11 09 2013

It was one lazy evening spent drinking with friends.  TV was just playing in the background.   All of a sudden, CNN flashed some breaking news about one airplane crashing into one of the World Trade Center towers. And then another one crashed into the other tower.  Whatever degree of drunkenness I had that evening dissipated as I sat down transfixed on the TV.

Devastated was an understatement of how I felt.

2,996 deaths.

Have we become so enamored with power that we could easily kill another just to keep it?  Can we no longer take not being agreed with? Have we become so desensitized that another person’s life to us no longer carries as much value?

It’s been 12 years today but we are in no way closer to achieving peace than we were back then.  I am not in the US but remembering the events that unfolded from that day on still breaks my heart.  I am in the Philippines where war has lost its novelty.  I hail from the south where bombs explode and it only makes the local news.  It is sad that our wars are mostly internal.  Today, people in Zamboanga City fear for tomorrow.  At any given time,  someone could die and it could them. For what? Brothers fighting brothers for reasons all feudal but dressed differently.  Does it justify anything?


As nothing makes sense to me and as hope changed its name to chance, I can only whisper a prayer to my God.  Let there be peace on Earth.  And let it indeed begin with me.


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.

Scripted and Rehearsed!

17 02 2008

Lozada got me.

Well, at least on the day he came out and spoke to the press.

But the magic wore off. Perhaps his tears washed away what iota of credibility I gave him credit for. His hidden arrogance looms its ugly head every time he talks down on the government albeit cloaked by the frocks of the church. The long hours he spent in the senate hearing made his act corny and quite annoying, in fact. Yep, to me, it is all an act–orchestrated by people whose love for the country has been a mere facade to a bludgeoning and uncontrollable ambition.

Over dinner, my mom and I got into an uncomfortable tiff. The local news was airing and it was nauseatingly all about Lozada and at almost every juncture, I was spitting expletives, disagreement and ridicule—in that order. Midway, my mom just said, “You are so pro-Gloria.”

First off, that’s President Arroyo, not Mrs. Arroyo, Mr. Vice President. Second, I am not pro-Gloria. When I marched and crusaded against then President Estrada’s regime, I did not for even once think that ousting the man means putting the diminutive and pixie lady on the throne. Apparently, that’s the political reality. That’s the way the constitutional succession works. It was further upheld by a Supreme Court ruling. I will not even bother to argue with those who say otherwise.

When I was one with the thousands of people who kept vigil in the EDSA Shrine complex that fateful week in January a few years back, I was heeding the warning bells that pealed at the back of my head. Hailing a cab in the dark alley so late in the evening to go to Ortigas was pure adrenaline rush. I didn’t think twice. The No votes had it. That was more reason enough for me to go there. The rest is history.

Now, hang in there, I am not a lawyer—because it’s not something that I can get by being related to more lawyers than my one hand can count—but I have worked with more than enough of them to know which is legally sound and not. It does not take a legal genius, however, to know that pure hearsay and drama will never get you past the arraignment.

The president is not a paragon of virtue. Her family does not epitomize sainthood. Like any other politicos, they have their agenda. Like any other people in power, they have been caught in the web of corruption and crime. But calling for her ouster two years shy the end of her term is not only ludicrous but is also a major waste of time. The peso has never been this strong ever since the Asian currency crisis–Thanks to George Soros! While we do not enjoy the typical KBL (kasal/wedding, binyag/baptism, libing/burial) kind of politicism, our present government has managed to map out a stable plan to ensure a better life in the coming years. It’s not like it can happen overnight but if we do our share and abide by the rules, I’m sure we’ll get there in time. But that’s just me, giving myself a pep talk. When hunger strikes and the US recession looms over affording us a good view of what famine is all about, we can’t help but hurl profanities in the air in the hopes that it does get to the palace.

But my argument stays. If we oust the president now, Lee Kuan Yew would laugh his brains out and comment anew that the Philippines is indeed governed by mob rule. Perhaps he’s right when he said that the state of our country is what too much democracy does to a nation. If we oust the president now, who will take the wheel? I am pretty sure there are really good candidates out there but why not level the field and wait for the 2010 elections? If not, why don’t we call for a snap elections now? I am sure we have learned our mistakes. The basic rule of thumb should be followed: Stop, Look and Listen. Look before you leap. If we plunge head on into something, we must find a soft ground to land on, and not another rockbed.

The president may even be a rotten egg for all we know. But for as long as no court admissible evidence is shown to us that she has indeed dipped her hands into boiling water, then perhaps she deserves the time to finish her term. The president is not the best of the bunch. But for as long as it’s not yet harvest time, I think it’s best if we wait for other bunches to be right for the picking. Why limit ourselves to the bunch that we have right now? Yes the country can wait. Good things do not happen overnight but every now and then, we have to draw blood to achieve small victories so that in the long run, greater feats will be ours to cherish and enjoy.

As for Lozada, he has to stop acting like a victim. From wearing an oversized white shirt to claiming that he is impoverished to turning a new leaf via religious propaganda and wearing not just one scapular but TWO for crying out loud to crying spells of OA proportions, he has got to clean up his act and do things right. If he’s the true blue bringer of truth that he claims to be, he does not need the props and everything else. What is wrong with being a hardworking Filipino Chinese? Why try to elicity pity by saying he’s poor? When asked by former COMELEC Chair Benjamin Abalos how a poor man could afford to pay the WackWack clubshares, he haughtily said it was ONLY 400something thousand pesos and he could afford that! No wonder he somehow felt offended when Mike Defensor handed him 50thousand pesos. Who’s next? The highest bidder? Come on! I am not looking for a martyr whose character has no blemishes. I’m merely looking for one who is sincere in giving up his life for his country. And as I have said during the Trillanes folly, someone’s got to die for this country to really wake up from its stupor. And if Lozada is as hardball truth crusader as he portrays himself to be, he should let the angels of death take him so the world can rest and this country can finally move on.

My Latest Favorite Word (Phrase?): Oh, Position

17 12 2007

I’ve been busy bloghopping lately that I have been writing more comments than blog entries but it’s awesome because I get to see a lot of things that have been written by really brilliant people in this virtual city that we live in. 

There’s this nice blog entry that I share sentiments with.  Lemme post it…

The ‘Wala na bang iba?’ Manifesto

People who want change: hear us.
• We scoff at the actions of Trillanes and other stupid politicians, celebrities, church figures et al BUT we are not necessarily pro-GMA.
• You are making a big mistake if you assume so.
• We are also frustrated at how things are going but doubly so thanks to your bumbling idiocy. To the various oppositionists we say– hello? Can you see how funny you appear to us? Do you even know and hear us? Do you know that we just want to live a peaceful life here?
• By criticizing those who dont care, you fail to win us over.
• Making stupid Trillanic and Guingonic moves doesn’t help either.
• It also doesn’t help that there are too many opposition leaders but all with the collective IQ of a door knob. At least yung door knob may silbi.
• The more you squabble and bungle, the more GMA looks smarter than you. You don’t deserve to lead us if you can’t even lead yourselves.
• Ano pa nga ba ang pwede naming gawin? Sino mang ipapalit nyo ngayon all look puny compared to how GMA has handled the crisis you’ve been trying to stir since day one. Nung una, okay lang. Pero you guys have all proven your incompetence.
• What really miffs us is every time you disturb the peace, di naman kayo ang immediately affected eh. KAMI!
• So please– we won’t even ask you to get your act together. We’ll just wait. We advice na tumahimik din kayo at baka sakaling may lalabas na better leaders than all you selfish brats.

That was posted by Ben C. in Ang Tagal Naman.

As for my title, Durano, my latest favorite blogger coined the term Oh, Position.  In his comment in this same entry that I mentioned, he said, “The current anti-GMA politicos are salivating for Malacanang Palace. They can”t wait to get their slimy hands on the country’s coffers just like GMA. They are of the same breed! We should refer to them as Oh,Position! No one has credibility. You’re right, lets wait for someone new to rise above these scum. These politicians should all make like a fart and blow. After that stink, we can have some fresh air.–Durano, done!” Very well said, comrade! 

You should check his blog out. He’s got really nice whips and spits. 

Another blogger, JC Smith created an ID for Trillanes.  This one’s really funny.  Check it out at his blog

The Philippine Comedian made me laugh with his own Trillanes Fans Club entry

Gotta rest now.  I’ve been hopping around all day that my virtual feet hurt.  LOL.  This is better than getting the eBay fever.  Jeez, that one drained my piggy bank!

Of Politics and Genealogy

4 12 2007

I grabbed these two blog posts from my friend Todd’s blog.

The original titles of the two separate entries are: RP Politics: A Family Affair and Tangled Webs of Families and Intrigues respectively.

They’re a tad too long for those who do not have the patience to read stuff like this but instead of separating these entries, I decided to enter them as one, hence the length. I find this very interesting. I hope you will too.

RP Politics: A Family Affair

In 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines an independent and sovereign state and became this nation’s first president. A century plus three years later, his cousin, Gloria M. Arroyo, rose to the same position when Joseph Ejercito Estrada was toppled from power through the event known as People Power II. As it happened, Erap, too, was Gloria’s relative. In fact, in a complicated and Byzantine manner, almost all of our former leaders were related to one another, in one way or the other. Allow me to extrapolate.

Emilio Aguinaldo’s first cousin’s, General Baldomero Aguinaldo, great-grandson was Cesar E.A. Virata, the first and only Prime Minster of the Republic of the Philippines.

The Virata family, through marriage, is connected with the Acuña family. One Acuña married a scion of the Roxas family. The product of this marriage was former President Manuel A. Roxas, whose son Gerry Roxas was a former Senator and whose grandson, Mar Roxas III was a Trade and Industry secretary and currently a Senator of the Republic.

Also, due to his dalliance with Juanita McIlvain, former Miss Universe Margarita “Margie” Moran Floirendo just happens to be President Roxas’ granddaughter.

“President Manuel Roxas’ wife, Trinidad de Leon, was the daughter of former Senator Ceferino de Leon. Sen. De Leon’s brother, Jose, married Dona Narcisa “Sisang” Buencamino, one of the most successful movie magnates in her time. Narcisa’s first cousin’s son was Philip Buencamino, who married Nene Quezon, daughter of President Manuel Luis Quezon.

Further, another scion of the Roxas family was Margarita Roxas, whose marriage to Antonio de Ayala produced Trinidad de Ayala. Trinidad later married Jacobo Zobel and started the legendary Zobel De Ayala family.

Some of the minor branches of the Zobel de Ayala family married into the other aristocratic families of Manila. The Aranetas, Ayalas, Elizaldes, Prietos, and more. Through the Roxas family’s connection with the Aranetas, former Tourism Secretary and beauty queen Gemma Cruz-Araneta is also related to Pres. Roxas.

It must also be remembered that Gemma Cruz’s paternal great-grandmother was Dona Maria Rizal, the sister of our national hero, Jose P. Rizal.

Gemma Cruz’s mother, Carmen, remarried Mr. Angel Nakpil, the nephew of Julio Nakpil, composer of a version of the Philippine National Anthem, who in turn was the husband of Gregoria De Jesus, the “Muse of the Katipunan.”

Gregoria de Jesus was also the widow of Katipunan founder Andres Bonifacio. Similarly, two of Gemma’s first cousins, Paz and Maria Cruz Banaad, married Bienvenido and Roberto Laurel, respectively, relatives of former Vice-President Salvador “Doy” Laurel, son of President Jose P. Laurel.

Two branches of the Araneta family further married presidential daughters; the first one being Juan Miguel Arroyo, whose second cousins are Aranetas. He married then Ms. Gloria M. Macapagal, daughter of President Diosdado Macapagal. Of course, GMA is now the country’s Chief Executive. The second to marry a presidential daughter was Greggy Araneta who married Irene Romualdez Marcos, the youngest child of President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos and Imelda Romualdez. The Araneta-Marcos marriage further stretches our already complicated family connections.

A maternal grandfather of Marcos, Don Fructuoso Edralin, was a cousin of Gen. Antonio Luna and his brother the Filipino national artist, Juan Luna. Juan Luna in turn married Paz Pardo de Tavera, of a rich and powerful Spanish-Filipino family.

Ferdinand Marcos’ grandfather’s sister, Crispina Marcos, married Hilario Valdez. Their daughter, Angela Valdez, married Ambassador Narciso Ramos, father of Fidel V. Ramos, also a President of the Republic. Narciso Ramos, after becoming a widower, married Alfonsita Lucero, whose father’s maternal family, the Birondos of Argao, Cebu, married into the Almendras family of Cebu and Davao.

Alfonsita’s fourth cousin, William Birondo, married Kukit Tecala, whose uncle, Pedro Tecala Sr., married Sofronia Almendras. Two of Sofronia’s siblings married into political families. Her brother, Paulo Almendras, married Elisea Durano, the daughter of Demetrio Durano and progenitor of the Durano family that has ruled Danao and Sogod, Cebu for many years. A prominent member of the Durano family is Ace Durano, a former representative and now Tourism Secretary.

Another cousin of Alfonsita, Dr. Procopio Lucero, Jr., married Gliseria Gullas, sister of politicians Jose and Eduardo Gullas.

Still another fourth cousin of Alfonsita is Hilario Davide, Sr., whose son is Hilario G. Davide, Jr., a former Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court.

A son of Paulo was former Senator Alejandro Almendras, whose marriage to a Bendigo of Davao City connected them to the ruling families of Davao: the Banggoys, Palma Gils, Lizadas, Nograleses and others. The current House of Representative Majority Leader is Prospero “Boy” Nograles from Davao City. Senator Almendras’ brother, Josefino, married Rosita Dimataga, the sister of Leonila Dimataga, who in turn was the wife of President Carlos P. Garcia.

One of Sofronia’s sisters was married to an Osmeña, thus linking them to the family of President Sergio Osmeña. Most of President Osmeña’s male descendants have become senator, governor, mayor, Representative, and councilor at various points in time and his family remains the premier political dynasty of Cebu: Tomas is the current mayor of Cebu City; other members of the family who held or are holding political offices are Jing-Jing, Emilio “Lito”, John, John-John, and many more.

President Osmeña’s half-sister was Doña Modesto Singson-Gaisano, the matriarch of the affluent Gaisano family of Cebu City. Modesta was a progeny of Don Pedro Gotiaoco, whose other descendants include Atty. Agusto Go, President of the University of Cebu and Honorary South Korean Consul; John Gokongwei, Jr., a great-grandson of Don Pedro Gotiaoco and the owner of Cebu Pacific, Robinson’s Mall, JG Summit, and many more; and the Sy-Gaisano family, who operate chains of shopping malls all over Visayas and Mindanao. A grandson of the brother of Don Pedro is Andrew Gotianun, who owns FILINVEST Group and East West Bank.

Imelda Romualdez’s marriage to Marcos also brought in many famous personalities. Imelda’s daughter, Imee, currently a member of the House of Representatives, married Tommy Manotoc, whose mother was related to a wife of Genny Lopez, whose own nephew Beaver married Jackie Estrada, daughter of Pres. Erap Estrada.

Her own niece, Marean Romualdez, daughter of her brother Gov. Alfredo Romualdez, married Thomas Pompidou, the grandson of the French President Georges Pompidou.

Imelda’s first cousin, Senator Danieling Romualdez, married Pacita Gueco of Tarlac. In an ironic twist of fate, Pacita Gueco happened to be the first cousin of the Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

Of course, the Aquinos themselves have allied with many political families, and a scion of the Aquino clan was Senator Eva Estrada Kalaw, one of the Philippines’ very first female senators.

Ninoy’s marriage to the heiress Corazon Cojuanco also allied his family to another political dynasty. Corazon Aquino, after her husband’s heroic death in 1983, later became the country’s first female Chief Executive. Her maternal family, the Sumulongs, have also produced several lawmakers. The Cojuangco family, on the other hand, owns one of the oldest-existing haciendas in the country today, and the Cojuangcos control many of the country’s business enterprises.

Two Cojuancos, sons of Cory’s cousins Ramon and Eduardo, respectively, married (sic) Rio Diaz (Charlie Cojuanco), sister of former Miss Universe Gloria Diaz and Gretchen Baretto (Tony Boy Cojuanco). Gretchen’s sisters are Claudine and Marjorie, themselves married to actors. Cory’s niece, equestrienne Mikee Cojuangco, married Dodot Jaworski, son of basketball legend and Sen. Robert Jaworski. Senator Jaworski, on the other hand, married Susan Bautista Revilla, daughter of Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr., whose son Bong Revilla was a former governor and Senator. This connection, no doubt, extends this family tree to most of the country’s movie personalities.

Clearly, this Byzantine illustration of family connection is proof of the intricacies of Philippine politics. In this short presentation we have already linked no less than 12 of our 14 Presidents, one Prime Minister, two former Miss Universe winners, several senators and many other personalities, political or otherwise. We have even connected our “Philippine Family Tree” to a former French President! Imagine what further research into the other family trees could reveal?

Philippine politics, undoubtedly, is a family affair.

Tangled Webs of Families and Intrigues

What do President Arroyo, Ping Lacson, Erap Estrada, Imelda Marcos, Danding Cojuangco, Ace Durano, and Nerissa Soon-Ruiz have in common other than all being involved in the Davide impeachment, one way or the other? Well, they all also happen to be related to each other, in one way or the other.

President Gloria Arroyo, alleged to be behind the Davide impeachment, is married to Mike Arroyo, of the infamous JOSE PIDAL CONTROVERSY, whose own grandfather, Jose Maria PIDAL Arroyo, married a Lacson, who also happens to be related to Senator Panfilo Lacson, whose KURATONG BALELENG case has been reoppened by Davide. Mike is similarly a second cousin of Aranetas, whose one member, Greggy, is married to Irene Marcos, daughter of Imelda Marcos, also having recently received a negative SC ruling on her SWISS ACCOUNTS. Irene’s sister, Imee, married Tommy Manotoc, whose mother is related also to the wife of Geny Lopez, whose family has recently also received a blow from the Supreme Court because of their MERALCO RULING. Another Lopez, Beaver, married Jackie Ejercito, daughter of deposed President Joseph Estrada, whose ouster was legalized by an SC ruling declaring GMA’s presidency constitutional in 2001. Meanwhile, Imelda’s first cousin, Danieling Romualdez, married Pacita Gueco, first cousin of Ninoy, whose marriage to Cory Cojuangco made related him to Danding Cojuangco, another recipient of a negative SC ruling, this time on the COCO LEVY FUNDS. He is similarly related to Rep. Teodoro, his own nephew. Imelda’s marriage to Ferdinand Marcos goes on to relate her to FVR, who was Marcos’ 2nd cousin. FVR’s stepmother’s, Alfonsita Birondo Lucero vda. de Ramos’s, fourth cousin William Birondo married an Almendras, who is in turn a cousin of Ace Durano, a signatory of the impeachment rap against Davide. Another fourth cousin of Alfonsita, James Lucero, married Nazarena Soon, the sister of Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, another impeachment signatory. It seems really astounding that all those involved in the Davide impeachment are related, but what’s more astonishing is that they are all also related to the man they are trying to persecute. How? Well, FVR’s stepmom is also the fourth cousin of the embattled Chief Justice, both coming from Don Agustin Cristobal Bayot of Argao, Cebu, who is both their great-great-great-grandfather.

Who says genealogy is boring?

Death Becomes Us

4 12 2007

For some reason, I wanted to see people die last week.  Perhaps, for a change.  For some time now, extrajudicial killings, missing people, assassinations, ambush killings, etc, have “ruled the airwaves” but these have not really moved the people to do something.  It takes at least one life to mobilize throngs of people to really do something.  Ninoy made it happen for us when he got himself killed.  I don’t want to sound so callous and cold but there are simply things in this country that have made me feel less and less for people who claim to be the agents of change.

I personally want a revolution.  I know that I will not see it in my lifetime.  A 360-degree turn will not happen overnight.  And with the people that we have on board right now, I’d rather stick my butt out for the pixie prexy than go for a blabbermouth of a young (tra)politician, a broadcast journalist turned crying lady turned turncoat lady, a presidential scion whose girlfriend would be his downfall, a businessman with two left feet donning tangerine and using a popular 80s acronym to describe sexy films as his tagline with a different twist or an evangelist that I voted for because I truly believed in him until he became a very sore loser. 

Well, there’s Dick Gordon who will never win until he becomes a Payumo.  I remember marching for Gordon a month after Erap was installed into the highest post of the land and we wore pins that screamed, Don’t Touch My Dick!  Of course, we failed.  Payumo still got the post and Gordon was still unpopular. 

I have another bet—and I know he will never win too!  Bayani Fernando.  I used to have another bet.  But Death got him first.  And I will never vote for his wife ever.  To do a “Cory” will never work this time—most especially when you’re not in yellow. 

We love people who will be there for us KBL: kasal, binyag, libing (wedding, baptism, funeral).  We want to line up in politician’s houses to ask for moolah for this and that.  We don’t want people who will do something to uplift our lives and standards of living.  Why?  Because that will take some time.  And we want solutions now.  And we want it with people who can dole out money anytime, all the time. 

But we, Filipinos, are lovers of soap opera.  We devour telenovelas the way we feast on lechon.  Had somebody died in Manila Pen last week after arrogantly declaring that they will die for their cause for the nth time, people would have gone out of their houses and make that much-needed change happen.  But an elementary psy-war sent the once-brave men with their tails between their legs to the ground and claiming police brutality afterwards.  For a now-senator and forever officer and gentleman, such lack of foresight, strategem and genuine fervor for change just prove to me that I made the right choice when I did not support the guy.  Now, Faeldon would have been something else.  That’s one force to reckon with. And I don’t think a teargas would send him crying for his Mama.   

Ok, let’s just say that two Ts brought them down: teargas and tank.  When I saw the tank force its bulk into the lobby of the Pen, I did not even think of anything else other than a realization that a tank could actually fit into the lobby if the doors were a bit wider and higher. 

I am not an elitist and never will I be one.  But I look down on rich people who say that they empathize with the poor and the masses.  HOW?!  These people do not even have any idea how it is to go broke with nothing and NOTHING in their pockets to even buy a stick of fishballs.  This is one of the reasons why regardless of what people say about Joker Arroyo, he will forever be on my good side.  The guy has lived in a posh subdivision in Makati, sent his daughter to Cambridge, took the beating for Mrs. Aquino while she was hiding under the bed when she had the biggest chance to revolutionize the country for allegedly being a leftist, and sat on the highest post of two major banks in the country.  But he never for once tried to portray an image of being a man of the masses.  His records would, however, prove that he has always been one.  Ask Joma.  My esteemed columnist, Conrado de Quiros, has criticized Joker for not jumping ship but does party affiliations affect one’s stance in major political issues?  In Joker’s case, it does not.  But people refuse to see that for lack of a bad guy to hate in the telenovela. 

SO going back on track, let me just say that I do want to see change.  But with the voting mentality of our people and the faulty electoral process in our land, I can’t blame my aunt who left her very good post as a municipal health officer to migrate to the Bahamas with her husband who used to be one of the busiest anaesthesiologists in Cebu. 

For as long as Ninoy’s “the Filipino is worth dying for” mantra remains a lip service for the copycats whose balls are not teargas-proof, I do not see a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel.  Let me see blood and hear bombs and guns instead of poetic speeches that most likely gives Kaka Balagtas a migraine in his grave and I will see at least C in change.  But for as long as D in death remains a letter, I do not think this country will go anywhere. 

For now, GMA is the best person to steer the wheel.  Who’s your bet?  The military junta?  The presidential appointed justices?  Give me a break!

And for these people, I dedicate this song…

Oh what a circus
Oh what a show
Argentina has gone to town
Over the death of an
Actress called Eva Peron
We’ve all gone crazy
Mourning all day and
Mourning all night
Falling over ourselves to
All of the misery right

Oh what an exit
That’s how to go
When they’re ringing
Your curtain down
Demand to be buried
Like Eva Peron
It’s quite a sunset
And good for the country
In a roundabout way
We’ve made the front page of
All the world’s papers today

But who is this Santa Evita?
Why all this howling
Hysterical sorrow?
What kind of goddess
Has lived among us?
How will we ever get by without her?

She had her moments
She had some style
The best show in town
Was the crowd
Outside the Casa Rosada crying
“Eva Peron”
But that’s all gone now
As soon as the smoke from the funeral clears
We’re all gonna see and how
She did nothing for years

You let down your people Evita
You were supposed to have been immortal
That’s all they wanted
Not much to ask for
But in the end you
Could not deliver

Sing you fools
But you got it wrong
Enjoy your prayers because
You haven’t got long
Your queen is dead
Your king is through
And she’s not coming back to you

Show business kept us all alive
Since seventeen october 1945
But the star has gone
The glamour’s worn thin
That’s a pretty bad state
For a state to be in

Instead of government
We had a stage
Instead of ideas
A prima donna’s rage
Instead of help we were
Given a crowd
She didn’t say much
But she said it loud

Sing you fools
But you got it wrong
Enjoy your prayers because
You haven’t got long
Your queen is dead
Your king is through
She’s not coming back to you

Don’t cry for me Argentina
For I am ordinary
And undeserving of such attention
Unless we all are
I think we all are
So share my glory
So share my coffin
So share my glory
So share my coffin

It’s our funeral too

OH WHAT A CIRCUS, from the musical “Evita”
Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
(c) 1976 MCA Music Publ. ASCAP

The People Behind the News: Lessons on Responsibility and Self-Preservation

2 12 2007

As a journalist by scholarship, I feel for the people who were not given the kind of respect that they deserved.  But my highly esteemed mass communication guru said, perhaps the experience is something that we should all learn from—be careful. 

While media people get perks that ordinary citizens like us do not, there are some who use their huge IDs to get into the front seat of every major event in the world.  Some have even (mis)taken the ID for a shield.  I was very thankful that every single detail of the other day’s fiasco was covered.  But amidst all the clamour for the “manhandling” and the cuffing, I think some people deserved what they got. 

Jessica Soho rose to fame after she braved the crossfire in the series of coup d’etat in Cory Aquino’s regime.  Christiaan Amanpour got my respect for covering major turning points in our history by being in the center of all the literally and figuratively hard hitting news.  But there’s a limit to being a journalist.  And in situations where rules of engagement are aspired to be followed to the dot, a plea not to add more to the problem should be heeded.  Had the media people left when they were asked to leave or even just stay in a safer place, things would not have had turned really sour. 

As Spidey’s uncle wisely put it, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  I could not agree more.