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?

Supreme Court ruling on appointed officials: equal protection or undue advantage?

Cebu City residents had expected GSIS chairman Winston Garcia to run as city mayor. But Garcia did not file his Certificate of Candidacy. Presumably, Garcia has still many things to do in GSIS. Presumably, Garcia doesn’t want to leave his position. As appointed official, he is considered as automatically resigned from his post once he file his COC based on the Omnibus Election Code.

Why should we not allow officials like Winston Garcia to run without leaving their post?

The recent Supreme Court ruling answers the question. Suprisingly, SC favored appointed officials like Winston.

In an 8-6 vote, the SC declared as unconstitutional a provision in the Omnibus Election Code prohibiting an appointive government official from discharging his functions after filing his COC, PhilStar.com report reads. The high court also nullified similar rules and provisions, including the provision of Resolution 8678 issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the same report added.

With this ruling, Dangerous Drugs Board chairman Vicente Sotto III should not resign to run for senator; Gilbert Teodoro, National Defense Secretart and chairman of the National Disaster Coordinating Council should not resign to run as president.

In reaching this decision, eight of the Supreme Court justices said the law violated the constitutional guarantee that no person should be denied the equal protection of the law, the editorial of Manila Standard Today observes.

But by giving equal protection of the law to appointed officials, the Supreme Court had given undue advantage. A public school head can run without leaving his position, a radio station manager of state-run Radyo ng Bayan can run without leaving his job. Imagine a police chief seeking a local position or a local COMELEC official running for mayor who don’t leave his job?

Of course, it sounds immoral and ethical if those people run without resigning. But what is immoral and unethical is considered as legal. There will be no violation of the law.

Deja Vu: Erap for President, Gloria for Vice President

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo might run as Vice President in 2010! Ten years ago, in 1998, Arroyo ran as vice president and got  a landslide victory!

Earlier, former President Joseph Ejercito “Erap” Estrada declared that he will run as president in 2010. Ten years ago, in 1998, Erap ran as vice president and got a landslide victory!

It was the third election where both president and vice president came from different parties. Erap was running under Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and Gloria’s party was Lakas-NUCD-UMDP and Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi).

Shall we have the fourth election where both president and vice president came from different parties? Shall we have Erap again in Malacanang? Shall we have both Erap and Gloria again?

Hold on, there is no serious talk about it yet in Lakas-Kampi-CMD, Representative Danilo Suarez, a senior deputy general of the party admitted as reported by Sun Star. But why he is talking about it to media. Is he trying to test the water?

Never again! This was the cry right after martial law. I don’t know if we say this after Erap and Gloria.

President Arroyo is rumored to run in congress. Many of her critics are believing that she will really run.

Yesterday, as the president once again visited her hometown in Pampanga, a breaking news that the President might run as Vice President circulated and got mixed reactions.

Let Erap run. Let Gloria run. If both of them got elected again, that’s another story.

The Problem with Noynoy for President Movement

Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III never get much attention until the much mourned death of his mother, former president Corazon “Cory” Aquino.

Right after the burial of the former president, supporters of Noynoy began to surface urging him to run as president in 2010 elections. Obviously, Noynoy’s fanatics foresee his victory based on the the number of people who paid tribute to the remains of Cory and those who were in funeral procession. This is often tagged as “the Aquino magic”.

Now, even Noynoy Aquino has not officially announced that he will run as president in 2010, Sen. Mar Roxas already announced his intention not to pursue his plan to run as president to give way on the candidacy of  Sen. Noynoy.

Mar’s announcement was a big political surprise. We all know how Mar position himself to get into Malacanang in 2010. Mar has spent a lot of resources already – time, money, effort. His decision should not be very easy for him. We cannot ignore the reality that Mar Roxas got qualifications than Noynoy. I should not forget to mention that Mar has proven his worth with his accomplishments as DTI Secretary and as Senator. Noynoy, since he run for Senate, continue to live on the shadow of his parents. He had not done much to hint us once he become president. But why did Mar give way to Noynoy? If we can only read his mind, we’ll get quick answer.

These recent developments boost the Noynoy for president movement. The clamor to make Noynoy as president has become a hype.

This proves that Filipinos major basis to elect leaders is popularity. Competence is least considered. Now, would you still asked why we had elected an action star? Perhaps you have now understood why some people push Manny Pacquiao to run as congressman. No wonder a presidential aspirant did his marriage proposal on a noontime show. The reason is quite obvious why noontime host Willie Revillame is rumored to run for senator.

The problem of the hype to make Noynoy as president is that it is based on sympathy rather than an intelligent decision. The assessment that Filipino voters decide based on their emotion rather than reason is being proven. This happened before when Filipinos elected an actor with faith that the action star’s movie roles would lived well in national governance.

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Why Noynoy?

I am amazed with the recent media hype to make Noynoy run for president in 2010. After the death of his mother, former President Cory Aquino, Noynoy’s supporters suddenly surfaced.The excitement are becoming more intense with the catch that Noynoy is the only hope for this nation. The Noynoy Aquino magic is born!

Instead of going to political maturity, we seemed go backward. We go back to the time when we entrust our fate to magic and unseen forces. Are you going to blindly follow the wave and entrust the fate of this nation to a magic born out of sympathy? Obviously, the blind support to Noynoy is just a sympathetic move to ease the pain of losing a mother. Making Noynoy as president is too much!

Recently, Mar Roxas, announced that he will support Noynoy for president. But Noynoy has not yet decided if he will really run. The announcement of Mar made him an instant hero. If Noynoy decided not to run in 2010, Mar’s rating will surely get a significant boost. If Mar Roxas run as Noynoy’s vice president, the team will be a strong force in 2010 elections. I wonder, why Mar made an early announcement when Noynoy has not yet decided. What’s the catch Mar? Or is this part of ‘magic’ – a way so that we will talk about them?

Why Noynoy? As I wrote in my previous post, Noynoy has not yet proven his worth. He is only son of Cory and Ninoy. Being son of national icons are not enough guarantee that he will serve well. He also need to learn how to become a good statesman. Currently, he just echo the criticism of popular critic of the Arroyo administration.

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The politics of walkout and boycott

It is not surprising to hear reports that some senators and party-list representatives will boycott the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Arroyo on 27th. Boycott as well as walkout have spiced-up Philippine politics for generations. Walkout even triggered mass uprising.

Isn’t it common to hear senators and congressmen who walkout at a middle of hearing or investigation because they are not given what they wanted? In 13th and 14th congress of Philippine Senate, walkout is very common. One senator even cried because of her conflict with a senior senator. Now I can safely conclude that some senators are immature.

Reports said, Senators Panfilo Lacson, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Benigno Aquino III, and Manuel Roxas will avoid the SONA.

Walkout and boycott are signs of protest. These senators who announced that they will not be attending the Senate’s opening session and the SONA are protesting against the present administration. I respect them if that is their political stand.
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