same way making Aquino’s 2011 pardons for his putsches in 2003 and 2007 fake. We now have a case of a “fake” senator because Trillanes is technically still a “rebel” because his amnesty was void ab initio.

On Wednesday, evaluators of bidding documents of two bidders for the M’Lang Airport Development Project of the DoTr were found spurious as those were identical. The representatives of the bidders, Granby Trading and Construction and Kwan Sing Construction, were arrested for falsification of public documents.

For being not on duty during typhoon “Ompong,” at least 10 mayors of Cagayan province and the Cordillera Administrative Region may just be pretending to be the chief executives of their towns. The Department of Interior and Local Government is set to file charges against the mayors for negligence and dereliction of duty. Soon, the cover of these “fake mayors,” if they really are bogus, will be exposed.

It will also be just a matter of time when the Presidential Electoral Tribunal will finish the recount of votes for the vice-presidential election in May 2016. If the result turns out that former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was the real winner, we will then have the first ever fake vice president in Philippine history.

It’s unthinkable why pretenders would go to such extent as to be wolves in sheep’s clothing and fool the nation for as long as they can. They can enjoy their place in the hall of fame for now just as Sereno did. But there is no secret that is not revealed and come the time they shed their real skin, they will occupy a place in the Hall of Fakes.

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