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Showing posts from May, 2009

Missing the point. Again.

And now I am  completely bewildered.   Can anyone tell me what exactly is the point of the senate hearings on the sex video scandals?  I know the operational objective was "in aid of legislation." But given the line of questioning done by our senators and the level of drama present at today's senate hearing, I am not so sure anymore.
Actually, my heart sank at the mere sight of the three senators conducting the hearing.  They just happened to be the three most annoying senators in my list:  Jajajajajamby Madrigal, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla.  Talk about portents of worst things to come! (And yes, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is not included in my list of most annoying senator.  Aside from the fact that she is in a class all her own, it's really difficult to be annoyed all the time by the lady senator.  She says the most shocking things, yes, but will anyone question the fact that she is soooooo entertaining?)

It seemed to me that the whole point was simply t…

Rage and sanctimoniousness

This is my column today.
When you are angry, count to ten before doing or saying anything. This was an admonition my elders taught me when I was very little. I was already in college when I learned that the admonition was attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and that it was actually incomplete. The other half of it said “when really angry, count to 100.” I wish this admonition was on the minds of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel last Monday. The two senators engaged in what I think was the most acrimonious verbal exchange ever made on the floor of the Philippine Senate. The two senators exchanged insults, called each other names, and even dredged up old grudges in the process. What was equally disappointing was that both senators were aware that members of the media were present and therefore seemed intent on making sure that the whole sordid exchange would find its way into newspapers and TV newscasts. When two senators, bot…

Pesky fixers at the transport agency

This is my column today.
It is my belief that there is a direct relationship between the level and extent of corruption and the number of fixers present in a particular office. Put another way, the more fixers present, the higher the level and the greater the extent of corruption in that office.It doesn’t really take a lot of logical acrobatics to make this deduction. Fixers leverage on their personal influence and connection with the employees inside government offices in order to provide undue advantage to citizens who are duped into availing of their facilitation services. This can mean simplifying complexities in a transaction, doing away with certain requirements that citizens are unable—or find difficult—to comply with, or even reducing fees that may be subject to negotiation such as penalties and the like. In return, fixers charge “facilitation fees.”In certain offices such as in most branches of the Land Transportation Office, some fixers even wear identification cards and are …

Notes on a sex scandal

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This is my column today.‘‘O my god! Have you seen it?! I have seen it and it’s beyond shocking!!!”This was the text message, minus a few more exclamation points, that I received Sunday evening from a friend. I honestly had no clue about what my friend was hyperventilating about so I had to call to ask for more details. You know, stuff like who he was talking about (!), what exactly he saw (!), and where he saw it (!).It turns out he was talking about what is probably the most googled item in the Net today: The alleged Part 3 of the video scandal involving this young sexy actress and this handsome doctor who was—and apparently, still is—involved with another high-profile female doctor. I don’t want to mention names because the identities are not really important to the point I will try to make in this piece. The sordid chain of events could have involved someone else; in fact, these things have happened to other people.Some people were still texting me Monday night for the Internet add…

Job fair madness

This is my column today.SPURRED by the supposed highly successful Jobapalooza job fair held on Labor Day where 200,000 jobs were supposed to have been available and 20,000 persons were supposed (I’ll explain the repeated use of the word supposed later in this column) to have been hired on the spot, a number of government institutions, professional organizations, non-government organizations, local governments, and even barangay councils have been busily organizing their own job fairs. It’s the shawarma phenomenon all over again.Just last week, there were at least three major job fairs in Metro Manila, one of which was organized by the Social Security System at the Hongkong Shopping Complex along Roxas Boulevard. There’s another major job fair being put together by the Tourism Department next week. And like I said, even local governments and barangay councils have been holding their own job fairs in their own town plazas and barangay centers. I know this for a fact because I am a human…

Candy Pangilinan's tasteless joke

I've been asked to comment on the latest tempest in the blogosphere - the Candy Pangilinan issue.  The quick summary:  Entertainer Candy Pangilinan was in Baguio City recently to emcee or perform at a public affair and while at it, she uttered the rather tasteless joke that got her in trouble.  She was supposed to have said something like "Hindi po ako Igorot, tao po ako."
It's the kind of thoughtless and tasteless remark that is standard fare in sing along bars where ridiculing people and making very politically incorrect statements are passed off as comedy.  Some people think it's funny. I don't.  That's why I have not set foot inside sing along bars that offer this kind of entertainment in the last 15 years.
This is the problem with some entertainers.  They are not able to make the distinction between what is allowed inside a sing along bar - where people willingly part with their money to get skewered - and what should be said in public functions - wher…

Sharing the blame

This is my column today.
I was at the wedding of a relative recently where a number of politicians were in attendance. Not only were the politicians and their significant others more gregarious than usual, hopping from one table to the next greeting everyone as if they were long lost bosom friends, they were also quite spiffily dressed as if they wanted to stand out and be noticed even from a distance.I had to ask the bride how they were able to get the politicians to stand as sponsors and to attend the event. She snickered and told me that the politicians practically volunteered. A common friend who was eavesdropping on our conversation therefore concluded that the best time to get married is definitely before a major elections as that would ensure better attendance and more generous ninongs and ninangs, assuming of course that one has no issues about sharing the limelight on one’s wedding day with politicians who, as expected, use the opportunity to campaign, either subtly or not-too…

Press freedom versus civil liberties

This is my column today.
It always amazes me how seemingly easy and convenient it has become for some people in this country to make reckless accusations and sweeping generalizations.A representative in Congress allied with the administration or with some political cause that runs counter to one’s own expresses a personal opinion or files some harebrained resolution or bill, and presto, all kinds of generalizations— mostly sinister scenarios—is automatically conjured. Thereafter, everyone gets worked up on stretching the generalization to the point of absurdity.A senator gets his or her hand on some unverified information and he or she automatically goes to town with it invoking all kinds of conspiracy theories.Someone files a suit against someone else and the default conclusion is that the suit is politically motivated or designed to muzzle free expression and freedom of the press, or suppress the truth. In most cases, political vendetta seems to be the favorite default conclusion.I d…

Early political advertisements

This is my column today.The elections are still a good 12 months away. Although not everyone is aware of the specific details about when candidates are allowed to conduct their respective campaigns (90 days prior to the elections for national positions and 45 days for local positions), it is safe to assume that everyone knows that candidates are not supposed to do any campaigning now; that it is against the law to do so.Unfortunately, the laws in this county are not absolute; they are open to interpretation and that there are as many interpretations of the law as there are lawyers. And since the rich and powerful have better access to more and better lawyers, they get entitled to a more liberal interpretation of the law, something the poor cannot afford. The thought is disconcerting but not as appalling as the theory that our laws are mere suggestions—one can abide by them or not at all.Most of the people who are gunning for public offices are rich and come from families who have been…

Another Lupang Hinirang version

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Time out

For only the second time since I started writing my column almost three years ago, I missed a column today.  There was a family emergency yesterday involving my mom.  Thank God, she is okay now.
I hope to resume my column on Wednesday.