Showing posts from February, 2012

Why the fight has not ended

This is my column today.
The country commemorated over the weekend the 26th anniversary of the people power uprising that has come to be known as Edsa 1. The President, some members of his Cabinet, and some key players of Edsa 1 including former President Fidel Ramos and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile gathered at the People Power Monument to relive the heady days in 1986 when millions of Filipinos occupied the highway, stopped tanks with their bare hands, and pacified with prayers and flowers the armed soldiers sent to obliterate them to smithereens.The question that was top of mind over the weekend was: After 26 years, are we better off as a country and as a people? Put another way, have we successfully purged from our system the evils that we swore would never again bedevil this country and the Filipino people? After 26 years, can we categorically say that we have regained our freedom and our democracy? These are painful questions to ask because we all know the answer to each of …

Worth pondering on

What follows is a comment left in my post last Monday. It was written by someone who claims to be a relative of Marvin Reglos, the victim of the Lambda Rho Sigma fraternity hazing. I hope we can all empathize with marvin's family and do what we can to ensure that he gets justice.
"you are the first person i have seen wrote a blog regarding the death of my nephew. i am abit skeptic on the way Sec. De Lima acted in the presence of what she so called "brods" allegedly accused of the murdering Marvin. if she really is for the "truth" and "justice", she could have used her power to bring forward all of the accused(20 or so i guessed) students who participated in the said hazing incident.

How can an ordinary family like us fight the likes of people behind the Greek Lettered brotherhood?
how can we follow up on the situation when in fact most of our family is in the province and the investigation is being conducted in Manila?

i hope and pray that the just…

Death in the name of brotherhood

This is my column today.
Marvin Reglos, freshman law student at the San Beda Law School, died last week in the hands of people he aspired to call brothers. He wasn’t the first to offer his life in the name of brotherhood. He wouldn’t be the last.In the same week that Reglos was murdered, hazing was very much in the news as the Supreme Court handed down the final decision on the death of Lenny Villa, victim of the same circumstances that killed Reglos. It took 21 years before the Villas got justice — and it wasn’t even the kind that solved more than two decades of pain and longing.In the same period, key personalities in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona openly acknowledged each other in the middle of the proceedings as “brods.” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile recognized the following as his fraternity brothers: Corona’s chief defense counsel former justice Serafin Cuevas, members of the prosecution team Raul Daza and Arthur Lim, and Senator Judges Edgardo Angara a…

Respect is earned

This is my column today.
Aurelio Gonzales, the honorable representative from the third district of Pampanga, has raised a howl over what he perceives as unfair depiction of congressmen in Philippine movies and soap operas. He filed Resolution 2140 appealing to the local movie and television industry to “minimize, prevent, or stop typecasting congressmen and congresswomen as villains or crooks in movies and television telenovelas, in order not to create stereotypes or negative public perception against members of the House of Representatives.”I empathize with the congressman. In general, I object to any form of stereotyping, especially negative stereotyping. But I would have empathized with the congressman more and would have joined his advocacy if his resolution were more inclusive. Unfortunately, it seems the guy is also afflicted with an acute case of myopia—his ego is clouding his judgment and he couldn’t see beyond his interests as a congressman. Just like Niel Tupas, he couldn’t k…

Leadership is badly needed

This is my column today.
I have long given up illusions of the impeachment trial being fair, impartial and an exemplar of outstanding—or at least competent—legal wrangling. As I have said in the past, there is only so much certain people such as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile can do to maintain the integrity of the proceedings.All the ingredients for epic failure just happen to be present. First, you have a complaint that was rammed through Congress without the benefit of a hearing and subsequently found to be so defective that the Chief Justice’s defense team has been able to make mincemeat of it without breaking sweat. Second, it now appears that the prosecution had no evidence to speak of prior to the impeachment hearing (no wonder it objected vigorously to a pre-trial). Third, the prosecution team has repeatedly shown what can only be described as gross incompetence all throughout the hearings, enabling the defense team to gleefully—and sometimes, irresponsibly - take advantage…

Valentines day and hypocrisy

This is my column today.
There are days when I wish there’s a device that automatically triggers off alarm bells when hypocrisy reaches untenable levels in this country. If there is something that we have a constant oversupply of, it’s hypocrisy. There are just too many people in this country who really need to subject themselves to regular and earnest reality checks.Take the case of the Catholic bishops’ recent thinly veiled threat to government on the issue of distribution of condoms on Valentine’s Day. Consider what the archbishop of Jaro Angel Lagdameo said: “The Church is against the distribution of condoms especially on Valentine’s Day because we know how the use of contraceptives affects the morality of our people and our society in general.” By saying “they know” how the use of contraceptives affects the morality of our people, are our bishops talking from personal experience? I’m not being facetious. The church is establishing a causal relationship between contraception and mo…

Let's not break the law

This is my column today.
There is an important factoid that many people seem to conveniently gloss over regarding the temporary restraining order that the Supreme Court released last week. The order stopped the impeachment court from compelling the Philippine Savings Bank to divulge information on the foreign currency deposits of Chief Justice Renato Corona. It was PSBank that sought the TRO. It wasn’t Corona or his defense team that went to the Supreme Court to seek relief.So I am aghast at the pronouncements of the bright boys from MalacaƱang that the TRO was “a brazen effort to derail the proceedings.” The TRO was issued because PSBank sought to protect its name and take up the cudgels for the banking industry. Peso deposits is another thing, but the law on foreign currency deposits in this country is clear and absolute: these deposits are protected by law and not even a court order can compel a bank to reveal information relating to these deposits. This law actually makes sense. Fo…

Breaking the law

At least three people who know that I am a banker (has been for more than 20 years now) asked me the same question today: If I were Mr. Pascual Garcia, would I have done the same - refuse to disclose the contents of the dollar account of Chief Justice Renato Corona?
My answer: you bet I would do the same. I would have told the senators: Your honors, I will do anything you want me to do except one thing - I will not break the law.
The bank secrecy law on foreign currency deposits is crystal clear. It says banks cannot divulge the contents of a foreign currency account unless there is a consent from the depositor. Not even the Supreme Court can compel a bank to make the disclosure. The law was designed to protect foreign investments in the country.
Those who insist that we disregard laws in order to get to the truth are in effect saying - it's okay to break the law as long as the intent is good. But it's not just about breaking a law, it's also about sending a chillin…

Disaster unpreparedness

This is my column today.
When I switched on my cellular phone upon landing in Manila from Cebu last Monday noon, I was alarmed by the surge of messages inquiring about my “condition.” From what I gathered, the earthquake struck Cebu barely a few minutes after the plane I was riding in took off from the Mactan International Airport.Thanks to the wonders of technology, by the time I was able to retrieve my baggage and leave the terminal building, I already had more than enough details about the earthquake including firsthand accounts from relatives who swore the earthquake was so strong they thought it was the end of the world already.But technology is truly a double-edged sword. It enables people to spread information rapidly. Alas, technology does not distinguish valid information from those that are not such as unfounded rumors and irresponsible messages that provoke panic and strike fear in people’s hearts.A nephew told me that they had to scamper to the top of the tallest building i…

Not a matter of bad luck

This is my column today.
When presidential adviser for political affairs Ronald Llamas was caught on camera buying pirated DVDs, the public reacted with amused incredulity. Ang malas naman nya! What bad luck!Many eventually called for his resignation primarily to spare the President from having to agonize over what is presumed to be a difficult ethical dilemma. Oh okay, there were those who maintained from the very start that Llamas deserved the boot for giving face to a guilty pleasure many in this country indulge in. But if we really come down to it, most everyone in this country agree with the President’s dismissive posture when he said he has more important things to attend to than pirated DVDs, presumably the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice and the …well, the impeachment trial.I empathize with actor Ronnie Ricketts, head of the Optical Media Board and his team (which now includes another actor – Cesar Montano, rumored to be gunning for Ricketts’s post). How do you press on …

Ripped off!

This is my column today.
There was a time when traveling around the major cities in this country gave one a distinct feeling of being in a completely different place each time.I used to love going up to Baguio and browsing along the various little shops along Session Road and the stalls in the public market for unique finds. Most of the shops along Session Road are now closed and the stalls in the public market don’t really offer anything new anymore, as sales have not been brisk enough to encourage the development of new products. I know my friends in SM will put me to task for saying this, but big business is killing specialty shops. At the rate things are going, it will only be a matter of time when even the ubiquitous sari sari store will have to give way to 7-Eleven and the other convenience store chains that have sprouted all over our urban centers.Going to Cebu used to mean discovering finds along the many shops along Colon Street or Mango Avenue. Every city in this country boas…