Piolo the anti-gay

But first let me greet Cleng and Karmina. Nope, not Carmina who married the pre-Bebe Gandanghari Rustom Padilla, but Karmina Krenz Fagaragan Undonero who works at the Communication and Media Office of the Ilocos Norte Capitol. She and my dear kumare Clenntroy “Cleng” Guzman Magbual, also from the same office, are among the new breed of government employees striving to make a difference in the service. Efficient, hardworking, honest, and committed, these two women, only in their early twenties, show that there is a bright future for the bureaucracy if we get the right people and provide them with appropriate training.

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Now let’s talk about Piolo who continues to trend in social networking sites after her ex-girlfriend KC Concepcion, in an interview with fellow kalbo Boy Abunda, talked about their breakup. Her words were controlled and tempered but they revealed meanings even the dumbest of human beings could get. Facebook and Twitter users made explicit what KC didn’t on national TV: Piolo “Peejay/Papa P” Pascual, Philippines’ phenomenal male heartthrob, is gay.

I should be saying it’s not an issue and that we should leave the man alone. But no, it is an issue, not only because Piolo is a celebrity and thus a public property, but because the beefcake himself made it a sizzling issue.

A few years ago, Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby missed a shot at greatness when they sued Lolit Solis for libel when she insinuated in her column that the two may be lovers. The hunky actors went ballistic over Solis when they could have simply said, “we would not mind being gay, but just that we are not.” Piolo and Sam denounced Solis’ insinuations as if being gay debases human dignity. That incident defined for me how Piolo views homosexuality—that it is shameful, dishonorable, malicious.

The issue of Piolo’s homosexuality died down in recent years, although there are occasional write-ups and blind items about his alleged trysts with actors like Yul Servo, now a Manila councilor, and crooner Mark Bautista who is believed to be the third party in the Piolo-KC romance. But the stir created by the girl’s subtle revelations, I am sure, would leave a permanent dent on Piolo’s persona. To the uninitiated, the next paragraph sums up the megadaughter’s tearful discourse. Continue reading “Piolo the anti-gay”

‘Babaeng bakla’

OK, I’m writing about her again, and at the risk of being suspected as a paid PR.  But what can I do?  I am a fan.

Besides, it’s enough that God knows how much I value my integrity as a writer.  Never have I asked nor accepted payment, monetary or otherwise, for anything I write in this space.  Without rendering judgment on those who engage in it, journalistic prostitution is not my cup of tea.  I am young, and, when you are young, you are always idealistic, unless of course you are a juvenile delinquent or a Sangguniang Kabataan official, whichever is worse.

The last time I met Imee Marcos was in May prior to the elections.  During a barangay tour in Laoag, she spoke at a lightning rally incidentally held in front of our house.  Posing for a souvenir photo with my parents, Imee noticed my mom’s garden and told us of her love of plants.  Gloria, our househelp, was not to be outdone.  She approached Imee to say “thank you.”  Luzviminda, Gloria’s daughter, finished college as a Scholar ni Imee.  “Kumusta na si Luz?,” asked the then gubernatorial candidate.  “Nakapagtrabaho na po siya, at may anak na,” Gloria replied.  “Ang tanda ko na pala, may mga anak na ang mga scholars ko,” Imee replied, sounding pensive.

That, dear karikna, was the last time, but I manage to keep track of Manang Imee.  I am lucky to know some Capitol insiders who attest to the remarkable work ethic of the lady whose age I mistakenly put at 58 in a previous column.  (She’s actually younger, a bit.)  Ferdinand and Imelda’s eldest child is said to work long hours and is meticulous on how things get done.  True to her campaign promise, the gobernadora is determined to create more jobs here in the province where, as with the rest of the country, unemployment and underemployment figures remain high.  I am very confident that Imee will deliver.  In fact, I tell my students in the university, especially those in the lower years, that they are luckier than their seniors because more jobs would have been generated in the province when they graduate.

Yes, Imee is a hard worker, but not the nerdy type. Giselle Sanchez, in her Manila Bulletin column Gossip Girl, wrote about Miss Marcos’s lighter side in an article titled, “A birthday tribute to the original ‘babaeng bakla’.”  Sanchez attended the Princeton-educated governor’s birthday celebration here in the province last week.

“You know the saying that there’s a thin line between genius and insanity? Imee is a genius but once she cracks her witty one-liners, you are going to go insane,” the comedienne revealed.  She then went on to share what she considered as “the top 10 unforgettable quotes of Miss Imee Marcos,” to wit: Continue reading “‘Babaeng bakla’”

Defending the bakla

I AM OUTRAGED, dear karikna, with the recent rejection of Ang Ladlad’s bid for party-list accreditation. This is the second time the group, which is at the forefront in advancing the rights and welfare of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBT), is denied the right to be represented in congress.

In 2007, the Comelec ruled that Ang Ladlad did not have a national constituency and was thus undeserving to be accredited. This led me to write to Chairman Benjamin Abalos, and to members of the Comelec Second Division, composed of Commisioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Rene Sarmiento, and Florentino Tuazon, the three medieval musketeers who rejected the LGBT group’s participation in the polls.

The letter, which I personally delivered to their offices at the Comelec National Headquarters in Intramuros, thus read…

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Dear Chairman Abalos,

First, let me say thank you for your intention to make this year’s elections, the last one under your watch, fair, honest, credible, and safe.

I am a registered voter of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Region I – Ilocos region, and this is to make a manifestation of my being a part of Ang Ladlad Party’s constituency which the COMELEC Second Division found questionable.

In the Division’s resolution dated February 27, 2007, it was stated that contrary to Ang Ladlad’s claims, “reports from our field offices reveal that it doesn’t exist in most regions of the country.” I am not privy to the manner by which your field staff conducted their verification process, but your records show that Ang Ladlad has no constituency in Region 1-Ilocos Region, please add my little voice to those of other citizens who have already stood up for Ang Ladlad’s accreditation as a party-list group. I know that an appeal is in order, and I pray that this manifestation is considered for all its worth.

Let me note that the constituency of a Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) group is a sensitive and tricky issue. Because of pervading prejudices, broadcasting one’s homosexuality is not as convenient as standing up as a woman, youth, laborer, peasant farmer,or any entity belonging to other marginalized and underrepresented sectors. This suggests that we go beyond a simplistic yardstick of constituency in determining Ang Ladlad’s worthiness for party-list accreditation. I am a very private person, and I would always rather keep my sexual persona to myself and the people close to me. Recent developments however demand not silence and passiveness, but courage against—and compassion for—those who continue to decide not to understand. And so this humble letter.

May the political representation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders be a part of the Abalos legacy in our electoral history, in particular, and our national life, at large.

Thank you for your attention.

*****

Unfortunately, the Comelec en banc upheld the thoughtless judgment of the Second Division, and Abalos is best remembered today for the NBN-ZTE scandal, and for the Hello Garci controversy.

But Ang Ladlad is not a group that is easily disheartened. It strengthened its presence in all regions in preparation for the 2010 polls. There is no way the Comelec can now claim that the group has no national constituency.

However, Comelec is denying, yet again, accreditation to Ang Ladlad, this time on grounds of immorality.

*****

The Pahayagang Malaya hit the spot right in an editorial published November 16. Part of it reads:

Homosexuality is now a contagious moral and spiritual disease from which our youth need to be quarantined?’

The Commission on Elections decision last Friday denying accreditation to the Ang Ladlad is the very proof that gays and lesbians are so marginalized they need to be represented in Congress.

They are discriminated against on the basis of their sexual preferences. They are powerless against the dominant culture that classifies them as aberrations of nature. They are victims of beliefs that treat them as moral misfits.

The Neanderthals in the Comelec, in effect, disenfranchised a class of citizens on the basis of a set of prejudices.

The grounds cited by the Comelec second division are laughable.

“Should this Commission grant the petition, we will be exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to our faith,” it said.

It then gratuitously added that homosexuality is against Christianity and Islam.

Are Christianity and Islam now state religions that citizens who do not subscribe to their tenets should be stripped of their right to be voted into office? There is no religious test for running for office. This follows from the doctrine of separation of state and church. Let’s not confuse a sin with a crime. Gays and lesbians certainly have not committed any crime that would disqualify them from forming a political organization by preferring their own sex.

“As an agency of the government, ours too is the State’s duty… under the Constitution to protect our youth from moral and spiritual degradation,” the Comelec said.

Accrediting a party, which is fighting against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, leaves our youth open to moral and spiritual degradation? What drivel is this? Homosexuality is now a contagious moral and spiritual disease from which our youth need to be quarantined?

Homosexuality, if we understand the Catholic doctrine correctly, is not a sin although acts are. These old farts at the Comelec are trying to be more popish than the Pope.

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This Nicodemo Ferrer added insult to injury by saying that there are already a lot of gays in Senate and congress, and, ergo, no more need for party-list representation. He is probably right, and I say gays are abound in all other institutions, including the media, the church, the academe, and even the military. But that LGBT’s in these institutions cannot “ladlad” on fear of discrimination and prejudice is the issue.   Otherwise, Ferrer could have named names.  Truth to tell, many “closet gays” are gay bashers par excellance.

Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby missed a shot at greatness when they sued Lolit Solis for libel a few years ago when the latter insinuated in her column that the two may be lovers.

The two hunky actors went ballistic over Solis when they could have simply said, “we would not mind being gay, but just that we are not.” Instead, Piolo and Sam denounced Solis’ insinuations as if being gay debases human dignity. All muscles, no substance.

*****

Hello to Daryl Velasco, a Legal Management student of Divine Word College of Laoag, who expressed to me his discontent over the Comelec’s rejection of Ang Ladlad. Outraged by the election body’s reasoning (or the lack of it), he vowed to join the struggle for the emancipation of the Filipino gay against stereotypes and prejudice.

Now is the time to come out. Now is the time to unite. Now na.

‘Gaying’ the Sayamedy: Andrei’s initiation to off-taste humour

(Allow me to share with you this work of Ianree Raquel, my intellectual amiga in the university.  I was there when this “Sayamedy” happened, and I was squirming in my seat.  Right there and then, I decided to write on this outrage.  But Aian wrote about it instead, and I could not have done a better job.  Read on… )

“You want to find yourself? Try humor.”

 

The author
The author

WITH ANDREI, a four-year-old boy I have come to call my own son, I entered through the side door of the Teatro. Seeing the Teatro filled with students gave me a nostalgic feeling, reminding me of not-so-long-ago when I performed, debated, rehearsed, or simply acted as a good audience in this hall, famed for its egg-tray sound-proofing. “Say, ‘May I pass’,” I told Andrei as we made our way through the crowd. I have earlier asked one of my students to reserve front seats for us. “I’ll be with my son. I need a good view,” I pleaded.

Continue reading “‘Gaying’ the Sayamedy: Andrei’s initiation to off-taste humour”