President Aquino’s Dry Humor

"Awful but genuine" photo of President Noynoy Aquino according to Raissa Robles.

This photo of President Noynoy Aquino is "awful but genuine" according to Raissa Robles (raissarobles.com). Photo from Raissa Robles' blog.

I hope President Noynoy Aquino refrain from cracking his dry, boring, uninteresting jokes about beautiful women and his love life. I am not interested to know his love life; and many of us – Filipinos – don’t care about it. I would like to hear him talking about the affairs of the state than his personal affairs.

Since President Noynoy was not very visible talking about serious matters when he was in Congress when he was in the Senate, I try to understand why he loves to talk his personal affairs more than the concerns of this nation.

I can forgive the President if he sometimes sour grape the previous administration. That could be his best excuse (perhaps for doing little things) but talking much about getting stressed, about seeing beautiful women, and about not being married are almost unforgivable.

I suspect deep within him the presidency is not a serious matter.

President Aquino has appealed to us to spare his love life and yet he keeps on talking about it. I wonder why the President is acting this way. I don’t know if his reputation makers have noticed that the President appears childish when he talks about beautiful women, about his love, about not being married. If he was just kidding or just wanted to make things light, then it doesn’t make sense at all.

The President talks about his personal affairs everywhere. When he visited Singapore, I could remember a story in entertainment section that the President exchanged SMS with a beautiful reporter based in Singapore. Why media pick up this kind of stories is very obvious! And the reason I pick this up is my disappointment.

Recently in City of Naga (Cebu), the President cracked another boring line that made him land in the entertainment section of newspapers. During the inauguration of the KEPCO-SPC Cebu Power Plant he told in his speech (as quoted by Willard Cheng in ABS-CBN News):

Sa kada bisita nako dinhi sa Cebu, mas daghan gwapa, apil si Governor Gwen (Mas dumarami ang magaganda dito sa Cebu, kasama na si Governor Gwen)

The President reportedly admired a Korean media personality who hosted the event. We’ll the President almost admire any young and beautiful women he encountered.

The President is no longer 14 years old to sweetly talk in public his admiration to women. Besides, he is the President and he should show some dignity to his office by not acting like a teen who always got a crush at school campus.

He should keep his feeling to himself unless his intention as President is to meet many beautiful women and to get married – not to serve this nation. But I doubt. I think, he just enjoy talking about it as his alibi. Maybe, he knows he has no interesting accomplishment to share.

Let’s go back to Cebu incident. In the same ABS-CBN report Willard Cheng wrote: President Aquino is considering using Malacañan sa Sugbo in Cebu if only to meet a partner in life.

Was the President serious on this? Was the President just tried to make us laugh? It was not funny. It was very senseless!

I hope the President don’t talk too much the way he talk now. If he has nothing to talk then he better shut up. Being the President, he should act the way the people expect him to be. President Noynoy Aquino should act like President!

I hope his men would advise him not to ad lib his state of the nation (SONA) address with his dry, boring, uninteresting personal affairs.

The Davao Mayor, the Sheriff, and the Rule of Law

Scale of JusticeNo one is above the law – not even the Davao’s mayor!  The rule of law is better than that of any individual, declared Aristotle, the teacher of Alexander the Great.

The July 1st evening news became so disturbing because of the video clips that show how Davao Mayor Sarah Duterte was beating up a sheriff who enforced a demolition order. It looked very inhuman, very demeaning. I could feel the shame.

The following day, newspapers (such as this story in Philippine Daily Inquirer) and broadcast networks carry the news with the reactions from government agencies and various groups.

Theodore Te, a law profession in the University of the Philippines (UP) as quoted in Philippine Daily Inquirer report said, what she (Duterte) did was not justifiable, not acceptable. In the same report, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Davao City told that there seem to be traces of human rights violations.

Instead of hearing apologies from the Mayor Duterte, I hear the sheriff’s apologies instead.

Now, it saddened me because many people put high regard on what the mayor did than what is right in a democratic society. Lately, some people and leaders in Davao City show support the action of their mayor in a rally.

Meanwhile, the Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines (Scophil) condemn Duterte’s attack on a Davao sheriff.

We are now living dangerously in a society with the culture of impunity.

I am afraid what happened in Davao City will also happen in Cebu City. I am afraid that it happened in our town in Mindanao. I am afraid we will soon be ruled by men and not by law.

I am afraid that I wake up one day when everyone forgets the rule of law.

Mayor Sara Duterte should be held liable to what she did. We should not asked her to apologize now expect her and her father to think and believe the way we do but let us let them feel that we are and they are in a society ruled by law.

Road Revolution in Cebu Today

Missing Felimon’s “Suroy-Suroy” best describes Osmena Boulevard, Cebu City’s major road.

Ang kadalanan sa atong dakbayan

Gubot pa’s lukot basin ka’g maugmaan

One Cebuano friend once told me that Cebu’s streets are becoming the best place to stress our lungs, to drain our time, and perhaps to end our life.

But NOT today! In fact, Osmena Boulevard is the safest road in Cebu City today. It’s very safe for mother who crossed the road pulling her’s child’s stroller.

Continue reading

Ellah Joy Pique and Child Pornography in Cebu

The story of an innocent child who was abused, murdered, and thrown just like garbage is an often heard news to Philippine communities. I’ve heard and read it many times.

But still, I could not believe when I read that a naked 6-year-old girl [...] (and) drenched with her own blood was thrown over a cliff by a road in Guibuangan, Barili, Cebu. (Read ABS-CBNnews.com story)

Justice for Ellah Joy Pique

The poor victim was Ellah Joy Pique, a grade one pupil from Minglanilla town in Cebu. Ellah Joy Pique’s story drawn the interest among  Cebuano’s and the cry for justice thundered not only from the sleepy hometown of Ella Joy but among the elites in the Metro (Cebu).

The very brutal killing of an innocent 6-year-old girl in February 2011 is still a mystery until now although authorities are now show a pretty-sure-face after getting a major blow and shame for getting-wrong-guys

I am among thousands of Cebuano’s who call for justice for Ella Joy and his family. I join the prayers for all the child victims who like Ella Joy wait for real justice.

Like many celebrated crime the call for justice for Ella Joy landed in Facebook. It has less than a thousand supporters as of this week (in April 2011).

Several months ago, there was a movement in Facebook that pushed members to change their profile picture in support of children’s rights. I am hoping that the same movement would take child pornography.

Ellah Joy Pique, a victim of Child Pornography?

Authorities and the public consistently look into the angle of pedophilia and child pornography.

Police claimed that Ellah Joy Pique was a victim of child pornography Cebu Daily News reported.

Cebu’s High Incidence of Sex Trafficking of Minors

Child pornography in Cebu has not been a secret. In fact, the Children’s Legal Bureau (CBL) have pointed Cordova, a small town in Mactan Island in Cebu, as having the highest incidence of sex trafficking of minors, Cebu Daily News reported on March 2011.

The same report revealed that most child-trafficking cases occur in Minglanilla town in south Cebu and the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Talisay as noted by Noemi Truya-Abarientos, spokesperson of CBL.

Ellah Joy Pique came from Minglanilla where, according to Children’s Legal Bureau, most child-trafficking cases occur.

Online Child Pornography

With easy access to high-speed internet connection, anyone can engage in the multi-billion dollar industry (over $97 Billion total worldwide revenue in 2006 according to figures cited by Family Safe Media) The Philippines is among the top 10 grosser!

Child pornography is just a tip of the iceberg. It is most profitable however because children easily get lured to an amount considered low by adults.

Internet pornography comes in many form – nudity, live show, erotic dance, and anything the client want.

It seems privacy and “safety” is no longer considered as major factor. While mostly done in private room, some children are doing “shows” in internet cafe and even in neighborhood’s peso-peso internet.

Anti-Child Pornography

It is interesting to note that the Philippines has yet-to known-law to almost anything. We have Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act (2009) but this remains a paper. Have you heard a fat-man and fat-women get into prison because of violation of RA 9775 lately?

Cebu’s Known Dark Secret

Child pornography has become a known dark secret of Cebu. The city and the provincial governments have yet to come up with concrete and long term solution to this. It looks like petty crime that it gets less attention until it cause major turmoil in the society.

Shall we wait for the day when we witness our government taking a sincere bold step in caring for our children? Or shall we take a stand and protect our children in our own little way?

As we wait, let our children suffer. Let our future carry the burden. And let us hope, continue to hope, and never get tired hoping.

Night Kids in Cebu’s Fuente and Mango Avenue Aren’t Safe

For several times, Cebu Fuente Police Station has become the refuge of adults who were victims of small boys and girls.

Yes, you can be become victims of children who at night time make the vicinity of Fuente Osmena circle down to Mango Avenue (Gen. Maxilom Avenue) as their playing grounds.

These kids are not just playing but also looking for their potential victims. Most victims are foreign nationals and unaccompanied women.

Kiddy Modus in Mango

In the November 12, 2010 editorial of Freeman Cebu, the ways of these children were described.

These boys and girls, aged anywhere from seven to 10, operate by ganging up and swarming around their victims, pretending to ask for alms. They grab the victims’ arms to immobilize and stall them. Then amid all the commotion, one will pick the victims’s pockets or bags.

These children should not be underestimated. They are as dangerous as the jeepney pickpocketers and main street holdupper in Cebu.

The same editorial described how these children counter attack!

In the few occasions that victims did try to grab or hit the kids, they would find themselves in far worse trouble because the kids would then launch a counterattack by stoning the victims with whatever stone or projectile they can lay their hands on.

Lately, we got a relief because news stories would say that victims got back their stolen wallet. Apparently, our Police know so well where to find these children once a victim reported.

Of course, because they are children, no case were filed. The next evening, these children would attack again.

In a society where we are very protective to our children, let us also give attention this uniquely Cebu kiddy modus. Even adults need protection.

No Reputation to Protect

What if Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV declares straight to my face:

You have no reputation to protect.

What else should I say?

I am praying that it would not happen to me. And now I am still hoping that the Filipino nation had not heard such arrogant line. In silence, I have entertained another hope – that Sonny Trillanes hadn’t become (elected) as senator of this country. (My apologies to the your Senator and his family.)

But what if Sen. Trillanes was our god – all knowing, all powerful?

What the world would become if Trillanes, our god, tell us that we don’t have “reputation to protect”?

Let us give thanks to our Lord that some people hadn’t wanted to teach. Because if the former military man, Sen. Trillanes is teaching our children and in one of his inquiry tell a young boy that he has no honor and reputation?

The Philippine Senators, in their celebrated investigations, had long been shaking us – emotionally and mentally.

I asked one friend who have witnessed a senate investigation of the past congress. “It feels like you’re grilled”, my friend told.

What had our Senators accomplished so far from their physically, emotionally, and mentally draining investigations and inquiry?

I have nothing against on Senate investigations. It may be necessary – I am not sure enough. But I am hoping the our Senators accord respect to all people they have invited.

When Sen. Trillanes thrown his hard hitting line: You have no reputation to protect. He had not only traumatize us but had also caused pain (and destruction) to intricate social web (of family and friends).

Who has the reputation?

Can our Senators, specifically Sen. Antonio Trillanes, generously share who still got reputation?

Everyone deserves respect because everyone has honor and dignity. Who are we to tell someone that his “reputation” already gone?

What’s next?

I learn (by heart) the great lessons on the stories from the Senate. The lessons from Senate investigations – from the melodramatic acts to antagonistic verbal attacks – to the famous line of Sen. Trillanes, you have no reputation to protect can be enough.

Should we hurt each other more?

Lessons from the story “Piece of String”

I remember a story “The Piece of String”. It was a story about a peasant who was accused of stealing. He was too disturbed that he wanted to get everyone believe that he really hadn’t stolen the pocketbook but has picked a piece of string instead.

But who will believe a peasant like him? For a poor man like Maitre Hauchecome (of the story) reputation and honor was more important. Perhaps, more important than sparkling stones and metals.

Hauchecome went out of his way to explain to people that he was innocent and that he only picked a piece of string. But he got mockery, insults!

You can read (re-read if you have heard this in your literature class) this classic from Guy de Maupassant by searching, The Piece of String.

Interesting enough! The last part of the story says,

Toward the end of December he took to his bed.

He died in the first days of January, and in the delirium of his death struggles he kept claiming his innocence, reiterating:

“A piece of string, a piece of string–look–here it is, M’sieu the Mayor.”

Perhaps the story could have different plot and characters if Guy de Maupassant lived with us today. What do you think?

Rep. Ronald Singson: Just a Drug User, Not Drug Trafficker

It seems that Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson was the last person to know that his son, Rep. Ronald Singson, was using drugs. Or, like many other fathers, Chavit was in denial stage?

No matter what, a father always finds ways to defend his erring son. As the move in Congress to take disciplinary action to Rep. Singson was progressing, Gov. Singson immediately came out and told the nation: My son is not a drug user!

Recently, as Singson family desperately finds ways to get out from the drug mess in HongKong, Ronald Singson admits that he is using drugs.

Just a user, not a trafficker

Now, the wind has changed direction! Gov. Singson seems buying out the assumption that a cocaine user is less evil that a cocaine courier (or trafficker). And of course with the hope that the will be able to convince the Hongkong authorities that the drugs possessed by the Filipino congressman was for personal consumption and not for sale!

Now, the problem of Gov. Singson is how to convince HK court that son is a drug user.

High Profile Drug Users

The Philippines once again get a dose of high profile drug abuse news.

Alabang Boys might not be fresh in your minds but when the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) apprehended young and affluent drug suspects, we got the impression that the moneyed are not afraid.

I concluded that time that the depth of drug problem in the country is too deep for our authorities to penetrate.

The reason is that high profile drug cases often quickly slipped through Philippine’s public eyes. Easily forgotten!

In the case of Rep. Singson, the issue is not just legal but also moral and social. Let us not take the merit of his case in Hongkong. Instead, let’s have this case as springboard for a national discussion on how big our problem in drug is.

Can you imagine how a congressman get the nerve to bring drugs outside the country? Does this imply that while in the Philippines, he might have even brought drugs inside Philippine government offices?

Now,  I believe the news about policemen caught in the act of sniffing drugs. Isn’t this already very alarming?

Politics and Drugs: The Narco-Politics

There is a clear intermarriage of politics and drugs. Narco-politics has become a big un-tackled issue in the country.

Early in 2008, I brought out how Narco-politics could be an important issue in the the 2010 Elections. I wrote, Narco-politics and the 2010 Elections which was regarded by Manuel L. Quezon III as the first to bring up the issue of Narcopolitics with regards to the 2010 polls.

Whether or not our elected or national leaders are using drugs – we don’t know. We can’t also be sure how politicians benefited with drug money in the 2010 elections.

However, from things we see – it seems clear to us. I hope we begin to see even just one side of the big problems of drugs in this country.

Just think of it. We hear news about movie personalities, policemen, politicians are into drug abuse which add to our long list (composed of students, young professionals, poor man, jobless men …)

What’s next if we continue to let this slipped through cracks?