Is the opposite of Noynoy evil?

By Efren L. Danao
Manila Times

The Liberals have been going to town with the mantra that the 2010 election is a choice between good and evil—the good will go for LP presidential bet Sen. Noynoy Aquino, while the evil will vote for others.
The high rating of Noynoy must have gone into the heads of Liberal moguls, such that they now consider themselves the sole repository of goodness and virtue. Do you consider yourself with the forces of good? Then join the sainted LP. If you have sinned before, don’t worry. Once you join the forces of good, all your sins will be forgiven—by the Liberals, that is. I don’t know if the people will forget those sins, however.

I remember that some personalities associated with the anomalous issuance of the Peace Bond are among the most ardent supporters of Noynoy. And what about Kamaganak Inc.? The Mendiola massacre? The Hacienda Luisita Massacre? Oh well, their members or perpetrators must have reformed themselves, otherwise they would not have been with the be-knighted group. Charge them in court? Why, they deserve a halo for joining the forces of good!

The Liberals have also been shouting to the high heavens against the so-called traditional politicians. Excuse me if I my eyes have been misleading me, but aren’t a number of those being sworn in as new Liberal members among those labeled as “tradpols?” Ah, but maybe, a politician ceases to be traditional once he becomes a Liberal. His joining merely means that he fully subscribes to the “good vs evil” campaign of the Liberals. And since he is with the forces of good, then he ceases to be traditional politician. So, all those who don’t want to be tagged a tradpol or political opportunist, join the queue at the Liberal Party headquarters in Cubao and they will become instant instruments for political reforms.

And what’s the main basis for Noynoy’s being the sole hope for national salvation in 2010? Sorry I have to ask that question. Everybody already knows that this is because he is the son of martyred former Sen. Ninoy Aquino and our icon of democracy, former President Cory Aquino. His pedigree should assure everybody that he is of a breed different from the other wannabes. And you’d better believe it, otherwise you will be considered as favoring the forces of evil. Don’t ask about Noynoy’s achievements, about his plans. The memory of Ninoy and Cory should be enough to consider Noynoy and only Noynoy. Why should one still think of any other reason to go for him? After all, one might be hard put looking for another reason.

The question now is, will those who will not vote for Noynoy and the Liberals consider themselves evil? If they don’t, then perhaps the Liberal Party must take a new tact. I don’t question at all the integrity of Noynoy but I don’t consider this the sole reason to go for him in 2010. He must provide other compelling reasons why he deserves my vote. If he can’t, then he can consider me as being with the forces of evil for all I care.

Angara’s warning on population

At the recent national executive conference of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, party head Sen. Edgardo J. Angara urged LDP to consider solutions to the upcoming problems caused by a burgeoning population. He warned that by 2015, the Philippine population would reach 115 million, which he described as the limit of the country’s “carrying capacity.”

“If we already have difficulty supplying the needs of 95 million, then the difficulty will be much more for 115 million,” SEJA said.

His warning should give more impetus in supporting the Commission on Population’s (POPCOM) aggressive implementation of its Responsible Parenthood-Natural Family Planning Program (RP-NFP) at the grassroots level.

Believing that population is a key component in hunger mitigation, POPCOM collaborated with faith-based and nongovernment organizations to promote RP-NFP to their members and their own communities. Orientations were held at the provincial/city/municipal and barangay levels which reached out to 6,940 participants and 471 batches.

There are already 86 Responsible Parenting Movement (RPM) federations at the local level and 24
federations at the municipal and city levels. RPM teams and groups have been organized in 15 regions, 73 provinces, 770 municipalities/cities, and 4,179 barangays. Every year, POPCOM targets to conduct 58,000 classes that will reach 580,000 couples in 29,000 barangays. As of 30 June 2009, POPCOM reported that they have already reached 232,000 couples through the 23, 200 classes they have conducted in 11, 600 barangays.

National Nutrition Council Chairman and Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd as lead of the Anti-Hunger Task Force said that the PopCom’s RP-NFP plays a major role in mitigating hunger in the country. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Trapo politics

By Mon Casiple

The news was a bit of a surprise. After shopping for a senatorial slot in LP, NP, and PMP, Ferdinand “Bongbong”Marcos, Jr. finally found a nesting place in presidential candidate’s Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party. With this move, the Marcos family will again try–for the umpteenth time–to go back to national politics. On his side, Mr. Villar will try to help breach the historical barrier against the Marcos dictatorship that EDSA I and the antidictatorship movement erected.

The move to bring Bongbong into its fold deliberately sets the NP on a course to capture the pro-dictatorship political base of the Marcoses. This base is, of course, unreachable from the LP side, particularly because of Noynoy Aquino’s own political base that is rooted in the EDSA I and anti-dictatorship struggle. It’s maybe good trapo politics but the consequences will be far-reaching.

Villar gambles that the bitter memories of the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship will have been forgotten or attenuated to the point of a non-factor in the 2010 elections. He, I think, pragmatically saw the advantages of a major slice of the Ilocano vote, access to the huge Marcos ill-gotten wealth, and the projection of a “unifying leader” in the electoral contest. An interesting part of his calculation must be that the loss of possible votes from the Left or from the middle class will not be enough to offset these advantages.

What Villar actually will achieve with this move is the stirring up of a hornet’s nest. The Left, particularly the Makabayan group that he earlier wooed to his side, has no choice but to distance and direct its campaign against his candidacy. To do otherwise will be a political suicide that will reverberate to the heart of the underground movement.

The people power that manifested itself in the August events surrounding Cory Aquino’s death will make the connection between Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Marcoses. That connection has been provided by the Villar and NP campaign. Thus, the translation from an anti-GMA sentiment to an anti-Villar movement is a strong possibility.

It may be a great tactical move as seen from from Villar’s strategists to focus the 2010 presidential elections to a fight between Manny Villar and Noynoy Aquino. However, it brings more complications to an already complicated political contest. It also widened the options and opened new possibilities for the LP’s and Noynoy’s own campaign.

In the end, this NP move may prove to be self-defeating.

after long silence

silent for a week because of my mother's death, merely a month after my father passed away. it was so quick, and so devastating. and now i have to face the intellectual pygmies at comelec.

Poll exec: To be moral is not old-fashioned

Poll exec: To be moral is not old-fashioned
Written by Reynaldo Santos Jr.
Newsbreak Magazine
Monday, 16 November 2009

Gays are already ‘over-represented’ in the House

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) stands firm on its decision to deny a gay organization accreditation for the party list, even after the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) sided with the incensed members of the “third sex.”

In response to the CHR’s comment that the poll body’s ruling on Ang Ladlad (literally, The Coming Out) “smacks of prejudice and discrimination,” Comelec commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer said there was nothing “retrogressive” in it.

Ferrer, along with commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph, on grounds the group “tolerates immorality,” last week rejected Ang Ladlad’s petition to participate in the party-list elections and be hopefully represented in the lower chamber of Congress.

In its petition for accreditation, the group claims to represent lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and trans-genders. It defined its sector’s sexual orientation as capable of “profound emotional, affectional, and sexual orientation to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different gender, of the same gender, or more than one gender.”

Thus, the Comelec ruling that the group would be “exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to the teachings of our faith.”
Penal code applied

“In using my judgement in cases like this, of course I have to resort to my past experiences,” Ferrer said about his being Catholic.

The commissioners came under fire from CHR for citing provisions in the Bible and the Koran, sacred books of the Christians and the Muslims, respectively, to stress its argument that “petitioner tolerates immorality which offends religious beliefs.”

Ferrer said the use of verses from the holy books was necessary, as they “give us guidelines on how to behave morally.”

“To be moral is not old-fashioned,” he said, in response to Ang Ladlad head Danton Remoto’s comment that Ferrer is “a very old man with obsolete ideas.”

Ferrer said that the decision may have been “medieval,” but it is definitely not a violation of human rights, as he assured that the provisions in the Revised Penal Code are well incorporated in the decision. “We're applying the law as it is,” he said.
Gay lawmakers?

Ferrer also said that the Comelec did not present “unequal protection of law” with its decision. According to him, there are no other petitions similar to Ang Ladlad’s, hence the group is not being singled out.

Besides, Ferrer said, there is no need for Ang Ladlad to join the party list because its sector is not under-represented. “Actually, [they are] over represented in the Upper and Lower House,” he said.

To this, Remoto replied: “Is it correct to out gays who want to keep themselves in the closet?” he said.

Remoto said the commissioners’ use of scriptures “as props for legal arguments” is “not the proper way to argue. They should have defended their own opinion the legal way.” He said their religious biases came into play in deciding on Ang Ladlad’s petition. He said Ferrer is a Eucharistic minister in Pangasinan, Tagle is a director of Christian Family Movement in Cubao, and Yusoph is a Muslim imam.
Welcome intervention

Ferrer said that they are ready for interventions from groups like CHR “to give them full opportunity to express their views.” The Comelec, according to him, though, has to look at the “interests” of petitioning parties to see if there are “reasons other than a valid purpose.”

He said the gay group is seeking accreditation only to create a vehicle “to separate themselves from the mainstream. Do they want to impose their will against the majority?”

Remoto said Ferrer has no recourse but to accept the CHR’s intervention because he could be impeached if he doesn’t. Remoto said the anti torture law states that government officials who are found violating human rights will be subject to impeachment proceedings.

Ang Ladlad will be filing a petition to both Comelec and the Supreme Court this week in able to catch up with the December 1 deadline of filing of candidacies.

The commissioner said only 30% of all appeals for reconsideration are approved, and the poll body is not giving preferences to any group. (Newsbreak)

Joker comes to defense of Ang Ladlad

Joker comes to defense of Ang Ladlad
By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star)
Updated November 15, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Joker Arroyo came to the defense of Ang Ladlad, a gay organization whose petition for party-list status was junked by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on grounds of “immorality.”

Arroyo joined several organizations, including militant groups, in asking the Comelec to reconsider its decision.

“The Comelec’s 2nd Division acted out of bounds when it denied accreditation to Ang Ladlad’s bid to participate in the party-list elections on grounds of ‘immorality’ and for ‘being inimical to the interest of the youth,’” Arroyo said.

“The resolution reveals a deeply-entrenched prejudice against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders (LGBTs), the constituency of Ang Ladlad. So what if they are LGBTs? Precisely because of that, as a group which has been oppressed and marginalized in all spheres of their lives, they should be allowed to exercise their basic right to representation in the House of Representatives to protect and advance their interest, the very objective of party-list representation,” Arroyo added.

According to Arroyo, the Comelec’s mandate is to ensure clean and honest elections, not to vent their ire and prejudice against gays.

“All groups stand on equal footing to have party-list representation under the Constitution. The Comelec cannot, as their 2nd Division has done, discriminate against and whiplash gays, while they give party-list accreditation to cock fighters, etc.,” Arroyo said.

“The decision violates their human rights, is utterly bereft of legal basis, grounded as it was on blighted notions of moral standards, even as it invoked the Bible and the Koran,” the senator stressed.

The Second Division, composed of Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph, refused to accredit the organization as a party-list group because their sexuality “tolerates immorality.”

Meantime, Migrante is poised to file a petition for temporary restraining order (TRO) before the Supreme Court next week if the Comelec fails to immediately resolve its motion for reconsideration of a resolution denying them a slot in the 2010 party-list polls.

Remnants of the Dark Ages

Remnants of the Dark Ages
Ellen Tordesillas
Ang Pahayagang Malaya
November 16, 2009

‘Is there in fact a secular, governmental policy against homosexuality?’

Leila de Lima, chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights said reasons cited by the Commission on Elections in denying the application of Ang Ladlad for accreditation as sectoral party illustrates that gays are objects of ridicule, contempt and violence which renders them marginalized.

It’s good that De Lima took up the cudgels for Ang Ladlad, a nationwide organization of lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

De Lima read to the Comelec commissioners Article 7 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, to which the Philippines is a signatory, that states: "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination."

De Lima said there is also Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which provides that, "All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."

De Lima said, "These two instruments are looked upon and provide the principle and standards that must be demonstrated by the Comelec in its mandate under the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code and the Party List Law. The UDHR and ICCPR also prescribe the normative direction that States must practice in line with the rights laid out in the instruments. The norm of non-discrimination of persons running for elections is at issue in this instance."

De Lima’s statement was a reaction to the appalling decision of the Comelec’s second division headed by Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer with Elias Yusoph and Lucenito Tagle as members denying the application of Ang Ladlad for accreditation as sectoral representative of the marginalized Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to "protect our youth from moral and spiritual degradation."

Ferrer, Yusoph and Tagle took verses from the Bible and the Koran as basis for their decision that "petitioner tolerates immorality which offends religious beliefs." They quoted an American bible teacher, who said that that ‘’older practicing homosexuals are a threat to the youth."

From what cave did they come from?

The unenlightened trio also said that the Comelec’s Law Department stated that Ang Ladlad "apparently advocates sexual immorality; consensual partnerships or relationships by gays; ) serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence, lust or pornography; offend any race or religion; tend to abet traffic in and use of prohibited drugs; and are contrary to law, public order, morals and good customs, established policies, lawful orders, decrees and edicts."

From out of nowhere, they mentioned, "Those who shall sell, give away or exhibit films, prints, engravings, sculpture or literature which are offensive to morals. (As amended by PD Nos. 960 and 969)."

De Lima said, "We do not think that Ang Ladlad seeks accreditation to promote immorality in the country, but to give a voice to a marginalized sector to push for further protection of their rights. It is a fact that gays are often objects of discrimination through ridicule, contempt and various forms of violence. Just as this decision clearly illustrates."

She further said, ‘Comelec has exhibited, at the very least, a retrogressive not progressive way of thinking. Our views on homosexuality must be in accordance with progressive human rights thought. In an age of growing, rather than receding, tolerance and promotion of human rights, this Decision appears to be a misplaced edifice of arcane views on homosexuality."

De Lima took issue with the Comelec’s citation of verses from the Bible and Koran as basis for their decision. Ferrer and company quoted Paul’s Letter to the Romans (1:26, 27) saying "For this cause God gave them up into vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet".

From the Koran, the commissioners quoted, "For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds." (7.81). "And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): Then see what was the end of those who indulged in sin and crime!" (7:84) "He said: "0 my Lord! Help Thou me against people who do mischief!""(29:30)."10

De Lima said, "There is a clear breach of the secular-religious divide, which is enshrined in our Constitution. Citing both Christian and Islamic doctrines [as the basis to justify the Decision] are certainly beyond the scope of authorities which the Comelec may employ in resolving the petition."

Moreover, the CHR chairperson explained that the reference to Art. 201 of the Revised Penal Code as the only statutory ground to support the finding of immorality begs the question – is there in fact a secular, governmental policy against homosexuality?

"And if this test were to be rightfully applied for Ang Ladlad, shouldn’t this be equally applied to each and every candidate running for public office?"

Sige nga, tingnan natin!


Letter from Dr Sylvia Estrada Claudio

Dear Editor:

Is there anyway to impeach the following Comelec Comisssioners: Nicodemo T. Ferrer, Lucinito N. Tagle and Elias R. Yusoph?

They must be impeached because they have openly decided to turn the country into a religious state instead of a secular one. I am referring of course to their decision to outlaw Ladlad on the basis of upholding religious beliefs. They quote the Bible and the Koran forgetting that they should consult the Philippine Constitution instead. Only in the Philippines would we have high government officials who state that obedience to religious beliefs trumps other more cogent legal provisions as a basis for policy.

If stupidity were a basis for impeachment, the proceedings would be quite short. Their display of ignorance of current scientific knowledge on sexuality is quite appalling. They should have taken the simple expedient of asking any psychiatrist or psychologist who upholds the standards of organizations like the World Health Organization or the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations. They would have been told that homosexuality was delisted as a psychological pathology more than 30 years ago. They either did not bother to read for themselves or consulted the psychiatric association of the Taliban when they decided that homosexuality is an abnormality.

As a Filipino citizen who is neither Christian nor Muslim; as a practitioner and teacher in psychology and sexuality; as someone who cares that we do not look like backward bigots to the world community; I urge the impeachment of these men who have violated morals, scientific truths and our laws against discrimination.

I am so upset. I'm gay starting today and until Ladlad gets accredited.

Sylvia Estrada Claudio, M.D. PhD.
Director, University Center for Women's Studies
Professor of Women and Development Studies
University of the Philippines


WeDpro, Inc.
Phone/Fax: (+632) 426 7479
Mobile number: 0918 437 5907 (For urgent message)

Disenfranchising homosexuals

Disenfranchising homosexuals
Ang Pahayagang Malaya
November 16, 2009

‘Homosexuality is now a contagious moral and spiritual disease from which our youth need to be quarantined?’

The Commission on Elections decision last Friday denying accreditation to the Ang Ladlad is the very proof that gays and lesbians are so marginalized they need to be represented in Congress.

They are discriminated against on the basis of their sexual preferences. They are powerless against the dominant culture that classifies them as aberrations of nature. They are victims of beliefs that treat them as moral misfits.

The Neanderthals in the Comelec, in effect, disenfranchised a class of citizens on the basis of a set of prejudices.

The grounds cited by the Comelec second division are laughable.

"Should this Commission grant the petition, we will be exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to our faith," it said.

It then gratuitously added that homosexuality is against Christianity and Islam.

Are Christianity and Islam now state religions that citizens who do not subscribe to their tenets should be stripped of their right to be voted into office? There is no religious test for running for office. This follows from the doctrine of separation of state and church. Let’s not confuse a sin with a crime. Gays and lesbians certainly have not committed any crime that would disqualify them from forming a political organization by preferring their own sex.

"As an agency of the government, ours too is the State’s duty… under the Constitution to protect our youth from moral and spiritual degradation," the Comelec said.

Accrediting a party, which is fighting against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, leaves our youth open to moral and spiritual degradation? What drivel is this? Homosexuality is now a contagious moral and spiritual disease from which our youth need to be quarantined?

Homosexuality, if we understand the Catholic doctrine correctly, is not a sin although acts are. These old farts at the Comelec are trying to be more popish than the Pope.

Modern democracies are founded on the principles of tolerance. One does not impose one’s religious beliefs on others. In times past and in different climes, homosexuals were treated as heretics and were burned at the stake. But also in times past and on these very islands, some "babaylans," the priests of our pre-Spanish religions, came from the ranks of homosexuals. Who is to say which is right or wrong between the two practices? And how do we solve such differences? Through the Crusades of medieval times and the religious wars that blighted Europe during monarchic times?

If we can tolerate fornicators (to crib from former senator Rene Saguisag) in Congress, there is no reason why we cannot accept gays and lesbians.

Comelec says gay party 'immoral'

BY Kristine Servando
November 12, 2009

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday rejected Ang Ladlad for party-list accreditation on the grounds that the party advocates "sexual immorality" and "immoral doctrines."

Ang Ladlad is an organization of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT).

In a ruling dated November 11, the Comelec said that although the party presented proper documents and evidence for their accreditation, their petition is "dismissable on moral grounds."

Page 5 of the ruling states that Ang Ladlad's definition of the LGBT sector as a marginalized sector who are disadvantaged because of their sexual orientation "makes it crystal clear that the petitioner tolerates immorality which offends religious beliefs."

The document quotes passages from both the Bible and the Koran (taken from internet site that describe homosexuality as "unseemly" or "transgressive."

The Comelec goes on to state that accrediting Ang Ladlad would pose risks for Filipino youth.

"Should this Commission grant the petition, we will be exposing our youth to an environment that does not conform to the teachings of our faith," the ruling stated.

'Gays are threats to youth'

This statement is followed by a quote by preacher Lehman Strauss published in a website saying "older practicing homosexuals are a threat to the youth."

The Comelec said it is "not condemning" the LGBT community but "cannot compromise the well-being of a great number of people."

The document was signed by Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle, and Elias Yusoph.

Ang Ladlad also applied for party-list accreditation in 2007, but was denied this due to the lack of regional membership in the Philippines.

'Painfully obsolete ideas'
Danton Remoto, National Chairperson of "Ang Ladlad" that pushes for LGBT rights. He also plans to run for Senator in 2010. Photo by Ralph Camus.

Danton Remoto, President of Ang Ladlad, told in a phone interview that they will contest the Comelec ruling before the Supreme Court.

"This is a decision of painfully old men with painfully obsolete ideas on homosexuality. We are in the 21st century already, we are fighting for human rights. They do not know what they are talking about," he said.

Remoto, who taught literature at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University for over 20 years, criticized the Comelec's allegation that older homosexuals are threats to the youth.

"How would I have stayed in the country's premier exclusive Catholic school (Ateneo) if I were a threat to the youth?" he stated as an example.

He also took issue against the Comelec ruling's frequent citation of internet-sourced reports, saying that a legal document should at least use primary sourcing. Remoto said this spoke of "intellectual bankruptcy" among Comelec officials.

Remoto said that the Comelec ruling is offensive to the LGBT community and an insult to their human rights.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, however, said he does not consider the Comelec's dismissal of Ang Ladlad's petition for party-list accrediation as a human rights issue.

"They might bring it up because they might feel offended of being called immoral. In that case, it's their right to bring whatever action is deemed necessary," he told in a phone interview.

He added that the right to be voted for is not absolute and is subject to reasonable regulation.

Immoral institution?

Remoto also questioned the Comelec's decision to deny the party's accreditation based on moral and religious reasons since the Constitution provides for separation between the Church and State.

"Since when did the Comelec become a moral arbiter? The Comelec is a state institution, [it is] not the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines," he said.

"The Comelec has no right to make decisions on morality because it is not a moral or religious institution. It is a political institution, and hence, should confine itself to politics," Remoto added.

Jimenez said it is standard for the Comelec to consider what each party-list stands for before accrediting them.

He cited the case of the Samahang Magdalo, a reformist group led by detained mutineers, who were denied party-list accreditation on the grounds that they "advocated violence."

The Ang Ladlad is requesting help from the Ateneo Human Rights Center in filing a motion for reconsideration before the Comelec, before raising the issue to the Supreme Court, where Remoto believes the party may have "some hope."

All is not lost for Remoto and his crusade for LGBT rights, however, since he announced plans to run for Senator in 2010 "under a big political party." He will make a formal announcement in 2 weeks.

Should the Comelec approve his candidacy, he will be the first openly gay senatorial candidate in recent history. Report by Kristine Servando,
as of 11/12/2009 10:06 PM

Questions and answers

1. Why have you taken a break from column-writing?

My father died two weeks ago and I had to take charge of the wake and burial, being the eldest. I had to deal with everything -- from the mortuary to the car that would pick up my siblings at the airport to always being there with my mother, who is quiet and noble in her grief.

2. Are you running under the Liberal Party?

I do not know. All I know is that I am running for senator in the 2010 elections with a big political party.

3. Why not independent?

Been there, been that. People will promise you funds, warm bodies, watchers. But when push comes to shove, you are all alone, with only a few of your most loyal campaign volunteers.

4. When will you declare?

My political party of choice has told me to wait it out while it finalizes a possible coalition with another party. We will declare before November 20, the first day of filing of certificates of candidacy. We will declare as one, solid group.

5. Aren't you afraid of your competitors for the Senate who already have TV ads?

No. I think they need those TV ads to catch up with me.

18 days to go

Eighteen days to go before the start of the filing of certificates of candidacy for elective national positions -- president, vice-president, senators and party-list. The filing period is between November 20-30. Expect the next four weeks to be a nail-biting experience. Why?

1. Not a single political party has completed their senatorial slates.
2. Manny Villar and Gibo Teodoro have no VP candidate, while Loren Legarda has no presidential candidate.
3. The forthcoming Pulse Asia survey should help the political parties finalize their senatorial slates and their alignments or realignments. According to Lito Banayo, this survey should be out late this week.

And which party will I join?

1. The party that will not tell me to firm up my niche or message, because that has been firmed up in the last three years.

2. The party that will treat me with the respect that my candidacy deserves, having done their extensive research and found out the following about my political mapping:

a. There are 4.5 million Filipino lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders;
b. There are 4.5 million Bicolano and/or Bikol-speaking voters in the Philippines and abroad (I am from Oas, Albay);
c. In the last three years I have made deep inroads in the youth, campus, and education sectors through free lectures, workshops, meetings, conferences, book launchings and signing sessions in the length and breadth of the archipelago.

3. I will sayeth no more. The 2010 elections is a campaign and not an advocacy. I intend to run with a party whose candidates have spine, strength of purpose, clarity of vision. Adequate campaign funds won't be so bad, too.

Or as my late father -- a sharp and funny political analyst -- told me two weeks before he died: "I don't think you'll be happy running with a national candidate who is like a carabao with a rope tied to his nostrils. Kung saan ituro ng mga nakapaligid sa kanya, doon siya pupunta. You are too strong-minded and stubborn for him."

Amen, Papa, amen.