Monthly Archives: June 2009

Column: Erasing Ateneo

Published on June 16, 2009. A modest tribute to a school that turned 150 years old two days before the column came out. Contrary to the view of some of my more assertive readers, however, I did not criticize the erasure of “el Ateneo” from the Penguin edition merely because I was, I am, an Atenean. Give me a little more credit than that.

In the Penguin Classics edition of “Noli Me Tangere” (2006), translator Harold Augenbraum renders the title of the seventh chapter, “Idilio en una azotea,” as “Idyll on a terrace.” I think I can understand why; the meaning of “azotea” would still be transparent to a Filipino reader today, but to the international audience of Penguin-reading English readers, it would be opaque. “Terrace,” on the other hand, falls trippingly off the tongue.

But something else is lost too, when Juan Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara de los Santos meet for the first time since the young gentleman’s return from seven years of study in Europe. In the famous balcony scene (“balcony,” in fact, is how Leon Ma. Guerrero, translator of the popular 1961 edition of the “Noli,” renders “azotea”), the two lovers exchange gigabytes of information without saying a word, through what Augenbraum, a Latino expert in the United States and the executive director of the National Book Foundation, describes as “the language of their eyes.” But they also talk, both teasingly and in earnest.

At one point, Maria Clara responds to Ibarra’s effusive declaration (“Could I ever forget you?”) with a modest recollection (“Unlike you, I haven’t traveled.”) She then says: “We were still children; your mother would take us to swim in that creek in the shade of the sugarcane. So many flowers and plants grew on the banks, and you would recite their names to me in Latin and Castilian, since you had already begun your studies at the athenaeum.” Continue reading

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RP punching above its weight?

I thought this letter to the editor, from Antonio Hill of Oxfam, deserves all the boost it can get. Met Hill, the group’s senior campaigner on climate change issues, at the newsroom two weeks ago, and then again at the ADB head office, before his keynote at the closing plenary session of the Clean Energy Forum. (He was sitting at the back of the hall, typing away at his laptop, working on his speech.)

The letter, a response to an earlier news story in the Inquirer (which, unfortunately, I cannot find online), reveals something about both the Philippines’ negotiating tack, and Oxfam’s language of assertive diplomacy.

Oxfam clarifies RP’s role in climate talks

I write in response to the article  “RP urged to join alliance to reduce carbon emissions” (Inquirer, 6/16/09)  to clarify Oxfam’s position, and to provide background information that is essential for understanding the performance and positions of the Philippine government delegation to the intergovernmental climate change negotiations, going on under the auspices of the United Nations.

First, I wish to emphasize Oxfam’s general view that the Philippine government played a positive and progressive role in the negotiations. What is not clear from the article—and what citizens need to know—is that the Philippines was the first country to put forward a concrete proposal (early this year) for the mid-term emissions cuts necessary from each individual industrialized country. This proposal reflected an even higher level of ambition than the proposal from South Africa, Brazil, China, India and other developing countries in the most recent negotiation session. Having such a bold proposal on the table early in the negotiating process has helped embolden the position of other developing countries, and also has filled a critical gap by setting out for industrialized countries such as the European Union, Japan and the United States the level of ambition that they need to be aiming for.

Second, Filipinos need to know that their delegation has consistently played a central role in the alliance of developing countries known as the G77 & China—another point that doesn’t come through clearly in the article. Like all countries negotiating for a stronger international climate regime, the Philippines forges its strategies, tactics and alliances on specific issues based on its specific national circumstances and interests. No doubt, the choice not to join the specific bloc of countries pushing for a 40-percent cut from industrialized countries by 2020 at the recent round of talks in Bonn reflects carefully considered judgment. More importantly, it is not necessarily incompatible with wider alliance-building efforts with these or other developing countries that work under the G77 & China bloc in the run-up to Copenhagen.

The negotiations are far from over, and much remains to be done. Securing a fair and safe agreement in Copenhagen is critical to reduce risks and increase support for poor people, who are already suffering most the climate impacts despite being least responsible for them. The Philippines is playing a critical role and should continue to do so.

—ANTONIO HILL,
senior policy adviser on climate change,
Oxfam International

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Column: SWS over Pulse Asia; Nograles vs media

Published on June 9, 2009. The feedback on Facebook (especially on MLQ’s wall) was fascinating.

I must quibble with my friend Manolo Quezon’s assertion, in his column of June 4, that “the media were caught napping by the goings-on in the House,” the night the administration coalition forced the vote on the constituent-assembly resolution. He was among those I followed online as the session neared its scripted end; some of the chatter on Facebook and Twitter that I tracked attacked the absence of traditional media at the Batasan, “except for ANC.” The Inquirer was even mentioned by name.

I was worried enough as to ask the newsroom, and immediately relayed the answer through my own Facebook update: there were at least three journalists from the Inquirer group present at the proceedings. Indeed, Inquirer.net’s Lira Dalangin-Fernandez posted a comprehensive report online a mere 10 minutes or so after the ignominious vote; the Inquirer’s Gil Cabacungan Jr. filed a report that became the next day’s banner story; photographer Niño Orbeta caught vivid images (and was himself caught on ANC). I am sure the same thing can be said for other newspapers and media organizations worth the name; they covered the vote.

So why did quite a number of bloggers and Tweeters and plurkers think the mainstream media was missing in action? I can only guess why. Either they did not see reporters with conspicuous press IDs on the floor (for good reason: many of the reporters “cover” in the press room, where their computers and Internet connections are). Or they do not listen to AM radio (the major stations, including dzMM and dzBB, covered the proceedings live). Or they expect the mass media to reach them where they are, in the digital networks they have come to inhabit. Continue reading

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A marriage of, ah, convergence

WAN and IFRA, the two global media associations the Inquirer is a member of, have decided to merge. (I think the newspaper I work for is also a member of two regional conferences, the Society of Publishers in Asia and the Asia News Network.) The explanatory letter, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, is definitely worth a close read.

We are delighted to inform you that WAN and IFRA, the leading international associations for print and digital news publishing, have merged into a new organisation, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

The combined new organisation will represent more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3000 companies in more than 120 countries. WAN-IFRA is dedicated “to be the indispensable partner of newspapers and the entire news publishing industry worldwide, particularly our members, in the defense and promotion of press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity, and the development of prosperous businesses and technology.”

The mission statement of the organisation can be found at http://www.wan-ifra.org.

The merger, which becomes effective on 1 July, has been approved by the Boards and the annual meetings of the two organisations. The new organisation will maintain the two current headquarters in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany.

Gavin O’Reilly, the President of WAN and Group CEO of Dublin-based Independent News and Media, will serve as President of the new organisation through 2010. “Both IFRA and WAN are strong organisations providing key services to our industry,” he said. “We believe that combining their strengths will allow us to be even more resourceful and effective in responding to the growing needs of our members and industry partners in the fast-moving and evolving media matrix. This is a necessary merger which, indeed, has been on the cards for some time”.

Horst Pirker, President of IFRA and CEO of Styria Medien AG in Austria, will serve as First Vice President, and become President in 2011. “Like the whole news publishing industry, WAN and IFRA are currently facing serious challenges. I think we need to concentrate our resources to support our members in the best possible way”, he said.

The new organisation will appoint a Chief Executive Officer shortly. In the meantime, the current CEOs of WAN and IFRA, Timothy Balding and Reiner Mittelbach, will jointly manage the merged association.

Members of the respective organisations will continue to enjoy their current benefits and will shortly be informed of the details of the future membership structure. A letter detailing benefits will be sent to you very soon, but if you have immediate questions, please direct them to Ms. Birke Becker (birke.becker@wan-ifra.org).

Any other inquiries you may have to: Larry Kilman, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: larry.kilman@wan-ifra.org.

We are grateful for your continuing support and are looking forward to working together with you in WAN-IFRA.

Sincerely,

Reiner Mittelbach
Timothy Balding

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Earnest like a prophet

On June 24, Chief Justice Reynato Puno served as the keynote speaker at the Araw ng Maynila rites. His speech touched on the history of the country’s first city and praised the Outstanding Manilans honored that day. Then, in two lengthy paragraphs, he thundered against the most pernicious threats to our democracy:

We look up to our honorees today for inspiration, as guiding lights as we face problems that threaten the existence of our democratic and republican character as a nation.  Without doubt, a primary threat to our democracy is the lack of truth in a lot of the ongoing political, social and economic discourses. With the coming electoral exercise, our people need the truth and nothing but the truth from those who govern us and like to govern us; for the people cannot exercise their sovereign judgment at the polling places if what is foisted to them are half truths, if not falsified facts.  Electoral exercises are meaningful only if the voters, especially the less cerebral masses, are well educated on the hot button issues of the day and are not waylaid by misinformation. Given our penchant for the cult of the popular, the cult of conformity, we cannot afford any impoverished debate on such issues as rule of law, good governance, corruption, poverty and environment. We are happy that three of our awarders are from media and one comes from the academe.  It is the media and the academe that can separate the reel from the real; it is the media and the academe that can lift the iron curtain of wrong information that is fed to our less literate people; it is the media and the academe that have the highest intolerance to falsehood; more than the swine flu, we should dread the epidemic of ignorance for, as the Scripture reminds us, it is truth that will set us free.

Without doubt too, the other problem that will not let go our eyeballs is the problem of poverty. We are facing the inevitability of recession; no ifs and buts about it, the number of our people sinking below the poverty line is not decreasing for we see the rising number of clenched fists belonging to the least, the last and the lost.  If that is not enough, we behold the worst kind of poverty – the poverty of spirit, the spirit of greed of the few that devastates the many which is most unfortunate for history teaches us that when the reign of greed begins, the rule of law ends.  We are thankful that we are honoring awardees  who have lived lives that prove we can have fathomless faith on the assurance that hard work can break the chains of poverty; that poverty need not be the perpetual prison of the poor; that honesty in business is rewarded and ought not to be a matter of moral generosity.  The rags to riches stories of our honorees should inspire our poverty stricken people; they should serve as antidote to their antipathies; and they should encourage them to resume their journey to hope.  We thank them for the message done through philanthropy that the few cannot flourish at the expense of the many.

I have heard the Chief Justice speak several times; I thought this speech, in particular these two paragraphs attacking the “lack of truth” in contemporary politics, the “epidemic of ignorance,” and, worst of all, the “poverty of spirit” that results from the “greed of the few,” was his best.

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Cunning like a fox

Was at a most interesting dinner last week (June 23), with an unflappable, straight-talking Ronnie Puno, possibly the savviest political operator in town, as guest. I would like to write down my impressions sometime soon, but in the meantime, here are links to the three stories that resulted from the no-holds-barred interview. (There was only one instance that I can recall, when he asked that matters be kept off the record.)

First, the question about Joseph Estrada running again. Puno was instrumental in facilitating the convicted plunderer’s presidential pardon. Gil Cabacungan wrote:

Puno, who was instrumental in President Macapagal-Arroyo’s pardon of the ex-President and convicted plunderer, told Inquirer editors and reporters over dinner that arguments for and against Estrada seeking reelection were “strong,” and that it would take a ruling from the high court to settle the issue.

It was the first time a member of the Arroyo Cabinet admitted the possibility that Estrada, who was ousted from power in 2001, could return to Malacañang.

Next, the question about the Lakas-Kampi-CMD’s choice of presidential candidate: the veep or the defense chief? Christian Esguerra wrote down Puno’s response:

“Nag-iisip din yan [He thinks too],” he said in over dinner with editors and reporters of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net), noting he regularly spoke with De Castro since both of them belong to the Cabinet.

But between De Castro and Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., he said he would be more comfortable serving as vice president under a Teodoro presidency, much like what United States Vice President Joe Biden now is to Barack Obama.

Last, the question about his perhaps all-too-pliable political loyalties. The report by Jocelyn Uy and Tarra Quismundo comes closest to describing the free-flowing character of the evening.

“If you ask them, the one thing they will tell you is that I was a loyal follower of all of them,” said Puno, who also served as Estrada’s interior secretary.

“Even if that sounds contradictory, it really isn’t because [I would serve] one boss at a time,” he continued, ascribing his unwavering relations with the three top leaders to his ability to distinguish “the partisan from the fundamental issues.”

Regardless of what I think of him, I came away thinking he certainly makes for good copy.

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Column: Giving Chiz his due

Published on June 2, 2009. Something was wrong with my PC; by the time we figured out the solution, it was 30 minutes to deadline. I ended up digging into my 2005 archive (which was when I first started keeping a blog).

A recent column deconstructing Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero’s deliberately vapid answers in last month’s ANC Leadership Forum prompted many questions, and not a few pointed comments. His speaking skills, after all, seem in large part to explain his popularity, especially among the youth.

I would like to expand on the young senator’s gift of gab, by recalling something I had written three and a half years ago. Continue reading

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The Fili, in the original Spanish

A 1990 reprinting of the 1891 Ghent (first) edition. A PDF file, also found online

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The Noli, in the original Spanish

Some kind soul uploaded the  original, Berlin edition to Scribd.

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Column: The 20-percent presidency

Published on May 26, 2009

When it comes to everyone’s favorite pastime—no, not watching the latest Hayden Kho sex video but handicapping favorites in the equally rough-and-tumble world of presidential politics—everybody has an opinion. But this emphatically does not mean that one man’s guess is as good as any other’s. I say this not simply because I have a vested interest in professional commentary and political journalism; I say this because certain factors are already in play, and opinion that does not take them into account is worse than useless.

Political facts, of course, may be read differently. In the interest of greater accountability, I would like to advance the following five theses, with which I propose to frame my reading of 2010. Continue reading

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Leah Navarro on Ka Rene

I never had the privilege of meeting Ka Rene, but this tribute, written by the inexhaustibly gifted Leah Navarro and circulated last Saturday, brought him to life before my eyes. Of the thousands of news releases I’ve read over the years, this is the most eloquent, and the most moving. 

Renato Penas, Sumilao famer and a leading member of PAKISAMA, is dead.  He, a relative and a friend were ambushed last night on the way to the piece of land he tilled all his life in Sumilao, Bukidnon.  His companions are wounded, but Ka Rene will never see another harvest again.  He was only 51.

The last time I saw Ka Rene was on May 24th.  It was Juana Change’s birthday, we participated in her celebratory walk for change along the Manila Bay boardwalk.  We hung back and talked instead, Ka Rene had done enough walking in his short life. He walked all the way from Sumilao in all kinds of weather, in tsinelas, to Manila along with hundreds of other farmers that loved the land that gave them a reason for living. He literally walked the talk.  Despite his struggle, Ka Rene was a happy man with an easy smile, and that day we laughed a lot.  The only time his smile would fade was when he spoke of agrarian reform.

Listening to him was a humbling experience, I felt small and my dreams seemed insignificant.  We talked about CARPer, agrarian reform in general, his sadness about Filipino farmers that were being hired to till land that wasn’t theirs in Korea and other places (he said it was shameful), the hope that one day land owners and farmers could settle their differences.  He had high hopes for CARPer, and I was told that he was elated when the bill was passed the other night. Our friend, Soc Banzuela, said his last text about CARPer was “panalo na tayo”.  Ka Rene must have been beaming when he sent that sms.

As he traveled to his farm, Ka Rene must have been filled with the enthusiasm of a new day.  He was probably bursting at the seams to give his wife Evangeline, and his kids Noland, Wopsyjenn, Jerald, and Realynme, the great news.  His killers made sure that wasn’t going to happen. His family deserves justice and I pray they get it.

I am very angry, can’t believe he’s gone.  Filipinos like Ka Rene are inspiring, their passion contagious.  Go with God, Ka Rene.

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Blurry images

from the 2nd ANC Leadership Forum, held this time at the UP School of Economics. All I had was my cellphone camera.

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Column: Kiko, Chiz, Amina, Candy — and consensus

Published on May 19, 2009

Fortune favors, not only the bold, but the foresighted. The decision of Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan to contest the vice-presidency next year is no mere concession to survey realities; it is, in Ricoeurian terms, a consent to necessity. In other words, I don’t see it as a grudging acceptance but rather a welcome embrace of his present limits. It is also the most politically savvy strategy for taking Malacañang—not in 2010, but in 2016.

In the post-Marcos era, every elected vice president except for Salvador “Doy” Laurel has done very well politically: Joseph “Erap” Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo succeeded the presidents they had served, and Emmanuel “Noli” de Castro, if surveys alone are the gauge, is poised to succeed to the highest office in 2010. Barring a Doy-like descent into self-destruction, therefore, the next vice president should be in prime position to contest the 2016 election.

To be sure, I still think it probable (and I think there is growing consensus on this) that De Castro will give way to the presidential ambition of his good friend Sen. Manuel Villar; like senators, the vice president can run for a second six-year term. That would pit him against Pangilinan—and Pangilinan’s celebrity wife.

* * * Continue reading

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Column: Liar’s proofs

Published on May 12, 2009; I was, unfortunately, under the weather.


As the reader can immediately tell from the dated allusions, I wrote this blog post in 2005—in August, to be more exact.

Can we fix guilt or innocence merely from the way the accused reacts?

Common sense tells us the answer is a daily feature, even a habit, of ordinary experience. That witty ad for an anti-diarrhea pill comes to mind: Observers in a courtroom see a man sweating profusely while testifying on the witness stand, and one of them says, “Mukhang guilty!” We understand where that courtroom observer is coming from; we live there ourselves.

There is also Susan Roces’ eminently subjective Rule of Eye Contact: You’re telling the truth if the truth shows in your eyes. Truth, essentially, is something that you can see. Continue reading

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A wedding

Rooting through a clutch of dusty 3.5-inch diskettes (remember those?), I chanced upon this sidebar story I wrote 10 years ago (in May 1999) for The Manila Times, about a Gokongwei wedding in Hong Kong with a President in the entourage.

HONG KONG – St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Tung Tao Wan Road in Stanley, on the southeastern side of Hong Kong island, is a chapel in the act of becoming a church. Major renovations were completed a year ago, but improvements in the 50-pew hall are continuing. The clear, new window behind the altar, for example, is stained-glass-in-the-making.

In the meantime, there are masses and baptisms and weddings to attend to. The church’s weekly newsletter is, as it says itself, full of “coming events — some old, some new.” Today’s wedding at 10 in the morning adds “something borrowed, something blue.”

Like the church itself, the wedding of Jimmy Tang and Hope Gokongwei is essentially a simple affair: boy meets girl; boy meets girl again, and again, and again; boy and girl finally fall in love.

But because Hope’s father owns The Manila Times (among many other things), and because Jimmy’s father invited the President of the Philippines, an old high school classmate, to stand as principal sponsor, their wedding has become a gatecrasher’s dream: an important event in a public place, with plenty of seats for the willing, and no gate to speak of. It is also only a 20-minute bus ride from Central, for the knowing.

The outside of the church doesn’t look like much. It looks like a school, actually, painted Rosary blue and plain white. On the main pillars of the façade, the church’s name has even been painted on, in sinful red.

Inside, the church opens out into a spacious and airy hall, made twice bigger by the absence of wall fans and loudspeakers and other essentials of communal space. (The secret, Father Elmer Wurth says, lies in the “magic boxes,” seven rectangles on each side of the church that hide the airconditioners, the fans, and the extremities of a decent public-address system.) The lines are clean and straight, the ceiling high, the walls solid. It is a good place to get married in.

In fact, it will remind the Metro Manila visitor of Mary the Queen parish church in San Juan, only smaller. It even resounds with noise that only students can make; St. Teresa’s, a Chinese elementary school, is right beside it.

Mary the Queen church was the sacred space, the no-man’s land, that divided Xavier School, where Jimmy went to school, from the Immaculate Conception Academy, where Hope studied. The two have  known each other since high school – although it may be more precise to say Jimmy did most of the knowing. Hope declined to become more than friends; my father is too strict, she said once.

They met again in college, in La Salle, which rewards the persistent with many opportunities.

Like many couples with long histories, Jimmy and Hope have had their share of trials, their portion of tribulation. Their own wedding, for instance, may turn out to be a circus, instead of a literal walk in the park.

They will do well to note the stations of the cross in St. Anne’s. Made by a banker appropriately named Fred Sturm, the stations are amazing foot-high bronze sculptures, that are at once minimalist and fully dimensional. (They also cost a pretty Peter’s pence: US$1,500 a station. Were they donated? Father Wurth makes a wry smile. “Oh, no,” he says.)

Out of adversity, art.

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Column: Blogging the 2010 elections

Published on May 5, 2009

Second-class nation. The decision by the giant GMA network and long-time blocktimer Solar Sports to delay the telecast of Manny Pacquiao’s Las Vegas fights to accommodate innumerable ads is creating a second class of TV viewers: those who cannot afford to watch pay-per-view TV or do not wish or know how to follow a boxing match on AM radio. Think about it: several million Filipinos saw or heard Ricky Hatton fall a third and final time just before noon last Sunday. The rest of the nation saw the perfectly leveraged left hook which knocked Hatton out even before he hit the canvas when it was already almost three in the afternoon.

I’ve read a statement from GMA, placing the burden squarely on the shoulders of Solar Sports. While it is true that Solar earns through the advertising, GMA cannot be entirely blameless; it sets the rate which Solar must pay.

Pacquiao’s many fans deserve to watch his fights live. Solar can make it happen by dramatically raising its ad rates and drastically reducing the number of advertisers. A company that picks up the entire tab—a San Miguel, say, or a PLDT, ponying up about as much as it does for an Olympic sponsorship—will reap a nation’s gratitude. Continue reading

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Editorial: “The romance of rape”

I could not find the Inquirer editorial mentioned in the preceding post online, so I looked for it in the newspaper’s (internal) digital archives.  The editorial was published on April 27, 2009.

IT IS TEMPTING TO DESCRIBE THE DECISION OF the Court of Appeals acquitting Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith of the crime of rape, promulgated by the all-female 11th special division, as the revenge of the manangs. The decision certainly seems to have been written by a conspiracy of spinsters, in vigorous denial of reality, and sustained by fantasies of chivalry (in favor of the American serviceman) and chastity (against the woman we all call “Nicole”). Continue reading

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Column: A host of “unexpected errors”

Published on April 28, 2009

Sometimes an error can be, not an anomaly, but the very norm. In the exact same way that a public official’s “lapse in judgment” may actually reflect the politician’s characteristic practice of politics, an “unexpected error” can turn out to be a regular feature of a system, the essential aspect of a case.

Consider the controversial acquittal, by a special division of the Court of Appeals, of American serviceman Daniel Smith of the crime of rape. The vital assumption animating yesterday’s Inquirer editorial bears repeating (it is something many of us can agree with): there is no question that the Court of Appeals has the responsibility to overturn trial court judgments if necessary. But the public has the right to expect any such reversal to be based on reasonable grounds.

In my view, the decision written by Associate Justice Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa offers not reason but prejudice. And it is a dangerous pre-judgment—it presumes that “Nicole” could not have been a victim because she was a party girl who drank hard. This is an error many of us can easily identify; even the “indecorous” can be sexually abused. Continue reading

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Weber’s “Politics as a vocation”

The second paragraph of the famous lecture (referenced in the preceding post), thus:

What do we understand by politics? The concept is extremely broad and comprises any kind of independent leadership in action. One speaks of the currency policy of the banks, of the discounting policy of the Reichsbank, of the strike policy of a trade union; one may speak of the educational policy of a municipality or a township, of the policy of the president of a voluntary association, and, finally, even of the policy of a prudent wife who seeks to guide her husband. Tonight, our reflections are, of course, not based upon such a broad concept. We wish to understand by politics only the leadership, or the influencing of the leadership, of a political association, hence today, of a state.

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Column: Moral vs moral

Published on April 21, 2009

Why waste time in a political column discussing morality, when politics is the art, not of the ideal, but of the possible? This kind of feedback tells me I must have failed to carry my point across, in last week’s “Big Talk” about morality.

Democratic citizenship is a decidedly moral undertaking; that is to say, republics are founded on the possibility of public virtue. It is essential, however, to distinguish public virtue from private.

Emilio Jacinto’s “Kartilya,” the founding document of the Katipunan, does not explicitly make that distinction, but is surely based on it. “The life which is not spent for a great and sacred cause is like a tree without shade, if not a poisonous weed.” By great and sacred cause, Jacinto could not have meant one’s personal integrity or even the well-being of one’s beloved family (for many Filipinos, the unfortunate true limit of our generosity). He could only have meant the needs of the emerging nation. To place the nation’s welfare ahead of one’s own—that is the citizen’s ideal life, and is the finest example, the pattern-setting template, of public virtue.

The implication is hard to escape, and even harder to accept: In politics, personal virtue is not necessary. Continue reading

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