Petty Aquinos

Last Friday, two out of twelve convicts in the Aquin0-Galman double-murder case were released after their sentences were commuted by Malacanang.

My heart has always bled for these men.  Having served as a prison volunteer in the past, I met the news with much happiness and relief.

Whether or not they killed Ninoy is now out of the question.  They have suffered long enough and they have always shown remarkably virtuous behavior under incarceration.  Their kids grew up without a father, their families struggled in pain.

Rolando de Guzman, 0ne of the freed convicts, was already bedridden after suffering from four strokes.  I was teary-eyed while watching videos of him being brought of jail on a stretcher.  Felizardo Taran, the other guy, was likewise sickly.

But Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, speaking on his family’s behalf, condemned the move “in the strongest possible terms”.  He accused President Gloria Arroyo of “petty vindictiveness” for the commutation.  Noynoy contends that it was meant “to increase the hurt” and as “a way to get back” at their family’s anti-administration stance.

It escapes me why Cory Aquino and her kids Continue reading “Petty Aquinos”

Legalize Marijuana

michaelphelps

So, Michael Phelps, that guy who won eight gold medals in the Beijing Olympics, the most in human history, was caught on photo in an apparent act of smoking pot.

The photo (which I am not posting here out respect for him) was met by mixed reactions of disappointment, dismay, and puzzlement.  For why would a legendary athlete, who has the world on his hands and history on his side, resort to Marijuana?

Michael did not disown the picture and in an admirable fashion atypical of real drug users (like the Philippines’ Alabang Boys), he says: Continue reading “Legalize Marijuana”

NO to beauty pageants… and political invocations

bb-pp2

Not once, but twice!

As with the past years, at least two beauty pageants are touted as highlights of the 2009 Pamulinawen Festival. The Search for Ms. ABC (Association of Barangay Councils) was held on February 4 at the Centennial Arena while the Search for Ms. Laoag is slated on February 10 at the same venue.

More mature societies have already shunned the idea of the traditional beauty pageant. Radical feminist groups, in particular, have lambasted beauty tilts as a form of exploitation of women and the perpetuation of a patriarchal concept of human aesthetics.

For what is a beautiful person? Organizers, of course, harp on the idea that beauty comes from within, blah, blah. But the competition criteria belie this. The minimum height requirement is 5’3”. Plus, you must look good in a swimming suit and, ergo, you must have a softdrink-bottle-shaped physique.

Such pageants, of course, would claim that they promote beauty with a purpose. This is why they are known for tokenism as well, which means doing something in a highly visible manner, though with almost-zero impact. Continue reading “NO to beauty pageants… and political invocations”

Obama finally calls up Malacañang

obama_on_phone

After ignoring Malacañang for quite a while (leading to the hallucination of Eduardo Ermita), US President Barack Obama finally calls.  With a warm and jovial voice, he says…

May I speak with that small-but-great Filipina who is the pride of all Filipinos?

(The Philippine president goes kilig-to-the-bones, blushes, and then uses her phone’s loudspeaker so everybody, including the media, could hear the conversation.)

Continue reading “Obama finally calls up Malacañang”

Pretentious & meaningless, Pamulinawen Festival kicks off

St. William the Hermit, Patron of Laoagueños, did not exactly relish fiestas
St. William the Hermit, Patron of Laoagueños, did not exactly relish fiestas.

The revelry leading to the February 10 Feast Day of St. William, patron of the city, begins today.

The Laoag City Fiesta I have grown up to know was simple, dry, and forgettable.  There were strings of parades, yes, but with very little  fanfare.  Then until now, the main attraction is a karnibal, which is not even 1/1000 as good as Enchanted Kingdom, located under the Gilbert Bridge.  There, I remember going to freak shows of sirena (mermaid), babaeng ahas (lady snake), babaeng pusit (lady squid), and other human beings whose physical deformities have been exploited in cash ‘s name. Continue reading “Pretentious & meaningless, Pamulinawen Festival kicks off”

Why the National Anthem must precede invocations

Illustration by Ronaldo "Ronmac" Macalma, my student and favorite cartoonist
Illustration by Ronaldo "Ronmac" Macalma, my student and favorite cartoonist

Yesterday, your  karikna was invited to speak in a seminar-workshop in the University.  As the Opening Prayer came before the Philippine National Anthem, yet again, I was reminded of this article written (and sent to me) by Manuel Quezon III, explaining why it should go the other way instead.  Quezon III–grandson  of the illustrious Philippine Commonwealth president–is a journalist, political pundit, and historian.


Country first always

WHICH should come first in a public ceremony: an invocation, or the national anthem? To any Filipino before the 1990s, the answer would have been as simple as it would have been instinctive: obviously national anthem first, then invocation. This was the way it was always done; this is the way it is done elsewhere. Even the Vatican City State has a national anthem, and the Pope stands at attention at the playing of the anthem of his state with that of any state he happens to visit, and only afterwards proceeds to invoke God and bless the people, after the state rituals have been concluded. This is the way things should be. But somewhere along the line, and I believe it began only within the last decade and a half, things have changed in our country. Continue reading “Why the National Anthem must precede invocations”