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Showing posts from October, 2008

Bishops can be wrong

Of course, I am one of the signatories to this open letter. And I have signified my intention to join public discussions on this bill. Let the debates begin!


Manila Standard Today

A heavy-handed attempt by the bishops to silence dissent on the reproductive health bill among thinking Catholics is backfiring.

Yesterday, 55 more faculty members of the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University joined 14 of their colleagues who last week urged the passage of House Bill 5043, which the Church has condemned as “anti-life.”

This was probably the exact opposite effect that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines hoped to achieve when its president, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, wrote Ateneo president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres to lay down the law on the bill.

In his letter, Lagdameo asked Nebres to explain why the 14 original faculty members, including some from the Department of Theology, had publicly declared their support for the bill.

The pressure from the bishops prompted Nebre…

More Ateneo profs defy Church on birth control

By Christine F. Herrera
Manila Standard Today

GOING against an admonition from Catholic bishops, at least 55 professors from the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University have joined 14 of their colleagues who last week urged the passage of the reproductive health bill.

The Ateneo teachers not only refused to toe the Church line to reject the bill, but urged the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to reconsider its position and take into account the lives of 473,400 women who resorted to abortion because they lacked an effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

The 69 Catholic educators wrote to the 240 members of the House of Representatives and the 23-member Senate and attached to their letter an 11-page Declaration of Support for the Immediate Passage of House Bill 5043, which seeks to establish a national policy on family planning.

The bill supports the use of contraceptives such as condoms, and age-appropriate sex education in schools, both of which the Church opposes.…

Manila Pride March 2008

Bishops call for GMA's ouster

BY Ellen Tordesillas

That was one great statement that the Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, released yesterday. He practically called for the ouster of Gloria Arroyo.

Not in 2010 but now.

In a statement he read flanked by four other progressive-thinking bishops namely, Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Bataan Bishop Socrates Villegas, Masbate Bishop Joel Baylon, and Legazpi Bishop Emeritus Jose Sorra, Lagdameo said: "The time to start radical reforms is now. The time for moral regeneration is now. The time to conquer complacency, cynicism and apathy and to prove that we matured from our political disappointments is now. The time to prepare a new government is now. "

In the open forum, Lagdameo said Gloria Arroyo is not capable of instituting reforms because he said, "I believe that the President is corrupt."

The question and answer portion with Bishop Cruz was fascinating. Asked if Arroyo ca…

On creative writing

Creative writing classes are held at UP, UST, Ateneo and De La Salle. It is true that most of the enrollees are undergraduates, with a few graduate students. Older people can take these courses on audit, or sit in with the permission of the teacher.

LIRA, through National Artist and UP College of Arts and Letters Dean Rio Alma, also holds free workshops. But this is devoted mostly to poetry in Filipino. Roland Tolentino of the UP Department of Mass Communication used to hold creative writing sessions for fiction in Filipino, while the late Rene Villanueva did the same, focusing on writing for children. I am not sure if Roland still does it. Kuting, a group of writers of children’s books, is continuing what Rene has left with his early, untimely death.

Dr. Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo of UP used to hold such sessions, especially for the field of creative nonfiction. But now she is the VP for Public Relations of UP, and has no more time to do so. I taught Creative Writing: Nonfiction in Atene…

'If the opposition cannot unite, I'll consider running for president'

One year ago, former President Estrada walked a free man after six and a half-years under house arrest. met with Estrada in his residence Wednesday. Aries Rufo and Purple Romero talked to him about his past and his future.

It’s been year since you've been pardoned.
I’m happy that I can be with our people again. I missed them for 6 and ½ years. My life has always been with the people: as a movie actor, a public official, mayor, senator, vice president, president, always with the people. All of a sudden I was arrested, I was confined all alone, all my cellphones were confiscated, and I was not allowed to talk to the media, or to friends. I was only allowed to talk with my close relatives. So it was really a relief when I was released.

Before you were granted pardon, you said, “I would not accept presidential pardon.”
There was a series of negotiations by Sec. Ronnie Puno. They insisted that I write it down, so that I get pardoned. And I w…

5 Catholic leaders say 'time to prepare for new gov't is now'

by ARIES RUFO, | 10/28/2008 3:16 PM

Are Church leaders now ready to back attempts to oust the Arroyo government?

In its strongest position yet indicating that they are ready to give their blessings for what may be a drastic change in government, five bishops, led by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Angel Lagdameo, condemned the unabated “top to bottom” corruption in government and asked the public to shake the status quo.

Lagdameo went as far as assuring the public that “liberators” may be just around the corner.

“In response to the global economic crisis and the pitiful state of our country, the time to rebuild our country economically, socially, politically, is now. The time to start radical reforms is now. The time for moral regeneration is now. The time to conquer complacency, cynicism and apathy to prove that we have matured from our political statements is now. The time to prepare a new government is now,” Lagdameo said in a …

'Trapo' unmasks . . . himself

By Dan Mariano
Opinion Section
The Manila times

Not a few listeners nearly fell off their chairs when they heard Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano’s remarks in a recent radio interview on the threat of Sen. Panfilo Lacson to bare new evidence linked to the alleged double budget insertion attributed to Senate President Manuel Villar.

Cayetano, predictably enough, pooh-poohed Lacson’s warning. However, what floored listeners was his remark that the threat “is typical of Senator Lacson’s style of disclosing alleged evidences to media on a piecemeal basis in order to create suspense and grab public attention.”

Confused, listeners could not help but ask: Wasn’t Lacson’s trademark “piecemeal disclosure” the very same style that gave both the Gentleman from Cavite and the Gentleman from Taguig stellar media billing during the National Broadband Network (NBN) controversy?

Wasn’t that the very same style that helped Cayetano hog the limelight when he peddled innuendoes that Mike Arroyo had millions stas…

Reproductive Health

Philippine STAR
Monday, October 27, 2008

Seventy-six percent of Filipinos want family planning education in public schools, and 71 percent of the country’s Catholics favor the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. Those are the results of a nationwide survey taken late last month by the Social Weather Stations. The results should allay concerns of lawmakers who are currently deliberating on House Bill 5043, or The Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood, and Population Development Act of 2008.

Apart from promoting programs that will benefit women’s reproductive health, HB 5043 aims to introduce sex education in public schools and provide access to artificial contraceptives. Sex education is already being taught in grade school in certain exclusive schools. Women with sufficient education and financial means are aware of both natural and artificial methods of birth control, and how the right choice could be good for their reproductive health.

That choice ha…

to bikol again

my uncle died of lung cancer yesterday so we are flying to albay in two batches -- early today for my parents, and tomorrow for mine.

so it is back to bicol again.

as for erap in ilocos, he said he just wants to thank the people for trusting him. oh yes.

either he is running for president, as i have said. or his son jinggoy will run as VP, with erap as the king behind the scene.

and do not snub jinggoy! he running neck and neck with chiz in internal surveys for the vice-presidency.

kahit na ano ang sabihin ng middle classes, malakas pa rin ang erap support. i peg it at a minimum of 30 to a maximum of 40 percent of the voters.

so those who snub him and his son do so, at their own peril.

President Obama!

By Ducky Paredes
Ang Pahayagang Malaya

It is 16 days before the United States of America chooses its president who will preside over the affairs of the USA and (because it is the only superpower left) the world.

When the campaign began almost a year ago, the question that came to everyone’s mind was whether America had finally lost its racial bias and would consider all candidates, regardless of race or color, as possible presidents; or would there be a resurgence of racial discrimination? Would a black candidate prove to be a wedge driven into the racial mix that would effectively divide the races once again? Would there be return to race discrimination and a return, on the side of the discriminated, to black power?

Now, looking back, those fears seem overstated; the world now sees an America that has completely outgrown its ugly years. No matter what happens to Barack Obama and John McCain, it is clear that any person of any race or color who is a natural-born American…

Erap: With solons bought, how can impeach succeed?
Ang Pahayagang Malaya

BACOLOD CITY – President Joseph Estrada Sunday said the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo will not prosper because the administration is buying congressmen and the opposition is not united.

"With the situation now na malapit na ang election, siyempre kailangan nang mga kakampi niya (Arroyo) sa Kongreso yong pera, kailangan bayaran naman ito," Estrada said.

"Kaya natutuwa yong mga congressmen pag may impeachment, dahil kikita naman sila, di ba? Gusto nila taon-taon may impeachment para kumita naman sila," he said in jest.

Estrada arrived Sunday for a two-day speaking engagement in Negros Occidental,

The House minority has admitted they would need a miracle to save the impeachment complaint filed by businessman Joey de Venecia and civil society groups last Monday.

The minority have to muster 79 votes, or one third of the 236-member House of Representatives to transmit the complaint to Senate for trial.

Estrada also admitte…

Can Catholics support the RH bill? Yes!

BY Mary Racelis

Growing numbers of professional and educated lay Filipino Catholics believe they can. Increasingly uneasy that the unshakeable position of the Church contradicts directly their own understandings of Philippine realities, many are actually reading the bill to see for themselves – and emerging as its supporters.

Catholic NGO workers, social workers, and social science researchers working in poor rural and urban communities overflowing with malnourished, out-of-school children and youth have particular problems with the Church position. They find it difficult to accept that poor mothers and fathers who want to avoid a fourth or fifth pregnancy or wait a few years before the next one, should be condemned for choosing reliable, contraceptive family planning methods.

One urban poor woman was asked what the Church might say about her practice of saving part of her meager earnings to buy birth control pills every month. Her reply: “Ang simbahan ba ang…

Gloria's figment of imagination

All I can say? Liar, liar, pants on fire!


Ang Pahayagang Malaya

We know Gloria Arroyo is a liar and we have long learned to apply a steep dis-count rate, to borrow a term from business folks, on the value of her pronouncements. But it still came as a shock to us that the multi-billion regional fund to help Southeast Asian Nations which she announced last Wednesday was a figment of her imagination.

The announcement was characterized by sufficient verisimilitude to make it believable.

Arroyo said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and its regional partners China, Korea and Japan hade agreed to set up a multi-billion dollar fund to buy toxic debts and support banks in the region hit by the global economic crisis.

She said the World Bank, for starters, has pledged $10 billion.

She said the "understanding" was reached by Asean finance ministers, its three allied partners China, Korea and Japan, and representatives of the World Bank, Inte…

Pulis Patola in Russia

I jazzed up the title of my friend, Ellen Tordesillas', account in her blog of the latest entry in the GMA Hall of Shame. Kapag nagnakaw sa itaas, syempre magnanakaw din sa baba. And because May 2010 is only less than two years away, the name of the game is: "Last two minutes, last two minutes."


BY Ellen Tordesillas
Ang Pahayagang Malaya

While the world is in financial crisis and Filipinos are tightening their belts some more, the top brasses of the Philippine National Police are living it high.

News report say two police generals, Police General Eliseo de la Paz, director for comptrollership until Oct. 9 and PNP Region 9 chief Director Jaime Caringal, together with their wives are being held in Moscow pending completion of the probe on the 120,000 euros (roughly P6.9 million), found with Mr. Maria Fe de la Paz while they were exiting the Russian capital last Saturday.

The amount of 120 euros exceeds the allowable amount of $10,000 (roughly 7,365 eu…

A mansion of many languages

BY DANTON REMOTO, | 10/16/2008 1:00 AM

In 1977, my mentor, the National Artist for Literature and Theater Rolando S. Tinio, said:

“It is too simple-minded to suppose that enthusiasm for Filipino as lingua franca and national language of the country necessarily involves the elimination of English usage or training for it in schools. Proficiency in English provides us with all the advantages that champions of English say it does – access to the vast fund of culture expressed in it, mobility in various spheres of the international scene, especially those dominated by the English-speaking Americans, participation in a quality of modern life of which some features may be assimilated by us with great advantage. Linguistic nationalism does not imply cultural chauvinism. Nobody wants to go back to the mountains. The essential Filipino is not the center of an onion one gets at by peeling off layer after layer of vegetable skin. One’s experience with onions…

Ateneo, UP rise in 2008 world university rankings

By KRIS DANIELLE SUAREZ, | 10/13/2008 11:32 PM

Two local universities, the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and the University of the Philippines (UP), saw their rankings rise in The Times Higher Education - QS (THE-QS) World University Rankings 2008, a leading global ranking of higher education institutions.

In the overall rankings released Monday, Ateneo rose from number 451 in 2007 to number 254 this year, while UP rose from 398 last year to 276.

The THE-QS World University Rankings are based on data gathered in the following categories: peer academic review, recruiter review, international faculty ratio, international student ratio, student-faculty ratio, and research citations per faculty.

Ateneo had an overall score of 48.0 out of 100, up from 30.8 last year, while UP posted a 45.9 overall score, up from 34.7 last year.

Ateneo was tied with Spain's Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, while UP was tied with Germany's Universitat Ulm and Universitat Wurzburg, an…

14 Ateneo professors: 'RH bill adheres to Catholic social teaching'

I do not know why my friends and fellow professors at the Ateneo did not solicit my signature in this statement, but I sure agree with them on this note. It shows that dissent -- and the light of reason -- exists even when the official statement and the statsus quo say just to follow the Catholic teaching, blindly if need be.


BY Carmela Fonbuena, | 10/16/2008 4:45 PM

Fourteen faculty members of Catholic school Ateneo De Manila University are out to prove that not all Catholics agree with the Catholic Church’s opposition to the controversial reproductive health bill pending in the House of Representatives.

In a 16-page position paper full of quotes from Catholic Church teachings and scientific studies on health, population, and poverty, the faculty members expressed their strong support for House Bill 5043 because “we believe that the provisions of the bill adhere to core principles of the Catholic social teaching.”

The bill is controversial for promoting cont…


The Dean's Office of the College of Arts and Letters of UP Dilimas has just informed me that, yes, I passed the three comprehensive exams I took on Western Literature, Asian Literature in English, and Philippine Literature in English. As I've blogged before, each exam lasted for eight hours and was spread over a period of two weeks. This is for my Ph.D. in English (Major in Creative Writing).

I have just recovered from the shell-shock of the review process (I had to read tons of books in a month) and from the mental process of digesting all those books and writing a coherent, 50-page compendium of answers for each of the three fields of expertise. Since I answered each question in single space, that meant I wrote 100 pages of answers for every field in the exam.

Atleast now, I can be assured of 300 pages of lecture notes for my future classes in these fields of expertise.

And since Bacardi One, a group of young gay men, will have a party tomorrow and has invited Ang Ladlad, then …

Lakas, Kampi goners without standard-bearer in 2010

By Efren L. Danao
The Manila Times

Lakas and Kampi, the two strongest political parties today, will go the way of the Ki­lusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) and the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino unless they field a strong presidential candidate in 2010. If they have no man in MalacaƱang, their members will leave them for the administration party, just like rats deserting a sinking ship.

The KBL headed by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos lorded it over the political field from 1978 until 1984. But when Marcos was deposed by EDSA I in 1986, the KBL died with him. Oops, I forgot, it still has one member in the House—Rep. Bongbong Marcos of Ilocos Norte.

The supremacy of the LDP founded by the late Speaker Ramon Mitra was short-lived. It cornered majority of the seats in the House, the Senate and local government units in 1992. However, most of them later joined Lakas, the party of President Fidel Ramos who defeated Mitra. Lakas became a shell of its former self w…

Budget for 2010 poll automation uncertain

By ARIES RUFO | 10/13/2008 4:44 PM

The planned automated elections for 2010 may suffer the same fate as the botched automated polls in 2004.

Former election commissioner Mehol Sadain raised this prospect after it appeared that the budget for poll modernization has not been included in the proposed budget of the Commission on Elections for 2009.

A supplemental budget would instead be passed to finance the automation, ranging from a low of P6.5 billion to a high of P29 billion.

Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said that Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. has verbally assured that the financial requirement for the automation will be allotted through a supplemental budget, after it was not included in the 2009 regular budget.

“He made this assurance verbally to Comelec chair Jose Melo. I am 70 percent positive that Malacanang will honor its promise,” Sarmiento replied, when asked by how sincere the Palace is in automating the 2010 national polls.


De Castro won't seek 2nd term, hints at 2010 plans

Yup, but the moment GMA raises his hand, he is a dead duck.


by LYNDA JUMILLA, ABS-CBN News | 10/10/2008 6:46 PM

Vice-President Noli de Castro on Friday ruled out seeking re-election and hinted that for him, it was the presidency or nothing.

"Second term, definitely not. Vice-President na ako ngayon e. [Naging] vice president na rin ako ng ABS-CBN. Kung VP din lang, hindi na," de Castro said. The former broadcaster was vice president for radio of ABS-CBN before running for senator in 2001.

(I'm already the Vice-President. I was also vice-president of ABS-CBN. If it's the VP [post] again, never mind.)

When asked if he was running for president, de Castro said: "I don't know. We'll see."

Asked what would make him decide to run for president, he said: "The presidency, that's destiny."

"Ako, ‘di naman ako nangarap maging senador pero naging senador ako. ‘Di naman ako nangarap maging vice president, pero naging VP ako. Kung ano yung dest…

Checking final exams

It is final exams time, and also time for students to submit their research papers. And so, in the last three weeks, I have been besieged with interviews from both undergrad and graduate students, from Ateneo, Metro Manila schools and outside the Metro. Students call it hell week, when they cram to study and cobble together their research papers and theses. If not personal interviews, I have to answer many e-mail interview questions, inquiries, and such. Yesterday, I spent two hours in the morning in an interview with a Pol Sci major from UP Manila, and in the afternoon, three long hours for a graduate school thesis interview by students from UP Diliman.

I am sometimes tempted to just tell them to read the ang ladlad website, or my books, or my blog. But there is still nothing better than one-on-one interviews, where they ask questions, clarifications, even debate with you. It reminds me so much of the Inquirer Podcasts in February of 2007, where the grizzled veterans of the newsroom g…


My previous blog entry said suggestions are okay with me, so RainB and our other friends reading my blog need not fear I will cast the curse of the gay witch on them.

But let me assure you, guys and girls -- and the spies from two big and wealthy political parties I do not like, who I am sure are again sniffing about my blog, the way they sniffed around my landline and cellphone in the last elections -- let me assure you, friends and foes alike, that I am not running as an alternative candidate at all in the May 2010 elections.

That is why I am attending political meetings with representatives from the various political parties. I am attending these sometimes-boring meetings laden with food and chitchat because we are cobbling together a possible coalition, an alliance, for May 2010.

I have met several bleeding-hearts from the upper-middle and super-upper classes, who told me the opposition parties stank just as badly as the administration's. And thefore, I should run as an independe…


I have finally finished my three comprehensive exams for my Ph. D. in English (major in Creative Writing) at the University of the Philippines. I had to read tons of books for the exams, which lasted for eight hours per field. My three fields of choice were: British and American Fiction, Philippine Literature in English, and Asian Literature in English.

Thus, my posts in this blog came few and far between. After every exam -- spread out over a two-week period -- I felt my fingers getting numb, the muscles in my left arm jiggling. The graduate school assistant told me I am luckier that they now ask students to encode their answers in computers. Otherwise, we would have to write down our answers in long hand, in eight agonizing hours!

After my exam, my friend in the parlor of Ricky Reyes gave me a free, great haircut, and two tubes of hair coloring dye from Italy. When I went to the Ricky Reyes Learning Institute in Cubao, I was met by a gaggle of gays! They told me just say the word, Dan…