EDSA II was a mistake. What guarantee there is that Puno or anyone else will not be like or worse than this one? Correcting it with another will not make it right anytime. Even if they succeed in their plans, there is an election in 2010. Patience would be a virtue instead of haste. Is governance now part of the bishops' temporal responsibility? Look at the wholesale moral decay we are in now -- is morality not their major temporal responsibility? They failed miserably yet they want to take more responsibility. Their effort will be more productive if they work hard at uplifting the moral standards of those who are coming after this morally bankrupt generation. Unless they are planning to run for public office, grandstanding is not the way to go but to lead in humility as exemplified by Jesus. -- Alfredo Quedi, Khamis Mushayt, Saudi Arabia (via e-mail)
October 2007 Archives
THE EXECUTIVE clemency or presidential pardon granted by GMA to former president Estrada is the latest among the litany of blatant abuse of power and disrespect to the Filipino people she and her administration has done to our country. No wonder Filipinos find it hard to get our much deserved respect. If we don't respect our own law, why would others do? Why did the Americans refuse to turn over Subic rape case convict Smith to Philippine authorities? Why can an American TV program and company openly insult Philippine medical school graduates? [Why can authorities in different countries] arrogantly accuse our OFWs of any conceivable crime, etc.? Because our own so-called leaders or vultures in disguise are showing to the world how we are supposed to be treated. It's pathetic how the individual efforts Filipinos are doing to gain respect are shrouded and washed away by the embarrassing and selfish acts of our own leaders. May God show His amazing grace and mercy upon and save the Philippines and give us a true leader. Let's just trust that in the end divine justice will prevail. -- Ramon Macalalad, Harbor City, California, USA (via e-mail)
THERE has to be at least one of them telling the truth. While JDV III claims that Neri told him about his conversation with the President regarding the so-called offer of Chairman Abalos in order to have the NBN project approved, Neri counters with a completely opposite stance, saying that what JDV III claims is completely untrue. So now, it is left to us: who is telling the truth? Better yet, what is the truth? This question seems to always escape the minds of many whistleblowers as well as witnesses, left and right. It is like a neverending cycle of a thesis and an antithesis. Whistle blowers tend to claim that they are the ones telling the truth. Does that mean that those people who are supposedly guilty of the accusation are kings and queens of denial? One can see how easy it is to just say what you want to say and when you want to say it. In any case, the only way for the Senate to make its hearings of the NBN scandal worth one's time and effort is if the people who are involved in the procedings (i.e. witnesses, whistleblowers, interrogators) truly have one thing in mind: to tell the truth by first stating what is really the truth!
THIS is a lame excuse. First, the LPP (League of Provinces of the Philippines) does not have a resolution granting P500, 000 each to Pampanga and Bulacan governors. Second, LPP is hard up on funds. How can it prioritize giving to Pampanga and Bulacan, both rich provinces. This is stupidity. Third, how could you give away P500, 000 of the people's money without receipts? This is irresponsible. The LPP [members] say they were able to meet only yesterday since their national president just came back from abroad. How could the LPP have distributed the money two weeks ago without their president, which according to their constitution, is the final approving authority for the release of any fund? Governor Panlilio immediately reported the issue to the media after receiving the money. Was the LPP president already out of the country? I think this matter really should be pursued until the truth comes out. The people are tired of all the lies. -- Ruben Tayco, Tabacuhan, Olongapo City, Philippines (via e-mail)
WITH the reported attempt to plant evidence at Glorietta, to my mind the piece is beginning to take shape. Whatever event that occurs in our beloved country, whether it is accident or planned, conspirators immediately take that opportunity to sow chaos and discord. Just hours after the blast, Senator Trillanes issued statements blaming the administration even without any shred of evidence. Other senators like Pimentel and Lacson issued leading statements. Others used the media to ventilate their biased ideas on this serious matter. One thing is sure, it is my impression that some Filipinos are already losing their genuine sense of patriotism. Even trivial misdemeanors done by administration officials, military and the police will surely land in the headlines, thanks to the selfish commercialism which abounds in some media outfits. Whatever mistakes President Arroyo has done, still she is our leader. No matter all the political noise and accusations to the contrary, divine providence wills President Arroyo to serve as our leader. We Filipinos should learn to be pragmatic. Let us live with the times and make the most of it by being constructive. Let us leave the past behind and follow whatever vision we are supposed to follow. The vision is for the Philippines to eradicate poverty through economic development. We need to put up more factories preferably heavy industries to generate employment.That era of recriminations since the time we toppled the dictatorship has already served its purpose. Instead of being a productive tool to correct deviant rules, people power is evolving to be a curse to our struggling nation. Our aspiring politicians seem to be in a hurry and impatient to assume power. They can't wait for the next election. Why? At this point, if former president Estrada is sincere in his application for presidential pardon, he should not attach conditionalities. The same with the family of former president Marcos. All of them should show remorse. If they really are innocent, I'm sure God has already forgiven them. Admittedly, human justice grinds very slowly. Human verdict is an historical epitaph. In our lifetime, true justice is really elusive. We Filipinos should know that if we persist in this kind of fault findings and obsession to count all the past mistakes of others, our society will surely go to the brink. We show to the whole world that we are a society practicing sadomasochism. We fervently love to inflict senseless wounds on our own country and relish seeing our fellow countrymen suffer needlessly. This is the right recipe for national suicide. If formerly poor countries like South Korea, China, Malaysia, etc. have risen from the abyss of poverty, why can't the Philippines do the same? The only thing that will let this country move forward is national unity and healing. Everybody should subordinate his/her personal interests to the national interest. -- Romulo Vitor, Ormoc City, Leyte, Philippines (via e-mail)
TRILLANES was quick to blame the Palace for the Glorietta 2 Mall blast incident. Well, at this early stage everyone could be a suspect: the Palace through the military/police operatives, JI terrorists, the Communists, etc. The problem however is that Trillanes himself, like most of the Palace people, is not a credible person to throw such an accusation. Sorry, but no matter what the cause or justification they may have, I have very little sympathy for people involved in military coups. As I see it they are as reckless and selfish as most Pinoy drivers. They would grab your lane unmindful of the harm it might cause the innocents just as the failed mutinies and coups have caused harm to our economy.
THERE was collective outrage among bloggers with the Malu Fernandez controversy. There was collective outrage among Fil-Ams at the racist statement from "Desperate Housewives." Today, we are confronted by a much, much more despicable incident but where is the outrage? The opposition is and will bleed the issue for their selfish motives. The commentators and opinion writers are having a heyday making various spins and interpretations with Fr. Panlilio's expose. But where is the outrage? Definitely, it is not only the few who have spoken that received a paper bag with bundles of money. An ABS-CBN video footage showed other politicians carrying similar bags. The rest may deny getting any money but it won't change the fact that public perception is that they indeed got money. Delicadeza is alien to them. Garapalan is the name of the game. But still, where is the outrage? Why are we not out in the streets demanding explanations and even making calls for resignation? Why do we go on with our lives as if this suhulan is just a normal incident? Why is there no collective outrage? No, I am not calling for people power. I am merely asking why have we become so meek and numb as a people in spite of the endless political scandals that confront us everyday. The suhulan did not really come as a surprise. The suprise is when somebody, thanks to Fr. Panlilio, finally came out to expose the incident. (I am quite disappointed with Gov. Grace Padaca when she claimed on the news that she got a Christmas card from the GMA with P50, 000 but never came out to expose this gift giving incident at the time.) Corruption has become a way of life in our country. We know it happens. It is the P500, 000 that Fr. Panlilio showed to media that gave corruption a "face." In his column, Jose Ma. Montelibano said, "Nation building is character building." Precisely. And that is my personal advocacy. Call it character building, value formation, good citizenship. If there is no collective change in our attitude and ways as a people, we will remain unaffected by the corrupt practices we see and hear everywhere. It is not really surprising why there is no collective outrage with regards to this blatant suhulan in Malacañang.
THE ACT of Congressman Benny Abante is more or less the same as the act of the Pampanga governor. Is it that hard to clarify to the president or whoever distributed the money what it was for? It is pathetic for this lawmaker to suddenly come out of the closet after the scandal broke out. Transparency is the keyword here. Why is it that these mushrooms suddenly sprout only after one individual decides to stand for the right of the people to information? They are all like Pontius Pilate who washed his hands before Christ was crucified. They are only admitting that they received cash because there was a whistleblower and now claim to be innocent when in fact they could have actually done something in the first place. Please, you politicians know that you are public servants and not servants to your personal interests. This should be a lesson for those who keep silent because they benefited out of such anomalous transactions and suddenly wash their hands and try to appear innocent when it is disclosed. Sorry, but you are all guilty in the eyes and voice of the people. Vox populi, vox dei.
THERE are obvious reasons why this former priest is thankfully now an ex-priest. He will bite the hand that feeds him. He is no more than a stir-the-pot-type person. He knew coming in that politics is what it is -- and why is it that now he is claiming to be the holy one. The Mister Clean? -- Louis Payawal, California (via e-mail)
THIS is all bullshit. We are not even focusing on this issue. Who are these people adding fuel to ignite hatred and malice against the TV station and its parent company Walt Disney? Excuse me, they do not represent the doctors and any Filipino in the United States; they might as focus on something more interesting. We have no complaint about what had been said. Only a dumb person would still insist on what kind of apology the station needs to provide. They have already apologized. Am I assuming that these some so-called "Filipinos" are up for dinero, mukhang pera kayo. If you keep on pressing those silly issues it will have an impact on the ordinary Filipino living in the US; they can be implicitly discriminated against if these stooges keep going. If there was anything that was said, look at [it] the positive way. Filipino doctors need not take it as an insult but further [improve] themselves and work better. Simply to stave off the negativity and show your worth as a qualified, dignified and intelligent doctor. -- Gina Lauder, California (via e-mail)
RINA JIMENEZ-DAVID has written an exhaustive article detailing how Teri Hatcher's life will "be hell from now on" considering her character's comment on the show. I wonder, has the latest season of "Desperate Housewives" even reached the Philippines? But again, that shouldn't matter. Or should it? Should it really matter to look at the context of the joke before passing judgment? After all, it's the context that determines whether something is funny or insulting. Take for example the movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," which can be seen as insulting, incredibly anti-Semitic, and sexist. But as Sacha Baron Cohen (who happens to be a devout Jew) pointed out, if you look at the context of the jokes and the movie itself, you will soon realize that the jokes are there to poke fun at American society and their prejudices and not against women or Jews. A lot of comments have been already said about this controversy, but here is what I think the context is about and why I think ABC really didn't meant to offend anyone. First of all, my mom, just like a lot of Filipinos here in Canada or in the US, is a nurse who was educated in the Philippines. Despite this, I honestly think the comment was taken out of context. If you actually look at the context of the joke, the comment was supposed to poke fun at the image of the American (not Filipino) medical student who got rejected by all American medical schools -- due to low grades or horrible MCAT results for example -- so they end up studying overseas. The writers could have chosen any country but decided with the Philippines as an afterthought. I'm sure if they chose any other country, say India or Mexico, not only will this not be a big deal, but I bet most will find it funny. In the US, it is usually thought of that if someone cannot get into an American medical school and they really want to be a doctor, they usually end up studying overseas where admission regulations tend to be not as competitive. It wasn't about Filipinos (the doctor in the scene was white) but American med students who could not get into a US medical school. Sure, the comment implies that medical schools in the Philippines are not as good as in the US, which I am sure is the basis for all this rage. But is that assumption really that far-fetched? For most Americans, arrogance notwithstanding, they view their universities, especially their medical schools, much better than what you would expect in a developing country like the Philippines. Just look at the news or watch programs like "Dateline NBC" or "60 Minutes," once in a while, they will feature stories of botched plastic surgeries or other forms of surgeries performed on Americans who'd undergone those operations in say, Mexico or somewhere in Latin America. Even in Miami, patients have been suing foreign-educated doctors (mostly from Latin America) for malpractice. Could you blame them in their high regard for their medical schools and their stringent admissions process? This makes me to conclude that all this controversy is mainly due to a cultural misunderstanding. Generally speaking, most Filipinos would not get that context (poking fun at American doctors who were educated overseas because they couldn't get accepted in a med school in the US) nor would they get American humor all of the time. On the other hand, writers for the show would not get the socio-economic sensitivity of the medical profession in the Philippines, which is understandable considering that they are writing with an exclusively American audience in mind. So yes, Rina Jimenez-David is right: pity Teri Hatcher. Her character's comments have been taken out of context and fallen victim to an unrelentless mob. The writers should just have mentioned Mexico instead of the Philippines and none of this would have happened. It would still have the same punchline and without the controversy.
I WAS at Fully Booked Rockwell this weekend and treated my niece and grand-daughter to one illustrated book each on Philippine folklore which they chose themselves from the shelves. I was very sorry that I wasn't able to preview what they chose because I found out that one of them -- "Ang Alamat ng Ampalaya" published by GMA 7 -- had such an unoriginal and superficial plot full of stereotyped images of women. but worse, it ended with the main character, because of her supposed vanity, being turned into an ugly ampalaya by a fairy. GMA 7 should be ashamed to have published such material, specially now that: 1) media all over the world have been exhorted to upgrade their depiction of women, 2) the ampalaya is listed as among the top 10 medicinal plants from the philippines, and 3) parents, teachers and the media industry are doing their part to promote the consumption of vegetables among children. If the comic book is based on a TV story, that, too, should be pulled out -- or better yet GMA 7 should produce another episode and publish another version correcting this degradation of the ampalaya, and of women. Just because most young kids are not yet very articulate doesn't mean media should assume they are dumb. Also, some of the stories being promoted as "folk tales" may have been based on the prejudices that may best be left to oblivion. Fully Booked might want to be more careful in its selection of local children's books. They're the only ones most people can afford to buy in their shop. -- Anna Leah Sarabia
THE ITEM on the front page of the Inquirer anent TV viewers exasperated by being bombarded by too many commercials is timely. I was beginning to think I was the only one whose intelligence was being insulted. Not just too many commercials but product names permanently affixed on the screen while the action is live. And to rub salt on the wound, they would flash another product name in the middle of the screen while the action is live, obscuring our view of the fighters! And while I’m at it, how about the TV coverage of basketball games, particularly the just-concluded NCAA and UAAP games? So the PBA board is instituting some new rules to make the games more exciting -- and to increase gate attendance, right? I suggest they first look into the manner by which the TV station covering the games operates. Perhaps the members of the board would want to watch the games on TV instead of at the venue. They will suffer the same fate TV viewers go through. Because of too many commercials in between time-outs that go beyond the time limit, we miss a lot of live action. And to pan the cameras on movie actors and politicians when the ball is live is exasperating. If I want to see actors and politicians, I'd watch a movie or go to Congress (I would not waste my time, though). But I watch the games to watch the games, period. I have no beef with the commentators; they are doing a good job. I just wish they would concentrate more on covering the live action than on statistics. And while I enjoy seeing the pretty faces of those girls reporting on the goings-on during team huddles, sad to say, the din in the background makes it hard for one to hear what they are saying. And, perhaps, they can talk a bit slower and not mimic the Americans? And while I am still at it, what about the cable TV providers? Cable TV is supposed to provide relief to the viewers bombarded by ads by commercial stations by not having advertisements. That is why we pay these cable providers a monthly fee, right? Don’t look now but our cable TV provider here in Parañaque, Cable Link, has insidiously inserted ads in some channels. And the Philippine Cable Television Association has the gall to complain about the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. group's mobile TV service. Calling the attention of the National Telecommunications Commission. -- Robert A. Hyndman, Parañaque City, Philippines (via e-mail)
IT hasn't been a week since the "Desperate Housewives" hoopla over a joke that was taken out of context. And yet, here we are again with the Cory Aquino reference in "The Daily Show." Before some journalist write an editorial about pitying Jon Stewart or the producers of The Daily Show, I feel compelled to once again shed some light on the CONTEXT of the satire. Before I start, please view the entire satirical skit if you haven't done so already. It's quite too common for people to get so riled up without even seeing the "offending" video. Now that you have seen it, let me shed some light to the context of this segment. The main character on the segment, "Samantha Bee," embodies the typical ignorant American who, at this point in time, still thinks America is not ready for a woman president. It is actually her character and what she represents that the piece is actually poking fun of, not Corazon Aquino. Now, let's see the supporting arguments for this. Near the opening of the segment, "Samantha Bee" interviews her feminist friend, the president of the National Organization of Women, on her take on whether America is ready for a woman president. We are shown her frivolous attitude by being more concerned about a dress than discussing the matter. We are then shown her discussing the same matter with her conservative friend, while satirically poking fun at the arguments presented on why America needs a male presidents (such as Jimmy Carter's sex appeal and the idea of a "nurturing" president). We then see the "high" opinion of this character when she was working on her laptop while a gynecologist examines her vagina. It is actually during this time when we see the images of three highly respected women leaders, one of which has enraged some Filipinos. It started with former Israel Prime Minister Golda Meir with the "Oy!" marking, which is obviously poking fun at her Jewish heritage. Then, the word "Slut" on the image of Corazon Aquino, and a photoshopped Margaret Thatcher exposing her vagina that is reminiscent of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. This, of course, is in reference to gossip blogs like Perez Hilton in style and an obvious lack of substance. It is this lack of substance that makes those references to the "Oy" and "Slut" markings and Margaret Thatcher exposing her vagina, succinctly depict the idiocy of the reader "Samantha Bee." Sure, it is tasteless but THAT IS THE POINT. It is supposed to be tasteless to show how idiotic "Samantha Bee" is and the ignorant people she represents. In fact, if you listen carefully while they are showing this fake gossip blog, she says "Other countries have had girl leaders for years. And while Golda Meir fended off Egypt, Corazon Aquino faced down dictators and Margaret Thatcher kicked out communismâs ass, still they are women." It is actually Corazon Aquino's courageous image in bringing down Marcos that is the reason why she was included in this skit. It was actually meant to praise her, together with Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher, as great examples of women leaders. How an ignorant and idiotic woman like "Samantha Bee" vilifying these women leaders, is really satirically shown as giving honor and admiration for these great women. Corazon Aquino should not feel insulted by such a gesture, but feel proud to be included in a group of noble women. She is indeed in good company. The final scene says it all when it said: "In the end, maybe the question isn't 'Is America ready for a woman president' but 'Is a woman president ready for America'". "Samantha Bee" then followed that up with "That doesn't make any sense," which is followed by a complete hosing down by "Samantha Jones" from "Sex and the City." It is at this point that it is clearly shown what they really feel about this "Samantha Bee" character and how idiotic and stupid she is. With the context of the satire laid out, it would probably make sense to view once again the "offending video". Yes, folks. It is not Corazon Aquino that is being attacked here. In fact, she should be proud for being included in this segment.
MR. Noynoy Aquino, I am sorry to hear you were offended about the jokes of "The Daily Show" where your mother was part of it. You must remember we live in a democratic country -- the United States of America where people are free to express their opinion. Masyado kang pikon. Actually your mom deserves that kind of joke because all the mess of our country started from the Aquino administration, bulok sa lahat na administration... You're lucky you were elected last election but if you run for president... no way... over my dead body. Shame on you! -- Lorimer Tubo, San Jose, California (via e-mail)
WHILE by culture it is shocking to see on national television lawmakers and supposedly highly respected professionals shouting and/or physically hitting each other in the middle of a heated debate, it has somewhat become acceptable to the general populace considering that it happened several times in other countries. But what becomes shameful is to realize that lawmakers are the ones breaking their own laws, with what happened in that so-called executive session in the Senate regarding Neri in connection with the NBN/ZTE scandal. Whoever is telling the truth, it is unfathomable to even think that some senators went down from their level by becoming so unethical and breaking a simple rule. Whatever the reason is, Sen. [Joker] Arroyo was right to discipline those who broke the rule and whether he is just being defensive or being upright, [the Senate] really has to find out who allowed these people to further break the rule. How can an ordinary civilian be expected to follow the law when those people [who are] highly regarded are the ones breaking it for whatever reason? Likewise, how can ordinary Juan feel secure with his privacy and to some extent his security when even in the Senate chamber, there is no security? What a shame further to note that these senators are now fighting literally instead of being one in knowing the truth regarding the scandal. They are professionals, highly educated, voted by most because of their credibility which includes their moral and ethical backgrounds, but what are they now and what will they be tomorrow? Anything new or any more surprises?
COMELEC Chair Benjamin Abalos' resignation was not an act of delicadeza but of desperation still for the administration's self-preservation. Efforts of some administration allies in the Senate fell short of quelling public interest in what has been dubbed as the NBN telenovela, hence the need for Abalos to sacrifice his leech-like holding on to power. Still, Abalos' resignation fails to squash growing calls for transparency and accountability for those involved in the NBN scam. He is just a maggot in an exposed can of worms. Moreover, Abalos, not CHED Chair Romulo Neri as earlier perceived, is now surfacing as the "real deal in the NBN deal." Secretary Neri only directed the blame to Abalos while he continues to invoke Executive privilege to save his post and his principal. Abalos, on the other hand, has nothing else to lose if he decides to tell all. -- Sarah Katrina Maramag, Vice Chairperson, Anakbayan, Quezon City, Philippines (via e-mail)
IF everything about the Philippine economy is as rosy as President GMA paints it (and as gushed over by American businessmen), why do polls consistently reveal that one out of every three Filipinos wants to leave the Philippines? And why does a recent study reveal that 30 percent of Filipino families "go hungry"? -- Perla Manapol, Newbury Park, California (via e-mail)