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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

Thursday, July 13, 2006

GMA & Danny Lim: A Study In Contrast

One of the standard features of a high school examination is the Compare and Contrast test.  Let us then compare and contrast the Garci tapes and the Danny Lim video.

First, the Garci tapes indubitably reveals the female voice in the tapes as that of the president.  The Lim video clearly shows Brig. Gen. Danny Lim voicing his withdrawal of support from the Arroyo government.

Second, GMA has hid behind the legality of the Anti-Wiretapping Act and therefore, denies she is the voice in the tapes despite the fact that she has this unique voice timber and a thick “s” in her manner of speech.  Danny Lim bravely admits he is the man in the tape.

Third, GMA is recorded in the tapes conspiring to defraud and cheat the presidential elections and wants a clear mandate of a 1 Million vote edge over her opponent.  Danny Lim is recorded in the video conspiring to right a wrong by withdrawing his support from a president whose legitimacy is in question – one that he brazenly calls a bogus president.

Fourth, GMA stages an apology to the Filipino people.  Danny Lim has no need to stage an apology and instead asks Secretary Raul Gonzales to investigate the video leakage.

Fifth, GMA’s and then Chief of Staff Angie Reyes’ withdrawal of support from their commander-in-chief and their president is not a crime. Danny Lim withdraws his support from what he claims to be a bogus president and is exiled to Tanay.

Sixth, to survive politically, GMA made a pact with Old Nick and his minions in the Lakas party and promises charter change, short cutting her term etc., anything to maintain her hegemony. To maintain his principles, Danny Lim refuses to turn state witness and offers nothing for the government to squeal on his brethren.

Seventh, GMA tells herself and the Filipino people to move on, calling us to forget her embarrassing recent past. Danny Lim has no way to move on, his acts will remind us of his recent past.  

Eighth, GMA will be remembered as the president who brought down decency, civility and good government. Danny Lim will be remembered as the soldier who defied the chain of command because the chain has been infested with the corrosion of corruption.

Ninth, sadly, GMA will be reviled by future generations. Danny Lim may be a footnote in history but his place amongst historians will be secure.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Manolo - The Explainer

I watched the pilot episode of Manolo Quezon’s The Explainer.   Being the first episode, I was happy with the outcome.

The first topic Manolo discussed was the issue of Church and State.  Very timely considering the bishops just issued their pastoral statement.

For the first thirty minutes, Manolo explained the history and evolution of the Church’s position on secular dominion and political affairs. It was quite obvious that Manolo and his staff did a yeoman’s job in sifting through so many possible documents to come out with the most relevant items dealing with Church and State.

For the last thirty minutes, Manolo presented his two guest, the irascible blogger Dean Jorge Bocobo and  Jojo Robles, editor-in-chief of the Manila Standard Today.  If there is something Manolo excels at, aside from his essays and opinions, it is his questions.  Jojo Robles was such a disappointment with his specious answers why the Church is not credible, something to do with not paying taxes as if to say the higher you pay tax, the more credible you are.

On the other hand, Dean Bocobo just lit up when he discussed church and state. It was quite obvious that Dean was prepared in the discussion and his views were more logical. However, he did not exhibit the same gadfly attitude that one sees in his blogs and the questions he posed on other bloggers’ comments section.  But all in all, he was a fun guy to have and Manolo made the right choice to join him in his baptism of fire.

Technically, the show needs a little improvement.  Some of the stills or literature that Manolo wanted us to read did not come out on time, there was also the problem of blocking or where Manolo should stand when literature is being shown on the big TV set on the studio.  Sometimes, half his body would be off-cam just for the viewers to read the texts shown.  His partner, Trisha Chiongbian, could also participate more in terms of joining in the discussion and perhaps asking more questions to Manolo during the first segment.

All told, The Explainer performed in accordance with its title. I think Manolo will eventually warm up to the cameras like fish to water.  And I think that his transition from an interviewee to an interviewer was flawless, he applied the Socratic method handsomely and I did not and could not sense his biases, if any.  

This show is worth our while. It provides current issues but also analyzes and explains the underpinnings, meanings, relevance and consequences of how the current issues came about and how those issues may play out in the future.

Go watch it every Tuesday from 6 to 7 in the evening at the new reformatted ANC News Channel.  And see Manolo’s brains at work.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bishops and Sarcasm

This part of the Bishops’ pastoral letter regarding impeachment bothers me:

“For unless the process and its rules as well as the mindset of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive political exercise dismaying every citizen and deepening the citizens’ negative perception of politicians, left, right and center.”

I heard this line of reasoning before.

This was when the late U. S. President Ronald Reagan accused both sides, Marcos and Cory's camp, of cheating during the snap elections. Suddenly, the opposition and those who signed the impeachment complaint appear to be just as devious as the administration.

Questions for the bishops:

Question No. 1: Knowing that the administration has the numbers to thwart a genuine impeachment process, how can the bishops claim bad faith on the opposition or decry a lack of a genuine concern for the common on those who executed the complaint?

Question No. 2: Where is the lack of a genuine concern for the common good by those parties just because the pro-impeachment people want the process to continue?

Question No. 3: Why are the bishops implying that the opposition does not have the common good at heart when they seek to impeach the president? Do not the bishops realize that the opposition is going to hand to Noli de Castro, not necessarily an opposition figure, the head of GMA and the presidency on a silver platter?

Question No. 4: The bishops say that the impeachment process will deepen the negative perception of politicians. Assuming the impeachment process is not pursued, will the citizens' views of the politicians change and obtain a more positive perception?

While it is understandable that the bishops would like to strike a balance between the administration and the other side, the bishops ought to realize that there is no balanced equilibrium between the two forces. The power, influence and the wherewithal are with the administration and the only forces available to the opposition and those who signed the complaint are moral suasion and access to a free press. Beyond that, the opposition has nothing to crow about, not even ill will to grab power as soon as the president is impeached.

And so, I find it strange that the bishops would blame an obviously biased impeachment process on the opposition and ascribe bad faith on people like Nini Quezon Avanceña, Helga, et al. who signed the impeachment complaint. I know Helga and she cries the beloved whenever we speak of country and people.

The bishops should not lecture us on even-handedness when the balance of power is tipped against the people. Maybe, I was laboring under the assumption (and the bishops were not) that Jesus came down to earth to raise up the valleys and make mountains low, not build flat highways.

If they really want to be shepherds and point the moral compass north, the bishops should not hesitate to call to task the President. Unfortunately, the bishops were wined and dined and came out of the conference speaking still a wee bit tipsy from the attention and the largesse. As the title of Manolo’s blog which is as sarcastic as sarcasm goes: How much is that bishop in the window?

As Fyodor Dostoevsky once said: “Sarcasm: the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.”

Well, to be sarcastic about it, save for the impeachment, their pastoral statement is nothing more than Diet Black and White or One Voice Softer.

Been there, heard that!