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Showing posts from May, 2008

and what have you done?

And what, Danton, have you done?

Cynics, their noses up in the air and their eyebrows arching up their Botoxed foreheads, ask me. You do not have P100 million to run for senatorial elections in 2010, so, aver, what have you done?


1. I've answered all calls for radio and print interviews regarding the cases of Jan Jan (Cebu canister victim) and gay sagalas. I also appeared on TV from 6 am to 10 pm to answer all questions, from the serious to the impertinent.

I did not plan all these. Jan jan was drunk that New Year's night and the gay sagalas have been making rampa for 2,000 years before the priests noticed the sagalas were gay. In short, these events that threw me in the media spotlight the last four weeks are -- well -- they seem like acts of god.

2. I've smiled and talked to everyone who talked to me at the malls, the department stores, the airline ticketing counters, the bank reception counters, the taxis, the schools, the tiangge, the hospitals, the slum areas. I sm…

Ahh, the sweet smell of elections

By Mon Casiple

Suddenly, promotion ads by presidentiables (ads, not political ads, they would emphatically remind you) are sprouting (or spouting) all over the media and in posters. One advocate supports our OFWs, another supports national discipline, and still another education of the young. Others are more mundane, only promoting certain commercial products (though one wonders how politicians can draw consumers towards a product rather than away from a product).

Suddenly, parties and coalitions, negotiations and fund-raising started in earnest-–precursors or preliminaries of the 2010 electoral campaigns. We are witness now to what may well go down in history as the longest election campaign yet in our political history–two years to the day of the May 2010 elections.

This is the logical result of a perception (and a conclusion) that president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has at last relinquished her plans to extend her stay in power. No charter change, no martial law, no state of emergency–n…

Obama's speech to young people

Senator Barack Obama’s Commencement Address at Wesleyan University
Wesleyan University Commencement Ceremonies
Middletown, CT, USA
Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thank you, President Roth, for that generous introduction, and
congratulations on your first year at the helm of Wesleyan.
Congratulations also to the class of 2008, and thank you for allowing
me to be a part of your graduation.

I have the distinct honor today of pinch-hitting for one of my
personal heroes and a hero to this country, Senator Edward Kennedy.
Teddy wanted to be here very much, but as you know, he’s had a very
long week and is taking some much-needed rest. He called me up a few
days ago and I said that I’d be happy to be his stand-in, even if
there was no way I could fill his shoes.

I did, however, get the chance to glance at the speech he planned on
delivering today, and I’d like to start by passing along a message
from him: “To all those praying for my return to good health, I offer
my heartfelt thanks. And to any who’d rather have a di…

2010 candidates start organizing

2010 candidates start organizing
Written by Carmela Fonbuena
Thursday, 15 May 2008

To see some of the top campaign and media strategists, political party officials, and senators’ political staff in one room talking must be a sign that the country has really entered the 2010 presidential campaign season.

During the recent launch of the book, Selling Candidates, some of them confirmed to that they have been approached by prospective presidential candidates.

Campaigns and Grey president Yolanda Ong, for one, said she has been approached by four camps. She would not divulge the four camps but she confirmed that "some" of them are senators.

But she has not agreed to a candidate yet. "I’m not ready to commit because I really would like to study who I’d like to support," she said. In past elections, Ong had worked for senators Manuel Villar (2001), Benigno Aquino III, the late Senator Raul Roco, his wife Sonia Roco, and former Senator R…

Anatomy of elite politics by Mon Casiple

When political issues appear (or reappear) in the media, presidential appointments start flying around, and high-level meets are being whispered (and denied), that can only mean one thing–a decision has been (or is being) made at the highest level. In the current state of the political crisis of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government, that can only be one thing–its future, both in relation to the 2010 end of term and to the post-GMA scenario.

The dynamics of elite politics unfolds before us as key elite players–the presidentiables, the ones who sits in power, the economic giants, kingmaker institutions–play out their respective roles in trying to agree on a future power arrangement and the political rules of the game. Of course, this process largely hides from the public and we only get glimpses from time to time especially during periods of disagreement. Then one or some of the protagonists go to media and try to get the leverages they need in the negotiations.

The GMA administration, …

We need someone like Barack Obama by Carlo Osi




Philadelpia, PA – When you are abroad and you take a look at Philippine newspapers online, there is an incessant feeling of despair and surrender. Killings and violence are heavily reported, desperate acts by some people, politicians tearing each other apart, and scandal upon scandal rocking Manila.


You clearly see that people are angry, agitated, frustrated and disempowered. And one of them is you, the Overseas Filipino.

You feel that you are an outsider looking into the mess called Manila. Thankfully, you are out of it. But then again, you wonder, what would it have been like if you were, as millions of others, caught up in the scandal storm there.

Many people, including your relatives, surely want to get out of the country and seek a …

on the presidential elections

i have just returned from an all-too-brief visit to bicol. sorry if i was not able to see some of you in naga city. please just send me your postal address so i can send you a copy of my books.

anyway, highway, by the way... in my informal conversations i had with the many bicolanos the past three days, this seems to be the pattern of voting for the presidential candidates:

1. mar roxas -- because of his father, sen. gerry, who has a clean record. and mar is also marangal.

2. manny villar -- because he is perceived as hardworking.

3. noli de castro -- because he speaks clearly (although i asked the bicolanos to please, please sieve through and find the substance, if there is any, among this guy's pronouncements)

4. loren legarda -- because she is everywhere, but many of them said they do not want another woman for president.

even if erap runs again, they said he has had his chance, blew it, and should just help the country in his capacity as private citizen erap.

as for bicolano chiz of …

Lopez, Pidal, Rolex

By Lito Banayo

Their paths will always cross. Across generations of their family even.

Mariano Arroyo used to be the appointed governor of Iloilo back when we were yet to be a commonwealth of the Americans. Together with a Chinese rice trader named Sualoy, he introduced jueteng into his province. And what a hit it made with the timawas who bet daily on the numbers game. Such that the illegal numbers racket hit the pages of a local newspaper published by Benito Lopez, who turned it into a crusade.

In time, Benito Lopez got the government in Manila, through Manuel Luis Quezon, to dispatch a Negrense lawyer named Francisco Moran to investigate. His findings eventually caused the ouster of Mariano Arroyo as governor. Sualoy was thrown out of the country, back to Amoy, now Xiamen in China’s southeast. Eventually, Moran was to become a distinguished Supreme Court justice.

Mariano’s family was in shock at the disgrace that befell them. In time, the Arroyos left Iloilo and transferred to N…

Selling Candidates: The Promise and Limits of Political Ads

Posted in

After the pioneering book, Spin and Sell, a sequel, Selling Candidates: The Promise and Limits of Political Advertisements was recently launched.

Written by Ana Maria Tabunda, Carmela Fonbuena and Aries Rufo, the book discusses the political ads of the 2007 senatorial elections and how the media covered the 90-day campaign and election period.

In the launch held at the Hyatt Hotel in Manila, the book, published by Public Trust Media Group in cooperation with the Kondrad Adenauer Stiftung, was the take-off point for discussion by panelists from the media, politics, and advertising sector.

Losing senatorial candidate Prospero Pichay is an example that political ads are not enough to put one in the Senate. He said that reasons for his defeat include not having an organization, not being carried by the biggest religious groups, and the fact that he is not known nationwide.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano added that free media or publicity—meaning being covered by…

second novel

super mega hyper thanks to all who wrote and said they like the novel. i have written only five chapters so far.

i applied for a university research grant at the ateneo so i could get help in writing the novel, but guess what? the phds turned me down. they said i needed a framework for my novel.

for an unfinished novel?

you only give a framework for reading or interpretation to a text that is already finished. i gave a framework for the five chapters, and told them that creative writing is a work in progress. you cannot pin down or freeze a framework, and stick to it.

but i guess the program is vetted by social and physical scientists who know nothing, really, about what my guru father roque ferriols called the mysterium tremendum of life, and the mysterium tremendum of the creative process.

and so, i am now writing a new chapter in my novel. it is called "the framework."

On the suspension of the dectors and nurse in the cebu scandal

Ang Ladlad welcomes suspension of 2 doctors,
nurse in rectal surgery scandal

Ang Ladlad, the national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender Filipinos, welcomed the suspension by the Department of
Health of two doctors and one nurse involved in the rectal surgery
scandal at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).
Department of Health regional director Susana Madarieta imposed a
three-month preventive suspension.

Danton Remoto, chairman of Ang Ladlad, said "This is only the
beginning of the end for these callous and inhuman doctors and nurses
who turned the operating room of the hospital into a circus. They not
only stripped Danilo of his human dignity, but also stained the
Philippine medical profession, which has already been besieged by a
series of scandals."

However, Remoto also wants the nursing student who uploaded the video
in You Tube barred by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC)
from taking the nursing licensure examinations. "He …

answers to queries

sorry for the late response to all your queries. first, it was the case of jan jan of cebu. then cardinal rosales said nobody could swish in the santacruzan. so i had my hands full talking to media, from 6 am to 8 pm, on radio, on tv, in print.

now i have four sets of student papers to check.

and questions from you to answer.

1. yes, the color of the dome in the manila cathedral is not gray, but blue-green. but what i wrote is fiction, and i chose gray to forebode the ashen sense of things found in the neighboring building, the old, decrepit comelec.

2. ninotchka rosca wrote a good novel in state of war, and i think we should be thankful she did. noting how hard it is to be a filipino writer, with little money and lots of flak all around, it is a wonder good novels still get to be written by the pinoy wordsmith.

3. yes, i was supposed to start a column in a tabloid, but i could hardly find the time to write.

4. the radio station is still looking for more advertisers for my radio show.

5. i…

2010 polls a 5-way forecast

By Isagani de Castro Jr.

The 2010 presidential elections will likely be a five-way race among Vice-President Noli de Castro, Senate President Manuel Villar, Senator Loren Legarda, Senator Manuel Roxas, and former President Joseph Estrada, in case he qualifies. And in case De Castro doesn’t get the support of the administration, the Lakas-KAMPI alliance will have a dark horse candidate, a political futurist said.

In a paper to be presented Friday at a forum organized by the Center for Philippine Futuristic Studies, Antonio Gatmaitan, head of the research outfit, Political Economic Applied Research Foundation, said there are nine other "early frontliners" for May 2010:

§ Senator Francisco Pangilinan;

§ Senator Francis Escudero;

§ Senator Richard Gordon;

§ Senator Gregorio Honasan;

§ Senator Panfilo Lacson;

§ Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay;

§ Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte;

§ Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Bayani Fernando; and

§ Defense …

my first novel

thanks for those who texted and commented about my second novel.

My first novel was finished in the year 2000, on a Fulbright grant to the US at Rutgers University in New Jersey. It is my dissertation for my Ph.D. in Creative Writing, which I will defend in the first semester of 2008. Anvil wanted to publish my novel three years ago, in 2005, but I told them I will first defend it before my Ph.D. panel for additional comments.

So it is finished. Don't worry about that. All 350 pages of it. The original draft was 550 pages. I threw away the rest.

As for the short story collection, it is finished, too, and I will give it to a university press. I am choosing one that will not censor the stories, because some of them are too risque by Catholic university press standards. Maybe UP Press is the best bet.

Some people told me I will stop writing once I run. I think they are wrong.

I am giving to the UP Press a manuscript of new poems in English that I have just finished writing. I am also proo…

A lighted matchstick, a novel-in-progress

I am writing a novel based on what happened to me and to Ang Ladlad in the days before, during and after the last elections. I am having a grand time writing this. Let me caution you that this is fiction. Oh, yes, indeed.

“Power is like a lighted matchstick.
The closer your fingers are to it, the more you will get burnt.”

--Tu Fu

Chapter 1

The Commission on Independent Elections (CIE) was housed in a three-storey wooden building erected right after World War II. Its dark-brown paint was peeling off, and the musty interiors were hardly lit by bulbs filmed with dust. One hundred meters away to the north, the Manila Cathedral sat on raised ground. Its round gray dome could be seen from the Manila Bay, and the long central aisle towards the grand altar had already exhausted many old women who walked to the altar on their knees. In front of the cathedral was the plaza built by the Spaniards. When the wind from the bay began to blow, the fire trees would move like waves touching each other. Th…

The Young Turks

Atty. Adel Tamano invited me to join a group of young politicians. We have no name yet, although The Young Turks could be a tentative handle.

Aside from Adel and myself, the group includes former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla, San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito, Bukidnon Rep. TG Guingona and Atty. Ernesto Maceda Jr.

We were on ANC last week, Strictly Politics. We will go to the induction of the Jaycees tomorrow, in General Trias, Cavite. And we will be at DZBB on Monday morning at 9:30, in the show of Arnold Clavio and Orly Trinidad.

More young people have been invited to join the group, but they are still thinking about it.

Our blog is at:

Please visit us. Thanks.

Investing in education by Atty. Adel Tamano


Inaugural speech of ATTY. ADEL A. TAMANO
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila

Good afternoon. We have a saying in Islam that the ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr. I cannot think of anything more emphatic than this to show what a high virtue education is in the Islamic faith. As the very first Filipino Muslim to head a major university in Manila, this is a core value that I bring to the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

Education has been such a significant part of my life. I am 37 years old and almost half my life has been spent in the academe. I have taught subjects as varied as Economics, Human Resource Development, and Constitutional Law.

In my career in education, I have made the rounds of the universities from Mindanao to Luzon: from the Mindanao State University to the Ateneo de Manila University and, finally, to my new home here at PLM.

I am no stranger to the pleasure and pain of acade…