Sunday, June 28, 2009
Reading has always been one of my major leisure activities, and it’s difficult for me to pass up a chance to rifle through a book sale, looking for interesting titles to read. Like many a book geek, I wind up with more books than I have time to read; some books have sat on my shelves for more than a decade without me reading them.
Two events occurred that made me dust off some of my old books and begin reading them. First of all, during the enforced holidays due to the spread of the dreaded Influenza A (H1N1) virus in the high school, I rearranged my book shelves. I went through each book in my collection, and decided to either box it, since I didn’t think I’d read them anytime soon, or to put it back on my shelves after a quick dusting, since I’d probably wind up reading it in the near future. I also formed a small pile consisting of books that I’d had for a long while and hadn’t read, but seemed interesting enough to finally read.
The reason for this was the second event. One of my co-teachers, a book geek herself, had instituted a Book Reading Challenge, wherein we English teachers would be challenged to read or review around 20 books; we would get a star if we finished a book, and half a star for a submitted review. The first five teachers who made it to 20 stars first would receive a prize: a Fully Booked gift certificate.
Needless to say, the challenge moved a number of us to get cracking on the books; the prize made the challenge more of a competition, although my friend stressed the significance of the challenge over the competition. Still, it provided an impetus for me to go through my book collection for books I hadn’t read. It also gave me a chance to reread some old favorites, since rereads were also legal for the challenge.
So far, I’ve accumulated a total of 10 ½ stars, having read nine and reviewed three. I’m not exactly sure where that puts me in the race to twenty; I think that there’s one or two who are ahead of me. But, that’s perfectly all right. I’m just glad I have the excuse to read books.
Here’s my list below. Asterisks indicate the ones I’ve reviewed on our Book Watch blog, while ® indicates a reread title.
1. Prey - Michael Crichton *
2. Rainbow Six - Tom Clancy ®
3. Savannah - John Jakes *
4. The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow ®* (just submitted)
5. The Chosen - Chaim Potok * (submitted a review; not sure if it’s been posted yet)
6. The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff ®
7. The Te of Piglet - Benjamin Hoff ®
8. The Promise - Chaim Potok
9. Eaters of the Dead - Michael Crichton
Currently reading: The Way It Spozed To Be – James Herndon
Except for Prey, which I panned, the other books I’ve read have been entertaining, enlightening, or both, making this Book Challenge such an interesting adventure. Onwards to more reading!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I wonder if Jessica Zafra is prescient.
Yesterday, her column in the Philippine Star talked about Michael Jackson’s transformation from pop icon to eccentric, and analyzed the reasons for the change.
Yesterday, the so-called King of Pop was dead at the age of 50, due to cardiac arrest. For the publication, Zafra would have written her column the day before. How could she have known that the subject of her column would die the same day the column came out?
It came as a shock to learn of Jackson’s death; in fact, my colleagues and I had thought it was just some sick joke being spread, only to get the confirmation an hour or two later.
Despite the various controversies that surrounded Jackson’s life, it cannot be denied that his music and his dancing have made an impact in our lives and our culture. For myself, my favorite song is “Man in the Mirror”, a reflective piece which exhorts us to begin change in the world with ourselves.
Perhaps, he will now have found the peace that he has craved throughout his life. Requiem, Michael.
* * *
On the day of Michael Jackson’s death, another iconic star passed away. Farrah Fawcett is probably best known for her being one of Charlie’s Angels, as well as for a poster of her in a swimsuit that, according to the CNN report, sold more than 12 million copies.
When I was a kid, Fawcett was one of the babes of my generation. Her trademark hairstyle and her flashing smile melted many an adolescent’s heart. But, according to the same CNN report, she had developed into a serious actress after her Angels run. But I will always remember the smile.
Farrah Fawcett, who had been suffering from cancer, passed away a few hours before Jackson. She was 62.
Rest in peace, Angel.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Plagiarism is simply taking someone else’s work and passing it off as one’s own; alternately, it is quoting someone or some work without giving credit where credit is due. It is intellectual dishonesty, as one claims he or she is the creator of a particular piece of work, when, in actuality, it isn’t.
As a teacher, I normally come across plagiarism when checking homework, where students will sometimes copy each other’s work. In these cases, I discover it in the errors that they commit, because it’s hard to believe that two students could be capable of messing up in the same way. When I confront them with the evidence, they generally break down and fess up.
With longer work such as book reports and compositions, students will sometimes take short cuts, and simply copy and paste what they find on the internet and submit it to me. However, since I’m generally familiar with my students’ writing styles, whenever they submit work with phrases and sentences that don’t seem to fit with their styles, I wind up Googling the phrase or sentence, and, lo and behold, it’s normally found in the first few links that Google dredges up.
When my students plagiarize and are discovered, the penalty is a suspension, with the charge being academic dishonesty, or cheating. What happens if it’s a newspaper columnist who does the plagiarizing? What is the penalty then?
Three years ago, I found that Philippine Star columnist and Charter Change
fanatic advocate Carmen Pedrosa had committed plagiarism in her November 5, 2006 column, when she lifted two sentences from a 2004 article on advocacy journalism by Dave Berman. I remember writing the Star about it, but nothing came of it.
In Pedrosa’s column last Saturday, when she scored the weaknesses of a presidential system, another blogger, Flânerie, in responding to Pedrosa’s arguments, discovered that Pedrosa had committed 7 counts of plagiarism when she lifted or paraphrased details from the Wikipedia entry about the presidential system. The blogger then questioned Pedrosa’s credibility in endorsing a transparent and accountable system of government if she herself doesn’t practice transparency and accountability herself. I wholly agree with Flânerie, that Pedrosa should probably be held accountable for her actions.
If I remember right, former Philippine Daily Inquirer Hilarion Henares was also caught plagiarizing, and, as a result, he left that paper. Will Pedrosa do the same? I think if she feels she has any integrity left, she should take the same route.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Happy Father's Day to all!
Back in the 80s and 90s, there was a show on TV called “Fight Back!”, wherein host David Horowitz would test the claims of various product commercials. Sometimes the product would hold up to the test; other times, it wouldn’t. The show would always end with the host exhorting the audience to fight back, and not to let other people rip them off.
In the Philippines, unfortunately, such a presence does not exist, and, worse, the government agencies in charge of keeping an eye on these companies are either unable to enforce the law, or are even in league with the companies by covering up for their abusive practices. More often than not, it takes someone in power being victimized before any action is taken.
Such is the situation in the case of the telecommunication companies (telcos). For the longest time, consumers who use prepaid services have been complaining of their loaded pesos being mysteriously eroded, even if they hadn’t been using their load. However, it’s only when Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile suffered the same experience that some action may be taken.
During the Senate hearing on the issue, Enrile angrily grilled telco officials why his load seemed to rapidly diminish despite his not using his cell phone. One official replied that he was apparently subscribed to a ringtone download service, to which Enrile incredulously retorted that he hadn’t subscribed to anything, and questioned the possible practice of telcos subscribing users with or without their consent.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which is supposed to oversee the telcos, apparently has its hands tied by an eight-year old injunction won by the telcos. Shouldn’t the NTC follow up with the court the status of the injunction? Isn’t eight years a little too long for an injunction to exist?
Boo Chanco of the Philippine Star, in his column last Friday, notes that consumer protection in this country is horrible. Aside from the disappearing load scam, he also questions the practice of telcos and even bookstores like Powerbooks putting limits on phone load and gift certificates. He does have an interesting point. Why should we lose our load after two months? Why should gift certificates expire? People have paid money for those, and they should get the service commensurate to the amount paid.
Chanco also notes that the issue may die out again given the politicians’ penchant for latching on to the hot issue and then losing interest once another issue crops up. The telcos can play the waiting game; once the Senators kick into election fever, issues such as this will no longer be relevant to them.
I guess the problem lies with us consumers, that we’re too passive when we’re victimized and unwilling to fight for our rights. We should realize that, together, we’re much stronger than when we’re just individuals, and that, together, we can fight these injustices and overcome them. We’ve done it before. We can do it again.
There has been a lot of speculation on whether President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will run for a seat in Congress in next year’s elections. The speculation has been fueled by the moves by the House to convene a constituent assembly (con-ass) to revise the Constitution, as well as the various statements made by members of the President’s Cabinet. No less than the President’s sons, who are members of Congress, do not make any firm denials regarding their mother’s post-presidential plans.
Such speculation is indicative of the distrust the people have of the President, but there does seem to be a method to the President’s coyness.
By not making any clear plans, she keeps the opposition off-balance and prevents them from taking any concrete steps against her. She also dispels the perception that, since she can technically only run for one term as President, she is a lame duck, and will not command any authority as the end to her Presidency comes ever closer. By floating the idea of a shift to a parliamentary system, wherein she can be elected as Prime Minister by her fellow members of parliament, she gives both her allies and her enemies notice that she will still be a force to be reckoned with. A clear statement on her plans, whether to run again or not, will only box her in and deny her any maneuvering in the months to come.
Besides, even if she states very clearly that she will not run for any elective position in 2010, it’s not like people will believe her. We’ve been down this road before: in 2003, she categorically stated that she would not run in the 2004 presidential elections, only to go back on her word and win in an election tainted by accusations of massive fraud.
However, public anger appears to be rising over the perception that GMA will do something to keep her in power. I’ve written before in reaction to the lamentations over the Filipino people’s apathy over the corruption in the government, about how people don’t seem to want to rise up against the corrupt Arroyo government. The problem is that we tried ousting a corrupt President, and we got GMA in Estrada’s place. Before people go out into the streets again, I think they want to be sure that there will be actual change, represented by someone who exemplifies that change. Unfortunately, no one, even in the opposition, fits that bill. People appear to be content to allow GMA to complete her term, and say good riddance to her after next year.
I am willing to bet, though, that any move that will prolong GMA’s stay in power will be met with strong resistance. People who have kept quiet these past nine years may decide that enough is enough, and go out into the streets to voice their discontent.
GMA’s moves, while benefiting her now, may have a negative backlash on her administration candidates. A large number of her Cabinet appear to have election aspirations, but, as in 2007, they may run into a brick wall, victims of the public’s discontent with their boss. Unfortunately for them, and for other administration lackeys, if the opposition plays the public anger correctly, GMA will be a lodestone around their necks come election day next year.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It looks like House Speaker Prospero Nograles is trying his hand at replacing former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez as the administration’s lightning rod. From the looks of it, Nograles has readily leaped into this role with gusto.
Recently, former President Cory Aquino accused the House of a “shameless abuse of power”, when it approved the controversial Resolution 1109, which calls for the House to convene as a constituent assembly. In reaction, Nograles lashed back at Aquino by describing her administration as “the best example of raw, unbridled and uncontrolled power.”
It appears that Nograles, despite his being an opponent of the Martial Law regime of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, is practicing selective memory, as he forgets why it was necessary to have the revolutionary government in the first place. To refresh his memory, the revolutionary government was formed after Marcos was toppled in the peaceful EDSA revolution in 1986. It was a revolutionary government because it was forged in the flames (metaphorically, of course) of the EDSA revolution, and it was necessary to remove all traces of the corrupt martial law regime.
That Aquino squandered her opportunities in fully rehabilitating the Philippine government, simply reestablished the ruling pre-Martial Law elite, and created new dynasties such as that of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay is beside the point. The fact remains that her Presidency was responsible for getting rid of twenty years of repressive martial law.
And now Nograles appears to repudiate EDSA and go to bat for an Arroyo administration that seems to be doing its utmost best in outdoing what Marcos and his cronies did. His statements only display his historical ignorance and do nothing to assuage fears that the House will accede to the President’s wish to stay in power. In fact, his statements simply show that Nograles is an Arroyo lapdog through and through, that he is willing to deny history in defense of this administration.
Another instance where Nograles doesn’t seem to get it was when he assailed the anti-Charter Change movement for ignoring the fact that the Senate had come out with a resolution calling for a shift to a federal government. He lamented that, because that resolution was proposed by the opposition, people didn’t react negatively to it, while HR 1109 is being demonized because the administration allies approved it.
For one thing, a number of Senators have already withdrawn their support for the federalist resolution, fearing that the administration may use it to ram Charter Change through. For another, the fact that people didn’t react to the Senate resolution, and reacted badly to HR 1109 should tell Nograles just how low people regard the administration.
No matter how hard the administration tries to spin it, opposition to Charter Change before the 2010 elections is not going to die down, because of the perception that the administration and its lackeys in the House will use it to extend itself in power. Nograles and his merry men (and women) should recognize that they’re playing with fire, and the country will be badly burned if they continue on this course.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I learned from press releases that the movie is a remake of a 1974 classic starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. I’m currently looking for a copy of that movie, as one of my friends said that it is also very entertaining.
I’ve always been a fan of actors Denzel Washington and John Travolta, and this film was a vehicle which allowed their talent to shine. Travolta is entertaining as the mysterious Ryder, who hijacks a New York (where else?) subway train to extort money from the city. Washington plays the cool and collected Walter Garber, an employee of the Metropolitan Transport Authority facing bribery charges but is singled out by the manic Ryder as the main negotiator for the hostages in the train.
Other standout performances are by the “Sopranos” James Gandolfini as a mayor who knows how to wheel and deal, and John Tuturro, who manages to come off as serious even with the impending release of the second “Transformers” movie, wherein he plays a seriously whacked Agent Simmons.
The opening was interesting, as it showed the main hijackers one by one as they boarded the train, using a strobe-effect that effectively speeded up the movements and gave the viewer an expectation of the thrill to come.
However, the basic story isn’t anything special, just the average heist movie wherein the hijackers strike swiftly, only to have their plan fall to pieces in the end. Still, it’s fairly well-executed, and leaves the viewer wondering how the whole thing is going to end.
All in all, the film is a basic popcorn action heist movie, with excellent performances by the main actors. “Pelham” definitely won’t win any Oscars for best picture, but is enough to be entertaining.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
The influenza virus A(H1N1) finally caught up with the
It’s amazing how many problems pop up once it’s brought in for repairs. Originally, I was just going to get the radiator replaced, but it turns out that my car’s overheating was not only due to the fact that the radiator was trashed, but it was also due to several other parts that had to be replaced. Getting everything done took the better part of two days, making me wish that I owned a netbook, so I could do some writing while the repairs were being done. C’est la vie.
In the meantime, several things of note happened over the past week.
The anti-Charter Change rally held in
The rally was also hijacked by a number of individuals with presidential aspirations. Despite being requested to keep the politicking out of the rally, presidentiables such as Senators Mar Roxas and Richard Gordon brought their gimmicks and movements to the rally in order to drum up much-needed support for their campaigns. It should be noted that both are trailing in the surveys, although Roxas, with roughly 13% of people polled is more within striking distance than Gordon, who has a measly 1%.
Unfortunately, their presence at the rally tainted it, giving the pro-Charter Change crowd ammunition with which to attack the motives of those who are against Charter Change.
Also this week, Injustice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, who holds the dubious distinction of being the most controversial Justice Secretary in Philippine history, was suddenly replaced by Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera. While the official reason given is that Gonzalez, who was subsequently appointed as the President’s legal counsel, requested the change in duties, rumors are swirling that he was replaced because of his upholding of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)’s findings that Trinidad Etong, the wife of broadcaster Ted Failon, committed suicide, despite high-level pressure for the NBI to declare that Failon killed his wife. Considering Gonzalez’s reputation as the President’s attack dog, I wonder who these high-level personalities may be, that they can bear down on Gonzalez.
Another theory that is examined is that Gonzalez’s stepping down was part of a brokered deal between the administration and Senator Panfilo Lacson, whose announcement to drop out of the 2010 presidential race coincided with Gonzalez’s resignation. It appears that, in exchange for Lacson’s dropping out, the upcoming murder charges against him for allegedly masterminding the double murder of publicist Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito, would not be pursued. Gonzalez has been very persistent in pursuing this case, extraditing former Lacson henchmen Cezar Mancao and Dumlao, who supposedly have the goods against Lacson. With Gonzalez out of the way, the case can be pursued with less zeal.
Gonzalez, who has always had a problem keeping his mouth shut, has intimated that he is not pleased with the turn of events, and hoped that Devanadera will also pursue the case, although he sounded doubtful about that prospect. For that, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita has ordered Gonzalez to shut up, although he denies that an actual gag order was slapped on Gonzalez. With this administration, though, denials are the way of the day, so it’s up to the public to judge the truthiness of Ermita’s statements.
Finally, we Filipinos celebrated our Independence Day yesterday, although, considering the current situation, it’s debatable as to how far we’ve gotten in the 111 years since Emilio Aguinaldo waved the flag in Kawit and announced our independence from our then Spanish masters. President Arroyo voiced a wish for national unity, although the moves of her lapdogs in the House, to push for a divisive constituent assembly, belie that wish. Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who has become more and more outspoken as the days go by, also slammed the current situation of the country, questioning the moral fiber of our leaders. It looks like we, as a country, must continue to actively fight to protect our independence from those who would attempt to steal it from us like thieves in the night.
It’s been a tumultuous week. Here’s hoping that the coming week, a full week of no work for me, will be more peaceful, although I’m sure that this week’s events will likely spill over to the next. Still, one can only hope.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
However, after posting his face all over Metro Manila (and other provinces, I'm told.), and after attempting to maximize his public exposure by winning a television singing contest, after all's been said and told, Fernando only managed to garner a measly 1% in the most recent survey of the Social Weather Station (SWS). But, despite this, Fernando swears that he will run, and he will run as the candidate of the newly merged Lakas-Kampi ( the new KBL) administration party.
He was quoted as saying in yesterday's Philippine Star, "It has never entered my mind that I will not be chosen by the party. I am expecting that I will be chosen as the standard-bearer because Lakas has no other party member who will run (for president)." Talk about delusions of grandeur.
While Fernando may have improved traffic flow, cleared sidewalks of unwanted vendors, and attempted to impose order on the chaos of Metro Manila, he has done so without respect or concern for the people he is supposed to serve. He doesn't seem to be inclined to consultation; instead, he appears to make his own decisions without consulting anyone. How can he serve as President of a democracy with that sort of makeup?
However, it appears that even his own partymates are not impressed or overawed by Fernando. Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, in fact, labeled Fernando as a 'dictator' for practically demanding the candidacy from his partymates. Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III, a ranking leader of the Lakas party, also chided Fernando and sternly reminded him to respect the decision of the party. Given Fernando's recent statements, I doubt he will respect any decision of his party, unless the decision is to declare him as the party's candidate.
In a way, it's a good thing that he's throwing his tantrum now, so that the people may see what sort of spoiled brat is deluding himself that he can become the President of the Philippines.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Let these arrogant and shameless Congressmen know that their deed will not go unnoticed, or unpunished.
ABANTE, BIENVENIDO M. "BENNY" 6TH District Pandacan
ABLAN, ROQUE R. JR, Ilocos Norte, 1st District
AGBAYANI, VICTOR AGUEDO E. Pangasinan, 2nd District
AGYAO, MANUEL, S Kalinga Province
ALBANO (III), RODOLFO T. Isabela, 1st District
ALFELOR, FELIX R. JR. 4th District, Camarines Sur
ALMARIO, THELMA Z. Davao Oriental, 2nd District
ALVAREZ, ANTONIO C. Palawan 1st District
ALVAREZ, GENARO RAFAEL M. JR. Negros Occidental, 6th District
AMANTE, EDELMIRO A. Agusan Del Norte, 2nd District
AMATONG, ROMMEL C. Compostela Valley, 2nd District
ANGPING, MARIA ZENAIDA B. Manila, 3rd District
ANTONINO, RODOLFO W. Nueva Ecija, 4th District
APOSTOL, TRINIDAD G. Leyte, 2nd District
AQUINO, JOSE S. (II) 1st District Agusan del Norte
ARAGO, MARIA EVITA R. 3rd district, Laguna
ARBISON, A MUNIR M. Sulu 2nd District
ARENAS, MA. RACHEL J. Pangasinan, 3rd District
ARROYO, DIOSDADO M. Camarines Sur, 1st District
ARROYO, IGNACIO T. 5th district Negros Occidental
ARROYO, JUAN MIGUEL M. 2nd District of Pampanga
BAGATSING, AMADO S. Manila 5th district
BALINDONG, PANGALIAN M. Lanao del Sur, 2nd District
BARZAGA, ELPIDIO F. JR. Cavite, 2nd District
BAUTISTA, FRANKLIN P. Davao Del Sur, 2nd District
BELMONTE, VICENTE F. JR. Lanao del Norte, 1st District
BICHARA, AL FRANCIS C. Albay, 2nd District
BIRON, FERJENEL G. Iloilo, 4th District
BONDOC, ANNA YORK P. Pampanga 4th District
BONOAN-DAVID, MA. THERESA B. Manila, 4th District
BRAVO, NARCISO R. JR. Masbate, 1st District
BRIONES, NICANOR M. AGAP Party list
BUHAIN, EILEEN ERMITA Batangas, 1st District
BULUT, ELIAS C. JR. Apayao Lone District
CAGAS (IV), MARC DOUGLAS C. Davao Del Sur, 1st District
CAJAYON, MARY MITZI L. Caloocan, 2nd District
CAJES, ROBERTO C. Bohol, 2nd District
CARI, CARMEN L. Leyte, 5th District
CASTRO, FREDENIL H. Capiz, 2nd District
CELESTE, ARTHUR F. Pangasinan, 1st District
CERILLES, ANTONIO H. Zamboanga Del Sur, 2nd District
CHATTO, EDGARDO M. Bohol, 1st District
CHONG, GLENN A. Biliran, Lone District
CHUNG-LAO, SOLOMON R. Ifugao, Lone District
CLARETE, MARINA C. Misamis Occidental, 1st District
CODILLA, EUFROCINO M. SR. Leyte, 4th District
COJUANCO, MARK O. Pangasinan, 5th District
COQUILA, TEODULO M. Eastern Samar, Lone District
CRISOLOGO, VINCENT P. Quezon City, 1st District
CUA, JUNIE E. Quirino, Lone District
CUENCO, ANTONIO V. Cebu City, 2nd District
DANGWA, SAMUEL M. Benguet, Lone District
DATUMANONG, SIMEON A. Maguindanao, Lone District
Dayanghirang, Nelson L. Davao Oriental, 1st District
DAZA, NANETTE C. Quezon City, 4th District
DAZA, PAUL R. Northern Samar, 1st District
DE GUZMAN, DEL R. Marikina City, 2nd District
DEFENSOR, ARTHUR D. SR. Iloilo, 3rd District
DEFENSOR, MATIAS V. JR. Quezon City, 3rd District
DEL MAR, RAUL V. Cebu City, 1st District
DIASNES, CARLO OLIVER D. (MD) Batanes, Lone District
DIMAPORO, ABDULLAH D. Lanao Del Norte, 2nd District
DOMOGAN, MAURICIO G. Baguio, Lone District
DUAVIT, MICHAEL JOHN R. Rizal, 1st District
DUENAS, HENRY M. JR. Taguig, 2nd District (2nd Councilor District)
DUMARPA, FAYSAH MRP. Lanao del Sur, 1st District
DUMPIT, THOMAS L. JR. La Union, 2nd District
DURANO (IV), RAMON H. 5th District, Cebu
ECLEO, GLENDA B. Dinagat Islands, Lone District
EMANO, YEVGENY VICENTE B. Misamis Oriental, 2nd District
ENVERGA, WILFRIDO MARK M. Quezon, 1st District
ESTRELLA, CONRADO M. (III) Pangasinan, 6th District
ESTRELLA, ROBERT RAYMUND M. ABONO Party List
FERRER, JEFFREY P. Negros Occidental, 4th District
GARAY, FLORENCIO C. Surigao Del Sur, 2nd District
GARCIA, ALBERT S. Bataan, 2nd District.
GARCIA, PABLO JOHN F. Cebu, 3rd District
GARCIA, PABLO P. Cebu, 2nd District
GARCIA, VINCENT J. Davao City, 2nd District
GARIN, JANETTE L. Iloilo, 1st District
GATCHALIAN, REXLON T. Valenzuela City, 1st District
GATLABAYAN, ANGELITO C. Antipolo City, 2nd District
GO, ARNULFO F. Sultan Kudarat, 2nd District
GONZALES, AURELIO D. JR. Pampanga 3rd District
GONZALES, RAUL T. JR. Ilo ilo City
GULLAS, EDUARDO R. Cebu, 1st District
GUNIGUNDO, MAGTANGGOL T. Valenzuela City 2nd District
HOFER, DULCE ANN K. Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd District
JAAFAR, NUR G. Tawi-Tawi, Lone District
JALA, ADAM RELSON L. Bohol, 3rd District
JALOSJOS, CESAR G. Zamboanga del Norte, 3rd District
JALOSJOS-CARREON, CECILIA G. Zamboanga del Norte, 1st District
JIKIRI, YUSOP H. Sulu, 1st District
KHO, ANTONIO T. Masbate, 2nd District
LABADLABAD, ROSENDO S. Zamboanga del Norte, 2nd District
LACSON, JOSE CARLOS V. Negros Occidental, 3rd District
LAGDAMEO, ANTONIO F. JR. Davao del Norte, 2nd District
LAPUS, JECI A. Tarlac, 3rd District
LAZATIN, CARMELO F. Pampanga, 1st District
LIM, RENO G. Albay, 3rd District
LOPEZ, JAIME C. Manila, 2nd District
MADRONA, ELEANORA JESUS F. Romblon, Lone District
MAGSAYSAY, MARIA MILAGROS H. Zambales, 1st District
MALAPITAN, OSCAR G. Caloocan, 1st District
MAMBA, MANUEL N. Cagayan, 3rd District
MANGUDADATU, DATU PAKUNG S. Sultan Kudarat,
MARANON, ALFREDO D. III Negros Occidental, 2nd District
MATUGAS, FRANCISCO T. Surigao del Norte, 1st District
MENDOZA, MARK LEANDRO L. Batangas, 4th District
MERCADO, ROGER G. Southern Leyte, Lone District
MIRAFLORES, FLORENCIO T. Aklan, Lone District
NAVA, JOAQUIN CARLOS RAHMAN A. (MD) Guimaras, Lone District
NICOLAS, REYLINA G. Bulacan, 4th District
NOGRALES, PROSPERO C. Davao City, 1st District
OLAñO, ARREL R. Davao Del Norte, 1st District
ONG, EMIL L. Northern Samar, 2nd District
ORTEGA, VICTOR FRANCISCO C. La Union, 1st District
PABLO, ERNESTO C. APEC Party List
PANCHO, PEDRO M. Bulacan, 2nd District
PANCRUDO, CANDIDO P. JR. Bukidnon, 1st District
PICHAY, PHILIP A. Surigao Del Sur, 1st District
PIñOL, BERNARDO F. JR. North Cotabato, 2nd District
PUNO, ROBERTO V. Antipolo City, 1st District
RAMIRO, HERMINIA M. Misamis Occidental, 2nd District
REMULLA, JESUS CRISPIN C. Cavite, 3rd District
REYES, CARMELITA O. Marinduque, Lone District
REYES, VICTORIA H. Batangas, 3rd District
ROBES, ARTURO G. San Jose Del Monte City, Lone District
Rodriguez-Zaldarria ga, Adelina Rizal, 2nd District
ROMAN, HERMINIA B. Bataan, 1st District
ROMARATE, GUILLERMO A. JR. Surigao del Norte, 2nd District
ROMUALDEZ, FERDINAND MARTIN G. Leyte, 1st District
ROMUALDO, PEDRO Camiguin, Lone District
ROMULO, ROMAN T. Pasig City, Lone District
ROXAS, JOSE ANTONIO F. Pasay City
SALIMBANGON, BENHUR L. Cebu, 4th District
SALVACION JR., ANDRES D. Leyte, 3rd District
SAN LUIS, EDGAR S. Laguna, 4th District
SANDOVAL, ALVIN S. Malabon-Navotas, Lone District
SANTIAGO, JOSEPH A. Catanduanes, Lone District
SANTIAGO, NARCISO D. (III) ARC Party List
SEACHON-LANETE, RIZALINA L. 3rd district of Masbate
SEARES-LUNA, CECILIA M. Abra, Lone District
SILVERIO, LORNA C. Bulacan, 3rd District
SINGSON, ERIC D. Ilocos Sur, 2nd District
SINGSON, RONALD V. Ilocos Sur, 1st District
SOLIS, JOSE G. Sorsogon, 2nd District
SOON-RUIZ, NERISSA CORAZON Cebu, 6th District
SUAREZ, DANILO E. Quezon, 3rd District
SUSANO, MARY ANN L. Quezon City, 2nd District
SY-ALVARADO, MA. VICTORIA R. Bulacan, 1st District
SYJUCO, JUDY J. 2nd Dsitrict, Iloilo
TALINO-MENDOZA, EMMYLOU J. North Cotabato, 1st District
TAN, SHAREE ANN T. Samar, 2nd District
TEODORO, MARCELINO R. Marikina City, 1st District
TEODORO, MONICA LOUISSE PRIETO Tarlac, 1st District
TEVES, PRYDE HENRY A. Negros Oriental, 3rd District
TUPAS, NEIL C. JR. Iloilo, 5th District
UNGAB, ISIDRO T. Davao City, 3rd District
UY, EDWIN C. Isabela, 2nd District
UY, REYNALDO S. Samar, 1st District
UY, ROLANDO A. Cagayan De Oro City, Lone District
VALDEZ, EDGAR L. APEC Party List
VALENCIA, RODOLFO G. Oriental Mindoro, 1st District
VARGAS, FLORENCIO L. Cagayan, 2nd District
VILLAFUERTE, LUIS R. Camarines Sur, 2nd District
VILLAROSA, MA. AMELITA C. Occidental Mindoro, Lone District
VIOLAGO, JOSEPH GILBERT F. Nueva Ecija, 2nd District
YAP, JOSE V. Tarlac, 2nd District
YU, VICTOR J. Zamboanga Del Sur, 1st District
ZAMORA, MANUEL E. 1st District, Compostela Valley
ZIALCITA, EDUARDO C. Parañaque, 1st District
Friday, June 05, 2009
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, in its editorial today, lambastes the House for its shameful vote, and points an accusing finger at the President as the prime mover of Charter Change.
Columnist Amando Doronilla notes that, without the participation of the Senate, HR 1109 is a worthless document, while Neal Cruz calls for the ouster of those Representatives who voted for the resolution. ABS-CBN's Ricky Carandang gladly provides the list; sadly, my district's representative, Mary Ann Susano (2nd District, Quezon City) is on the list.
Constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, in a column he wrote in April, makes a compelling argument as to why the two houses of Congress must vote separately.
Former UP Law Dean Raul Pangalanan observes, with bitter amusement, that the formation of a constituent assembly will cause anti-Charter Change advocates to oppose what is, on the surface, a democratic plebiscite; of course, having seen the Malacanang voting machine in action, we know what sort of democratic vote will emerge.
In a rare show of lucid thought, the Daily Tribune's Ninez Cacho-Olivarez provides a possible scenario of how the Charter Change proponents will act on HR 1109.
Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc wonders aloud whether the Supreme Court is truly in the President's pocket, and whether they will give credibility to the House's actions, while Cito Beltran suggests other means than protests to address the issue. Atty. Jose Sison takes a break from writing about interesting law cases to weigh in on the issue, and calls for the formation of a unicameral legislature to replace the damaged Congress.
Some of the columns listed above, particularly in the Philippine Star, have provisions for comments, and it's interesting to note that there are those who do believe that Charter Change must be done now. However, given the rapacity of our government, it is clear that Charter Change at this time will bear poisoned fruit, as it has been noted that there is so much damage that the government can do should it be allowed to revise the Charter to suit its selfish needs. Therefore, we must continue to oppose the moves of this corrupt government to further subjugate our people.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Let's let these thieves in the night know that their crime did not go unnoticed. Down with the constituent assembly!
While the House of Representatives is busy preparing to change the Constitution for their own selfish purposes, the Senate appears to be on the verge of self-destructing, with the various possible presidential candidates at each other’s throats.
Of the various Senators, Manny Villar appears to have the upper hand, as he has consistently come out in the top four or five candidates favored to win, at least according to the surveys. It appears that this is the root of the ethics charge against him, filed by Senator Jamby Madrigal, who contends that Villar is guilty of profiting from an alleged ‘double insertion’ in the national budget.
Whether the case has merit or not, it’s clear that the ethics complaint is politically motivated, because, like the House, the actual guilt is immaterial. It will all boil down to a numbers game; if there are enough Senators who wish Villar to be punished, that will be his fate whether he is actually guilty or not.
As it stands, a number of the Senators who are ranged against Villar have their own skeletons, which makes their ability to judge their colleague suspect.
Chief of this is Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who is nothing but a master of political survival. If one looks at his political history, one would wonder how he has managed to stay in power for this long. He was the chief architect of Marcos’ imposition of martial law; he even staged an ambush on himself to justify martial law. More recently, it was shown that his son was involved in
smuggling importing second hand cars at Port Irene, a clear violation of our country’s laws on the issue. However, up to now, none of his colleagues have investigated this, much less even mentioned it in public.
Senator Ping Lacson, who heads the Ethics Committee, has presidential ambitions, which makes his investigation of Villar suspect. In addition, Lacson’s checkered history is about to be resurrected, as two of his henchmen, Cezar Mancao and Glenn Dumlao, arrive here in the country in order to testify about their boss’ involvement in the murder of publicist Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito. Who is Lacson to prattle about ethics, when he himself is suspected of even darker crimes?
Senator Jinggoy Estrada, the son of ousted President and convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada, cannot be considered as impartial in this case, considering that he still bears a grudge against Villar for having transmitted the impeachment complaint against his father, when Villar was House Speaker. In addition, it’s very possible that, even though he was acquitted, the younger Estrada had knowledge or was even involved in his father’s shenanigans.
As for the complainant, Senator Jamby Madrigal doesn’t even know what ethics is, considering that she refused to inhibit herself from the voting over the correctness of substance and form of the complaint that she herself filed. She is the accuser, and she was allowed to vote on the complaint she filed? How can that be right?
If Madrigal has the evidence that she claims, she should file a case with the Ombudsman. Her choice of putting it before the ethics committee shows that this is a political case, and she’s relying on the tyranny of the majority to decide in her favor and against Villar’s
At the same time, I think that Villar should face the complaint against him, in the Senate; otherwise, he appears to be someone who thinks he’s above the rules of the Senate. He and his allies’ claims that he should answer the complaint in the proper forum are disingenuous; the ethics committee and the committee of the whole are proper forums. Besides, if he plays his cards right, he can project himself as a martyr during the committee hearing, which will work to his benefit, given the Filipinos’ penchant for the underdog.
The Senate used to be an august body, with legal luminaries walking its hallways. Now, with its members resorting to cheap publicity stunts and name-calling, it’s just another ring full of clowns in the political circus.
After ramming through the resolution to form the House of Representatives into a constituent assembly, our Congressmen show that all they care about is their own self-interest by tackling the right of reply bill.
Others have written lengthily about this issue (DJB, in fact, has a very good analysis which sums up my own thoughts on the matter.), so I’ll just try to post the salient points.
The bill is unconstitutional. By demanding that publications (which, by the way, apparently include electronic publications like this blog) give equal space or air time, the bill curtails the freedom of the press, a right which is enshrined in the Constitution.
The bill promotes censorship. Because it would eventually not be cost-effective to post or air all the possible replies to what publishers and networks report on, editors and producers will probably be forced to stop reporting on stories that may offend the sensibilities of our politicians, and focus on safe topics which won’t require them to provide equal air time or space free of charge.
The bill is wide-open to abuse. It seems clear that politicians and government officials have the most to gain from this bill, as they can bully publishers and network producers into airing their side, without having to spend for it.
Is the bill really necessary at this time? Our country is faced with so many pressing problems. Education, corruption, and poverty are far more important than one’s need to seek redress from negative press. Besides, there already appear to be adequate means to address this; as First Gentleman Mike Arroyo demonstrated, the libel law can be liberally applied to journalists who’ve been critical of the First Gentleman’s supposed influence in his wife’s administration. More recently, there’s the lawsuit against journalist Cheche Lazaro, although this one appears to be harassment more than a legitimate complaint.
With their recent actions, our Representatives have so debased their office that it’s not surprising that we Filipinos appear to have lost hope that politicians will actually improve our lot in life.
At the same time, as I’ve written before, it’s important for us to get rid of the idea that our politicians are unaccountable for their actions. We elected them into office; they are our public servants. Thus, we have the right and the power to demand proper service from these men and women who seem to be laboring under the delusion that their election to office elevated them to be our lords and masters.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
House Speaker Prospero Nograles put it succinctly if indiscreetly when he stated that the debate over the Charter Change resolution was a “saliva debate”, meaning that it was only for formality’s sake, and that the tyranny of the majority that has served the President for so long would push the resolution through.
The resolution, HR 1109, was approved by the majority in the middle of last night, giving truth to the figure of speech, “like thieves in the night”. The House majority approved this, despite the lack of participation from the other branch of Congress, the Senate, and a high level of disapproval from the people the House represents. They also approved this resolution, above more pressing legislation, such as the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the reproductive health bill, and other important measures.
The passing of the resolution was done, however, with the tacit approval of the President, strengthening the wide belief that the Charter Change proponents seek to revise the Constitution in order to extend their stay in power.
Watching the news, I saw how the majority simply brushed aside the opposition and ignored the advice of noted Constitutionalists such as Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ. It was clear that the majority simply observed the formalities, and then rammed the resolution down our throats.
How the House plans to revise the Constitution without the Senate’s participation is anybody’s guess. It’s likely that the issue will soon find its way to the Supreme Court. However, since the Court is populated by Arroyo appointees, there is the real possibility that, like the House, the Court will follow the will of the President, and state that the House is empowered to revise the Constitution on its lonesome.
The House action is only a preview of what would happen if we shifted to a unicameral legislative body, as some Charter Change advocates propose. Anything and everything will be rammed through as long as there’s a clear majority. And, since, in the Philippines, the majority of politicians will vote according to how soon they get their pork barrel funds, it’s clear how the majority will vote: according to their greed and self-interests. It'll be Marcos' Batasang Pambansa all over again: a legislative rubber stamp for the one in power.
Unfortunately, the Filipino people appear to be more interested in the sexual exploits of Hayden Kho and Katrina Halili than outraged at the greed and self-interest being displayed by our public officials.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Noli de Castro
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For the Social Weather Station (SWS), embattled Senator Manny Villar has come out on top with 22 percent of respondents, followed by Vice-President Noli de Castro (18), Senator Chiz Escudero (14), former President Joseph Estrada (14), Senator Loren Legarda (10), Senator Mar Roxas (9), Senator Ping Lacson (6), Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay (2), and Metro Manila Development Authority Bayani Fernando (1).
Pulse Asia appears to have been more thorough in its questioning, as it included other possibles who have also signified their intent to run next year. The results of its survey are: de Castro (18), Escudero (17), Estrada (15), Villar (14), Roxas (13), Legarda (7), Lacson (4), Binay (4), and Fernando (.3). It also includes Senator Richard Gordon (1), Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro (1), Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio (.2), and preachers Mike Velarde (.4), and Eddie Villanueva (.3).
The survey results give us a clearer picture of how the 2010 is going to shape up, and it looks like the race will boil down to around 6 people: Villar, de Castro, Escudero, Estrada, Roxas and Legarda. Of these possible candidates, 5 technically come from the opposition, so it is imperative that the opposition get their act together and settle on one candidate, so that they can win with finality. However, they would do best not to field Estrada as much as possible; there's too much baggage on an Erap candidacy. It's possible that people would remember what Erap did during his aborted presidency, and create a political backlash against the opposition.
As for the other possible candidates, it's still fairly early for them to build up their resume, although the odds are against them. Of the marginal candidates, only Fernando, Gordon, and Teodoro appear to be serious about pursuing their plans for the presidency. Of the three of them, however, Teodoro looks to have the merged administration party's resources behind him, as Fernando, who has long since voiced his desire for the position, appears to be ignored by his partymates. Gordon might try to go it on his own, but that, too, is doubtful, unless he can generate enough interest in the next few months in order to attract voters to his post. I'll probably try to come up with a more comprehensive handicapping in the months to come.
While the survey results are helpful in focusing our thoughts, it's still important for us as voters to look beyond the surveys and educate ourselves about the various candidates: what they've accomplished, what they haven't, what baggage they're carrying, etc. That way we can make an informed choice come May 2010, instead of allowing us to be swayed by what other people say.
Monday, June 01, 2009
When I started this blog, it was just a vehicle to pass the time, as well as a venue to practice my writing. Now, 5 years down the road, the blog has become a regular part of my day, even if I didn't actually come up with a post for that particular day. Since I regularly visit the blogs on my list (and I suggest that you do too, because some of them are very good.), my blog is the portal to these other blogs.
What does the future hold for this blog? I'll definitely continue my writing about such diverse topics as politics and movies, and continue to take each experience one day at a time. I've noted that I'm 20 posts away from post # 900, and I'll try to make sure that each post towards that milestone is well-thought out.
Until the next post, do keep on reading. I hope you won't be disappointed.