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Archive for September, 2007

Erap should stop using his sick mother as props

Posted by geronimonadal on September 30, 2007

erap.jpgThere is something terribly wrong about it. Erap, in an all consuming desire to continue to be relevant and in the political limelight, is using her sickly mother as props. I have nothing against close family ties but in this particular case, there is no doubt that Erap is using his mother’s frail condition to drum up the “underdog” image to further his political aims. This is sick. This is evil. No mother deserve this kind of treatment. There are limits to political opportunism and a sick mother who is almost on her deathbed is definitely one of them.

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Catholicism is the reason why RP remains Poor

Posted by geronimonadal on September 24, 2007

Why are we poor? Why is it that, inspite of our teeming natural resources, of our warm and intelligent and English-speaking people, of our strategic geographical location, and of our much vaunted democracy, we continue to be poor? How come we continue to be the “basket case of Asia” and a country of laggards? Why? We are poor because Catholicism is the predominant ideology in our country today. Catholicism is the single biggest cause of our underdevelopment because it is an ideology that imprisons the Filipino in a mindset that impedes, rather than promotes, development. What are some characteristics of this collective ideological mindset of the Filipino?

1. Attitude towards Self. The Filipino sees himself as a “sinner” and an imperfect person. And because of he is taught to hate himself and the world, he is constantly battling his demons, constantly checking and always punishing himself. This kind of perpetual war inside of him saps him of his energies and creativity. It makes him a docile person. A country of docile persons will not move.

2. Attitude towards the World. The Filipino sees the world as “evil” and therefore, hopes to “save himself” by escaping from it. Furthermore, the Filipino sees the world as a “vast entity in which irresistible forces manifest themselves”. This attitude breeds a people with escapist mentality and a sense of powerlessness. They do not consider themselves as the masters of their destinies but as victims (which they celebrate also).

3. Concept of Salvation. One’s concept of salvation is important because such concept defines the raison d’etre of life. Building on the attitude of the Filipino that the world is evil, “salvation” for the Filipino consists of “saving oneself from the world” and to prepare for the “world to come”. Development requires a concept of salvation that seeks to transform this present, real world so that there can be justice, freedom and abundance.

4. Attitude towards Life. The Filipino sees life as something that happens to him (not something that he can make happen). He is resigned to his fate or to the fate that God deigns him to have. (Bahala na ang Diyos).

5. Attitude towards Riches. The Filipino believes in the so-called “preferential option for the poor.” This attitude of exalting the poor makes the poor justified in their poverty (makes them laggards) and condemns the rich as “sinners”. Thus, no development happens. The poor are morally content to remain poor as Christ was poor, and the rich, harboring guilt feelings because they are rich, sees no need to make himself further rich.

Those are some of the reasons why we continue to be poor. And it is all because we are a predominantly Catholic country.

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Acoustic Jive Rocks!

Posted by geronimonadal on September 22, 2007

I was in the mood for some beer and music last night that I invited my wife to forego our usual Saturday night dinner (spaghetti na naman dear?) and explore the bar scene in Pasig. Our feet brought us to Bagaberde Bar in Pasig where a group called Acoustic Jive was playing. Led by its 2 main vocalists, Romy Jorolan and May Bayot, Acoustic Jive snatched us from what we expected to be the usual, so-so, ordinary gig to a compelling kick-ass musical experience. May’s own unique rendition of Sting’s “Message in a Bottle” and Romy interpretation of U2’s “With or Without You” really brought the house down. Acoustic Jive is one of the hidden jewels in the current band scene. Oozing with talent and originality, I think that it is only a matter of time that they will be discovered. As I was driving back home, I caught myself singing: “I am sending an SOS to the world. I am sending an SOS to the world…” Yes, I think that sums it. I am sending an SOS to the world: Acoustic Jive rocks!

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We Need Another Martial Rule

Posted by geronimonadal on September 21, 2007

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I am a martial law baby. I was four years old when martial law was declared in the Philippines by President Ferdinand E. Marcos. I can still hum and sing from memory parts of Bagong Lipunan song: “May bagong silang, may bago nang buhay…sa bagong lipunan. Magbabago ang lahat tungo sa pag-unlad. Ating itanghal: Bagong Lipunan.” Whenever I hum and sing said song, I feel a rush of patriotism and pride. I am proud to be a Filipino. No, I will not brush aside the atrocities and the human rights violations commited by the Marcos regime (the irony of it all is that one of the chief implementors of martial rule, Juan Ponce Enrile, is a senator of this Republic) but I will also not swallow hook, line and sinker that Martial Law was totally bad for our country. History is always logical by hindsight and the kind of path Martial Law took in our country was for the worse but in another time and given our learnings, the imposition anew of martial rule might be good for this country. Only this time, martial rule should be used to improve our economy, get rid of monopolies and fight crime. Human rights must be upheld at all times but some freedoms must be limited and regulated, especially the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression. We are an unruly people. We do not follow the law. Blood is thicker than water and everything else (how else do you explain the irrational attacks of Luli Arroyo on the hapless Joey De Venecia just to defend her father? do you see a possibility of Luli Arroyo, if confronted by overwhelming evidence that his father intervened and interfered in government contracts, denouncing his father? no way.) Power is the only currency as much as the Filipino is concerned. Wonder why the Filipino is law-abiding in other countries? Its because he or she has no power and when you are powerless , you better be obedient. Of course, martial law will not be good for our country if Gloria Arroyo is the President. She has lost all credibility and moral highground.

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The Art of Flirting

Posted by geronimonadal on September 20, 2007

Nampucha naman. Kahit pala sa pakikipaglandi-an may siyensya? Now I know why I haven’t been successful in this area. I have been doing it wrong all along: (1) I do not look them in the eyes; (2) I play hard to get or not interested and (3) I project myself as transparent and funny.
clipped from www.bbc.co.uk

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Luli Arroyo: Walang Modo

Posted by geronimonadal on September 19, 2007

luli2251.jpgAnd to think that I use to look up to Luli Arroyo as the one saving grace in the First Family. Instead of answering the question as to why the First Gentlemen was present during a ZTE-Abalos meeting in Wack-wack, Luli Arroyo launches into an ad hominem attack on Joey de Venecia, i.e. alluding to Joey’s past drug addiction. She used to have class, now she is just one of the Arroyo kids – arrogant, holier-than-thou and too naive to believe that their father (who is undoubtedly the padrino behind a lot of shady deals and corruption in government) can do no wrong. In debate, when one employs an ad hominem attack,i.e. attacking the person of the opponent instead of facing squarely the issues, it only means one thing: you do not have any rebuttal. Well, you know Luli, I would rather have a former drug addict who speaks the truth than you who seems to be so clean on the outside but full of vile and venom in the inside.

It is understandable for Luli to try to defend her father. Perhaps, what she should do is ask her father the truth rather than blindly parroting the line that her father does not interfere with the affairs of government. The only consolation that I have is the thought na hanggang 2010 na lang itong mga ito.

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Bakit Tila Walang Patid Na Pagnanakaw?

Posted by geronimonadal on September 19, 2007

images.jpegThe whole nation was glued to their TV monitors. Here’s a young man, no less than the son of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, speaking softly and deliberately his truth. He spoke of corruption, of bribery, and of being shocked at the audacity of the First Gentlemen and the COMELEC Chairman to bully him to withdraw from a huge government project. More importantly he spoke of his real intentions: he wants to see some reform in his lifetime or in his son’s lifetime.

In the middle of his stunning revelations, I found myself asking: why is there a seeming frenzy to bag juicy government contracts and get fat commissions quickly? I have long accepted the fact that total eradication of corruption in the Philippines is a long term goal and therefore I am open enough not to be shocked by some degree of corruption in government in the short term, but the present situation is overwhelming. Bakit parang bastusan na ito? A lot of pundits have put in their two cents worth on why there seems to be frenetic activities of corruption today. In my view, the answer might be simpler than those already advanced. Bakit tila walang patid ang mga pagnanakaw? It has been the fodder of rumor mills that Gloria and Mike are actually separated – separated de facto and that they are just waiting for the end of Gloria’s term to formalize it and live their separate (hopefully happy) lives. They have to put on the charade of a happy and intact family. Mahirap maghiwalay ngayon dahil Presidente pa si Gloria. Hindi daw maganda tingnan. Thus, there are two groups operating in Malacanang, each trying to bag separate deals for their respective principals. They know that 2010 is near and their principals need to amass their “retirement benefits”. Whereas in past administrations there was only one King and the rest of the “alipores” had to fight for the crumbs falling from the table, the separation de facto of Mike and Gloria has created a “two-king” scenario (both trying to outdo each other) at pinaghatian na ang mga kalakal ng gobyerno – kay Ma’am ito, kay Mike ito. The domestic problems of Gloria and Mike have monstrous ramifications. The breakdown of their household is threatening to lead to the breakdown of this country. Yan ang haka-haka ko. Sabi nga ni Occam – sa lahat ng mga sagot, ang pinakasimple at payak marahil ang tama.

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Unsolicited Advice to GMA

Posted by geronimonadal on September 18, 2007

I pity the President. After all these years of trying to recover from the Garci scandal and trying hard to keep the Philippines on track in its economic development and just when she is about to surmount the last remaining political challenges, Mike Arroyo spoils it all. I posit that the single biggest destabilizer of this government is Mike Arroyo and because he is the husband of the President, he pulls the President down with him. Mike is the cause of a lot of PGMA’s problems. Mike is a greedy moron who jumps at every opportunity to make a fast buck. Mike Arroyo is not solely PGMA’s problem though (of course and by hindsight, the fact that she married Mike several years ago should have brought to fore questions of Gloria’s judgment), it is ours as well. My unsolicited advice to the President: hiwalayan mo na yang si Mike at ipakulong iyan. Save your self. Save this country. Being married to him does not include answering for his sins or covering up for him. In any case, hiwalay na naman talaga kayo at pagkatapos ng 2010, hindi naman kayo magsasama. Iiwan ka naman talaga ni Mike, that’s why nagpa-fund-raising yan. Have pride naman, Madam President.

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Pardon or Amnesty?

Posted by geronimonadal on September 17, 2007

It seems to be another blockbuster movie in the making. Erap is convicted for plunder in the first instance. Jinggoy and Serapio is off the hook. Then Erap gets to be “pardoned” via the “amnesty” route. Erap is then freed to contemplate the remaining years of his life. PGMA cuts loose a political “sword of Damocles” that has threatened her rule for almost six years. As far as I am concerned, it looks like a good ending for Edsa II. At the end of the day, politics is about the art of the possible. Lahat puedeng pag-usapan. Of course, these comments are triggered by the pronouncements of Erap spokesperson Atty. Rufus Rodriguez that “former president Joseph Estrada is open to the idea of being granted amnesty, but he wants to see the ‘fine print’ of any such proposal first and wants it clear that acceptance does not signify guilt”

Now why would Erap want a “amnesty” and not a “pardon”. Well, perhaps we can start by distinguishing “pardon” and “amnesty”. Firstly, “pardon” is a private act of the President while “amnesty” is a public act which requires a Proclamation by the President and the concurrence of Congress. Thus, it will be a joint act of PGMA and Congress. Secondly, “pardon” is granted after final conviction while “amnesty” may be granted even before final judgment. Thirdly, “pardon” looks forwards and relieves the offender of the consequences of his offenses but his offense remains while “amnesty” looks backward and abolishes the offense itself as though the offender has not committed any wrong doing.

It is clear why Erap wants “amnesty” rather than “pardon”. Erap wants to regain his freedom and at the same time erase any stigma of being convicted. He wants to clear his name. Thus, amnesty, with its “cleansing” effect is the right formula. It is also clear why PGMA would rather have “amnesty” rather than “pardon”. If PGMA pardons Erap, she will be attacked by the anti-Erap forces since it is a private and personal act. However, if the amnesty route is taken, the grant (and the burden of justifying it to the people) is going to be shared by her and Congress. The criticisms and attacks would be diffused and also, aren’t the congressmen and senators the representatives of the people?

The question for the Filipino then is: are we ready to look the other way, grant Erap the privilege of declaring that he is innocent, not having committed any crime or offense, so that we can have some modicum of peace and stability in our country? Kaya na ba natin ito?, Talikuran at lunukin lahat ng sinabi natin, lahat na ginagawa natin, kasama ang pagpapatalsik kay Erap, para lang mapayapa ang ating bayan at maghilum ang malalim na hidwaan panlipunan. Kaya na ba natin?

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Is Faith Necessary for a Moral Life?

Posted by geronimonadal on September 16, 2007

I have been grappling with this question ever since. It became more relevant in the light of the publication of the diary of Mother Teresa of Calcutta wherein she expressed doubts about the existence of God: “In my own soul, I feel that God does not want me, that God is not God and that he does not really exist.” Despite these doubts, her “midnight of the soul”, Mother Teresa worked and committed herself to the poor. But what if Mother Teresa just accepted the fact that there is no God or that there is no sufficient proof that God exists? Would she have continued to serve the poor? Or was her service to the poor anchored on her belief in God? Would the quality of service to the poor be diminished by a lack of faith? Is it less noble? Is faith needed to love other people?

With more and more people coming out in the open and declaring that they do not believe in a “God” or in “intelligent design”, I think the question is proper. Those who believe in God argue that without faith, the world will be such a terrible place (of course, one can argue that, in fact, with all the beliefs that we have, the world is already a terrible place), that the only thing that keeps men and women from being selfish, or vicious or violent, to put it in another way, the only thing that makes persons virtuous or good, is their belief in a “God”. So the question is: would people be immoral or less virtuous if they do not believe in God? I think (not believe) that men and women can be moral, good and virtuous even without faith or even if they believe that there is no such being as “God”. Faith is not necessary for a moral life. In fact, it is faith or belief that has made this world a terrible place. Faith and religion (or rather the insistence that one’s faith or religion is the true faith or religion) has been the cause so much suffering in the world. As Albert Einstein once said: “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

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