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?

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Vote Buying, Partisan Politics

It was supposed to be non-partisan. But the recent Barangay and SK elections were practically a party politics. I wrote, Barangay Elections, Non-Partisan?

Candidates of Barangay and SK Elections ally with town’s political big bosses. Town and city political figures ally with Barangay leaders by financing candidates and ensuring victory.

Vote buying

There was massive vote buying in the recent Barangay and SK Elections. In our barangay, candidates for barangay council gave 30 pesos to 50 pesos per voter. Those who did not give lost. This scheme was also the reason why a virtually unknown person became the barangay’s new councilor. Barangay captains gave higher, from 100 pesos to 500 pesos.

In my observations, the bigger the money, the higher the chance to get victory. I have yet to know a place where the barangay and SK elections were not played up by too much and unnecessary money.

Worst SK Elections

I could say that it was the worst SK election ever at least in our barangay. It was too tricky.

Parents of one SK candidates even pawn some areas of their farms to raise P60,000 purposely for the elections. No wonder, SK voters were given some P500 to P1,000 each.

To ensure victory, they emlpoy a very clever way – the “kidnap” strategy.

What is “kidnapping” in tricky SK politics?

This is a way to keep supporters to get contact with other parties, thus the chance of shifting of support can be avoided.

For example, an SK candidate gather majority of SK voters in a place three to a day before election. Most of them brought those minors away from the barangay. For example, in Barangay Pugwan, the were brought to resorts and they stayed there until election day. Yikes! I saw the truckload of SK voters who went back to Pugwan to vote.

I was so disappointed with what happened. How could parents allow their daughters and son to stay in a secluded place with the SK candidates considering that they were all minors?

I wonder why SK elections become the “games of generals”. I could not see 17 year olds at work but the seasoned politicians.

How much you get? How much they give?

The questions before and after elections are now on how much was given and recieved than how good were the visions and programs of candidate or elected officials.

In fact these questions were asked naturally on public places – as if one was asking how much a kilo of Tamban or Pirit nowadays.

How did our shame blown away?

Barangay, SK Elections – for Better or Worse

Good politics start at home, at the neighborhood, at our barangay. In the same way, dirty politics at the way we involve in the most important political activity, the Barangay Elections.

The Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on October 25, 2010 defines the direction of our town, city, and provincial politics. The way we involve will either bring us reforms we love to call as good politics or worsen our situation.

Barangay Elections, Non-Partisan?

Supposedly, yes. Barangay election is a non-partisan political exercise. But to find a Barangay in the whole country where there is absence of partisan exercises is very difficult.

Candidates of Barangay and SK Elections ally with town’s political big bosses. Town and city political figures ally with Barangay leaders by financing candidates and ensuring victory.

Why are they doing this? Obviously, one’s political power is gauged based on his local allies. The more a town or city leader gets ally-barangay captains, the more he becomes powerful.

A barangay official who refuses to ally will soon get zero projects. This sounds familiar to all us. These are the sad realities.

Political Alliance at the Grassroots Level

Political alliance aren’t bad after all. However, there is something that we need to watch – what type of political alliance our barangay leaders have with our town and city leaders?

For Better or Worse, here comes again our Election

Here we are again. Since we start to count the days of 2010 until the our elected leaders took oath of office last June 30, we are all get the comforts and headaches of election drama.

Here we are again, seeing the fabulous campaign, the titillating gimmicks and the exciting campaign as joyous-dirty stage play.

Here we are again, trying to reflect whom to vote and why we vote. Will this bring us good in the next few years or will this give us long years of political sickness?

It takes one vote to answer.

Do your candidates pass the LASER test for Election 2010?

As voters, we also need to do our homework. This is the reminder of a very good friend Novell Tagailo. By the way he is the same person who advocates that everyone should go out and vote on May 10, 2010 because we, the voters are  the reason, why there is an election.

So here is one of the most important homework that we should do: LASER Test.

What is LASER Test?

LASER is an acronym for Lifestyle, Action, Supporters, Election Conduct and Reputation. You should vote to candidates who pass the LASER Test. I will tell you why.

Even before the election campaign started, we were already bombarded with tons of information about the candidates. The information are mostly conflicting, confusing, and misleading. I believe you have your own frustration on the way election campaign is run. It is characterized by negative stuff, mudslinging, personality assassination, and full of finger-pointing and accusations.

Let us not allow ourselves to get drowned on negatives; instead, let us light the flame of optimism that through one vote, we can make a difference.

This is the reason why I suggest that we use the LASER test and major basis for electing our country’s next leader. As a little background, LASER test is conceptualized by Dilaab Foundation to help us voters discern the best candidate to vote on May 10, 2010.

The LASER test for election 2010 candidates are part of the campaign called Vote God. As described, Vote God is a faith-impelled advocacy which hopes to infuse the electoral process with Christian values and for the discerning bloc to muster enough moral courage to choose good leaders.

Vote God

I will tell you more about Vote God advocacy on my next post.

The LASER test is best understood in the context of Christian values. When you run the LASER test to your candidates, it is very important that you put God at the center. By doing this, you erase the political color you already put on yourselves.

Ask these questions.

What is my candidate’s lifestyle? What are the actions of my candidates? Who are the supporters of my candidates? Are they the supporters also pass the LASER test? What is the election conduct of my candidates? Does he focus on his plan or put pains to his opponents with his dirty political tactics? Does he follow election laws and guidelines? What is the reputation of my candidates?

Let us pause and reflect. This is about our future.

Let us do our homework. We still have time.

An Election without Vote Buying

An election in the Philippines without vote buying happened recently. Thanks to the people who continue to believe and continue to have faith. Thanks to God.

I used to believe that vote buying cannot be eradicated unless people are totally wiped out. I’m felt so sorry for this wrong thoughts.

When I saw the video on the case of Calidngan. I felt the shame to myself. There was a moment of guilt. Then, I was inspired and felt blessed.

Calidngan is a mountain barangay nine kilometers away from Carcar City, Cebu and 40 km away from Cebu City. The main way of living there is farming. The people in Calidngan prove that an election without vote buying is possible. Please watch this video.

Small beginnings – The Calidngan Story Part 1

Small beginnings – The Calidngan Story Part 2

Let’s continue to believe on small beginnings. Now tell me, it is possible that we can have an election without vote buying? Yes, it is. Yes we can.

Go out and vote on May 10

In less than 30 days we will go out and vote. Will you vote?

Most of the people I know say yes but many others say maybe and some no. All of them have reasons.

Many of us are sick and tired of the vicious cycle of Philippine politics. We elect new officials because we want change. We want election because we want change; and the people we have just elected are not satisfactory. This will be repeated and seems never ends.

The Philippine elections have always been intense political exercise, journalist Sheila Coronel observes.

As the call for change was highly audible before the start of election 2010 period, many Filipinos expect some changes on the way we conduct our elections. I personally expect that we shall actively discuss on platforms rather than personal issues; that we will tackle more on real social issues rather than the usual mudslinging and personality assassination.

I am dismayed because the 2010 election is still the same as the 2004, and 2007 elections. These are the elections that I have closely observed. Just the same. In fact, this election is worse as more trash are thrown, more dirty tricks than before.

If this is the case, should we stop electing officials? Should we lose our faith to election?

We should not because in our democratic society, it is during election that we are given equal rights. Whether you are rich or poor, schooled or unschooled; you have only one vote.

A very good friend, Novell Tagailo has a striking line. He said:

We are the reason, why there is an election, they, the candidates are not the star. We are the principal characters here. Let’s take this privilege, use this right and exercise our duty.

He is right. The principal characters during elections are the voters. And the power are within the voters.

As voters, let us use this power to start the change that we are dreaming for.

Aquino and Villar: too much on mudslinging, tell us your platforms

The two leading candidates are the two leading mudslingers in the 2010 election campaign.

Before the campaign and after weeks of campaigning , we heard many exchanges of harsh words, intrigues, gossips, and many other trivial things than the most important which is the platform of government they are planning to.

To Noynoy Aquino, what is your platform? Why I always hear you blaming, ranting, intriguing than talking about your vision for this country. It seems to me that I am looking at the a grade 5 student who catch his teacher’s attention by always shouting that everyone in class cheats!

It’s not bad for a smart grade 5 (if he is really smart). But not good for a man who seeks to become the leader of over 90 million people. It’s not bad to condemn but if you make it a habit and make it a loop – that’s not good.

To Manny Villar, how will you realize that message in your advertisements that you envision to end poverty in this country? We would like to hear that than your jingles. We would like to hear real plans.

The 2010 election campaign is much the same as 2004 campaign. I still see the campaign as a tari-tari (cockfight); it’s still like a horsefight.

While the word change become the buzzword, I don’t see any change at all.