Monday, August 19, 2013

On National Heroes' Day...

The fight for justice against corruption is never easy. It never has been and never will be. It exacts a toll on our self, our families, our friends, and especially our children. In the end, I believe, as in my case, the price we pay is well worth holding on to our dignity. – Frank Serpico

If I'm there, I will...

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Who Needs 24 Senators?

“The Senate is a place filled with goodwill and good intentions, and if the road to hell is paved with them, then it's a pretty good detour”. – Hubert H. Humphrey

In our present Legislative Branch set-up, we have 24 senators who seats at the upper chamber of the house of Congress. This arrangement was adapted from the 1940 amendment of the 1930 Constitution. Changes were made on the number of years a senator should “served” and how many times he/she should be re-elected. But the number of senators occupying the chamber remains the same.

In the 1930 Constitution, it was explained why we have 24 senators:
“The 24-man Philippine Senate was represented by two Senators from each of the 12 senatorial districts into which the country was divided.”

Who Is Representing Who?
Why we need two senators to represent each “district” is beyond me. Perhaps it was designed as an afterthought that a district will still be “well represented” in case one of the two senators is incapacitated. Or maybe we are just too lazy to think and just copy the US setup of two senators for each state without thinking a little bit beyond.

Speaking of “representation”; what district or region does our current crop of senators represents? I can claim two of them to hail from my region. But does anyone represent, let’s say, Caraga or ARMM? For all I know, most of them represent NCR.

In the Philippine context, senators do not represent any place or anybody. That’s the job of congressmen - they represent districts within regions or “marginalized sectors” of society. Senators are there to make or approve bills in to laws or act as “fiscalizers” to anything their whim desires. No matter if the subject is significant or inane, as long as it’s controversial and gains “political mileage”, they’ll scrutinize it.

Are They Necessary?
IMHO, if we take to task what these senators are supposed to be, 17, one representing each region, are more than enough to put the upper house in order, promulgate laws or make a monkey of themselves. Why not trim them down and let them work hard for those “allowances” we gave them. It also saves us a lot in terms of pork barrel allotment. Their elective office should be regional and not on the national level. Their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) should go nowhere else but for the benefit of their respective regions.

It may seem not much but, at the very least, it helps minimize the malady our government is perennially susceptible to. Come to think of it, we don’t need any of them, if we adapt a parliamentary form of governance.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Much Ado About Rating

In matters of "Life" and "Death", media sometimes bombarded the airwaves with “news” for the wrong reason.

In UK, they broadcasted trivialities and inanities while biding their time. Enthusiastically acting like Thumper and his siblings, while awaiting the birth of Bambi.

Across the continent, they hover around like vultures, not to sympathize on the well-being of a great man, but to be the first to break the news of his demise. 

"If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and chose their news sources accordingly." – Thomas Sowell

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection. - Sigmund Freud

Saturday, April 13, 2013

On Homily...

A good sermon should be like a woman's skirt: short enough to arouse interest but long enough to cover the essentials. - Ronald Knox

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Just Saying...

Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least. - Robert Byrne

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Right of Suffrage

When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country.  – Noah Webster

The Spartan Way
Ancient Greek democracy is an interesting study. Its political system was, in a way, “populist” that it was adapted by many modern nations as their form of governance. But what inspires me was how its citizens’ vote. They don’t elect representatives on their behalf but instead vote on laws and government policies. What is more appealing was that only adult males who have served their country militarily can be called “citizen”, thus have the right to participate in veering which course their country takes.

Wouldn’t it be practical to adapt these rules when choosing our own leaders? We could modify it to suit our socio-political needs. It is to Juan de la Cruz’s advantage if our electorates are consisting only of citizens who pay taxes and holder, at the very least, of a high school diploma.

Educated Tax Payers == Mature Voters
It is no secret that we have plenty of “undesirables” and clowns roaming at every corner of our government. Sadly, we have no right to complain because WE put them there. Lack of proper education impede our ability to think "outside the box", leaving us to wallow in political immaturity. A lot give more emphasis on personality rather than capability. Most fancy “entertainment” rather than government platform as "selling point" of these candidates.

I find it unfair, as a legitimate taxpayer who helps keep the government machinery running, that my vote carries the same weight as that of a “tambay” who sold his vote for a pittance. A mere equivalent of three Jollibee meals in exchange for a minimum of 3 years of kleptocracy. Why should we let people who does not contribute to our nation's coffer have a “say” in choosing our leaders? It's that simple - hindi kasali ang walang taya!

Forget equality or “universal suffrage”. The future of our country should be decided by citizens who have stakes in the government, who have something to lose and who cares for their country. Not by inhabitants whose over-all political perception is bounded only by surroundings that directly affect their personal lives.

A Pipe Dream
This may seem a tall order to some, prejudice and discriminatory to others. But the way I look at it is like “hitting two birds with one stone”: We minimize (if not eradicate) political dynasties and inutile politicians at the same time. But who am I kidding. With the present composition of both houses, only a fool will listen, much more, touch this subject.

Only “revolution” can urge this idea to crawl out from its hiding place, deep inside the dark recesses of our minds, to seek daylight.

Saturday, February 02, 2013


My attention was caught when this was posted in FB. It greatly shows the ethical distinction between the Koreans and us. Please read and ponder the difference. It contains some painful truth why we can’t seem to find our long lost dream. – BlogusVox


Filipinos always complain about the corruption in the Philippines. Do you really think the corruption is the problem of the Philippines? I do not think so. I strongly believe that the problem is the lack of love for the Philippines.

Let me first talk about my country, Korea. It might help you understand my point. After the Korean War, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Koreans had to start from scratch because entire country was destroyed after the Korean War, and we had no natural resources.

Koreans used to talk about the Philippines, for Filipinos were very rich in Asia. We envy Filipinos. Koreans really wanted to be well off like Filipinos. Many Koreans died of famine. My father & brother also died because of famine. Korean government was very corrupt and is still very corrupt beyond your imagination, but Korea was able to develop dramatically because Koreans really did their best for the common good with their heart burning with patriotism…

Koreans did not work just for themselves but also for their neighborhood and country. Education inspired young men with the spirit of patriotism.

40 years ago, President Park took over the government to reform Korea . He tried to borrow money from other countries, but it was not possible to get a loan and attract a foreign investment because the economic situation of South Korea was so bad. Korea had only three factories. So, President Park sent many mine workers and nurses to Germany so that they could send money to Korea to build a factory. They had to go through horrible experience.

In 1964, President Park visited Germany to borrow money. Hundred of Koreans in Germany came to the airport to welcome him and cried there as they saw the President Park . They asked to him, “President, when can we be well off?” That was the only question everyone asked to him. President Park cried with them and promised them that Korea would be well off if everyone works hard for Korea, and the President of Germany got the strong impression on them and lent money to Korea. So, President Park was able to build many factories in Korea. He always asked Koreans to love their country from their heart.

Many Korean scientists and engineers in the USA came back to Korea to help developing country because they wanted their country to be well off. Though they received very small salary, they did their best for Korea . They always hoped that their children would live in well off country.

My parents always brought me to the places where poor and physically handicapped people live. They wanted me to understand their life and help them. I also worked for Catholic Church when I was in the army. The only thing I learned from Catholic Church was that we have to love our neighborhood. And, I have loved my neighborhood.

Have you cried for the Philippines? I have cried for my country several times. I also cried for the Philippines because of so many poor people… I have been to the New Bilibid prison. What made me sad in the prison were the prisoners who do not have any love for their country. They go to mass and work for Church. They pray everyday. However, they do not love the Philippines. I talked to two prisoners at the maximum-security compound, and both of them said that they would leave the Philippines right after they are released from the prison. They said that they would start a new life in other countries and never come back to the Philippines.

Many Koreans have a great love for Korea so that we were able to share our wealth with our neighborhood. The owners of factory and company were distributed their profit to their employees fairly so that employees could buy what they needed and saved money for the future and their children.

When I was in Korea, I had a very strong faith and wanted to be a priest. However, when I came to the Philippines, I completely lost my faith. I was very confused when I saw many unbelievable situations in the Philippines. Street kids always make me sad, and I see them everyday. The Philippines is the only Catholic country in Asia , but there are too many poor people here. People go to church every Sunday to pray, but nothing has been changed.

My parents came to the Philippines last week and saw this situation. They told me that Korea was much poorer than the present Philippines when they were young. They are so sorry that there are so many beggars and street kids. When we went to Pasangjan, I forced my parents to take a boat because it would fun.. However, they were not happy after taking a boat. They said that they would not take the boat again because they were sympathized the boatmen, for the boatmen were very poor and had a small frame.. Most of people just took a boat and enjoyed it. But, my parents did not enjoy it because of love for them.

My mother who has been working for Catholic Church since I was very young told me that if we just go to mass without changing ourselves, we are not Catholic indeed. Faith should come with action. She added that I have to love Filipinos and do good things for them because all of us are same and have received a great love from God. I want Filipinos to love their neighborhood and country as much as they love God so that the Philippines will be well off.. I am sure that love is the keyword, which Filipinos should remember. We cannot change the sinful structure at once. It should start from person. Love must start in everybody, in a small scale and have to grow. A lot of things happen if we open up to love.

Let’s put away our prejudices and look at our worries with our new eyes. I discover that every person is worthy to be loved. Trust in love, because it makes changes possible. Love changes you and me. It changes people, contexts and relationships. It changes the world. Please love your neighborhood and country. Jesus Christ said that whatever we do to others we do to Him. In the Philippines , there is God for people who are abused and abandoned. There is God who is crying for love. If you have a child, teach them how to love the Philippines. Teach them why they have to love their neighborhood and country. You already know that God also will be very happy if you love others.

That’s all I really want to ask you Filipinos.

I sincerely hope that this essay inspire us all and show LOVE for our homeland.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Taking Care of Number One

What the public expects and what is healthy for an individual are two very different things. – Esther Williams

Lately, I’m hooked on watching “health” shows like Dr. Oz and The Doctors. Although most of their topics pertains on how to “retard” the inevitable dread of most women, once in a while I do picked some practical health tips.  But my favorite is House. I’m fascinated by his character. I can’t decide if his a sociopath, lacks empathy of just plain aloof. Is he a sadist or it’s just his way of showing his affection? Unlike other “detective” series where I can guess “whodunit”, one only knows if House had an epiphany when the camera focuses on his bulging blue-eyes and then - case solve. To be frank, I don’t have an idea what the hell they’re talking about most of the time!

When you reach that milestone where your age is more than the number of days in a calendar month, it’s time to count the number of calorie you take in a day. That includes changing your lifestyle like putting a ceiling on you vices, watching the food you eat and stretching those stiff muscles to produce sweat.

I do that. I’m down to smoking 6 sticks of cigarettes a day. I eat nuts and raisins as TV snacks instead of my usual potato chips or popcorn. My breakfast consist of 4 crackers, a banana and coffee, an apple, an orange and 4 more crackers for lunch and fish, vege and rice for supper with plenty of fluids between meals. But of course I indulge on beef, pizza and fried chicken on weekends to put some color and spice to my monotonous if not drab weekdays eating habit. I also promised myself to do a 4 km. walk, 3x a week the moment outside temperature hits above 20 degrees.

It works for me. When my wife and I have our annual general checkup, all my numbers are down while hers are playing just below critical. That’s the reason she complained to our doctor. She brags she does our laundry by hand instead of using the washing machine. A chore she regard as a form of exercise. She sleeps early while I sit and watched TV all night. I smoke while all her vices “only” consist of coffee, chocolate and doughnuts. So how come I’m healthier than her? It is perplexing indeed when the question comes from someone who does not eat breakfast because she’s “on diet” and considers a glass of fresh milk and a slice of chocolate cake – lunch!

But hey! What works for me does not necessarily mean it will work for you. The least you might get, especially with the nuts and raisins, is farthing all the time!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

As Time Goes By

Family is not an important thing. It's everything. – Michael J. Fox

We’re a small family. I’ve got a brother, a sister, two in-laws and six nieces and nephews. If a family reunion occurs in the future, ours will fit in a one long table by the side instead of renting the whole restaurant like other family reunions do.

There’s always a disadvantage when you seldom see your family. You’re always surprised at how the children have grown. I once wanted to buy a Barbie doll for my niece only to be reminded by my wife that she’s already in high school and doesn’t play with dolls anymore. In my mind the memory of them gathering around me while I distribute chocolates and other goodies is still fresh. It seems like only yesterday when they’re all cute and cuddly:

When I saw the "group" picture of my eldest nephew's wedding, I was a little bit homesick.

Everyone was there except me and my own family. Looking at it, I realized how time flew fast.

I miss you all!