Yet Another Shoutout for Inequality

26 02 2012

So apparently, women in the US would have gotten their blanket protection against violence if not for the introduction of the LGBT and immigration clauses?

Let me just get this right… does this mean women are protected so long as they’re not gay, and have the right papers to prove their citizenship.  Nice.

Wow…

 

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Jumping to Conclusions — Part 2

11 01 2009

So the verdict’s out, at least from Valley Golf and Country Club.  Delfin Dela Paz expelled, young Pangandamans banned, and Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman Sr. suspended for two years.  Apparently, the management, after having conducted a thorough internal investigation found out that it was indeed Delfin Dela Paz who started the ruckus when he poked Nasser Jr. with his folded umbrella, one which was open when the heated argument started, by the way.

Ok, I’ve heard so many people side with the dela Pazes after having read Bambee dela Paz’s heartwrenching blog entry.  Can’t blame them.  Even Ms. Lea Salonga apologized for jumping to conclusions right away “in fanning the flames without objectivity and the open ear to hear all sides of the story.

I don’t want to discount the possibility that there were some powerplay in the process of the investigation.  There will be people who will think that way automatically.  The people involved in the scuffle will also try to save face to their public.

With this, a multitude of lawsuits will fly from one side to the other.  But I guess we can now leave it to the (i pray!) incorruptible justice system.  We can probably refocus now on more important issues at hand, such as the RH bill, perhaps?  Or the Cha-Cha?

Perhaps, the most important lesson here is that we should never be too quick to judge.  Whatever the race, religion, sociopolitical and economic status, every person deserves his/her day in court.

Another thing to consider is the fact that blogging is very powerful.  While we do have the freedom to express ourselves, it’s best to exercise caution when we talk about other people.  It’s so easy to get heady in hitting those keys.





Jumping to Conclusions

8 01 2009

I wonder why people jump to conclusions far too quickly.  I first read about the melee at a golf course in Antipolo that the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform Nasser Pangandaman figured in from a tabloid.  Yep, I read the tabloids because I like my news unsanitized.  There’s something about this kind of journalism that pumps my blood.  But that’s another story.

So, I read, well, more of scanned, the story.  I wasn’t particularly interested in people fighting in some fancy place when there are lots of more interesting stories to read about, like Hayden Kho’s  homemade porn story for one–err–well, yeah, and a lot more.  Indeed the news about a DAR bigwig’s son who happens to be a mayor of a town in Mindanao accused of mauling someone in a clubhouse was a tad too distracting–not the kind of distraction that one would most likely appreciate on a holiday where everything is splashed with a frenzy of eating, catching up and lazing away.

Where was I? Oh, the messy golf fight.  And I thought they only do those messy ones in clubs not entirely related to golf.  Oh well.  So, I scanned the story.  And I figured, yeah, the Pangandamans did it.  Why?  They’re powerful.  They had bodyguards.  They had guns.  They did it.  They’re Muslims after all.

Then I see Mr. Delfin dela Paz sporting a seemingly rehearsed agonized look on TV every newsflash or two.  I cringe.  There’s something about this guy and with what he has been saying that simply don’t add up.

Then I see another glimpse of Sec. Pangandaman and his son.  Glimpse.  Because they didn’t really stay that long in front of the cameras.  Something about them made me want to know the three sides of the story: that of the Dela Pazes, that of the Pangandamans, and the truth.

So I read Bambee dela Paz’s heartwrenching blog entry.

The mayor of Masiu City, Lanao del Sur talks with my dad. Things get heated up. Voices were raised. But never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever imagine that someone would pull out a punch.  Apparently not [sic]. He attacks my father. His flightmates, maybe 2 or 3 of them, rush to his aid and beat up my father. My 56-year-old father. My younger brother and I could not just watch. We rushed to break the fight. My younger brother pleads to the mayor to please stop it. To not hurt my dad. To just stop. His words still ring through my head…”Sorry na po, sorry na po…tama na…tama na po…” With his hands in front of his chest in a praying position. PLEADING. The mayor socks him in the face. My brother defended himself. My dad is still on the ground getting clobbered. My brother is the same way. I try to stop the fight, but all I can do is stop one person. There were 4 or 5 of them attacking now.

Pretty telenovelaisc huh.  It sounds very persuasive.  So true.  So real.

There’s something about too much drama that puts me off, really.

Now, the other side of the story. As the writer of the blog entry said,

I am posting the incident that happened at the south course of Valley Golf and Country Club that fateful day of December 26, 2008 between the families of Pangandaman and dela Paz. But this is not Delfin’s and his children’s side; I am retelling the details of the incident here on behalf of the Pangandamans.

Not a first-hand account.  Not really reliable but it provided a significant piece of the puzzle.

And now the so-called recap from the so-called independent investigators of the case.

Look, I’m guilty of jumping into conclusions because the Pangandamans are moneyed, in power and Muslims.  I have always been quick to object when people tend to generalize Muslims as evil, bad and ill-mannered.  I come from a place where they live peacefully as traders.  In grade school, I was friends with kids who taught me languages that amused my parents at home.  We may have drifted apart because we lost contact through the years but I have none in my memory lane that can support the idea that they are not good people.  I have learned to respect those who are different from I am. But whether we admit it or not, we have been marred by society’s prejudice.  And so every now and then, I unconsciously succumb to the same prejudiced thinking. I don’t want to justify it but we are not entirely blameworthy.  The exploits of the Abu Sayyaf, the September 11 bombings in the US and all others are not really helping, are they?  But trust me, it’s not something that I am proud of and every time I can, I try to work on it because deep inside me I know that they do not have the monopoly of being bad.

Having said that, I believe we have just judged the Pangandamans right away because of that.  I’m sure no one would admit so.  I would.  I’m sure in one of those unguarded moments, most of us have either uttered or thought of something about them being guilty because they are Muslims.  Because Muslims can be really fierce–as if non-Muslims don’t get ferocious and reckless in the heat of the moment as well.

I’m not saying that they are not guilty.  But knowing that they have guns, small ones and big ones, and the fact that they practically outnumbered the dela Pazes, I can only surmise that the restraint that they summoned at that time is way beyond commendable.  I mean, let’s face it.  If they wanted to hurt the dela Pazes, they could have done more damage than what has been reported.  And if they wanted to hurt the dela Pazes, why did Hussein, Nasser Pangandaman Sr.’s other son suffer serious injuries as well? They were obviously with their so-called goons.  So why didn’t they let them do the dirty work?  I was moved at the fact that he got involved in the scuffle when the older dela Paz poked his brother with an umbrella.

Come to think of it, the 14-year-old dela Paz hit Hussein with a driver.  If it were in defense, it wouldn’t have fractured the latter’s hand.  And this Bambee girl who has become an overnight sensation because of her tearjerker of a blog entry, didn’t she figure in the fight as well?  Yeah, she defended her dad but how come they never asked the people around them for help?  Or just pull her dad out with all her might?  Or shield him with her own body?  Come on, the normal first move for someone’s companion who has been allegedly mauled is to try to stop the fight, scream or even go between the assailant and the loved one.  Something simply does not add up.  And her story, albeit really poignant the first time you read it, has far too many holes in it.

I am annoyed at how the ages of the older dela Paz and his son are seemingly used to portray them as the underdog.  A 14-year old kid with a good swing is not entirely incapable of doing any damage.  We’ve heard of 8 year olds and 11 year olds who go on shooting frenzy and kill many of their friends in school in cold blood.  I have 8 nephews and nieces.  I know what kids younger than 14 can do.  My mom’s 71.  She still kicks my ass in a lot of things.  My dad, at 74, in his paralyzed condition can still make me feel bad about a million and one things.  And 5-10 years ago, he was still a “terror” in some ways.

But really, what did the golf course’s security people and management do?  I’m sure they didn’t expect such a ruckus to ensue but hey, in this day and age, anything can happen, like wives in their housedresses who storm in with knives from the other side of the fence, for instance.

It’s so easy to say that the Pangandamans have the moral ascendancy because they are public figures.  The same way we look disapprovingly at celebrities who do not smile at their fans after a long day of film shoot, or get annoyed at paparazzi.  The same way we look disapprovingly at clergymen who show some weaker human sides.  Just because they have certain labels and positions in public does not mean they have lost their humanity.  Of course hurting other people is bad, whether one is a public figure or not.  All I’m saying is, nobody’s perfect and as much as we want everybody to be close to perfection, there are certain reactions and stimuli that we simply can’t control all the time.

I want to know the truth.  I may lean towards the Pangandamans now but I still want to know what really happened.  And when the dust clears, I want to see the right thing done.

Yeah, I got hooked on this sappy melodrama as well.  And no, it doesn’t really affect me directly.  However, the idea that every now and then I jump into conclusions because of my own biases or whatnots bothers me a whole lot.  It tells me of the kind of influence my surroundings has on me.  And looking at it from a different angle, it really doesn’t look too nice.





Books, Conspiracy Theories and Cynics

19 06 2008

I always encourage my nephews and nieces and any kid that I get to talk to to read. I am pretty sure it’s the only sure route to a million and one destination. I have always been a voracious reader. There’s something about a book that makes me really happy. I’m talking about the good old book that feels really good to the hands. While I read electronic versions of Harry Potter and controversial pieces, there’s something really romantic about the hardcover books, or even the paperbacks. So where am I leading? Conspiracy theories that’s what. Reading far too many of them has somehow made me really cynical about life. Well, in some respects, I think it has also awakened the realist in me but let’s go back to conspiracy theories, assassinations, doubles, espionage, charades, staged events and whatchamacallits.

Still vague, huh?

Well, I’ve been following the Ces Drilon and company drama ever since it was just whispered in some small circles here and there. And with the media coverage that it’s been getting (hello! That’s Ces Drilon!), I couldn’t help but watch the events unfold. I must admit, I never really doubted its authenticity when it first rolled but I got really turned off by the unabashed politicking that squeezed the life out of the story. I was breathless when Angelo Valderama, the assistant camera guy, was released although I thought it was weird that they had to make people believe that it was him who was huddled in that car with the lady vice governor when it wasn’t him. The swagger of the two Isnajis was a major flipper. Their involvement, notwithstanding the fact that their proximity made it their game, really got me thinking about a lot of things. And then when Ces and Jimmy Encarnacion, her cameraman, were released with Jimmy wearing a Love ko Si Mayor pink shirt, I got all the more cut. Of all the shirts that he could have been made to borrow!

And now the rumor mills are at it again. People say it was a farce. That it was staged! Are we that low now?

And is Loren Legarda that big a negotiator for her to add the Drilon and Company kidnapping incident to her list of feats? Not to mention she did this last in the comforts of her office in Luzon? Well, she did have a few people down south to do the legwork for her. But still!

Look, I’m not pointing fingers at anybody. I’m sure you couldn’t fake grief. I feel for their families. Going through something like that is never a breeze. One thing’s for sure. Drilon said so herself. There’s something about the place where they were held captive that drives people to do what they do. The government really has to do something about it. On top of graft and corruption, rice crisis, inflation, gas madness and whatever the hell else.

Let this be a reminder to everyone of us.  Nothing is worth risking our lives for.  Nothing.  And definitely nothing is worth risking other people’s lives for.





Coke Anyone? Juicy Tales from the Online Rumor Mill

15 03 2008

If you haven’t heard/read about it yet, then you must have been nursing a Jun Lozada fever still.  For some who have been fed up with all the heady (no pun intended) theatrics, the latest catfight online is a welcome distraction.  Beautiful release, Ms. MacLachlan? 

I’m talking about the whole Brian Gorell vs. Delfin Justiniano “DJ” Ocampo and the whole “Gucci Gang” hooplah that overpower the much hyped about Sergio-MariMar wedding, Lobo’s much-awaited transformation, Leo San Miguel’s not so surprising surprise, and the widely monitored Clinton-Obama race.  As Le Superstar Fabuleux Bryan put it, it’s “bigger than the Edison Chen scandal in Hong Kong.”  That’s quite something considering the last one’s really huge too!  I almost forgot Governor Spitzer’s major mishap!  Move over Ashley, we’ve got a new star.

I actually just stumbled upon it by accident.  A few clicks here and there later, it unfolded before my very eyes.  It’s sad for shallow gossipy me to have missed the Comments section of the now uber-popular resurrected blog but what I have read pretty much gave me a clearer picture of the whole hubbub.

Let me try to sum up the now much talked about scandal.  Brian Gorell, a man from Down Under, created a blog in (dis)honor of his ex-lover Delfin Justiniano “DJ” Ocampo Montano II.  He dissed the guy and his friends because the ex-boyfriend allegedly still owes him $70,000.  He said in his blog that he won’t stop until he gets his money back.  Now what’s shocking, other than the staggering amount of money, is that the blog talks bad about people move around in Manila’s party scene far more frequently than the rest of us mere mortals.  They, the Gucci Gang, according to the blog, are the young set of the Manila alta sociedad.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Celine Lopez (Philippine Star writer and daughter of former solons Albertito and Emily Relucio-Lopez), Marcel Crespo (Lopez’s ex-fiance and Mark Jimenez’s son), Wendy Puyat-Hotung (a swimwear designer), Tina Tinio (a L’Oréal executive) and Tim Yap (another party animal and entrepreneur).

Everyone loves a juicy tale.  Well, not in huge doses and snorts(!) but every now and then, we lurvvv it.  Schadenfreude after all, is a guilty pleasure.  But this one’s wild!  Not only does it talk nasty of a love affair gone sour, it also talks of the massive and reckless use of cocaine.  If it were to be taken in without question, it will definitely crush to pieces what remnants of reputation these people have left.

A few days ago, the blog was closed but it went live again sans the comments section because apparently it got nuked because of that.  Not that they can’t touch it now.  I mean anything is possible ’round here.  Hell hath no fury than a woman (and the like) scorned indeed but by golly, it gets really uglier by the minute!  Brian Gorell is HIV positive, by the way.  He said so himself.  He claims to have given up his farm in Australia and a lover of 20 or so years.  But he’s back there.  I am not sure how he’s getting on though.  I have one word for him.  Thailand.  The others?  I’m not really sure.  All I know is that they’re getting their share of the limelight one at a time.  And I’m sure they don’t like it this time.  I wonder if ABS-CBN will run this story if this blows.  Or PhilStar.  Tim Yap has been very visible in GMA but I don’t think he’s got that kind of power on the news and public affairs turf.  Gorell said the blog will close as soon as DJ Montano pays up.  I wonder when he’ll post the Western Union receipts.  That should somehow make a case.  This drama marathon is addictive in coke-like proportions!  LOL. 

Sniff.  Snort.  Aaah!

Before the blog closes again, you can check it out here.

Qué horor! Qué barbaridad!





Of Politics and Genealogy: US Edition

7 03 2008

My friend, Todd, never runs out of interesting genealogy-related posts. So I grabbed another interesting one. Everything after this sentence is taken from his blog.

US Presidential Family Trees

There is always a resurgence of genealogical interest every election season in the United States. In the past, genealogists believed that the presidential candidate with the most number of royal connections, ergo the “most royal” of all the aspirants, almost always wins the election.

Another angle to look at is the diversity of the family connections of a presidential candidate. This early on, using the references of online genealogical databases, let us examine who among Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain has the political, social, and royal pedigree.

Part I: BARACK OBAMA

Barack Obama, one of the two Democratic contenders for the presidency, is perhaps, among the three candidates, the most genealogically diversed. His bloodline consists of Luo (Kenyan), English, German, Irish, Welsh, and smattering of French and Dutch ancestries. His pedigree shows different groups of people spanning several generations from different places. (Click here to see his pedigree chart).

Obama’s Kenyan ancestry is sketchy, and is traced only through the male line. (Click here for a diagram of his Kenyan ancestry.) Much of his known family tree is through his maternal side, and it is here that we find many interesting relations to the senator.

Obama could count at least two royal ancestors: William I “the Lion”, King of Scotland, and Henry II of England. He is related to at least six US Presidents: Jimmy Carter (half 7th cousins three times removed), Harry Truman (7th cousins three times removed), the 2 George Bushes (10th cousins once and twice removed, respectively), Woodrow Wilson (husband of Obama’s 6th cousin five times removed), and James Madison (3rd cousin nine times removed). He is also a ninth cousin once removed of Vice-President Dick Cheney. He has several relative lawmakers and Supreme Court Justices, as well.

But Obama’s ancestry is not limited to political personalities. He is a 7th cousin four times removed of renowned artist Georgia O’Keefe, and his eighth cousin once removed, Elizabeth H. Richardson, was married to novelist Ernest M. Hemingway. Another relative is Gordon B. Hinkley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Theodore N. Vail, founder of AT&T, is a sixth cousin four times removed, while banker JP Morgan is a 7th cousin four times removed.

Other interesting relations of Senator Obama are actors: Margaux Hemingway, his 9th cousin; Superman Christopher Reeve, a 7th couin twice removed, and Katharine Hepburn, a 7th cousin thrice removed, and Brad Pitt is a 9th cousin. Even Justin Timberlake is Obama’s 11th cousin! A truly interesting approach to American politics.

Part II: HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Interestingly, Senator Clinton’s ancestry is also as colorful as Obama’s, though not as diverse as his. While Obama’s relatives include people from the arts, politics, banking and finance, business, the Mormon church, and even royalty, Clinton’s are more concentrated on two areas: politics and the arts. (Click here for Clinton’s pedigree chart)

Her political relatives include Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien of Canada. Other than these two popular Canadian politicians, most of Hillary’s more popular relatives are from the entertainment industry. Shania Twain is her 9th cousin three times removed, Celine Dion is her 10th cousin once removed, Alanis Morissette is her tenth cousin, while Madonna and Clinton are 10th cousins. Three very interesting notes on Hilary’s genealogy: her royal antecedents are supposed to be the Kings of Navarre, but there are no exact evidences for that; she is also a 10th cousin of Camila Shand, the Duchess of Cornwall and wife of Prince Charles; and, finally, actor Jon Voight is the husband of Marcheline Bertrand [and father of Angelina Jolie], Hillary’s 9th cousin once removed.


Part III: JOHN McCAIN

McCain’s antecedents are not as glamorous and diverse as Obama’s and Clinton’s. In fact,John McCain’s genealogy (for the time being) has only been traced to reveal two interesting people: one, to King William I “the Lion”, King of Scotland, who is McCain’s direct ancestor, and Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, who happens to be a sixth cousin of Senator John McCain. (Click here for McCain’s pedigree chart).

In a world where political victories and losses are not as easily predicted as surveys are paraded and believed to be, looking at a candidate’s ancestry sometimes tells us who among the candidates is the strongest.

It is interesting to note that Obama and McCain share a common descent from King William of Scotland, and that Obama and Clinton are relatives by affinity because Obama’s cousin, Brad Pitt, married Angelina Jolie, the daughter of Jon Voight, Hillary’s cousin.

The fight between Hillary and Obama will be long and hard, considering that both have strong royal bloodlines and, while Obama have many US Presidential relatives, Clinton’s two Canadian Prime Minister cousins Trudeau and Chretien are two of the modern times’ most influential. And, between them are [sic] a plethora of singers and actors and actresses, each of whom have made an impact to the world.

Whoever wins in the Democratic race will ultimately face McCain who, while not having as many famous relatives as Obama and Clinton, certainly has the right relationship to incumbent George W. Bush, as well as also a royal descent from William of Scotland. It would seem that this November would be a face-off between Obama and McCain, both of whom are related to the Bushes and both sharing a common descent from King William of Scotland.

_____________________

This article is based on several online genealogies of the three candidates, the most comprehensive of which is http://www.wargs.com/political.





Is Romulo Neri Gay?

19 02 2008

God knows how many gay people I have in my posse.  Needless to say, I have always had high respect for people who have gotten out of the closet to be true to themselves and to others.  But I can only sympathize with those who find it hard to come to terms with their sexuality.  The Philippines is laden with misguided moralists and homophobes who blame whatever misfortune that befall on their families on their gay family members.  Talk about miseducation. 

As my college history professor said, the hardest thing to change in people is the mentality.  The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders while the World Health Organization reclassified it from being a mental illness to ego-dystonic homosexuality.  But people still pray that gay guys and girls will get well!!! Why, one actress even gave a testimony in her church about how their family was happy when her cousin recovered from homosexuality!  And this lady graduated from UP for crying out loud.  Well, I do know a lot of chauvinist and homophobic UP alumni.

Anyway, the senate hearings have hinted that there is (was?) a special friendship between former NEDA chair Romulo Neri and former Philforest president and ZTE scandal whistleblower Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr.  Former COMELEC Chair Benjamin Abalos also speculated on what kind of relationship the two had.  Now Senator Jamby Madrigal threatened to expose Neri’s personal secrets.  Could there be a homosexual undertone in all these? 

Regardless of whether Neri’s gay or not, no one has the right to condemn him or even maliciously high-hat him because of it.  Whatever happened to human rights?  Are they a special provision for extrajudicial killing victims?  Why am I not surprised?  This world, after all, is heavily tinted with the glass of double standards. 

Which leads me to wonder, could this be Malacañang’s hold over Neri? When there’s smoke, there’s fire but please spare me the drama. Spare the Filipinos the theatrics and the hystrionics that this gut-wrenching soap opera has spewed on a daily basis. We need to know the truth but can’t we have another Clarissa Ocampo or Emma Lim? And please, don’t let one’s sexual orientation and preference get the spotlight.