Sunday, January 31, 2010
Despite the conspicuous posting of banners announcing a ban on the posting of political propaganda along major roads in Quezon City, a number of large banners proclaiming thanks to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the numerous footbridges along Commonwealth Avenue have been put up. It should be noted that the banners are attached on either side of said footbridges, are in the campaign color of administration presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro, are attached to practically all of the footbridges along Commonwealth Avenue, and run almost the entire length of one half of the thoroughfare.
It’s not certain who’s responsible for the “thank-you” banners, and it’s not certain as to what
purpose they serve, since the President, while a candidate in this coming May elections, isn’t running for a position in Quezon City. While the banners are indeed are colored green, it’s not certain whether it’s an exhortation of support for Teodoro.
In addition, on some of the footbridges are smaller posters advertising the so-called Justiceman, Cabinet member Silvestre Bello III, who is running for Senator under the administration ticket. It seems ironic that someone who is using justice as his platform now sees fit to ignore simple ordinances. I’m pretty certain that, if confronted, Bello will probably deny anything to do with the posters, but, unfortunately, it’s still his responsibility that his candidacy isn’t tarnished.
Another possibility is that someone is trying to curry favor with GMA, and perhaps gain her support in the coming elections. If ever such is the case, I hope that the sycophant didn’t use public money to pay for the banners, because I, for one, would hate to see my taxes going to such an endeavor.
The question now is what will Quezon City mayor Sonny Belmonte do with these banners? Will he allow such a blatant disregard for his city’s laws, or will he take action, and investigate and punish those responsible? The voting public awaits.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
The issue about the retirement is whether President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is empowered to name Puno’s replacement. Since Puno will retire on May 17, it is covered by the ban against so-called “midnight appointments” during an election period. However, allies of the President claim that she can name Puno’s replacement on the grounds that one, it is supposedly of national interest for the Supreme Court not to be deprived of a Chief Justice, and two, the Constitution states that the President must name a replacement within 90 days of Puno’s retirement.
On the other hand, those opposing the President’s naming of the replacement point to the section of the Constitution which bans her from making any such appointment; Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, goes as far as to state that any Supreme Court justice accepting such an appointment faces impeachment for violating the ban. While the President’s allies in the media have scored Bernas for stating such, it should be noted that at least two current Supreme Court justices have stated that they would prefer that the next President make the appointment.
Automatically, the Judiciary and Bar Council (JBC), which vets the nominees to the Supreme Court, as well as the nominees to the Chief Justice position, considers the top five justices in order of seniority for the position of Chief Justice. They are, in order, Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Renato Corona, Conchita Carpio-Morales, Presbitero Velasco, Jr., and Eduardo Nachura.
Of the five, Justices Velasco and Nachura have declined the nomination, in deference to their more senior colleagues. Moreover, Justices Carpio and Carpio-Morales have stated that, while they have allowed their names to be included in the JBC deliberations, they would prefer that the next president make the appointment.
Palace spokespersons have scored Justice Carpio for his remarks, saying that at least the JBC doesn’t have to consider him anymore; it should be noted that Justice Carpio is perceived to be in opposition to the needs of the President. It’s interesting, though, that these officials have criticized Carpio for his remarks, while leaving Justice Carpio-Morales alone, considering that Carpio-Morales was the first to voice the opinion that the next president make the appointment. Such treatment reveals how the Palace views Justice Carpio.
It’s curious that Justice Renato Corona, who is perceived to be sympathetic to the President’s needs, is the only one who has not spoken up about his impending nomination. It’s possible that, because of his perceived closeness to the President, he has decided to remain silent about the issue, so as not to direct fire towards himself.
Still, as the date approaches, the question remains: will President Macapagal-Arroyo name Puno’s replacement as Chief Justice? I guess it will all depend on how much outrage the public will make if she makes it clear that she is going to do it. In my case, I side with Justice Carpio and Carpio-Morales, and prefer that she let things alone, and let her successor have the honor of appointing the next Chief Justice.
Salinger was the writer of the acclaimed novel “The Catcher in the Rye”, wherein his hero, Holden Caulfield, exemplified the voice of teenage angst that still rings true up to today. I remember reading “Catcher” when I was in fourth year high school, and I remember the resonance I felt with Holden, about how difficult it was to deal with life, and how magnificent our dreams could be at that age.
I am thankful for Salinger for helping deal with that always-difficult stage of life.
Requiem in pace, J.D.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Instead, we commemorate the birth of a very remarkable woman. Tita Cory, as most Filipinos knew her, may be gone, but her legacy lives on. As long as we continue the fight for democracy, and fight against corruption, her legacy will live on.
Happy birthday, ma'm.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
One is that I had forgotten that Marlene Aguilar said nothing when Jason Aguilar, a welder in Qatar, was arrested, imprisoned and deported in a case of mistaken identity. This guy was affected as a result of her son's actions, and she said nothing. It was also pointed out that while the U.S. Embassy has apparently shown some interest in alleged road rage killer Jason Ivler's case, our own embassy was apparently unaware of Jason Aguilar's arrest and deportation. Hopefully, something can be done for Jason Aguilar to help him get back on his feet.
The other bit was Marlene Aguilar's pronouncements over the radio yesterday that people couldn't understand her because she is (supposedly) a genius, and everyone else is just dumb or average.
'Nuff said. I'm not even going to react to her statement, except to say that it speaks for itself.
It appears that the premise of the Comelec is that the people should decide whether Estrada deserves to be reelected. If that’s the case, what was the point of disqualifying all the other so-called nuisance candidates? Shouldn’t the people be allowed to decide whether Oliver Lozano or Elly Pamatong be allowed to, God forbid, become the President of the Philippines?
At the same time, the Comelec was selective in its interpretation of the Constitution, saying that the statement “The President” refers only to the incumbent, which is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Thus, according to the Comelec, Estrada is qualified to run. But it should be noted that the whole statement in Section 4 of Article VIII of the Constitution reads “The President shall not be eligible for any re-election.” Therefore, Estrada, having been President, can no longer run, according to that interpretation of the Constitution.
But, wait, the succeeding sentence reads, “No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.” Since Estrada was ousted less than three years into his Presidency, shouldn’t that qualify him to run? This depends on whom you ask, considering Estrada claims he never resigned from office. To use this argument, Estrada would have to accept the controversial ruling of the Supreme Court that he had “constructively resigned”. This is something he and his followers have been denying ever since. If he wants to run, he has no choice but to accept the Court’s ruling.
Estrada, who was present at the Comelec’s reading of the decision regarding his case, immediately gave voters an idea of what would happen under another go at the Estrada presidency. “I want to be king again,” were Estrada’s exact words, which just goes to show how much he understands what it means to be President. A President, by any stretch of the imagination, is not a divine right, no matter how much Estrada and his sycophants wish it so.
Another thing that’s worrisome is that some business leaders, who used to back Estrada since they were able to gain concessions from him, might actually shift their support to Estrada, in the hopes that they will once more benefit from Estrada’s policies.
On the bright side, the shuffling of support might actually cut into Senator Manny Villar’s campaign, since both he and Estrada claim the masses as their support base. With Villar slowly creeping up on Senator Noynoy Aquino, Villar may soon find that Estrada may be drawing support from Villar’s base, the masses.
I would think that no one in his right mind would want to see a repeat of Estrada’s disastrous policies. Then again, since this is the Philippines, such a scenario is not really farfetched. Should that come to pass, though, I will probably find a way to move out of this country, who would put a criminal back into a seat of power.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
With the week over, Filipinos were treated to a rare show of motherly love, as Marlene Aguilar Pollard spent most of the week trying to cover up her son’s crime.
As most now know, Aguilar-Pollard is the mother of Jason Ivler, who had eluded police authorities for two months after allegedly shooting down Renato Ebarle, Jr, the son of a government official, over a traffic altercation. Ivler was finally captured after trying to shoot it out with arresting National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents, wounding two in the process. Ivler was also shot, wounded in the stomach, shoulder and leg. He is now in stable condition at Quirino Memorial Medical Center, and will probably be transferred to jail once he is well enough to stand trial.
Aguilar-Pollard herself was charged with obstruction of justice, for her role in hiding her son from authorities for 60 days. It appears that she had been hiding him ever since the night of the murder. It should be noted that, at the time of the murder, Ivler was actually a fugitive from justice, having jumped bail from the car accident which killed presidential adviser Nestor Ponce, Jr.
Throughout the week, upon her own release on bail, Aguilar-Pollard has been anguishing over the manner by which her son was arrested; she claimed that NBI agents treated her son “like a pig”. Never mind the fact that Ivler engaged the agents in a shootout, aggravating the charges against him in the process. Never mind that she herself told police that her son was dangerous, having supposedly served with the U.S. Special Forces in Iraq. Of course, the agents wouldn’t be gentle with her son, knowing and experiencing what they did when they tried to arrest him.
Aguilar-Pollard also made an impassioned appeal to the U.S., saying that, since he was a soldier, he was subject to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and should be assisted, a la Corporal Daniel Smith, who was accused and then acquitted of raping a Filipina. However, unlike Smith, there are clear witnesses who placed Ivler at the scene of the crime and claimed that they saw him shoot Ebarle.
Aguilar-Pollard’s current tactic is to claim that her son was framed because of a book that she had written, and that her British bodyguard Mark Hauser was the one who had killed Ebarle. She claimed that Hauser and her son look alike, and that her son was at a bar at the time of the killing.
I shall be very surprised if that truly is the scenario. If it such is true, it still doesn’t explain the fact that her son was a fugitive for five years and that he resisted arrest by shooting it out with the NBI agents. At the same time, if Hauser truly was the killer, why didn’t she report it sooner? What emotional tie to Hauser would she have to protect him for the same duration that she did her son?
While I think I understand Aguilar-Pollard’s attempts to shield her son from facing the consequences of his actions, her actions are misguided and probably the wrong way to show her love for her son. A parent should be able to set boundaries for his or her children, and teach them the need to be responsible for their own actions. If ever, Aguilar-Pollard should’ve convinced her son to turn himself in, and then show her support by being there for her son. Instead, by “protecting” Ivler, she is probably responsible for the person she reared, and thus, is also liable for what her son did.
At the same time, however, the Senate isn’t playing fair as it mulls the release of the report damning Villar for an alleged double-insertion in the national budget and claiming that Villar should return P6.2 billion to the national treasury, the said amount supposedly being the benefit
that Villar’s companies gained from the double-insertion.
First of all, the signatories of the report include no less than three of Villar’s rivals for the presidency: Senators Noynoy Aquino, Richard Gordon, and Jamby Madrigal. Of course, these individuals would have an ulterior motive in releasing and approving the report, as it could seriously derail Villar’s campaign. As it is, Villar has been creeping up on Aquino, who has consistently led the surveys since his declaration to run last year. The report, which accuses Villar of corruption, could stymie his climb.
Second, if there is such a case of corruption against Villar, why not file the appropriate case before the Ombudsman or Sandiganbayan? If there is enough evidence to bring the case to court, why isn’t the case being filed? It’s possible that the evidence is not enough, or, even, completely non-existent. Without any evidence, there is no case, so it’s possible that Villar’s rivals in the Senate want the report approved in order to tarnish the Senator’s name.
The problem with the Senate is that it has long been a polarized body, and it is difficult to ascertain the truth of the statements being uttered in its august halls. Note that there are 12 Senators who are ranged against Villar, while 10 are supporting him. Neither side appears willing to listen to the other.
On the other hand, Villar has made a firm practice of avoiding the looming confrontation in the Senate, preferring to present his case to the media and the public. It is also seen as his avoiding the case against him, as he is reluctant to face his accusers, prompting Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to brand him as a “coward”. And, in truth, by ducking the issue and not facing it head on, Villar does seem to fit that mold. At the very least, if he faced his accusers and they try him in what appears to be a kangaroo court, he can present himself as a victim of partisan politics, which would actually make him more attractive in voters’ eyes, since Filipino voters tend to take the side of the underdog. Instead, by avoiding conflict, Villar comes off as looking suspicious and cowardly, which may remind voters of the current holder of the Presidency, and make us question why we would want a repeat of GMA’s brand of leadership.
Monday, January 18, 2010
In 2004, Ivler figured in a car crash which resulted in the death of then-presidential adviser on resettlement Nestor Ponce Jr. According to a story in the Philippine Star, while Ivler was charged with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, he apparently jumped bail, which makes me wonder how he had managed to avoid getting arrested for five years. It had to take the death of another in order for him to be placed on the police's radar.
It's clear that he could only have gotten help from officials in order to evade arrest. His mother, from her actions in the more recent crime, most definitely had a hand in keeping him out of jail for the first crime, which can only make her complicity in her son's crimes even more serious.
At least, Ivler is now in police custody, to face the charges against him. Hopefully, he's willing to tell all, although, given the manner by which he was arrested, I doubt it. Still, he has nothing more to lose by telling the truth.
Ivler, who was wanted in connection with the road rage murder of Renato Ebarle Jr., the son and namesake of Palace Undersecretary Renato Ebarle Sr., last November 18, 2009, was finally arrested in the house of his mother Marlene Aguilar, after a brief shootout with arresting officers, which resulted in the wounding of two of the officers. Ivler himself was shot in the chest, stomach, shoulder and leg, and is now in guarded condition at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center.
The murder was a result of road rage, and had similarities to Rolito Go’s cold-blooded murder of Eldon Maguan. Like Go, Ivler shot the younger Ebarle in cold blood over a traffic altercation. As the senior Ebarle recounts a witness’s account of the murder, “Humarang sya sa harap ng anak ko at binaril nya ng tatlong beses. Walang alitan na nangyari (He blocked my son’s vehicle and shot him three times. There was no argument at all.)” Like Go, Ivler eluded the authorities for some time before he was finally arrested. Unlike Go, though, Ivler apparently decided that he didn’t want to be taken alive and tried to go out in a blaze of glory by shooting it out with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents who raided his mother’s house. Fortunately, Ivler was taken alive and will be properly charged in court for his crime.
Marlene Aguilar, the sister of folk singer Freddie Aguilar, was also arrested, and will be charged with obstruction of justice, since it seems apparent that she had been harboring her son for some time, possibly even since the time of the murder. Her tearful appeal during an awards show, for her son to surrender, as well as her assertion that her son had escaped to Hawaii, may now be seen as attempts to shield her son from justice. From a mother’s point of view, this may have been understandable, but is still a criminal offense, for which she should pay.
In addition, Ivler’s stepfather and Aguilar’s husband Stephen Pollard, an economist at the Asian Development Bank, may be declared “persona non grata” if it can be proved that he was involved in the harboring of Ivler. I’m not too sure whether this is the case, but if it can be proved, then away with him.
In Ivler’s case, he didn’t gain any sympathy by shooting it out with the arresting officers; in fact, he faces even more charges since he resisted arrest and wounded two of the officers in the process. If anything, it strengthens the case against him; were he innocent, he wouldn’t have acted the way that he did.
What I find remarkable about the whole affair is that Ivler was taken alive; our law enforcement officials don’t really have a history of such, as many suspects wind up dead after shootouts with officers. The positive note here is that Ivler will be subjected to the full force of the law, once he is well enough to stand trial. Hopefully, like the Ampatuans, who are responsible for the Maguindanao massacre, Ivler will soon be tried, found guilty and locked away, with no hope of parole.
With the arrest of the Ampatuans and Ivler, people can breathe a little more easily, as some of the monsters in our society have finally been brought down.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
The sticking point is that, since it is covered by the election period, the President technically is banned from making any appointments, as stated under Article VII, Section 15 of the Constitution, as such may be construed as politically motivated. However, The President’s allies, notably Quezon City 3rd District Rep. Matias Defensor, who is a part of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, argue that the President is empowered to appoint the Chief Justice, under the requirement that the President is supposed to fill the vacated position within 90 days of retirement, as stated under Article VIII, Section 4 (1) of the Constitution. If one considers that the time between Puno’s retirement and the inauguration of the new President is 44 days, the new President still has more than half of the required time to fill the slot.
Enrile also notes that, since the JBC has already vetted the justices, the President can already directly appoint the Chief Justice, though some may argue that the vetting process for Chief Justice is different from that of the Associate Justices.
An additional argument is that the ban on so-called “midnight appointments” is limited to positions in the executive branch, although FEU’s Law Dean Andy Bautista points out in his Philippine Star column that a 1998 Supreme Court decision extends the ban to the judiciary.
Yet other allies argue that to leave the position vacant would be against the “national interest”, given the fact that it’s an election year, and that the Supreme Court would be “crippled” if there is no Supreme Court Chief Justice to rule on cases. However, it was noted by legal experts that the Supreme Court could easily designate its most senior member as acting Chief Justice until the new President can appoint a Chief Justice. Of course, since the most senior member is Justice Antonio Carpio, who is perceived to be unsympathetic to the President’s interests, the President and her allies will want to have a Chief Justice over whom they can exert influence. And thus, for the President and her allies, she must have the power to appoint the next Chief Justice.
In truth, a possible problem may arise if the elections are tainted or a failure of elections occurs. If there are only 14 justices in the Supreme Court, a possibility of deadlock could happen, with no tiebreaker, creating difficulties in deciding electoral cases. In addition, the Chief Justice sits as head on the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), and, if there is only an acting Chief Justice, the question will arise as to whether he or she is qualified to be the head of the PET.
Still, for the most part, the Supreme Court apparently can function without a Chief Justice presiding over it, and, if such occurs, the Court can simply designate one of their own as an acting Chief Justice.
I believe that the President should leave the succession issue alone, respect the Constitutional ban on appointments and let the new President appoint the next Chief Justice, but GMA has shown in the past that she and her minions will do whatever suits them best, since no one appears interested in opposing her every move.
Take, for example, the imposition of martial law in Maguindanao that appears to have been in violation of the Constitution, since the elements for rebellion clearly didn’t exist at the time of the imposition. At the time, a number of people supported the move, although it’s still debatable whether there were actual results stemming from it. Until the Ampatuans, believed to be the masterminds of the massacre, are punished for their crimes, people aren’t easily going to let this go.
In the same vein, we shouldn’t allow the President and her minions to get away with flaunting the Constitution in forcing the issue of appointing the next Chief Justice.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
One of my friends posted a link on Facebook, about how the Rev. Pat Robertson blamed Haitians for the deadly earthquake which struck them last Tuesday. I read the article, which came from TIME magazine, and I just have to shake my head at the stupidity of some people.
Apparently, according to the article, Robertson claimed that the earthquake was a result of Haitian's supposed pact with the devil, which is based on a story whose veracity is doubtful at best. According to the article, the story is "an apocryphal tale of Haitian voodoo priests sacrificing a pig and drinking its blood in 1791 in order to secure Satan's aid in expelling the French occupation. In return, the priests are said to have promised Haiti to Satan for the next 200 years. The French were soon beat back, and in 1804, Haiti became an independent nation." Of course, if such were true, then the devil's hold on the island nation would've ended almost two decades ago.
Of course, Robertson is asserting that the above events constitute a true story to bolster his dubious claim. While he was spouting this drivel, a number calling for donations to Haiti disaster relief was shown, adding insult to injury.
This isn't the first time that Robertson has demonstrated a clear, un-Christian side, as he once called for the assassination of Venezuela president Hugo Chavez, for one. What's strange is that, despite all this, he and his 700 Club continue to broadcast, despite the hate he apparently foments; I guess it's due to the freedom of expression that democracy allows. But, if that's the case, why hasn't there been a strong cry of outrage at such people?
Then again, Robertson, sadly, isn't the only wacko out there, so the only thing that can be done is to ignore such useless drivel.
Being the insatiable reader that I am, I started the new year by completing the tetralogy of Russian fantasy writer Sergei Lukyanenko, the Night Watch series, composed of Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch, and Last Watch. Translated into English by Andrew Bromfield, the series focuses on contemporary Moscow, and the supernatural beings that populate it.
In Lukyanenko’s world, there exist a group of beings known as Others, which basically encompasses the whole range of supernatural beings, from vampires to werewolves, to magicians. The Others are split into two sides, the Light and the Dark. Having waged a war against each other for millennia, the two sides recognize the futility of the war and settle into an uneasy truce. Guided and governed by the Treaty, each side forms a law enforcement group to police the other: the Night Watch, made up of Light Ones, patrols the night, while the Day Watch, made up of Dark Ones, patrol the day.
Each side watches the other for violations of the treaty, and, at the same time, plays an intricate game of intrigue and subterfuge in order to gain whatever advantage they can over the other. At the same time, both Watches keep an eye out for Others who are uninitiated, or haven’t chosen a side, and attempt to turn such to one side or the other.
Anton Gorodetsky is Lukyanenko’s protagonist, and, at the start of the series, is a third level magician working for the Night Watch. (Quick note on magic levels: the power of the magician is determined in reverse order. Hence, a seventh level magician is much weaker than Anton, and first levels are more powerful.). When he notices a cursed woman’s aura, he sets off a chain of events which lead to both Watches battling each other, and he is compelled to make a difficult choice.
One of the things I like about the whole series is that it takes place in Russia and Eastern Europe, which are settings that I rarely encounter in Western writing. Since Lukyanenko is Russian, he is able to make his city of Moscow a living breathing entity, where it is clear that the culture of Russia is markedly different from that of the West.
For Lukyanenko, while there is Light and Dark, there is enough gray thrown in to prevent the series from being either highly moralistic from the Light side, or utterly monstrous on the Dark side. Each character is richly developed, from Anton, to his boss Gesar, to Zabulon, the head of the Moscow Day Watch, and nominally the villain, although he aids Anton from time to time, of course with ulterior motives always in mind.
I won’t spoil the ending of the whole series, but I will say that the four books weave a very complicated but compelling web, and the reader will want to see the whole journey through to the end.
From the looks of it, even before the official campaign period has started, some of the candidates have decided to take the low road of campaigning, and have resorted to mudslinging, making it difficult for us voters to trust that the coming elections is going to be clean and peaceful. Throw in the fact that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) appears bent on exempting a lot of gun carriers from the so-called total gun ban, and we’re possibly looking at one of the dirtiest campaigns in Philippine history.
Presidential candidates and Senators Manny Villar and Richard Gordon opened the gates when they questioned rival candidate Senator Noynoy Aquino’s accomplishments; Gordon went as far as to question the senator’s parents’ accomplishments. Aquino then more or less responded in kind, but only against Villar, perceived to be Aquino’s closest rival for the presidency, and questioned Villar’s commitment in opposing the administration’s corrupt practices.
While it’s true that Aquino’s accomplishments pale in comparison to that of Villar and Gordon, it’s also true that it’s apparent that Filipinos have had enough of the competent but corrupt, and are gambling on hope that Aquino will be able to set the foundations for our nation’s recovery from nine years of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Villar and Gordon have been too associated with the administration, which is probably why they are lagging behind Aquino.
I’m not sure what was going through Gordon’s mind when he questioned the accomplishments of Ninoy and Cory Aquino. While it is true that, under Cory Aquino, we as a nation failed to capitalize on the gains made after toppling the corrupt Marcos dictatorship, It is also true that it was because of Cory Aquino that we found the wherewithal to gain our freedom from tyranny. As for Ninoy, if it wasn’t for his sacrifice, we wouldn’t have been able to find the courage to rise up against the dictator. And that is a greater accomplishment than anything that Gordon or Villar has accomplished.
On the other hand, it is important for those of us who support Noynoy Aquino’s bid for the presidency to remain vigilant, particularly about the people who surround and influence Aquino. It was his mother’s dependence on the perceived expertise of those around her that created Kamag-anak, Inc., and we definitely do not want a repeat of that should Noynoy manage to capture the presidency.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
While I've never been a fan of former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) head Bayani Fernando's love of the color pink, I'm less than thrilled by the plans of current head Oscar Inocentes to replace it with the color green, which is the color of Lakas-Kampi presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro.
Supposedly, green is Inocentes' favorite color, while presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar claims that the fact that it's also Teodoro's color is "coincidental", but then notes that any help Teodoro can get is appreciated. It's clear, then, that the government is going all out in promoting Teodoro's bid, even going to the extent of repainting all of the pink structures in the Metro Manila area. This isn't surprising, considering Teodoro's poor showing in the polls so far.
Furthermore, the repainting of the affected areas in the entire Metro Manila is probably going to cost a pretty penny, and the bill is something we, the taxpayers, are likely going to foot. Should we take this lying down? Definitely not.
Monday, January 04, 2010
On the national level, we can probably expect the campaigning to begin shortly. As it is, with the Supreme Court removing the Commission on Elections (Comelec)’s restrictions on pre-campaigning, some candidates, such as Senator Manny Villar, have not lessened the frequency of their political ads in the media. I guess I can’t blame them, considering how high the stakes are. However, we, the voters, should take note of those who are campaigning at this point and take into consideration how they’re going to recoup their campaign costs.
As for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, we can probably expect her to continue with her firming up of the culture of impunity that she’s established, with her spokespeople continuing to paint critics’ condemnations of her administration’s excesses and scandals as baseless and without proof. We can also expect her to continue paying more visits to Pampanga, where she’s filed her candidacy for Congress, and claim that she’s merely reaching out to her constituents, and not actually campaigning.
For us Filipinos, I can expect that we will continue with our daily lives as usual, dealing with whatever problems that come our way with the same bayanihan spirit with which we succored those affected by the various natural disasters that came our way last year. My only regret is that we, as a whole, don’t approach our elections with the same vigor and spirit, choosing instead candidates based on name recall and popularity instead of actual achievements. No wonder our country is a mess, as we don’t elect the best leaders, just the popular ones.
Still, we can also expect individuals and groups to emerge in order to lead us out of the chaos. One can only guess who this year’s Efren Penaflorida will be, for instance. But we can be sure that such persons will emerge to inspire us.
As for me, personally, I can expect to continue my writing, although the frequency of my posts will always be suspect, since I’m juggling a number of plates at the moment. I can also expect that I will be more aggressive in dealing with my weight, which means I’m heading back into some form of training that will help me trim down.
With a new year, and a new decade ahead of us, there is much that we will experience and deal with. Hopefully, we will be up to the task.