Showing posts from March, 2008

Intrusive media

This is my column today.
Despite her strong character and her steely determination, we know former President Corazon Aquino is not immortal nor in possession of superhuman powers. In fact, what really distinguishes her from everyone else is precisely her aura of vulnerability. She has always struck people as very maternal and human.
But still, the thought of a sick Cory Aquino, picturing her with something debilitating such as colon cancer, is very difficult to do. It’s something almost unimaginable.
No wonder many people were affected when the news of her sickness spread last Monday. When I texted a friend about the breaking news, she immediately responded with a comment that hit close to home: “Oh no, I feel like my own mother is sick.” In a very real sense, that’s precisely the role Cory Aquino has assumed in this country since 1983. She’s not called Tita Cory for nothing.
It is in instances like these when one realizes that political differences and the many other seemingly petty thin…

Averting the impending rice shortage

This is my column today.

Three separate incidents that happened last week, all involving family members, validated to me on a very personal level the reality of an impending rice shortage in this country.

As background information, let me share that my father is a farmer who tends to a few hectares of rice fields in the family’s farm in Leyte. We’re not rich, but we’ve never bought rice for the family’s consumption as the farm has always yielded more than enough supply for the family even after selling off a large part of the harvest.

It therefore came as a major surprise to me when a sister intimated over the phone last week that she and her family had been buying rice since last month. Apparently, her stock from the last harvest has not been enough to tide over the family until the next harvest. And to make matters worse, she feared that the heavy rains that have plagued Eastern Visayas in the last two months have affected this season’s crop. The yield from this season’s harvest will b…

Nitpicking after the victory

This was my column yesterday, March 19.

“Sana magkaisa na tayo!”

This was newly-crowned WBC super featherweight champion Manny Pacquiao’s message to the Filipinos after he won last Sunday’s grueling match against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez by split decision.

For a while there, it did look like the Filipino people were indeed united—all for the whole duration of the fight. A couple of hours later, everything was back to normal. And surprise, surprise—people couldn’t even come to an agreement regarding the wisdom of Pacquiao’s victory.

I had to drive from San Andres Manila to Noveleta, Cavite, last Sunday to attend a gathering of friends. The trip usually takes an hour-and-a-half on a really good day when everything’s all right with the world. This time, we were in Noveleta in less than 30 minutes. Malapit lang naman pala. It’s easy to forget that many places seem far only because it takes forever to get there due to heavy traffic.

This was because the streets were literally empty as mos…

Red faces and lurid accusations

This is my column today. In case you don't know the url of brian gorrell's blog: Enjoy!

There were lots of red faces at the Senate last week.

The hearings on the ZTE controversy, which up until last week seemed to be a never-ending fount of juicy revelations, hit a major snag as Senator Ping Lacson’s much-ballyhooed “explosive” surprise witness turned out to be a dud. Many will remember that a few days prior to the hearing, Lacson was grinning like the proverbial cat that swallowed the bird and bragged about the credibility and reliability of his surprise witness.

As it turned out, Leo San Miguel refused to sing like a lovelorn canary. Instead, he exposed the deadly sins (mostly pride, sloth and wrath) of certain senators—and the defects of the whole process of selecting and prepping up witnesses—to public ridicule.

And as if that comedy of errors caused by faulty scripting, inflated egos, and inefficient staff work wasn’t enough, Senator …

Threats and ultimatums

This was my column last Wednesday, March 12. I know, very late post. Long story.

Exactly one week ago today, a group composed of former Cabinet secretaries who had banded together to form an association called Former Senior Government Officials issued an ultimatum to the President of the Republic.

They called on the President act on five “recommendations.” They gave her one week (some reports shortened the timetable to five days) because according to former Civil Service Commissioner Karina Constantino David, “one week was a reasonable time” for the President to act on their recommendations. Otherwise, they said, they would join calls for her resignation.

The automatic reaction of MalacaƱang was to accuse the FSGO of blackmail.
If it were another President sitting in power, I am sure everyone would have been outraged at the idea that the ultimate symbol of power and sovereignty in the country could be subjected to threats.

Of course, the statement of the FSGO was welcomed by the anti-Arroy…

Honoring women

This was my column last Monday, March 10. Sorry for the late post, it's been a really hectic week.

Last Saturday was International Women’s Day.

While driving to my classes in Quezon City, I tuned in to an AM radio station and chanced upon a spirited discussion on the relevance of setting aside a special day for women. The clueless broadcaster—obviously male, and I wondered if his rather archaic views were representative of the attitude of most men in this country—was ranting about the relevance (or irrelevance) of setting aside a special day for women. His barely disguised political incorrectness was anchored on the convoluted theory that celebrating women’s days was an exercise in reverse discrimination.

My automatic reaction was to wonder what was so wrong and objectionable in a situation where certain days, or all right—even each day of the year—were set aside for particular causes or segments of the population. What exactly was being taken from anyone by the celebration of inter…

The waiting game begins

This was my column last Monday.

The professional organization I belong to was in a tight spot last week. Like many other professional organizations, it has become customary for our group to invite the President of the Republic to preside over the inauguration of its new set of officers. The invitation was sent out to the Palace last year and promptly forgotten.

Well, as things would have it, the Palace did accept the invitation this time around. Let’s leave the discussion as to the motivations behind the sudden graciousness of the Palace (and why the induction had to be done last Friday) to conjecture.

But instead of the President attending the regular meeting at the hotel where the inauguration rites were to be held, the Palace allotted time for the President to induct the new set of officers at MalacaƱang last Friday. Obviously, there was a lot of discussion around the wisdom of going to the Palace or having the President officiate the inaugural rites at this time, given the pervading …


This is my column today.

Thanks to you-know-who, the phrase “moderate their greed” has become a political slogan for our times, right up there with “hindi ka nag-iisa” and “tama na, sobra na!”

As can be expected in a culture where people take liberties with anything and everything that advances their own personal agenda, the phrase “moderate their greed” has been used and abused, interpreted and re-interpreted many different ways. The original context around which the statement was supposed to have been made, as well as the reference of the pronoun “their,” has not simply been lost in translation. They’ve been mangled beyond recognition.

At the very first rally held in the wake of the ZTE controversy, the phrase was written in bold and used as a backdrop for the makeshift stage. The pronoun “their” had already been replaced with the more accusatory second person pronoun. The phrase thus metamorphosed into the call “Moderate your greed!”

“Moderate their greed” was supposed to be Secretary …