Showing posts from May, 2010

Some things never change

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
A realization that struck me like the proverbial ton of bricks last week as we witnessed how our senators and congressmen tried to make sense of our collective experience with automated elections, was that the more things change, the more they remain the same.We may have put in place the technology—the machines, the processes, and the systems—that was supposed to have catapulted ourselves out of the Medieval Ages in terms of how voting and counting of votes were done in this country. But the sad reality is that the maturity of most of the electorate has remained abysmally low. In addition, there remain quite a number of politicians who continue to see elections merely as a power struggle that needs to be won at all costs. And to make matters worse, there are just too many hooligans and lowlife creatures in this country with absolutely no compunction about lying, cheating, and scamming people in exchange for today’…

Up in smoke

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
So the presumptive president is a heavy smoker. If we are to believe reports, he consumes three packs of cigarettes a day.I know Benigno Simeon Aquino III smokes because I have seen him smoke. When we invited him last February to speak at the general membership meeting of the professional association that I am part of, he had a few minutes before he was due to enter the hall and he took the opportunity to grab some puffs from his Marlboro lights menthol at the designated smoking area.We all know Noynoy Aquino smokes because it was made an issue during the campaign and it looks like the habit had been turned into a defining issue of his presidency. Whether Aquino likes it or not, whether we like it or not, people will continue to talk about his smoking for many reasons.But is it really fair to make a big deal out of it? We know a lot of our leaders smoke—I can name quite a number of senators and congressmen who do …

The freak show

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
On the same day my column came out last week—the one where I expressed full confidence in the overall reliability of the results of the elections—the masked man came out to reveal how he and a team of no less than a hundred people rigged the elections.As if it wasn’t enough that he was wearing the most hideous and ludicrous disguise, he said people could simply refer to him as Robin. People should have cracked up right there and then, asked him where Batman was, and dismissed him as just another Renaldo Lapuz—you know, that Filipino who dared put on a Knights of Columbus costume and bawled “you are my brother… my best friend forever” at Simon Cowell during auditions for American Idol.But no, the incredibly amazing thing was that media people actually scrambled all over themselves to give the guy precious minutes on primetime television. Some broadsheets devoted tons of newsprint and ink to the man. The supposed nu…

Accountability and acceptance

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
Although Congress still has to convene to officially conduct the canvassing of votes for the top posts in the land, everyone has already accepted that Senator Benigno Aquino III is the new president of the republic. The official canvass will be a mere formality, a ceremonial task that quite frankly, seems already superfluous and unnecessary.One of the unintended consequences of having immediate knowledge of the results of the elections due to automation was that it has rendered the official proclamation as anti-climactic. As a result, I am beginning to get the feeling—although I fervently hope that I will be proven wrong—that the euphoria will be short-lived and that this second Aquino administration will probably have a much shorter honeymoon.Aquino still has to be proclaimed officially and yet this early we are already seeing a surge in demand for accountability, for an accounting for the promises made during el…

After the romance of an election

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
It’s not yet known how incoming president Benigno Aquino III will respond to unsolicited advice. It is very likely that like his mother who was catapulted into the presidency by a series of fortuitous events Aquino would be averse to unsolicited advice. This early, the President-elect is showing signs of displeasure at having to put up with niceties and diplomatic tact.Given the variety and the ready accessibility of communication channels available to Filipinos today, Aquino—and his siblings—would have difficulty restraining people from expressing whatever is in their hearts and minds or even from ignoring them. He—and his sister, the garrulous one—need to know that simply brushing people off as “petty” or “bitter losers” will only aggravate matters and further alienate those who already have reservations about an Aquino presidency to begin with.I’ve read quite a number of “unsolicited advice” for the new Preside…

Postscripts to an election

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
Everyone had a story to tell about last Monday’s elections.There were inspiring stories of how people endured the sweltering heat, the unbelievably long queues, and the horrible foul-ups in the system just to manifest their solemn civic duty. There were horror stories of precinct count optical scan machines heating up or simply malfunctioning, of shameless and blatant vote buying, of physical confrontations involving candidates and their supporters. There were tragic stories of people losing their lives in isolated skirmishes, of voters not being able to vote despite all the hardships they went through simply because someone somewhere goofed, of new forms of cheating and manipulating election results.To my mind, though, the best story of this election is that it somehow worked. Despite the grim prognosis, the last-minute glitches, the sheer unpreparedness that characterized the whole shift from manual to automatio…

Not a bad crop

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
I have hesitated to make a direct pitch in this space for any of the candidates for national positions, particularly the top two posts in the land in today’s elections. This is because I have felt that contrary to what many people would like us to believe, the possibility of utter and total catastrophe this time around is not as pronounced as in previous elections. I really believe that an impartial analysis of the qualifications of most of the candidates running for president, vice president, and the 12 slots for senator will reveal that we have a relatively good crop of candidates this time around.I have my own bets, of course. As can be expected, I do feel that the candidates I have chosen for president, vice president and senators would do a much better job of bringing this country to new and greater heights than all the others. However, in my heart of hearts, I also do believe that any of the other candidates…

In support of Secretary Cabral

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
If I didn’t have my hands full with other pressing engagements last Monday, I would have been there at the Department of Health compound on Tayuman Street in Manila joining hands with women’s groups, non-government organizations, and people living with HIV/AIDS in support of beleaguered Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral.From what I gathered from friends who were there, the crowd turnout wasn’t bad. Certainly not huge if we are to use El Shaddai or Jesus is Lord standards—but being able to gather close to three hundred live bodies is already a feat given the level of demonizing the cause, and Cabral herself, have been getting from the Catholic Church. Rallying in support of condoms is not exactly something one would usually like to be known for. Also, getting people to rally around and in support of a cabinet secretary of the present dispensation does not sound like a wise move.But people did show up—and I am glad …


We buried a favorite sister-in-law today at San Manuel, Tarlac. The loss has not really sunk in yet so I still can't write about it.
Tragedy struck again yesterday. We lost Quintin "King" Doromal yesterday. King Doromal was the 82-year old pillar of the HR profession in the Philippines. He was one of those people whom we wished would live forever because he was such an inspiration to all of us at the People Management Association of the Philippines. The really sad thing was that he didn't die because of sickness (he was very healthy). He figured in a senseless traffic accident.
In difficult times like these most people take comfort at the thought that our dear departed are finally "resting in peace." I wish I can do that too. But I am still trying to make sense of these twin tragedies. And so far I am not succeeding.

Greedy or nuts?

This was my column last Wednesday, April 28. Sorry for the late post. We had a family emergency (lost my sister-in-law to a short bout with cancer).
In the last few days we witnessed how things have made a turn for the worst in the political front as we approach the home stretch of the political campaign. There are those who see these developments as par for the course; people who think mudslinging and character assassination are normal in an electoral contest. On the other hand, there are those who, continue to be astounded at the level of muckraking that we are capable of as a people.At the rate things are going and given the kind of effort many people are devoting into the task of unearthing all kinds of dirt and muck about certain candidates, we shouldn’t have problems cleaning the Pasig River from hereon. We definitely have the competencies, and in large quantities, present in this country.Senator Manuel Villar’s campaign has been badly hobbled by accusations that the rags-to-ri…