Friday, January 30, 2009
For numerous offenses and abuses, including a plan to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama, which was captured on wiretap, the Illinois Senate voted 59-0 to throw out Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich out of office.
59-0. That's a mind-boggling number; it's crystal clear that Blagojevich had no allies at all in Illinois politics.
While Blagojevich continues to protest his innocence, it appears that, with him ousted, criminal charges are now being readied against him.
In the Philippines, such an event sadly cannot happen, as the ruling administration has hijacked the impeachment process, making it impossible for the President, or any of her close allies, to be impeached in the same way Blagojevich was.
Kudos to the Illinois Senate for sticking to its guns and ousting a corrupt governor. May Blagojevich's example be an inspiration for those of us who are laboring to fight corruption.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Ever since she assumed the office four years ago, Gutierrez has failed to live up to the ideals of her office, whose mandate is to go after corrupt government officials. In one of the more celebrated cases against the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in 2006, where the Supreme Court ruled against the Comelec in the Mega-Pacific deal, and ordered the Ombudsman to investigate the officials involved, the Ombudsman then ruled that no one was liable for the case, effectively overruling the Supreme Court.
The Ombudsman has also failed to charge anybody involved in the ZTE Broadband scandal, and has even junked a case against Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante, who is suspected of being involved in the fertilizer scam which is said to have benefitted President Arroyo’s 2004 presidential bid.
With Gutierrez being an ally of the current administration, I’m not too surprised by her inability to ferret out corrupt officials. How can Gutierrez effectively investigate the one who put her in the office to begin with? The answer: only if she has the highest levels of moral value, which, by her inactions, she doesn’t have.
It’s unlikely that Gutierrez will heed Sen. Santiago’s call to resign, though. And it’s equally unlikely that President Arroyo will ask her to step down, not while Gutierrez is essential in protecting GMA and her cronies’ backsides. And thus, corruption in the Philippines will continue unabated, as those who are sworn to obliterate it are themselves corrupt.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
It appears that P5-billion has been allocated in the 2009 budget for building schools and classrooms. But, while the local government units (LGUs) are the main implementers of the plan, the building of the schools and classrooms must have the approval of the local Representative.
I’ve always wondered why the legislative members of our government (Congress) must interfere with what is primarily an executive decision. Of course, I’ve also realized that being able to approve and disapprove projects accomplishes the Representative’s desire to be reelected. At the same time, the Representative is able to ensure the LGUs’ support for him by wielding the projects like treats over their heads; of course, the LGU heads will kowtow to whoever provides them with projects to help develop their district.
Like the pork barrel allocations for Congress, the Representatives will be able to force the loyalty of LGUs in their district by dangling the projects in front of them, and at the same time, cripple his political opponents to ensure his victory in the polls.
This is in addition to the various other extras that our honorable (Hoch! Ptui!) Representatives and Senators have inserted into the 2009 budget. It’s likely that this year’s budget will serve as the source of the starting war chests of those who will be running next year in 2010.
* * *
In the same vein, a number of presidential possibles are gearing up and beginning to make noise, in order to increase public exposure and awareness. It looks like I’ll be handicapping the 2010 Presidential race sooner than later. It’s a pity, though, that the field is very slim in terms of quality candidates; despite pronouncements extolling themselves as the next Obama, as I said in a previous column, no such individual exists, at least for the upcoming elections.
It’s important, then, for us to be vigilant and keep an eye on the activities and actions of the various presidentiables, so that we can make an informed choice come Election Day.
* * *
I read in the Philippine Star a few days ago that overseas Filipino worker (OFW) agencies are calling for the government to fix the peso-dollar rate, currently at around P47.40-$1, to P55-$1. By setting the rate as such, it will spur OFWs to increase their remittances to their loved ones in the country in the face of the global financial crisis.
I’m no economist, but won’t such a move only serve to inflate prices? The extra cash that the fixed rate will bring in will only be wasted in paying the higher prices for goods and services. Setting a fixed rate is not very advisable. Better to have the peso strong, so that we can keep the prices relatively stable.
At the same time, something must be done to address the growing number of OFWs affected by the crisis. The Arroyo administration had better be serious with their plans to create more jobs and provide an economic stimulus package (‘bailout’), otherwise, with a number of OFWs returning to the country jobless, there’s going to be unrest pretty soon.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I’ve been sidetracked from writing about HB 5043, otherwise known as the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, due to lack of time to write. The last post I put was that of the strengths of the bill, but Fr. Eric Genilo, SJ, in his own position paper on the subject, notes that there are some serious flaws in the bill that need to be ironed out. I’m posting them below, for the benefit of those who wish to learn more about the bill.
Points of Conflict Between Lagman Bill and The Catholic Moral Tradition
- There are some who take the position that protection of the unborn begins upon implantation of the embryo in the womb (such as stated a previous version of the Lagman Bill [House Bill 17], Introductory Section, Par. 7). The Philippine Constitution declares that protection of the unborn begins at conception (Art. II Sec. 12) The Church also teaches that protection of the unborn begins at conception. This difference between implantation and conception is crucial.
- Any device (e.g. the IUD) or medicines that prevent the implantation of a fertilized embryo is not contraceptive but is abortifacient and therefore any promotion of such devices or medicines would be a violation of the Philippine Constitution.
- The current version of the Lagman Bill does not define clearly when the protection of life begins. Although it mentions the constitutional illegality of abortion it does not state directly that human life is to be protected upon conception. This is important because there are some contraceptive means that are actually abortifacient in effect (IUDs) while there are contraceptive means that can be abortifacient if used after conception has already occurred but implantation still has not happened (morning-after pills for example.) The Bill must make it very explicit that no devices or methods would be provided that is aimed at the prevention of implantation.
Comment: This was an eye-opener for me, as I was unclear as to the nature of abortifacient drugs and devices. There is a clear delineation between conception and implantation, and our Constitution clearly states that protection of life begins at conception, or when the egg is fertilized by the sperm, and not at implantation, wherein the fertilized egg is implanted in the womb; keep in mind the egg is normally fertilized in the ovary, and then the fertilized egg has to make its way to the womb. Abortifacient drugs and devices seek to prevent implantation, and thus, are responsible for abortion of the fertilized egg, a clear violation of our laws.
B. Mandatory RH and Sexuality Education
- The Bill states that the Sexuality Education curriculum shall be common for both public and private schools starting from Grade 5 up to
.. (Sec 12) Fourth Year High School
- Private Catholic schools would strongly object to this provision. In conscience, Catholic educators would refuse to teach methods of family planning which they consider immoral or unacceptable according to Catholic norms.
- This provision can be accused of violating the freedom of religion and freedom of conscience of Catholic educators as well as the freedom of Catholic parents who prefer sex education based on Catholic teachings for their children. The Church would consider it unjust for a catholic school to be penalized if it refuses to teach methods of family planning that is against its moral teachings.
- A better solution would be to allow Catholic schools to implement their own sex education curriculum and to allow Catholic parents with children in public schools to choose whether or not to allow their children to attend the sex education classes in their schools.
C. Providing the full range of RH services
- The Bill states that the Reproductive Health Care Program will provide the full range of information and services pertaining to all methods of family planning including surgical methods. (Sec.5, f, 1& 6 )
- The Church objects to artificial means of birth control that involve direct human intervention to prevent conception, either temporarily or permanently. The above provision will be interpreted by some sectors of the Church as direct promotion by the government of methods of family planning that are immoral. This is what some would call “cafeteria style” of family planning where all methods of family planning are all presented as equally good and acceptable.
- For some sectors of the Church, this would not be objectionable because it respects the use of reason and the exercise of conscience of persons when making moral decisions. These sectors would focus on the formation of conscience to help Catholics make decision faithful to their religious and moral values.
- Some may see this provision as recognition of the existence of a diversity of religious views on the morality of artificial contraception and sterilization. While the Catholic Church views contraception and sterilization as immoral, the
and some Moslems do not. Some may argue that since the Bill is to be applied to all Filipino citizens, it should respect different religious and moral positions on contraceptives and sterilization. Protestant Churches
D. Natural and “Modern” Methods of Family Planning
- Advocates of Natural Family Planning will object to the Bill’s use of “modern” to describe artificial means of family planning (Sec 3, a; Sec. 12, f). This gives the impression that the natural methods are not modern or not scientific thus giving a negative image to NFP methods.
- Current natural family planning methods such as the Standard Days Method, the Two Day Method, the Billings Method, the Basal Body Temperature Method, and the Symptothermal method, and the Lactational Amenorrhea Method are based on the latest scientific research on the reproductive system.
- The use of the word “modern” to describe the use of artificial means of family planning can also give the impression that out-dated (and ineffective) methods such as the old calendar method and withdrawal are natural family planning methods being endorsed by NFP advocates.
- Withdrawal has never been recognized as an NFP method and the calendar method has already been replaced by more accurate methods based on body symptoms.
E. Free Ligation
- The Bill directs public hospitals to provide indigent mothers delivering children in gov’t hospitals to be provided free ligation if they request for it. (Sec. 5, i )
- This provision may be interpreted as evidence of the government’s bias for artificial means of birth control and providing improper enticement for the poor to have sterilizations. This provision makes it easier for people to choose artificial means of birth control over natural family planning.
- The Bill does not mention any consultation with religious groups or churches, unless these groups are under the category of NGOs. (Sec. 24)
- Such an omission might be interpreted to mean that religious and moral beliefs of citizens are not significant factors in the formation of policies and programs involving reproductive health. A more explicit mention of consultation with religious groups can avoid criticism on this point
G. Employer’s Responsibility
- The Bill states that CBAs should ensure the provision of an adequate quantity of reproductive health care services, supplies and devices. (Sec 17, Sec 21, c) But what if it is a Catholic institution? Should a Catholic school be forced to provide for contraceptive services for its employees it such an act would be against its moral teachings. The Bill should not penalize Catholic employers if they choose not to provide for contraceptive services and devices if it goes against their consciences.
H. Contraceptives as Essential Medicines
- The Bill states that hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other allied reproductive health products and supplies shall be considered under the category of essential medicines and supplies which shall form part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units (Sec 10). This provision does not make a clear distinction between products that only have a contraceptive effect and products that can have abortifacient effects. This provision could legitimize the promotion and use of products that have abortifacient effects such as IUDs and morning-after pills. This can run counter to the Constitution, which asserts that human life is to be protected at conception.
I. Freedom of Speech
- The Bill penalizes who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act (Sec 21, a, f). Malicious intent is difficult to prove and there are wide disagreements about many aspects of the population question that the Bill is trying to address. It could be a violation of the freedom of speech of dissenting groups if they are prevented from speaking out to challenge the Bill. It is true that some opponents of the Bill who do not use correct information, but to stop public debate on the issue of contraceptives through the use of penalties will not solve the problem but instead will turn the Bill into a coercive and undemocratic act in violation of the freedom of speech.
It is clear that while there are a lot of flaws in HB 5043, the proper management of reproductive health is necessary for our country, and a lot of work must be done on the part of the Catholic Church in order to work with the bill’s authors and come up with a viable bill that is acceptable to both our politicians and Church officials. In my next post on the issue, I’ll take a look at the Church’s options on what must be done.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Ermita’s statement is just the latest stupidity coming from our politicians trying to jump on the Obama bandwagon. It’s right up there with Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay’s claim that he’s the “Obama of the Philippines” and Makati City 1st District Representative Teddy Boy Locsin’s assertion that Obama is the “Binay of Chicago”.
The sad truth is that, among the current big names of Philippine politics, there is no one who even comes close to the presence, confidence and charisma that President Obama wields. If ever there is anybody who can be compared to Obama, that politician is still quietly toiling in the grassroots level, anonymous and unknown. Unfortunately, the moment such a politician is discovered, he or she is sucked into the quagmire that is Philippine politics.
This is the tragedy of Philippine politics, where the corrupt politicians and the political dynasties hold sway, that anyone with any amount of virtue finds his or her virtue quickly tarnished. It’s getting to the point that the only way any sort of social change can be established is to tear down the existing system, and put up a new one, this time with safeguards to prevent any abuse. However, wasn’t that what the members of the 1987 Constitutional Commission attempted to do, to make sure that the abuses of the martial law government of the late President Marcos would not be repeated? And look where their Constitution, overwhelmingly approved by a Philippine populace still blinded by the brilliance of Cory Aquino’s magical win over the dictator, has gotten us.
It seems that our politicians are wily enough to exploit whatever system of government is established, and maintain their level of corruption. This makes it difficult to expunge them from the system.
At the same time, it is the fault of our countrymen that our government is the way it is, as we allow the situation to happen because we don’t properly exercise our political power, preferring instead to be led like sheep, lulled by the promise of quick cash and empty promises. We prefer to be children, looking to our politicians to be our parents , transferring our power for them to use.
But can you imagine a Philippines wherein our people are aware of the power they wield and make the conscious decision to take hold of that power and grow up? Like the ants in the movie “A Bug’s Life”, we might finally realize that it is we, not our politicians and government officials, who are powerful, if only because of our sheer numbers.
A person like Barack Obama can only become President of our country once we grow up politically, not before. But change like that takes time, and I’m not sure if we’ll see the maturation of the Filipino people in our lifetime.
Still, that doesn't mean that we should wait passively for that day. Rather, we should all work together in order to bring that day closer.
And, who knows? Perhaps we will see the maturation of Philippine politics in our lifetime.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
However, with the recent conclusion of Valley Golf officials, several things were established, primary being the fact that the elder de la Paz provoked the altercation, first by allowing his children to hit balls onto the green while there were people still on it, and then initiating the fight by poking one of the sons, a mayor of a town in Lanao, with an umbrella. Furthermore, several fellow golfers attested to the hotheaded nature of the elder de la Paz, which supports the fact that Mr. de la Paz was certainly capable of starting a fight. In this case, it turned out that he bit off more than he could chew.
If this was the case, how does that explain Bambee’s blog? It’s possible that since Bambee, by her own account, was a bit of a distance away from the fight, she didn’t see that her father poked Pangandaman Jr., and all she saw was that her father and brother were getting beaten up. The heat of the emotion played heavily here, as Bambee was clearly emotional in her account of the incident.
When I first read of the incident, and subsequently wrote about it, my heart went out to the de la Pazes, who came out looking the underdogs against a powerful government official. But I also said that it was their word against the Pangandamans, and, with the Valley Golf investigation report, which resulted in the banning of the de la Pazes and the younger Pangandamans from the course, as well as the suspension of the elder Pangandaman, it turns out that events unfolded differently from Bambee’s account.
Of course, the de la Pazes can claim that the Valley Golf officials were intimidated by the government officials, but the various accounts of columnists and fellow golfers appear to bolster the findings of the report. Still, the matter is filed in court, so it remains to be seen to whose account the judge will give more weight.
One of the main challenges of maintaining a blog is to be relevant, and not simply rant and rave about the world. One must maintain a semblance of objectivity and be ready to give way if one is proven to be wrong. In my case, I concede that I may have jumped the gun on the situation and prematurely judged the de la Pazes to be in the right, when, clearly, it is not the case.
There are two sides to the story though, and columnists like Magno and Ramon Tulfo, who sent in a staff member to do an independent investigation, appear to gloss over the fact that the Pangandamans still used too much force for people claiming self-defense, as well as the fact that Bino de la Paz, being a minor, was subject to child abuse, being beaten up by the Pangandamans.
Both sides have committed grievous errors, which escalated the situation. Now, if both sides can calm down and come to agree upon a settlement, wherein perhaps the elder de la Paz can apologize for having started the fight, and maybe the Pangandamans apologize for beating up the de la Pazes, then maybe matters will be put to rest.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
While most of the TV world remember him as the benevolent Mr. Roarke on "Fantasy Island", I remember him best as Khan Noonien Singh, one of the best "Star Trek" villains.
I wasn't able to watch the TV episode where he appeared, so my first look at Montalban's Khan was in the movie "Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan". It is, by far, the best of the series of films based on the original crew. Montalban was outstanding in his righteous anger against Enterprise Captain James Tiberius Kirk, and cemented his place in "Star Trek" history.
In real life, Montalban played the exact opposite of his screen persona, constantly fighting for his fellow Latinos' advancement in the entertainment industry.
He will be greatly missed.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
One is the always ebullient, always entertaining Rickey Henderson, the major leagues' stolen base king. The other is the taciturn Jim Rice, one of the most feared sluggers of the 70s and the 80s. Henderson was voted in on his very first ballot, while Rice just barely got in, in this his final year on the regular ballot.
Henderson was well-known for his loquacity, and always being an entertaining speaker. Rice, on the other hand, was very media-shy, avoiding reporters and interviews during his entire career. There are some who say that it was this media avoidance that kept him out of the Hall for so long, although others may point to his very steep falloff from feared slugger to ordinary player. Still, what's nice is that he made it in, even if it was his very last ballot; he joins Red Ruffing (1967) and Ralph Kiner (1975) in that exclusive club.
It seems almost fitting that both should go in at the same time. Baseball's classic rivalry is recognized, as Henderson spent six years of his career playing for the Yankees and the Mets, while Rice spent all 16 seasons with the Red Sox.
Also, with their induction, the Hall of Fame celebrates two iconic figures in baseball: the leadoff hitter, and the cleanup hitter. One sets the table, while the other clears it. And these two were two of the very best at doing this.
Monday, January 12, 2009
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to return to the issue of Reproductive Health (RH), but it’s been a busy schedule for me over the holiday break, making it difficult to impossible to properly frame my thoughts. But, with a bit of breathing space, I can now continue the discussion I started last year.
Unlike the hardline stance taken by the more conservative members of the Catholic Church against House Bill 5043 (HB 5043), I do not agree that the bill should be rejected outright. As it has been pointed out, there is a need for a national policy on RH, and, instead of opposing it, Church leaders should meet with the bill’s authors, and try to come out with a more acceptable and moral policy.
Fr. Eric Genilo, SJ, came out last year with a paper that attempted to take an objective stance on the draft bill (HB 5043), identifying the strengths and flaws of the bill, as well as what the Catholic Church can do to address the issue. It is from his notes, as well as a talk I had with Fr. Romeo Intengan, SJ, that I draw my own views on the issue.
First, I’d like to share what Fr. Genilo has to say about the bill’s strengths, and my own comments, if necessary.
Points of Agreement Between Lagman Bill and The Catholic Moral Tradition
- There are certain points in the House Bill on Reproductive Health which are in agreement with the Catholic moral tradition.
- These positive points of agreement can be the starting point for a reasonable and civilized discussion between the legislature and the hierarchy.
a. Respecting the sound judgment of parents and couples
- The Church objects to any coercion by the state on the decision of parents to decide the number and spacing of their children.
- In various sections, the Bill affirms the rights of parents and couples to freely decide the number and spacing of their children. Its two-child recommendation is only meant as an ideal for families in their decision-making. (Sec. 3, g; Sec. 16;)
- The Bill emphasizes that it is not coercive and no punitive measures will be imposed on families who exceed two children. (Sec 16)
Comment: It should be noted that, contrary to what is claimed by certain sectors of the Church, the bill does not impose any penalties on those who decide to have more than two children; the wording of the bill clearly states that having a maximum of two children is merely an ideal situation.
b. Respect for the conscience
- The Church teaches that the decision of a well-formed conscience must be respected. A person must not be made to act contrary to his or her conscience except if it involves grave harm to one’s self, to others, or to the common good.
- The Bill makes it clear that conscientious objections of health care providers based on ethical and religious beliefs will be respected. (Sec 21a, 5)
c. Provision of comprehensive information on reproductive health
- The Church teaches that the correct use of one’s conscience is dependent on its proper formation and access to necessary information for decision-making.
- The Bill states that one of its aims is to provide relevant, adequate and correct information on matters that pertain to reproductive health. (Sec. 3,g)
Comment: Educating oneself about what reproductive health is should help our countrymen be more aware of the responsibilities they get when they decide to bring a child into the world.
d. Prohibition of abortion
- The Church has made a clear and firm stand against the legalization of abortion in order to defend the life and dignity of the unborn.
- The Bill states that it continues to proscribe and penalize abortion as a crime in the Revised Penal Code. It states that its provisions on assisting complications arising from post-abortion complications are not intended to violate this law. (Sec. 3, m; Sec 7, d)
Comment: This has been one of the most misleading arguments that some Church leaders have had against the Bill. A number of critics who have loudly claimed that the Bill legalizes abortion have clearly not read the provisions of the draft bill. Of course, when we look at the flaws later on, we will see that the problem lies in what constitutes conception.
e. Preventing Discrimination
- The Church affirms the equal dignity of all persons and is against any form of discrimination.
- The Bill prohibits the refusal of quality health care services and information based on a patient’s marital status, gender or sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, and nature of work. (Sec. 21, a, 5).
f. Care for the poor and vulnerable
- The Church urges the government to extend preferential aid to those who are more vulnerable in society.
- The Bill has various provisions that address the specific needs disadvantages groups such as the poor, senior citizens, women in prostitution, differently-abled persons, and women and children in war crisis situations. (Sec 2; Sec 3, j)
Comment: The bill’s critics claim that the bill is anti-poor, but it is clear that the bill’s authors drafted this bill primarily to help the poor.
While it cannot be denied that the bill does attempt to help our countrymen, it is also clear from reading it that there are flaws that make it impossible for the Catholic Church to support it. In my next RH post, I’ll share the various flaws that HB 5043 has.
Friday, January 09, 2009
It was a bittersweet New Year for the grade school community, as the New Year was ushered in by not just one, but two passings.
Last Monday, the grade school’s beloved former headmaster, Fr. Joey Fermin, SJ, passed away after succumbing to complications from his liver transplant. Being new to the grade school, I didn’t really get to know him all that well, but I could tell how much the community loved him.
By the time I met him, he was already gaunt from illness; I was told that he used to be rather on the stout side. Still, he was in high spirits, and he struck me as a happy person, the kind of person who’d joke a lot.
While there was hope after the success of the transplant, it was clear that the road before Fr. Joey was challenging. Over the past few months, I’d hear that he would be in and out of the hospital with some illness or the other; apparently, in order for the transplant to take, drugs which suppress the immune system are taken, which makes the patient more vulnerable to other illnesses.
The last time I saw Fr. Joey was last year, during the blessing of the new buildings and the inauguration of the grade school’s Heritage Room. He gave an inspiring talk to celebrate the occasion.
When I went to visit the high school Monday morning, I met with my exchange program counterpart, Don Selorio, who showed me a text saying that Fr. Joey had three days at most. That same night, though, I received the text from my coordinator that Fr. Joey had passed away at 8:35 in the evening. The funeral Mass and burial will be in a little while. At least, Fr. Joey is finally at peace and in the company of our Lord.
While Fr. Joey’s passing was more or less anticipated, the other death this week wasn’t. The father of two of our students in the grade school and the high school was shot and killed while on his way to bringing his sons to school. The murder occurred near their house, as the sons were able to run home and tell their mother about the tragedy.
It was clearly a hired gun who did the job; the father’s job was in trucking, and it seems that he had enemies. My prayers go to the family, and I hope that the police will be able to bring his killer to justice.
I wasn’t able to post this early enough as planned, so it’s after the burial that this is going up.
The Mass for Fr. Joey was well-attended; while I managed to get a seat, I could see that the number of Mass goers was such that there were a lot of people standing outside the Church of the Gesu.
The Mass itself was wonderfully done. The Grade School faculty choir provided the music, and I wasn't sure who gave the homily, but it was a stirring testimony to Fr. Joey, and, for me who barely knew him, I like to think that I got to know him a little better afterward. There was also a thank you speech from his sister, and a short slideshow of photos and Facebook messages set to the tune of Chris Daugherty's "Going Home".
After the Mass, we all headed to Sacred Heart Novitiate, where Fr. Joey's remains would go to its final resting place. It was nice to be able to visit the Novitiate once more, and say hi to some of my mentors in the Jesuit cemetery. I never cease to have a thrill being there; it’s a very peaceful place, and it’s nice to walk around and gaze at the Jesuits who have helped shape the Philippine Society, as well as the Ateneo: Delaney, de la Costa, Cervini, Arvisu, Cruz, Katigbak, O’Brien, Dunne, Hontiveros, and so forth. And now Fr. Joey joins them.
It was also a pleasant surprise to find that Fr. Arsenio Nunez, SJ, who used to be parent liaison at the high school, is still hale and hearty, being missioned to the Novitiate, as well as Fr. Earl Barredo, SJ, who spent time in the high school as a regent, is now in charge of the Novitiate. I managed to play a bit of catch up with both of them, even promising Fr. Nunez to visit and invite him over for lunch or dinner (I hope I can keep that promise.).
While it’s a sad day, as the grade school community loses someone very dear to it, it’s also a joyous day, as we are certain that Fr. Joey has joined his Lord.