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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Monday, February 14, 2005

Talking Heads

When I was growing up, I would watch Channel 5's The Big News with Jose Mari Velez as anchor. As a young kid, watching news was quite a drag but somehow, Mr. Velez's delivery kept me glued to the set. Apart from Mr. Velez, Bong Lapira, Henry Gasser, Angelo Castro, Jr., Tina Monzon-Palma and Gene Orejana, Jr. are probably the most credible news anchors in the land. Until sensationalism and the ratings game undermined the integrity of broadcast news.

It all started with Channel 2 when they shifted news from English to Filipino. Nothing wrong with that since the purpose was to connect witht the masses. Unfortunately, Channel 2 unwittingly impressed the masses that these broadcasters were more than news announcers. ABS started to pseduo-intellectualize them and as a result, made the public rely on them than the government but most tellingly, glamorize these newscasters.

I have no problem with these news announcers trying to appear brighter than they actually are. It's Peter's principle at work anyway. What I cannot stomach is their temerity to ask stupid questions. And what galls me even more are the stupid responses given by government officials who appear all too cowed by the power of media. Incisive questions should be left to analytical shows like Gene Orejana's Online or Pia Hontiveros' Strictly Politics where these politicians can either baffle the public with their bullshit or dazzle us with their brilliance.

Over and above that, you have news personalities thinking their accrued popularity gives them the wherewithal to run and change the business of government. I remember when I was a TV guest commentator during the Erap impeachment trial, this chubby newscaster privately shared his disdain for Sen. Flavier's suggestion that he run as city councilor first. He countered his popularity can propel him directly to the Senate. Such arrogance! But he is so right! One need not be intellectually incandescent to land him a seat in the Senate. The present Senate speaks for itself. And alas, the shadows of the great senators past grow ever longer in grief and mourning at its present composition of political opportunists, onion-skinned brats and senseless perorators though with a few bright lights within!

Presently, we have a president who is well intentioned and highly qualified. However, the man who is a heartbeat away owes his popularity to his broadcasting stint and nothing else. His stint in the Senate was short and forgettable. While he may appear to be populist, I do not know his intellectual fit for the job. While he may appear sincere, his first act in office was to claim Dinky Soliman's highly populist post and were it not for the public clamor for Dinky's retention, he would now be helming the DSWD post extending his hegemony and ensuring his future leap to the presidency.

As Vice-President, he does not inspire confidence from among the movers and shakers of this country. I pray he will take this next six years to school himself in government, finance and economics and not merely rely on scriptwriters who will coach him his next course of action.

Our country will not overcome its difficulties by paying off our foreign debt or by developing our mining industry. She will only be saved if we start electing men and women who possess the necessary integrity and intelligence to navigate our nation through these difficult times. Conversely, we will drown in our lard if we keep on electing mere talking heads who believe that popularity and ambition are the two most important virtues in a representative democracy.

Perhaps, someone should tell them the story of the Roman general Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus or Walter Cronkite.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Day of Hearts

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. It is the Day of Hearts.

I wonder why we have to celebrate a special day just to remind us of each other's love. We have our wedding anniversaries to do that. We have our individual birthdays to honor one another. And of course, we have Christmas Day to affirm the greatest love of all, at least for Christians.

I think Valentine's Day holds more magic and sway for younger unmarried people because it affords them the chance to be extremely sucrose to each other without being ridiculed by their fellow peers since their fellow peers are just about doing and saying the same mushy things to their significant other.

But for married people who have learned to sandpaper their egos and give in to each other's whims though daily, constant, candid intellectual and emotional exchanges, Valentine's Day is more than a sugary day not because we have mastered uttering mushy things but because we walked the talk. We live a shared common life, subsuming our own pride and caprices to serve each other, adjusting to one another's preferences in order to make our mutual love more refined, sweeter and lasting. To continue to share Valentine's Day with the same partner is to have been tested by time, purified by challenges, and polished by fate. That, I think, is the real meaning of Valentine's Day. If love is lived daily, shouldn't Valentine's Day be celebrated every day and not just on the 14th of February by couples?

And if you agree with me, come and keep me company on the road to a happy and blessed marriage. Happy Valentine's Day everyday!