The New Year was just around the corner, and it was time again to bring out my crystal ball. Kept at a dingy area in the basement, the ball was covered with dirt and cobwebs and had to be wiped with a piece of wet cloth then a dry one to make it clean and shiny.
I mumbled a brief prayer in an esoteric language (that sounds more like Ilocano than Latin) to summon its power. It took a minute or two before the crystal ball started working. What appeared was like a real globe with maps all over it.
I looked first at the United States, and after murmuring again a short prayer that even myself could not understand, images began to appear. The images were dark and scary, and it took sometime before I could interpret them. It showed the most powerful country on Planet Earth engaged in an intensified cold war with Russia.
The day before President Obama took retaliatory action against Russia’s hacking of the U.S. electoral process during the presidential election. Obama issued an order expelling at least 40 Russian diplomats and closing two Russian compounds. President Vladimir Putin counter-attacked, also expelling all American diplomats deployed in his country.
I wanted to see in the crystal ball what President-elect Donald Trump will do when he assumes office on Jan. 20. The images in the ball indicated Trump was reluctant to play hard ball with Putin and would try to resolve the issues through diplomatic channels.
If he reverses course and revokes Obama’s order expelling the Russian diplomats, Trump would be giving credence to speculations that he is protecting his business enterprises in Russia.
But due to pressure from both Republican and Democrat leaders, he will eventually take an anti-Russia stance.
On the immigration front, the crystal ball showed many illegal immigrants being herded to various airports to be deported. It looks like Trump is going to make good his campaign threat to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.
On the war on terror, Trump is seen deploying more U.S. troops to Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS.
On the China issue, the crystal ball showed Trump continuing to tag China as a currency manipulator and taking punitive action.
I rotated the crystal ball to focus on the Philippines, and what I saw is a nation in turmoil. President Duterte was seen continuing his ways as vintage mayor of Davao City, spewing cuss words every now and then at whoever crosses his path. He will intensify his psych war against criminals and corrupt government officials, disclosing horrible ways of getting rid of them like throwing them out of a flying helicopter.
Duterte is now obsessed with his war on drugs, and there will be more cases of extrajudicial killings. More mothers, wives and children will be seen on TV weeping over the killing of their loved ones by motorcycle-riding assassins. More people, including policemen, politicians and government officials, will be linked to the drug trade.
The crystal ball showed Senator Leila de Lima continuing her downward spiral and about to hit the bottom of ignominy. She will eventually flee from the Philippines to avoid prosecution.
There will be attempts to oust Duterte through impeachment and other legal ways but all the attempts will fail. During a recent interview with Jessica Soho of GMA TV, he promised not to impose martial law, but at the rate he is making enemies he may break his promise.
One bright spot in the Philippines is the peace prevailing at the countryside in Luzon and the Visayas. This is brought about by the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front/New People’s Army. With Secretary Jesus Dureza leading the government panel in the talks, the possibility of lasting peace is becoming more pronounced.
The crystal ball showed, however, that the Abu Sayyaf Group will continue to spread terror in Mindanao, launching bomb attacks, kidnapping foreigners and beheading its victims. The Abu Sayyaf terrorists want to show that they are more brutal and ruthless than the strong-man Duterte.
All these crystal-ball predictions are just that – predictions. They may happen and may not happen. There is nothing absolutely certain about what’s going to happen to us in 2017, except one thing: We are getting one year older in 2017.
To old people like me, it is one more step towards our final destination – the grave.
Happy New Year to our readers!