Remembering 30 years ago at EDSA

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Millions flocking at EDSA to call for Ferdinand Marcos’ ouster.

Today is exactly 30 years after Ferdinand Marcos was ousted from power, after more than 20 years as president and dictator, and ascension of Corazon Aquino as president after days of protests at the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue or EDSA, as a result of highly polarized but fraudulent results of the snap presidential elections which was called upon by him to quell doubts of his capability to lead the country in midst of declining credibility brought by excesses of Martial Law, assassination of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino in 1983, severe depression in 1984-85, and presidential succession feud between Imelda Marcos and Juan Ponce Enrile. These events I’ve mentioned, had created doubts whether Ferdinand Marcos could able to survive as president beyond 1990, given the fact that he was already suffering lupus and could not anymore govern the country by himself but his cohorts. The assassination of his archival, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., further tarnished his credibility to govern the nation, not only in the eyes of many who had resisted his regime but the international community led by the United States. The reason on why Ferdinand Marcos called a snap election before American media was to relieve pressures of his regime in the eyes of the American government as he had to rely from them for the survival not only as president but also his planned anointed successor, likely his wife, Imelda.

The presidential campaign for the snap elections was really intense because of mud-slinging from both Marcos and Aquino sides, in order to gain votes for them to assure continuity of the regime beyond 1990 for the Marcoses and reversing all kinds of achievements and excesses of the Marcoses for the Aquinos. On the election day, February 7, 1986, the voting was tense because of harassment done by Marcos supporters to prevent prospective Aquino voters from voting in their respective polling stations and during the counting of votes at the prescient level, there were reports of ballot snatching across the country, especially in areas where Cory Aquino was expected to win, to derail the possibility of Marcos’ defeat in the hands of a mere housewife. When the COMELEC already conducted its quick count for the presidential and vice presidential results, five computer programmers walked out from the Philippine International Convention Center or PICC, the venue of the quick count, claiming that the Marcos camp had already manipulated the results for them. Meanwhile at the Batasang Pambansa, Ferdinand Marcos and his running mate, Arturo Tolentino, were proclaimed by the assemblymen members, mostly came from KBL, after gathering highest number of votes for their respective positions. These post-election turmoils had resulted into protests which were called upon by Jaime Cardinal Sin on February 22, 1986, calling for the resignation of Ferdinand Marcos and eventually millions of disgruntled people went to EDSA to follow Sin’s call and gained further sympathies after Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Constabulary Chief Fidel Ramos defected from the Marcos camp and joined the protesters. On February 25, 1986, both Corazon Aquino and Ferdinand Marcos were inaugurated as presidents of the country where the former made it at the Club Filipino while the latter at the Malacañang, hours later after Cory’s one. At night on the same day, Ferdinand Marcos, together with his First Family and his closest allies fled Malacañang and sent them into exile to Hawaii where three years later, he passed away and after the end of Cory Aquino’s presidency, his body was returned to the country and displayed in his residence in Ilocos Norte, awaiting for a burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in the future.

30 years later, the Aquinos and the Marcoses are still active whether in local and national arenas and in fact, the only son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino, Noynoy, is the current president and expected to end his term at the middle of the year while the only son of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, Bongbong Marcos, is the current senator and right now, running for vice president and if he wins the position, his presidency in 2022 would be seem to be inevitable. The eldest child of Ferdinand and Imelda, Imee, is the current governor of Ilocos Norte. Imelda herself today is the current representative of the first district of Ilocos Norte. All of the candidates of the current presidential and vice presidential elections are veterans themselves of the Marcos regime like Jejomar Binay, Rodrigo Duterte, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Gregorio Honasan or children of benefactors and opponents of the Marcos regime like Grace Poe, Francis Escudero, and Alan Peter Cayetano and Mar Roxas. Only Leni Robredo who have no family and political connections with the famous people during the Marcos regime. Most of all, one of the key actors of the EDSA I revolution, Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel Ramos, are still alive and politically active until this point and both of them, outlived Cory Aquino, who died in 2009 due to colon cancer and her death brought her only son to the presidency. Heck, Jovito Salonga, one of the fervent opponents of Ferdinand Marcos alongside Ninoy Aquino, is still alive at the age of 95, though no longer active with politics since his final senatorial term ended in 1992!

Indeed, many of the actors of the Marcos regime and the EDSA I revolution have survived after 30 years together with the most Filipino people like my parents, uncles, and aunts who had grown up during the Martial Law years and my grandparents, uncles, and aunts who had both supported or resisted the regime and this is the lesson for everyone especially those who were born after EDSA I revolution like me that we should cherish freedom and democracy bestowed upon us after years of struggle of our parents and grandparents under the midst of the excess of the Marcos regime which should not be repeated in foreseeable future. We should be thankful that we are enjoying the free flow of information via internet which we cannot enjoy if we remain under Martial Law.

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Manny Pacquiao is wrong about same-sex marriage

Last night, after taking dinner and surf on the net via Facebook, my newsfeed pooped up with a video with Manny Pacquiao being interviewed by the TV5 and asked whether he is for same-sex marriage or not. He said that it is “common sense” that a male should have romantic or sexual relations with a female and vice versa for humans and then he elicited that same-sex relations for humans are worse than animals. Netizens are divided with the his sentiments based on comments posted under the comment section of the FB video using religious and scientific grounds.

Obviously, he doesn’t know the history that human homosexuality and same-sex marriage have had predated Christianity because of our human affection to attach with someone else regardless of his gender and if he and everyone carefully history, homosexuality and same-sex marriages had already been present in ancient civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, China, or even in Mesoamerica. In regard to same-sex marriage, it was already recorded in Ancient Egypt history that Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, two royal servants during the Fifth Dynasty of the pharaohs around 2400 BCE, became couples despite of having already families respectively and when both of them died, they were buried together and their tomb was discovered in 1964. The most famous same-sex marriage in the ancient times happened during Roman Empire era where one of the infamous emperors, Nero, married a freedman named Pythagoras in a public ceremony. Homosexuality and same-sex marriages had been frowned upon for almost 2000 years because of global predominance of Abrahamic regions particularly Christianity and Islam and have only gained their modern acceptances in the 20th century due to the emergence of the concept of equality and affirmative action.

Also, he doesn’t know the fact about animal science or zoology that homosexuality is not uncommon within the animal kingdom because animal hormones are designed to make sex with whosoever they meet and since they are not sapiens unlike humans, they are not clouded with any certain moral norms and could do sex with their fellows freely. The argument about animal sexuality was cited by the American Psychiatric Association and other groups to argue for the removal of remaining sodomy laws in the United States in 2003 over the landmark case of Lawrence v. Texas which paved way for legalization of sex-same marriage in Massachusetts, a year later, and eventual legalization throughout the United States in 2015  over the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges.

I understand his religious and social beliefs, but expressing those in public especially this election campaign season would get an ire or ridicule from citizens who have understood the imperfections of current marriage laws which have been based from certain misinterpreted verses of the bible. I think we need to reassess our judgments or sentiments regarding this issue because we tend to think irrational if we discuss issues that affect our moral and religious beliefs because social irrationally hinders long-term development of our culture and society in general through repressing beliefs of someone which are considered “heretic” by the society.

I rather have him lose the upcoming elections and stick with his basketball coaching career and preaching Christian doctrines as minister in order to save the country from further ridicule and degeneration of our current rotten political system because if he wins as senator, his presidency would be inevitable given the fact that most electorates, unless there are systematic political reforms, elect candidates who are already well known for years instead of electing someone who is capable and qualified for certain elected posts. His future presidency would be disaster because of his erratic decision-making tendencies during the height of his boxing career and have persisted throughout his current political career and I don’t see him to correct his tendencies not because of him per se but his political and religious advisers who are expected to be part of hypothetical Pacquiao’s presidency in 2022 or 2028.

Political machinery still matters

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Jejomar Binay raising the right hand of his running mate, Gringo Honasan. (credits to Yahoo!)

The official campaign season for national positions has already started since Tuesday. The official start of the campaign period signifies that candidates for national position can fully focus themselves in mounting a national campaign without accusations of electioneering that most candidates have been doing for months mostly via social media before last Tuesday. This period is the opportunity for the administration party to spend billions of pesos from the coffers to ensure its candidates to win the election to continue the policies of the current government have been laying down for the past six years. This is also the opportunity for the opposition parties to spread their platforms or sentiments against the current administration just to win support from many who have been disgruntled with the policies, way of governing, or some the person leading the administration.

This election season is way different from the past because of the emergence of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and internet forums which has partially transform the way of discussing your political discernment as the new medium can able those who have internet access to share their sentiments to their friends or to the public within short span of time, seconds by the way, and can able to access news, blogs, or journals from government websites or civil society groups, anytime and anywhere to help formulating your political judgment on certain issues you are interested with.

The emergence of social media has been positive in democratizing the political discourse, though in a middle-scale and mostly enjoyed by middle class people like me right now, but it has not been entrenched yet especially among lower class people coming from the urban slums and provincial areas due to lack of internet access and most of all, lack of education about political participation and socialization due to abysmal educational system where students are trained to be followers not to be leaders because if they are to be trained to be the latter, it would threaten the rich politicians’ grip in power and might result to messy redistribution of wealth in favor to lower class people.

The lower class people without internet access comprise the majority of the Philippine population and the expected voters for the upcoming elections. Because of such reality, presidential candidates especially Jejomar Binay and Mar Roxas have been relying support from the grassroots typically from their political leaders like mayors and barangay captains who can mobilize their constituents who are mostly living below poverty line to vote for candidates who are being endorsed by their leaders. Presidential candidates have reasons to reach out with the grassroots because these people could make them president and at the same time, could overthrow them though unlikely these days.

Many netizens would disagree with me based on the title of this article alone, but we must be realistic with our political and economic situations where majority of the electorate can be still bought by politicians during few days before the voting day because of what I said earlier, lack of education about political participation and socialization and poverty where someone belongs under the poverty line have no disposable income to pay internet access just to access what’s happening in our political discourse. If we want to have our elections not being driven by political machinery, we have to alleviate our poverty rate and educate the people about political participation and socialization, so that we can build a numerous and strong middle class sector because these are the people who can discuss and make political judgment based on pragmatism not absolutism or emotionalism that most upper class and lower class people have been basing from respectively.

Remembering the Mamasapano massacre

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Oplan Exodus PNP Special Action Force Fallen 44 members. (credits to Wikimedia)

Today is the first anniversary of the partly ill-fated Oplan Exodus operation to capture terrorists Marwan and Basit Usman, who were wanted by the United States government for terrorist activities threatening the security of the United States. The operation had postponed many times before it was executed due to fear of the government to alienate the representative of the Moros in the peace talks with the Philippine government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as Marwan and Basit Usman were hiding within the territories controlled by the MILF.

The operation was finally executed on January 25, 2015 because the government had to support the efforts of its American counterparts in fighting extremist Islam terrorism in exchange for military and economic aids expected by our country from the United States. The government had two dilemmas, whether to honor the MILF or the US government, and the dilemmas resolved by choosing the latter and the operation was executed. When the PNP Special Action Force entered the MILF territory where Marwan and Basit Usman hid, MILF told the media that the PNP SAF didn’t ask a permission from them and the MILF’s statement had angered the public arguing that the MILF as a rebel group, the government should do force to capture terrorists at all costs without following the rules of engagement like asking permission from somebody’s controlling the area where the terrorists hid. The chain of command was not followed like preempting DILG secretary and now Liberal Party presidential candidate, Mar Roxas, and instead, the operation was executed mostly upon the orders of PNP chief Alan Purisima and SAF chief Getulio Lapeñas while the president was on a visit in Zamboanga at the time of the operation.

These lapses caused the casualties of 44 PNP SAF members committed by the MILF and the immediate and lasting result of the mishap have been the increased skepticism of the general public with the peace process and the Bangsamoro Basic Law because the representative of the Moro people is the MILF and people cannot anymore trust their sincerity as they have perceived that the MILF would eventually break the proposed peace agreement thru BBL and pursue their long-time dream for independence from the Philippine Republic. For me, had both parties followed the realpolitik not just during the Oplan Exodus operation but for the entire deliberation of the peace process, 44 PNP SAF members would have survived, the people won’t give a fuss about the operation, and the peace deal would have been achieved by now. The Mamasapano massacre basically brought the dream for everlasting peace in Muslim Mindanao into a brink of collapse due to mistrusts by the Christian Filipinos with the peace deal and the false hopes by the Moros that peace deal would be achieved under the representation of the MILF on behalf of them after the massacre. For me also, to achieve the everlasting peace in Muslim Mindanao, I think both Christians, Muslims, and Lumads should be given their desired political autonomy equally like delegating the power to make economic, political, social, and cultural policies to them for their own benefit while at the same time, maintaining the territorial integrity of the country. In other words, evolving federalism should be the route for everlasting peace in our country.

The responsible of the partly ill-fated operation should pay the consequences of their actions so that the soul of slain PNP SAF members would be laid in peace and the people can move on and pursue the dream for political autonomy for everyone for the future welfare of our country.

Why I am not voting for any presidential and vice presidential candidates this coming May 2016 election

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Top (presidential candidates from left to right): Jejomar Binay, Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, Manuel Roxas III, and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Bottom (vice presidential candidates from left to right): Gregorio Honasan, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Maria Leonor Robredo, and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

Many of my friends, whether online or real life, have been wondering on why I am not going to vote for any presidential or vice presidential candidates this coming May 2016 elections. I have acknowledge that this election season, so far, is the most crucial in our recent history as this year is the 30th year after EDSA I revolution which means it’s already a generation ago and the current president is the son of EDSA I president Corazón Aquino who is Benigno Aquino III. So far, compared with two previous presidential elections I’d followed, most of presidential and vice presidential candidates have already presented their platforms once they are elected this coming May 9. Let me discuss every presidential and vice presidential candidate and why I won’t vote for them.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES:

JEJOMAR BINAY

No one can deny the fact that Jejomar Binay is one of the most ambitious among presidential candidates as he has been vying for the presidency since 2008 and supposedly planned to run as president, only gave up because former president Joseph Estrada had declared his intentions to run in 2010 presidential election and to prevent fragmentation of the lower class or masa vote that time, he had to slide down and ran as vice president with Erap and he won as vice president while Erap lost to current president Aquino.

His platform of government is mainly a continuation of the current administration’s one with populist and some reformist twists like deepening the popular Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program or 4Ps and amending the economic provisions of the 1987 constitution to align with the ASEAN Integration and future membership with Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP. The downside of his candidacy is that he has been embroiled with corruption allegations when he was the Mayor of Makati and has not answered those allegations before the Senate of course for political reasons and instead, he had preferred to connect himself with the lower class voters who can relate with themselves of who he is, from his physical appearance to his rag-to-rich personal history.

I won’t vote for him because I foresee that despite of his planned reforms on economic provisions in the 1987 constitution, which I have vehemently advocated for years, the country will not get better in the long run as he prefers to maintain the political and business establishments to be in their respective places beyond his presidential term. The country, for sure, cannot tolerate another president who has already have allegations of corruption before being elected as president and many his skeptics have already foreseen him as potentially worse than Marcos, Estrada, and Arroyo combined in terms of managing country’s coffers.

RODRIGO DUTERTE

Rodrigo Duterte is a reluctant presidential candidate like the current president during 2010 presidential campaign. He is only running for president because he is afraid that his opponent, Grace Poe, would win and have the United States dictate the internal policies of the country as she used to be an American citizen. He had always denied presidential run as late as during the filling of Certificate of Candidacy last October because of family reasons like initial opposition from his daughter, Sara, and his advanced age in which he admitted one time that he might die in office, if he is to be elected as president. In the end of the day, he declared his intentions to run as president last November.

His platform of government is all about revamping the system of government from shifting from current unitary to federal form like in the United States and fighting crime and corruption. His platform of government is the dream of many voters in the country who wants dramatic and systematic changes within their lifetimes and of course, there are oppositions from those who have been benefited with the current system. The downside however, is himself because he is willing to bring his style of governance in Davao City to national sphere which for me, it won’t work because local and national government political realities are far different respectively and many people cannot stomach his iron fist style of governance in the national arena due to experience during Ferdinand Marcos presidency.

I won’t vote for him because it would be difficult to fulfill his plan to shift from unitary to federal form within limited 6-year presidential term and also, his plan to fight crime would only deal small time criminals not big time one like drug lords and politicians who have been involved in crime. His plan to fight corruption would obviously enraged politicians, whether his backers or not, and thus, making his plans for constitutional reform difficult without their support. Therefore, his plan for a wholesale structural constitutional reform is improbable for the next 6 years. I won’t vote for someone who is expected to disappoint the people.

GRACE POE

Grace Poe became a presidential aspirant right after her victory as senator in 2013 senatorial election. Since then, the people had been expecting her to run as president because for a reason that she is the adopted daughter of movie star and former 2004 presidential candidate, Fernando Poe, Jr., who lost the election then due to allegations of electoral fraud ordered by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Before her declaration of presidential candidacy last September, there were negotiations within the ruling Liberal Party to have her as the vice presidential candidate with Mar Roxas, of course, as presidential candidate. The negotiations broke down because Grace Poe didn’t want to become a mere second-fiddle of Mar Roxas because she knew that being a vice president under potential mediocre Roxas presidency would harm her chances of winning as president in 2022, had initial Roxas-Poe tandem proceed. After the negotiations broke down, she declared herself as presidential candidate and picked Chiz Escudero as her vice presidential candidate and right after the announcement, she led the opinion polls until Duterte’s declaration of his own presidential candidacy.

Her platform of government is actually similar to Binay and Roxas, which I’ll discuss later on, with continuation of most initiatives of current Aquino administration with reformist twists according to her declarations like amending the economic provisions of the 1987 constitution. The downsides of her candidacy are that, she has been embroiled with several disqualification cases against her candidacy due to problems of her residency in the country after she returned from the United States and of course, her foundling status where many law luminaries like Justice Antonio Carpio argued that she must be disqualified because the 1935 constitution, the constitution in force during her birth, never recognized her as natural born because she is a foundling.

I won’t vote for her because of similar reasons of not voting Binay as amending the economic provisions of the 1987 constitution only without planning to proceed to revise the rest of the constitution beyond her presidential term would perpetuate the political and social problems that have been suffering for years. Unlike him, I don’t think she would enrich herself while in office. Another concern would be the possibility of disqualification after taking office and have Chiz succeed her as president and many people cannot stomach to have him as president through succession not election and that’s the another reason on why I won’t vote for her as the country cannot risk itself another constitutional crisis that could put the country once again as one of the laughing stocks in Asia.

MAR ROXAS

Like Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas has been vying for the office of the president since he was senator, way back 2007, and he had already campaigned for the presidency by the time former president Corazón Aquino died in August 2009 due to colon cancer. The death of former president Cory Aquino changed the landscape of the presidential race that time as many Cory supporters had been clamoring to have her only son, the current president Benigno Aquino III, be the presidential candidate of the Liberal Party. Mar Roxas, after several clamors, eventually slid down from his presidential aspirations and became vice presidential candidate of the current president. The current president eventually won but he unfortunately, lost in a close race to Jejomar Binay. A year later, he was appointed as DOTC secretary and another year later, due to the death of Jesse Robredo via plane crash in Masbate, he was appointed as DILG secretary and as a secretary DILG, he served as one of the closest advisers to the president to the extent that he had acted as de facto president in some instances.

His platform of government is really a total continuation of the policies of current Aquino administration and his presidential campaign right now has been revolving around the slogan of Matuwid na Daan or Straight Path in English. One of the downsides of his candidacy is that he is associated with the blunders committed by the Aquino administration for the last 5 years like his decision to terminate contracts for MRT maintenance, dismal handling of the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda, and inept dealing with the Mamasapano massacre. Another downside of his candidacy is his inability to connect with the majority lower class voters despite of his several posturings or epalisms since he was a senatorial candidate in 2004 and these voters have already been fed up of his actions and want someone who comes from their ranks which he doesn’t come from them.

I won’t for him because the downsides of current administration might worsen the country in the long-run and might tarnish the legacies of Cory and Noynoy presidencies forever through his incompetence in running the country. Without piecemeal constitutional reform as he promised, nothing will occur to our country for good. In other words, Mar Roxas presidency will be the maintenance of the whole status quo since 1986.

MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO

Miriam Defensor-Santiago has already been a presidential candidate for three times and her first attempt in 1992, she nearly won due to division of Cory Aquino votes between Fidel Ramos, Ramón Mitra, Jovito Salonga, and Salvador Laurel and division of Ferdinand Marcos votes between Imelda Marcos and Danding Cojuangco. In her second attempt in 1998, only less than million had voted for her due to Joseph Estrada’s candidacy, thus her candidacy back then was not taken seriously by the people. While her presidential dream had become elusive over time until recently, she has become a senator for two occasions from 1995 to 2001 and from 2004 up to the present and she has passed hundreds or thousands of bills that we are enjoying right now. For me, along with Juan Ponce-Enrile, she is one of the most astute politicians I’ve ever seen because of her ability to stand issues which can be liked by some and be hated by other, thus she’s not afraid of alienation as long as she stand with her principles.

Her platform of government is actually composes of needed social reforms that most of her potential voters, the youth, wanted like anti discrimination law for LGBTs or legalizing divorce. She has also promised like Binay, Poe, and Duterte, to amend the economic provisions of our 1987 constitution. The downsides however, are that she had only announced her candidacy when she thought that Rodrigo Duterte was not running until his eventual declaration in November and thus, her candidacy was unplanned and doesn’t even have political ads on free TV to disseminate her candidacy. Her health is still in question to some despite the fact that her doctors declared her as lung cancer free.

I won’t vote for her because I afraid that her cancer might reappear during her term and if gets worse and die in office, her running mate, Bongbong Marcos, would succeed her as president and people especially the older one who have grown up during Martial Law years, would surely enraged Bongbong presidency especially if he becomes president through succession not election. Another is that, the current presidential system doesn’t suit to Miriam’s style of leadership because she might be tempted to abuse executive power to apply her agenda.

VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES:

GRINGO HONASAN

Gringo Honasan only ran for vice president because Jejomar Binay had a hard time to find his vice presidential candidate as leading aspirants like Bongbong Marcos, had rejected his offer, so that, their future presidential candidacies won’t be derailed with an association with corruption-tained Binay. In other words, Gringo is a reluctant candidate for vice president.

I won’t vote for him not because of his history as coup-plotter during Cory Aquino presidency but because he won’t be that productive as vice president compared as a senator right now. His image has been rehabilitated because he has chosen to be a senator not to be as vice president or president that once he aspired when he made coup attempts against former president Cory Aquino and for sure, her supporters would be horrified with his presence in Malacañang.

ALAN PETER CAYETANO

In 2013, Alan Peter Cayetano originally aspired himself to be the president this year and in fact, launched an exploratory committee to find out whether his ambition to become president is feasible or not. The whole thing had changed after the Mamasapano Massacre as he used to be one of the proponents of Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL and since he knew that BBL had become unpopular among the majority Christian Filipinos, he withdrew from supporting the proposed law and became an ardent opponent of it. His later opposition has angered the Moros who have been expecting the BBL to be passed before the closure of the current 16th Congress and since he knew their opposition and possible backlash to him if he pursued his planned presidential bid, he slid down to vice presidential race and Rodrigo Duterte picked him as his vice presidential candidate.

I won’t vote for him because he’s a typical airhead populist politician who has swayed supporting a bill which could have been good for the Moros for the sake of pandering the sentiments of majority Christian Filipinos who have been opposing the BBL due to lack of understanding with autonomy for the Moros and I don’t want to have him dictate whosoever becomes president in decision-making especially the matters like BBL.

CHIZ ESCUDERO

Chiz Escudero is perhaps, one of the most ambitious politicians in our generation because of the fact that he served as one of the ardent critics of previous Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration and many people have had adored his opposition to unpopular Arroyo that time. He was the responsible person who made Jejomar Binay’s vice presidency possible while at the same time, he campaigned the presidential candidacy of the current president who is his close friend. But, his friendship with the current president was not reciprocated by the latter during the first three years of the administration because the president had preferred Mar Roxas instead of him and that was the reason when the time Grace Poe was elected as senator and her presidential candidacy became inevitable, he moved closer to her and became her closest adviser as he used to be the closest adviser to her adopted father in 2004 and because of that, he was rewarded by becoming her vice presidential candidate.

I won’t vote for him because he’s an obvious a power hungry person and ready to back stab any politicians he felt never followed his personal ambitions to become president someday. Politics aside, he broke his own family by abandoning his first wife and his children to marry his current wife, Heart Evangelista, despite the fact that Heart’s parents had opposed her marriage with a politician like Chiz. If he becomes vice president while Grace Poe is disqualified while in office, he would become the president through succession and people don’t want to repeat the EDSA II fiasco anytime soon, so no to Chiz Escudero.

LENI ROBREDO

Leni Robredo like Gringo Honasan, is a reluctant vice presidential candidate, as Mar Roxas like Jejomar Binay, had a hard time to find his vice presidential candidate after negotiations with Grace Poe to have her as his vice presidential candidate, broke down due to conflicting ambitions. Since Grace Poe was already off the table, the Liberal Party tried to convince the widow of late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, Leni, to run as vice president for Mar Roxas. At first, she turned down the offer but after several weeks before the filing of Certificate of Candidacy in October, she finally accepted the offer of the Liberal Party to become its vice presidential candidate.

I won’t vote for her because for me, she is too premature to join national politics especially becoming vice president or president given that she had only entered politics, less than a year after the unfortunate plane crash of her husband in Masbate, and our recent experience shows that those who have lesser experiences in LGU and Congressional politics, have a hard time to adjust him/herself to the responsibilities as vice president and especially, president. The current president is the manifestation of that inexperience, although he had been 12 years in the Congress, he had a hard time to adjust to higher executive job as critics would like to say that his government is akin to a typical supreme student government in schools and universities. I don’t want the experience of the current president be repeated to Leni even though she is running for vice president. She should have run as senator this election instead as vice president.

BONGBONG MARCOS

Like Chiz Escudero, Bongbong Marcos is also one of the most ambitious politicians in our generation as being one of the heirs of Ferdinand Marcos and many people have expected that he could restore the upsides of his father even though many of those who have expecting him were not born yet during the regime of Ferdinand Marcos. Many Marcos opponents had taught that EDSA I revolution would be the end of Marcos political hegemony but they were wrong as few years after the revolution, Marcos family was able to restore electoral politics where Bongbong’s elder sister became congresswoman representing Ilocos Norte, he himself became governor of Ilocos Norte, and his mother, Imelda, has become congresswoman of Ilocos Norte today despite of her advanced age. As senator, he has never disappointed his supporters and has proved his critics wrong by passing several bills that have become laws in which ironically, many of those are being supported by the current Aquino administration. The downside however of his vice presidential candidacy is that he carries the baggage of being a Marcos and many people especially those who suffered the atrocities of Martial Law including the family of the current president, won’t accept to have him in Malacañang in the future as president, so while he is still running as vice president, they will find ways to stop him from getting the second highest position in the country as they knew that once he wins the vice presidency, his presidency would be inevitable.

Perhaps, he’s the most qualified person to become vice president but I won’t vote for him because I don’t want political dynasties in the national sphere be perpetuated with his future vice presidency or presidency itself. I don’t want also that if Miriam wins and dies in office, he would succeed her through succession because becoming a president through succession would become someone less legitimate in the eyes of the people and I don’t want to happen that to Bongbong. I have foreseen him actually as the winner of the vice presidential race because of the fact that he’s the only vice presidential candidate well known across regions and social classes.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

Even though I’m not going to vote with anyone of presidential or vice presidential candidates, but I’m ready to work with whosoever wins as president and vice president because I have already a vision for a better Philippines and I want not just the expected winners of this election but the future leaders to educate and understand my visions for a better Philippines be applied, so that future generations should enjoy before I die of advanced age.

 

 

 

 

President Noynoy Aquino’s 4th SONA: No transformative changes

President Benigno Aquino III addresses before the Congress, 22 July 2013.

President Benigno Aquino III addresses before the Congress, 22 July 2013. (Courtesy of Rappler)

President Benigno Aquino III delivered his State of the Nation address for the fourth time in his presidency. His SONA was significant in the first place as his administration is passing the midway of its term that is scheduled to end on 30 June 2016 and also, it was the opening of the new 16th Congress.

Since it is in the midpoint of his 6-year term, the people or boss in his own words, have been expecting a lot of transformative changes in our country for the past three years under his watch. Ordinary people may have different opinions in his policies, but there’s a common thing which is whether he delivered or not.

As I watched his State of the Nation Address at the Law Building of the University of San Carlos amidst of my asthmatic condition right now, there might be phrases that the president uttered that really made sense like saying that he cannot transform the country within his six-year term, which is impossible as far as our economic and political climate are concerned, but just like in his three previous SONAs, I cannot avoid to criticize his manner of blaming some of his shortcomings in his administration to his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. I think for the past three years of his term, any shortcomings of his administration are now the fault of him and his team, not the predecessor one.

As I expected, he never mentioned any drastic and yet, long-term transformative changes for our country like revising our 1987 constitution to cure our economic and political systems shortfalls that are no longer compatible to our fast-evolving globalized world as he has to pander the interests of few business and political elites who brought his mother and him to the presidency. Though he mentioned some initiatives to be tacked in his administration like crafting a Basic Law for the proposed Bangamoro, amending the SSS pension scheme system, passing the Cabotage Law, Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Bill, Land Administration Reform Bill, P2.268-trillion National Budget for 2014, addressing chronic power shortage in Mindanao, dividing his family-owned Hacienda Luisita to beneficiaries by September, and many more, but those initiatives that the administration want to address are insufficient at its best to achieve of what he want, transformative changes.

What I would like to advise to our president is that he should capitalize his political advantage at this point of time to initiate structural changes to our economic and political system that would have positive impact to the lives of our future Filipinos and have him to stop listening leftist and oligarch lobbies of preserving the current status-quo that has not uplift the lives of our people from poverty while this people kept complaining whosoever in power and profiting the semi-monopolistic economic system thanks to the 1987 constitution. I hope the president will read and listen to my advice and if not, history will judge you.

My thoughts on Miami Heat’s victory over the San Antonio Spurs

Lebron James holding the Larry O'Brien trophy (right) and the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy (left).

Lebron James holding the Larry O’Brien trophy (right) and the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy (left).

The Miami Heat won its second consecutive NBA title over the San Antonio Spurs after a tough series, which had to be extended to game 7 in Miami. It was a thrilling series in three years as  they were on the verge of defeat in game 6 until Ray Allen shot a 3-point field goal to secure an overtime and won the game 6 and be decided who should be the NBA champion in game 7. I watched the entire series from game 1 to 7 and had to flood my wall on Facebook that annoyed some of my friends as I had been waiting that series for eight years to happen and had to watch to decide whether Lebron could cement himself to be one of the greatest of all time in the NBA the time by the he retire someday or cement Tim Duncan’s legacy further as one of the best NBA players in this generation.

The path of the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs to get the NBA Finals was different. The Heat’s path to the NBA finals was difficult compared to the Spurs as they had to reach game 7 to win the Eastern Conference Finals because they didn’t have immediate response to Roy Hibbert at the front court, Paul George at the back court, and the athleticism of the Pacers’ players. San Antonio Spurs had the easier path to the NBA Finals as they swept the Memphis Grizzlies, 4 games to nothing as the Memphis Grizzlies was too inexperienced to face the good combination of veteran and youth players of the Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who could have been the team to face the Miami Heat in the Finals, was eliminated by the Grizzlies due to Russell Westbrook injury in his right knee, rendering Thunder’s dream to have a Finals rematch with the Heat impossible.

The entire Finals series was close as crucial games had to be decided with razor-thin margins in game 1, 6, and 7 while both teams had to win over each other with overwhelming margins in game 2, 3, 4, 5. The series was considered a relatively low-scoring and defense focused for both teams as starting and reserve players like James, Wade, Bosh, Chalmers, Miller, Allen, and Battier for the Heat and Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Green, Neal, Diaw and Leonard for the Spurs had defend the ball just to win the series, therefore, the NBA title.

Many fans and especially band wagoners had expected the Heat to win the series in an ease way, but they were wrong as the Spurs showed their courageous and tenancy efforts to fight for another NBA title despite of having their starting players way older than them. During game 1, the Spurs showed to the world that they could still made them tired and tougher to defend their title in 2012. The Heat accepted their challenge and proved the world that they were the best by forcing the game 6 into an overtime through Ray Allen’s 3-point field goal in the remaining seconds of the fourth quarter of the same game. Had Ray Allen’s 3 missed, the Spurs would have been the NBA champion, but of course, it didn’t happen.

Spurs’ defeat was not really because of Ray Allen’s 3-point shoot, but because of fatal mistakes of their head coach, Gregg Popovich of playing Manu Ginobili too much minutes, who was inconsistent throughout the series and playing Tiago Splitter in the start of fourth quarter that gave an opportunity for the Heat to destroy their defense at the front court. The same mistakes were committed by Popovich in game 7 as Ginobili played the fourth and he got tired probably that’s why he missed passes and shoots that would have been a victory for the Spurs in game 7.

The reason on why the Heat could not defeat the Spurs in 5 games was because of their weakness at the back court and the front court where Tim Duncan of the Spurs dominated the them on the latter. Lebron James still had his weakness at the perimeter (although improving throughout the years), Dwyane Wade was not 100% healthy, and Chris Bosh was inconsistent at the back court. They had to rely Chalmers, Miller, Battier, and Allen to win the series to match Spurs’ strength at the back court.

The moral lesson of the series is that we need to have a sort of consistency to win the series and if the momentum is almost in our hands, never fumble it. The series was the proof that any veteran teams can still have chances to reach NBA finals or even winning the title itself.