February, the shortest month of the year

WE are now in the month of February the shortest month of the year where more famous men and women were born and more interesting events happened than any other month.

Frebruary has 28 days, except in leap year, when it has 29.

The name February comes from the Latin word “februa”, a ceremonial feast of purification held by the Romans centuries ago every Feb. 15. Later, the early Christians celebrated candlemas or misa de candelaria on Feb. 2, a Catholic tradition still being observed up to now. On this day candles to be lighted in the churches during the year were blessed.

We should know because since childhood, we religiously attend the candlemas on Feb. 2 being our special day.

One of the most eagerly awaited and pleasant holidays of the year is celebrated on Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year (date varies). This is the reason February is sometimes called the Love Month.

Also, mardi gras, a carnival festivity, usually held in February.

Among the famous men and women born in February are President Benigno Aquino III, Senate President  Juan Ponce Enrile, the late US President Ronald Reagan, Claro M. Recto, Blas Ople, Kris Aquino, Thomas Edison,Heart Evangelista, Paris Hilton, Thomas Edison, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Boris Pasternak, Victor Hugo, Charles Lamb, John Barrymore, Cardinal Newman, Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, Charles Darwin, Sir Thomas Moore, Jules Verne, Charles Lamb, John Steinbect, Frederic Chopin, Charles Lindbergh, Charles Dickens, etc.

Historical first that happened in February are: Feb. 1, 1790, United States Supreme Court met for the first time with Chief Justice John Jay presiding;

In Feb. 18, 1861 Jefferson Davis inaugurated as first President of the Confederated States of America;

In Feb. 18, l878, Thomas Edison patented the phonograph; and in Feb. 19, 1945, United States forces landed on Iwo Jima.

Abolition of law exempting minors from criminal prosecution proposed

There are good laws as there are bad laws. A classic example of bad law is Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act that exempts minor offenders from criminal liability.

While the intention of the law is concededly ideal, its implementation  facilitates the commission of more crimes when criminal syndicates started to employ minoers in their criminal activities like robbery and theft.

The law specifically  exempts minors aged 16 and below from criminal liability. Instead of being jailed they are turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for counselling and rehabilitation. After  which they are released back to society, only to commit the same or another crime.

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo raised the issue of amending or scrapping juvenile law noting that some minor offenders are becoming bolder in committing robbery, theft, and violence because they know they would be eventually freed.

In asking Congress to scrap the juvenile law, Robredo said: “We should seriously look into the complications of exempting minors from criminal liability, and also consider that behind these minors are adults who influence them into doing these criminal acts.”

Whom should we believe: Reyes or Colonel Rabusa?

In the art of war, the best defense is offense. It seems in desperate attept to clear his name from charges of pocketing soldiers funds, former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes’ lawyer is applying this obsolete tactic to extricate his client from involvement in military corruption.

Reyes hit back at Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and whistle-blower former military budget officer Lt. Col. George Rabusa by filing graft charges against the two in the Office of the Ombudsman. It was Sen Estrada who presented Rabuya before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee as a surprise witness.

Reyes played an important role in the downfall of former President Joseph Estrada in 2001 when, as  AFP chief of staff, he led military defection that culminated in EDSA ii.

Reyes filed graft charges before the Ombudsman against Estrada and Rabuya as he denied allegationsa made by Rabusa that he (Reyes) received P50 million in “pabaon” or send-off money, and a P5-million monhly payola during his term as chief of staff of the AFP.

As this developed, Rabusa unleashed another bombshell when he accused another AFP chief, Diomedio Villanueva of having recieved P160-million “pabaon” or send offmoney when he  retired in May 2002.

Rabusa said he withdrew P10 million 16 times for Villanueva on orders of his boss, then military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

Rabusa said he delivered the money to Garcia who he assumed turned this over to Villanueva.

This corner stillbelieves and maintains that despite the plunderous acts committed by past chiefs of staff and other high ranking military officials of the AFP, President Aquino can still clean the military service of grafters with the needed reforms in the system within the AFP.-Cornelio R. de Guzman

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