2011 Postscripts

December 2011

GUNS SILENCED: The ceremonial sealing of gun muzzles of policemen to prevent indiscriminate firing from now until the New Year revelry is commendable more as a symbolic act, not as a practical anti-crime measure. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD  – The days between Christmas and New Year are usually dull and desultory for city creatures who do not have the time or the means to hie off to some resort or a foreign vacation spot. [ Read More ]

PATH TO MANGER: It is Christmas, merry or otherwise!

To many Filipinos, this is a day of thanksgiving for whatever is on the family table, as well as a day of hoping for something better. Above all, it is a day of giving, in the same spirit that Jesus has given Himself to us. [ Read More ]

DISMAL AIR: Tatlong tulog na lang, Pasko na!

Three days to go till Christmas, and here we are fidgeting in the dismal air, the hard times, the unrelenting political hounding, and the dead piling up in Sendong-hit Mindanao while survivors scrounge around for anything to last the day. [ Read More ]

DILEMMA: Former president and now congresswoman Gloria Arroyo will be tried on the charge of electoral sabotage on two levels: in a court of law and in the court of public opinion. Depending on the outcome in the lower courts, the case can go up all the way to the Supreme Court. [ Read More ]

SHIFT TO LEDs: Why are some of your friends replacing their incandescent light bulbs with LEDs (light emitting diodes) and switching from LCD to LED television sets? Possibly, they want to cut their electricity bill for lighting by almost half. [ Read More ]
TRAP: It seems Chief Justice Renato Corona has fallen for the trap laid by President Noynoy Aquino to engage him in a tug-of-war for the public mind and thereby raise the issue of bias in the Supreme Court hearing cases involving Mr. Aquino, his clan and his administration. [ Read More ]
SAN FERNANDO CITY — It was another homecoming for businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, the hometown boy from Apalit who rose to become one of the country’s top business executives and money-makers. [ Read More ]
DETENTION: Although former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is only detained — not imprisoned after conviction — President Noynoy Aquino has more or less made good his vow to put her “in jail” before Christmas. [ Read More ]

OFFICE DEMEANED: President Noynoy Aquino, like any other citizen, is free to comment on decisions of the Supreme Court.

But it so happens that he is the President, the personification of the Executive department, and that makes the political equation a bit different. [ Read More ]

DREAMING: For several nights now, I have been dreaming of a soup kitchen in front of the Manila cathedral with celebrities serving street waifs and pagpag-eaters. [ Read More ]
BROADENING: In a way, it is good that President Noynoy Aquino has not kept his campaign promise to be different from his predecessors who were frequently on costly foreign trips. [ Read More ]

SUDDENLY, when you woke up this morning, it was/is December! And three Sundays from now, Pasko na!

Let me be among the first to greet you Happy Christmas. May peace and love be with us not only during the yuletide but for as long as we keep the faith. [ Read More ]

November 2011

 Let the high-profile prosecution of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo serve as a lesson to political leaders fired up by the heat of an election campaign. [ Read More ]
MISSED IT: President Noynoy Aquino and his PR-marketing experts missed that one. They were overtaken by the Supreme Court unanimous decision giving his clan’s Hacienda Luisita to its 6,000-plus farm workers as dictated by law and equity. [ Read More ]
SHOWDOWN: The Supreme Court is under intense attack as an institution. Much of the bombardment appears to be coming from the direction of Malacañang and its allies. [ Read More ]

END IMPUNITY: Today and tomorrow — the second anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre of 58 Filipinos, 32 of them journalists — we ask President Noynoy Aquino to be as single-minded in “bringing to justice” the mass murderers as he is with throwing his political foes into jail. [ Read More ]

DISTRACTION: President Noynoy Aquino and his Yellow legions must be rejoicing after they succeeded in blocking the departure Friday of Rep. Gloria Arroyo despite a Supreme Court order restraining the enforcing of what operates as a justice department hold order. [ Read More ]

PATINTERO: It is distressing, at times pathetic, watching Lady Leila and Ate Glo playing “patintero” at the airport amid refurbishing works to remove the smell and feel of its being one of the world’s worst airline terminals. [ Read More ]

WOW!: Of the 193 other countries in the world, the Philippines has extradition treaties only with seven. We also have extradition arrangements with Hong Kong, an administrative region of China. [ Read More ]

RUMOR-DRIVEN: It is not reassuring to have a rumor-driven administration running affairs of state and running after its political enemies. [ Read More ]

JUSTICE, NOT REVENGE: Let us just wait for the Supreme Court to rule, possibly today, on a petition of Rep. Gloria Arroyo for the lifting of a Department of Justice order barring her from going abroad for treatment of a life-threatening ailment. [ Read More ]

SELL NAIA: Another major decision of President Noynoy Aquino that is likely to trigger political debate is the projected transfer of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Clark Field some 100 kilometers away in Pampanga. [ Read More ]

DILEMMA: On whether or not Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo should be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment, President Noynoy Aquino seems to be having a hard time maneuvering between the dictates of his Christian upbringing and the demands of his partisan circle. [ Read More ]

NOT A WORD: It is remarkable that while the government negotiates peace with Moro secessionists, not one earnest word or one official line is said about a mutual intent at integration, assimilation or acculturation leading to national unity. [ Read More ]

SLOGANEERING: “All-out Justice” is nice to hear, but hard to bear. Promising to deliver it in the grand way that President Noynoy Aquino did carries political risks. It exposes him to accusations of sloganeering. [ Read More ]

October 2011

CLARK FIELD — Chairman Felicito Payumo of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority advises those overwhelmed by big, daunting and unstructured tasks to pick the low-hanging fruits first. Also the ripened ones, he adds. [ Read More ]

COMPARISON: Two items will stand out during the Oct. 26-28 state visit of Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang: the comparative development of the two neighbors and their handling of Chinese intrusions into disputed areas in the mineral-rich South China Sea. [ Read More ]

WHAT’S ‘ALL-OUT’?: The raging debate over whether or not the armed forces should launch an “all-out war” against marauders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is generating more heat than light, because nobody has bothered to define what “all-out war” is. [ Read More ]

MISCOM: Malacañang initially blamed miscommunication for the killing of 19 soldiers by a superior force of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that ambushed an army platoon last Tuesday (Oct. 18) in Al-Barka town, Basilan. [ Read More ]
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE: Many flood victims in Central Luzon are asking if President Noynoy Aquino is deliberately keeping distant from the calamity area. [ Read More ]
FIVE-STEP JUMP: A professional who holds the rank of sergeant in the reserved force but has not donned boxing gloves is raising questions about ring hero Manny Pacquiao’s pole-vaulting five steps from chief master sergeant to lieutenant colonel in the army. He notes: [ Read More ]
PRECEDENT: Somebody looking like Gregory Peck has commented on Twitter that the final and executory decision of President Noynoy Aquino withholding state honors during the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos may set a bad precedent. [ Read More ]
HYPERBOLE: We cannot blame displaced Philippine Airlines workers for saying that PAL owner Lucio Tan must have bought the entire country already — a hyperbole, all right, but still a valid comment. [ Read More ]

UNATTRACTIVE: The Aquino administration is furiously beating the drums for its vaunted Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program, but appears having a hard time attracting investors for heavy infrastructure projects that do not generate their own revenue. [ Read More ]

QUIBBLING: There is much quibbling over whether the loans secured by businessman Roberto “Bobby” V. Ongpin from the state-run Development Bank of the Philippines could be called behest loans. [ Read More ]

MISSING IT: On whether or not President Noynoy Aquino should visit (he did yesterday) the flooded areas in Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac, the sad short answer is: He missed it. [ Read More ]

IT’S THE MONEY: I used to have beside me in the car saging lakatan that I would hand out to beggars knocking on my window at intersections thinking that they beg primarily to be able to buy food. Many times, however, they would refuse the bananas. [ Read More ]

TOLL VAT: The typhoon-related state of calamity has pushed away from public focus the 12-percent Value-Added Tax on tollways imposed starting yesterday over the objections of motorists and consumer groups. [ Read More ]

September 2011

CAVEMAN: Enveloped in semidarkness, with 125-kph cyclonic winds rattling rafters, and without TV to provide timely information as typhoon Pedring wrought death and destruction on Luzon the other day, I was reduced to basics and had time for brainstorming. [ Read More ]

DON’T BLAME SM: The recent fatal shooting incidents in SM North and SM Clark should not be blamed on the mall operator. There was nothing that SM, or even the police, could have done to prevent those explosions of personal grievance. [ Read More ]

BILLIONS LOST: Many readers were amazed by the fact, long hidden from them, that while Value-Added Tax (VAT) extracts 12 percent from consumers, only about 3 percent actually goes to the government. [ Read More ]

SIMPLIFY: The potentially explosive problems arising from the projected imposition of the expanded Value-Added Tax on expressway toll and oil fuels are only the thorns sticking out of an irrational tax system. [ Read More ]

FIZZLING OUT: Even without delving into the details, we can safely conclude in advance that the supposedly crippling transport strike ongoing in the streets will just fizzle out. [ Read More ]

LOOSE LIPS: The WikiLeaks that have swamped many diplomatic capitals would have looked odd if they did not include breaches of confidence in highly porous Manila, where there is no such thing as a secret. [ Read More ]

TIMELY TRO: Thank God, there is the Supreme Court, whatever its critics think of it.

The tribunal has just issued a temporary restraining order stopping the Aquino administration’s controversial attempt to suspend elections (originally set last August) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and install officers-in-charge. [ Read More ]

NO ZERO FOR ERAP: After President Noynoy Aquino likened his love life to Coca Cola — moving from “regular” to “light” to “zero” — former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada said one’s love life should not be zero, but family-size. [ Read More ]

SECOND TRIP: When President Noynoy Aquino visits the United States Sept. 18-21, he will have a chance to ask directly from those who know what ever happened to the American investments that were promised him the last time he was there. [ Read More ]

NEW SALES PITCH: President Noynoy Aquino has told Chinese businessmen — and, by extension, all foreign investors — that the Philippines under a new (his) management is open for business. [ Read More ]

LONDON SQUATTERS: Here is one news report that I hope is not true.

The Evening Standard of London reported days ago that a Romanian family had broken into and occupied the house of two Pinay sisters — identified as Amelita and Lilia Olasa — in New Southgate, a residential suburb. [ Read More ]

DIVISIVE: For Sunday reading, I am borrowing remarks of former senator Kit Tatad, a writer of note, many of whose ideas on the controversial Reproductive Health bill happen to coincide with my own. [ Read More ]

COUNTING CHICKS: We have a wise saying that we should not count the chicks until they are hatched.

Being optimistic has its merits, but Malacañang should not go overboard advertising prematurely how big is the Chinese ham that President Noynoy Aquino will bring back from Beijing. [ Read More ]

August 2011

CLARK FIELD – In about eight years, if plans do not miscarry, the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in this former US air base would be taking significant load off the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport some 80 kilometers away. [ Read More ]

SUBIC BAY — A number of foreign investors claim that they find unattractive the Public-Private Partnership program of the Aquino administration. [ Read More ]

STARTING LINE: Since the Aquino administration rejects initiatives of the previous administration and follows its own peace formula, we assume that it wants to start out from a basic clean slate in its negotiations with a rebel band in Mindanao. [ Read More ]

MACABRE: As expected, my Postscript last Sunday elicited zealous reactions when I asked:  “How many more people will have to die, or be driven to suicide, to satisfy the hounds scavenging for evidence that will put former President Gloria Arroyo behind bars?” [ Read More ]

THE HOUNDS: How many more people will have to die, or be driven to suicide, to satisfy the partisan hounds scavenging for evidence that will put former President Gloria Arroyo behind bars? [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — It is well and good that Malacañang has seen to the rewriting of the controversial provisions of the Reproductive Health (renamed Responsible Parenthood) bill to widen its acceptability in this dominantly Catholic nation. [ Read More ]

 The victory of the racing team of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation in the world championships in Tampa, Florida, is made even sweeter by the way they handled financial problems that had threatened to pull them down. [ Read More ]

HALF POINT: Former President Fidel V. Ramos scored a half-point Thursday evening when he warned that the flurry of investigations of alleged anomalies during the previous administration is giving the country a bad image and driving away investors. [ Read More ]

FALSE ART: What happens when the President does what his spokesperson has said he would NOT do?

Nothing happens – as in the case of President Noynoy Aquino and his spokesperson talking about the storm kicked up by the blasphemous caricatures passed off as art by the Cultural Center of the Philippines [ Read More ]

THIS IS ART?: How would President Noynoy Aquino feel if the Cultural Center under his office exhibited his caricature with a penis sticking out, his bust with rabbit ears attached, or the picture of his family with condoms over it? [ Read More ]

RAISING THE ANTE: For better or for worse, President Noynoy Aquino has raised the ante in the never-ending poker game for peace with Islamic separatists in the South. [ Read More ]

VALEDICTORY: In an emotional valedictory speech yesterday, Sen. Miguel Zubiri of Bukidnon announced his resignation from the elective post he has held since June 2007. [ Read More ]

TATTERED FAITH: The administration should be careful not to raise false hopes that an investigation into alleged fraud in the 2004 and 2007 elections can nullify the victory of some of the proclaimed winners from the president down and then install new-found winners. [ Read More ]

July 2011

CLARK FIELD — On the Hacienda Luisita agrarian reform issue, watch Malacañang’s hands closely. We might be in for a big surprise as the right hand might be pretending to be unmindful of what the left hand is doing. [ Read More ]

DARK EDGES: This week of the SONA looks a bit grim in a way. But we do not read anything into it.

We just note that: at least 20 persons were killed, nine were missing, and 11 sea mishaps were reported, as tropical storm Juaning brought floods and landslides to scattered areas of Luzon; an aunt of President Noynoy Aquino – Mrs. Josephine Cojuangco Reyes — died after collapsing during the necrological service the other day for Don Pedro Cojuangco; former President Gloria Arroyo is set to undergo surgery after she was rushed to the hospital as her back pains traced to pinched nerves in her spine worsened. [ Read More ]

SONA PREVIEW: Deadline dictates that I write my Postscript on the State of the National Address of President Noynoy Aquino even before he delivers it. To complicate matters, strict measures have been imposed to prevent a leak of the SONA text. [ Read More ]

COMPARE: When Malacañang gives media early copies of the President’s State of the Nation Address, we are invariably advised to check the text against the delivery. [ Read More ]

PCGG RETURN: Having been banished from a company that was plundered, whose assets were dissipated and its business destroyed by its nominees, the Presidential Commission on Good Government reportedly now wants back in. [ Read More ]

SM vs AYALA: Step back and watch the giants fight.

SM Prime Holdings Inc. is crying foul over the Negros Occidental provincial government’s decision last week to award a 77,068- square-meter prime property in Bacolod City to Ayala Land Inc. through a negotiated sale. [ Read More ]

DUE CREDIT: The two-part “The Religion of Blame” run in this space July 12 and 14 was taken from the book “A Country of Our Own” by David Martinez. The authorship could not be immediately verified when we reprinted it, prompting reader Justiniano to call our attention. [ Read More ]

PEOPLE POWER: This culture of blame, which has become as prevalent as it is pernicious, explains why Filipinos celebrate every time an NPA Sparrow Unit assassinates notoriously corrupt government officials, abusive “matons,” a tyrannical hacendero, or undisciplined military men. [ Read More ]

WE WERE FIRST: There are as many theories about the causes of the malaise that afflicts the Philippines as there are contradictions in our culture. We were the first to declare independence in Asia, but find ourselves among the last to achieve economic freedom for our masses. We are the only Catholic country in our region, but have a higher crime rate and more child prostitutes than Muslim Indonesia — a vastly larger archipelago. [ Read More ]

PRETENSE: Sweepstakes Chair Margie Juico, a devout Catholic, should not have allowed herself to be used in the administration’s campaign to demonize the Catholic Church and its bishops who refuse to support birth control legislation. [ Read More ]

EVASIVE RULING: The Supreme Court shirked its duty when it threw back to the tenants of Hacienda Luisita the question of whether they should get a parcel of the sugar estate or just accept shares of stock in the corporation managing it. [ Read More ]

STILL AROUND: Mr. President, Sir, wang-wang zealots are still around. At 3:10 p.m. the other day, a sedan sporting a special plate bullied our taxi out of the lane with its wang-wang (siren) blaring near City Hall in Manila. [ Read More ]

TEACHING TOOL: Intended or not, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has in its two-day-old anti-smoking campaign a tool for gradually disciplining in many aspects the unruly inhabitants of the national capital jungle. [ Read More ]

June 2011

SIGNING TODAY: The signing today by President Noynoy Aquino of the bill postponing the election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is expected to trigger a flurry of objections, including a petition for the Supreme Court to strike it down. [ Read More ]

NO CHOICE: It is not easy for a small nation like the Philippines to defend mineral-rich islands within its Exclusive Economic Zone off Palawan from an expansionist China flexing its military muscle in the area. [ Read More ]

SUBIC BAY — Warning of “danger signs,” former President Gloria Arroyo lamented Friday that her “hard-fought gains” in the economy were being eroded by President Noynoy Aquino’s “lack of leadership and questionable economic policies.” [ Read More ]

CABLE WOES: The reception quality of SkyCable has deteriorated in some places, because it is connecting too many subscribers to a common cable. Its lines are obviously overloaded or its equipment is not of top quality. [ Read More ]

SUBIC BAY — Having been left behind in the regional race for military superiority, or at least comparative capability, the Philippines has to fall back on the universally accepted peaceful resolution of territorial conflicts with neighbors. [ Read More ]

SUNDAY NOTES: In the Vatican this week, Benedict XVI appointed:

Bishop Sergio Lasam Utleg of Laoag as archbishop of Tuguegarao (area 9,000; population 1,709,000; Catholics 1,356,000; priests 82; religious 122). He succeeds Archbishop Diosdado A. Talamayan, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — Caught in a dispute with China over some islets off Palawan and nearby waters, Filipinos might find it useful to view bilateral relations on three levels, i.e. according to the System, the State and the Individual. [ Read More ]

DOTC MEMO: Reporting that Secretary Jose “Ping” de Jesus resigned “in disgust” from the Department of Communication and Transportation adds a little drama to a news story. The problem is that it is just not true. [ Read More ]

VATICAN NOTES: For Sunday reading, we culled these items from the Zenit news service.

In remarks while receiving the new Ghana ambassador to the Holy See last Thursday, Benedict XVI said there is much to gain in “a democratic society that fosters freedom of religion and freedom of worship, and that appreciates the presence of religious institutions that strive to rise above political interests and are instead motivated by faith and moral values.” He added that a healthy cooperation between secular and religious interests benefits society. The Church, the Pope said, is “a willing partner with civil authorities wherever she is able to fulfill her mission untrammeled, in the light of Gospel values.” [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY – Last Tuesday, I said in my Postscript that “my guess is…” that former senator Mar Roxas will not accept an appointment to the Department of Transportation and Communication for the reasons that I gave. [ Read More ]

THE JOB: The presidency in 2016 is the core consideration in the prolonged haggling over The Job that President Noynoy Aquino must give Mar Roxas, who slid to the vice presidential slot in 2010 to make Aquino the victorious Liberal Party standard bearer. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD – Almost six years ago, eight Cabinet members and two key bureau chiefs, now known as the “Hyatt 10,” resigned en masse to protest the “Hello Garci” scandal that scarred the previous Arroyo administration. [ Read More ]

TRAVEL STYLE: Our colleague Alex Magno assessed in his column last Tuesday what he said was an uneventful official trip to Thailand days ago of President Noynoy Aquino with a 52-member delegation that cost taxpayers P4.5 million. [ Read More ]

May 2011

NOT HOSTILE: The anxiety in this Short Message Service (SMS) capital of the world over the possible phase-out of unlimited or UNLI texting being enjoyed by Digitel (Sun) subscribers after the majority-acquisition by the PLDT (Smart) of Digital Telecommunications (Digitel/Sun) is understandable. [ Read More ]

CONNECTING: My thanks to readers who have started to follow me on Twitter as @FDPascual.

My apologies to the countless others who take the pain of writing, in the traditional fashion of pen and ink, missives to which I have not been able to respond. These correspondents include sick indigents, teachers, retirees, dispossessed lot-owners, children looking for their parents, et cetera. Add to them the tireless letter-writing brigades. [ Read More ]

ALARM: Sorry to disturb our laidback leaders, but we cannot ignore this report of reader Michael Caesar C. Ferreras, who emailed that Global Times, a Chinese newspaper, has headlined that Beijing plans to sail their biggest oil platform to the Spratly islands to begin drilling for oil this July!. [ Read More ]
SLOW DEATH: At the rate we allow legitimate territorial claims to slip away through our negligence or lack of political will, more aggressive neighbors are likely to end up gobbling them up little by little, together with their rich oil deposits. [ Read More ]

GOOD MORNING: The roll call says that most of us are still here, our feet are on the dirty pavement, the sky with some dark clouds is still up there, EDSA is still choked with traffic and pollution, corrupt and inept officials are still riding high. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — It was nice of US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. to assure Filipino guests on board the visiting nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson last Monday that the United States is ready to stand by these fair islands whenever their security is threatened. [ Read More ]

IT’S NOT RELIGION: Yes, I am a Catholic, and proud of it. Although a sinner, I am happy that the Mother Church still embraces me as one of its children. [ Read More ]

WHAT TO DO: Judging from the ferocity of the debate raging over the Reproductive Health bills (plural), it is becoming clearer that the more prudent steps to take are: [ Read More ]

CLASS ACT: Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday he would not collect his salary as head of government until the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant in northeastern Japan damaged by a monster quake and tsunami is over. [ Read More ]

UPDATE: What’s the latest between President Noynoy Aquino and his uncle Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr.? Are they still talking to each other?

Get a hint from a piece written days ago by Cojuangco himself. Here it is: [ Read More ]

YELLOW SIGNAL: Boxing hero Manny Pacquiao punching with yellow gloves better win his fight today against Shane Mosley who is threatening to grab his WBO welterweight crown. [ Read More ]

STRAY VAN: The Henry Sy group plans to build in the industrial city of Tianjin in China the biggest SM mall ever — a logical move considering the huge market on the mainland where it already operates four malls. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD – With key American lawmakers dropping in to have another look at this former United States colony, talk is again rife that the US is interested in setting up military bases here. [ Read More ]

IT DEPENDS: With his favorite target Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez having been shot down, will President Noynoy Aquino now be merciless — or merciful? [ Read More ]

April 2011

BIASES: Let’s admit it: We are all biased when we discuss what is widely known as the Reproductive Health bill, sometimes referred to by President Noynoy Aquino as the Responsible Parenthood measure. [ Read More ]

LET THE PELTING BEGIN: We sense that the reading public wants columnists to define clearly their position on two burning issues: the proposed burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, and the Reproductive Health bill. [ Read More ]

HAVE WE RISEN?: As another Semana Santa slips by, we weary workers haul ourselves back tomorrow to the salt mines. Are we really rested, in body and spirit, after taking off for a long Lenten break? [ Read More ]

BLAME GAME: This country will never move forward if our leaders spend their time washing their hands and blaming one another for problems that span a succession of administrations. [ Read More ]
STILL WAITING: Instead of dissipating his short working hours and venting his spleen on his favorite hate-objects, maybe President Noynoy Aquino should try something more positive – like finally drawing up and pursuing a holistic program that will improve the quality of life of our burgeoning population. [ Read More ]

HOT POTATO: Vice President Jojo Binay has been tossed a hot (actually cold) potato – the refrigerated cadaver of Ferdinand Marcos – and he is not quite sure what to do with it. [ Read More ]

WHAT’S THE SCORE?: Do Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and National Food Authority Administrator Angelito Banayo still talk to each other? [ Read More ]

WATCHDOG: When press icon Eggie Apostol was the publisher-chairman of the Inquirer and I was the editor-in-chief, we had a policy that required a staffer or officer to resign if he/she or his/her spouse or a family member accepted an appointment to a government position. [ Read More ]

LENTEN MOOD: Taking off from the claim of TV host Willie Revillame that he is moved by his love for the poor and his desire to help them through his popular “Willing Willie” show on TV5, and soaking in the introspective mood of Lent, I share these excerpts from a timely discourse. [ Read More ]

ON THE JOB: We are seeing the wisdom of the Aquino administration’s having refused to be stampeded by the West into cutting diplomatic relations with Libya when detractors of Moammar Gadhafi mounted a rebellion against their iron-fisted leader of 40 years. [ Read More ]

VAGUE MESSSAGE: Before more confusion sets in, I want to state that I have no plans of leaving the Philippine STAR.

I am constrained to say this to correct the misimpression left by my saying last Sunday: “Before I bow out of the scene, maybe I should gather in a modest book the more significant ‘Postscript’ columns I have written over the decades.” [ Read More ]

SENATE NOTES: Fans of Sen. Lito Lapid miss him. After Sen. Sonny Trillanes returned to the chamber despite his stiff neck and Sen. Ping Lacson surfaced after his breathing apparatus faltered, Lapid should also show up in the session hall if only to justify his salary and pork barrel. [ Read More ]

March 2011

BIG EFFORT: Imagine the time and energy spent by this nation monitoring the final conviction and execution yesterday of three Filipinos caught smuggling prohibited drugs to China. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — It is sad, and somewhat disturbing, that every time our high school class (Pillars ’56, Holy Angel University) gets together, the number that shows up gets smaller. And the women seem to be outliving, and outtalking, us men, but that is all right. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — The backstage rivalry between Vice President Jojo Binay and former senator Mar Roxas, the man he trounced in last year’s elections, foreshadows their return bout, this time for the presidential nomination in 2016. [ Read More ]

MAD DOG: Every morning, a lot people around the world wake up and ask if the Tripoli redoubt of Libya’s Moammar Kaddafi has fallen and if the “mad dog of the Middle East” is still around. [ Read More ]

PULSEBEAT: Here is another measure of your and media’s perspective – some call it bias – in assessing public perception of the performance of President Noynoy Aquino in the last three months. [ Read More ]
NO, THANKS — We should not feel bad or embarrassed with Japan’s politely declining our offer of assistance, worth around P600 million ($14 million), to help that neighbor recover from the devastation of Nature. [ Read More ]

IT’S VIRAL: Like the tonsillitis-conjunctivitis combination that has just floored me, the general alarm raised locally in reflex reaction to the earthquake-nuclear disaster in Japan is viral. [ Read More ]

WHAT, NO LOOTING?: Three days after a magnitude-9 killer quake devastated Japan, triggering Pacific-wide tsunamis and a likely nuclear plant meltdown and then consigning millions of Japanese to darkness, thirst and hunger in the wintry cold, I still have to read reports of widespread looting. [ Read More ]

CONSULTATIONS: At least the government is going through the motions of asking the people of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao what they think of (1) House Bill 4146 postponing until 2013 the ARMM elections set by law this August, (2) allowing incumbent officials to hold over during the hiatus, or (3) replacing them starting September with Officers-in-Charge to be appointed by President Noynoy Aquino. [ Read More ]

MIDAS LOSING TOUCH: The Supreme Court might want to rethink Jose Midas Marquez’s being its spokesman. Meantime, he should be told to shut up before he complicates further the already complex situation in the premises. [ Read More ]
CUT THE CHARADE: The House justice committee and the entire chamber might as well dispense with the hearings and debates and put to a vote right away the question of filing impeachment charges in the Senate against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. [ Read More ]
BUDDIES ALL: Being true to friends is a desirable trait, but where does one draw the line when friendship threatens to get in the way of fulfilling an official’s sworn duties? [ Read More ]
PALACE KIBITZING: It is a matter of opinion, but I think Malacañang should refrain from cheering on the impeachment process initiated against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, an independent official with the rank of chairman of a Constitutional Commission. [ Read More ]

SECRET WEAPON: Miracle worker Estelito Mendoza may want to share with his countless admirers what divine powers he wielded to prompt the Supreme Court to resurrect a case where it had rendered and reiterated a final ruling — and then reverse its decision on it. [ Read More ]

February 2011

SELECTIVE CLAIM: How come, this time, China and Taiwan are not quarreling for custody of several Chinese who have been caught in a series of buy-bust and followup operations on the trafficking of illegal drugs worth more than P2 billion? [ Read More ]

RESET POLLS?: An interesting question with serious legal, political and security implications has been raised on the holding or the postponing of the local elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao scheduled, by law, on the second Monday of August. [ Read More ]
TRIANGLE: There are indications that last week’s flare-up on the political ménage à trois (literally a “household of three”) among the Philippines, China and Taiwan is being tamped out with increasingly deft handling by Malacañang. [ Read More ]
MILIEU OF LIES: Watching the televised legislative inquiries into large-scale diversion of public funds, one is appalled by the lies being allowed to pollute the air and be inserted into the congressional record. [ Read More ]
CLARK FIELD — This telenovela addict has been watching for some red flags as retired Col. George Rabusa, former military budget officer, continues to play his self-assigned role as a repentant thief and moral crusader: [ Read More ]
NO APOLOGY: Malacañang did right in deporting 14 Chinese criminals victimizing their compatriots from China. Deportation of undesirable aliens is a sovereign act of government that no other country may question. [ Read More ]

DEPORTATION: As most Filipinos are more concerned with jobs, food and money than with such esoteric issues as sovereignty and protocol, Malacañang is hard-pressed to justify at street level the deportation of 14 undesirable aliens to China. [ Read More ]

POST-MORTEM: “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.”

So said Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) in an emotional speech after the assassination of the military commander and tyrant Julius Caesar by Brutus and his cohorts in the Roman Senate. [ Read More ]

SAN FERNANDO CITY — With the discovery in this province of depots selling stolen vans and stripped parts of used cars, for a while Pampanga was in danger of being mistaken as the fence of choice for hijacked vehicles. [ Read More ]

RULING AWAITED: There is persistent talk that the Supreme Court is ready to hand down a decision on Hacienda Luisita for the 6,500-hectare sugar estate in Tarlac to be parceled out and given to its tenants as mandated by the agrarian reform law. [ Read More ]
MOLEHILL ONLY: Many of us non-lawyers cannot follow some of the twists and turns in the prosecution of retired Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, who was accused of amassing illegal assets in relation to his work as former armed forces comptroller. [ Read More ]

PAKIMKIM: Finally, the big military racket that was only talked about but never documented has been blown wide open.

No evidence tight enough for conviction has been presented, but the town is now talking, and believing, the story that the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines traditionally receives millions as pasalubong (welcome) upon his assumption of office and as pabaon (sendoff) upon his retirement. [ Read More ]

January 2011

SAN MIGUEL CITY: The landscape of North Harbor is likely to change for the better with the entry of San Miguel Corp. and its subsidiary Petron Corp. [ Read More ]

CAN OF WORMS: Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo will have to cross over and dig deeper to carry out President Aquino’s order for him to root out the accomplices of the carjacking syndicates at the Land Transportation Office which registers all motor vehicles. [ Read More ]

NOW NA!: If the popularity of President Noynoy Aquino holds up till 2016 and if his would-be vice president Mar Roxas is still interested in being Chief Executive, the Liberal Party should seriously consider amending or revising the Constitution. Now na! [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — The Department of National Defense denies the story in last Thursday’s Postscript quoting sources who said that newly promoted generals waited for almost two hours for President Aquino to administer their oath of office at the Bahay Pangarap across the river from Malacañang. [ Read More ]

WAITING GAME: What’s happening to the country, general? Waiting, it seems — if this story told us by a military type is true.

Last Jan. 11 daw, 13 newly promoted generals cooled their heels at the Bahay Pangarap, the presidential residence across the river from Malacañang, waiting for the Commander-in-Chief to administer their oaths. [ Read More ]

OVERREACHING: There is sense and logic in the observation of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that the order of a US judge in Honolulu to pay victims of human rights violations during Marcos martial rule cannot be enforced in the Philippines. [ Read More ]
MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija — Dr. Flordeliza H. Bordey, senior science research specialist at the Philippine Rice Research Institute in this science city, analyzed for us data to answer the question: Which is cheaper between importing rice and raising it? [ Read More ]
POOR PINOYS: The latest survey said that 18.1 percent of Filipinos who were polled claimed to have experienced hunger in the past three months and that 49 percent considered themselves poor. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — The question we posed last Sunday — Is it better/cheaper to import rice or to raise it locally? — drew a consensus that while it may be cheaper to import rice, it is better to produce it locally and support Filipino farmers. [ Read More ]

FEEDBACK: Some readers complain that their reactions to columns are first screened before being posted.

For the record, I have no problem with readers’ reacting to my Postscript. I have no control over PhilSTAR policy and procedure for publishing feedback. I do not have to approve or disapprove reactions for posting. [ Read More ]

SEVERE TEST: There are many points in the controversy over Terminal-3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport where the balancing skill of President Noynoy Aquino will be put to a severe test. [ Read More ]

KL NOT NEUTRAL: Replacing the Malaysian intelligence chief as facilitator in the government’s negotiations with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front is just skimming the surface of the problem of the moderator’s bias for the MILF. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — Right on cue, the usual survey firm tells the nation just before President Aquino was to deliver an inspirational New Year’s message, that nine out of every 10 Filipinos are optimistic and presumably grateful to his administration. [ Read More ]

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