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Showing posts from May, 2011

Confronting a confrontation

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
We are a people that takes perverse pleasure at witnessing confrontations. In fact it can probably be said that we like setting up confrontations; it seems our default strategy to manage conflicts is to get the warring parties to settle differences mano a mano. An anthropologist friend of mine said this is expected of a people renowned for being inherently passionate and emotional.This is particularly true when we talk about conflicts in personal relationships. A cousin who is barangay chairman in one of the urban centers in Pasay recently told me that more than 90 percent of the cases brought to them for mediation or resolution involve some kind of confrontation gone awry. Very often, they involve minor differences that have escalated into major conflicts because the parties confronted each other, in local parlance, nagpang-abot. He said the most difficult part of his job is trying to maintain civility during t…

Flaunting a privilege

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
I am one with everybody else in expressing outrage over former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste’s repeated caper out of the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City. Leviste is supposed to be serving out a six-to-12-year sentence for fatally shooting a long-time friend and should be languishing at the national penitentiary like most other convicted criminals. Based on his body language at the time of the arrest, it was apparent that it was not the first time the guy had been playing hooky with his prison guards. He looked too comfortable and too careless, indicating that he was used to being seen in the area.Perhaps he did it on a more regular basis; who knows, he probably slept in his condominium unit in Makati every single night?Leviste’s demeanor during the hearing the other day also showcased exactly what many people found objectionable in the whole thing. Leviste acted almost nonchalantly; sure, he was apologe…

Sex crimes and those who commit them

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned last week as managing director of the powerful International Monetary Fund after being detained in New York on charges of sexual assault. He has been released from jail on bond.There are many things about the Strauss-Kahn sexual assault case that makes it a compelling story to watch and follow.There’s the human-interest angle of course, one rife with all the classic questions of incredulity such as: How could someone so powerful, someone with so much resources at hand, be guilty of the most shameful crime of all? This question has been asked so many times in many similar high-profile cases. In fact it is amazing that despite the many times the nature of sexual crimes have been analyzed, dissected, and explained to everyone, the same reaction is still prevalent. We still tend to force-fit people into a specific profile of what constitutes sex offenders even when there clearly is n…

Wasting wisdom

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
I didn’t go to the University of the Philippines so I did not have the opportunity to meet, be mentored, or be tormented by Clarita Carlos, renowned political science professor of the university. But given how Carlos’s scholarly opinions on politics and national defense has always been sought by media, particularly by television reporters, she could very well have done any of those.Carlos seemed to be always on television, especially during the times when the country was going through one political crisis after another. I thought it was just me who knew her from television (obviously my job as columnist requires me to keep half an ear tuned in to anything political and I have disciplined myself to listen attentively to the political opinions of others, particularly those whose opinions matter) but apparently she really was that ubiquitous because even my siblings knew her also from television.A couple of weeks ag…

Civil disobedience

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
Is there anyone in this country who is surprised by the fact that the leaders of the Catholic Church has threatened the government of civil disobedience unless it drops its support for the controversial reproductive health bill that is now due for debate at the House of Representatives?The Church has been playing this game since the time of Jose Rizal. When it doesn’t get what it wants, it resorts to issuing threats, demonizing, and name-calling. In fact, there seems to be some truth in the observation that the Church has not really shed its Padre Damaso characterization—to this day, it presumes to be the only authority on moral issues and does not take kindly when this authority is challenged.It can be argued that advocates of the reproductive bill health have not exactly been shy about engaging in the same kind of polemics either although I know that there is evidence to show that the name-calling, the demonizin…

Pacquiao the lawmaker and son

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
A friend was kind enough to call my attention to a small oversight in the piece I wrote for this space last Monday —there was an unfinished sentence somewhere towards the end of the column.In last Monday’s column I wrote that “The congressman from Sarangani province wore yellow gloves supposedly as representation of the ultimate fight he wants to wage: Uniting the Filipino people against poverty. I see pundits gathering their thoughts on just exactly how Pacquiao boxing career.” Obviously, the last sentence did not make sense and I realized after doing some checking that the omission was my fault; the file I sent was not the final document.I’ve always believed mistakes happen for a reason and in this case, it has given me the opportunity to expound on the Pacquiao phenomenon. What I really wanted to say in last Monday’s piece was that I expected that very soon people would start talking about just how exactly Pacq…

Pacquiao wins, as usual

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
We’ve gotten used to it that any other outcome seems unthinkable. In a way, it can be said that we have way become so used to a Manny Pacquiao victory that we have come to expect nothing less. I actually dread the thought of - heaven forbid - a Pacquaio defeat; fearing something similar to a national crisis. I can just imagine the kind of caterwauling, head-banging, and national soul-searching that kind of tragedy would entail. A parallel factoid comes to mind: At the height of his popularity, it was supposedly a big no-no to depict the action king of Philippine movies Fernando Poe Jr as having been defeated or worse, slain at the end of any of his movies, or his fans would go berserk.As usual, our streets were empty and there was a significant drop in the number of petty crimes or traffic altercations. Most everyone stayed home to watch the fight - even friends I know who don’t give a hoot about boxing or any spo…

Mixed feelings

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
I have misgivings about how Americans jumped up and down with glee, gave each other high fives, toasted each other and their president with champagne, and generally went into a celebratory mode over the death of Osama bin Laden.I am no big fan of bin Laden and like many others, there’s a huge part of me that is relieved that his reign of terror has come to an end.However, I still don’t think it is appropriate to celebrate the tragic demise of another man. I know that for the longest time bin Laden was considered the most wanted criminal in the world. The collapse of the World Trade Center and along with it the death of thousands of people were crimes that deserve retribution. Justice had to be rendered for the various bombings around the world that were attributed to the Al Qaida which killed thousands of people and destroyed properties.I will still draw the line at organizing street parties and throwing confetti …

Hoopla over a dress and a wedding

This was my column on the date indicated above. This post is antedated.
Okay, you can call me a jaded and cynical wart, a party-pooper with questionable fashion sense. You can even refer to me as a person with a gnarled heart who cannot identify romance even if it wore wings, diapers, and start shooting arrows into people.I still didn’t get what the whole hoopla was all about. I couldn’t get a handle of why the world seemed to have stood still last Friday as billions of people from all over the world sat transfixed in front of their television sets waiting for that supposed magical moment when Catherine Middleton would step out of a carriage to meet her groom at the altar. I couldn’t empathize with people who wept when the vision in white glided over to the aisle of Westminster Abbey except for those who were weeping out of envy that they would never, could never have as their husband His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Co…