2004 Postscripts

December 2004

SCARING INVESTORS: One argument being used to assail the government takeover of Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia-3) is that it would scare away foreign investors. [ Read More ]

NOT BLAMELESS: One weak point in the government takeover of Terminal-3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia-3) is that Malacanang was not entirely blameless when it rescinded the contract with Piatco to build and manage the terminal. [ Read More ]

LET CHRIST IN: A Blessed Christmas to all, even to those who do not believe in it.

Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy. It saddens me to see many people, including close friends, caught in the stressful preparation for the commercialized celebration of the birth of Jesus. [ Read More ]

STORM’S OVER?: For a while there, the throbbing mass that turned out Wednesday for the burial of movie idol Fernando Poe Jr. threatened to erupt into another People’s Revolt with incited FPJ supporters assaulting the seat of power by the Pasig. [ Read More ]

DOWNHILL FROM HERE: The slide appears to have begun, and there is no indication that President Arroyo is moving to arrest the downtrend. [ Read More ]

COMBATIVE STANCE: At least it is now clear that Susan Roces, widow of cinema idol Fernando Poe Jr., condones the tearing apart of the wreath sent by a condoling President Arroyo, and that she is declining state honors suggested for him. [ Read More ]

UNCOUTH: It is not true that the House of Representatives has approved, as compromise to the proposal to fly the flag at half-mast, to raise the colors instead to “three-fourths mast” as a sign of mourning for movie idol Fernando Poe Jr., who died Tuesday. [ Read More ]

COMMUNAL SPIRIT: It is sad that the condition of former presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr., who sank into a coma after suffering a stroke Saturday night, is being used by some politicians to fan partisan fervor. [ Read More ]

EMAIL GLITCH: There was a transmission problem last Saturday (Dec. 11) resulting in the Philippine STAR not receiving the text of my Postscript for today, Sunday. [ Read More ]

MIDDLE GROUND: Before they utter another word on logging, President Arroyo and Gen. Victor Corpuz better sit down and decide if they would enforce a Total Ban on logging (Arroyo order) or just a Selective Ban (Corpuz’s idea). [ Read More ]

IMPROVISATION: If you have anything important to say about flash floods and logging, legal or illegal, better say it aloud now.

In just one more week, the disaster that hit the Aurora-Quezon area would be forgotten. By next week, everybody from the President down to Cabinet officials and lawmakers — and even media — would be talking of something else. [ Read More ]

OVERLOGGING: The need for us to close ranks in crises should not be invoked to defer moves to identify and prosecute the scalawags responsible for the overlogging that caused the flashfloods in Aurora, Quezon and other typhoon-hit areas. [ Read More ]

ETERNAL SCRIPT: Here we go again….

In the wake of hundreds drowning in flash floods, being buried in mudslides or crushed by logs and forest cuttings set loose from denuded mountainsides by torrential rains, and with thousands of sick and starving evacuees crying for help, we will again witness: [ Read More ]

November 2004

GIFT FROM PNP: Years ago, I was so presumptuous as to send word to the then director-general of the Philippine National Police through his trusted subordinate that I wanted a valuable gift from him. [ Read More ]

CAPITULATION: The Arroyo administration is sadly mistaken if it thinks it had solved the transport strike last Wednesday by working out a small discount on the diesel that jeepneys and other passenger conveyances use. [ Read More ]

CELFON BLOWUP: In jest, I once suggested to a telco executive the insertion of a mechanism in cellular phones that causes a unit to burn — or even explode — if a thief or an unauthorized user attempts to enter three times a wrong user’s code or password. [ Read More ]

DEFENSIVE AURA: Malacañang propagandists should be careful not to transfer to President Arroyo a defensive aura that could be misinterpreted as inferiority complex breaking through the official veneer of power. [ Read More ]

CURRENT TERM: Where did the pressroom term “kuryente” come from? What exactly does it mean?

We received these questions from many readers who encountered it in the reportage on Faye (oh no, not again!) Nicole San Juan, the sixth grader who did the incredible feat of winning a non-existent global science competition! [ Read More ]

GIFT OF SIGHT: Baby Leigh marked his first birthday last Nov. 3. But save for the warm cuddling of his parents and the party chatter of his cousins, he was enclosed in his own dark world. [ Read More ]

LAST WORD: After this final POSTSCRIPT on the subject, I am done with the fairy tale told by Faye Nicole B. San Juan and her mom Ma. Catherine. [ Read More ]

FAIRY TALE: I’m sorry, Faye, to bring this up on a blessed Sunday. But the earlier this is cleared up, the better for all of us, most especially for you. [ Read More ]

UNCONSCIONABLE: The massive attack on the Iraqi city of Falluja by US land and air forces is disturbing. What has happened to Americans that they can now stomach doing something as inhuman as this? [ Read More ]

BE MERRY: The government is trying mightily to raise P80 billion in taxes to help carry us over the hump arising from our debt and budget deficit. Another P100 billion will be raised from administrative reforms. [ Read More ]

DOUBTS DASHED: “Still, I do hope Faye turns up and dashes my doubts.”

Thus did I conclude my first column last Tuesday on Faye Nicole B. San Juan, a 12-year-old sixth grader who topped a field from 57 countries in a science competition in Australia. [ Read More ]

FAYE REVISITED: It has been raining emails since I came out Tuesday with the story of Faye, the 11-year-old girl who journeyed to Australia with her mom and won first place in a Science Quiz, topping a field of 57 contestants from all over the world. [ Read More ]

WHO IS FAYE?: Do you believe in fairies? If you do, you might believe the story of Faye, an 11-year-old girl who has been winning big contests, the last one being the Intercontinental Science Quiz Net in Australia where she topped a field of 57 students from all over the world. [ Read More ]

October 2004

DOT ON THE MAP: The late Manila Times editor Jose Luna Castro would remind his cub reporters in the 1960s not to indulge in so-called “Afghanistanism.” [ Read More ]

FACE THE MIRROR: The generals and their barkers are screaming about saving the armed forces as an institution, sparing them trial by publicity, distinguishing between the corrupt and the clean officers, et cetera. [ Read More ]

SHAW TRAP: This cannot wait, so we are starting off with this warning to motorists using the EDSA underpass at the Shaw intersection in Mandaluyong. Some thugs are tossing big pieces of concrete from Shaw to vehicles passing underneath! [ Read More ]

DIG FOR NUGGETS: Skip the front page and go straight to the inside pages, Press Secretary Ignacio “Toting” Bunye advises local newspaper readers. [ Read More ]

SLOW DRAG: At the rate the military top brass are taking their time developing a case against Army Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, the former finance chief of the armed forces would have beaten them to retirement and jumped out of the military’s fence. [ Read More ]

STINKS TO THE TOP: As this is being written, Ilocos Rep. Imee Marcos is peppering Gen. Narciso Abaya, AFP chief of staff, with searching questions on the apparently loose management of hundreds of millions in military funds. [ Read More ]

AT THEIR MERCY: Kawawa naman ang Filipinas. We look pathetic with foreigners mocking us and telling us what to do — or else. And it would seem we have no choice. [ Read More ]

VOTE FOR KERRY: If I were an average American with no Iraq war to worry about, I would vote for Republican reelectionist President George W. Bush. [ Read More ]

TIRING, FRUSTRATING: These supposed peace talks with separatist Muslim groups could be tiring. And frustrating.

Maybe that is the whole idea — to wear out the government and the rest of the population into accepting the fact of Muslim presence in our multi-tribal society. [ Read More ]

FREEZE CONGRESS: There is objection, mainly from members of Congress, to a three-point proposal to (1) amend the Constitution before the 2007 elections, to (2) skip the 2007 election of congressmen and senators, and (3) shift in 2010 to a unicameral legislature. [ Read More ]

TO FEEL GOOD: Before we collapse from an overload of bad news, we pause for some good news coming from no less than President Arroyo. [ Read More ]

FISCAL DEFICIT: Malacanang sent us yesterday its “Roadmap to Fiscal Strength for Fighting Poverty,” a 5,000-word document with six charts. [ Read More ]

PERCEPTION: The problem of Winston Garcia, the embattled president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System, is not alleged mismanagement (because he has done a good job of streamlining and running the GSIS) — but one of perception. [ Read More ]

September 2004

COMPUTER PLAN: In her last State of the Nation Address, President Arroyo promised among many other things a computer in every public school. A computer in every school looks pathetic to me, but, okay, one is better than zero. [ Read More ]

MASSACRE: This day, September 28, is a red-day in both Philippine and American history as the day of the Balangiga Massacre.

One morning 103 years ago today, Waray bolomen nearly wiped out the 74 grizzled fighters of Company C, 9th US Infantry Regiment, then having breakfast in their garrison in the coastal town of Balangiga in eastern Samar. [ Read More ]

OUT-REACH IDEA: Many people are still unaware that they need not be seen going to the established casinos of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to be able to gamble in a casino atmosphere. [ Read More ]

SLOW DRAG: Why is the cash-strapped government not drawing the $120-million performance bond posted by Maynilad Water Services Inc. now that it has given up its concession on half of the water and sewerage service in Metro Manila? [ Read More ]

AMNESTY & REFUND: President Arroyo certified yesterday as urgent House Bill No. 2933 seeking to grant a one-time amnesty on unpaid income taxes. [ Read More ]

THE OLD VS THE NEW: Which would you rather have — an original DVD or a pirated CD of your favorite movie? Which would you prefer — a brand-new car or a second-hand vehicle? [ Read More ]

DUTY-FREE ROW: Businessman William Tieng, popularly known as “Duty Free King,” asked through his boys in the employees union and friends in Congress for an investigation of a chocolates/confectioneries concession contract that did not go to him this time. [ Read More ]

WHY WAIT?: By proclaiming their grand plan to abolish pork barrel in the national budget in 2005, cholesterol-choked congressmen led by Speaker Jose de Venecia may have supplied us the most telling argument for eliminating the sticky pork now! [ Read More ]

WHO DOES WHAT?: The propaganda machine of Malacanang seems to need some fine-tuning and a clearer delineation of functions of the all-star cast crowding around the Press Release button. [ Read More ]

PITY THE PEOPLE: It is not enough that the Energy Regulatory Commission computes how much the National Power Corp. has been losing and then, on that basis alone, raises power rates or prices to cover the deficiency. [ Read More ]

DEBT & DEFICIT: President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is scheduled to address this morning a media forum where she is expected to discuss, among other things, the Debt & Deficit crisis bedeviling the country. [ Read More ]

BAD TASTE: While every peso we can lay our hands on may help lighten our Debt & Deficit burden, we cannot be gathering cash or soliciting donations in just any manner. [ Read More ]

JUST LIKE THAT?: It is unfair to ask the people to absorb the huge losses of corporations whose bad loans have been guaranteed by the government — without going after those responsible for the losses. [ Read More ]

August 2004

STATESIDE TERM: The origin of the political term “pork barrel” will explain partly why it has such despicable implications.

Copied from the Americans, the term refers to expenditure bills benefiting local constituencies although using funds intended to be used nationwide. (We beg the indulgence of readers already familiar with this background.) [ Read More ]

DEBT & DEFICIT: President Arroyo herself has identified the biggest economic problem confronting the nation. She pointed to the ballooning budget deficit as “our most urgent problem.” [ Read More ]

BANKAROTE: Remember when then President Joseph “Erap” Estrada declared at his inauguration in 1998 that he was taking over a government that was “bankrupt”? [ Read More ]

BELLIGERENT STATUS: Putting it simply, the government of the Republic of the Philippines formally sits as an equal of the communist National Democratic Front across the negotiating table in their seemingly endless “peace talks” in tourist spots abroad. [ Read More ]

COSTLY WAR: If you are wondering if the US invasion and occupation of Iraq will affect President George W. Bush’s chances of reelection this November, the answer appears from all indications to be “Most Likely.” [ Read More ]

BLEAK PROSPECT: I hope it’s just the weather, the dark clouds, the rains and such, but we have been downcast lately as we survey the situation, especially the economy. [ Read More ]

JOURNALIST TARGETS: We have the scorecard on Filipino journalists assassinated since 1986. Compiled by the National Union of Journalists, the list has 55 names, 36 of them (65 percent) provincial broadcasters. [ Read More ]

EASY BILLIONS: There are around 25 million of us cellular phone users in this texting capital of the world, roughly distributed between the majors: Smart with 15 million and Globe 10 million units. [ Read More ]

SHIFTING POSITION: Now we see a hint of why US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone did not look happy after his meeting Monday with Foreign Secretary Delia Albert over bilateral issues related to Iraq. [ Read More ]

COURT MEDDLING: We don’t blame Energy Secretary Vince Perez for lamenting the seeming propensity of the courts, including the Supreme Court, to nullify acts of the Energy Regulatory Commission pertaining to power. [ Read More ]

SAME DOG, NEW COLLAR?: What’s the big difference between the Arroyo administration before the May 10 elections and the new dispensation inaugurated last June 30? [ Read More ]

WHO PUSHED POE?: Many of the politicians who had egged on Fernando Poe Jr. to run and carry them to victory last May 10 have vanished from the side of the ex-future president. [ Read More ]

HARBORING TNTs: When I was publishing a FilAm newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area during the Marcos dictatorship, I had many occasions to chat with US Immigration officials on the (their) problem of overstaying Filipinos. [ Read More ]

CONTRADICTIONS: Why the apparent contradiction between the court testimony of American missionary Gracia Burnham and what she wrote in her book on the alleged collusion between her Abu Sayyaf captors and the military? [ Read More ]

July 2004

UNDIPLOMATIC: It was petty and undiplomatic for a top US embassy official to have taken issue with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s reference to “international acclaim” in her State of the Nation Address last Monday. [ Read More ]

CALL TO UNITY: “Angelo” was the very first word of the State of the Nation Address of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday.

Angelo (dela Cruz), the truck driver from Pampanga, was suddenly thrust into the limelight when President Arroyo ordered the immediate pullout of Philippine troops in Iraq to secure his release from Iraqi militants. [ Read More ]

PROPER FORUM: The electoral protest filed with the Supreme Court by defeated presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. against President Arroyo should be welcomed as it is supposed to move the protest from the streets to the proper forum. [ Read More ]

REVENUE PACKAGE: Probably the most contentious item in the State of the Nation Address of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the opening of the 13th Congress on July 26 will be her formula for pulling the country out of the financial hole it is in. [ Read More ]

SIMPLE EQUATION: Foreign policy is just an extension of domestic policy. Local concerns take precedence over foreign relations and in fact dictate foreign policy. [ Read More ]

BACK TO BASICS: The Arroyo administration is not yet ready to say it, but its handling of the case of a Filipino worker threatened with execution by Iraqi militants goes deeper than merely springing the hostage and reuniting him with his family. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD: Pardon my jaundiced eye, but among the items on the 10-point agenda of President Arroyo that caught my attention is the physical linking of Subic Bay, Clark Field and Tarlac into a major transshipment hub. [ Read More ]

SUBIC BAY: By the time you read this, President Arroyo would have decided whether or not to pull out the remnants of the Filipino peacekeeping force in Iraq in compliance with the demand of Iraqi militants holding hostage a driver from Pampanga. [ Read More ]

RECIPIENTS LISTED: Where do the millions received by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo during his birthday parties and through his foundation go? [ Read More ]

GMA LOSING POINTS: It is amazing, at the same time alarming, how easily Malacanang can be drawn unnecessarily into a discussion it cannot win. [ Read More ]

INTO ENEMY FIRE: At the risk of being misunderstood on a blessed Sunday morning, we here presume to offer unsolicited advice to First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo. [ Read More ]

PROMISSORY NOTE: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo listed in her inaugural speech yesterday the basic items that, she promised, she would deliver to the Filipino people during her six years in office. [ Read More ]

June 2004

FOCUS & DIRECTION: What exactly does President Arroyo intend to do during her six-year term that begins at noon tomorrow?

We expect her to define more clearly her focus and direction in her inaugural speech tomorrow. But even with that, we have to pin her down to what she promised the people as she went around the country campaigning for votes. [ Read More ]

VISA RENEWAL: Another visa rule revision is causing anxiety among Filipinos working in the US.

The State department announced days ago that aliens with expiring working visas would no longer be able to renew them in the States. They will have to exit and apply for a new visa in a US embassy or consulate outside the US. [ Read More ]

THE GREAT FLOOD: Viewing the recently concluded canvass, the ongoing joint session of Congress to proclaim the president-elect, and whatever might follow, reader Ron Nethercutt of Angeles City takes us to the Book: [ Read More ]

THORNY ROAD AHEAD: The task of installing a new president is not done yet.

Still, we join the nation in heaving a collective sigh of relief with the completion of the acrimonious two-week canvassing of the votes cast May 10 for the president and the vice president. [ Read More ]

PIMENTEL THEORY: We ask Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. to be patient with us non-lawyers who disagree with his legal moves before the Supreme Court. [ Read More ]

TEXT TAX: Yes, I’m in favor of taxing cellphone texting. I have two reasons: to raise revenue and to improve the regulation of this runaway mode of easy messaging that seems to be unique to Filipinos. [ Read More ]

SUCCESSION: Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. may need some rest. He said days ago that if no president and vice president were proclaimed by June 30, an official in the line of succession, including the Chief Justice, would take over as acting president. [ Read More ]

DARK SCENARIO: We have been asked about this scenario: Suppose the canvassing has been completed some 75 percent with the tabulation showing Fernando Poe Jr. leading — and suddenly some widespread disturbance disrupts the canvass and the disorder shoots past June 30. [ Read More ]

FIREMAN’S JOB: Business firms do their best to ensure that their products and services measure up to the needs and expectations of customers. They spend at lot of time and money for this endeavor, but they do not always succeed 100 percent. [ Read More ]

MENTAL BLOCK: We tell our kids taking a long test under time pressure to skip any question that stumps them, to proceed to the next items and just go back to the difficult ones when they are done with the rest. [ Read More ]

DRAFT COMING?: Making the rounds among FilAms in America is the tsismis about the quiet reinstatement of the draft program — “quiet” because it is an election year and the draft is a very volatile issue. [ Read More ]

POTENT VOICE: We feel reassured seeing a broad spectrum of church leaders and business and civic groups appealing for calm and unity amid the confusion being sown by political terrorists in the aftermath of the hotly contested elections. [ Read More ]

DON’T STAMPEDE: The killing of three Filipino workers and the wounding of others in a rampage Saturday of Islamic militants and a hostage-taking drama in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, will renew clamor for the repatriation of our compatriots from that kingdom. [ Read More ]

May 2004

DÉJÀ VU: Doesn’t it feel like we’ve seen this before?

The plot in Congress sitting in joint public session for the canvassing of votes for the president and the vice president is playing out like the impeachment trial in 2000-2001 of then President Joseph “Erap” Estrada. [ Read More ]

MOVE IT!: Most people are getting impatient with the antics of sore losers and their runners in Congress who are obstructing the official proclamation of the winners in the presidential and vice presidential elections. [ Read More ]

PLENARY OR COMMITTEE: The big question being debated in Congress and outside is whether the national canvass of votes for the president and the vice president should be done by a plenary joint session or by a bicameral committee. [ Read More ]

ANO RAW?: There’s this story behind the news headline about Fernando Poe Jr. crowning himself as the president-elect.

When the persistent press crowded around FPJ in Zamboanga to extract some comment from the taciturn actor about the Namfrel slow Quick Count showing him trailing President Arroyo, he snapped “Ewan!” (I don’t know!) [ Read More ]

NOLI & PING: While we voted for 12 senators last May 10, we might actually need 14 incoming senators by the time the new elected officials take their posts in June. [ Read More ]

DEFINING MOMENT: Given his character, Raul Roco’s conceding the victory of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the May 10 elections was a scenario playing in our mind, but when it came about yesterday it still caught us by surprise. [ Read More ]

BEST PATIENT: Confined in a hospital room and reduced to keeping tabs of the election count by TV, I find this item emailed by Dr. Mike T Galang from Brookfield, Wisconsin, a good starter for this Sunday column: [ Read More ]

SIGN OF LOSS: In the Philippines, only two kinds of candidates emerge from the dust and din of electoral battle: yung nanalo at yung nadaya , those who had Won and those who had been Cheated. [ Read More ]

HOME PRECINCT: It seems the more exciting things always happen to other people. But seeing what some voters had to go through just to participate in yesterday’s elections, most of us should consider ourselves lucky. [ Read More ]

GMA GETS A 7/10: Throughout the campaign, and even before, I have been asked who I thought would win the May 10 presidential election. [ Read More ]

UNANIMOUS DECISION: Good news for the patient people of Mabalacat, Pampanga!

The Commission on Elections is set to announce today its decision on three petitions to disqualify three-term Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales from running for a fourth term on Monday. [ Read More ]

BLACK EMAIL: Here is friendly warning to the email brigades sending endless black propaganda via the Internet against the political foes of their bosses or clients. [ Read More ]

REDUNDANT EXPENSE: Why does the Commission on Elections insist on spending P300 million to duplicate what the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) does for free? [ Read More ]

April 2004

FOLDER HIDDEN: Voters of Mabalacat, the Pampanga town at the end of the North Luzon Expressway, are agitated by reports that the disqualification petition filed against their mayor had been hidden by a top official of the Commission on Elections. [ Read More ]

SURVEYS RELIABLE?: The lead scored by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the latest surveys leading to the May 10 elections is not as important as the trend that the polls have revealed — assuming the surveys are reliable. [ Read More ]

MERE COSMETICS: Can the cosmetic “beautification” of Manila earn Mayor Lito Atienza another term? Certainly not, according to former Mayor Mel Lopez Jr. who is attempting a comeback under the banner of the oppositon Kilusang ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino. [ Read More ]

PINOYS IN IRAQ: A basic flaw in the decision to send a Philippine military-police team to serve with the American occupation forces in Iraq is that Iraq as a sovereign state never asked the Philippines to send over such a contingent. [ Read More ]

ENTERS THE MACHINE: The surveys say that the number of undecided voters has been going down. By this time, it seems that many of us either have made up our minds or are already suffering from propaganda fatigue. [ Read More ]

GMA PULLS AWAY: As the lead pack in the presidential race heaves into view, we see through the dust only President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and challenger Fernando Poe Jr. running neck and neck in the dash for the May 10 finish line. [ Read More ]

PARALLEL LINES: Friends asked if we have an inside line to Pulse Asia after the outfit reported its survey findings that President Arroyo had overtaken challenger Fernando Poe Jr. in the race for the presidency. [ Read More ]

LOOMING CRISIS: The power crisis looming as early as three years from now is not necessarily a self-serving fantasy just because it is being discussed by a member of the Lopez clan that is in the power generation and distribution business. [ Read More ]

MOSQUE NOT SPARED: Intended or not, the American war of pacification in Iraq took a turn for the worse when US forces vented their vengeful anger and bombed a mosque in Fallujah where insurgents had mingled with worshippers. [ Read More ]

MATER DOLOROSA: We saw “The Passion of the Christ” two weeks ago out of curiousity, what with all the excited exchange whipped up by this newest grand opus of Mel Gibson. [ Read More ]

HOT REPORT: Have we stepped on sensitive toes with our publication of some findings of the team sent by the Maritime Industry Administration (Marina) to investigate the Feb. 27 burning of mv Superferry 14 off Corregidor? [ Read More ]

WHIPPING UP HYSTERIA: The alacrity with which the authorities have been injecting terrorism into every discussion on national security prompts us to ask if they are not deliberately whipping up terrorism hysteria. [ Read More ]

TERRORISM IMAGE: We had that terrorism tag coming. After going overboard playing the anti-terrorism game as ammo-bearer of the United States, the Philippines was bound to get mired in it. [ Read More ]

March 2004

CLASS ACTION: Roughly half of readers inquiring about the petition of seven Filipinos for the US embassy to issue them American passports wanted to know (1) if they, readers born before 1946, also qualify as US nationals/citizens or (2) if they could join the petition. [ Read More ]

PETITION REJECTED: As expected, the US embassy has rejected the passport applications of seven Filipinos who claimed they were Americans born before July 4, 1946, in the Philippines that was then a US territory. [ Read More ]

SICK ALCOHOL AD: We cheer on former Mayor Fred Lim for tearing out the offensive element of that brandy billboard on Roxas Blvd. asking “Nakatikim ka na ba ng kinse anyos?” (“Have you tasted a 15-year-old?”) [ Read More ]

LANGKAWI — Even in the retreat of this resort-island an hour away by jet from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian friends cannot avoid being caught up in political talk whipped up by their 11th general elections Sunday. [ Read More ]

PUTRAJAYA — Malaysia’s national elections today (Sunday) could be boring to a Filipino observer used to the rough and tumble excitement of politics back home. [ Read More ]

KUALA LUMPUR – While Malaysia would want to see the Philippines digging out the roots of Muslim unrest in the South instead of applying a military solution to the problem, it would not support the carving out of a separate Moro state in Mindanao. [ Read More ]

BORN AMERICAN: You might just be an American without your even being aware of it — if you were born between the US ratification of the Treaty of Paris on April 11, 1898, and the American withdrawal of sovereignty over the Philippines on July 4, 1946. [ Read More ]

VISITING MA: Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada should be with his 98-year-old mother as often and for as long as their circumstances permit. [ Read More ]

ACID TEST: With the Supreme Court having cleared the way for Fernando Poe Jr. running for president, the sovereign power of passing upon his fitness for the top post has been moved from the court to the people, where it properly belongs. [ Read More ]

THEY ARE PAID FOR!: It is sneaky — and dishonest– for the Commission on Elections to say that the automated ballot-counting machines of a so-called Mega Pacific consortium will be lent to the poll body for free. [ Read More ]

DUAL SURVEYS: This observer does not give much weight to the published survey results as indicators of who is likely to win a presidential election if ballots were to be cast today. Because we know how and why they are conducted. [ Read More ]

S.C. HAS SPOKEN: The Supreme Court decision yesterday upholding the candidacy of actor Fernando Poe Jr., whom it declared by a vote of 8-5 to be a natural-born Filipino, should end all debates on his citizenship and contribute to restoring calm among the populace. [ Read More ]

BLACKMAIL: Can you imagine the public utility Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) shutting down its distribution lines to pressure government to approve its request for higher electricity rates? [ Read More ]

February 2004

PEDESTRIANIZATION: In search of a cool place to dine out? Join residents and out-of-towners flocking like moths on most nights to the “pedestrianized” and enchantingly lighted Morato-Timog entertainment-dining area in Quezon City. [ Read More ]

MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL: Keeping alive the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the rebel National Democratic Front is important to both President Arroyo and NDF chief consultant Jose Ma. Sison. [ Read More ]

BIGGEST RALLY EVER: Whether the multitude that flocked to the Rizal Park for the rally of evangelist Eddie Villanueva was two or one million, or much less, the point to remember is that it was not a “hakot” (hauled) crowd. [ Read More ]

GO HOME NA LANG: With their movie idol Fernando Poe Jr. getting a fair hearing at the Supreme Court, the crowd baying at the justices may want to do something more worthwhile than marching in the streets, littering and causing monstrous traffic jams. [ Read More ]

A VOICE STILLED: The passing away yesterday of veteran broadcaster Frankie Evangelista of ABS-CBN is a big loss to media that even now are in need of more professionals of his caliber. [ Read More ]

MAN WITH THE HOE: The San Francisco Examiner published on January 15, 1899, a poem by Edwin Markham, a teacher in nearby Oakland, inspired by Jean-François Millet’s painting “L’homme à la houe.” [ Read More ]

LIFE’S PRIORITIES: We swear that the Sunday piece below is not from San Miguel brewery, but from our pile of old email. The source, unfortunately lost when we archived the item, deserves two cans of cold beer from us anytime he/she comes forward. [ Read More ]

FINAL ARBITER: Mercifully, the debate over the eligibility of actor Fernando Poe Jr. to run for president has reached the Supreme Court, the final arbiter of all legal disputes. [ Read More ]

KEEP ABALOS: It would be a big mistake to force Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos to resign now, three months before the May 10 elections. His untimely removal would just create a bigger problem. [ Read More ]

LET’S MOVE ON: Let us cut the debate over the rejection by the Commission on Elections of the petition to cancel the presidential candidacy of Fernando Poe Jr. on the ground that he is not a natural-born Filipino. [ Read More ]

TEST CASE BEFORE S.C.: To test the legal theory that only the Supreme Court may hear pre-campaign disqualification cases against presidential candidates, have all persons disqualified as “nuisance” candidates file suit before the high court. [ Read More ]

TOO EARLY FOR S.C.: The more we look at it, the more we are convinced that the pre-campaign petition to disqualify presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. over his citizenship should be resolved by the Commission on Elections. [ Read More ]

GMA GAINS ON POE: Actor Fernando Poe Jr. was still on top (36 percent) in the last Social Weather Stations popularity survey, but President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had crept up to No. 2 position (27 percent) past Raul Roco (19 percent). Panfilo Lacson was fourth with 11 percent. [ Read More ]

January 2004

CIVIL WAR THREAT: With due respect, we think former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada acted rather irresponsibly when he declared that a civil war could break out if his friend Fernando Poe Jr. were disqualified from running for president. [ Read More ]

PURE R.P. CONCERN: The only basis for paying Marcos torture victims from the $685 million in assets illegally amassed by the dictator is an order of an American judge in Hawaii before whom the victims sued. [ Read More ]

WHO SAID THAT?: We’ve heard many stories about Filipinos and other Asian children excelling in class in America. Many of these kids, some of them newly emigrated to the US, were just ordinary students back in the Philippines. [ Read More ]

TANGLING OVER ARCHIVES: Some senators grilling archives director Ricardo Manapat and his staffers did not look like they were seeking the truth in aid of legislation in yesterday’s opening of the chamber’s inquiry into the family background of actor Fernando Poe Jr. [ Read More ]

MATTER OF PROOF: The sideshows to the petition to disqualify actor Fernando Poe Jr. as presidential candidate have no bearing on the case. Decision on the petition will have to depend on the law and the evidence, no more no less. [ Read More ]

WHY THE FRENZY?: Why should the government use public funds to pay for the private abuses of a deceased dictator? And why should an American court dictate the disposition of foreign assets that are outside its jurisdiction? [ Read More ]

TULOY ANG ELECTION!: Relax lang po tayo. It’s not the end of the world.

As you will soon discover, the national elections will be held as scheduled on the second Monday of May as set by the Constitution and with a degree of computerization as mandated by law. [ Read More ]

FROM NEAR-ZERO: Continuity is one reason why many people want President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to stay on for another six-year term. Installing a new president, especially one without any background in public administration, could be disastrous. [ Read More ]

WALANG ‘K” BA?: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was ill advised in going to Quiapo Church last Friday to inflict her presence on the sea of devotees of the Black Nazarene. [ Read More ]

ALLERGY SHOWING: Haven’t you noticed, not only is movie star Fernando Poe Jr. scared of being interviewed by media, he is also allergic to wading into big crowds and shaking hands. [ Read More ]

GIVE FPJ LEEWAY: By tradition and for practical reasons, the presidential candidate of the party is usually given the option of handpicking his running mate. [ Read More ]

CONTRACT HANGS: While candidates are rushing their last-minute filing of certificates of candidacy, the Commission on Elections is still wrestling with crucial details of the national elections set on May 10, 2004, a Monday. [ Read More ]

FRESH START: Time as reflected in the calendar goes around in a circle — each day, each week and each month repeating themselves in an inexorable loop. [ Read More ]

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