Showing posts from September, 2007

Conspiracy theories

Just got back from Cebu. Sorry this post is very late.

My column last Monday (It’s not just about the money) netted a number of reactions, which can be roughly categorized into three schools of thoughts.

First, there were those who agreed with me and said they were also, in the words of one J. Reyes, “disgusted” by the way this administration had not learned its lesson. Indeed it had, in a seemingly reckless manner, thrown away the chance of redemption that had been grudgingly offered to it in the aftermath of the destabilization plots and impeachment proceedings two years ago.

The informal consensus I got from the responses under this category of opinions was that while it may be difficult to prove the President’s direct involvement in the stinking ZTE deal, it would take a major effort to salve the feeling of betrayal and silent outrage.

I am afraid public opinion will not be on her side on this one. I strongly believe that while many will continue to prefer to gnash their teeth and se…

It's not just about the money

This was my column yesterday at the Manila Standard Today. Sorry for the late post, I've been holed up in Cebu since Sunday.Ten million dollars in commission just to “back off” from the deal. That’s almost half a billion Philippine pesos. Imagine what you can do with that kind of money.
Heck, I am not sure I am going to earn that much money in my whole lifetime even if I work 24 hours a day. Sure, I could probably earn that kind of money if—hypothetically, of course—I could form a company that would have no compunction about using influence to corner government contracts. But then, I don’t have parents who walk the corridors of power. And I probably would have to screw everyone in the process and I am not sure I have the gumption for that kind of complication.
But that’s just the point, I guess. Ordinary people like you and me don’t get opportunities to earn half a billion pesos to just back off from one deal. Nor do we get the pleasure of being able to sneer at the offer and say “t…


It is not censorship. Something simply went wrong with the template of this blog. Comments don't get published. They just disappear after I approve them. I am trying to fix it. Been trying to retrieve the comments that disappeared, but I guess they are already lost somewhere in cyberspace. Sorry.

Meantime, my apologies to those who have been trying to post comments, including my friends.

And yes, my apologies are also directed to people who were too happy to jump on this post and taunt me for what they see as my "belated awakening." It really amazes me that there are people who only see things as plain black and white. But go ahead if it makes you happy.

Truth is stranger than fiction

This is my column today at the Manila Standard Today.There are days when you sit in front of the television set with mouth agape and wonder if you have stumbled into a time warp and been transported into a parallel universe.
Watching the news last Monday night was an experience just like that. I went from utter bewilderment, to complete shock, to various shades of amusement, and finally to helpless mirth all within the span of 30 minutes.
The banner story was the First Gentleman’s early evening travel out of the country. I know that Mike Arroyo’s relationship to the President and previous accusations of his involvement in certain questionable transactions automatically makes anything he does newsworthy. What made this particular travel worthy of the screaming headline treatment was not expressly and directly articulated. But by golly, were they lathering the news story thick with insinuations and innuendoes as to the real reason for the supposed sudden flight, as if the guy was escaping…

Let's not bungle this up

Damn it, damn it, damn it!

Just when you thought people have learned their lesson and mended their ways while people were in a forgiving mood, you get slapped with this new revelation that is simply stupefying beyond words.

Some people are simply, incorrigibly beyond hope and redemption.

I just hope that those who are in a position to do the necessary, do the right things right this time around. Instead of strutting around and playing to the cameras to get media mileage, I hope that they do their homework well instead so that the bastards are nailed effectively.

Let's do this right this time around.

The death of innocence

This is my column today at the Manila Standard Today.

Despite his continued defiant attitude and his vehement protestations, it was very easy to empathize with former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, his family and supporters last week. And not only because it is truly difficult to rejoice at the misfortunes of others, but more because despite the swagger, the bravado, and the many blunders, there is no denying that Estrada strikes people as a man whose heart is in the right place.

There is a part of me that takes some measure of relief that this country’s justice system has been able to take on the supreme challenge of making a former president face up to crimes committed while occupying the highest seat of power.

Thus, I agree that to a large extent, the verdict was a triumph of the Philippine justice system, if not of justice itself. Of course, this point is lost on Estrada’s son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who lambasted the wisdom and impartiality of the judges and the decision, and …

Judgment day

This is my column today at the Manila Standard Today.

Today, the Sandiganbayan hands down its decision on the cases involving former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

We know about it because almost everyone in media has been trying to rouse public interest and attention toward it for quite some time now. For instance, one television network has been repeatedly showing that video clip from Estrada’s presidential inauguration where he intones the infamous line “walang kaibigan, walang kapatid…”

It’s riveting and I am sure it affects people emotionally in different ways, but at the end of it all, one can’t help wondering what the motivations of the station are for repeatedly airing that clip.
I know that Estrada’s trial and his subsequent conviction or acquittal have serious implications in this country.

I am aware that history is being written today over at Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. Estrada happens to be the first President of this country to be put on trial for alleged sins comm…

Beauty and madness

This is my column today at the Manila Standard Today.

The television ad for this brand of shampoo begins with a voice announcing that no makeup was used in the commercial. It then moves on to display lush, midnight black, straight, and tangle-free hair on four individuals whose faces are turned against the camera.

Nothing new there; it is still the same tired old pitch for this rather ridiculous notion of what is supposedly the “ideal” hair, which as we all know has no semblance whatsoever to reality. There is no way that anyone’s hair will ever come close to looking like those without the aid of industrial grade blowers, special lighting, and computer graphics softwares. And certainly not just by using a particular shampoo no matter how many gallons of the stuff is slobbered and lathered on one’s mane.

But one-by-one, the “models” turn around to reveal the twist: The models are people who don’t conform to the standard definition of beauty as dictated by advertising agencies and by media…

The Wowowee Controversy

This is my column today.

Senator Mar Roxas’ call for a Senate investigation on the controversy was definitely an overreaction. I am sure our senators have better things to do than look into allegations of cheating in a noontime television show. As a contender for the 2010 presidential race, Roxas’ motivations may also be questionable.

But Roxas has a point and one that got lost in the din and dynamics of the hysterical protestations that came in the wake of the controversy. “Wowowee” and ABS-CBN need to explain what happened.

For those who inhabit a universe where noontime shows are irrelevant, here is the story: A couple of weeks back, ABS-CBN’s noontime television game show Wowowee, (yup, the same show that tries so hard to acquire a philanthropic image) launched a new game entitled “Wilyonaryo.” The title of the game gives you an idea of the rather egotistical nature of the show—it’s really all about the host and his ideas of what charity and giving means.

Wilyonaryo, or for that matte…

Senseless, brutal, barbaric

This is my column today at the op-ed pages of the Manila Standard Today.

Last week, Cris Anthony Mendez or CA to friends, a graduating student of the College of Public Administration and Governance of the University of the Philippines Diliman paid the highest price possible for the privilege of being called a “brod:” his life.

The circumstances around his death remain sketchy, as those who are in a position to shed light on the tragedy are still not talking. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he died from one of the most barbaric displays of power. He was hazed while trying to gain admission into a fraternity.

CA’s body bore the telltale signs of hazing. A doctor friend (who, incidentally is a fratman himself who has been a victim of hazing) told me that it is quite easy to spot bruises that come from being assaulted repeatedly by a paddle. The pattern of events also closely mirrored previous similar incidents. The victim was surreptitiously brought to a hospital by people w…