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Showing posts from November, 2011

So what if Piolo Pascual is gay (not that there's anything wrong with that)?

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For the most part of its history up to the present, the Roman Catholic Church and many other organised religions refused to recognise that gay people are human beings with feelings, dreams, and aspirations. Despite wide acceptance today that sexuality and sexual orientation are complex attributes of the human experience that cannot be summarily classified or labelled, Philippine society continues to take its cue from its role models in spirituality and society -- from (1) the Church's adamant stand that being a homosexual dooms one to a life of irredeemable sin and from (2) its celebrities who make their millions from ridiculing and parodying the nuances and behaviours of homosexuals.

Yet, gay people have contributed significantly to human civilisation, culture, and science. The father of modern computing, for example, was a homosexual. Alan Turing, the man who proved (what we take for granted today) that machines can, in theory, perform any kind of mathematical calculation using j…

Anecdotes from the Wilderness

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Last weekend, while on a photoshoot, a fellow ran into me who thought I looked like a prime target for trickery. Upon noticing his game, I played along and gave him the answers he was looking for, dodging a few pertinent questions here and there. When he thought he had me eating out of the palm of his hand, I told him I was with a group and backed away ever so cautiously. He didn't blink and kept trying to pull me into his web so he could get some profit. I reiterated and he caved in, wearing a slightly bummed expression as he disappeared into the crowd. I couldn't help thinking, "What if pinoys used their syosal mentality for the permanent greater good rather than temporary personal gain.. how much better off would this country be?"

This is the basis for these GRP articles, the FB fanpage and the anathema behind a steadily growing crowd of disenchanted but not hopeless individuals. We discuss the events of the day but also the classic underlying symptomatic issues pl…

President Aquino's anti-corruption campaign may be distracting him from economic growth challenges

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The core of Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III (PNoy) continues to resonate among his fans today -- Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap. ("No corruption means no poverty"). That is the President's hypothetical solution to reducing poverty in the Philippines.

But has this hypothesis stood up to the empirical evidence so far observed?

It's a bit iffy according to Wallace Business Forum consultancy president Peter Wallace...
The drive to root out corruption has led to much lower-than-expected government spending and delays in putting infrastructure projects out for tender as deals are reviewed and the government sets to build watertight contracts.

Wallace said had spending been as planned in the first half of the year, annual growth would have been 6.3 percent - more than 50 percent stronger than actual growth of 4 percent.

The payoff of hitting graft would be a cleaner and more open system in future, which should lead to better growth and more investme…

Clash of the puppets: Aquino COMELEC battles with Arroyo Supreme Court

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Clash of the Titans? Or clash of the puppets? The whole brouhaha around the request of former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad which was blocked by a travel ban issued by Leila De Lima which was then suspended by an order from the Supreme Court (SC) which in turn was defied by De Lima has become a grand show of political puppetry...
Within one day [of De Lima's defiance of the SC order], the charge was produced by a joint panel of the Department of Justice and the Commission on Elections [(COMELEC)], an arrangement that raised questions about why the Comelec was working hand in glove with the administration when it is supposed to be an independent institution, not the government’s prosecution arm. This irregular arrangement immediately cast doubt on the independence of the Comelec and the credibility and fairness of the process of putting Arroyo on trial.
From Titans to mere puppets. Consistent with the renowned Heritage of Smallness of P…

Conrado 'Noynoy-is-Aragorn' de Quiros continues to insist that criminal prosecution is a popularity contest @sagadasun

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True to form, Inquirer.net "columnist" Conrado "Noynoy-is-Aragorn" de Quiros is at it again building an entire emo plea on the back of that feature of politics Aquinoists have exploited to smithereens -- popularity.

Coming from an "article" that goes by the quaintly poetic cliche, "How the mighty have fallen", the following is classic de Quiros...
This country may be forgetful in the long run, but it does have a strong short-term memory. You see that in the wellspring of support P-Noy has gotten for his decision to stop the former First Couple from leaving. The anger and loathing are still there. The people want the former first couple punished. The people want the former first couple jailed.
As I said in an earlier piece, criminal prosecution is not a popularity contest.

The process of criminal prosecution is not one that is driven by a popular outcome. It proceeds on the basis of a rigorous examination of facts and an intelligent tying of these to…

The foundation of the cancer of The Filipino Condition that has fatally taken hold of our society

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I've always maintained that the problems of Philippine society at the most fundamental levels are rooted in the upbringing of the typical Filipino child -- how they are, at an early age, exposed to their parents'...

(1) tolerance for petty thievery, banal incompetence, and substandard workmanship;

(2) encouragement of the finding and taking of shortcuts (even at the expense of those who strive to follow the rules) and rewarding success at such quests; and,

(3) insistence on deference to people on the bases of seniority and credentials.

When one considers a society with a foundation held up by such conceptual pillars, it becomes less surprising that no amount of political solutions have ever proved to be effective at mitigating the effects of the profound cancer known as The Filipino Condition that has fatally taken hold of the collective psyche.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima will have the charge of contempt of court hanging over her head for life

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The only real loser coming out of the debacle after "Justice" Secretary Leila De Lima defied a Supreme Court order to suspend a travel ban on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be none else but De Lima herself. The tragedy here (for her, at least) is that she will most likely have been acting under the orders of her boss, Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III as Manila Standard columnist Jojo Robles sees it...
Had De Lima acted alone, she would probably be notarizing documents outside Manila City Hall these days, instead of preparing for her assured inclusion in the administration’s 2013 Senate slate.
Worse, still (again for De Lima), it seems that she will be simply hung out to dry by her boss...
And yet, in another attempt at ill-suited ingenuousness, Aquino said that he had merely heard about the filing of charges against Arroyo while he was in Bali [attending the ASEAN summit].
Was it worth being a Yes Man to a boss who will simply turn his ba…

Tit for tat II: List of things that went wrong under the government of Noynoy Aquino

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Thanks to an Anonymous commenter on Get Real Post for this list of things that happened under PNoys government:

1.unconstitutional EO No’s.1 & 2
2.Samar & Balay group conflict inside Malacanang
3. bungled hostage rescue
4. blatant lie about the $430 million MCC grant
5. wrongful deportation of 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China
6.Cojuangco-Aquino SCTex multi million deal
7. favoring KKK to high government positions
8. release of morong 43
9. denying clemency to 100 old and sick prisoners despite PPP’s recommendation but pardons a dead man
10.failed promise to prioritize FOI Bill
11.misleading polls by own kins’ survey firms Asia Pulse & SWS
12. Hacienda Luisita/SCTex illegal toll fee
13.ineffective com group (includes Mislang)
14.pending RH Bill
15. corruption score worsens based on diff. international intelligence reports
16. lowest rate of GDP
17.mounting unemployment problem
18.undiplomatic verbal spat with China over Spratlys
19.Porsche/BMW controversy
20.P6-billion illegal tax write of…

Noynoy Aquino will have to continue to lie to cover-up Leila De Lima's contempt of court

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Simple principles outlined by Manila Standard columnist Jojo Robles today:

(1) You may disagree with a court of law but you may not defy it.

(2) Charges filed against Arroyo were rushed and the people behind it coerced.

(3) One need not be pro-Arroyo to see the error in what MalacaƱang did to the justice system by defying the Supreme Court.

(4) The charges against Arroyo are weak and will struggle to get through any court that is headed by a decent judge.

(5) The fact of who appointed the justices of the Supreme Court provide no bases for accusing them of biased decisions.

Read the full article here.

Conrado 'Noynoy-is-Aragorn' de Quiros continues to throw tantrums about Corona's appointment as SC Chief Justice

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The venerable Conrado "Noynoy is Aragorn" de Quiros huffs and puffs in his recent Inquirer.net article Two trying to lead us to believe that the real "issue" surrounding the constitutional crisis that is flaring up in the aftermath of the Philippines' Justice Secretary Leila De Lima baldly defying the orders of the Supreme Court (SC) to suspend her travel ban on former President Gloria Arroyo is really all about the right of SC chief justice Renator Corona to sit in the office he currenly holds.

Consider for a moment that (1) there is nothing in the Law that barred Arroyo's appointment of Corona and (2) de Quiros's position was argued on the quaint basis of "delicadeza". After considering that, suppose, for argument's sake that de Quiros's laboured point in his article is worth considering. The question then to ask is this:

Which is the bigger crime, still? De Lima's defiance of a Supreme Court order? Or Corona's being a "mi…

De Lima's contempt of court has a stronger chance of being prosecuted than Arroyo's 'electoral sabotage'

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It is a time of great confusion in our sad Republic! On one hand, Inquirer.net "columnist" Neal Cruz in his 21st November piece All rights are limited by the rights of others makes a pathetic grasp at straws in continuing to bandy around the tired notions of the "Arroyo Court" (in referring to the Philippines' Supreme Court (SC)) to shore up sympathy for what was essentially inexcusable behaviour on the part of "Justice" Secretary Leila De Lima when she defied an SC order to suspend a travel ban on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

On the other hand, his Editor highlights in Checkmate, published on the same day, highlights the "Aquino COMELEC"; i.e. that...
[...] it is also true that the Comelec, an independent body stacked with Aquino appointees, has left itself open to charges of itself being politicized when it joined the DOJ in the task force to investigate alleged electoral rigging by the previous administration.
See, that's t…

Noynoy Aquino thinks prosecuting former Philippine President Gloria Arroyo is a popularity contest

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According to an Inquirer.netreport it seems Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III sees public opinion and "support" as key to a successful prosecution of his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA)...
President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday night rallied the public behind his administration’s effort to prosecute former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for alleged electoral sabotage, while promising to accord her due process.

[...]

“This is just the start of the process. And it is very good to know that even from the start, even while I was outside the country, you are all behind me, especially on this issue,” he said.

“I know that I am not alone. As I think about your welfare, you continue to give me strength.”
But then the process of criminal prosecution is not one that is driven by a popular outcome. It proceeds on the basis of a rigorous examination of facts and an intelligent tying of these together into a logic…

Aquino henchmen in Congress file resolution vs SC and Arroyo that lacks any legal or constitutional legs #ArroyoWatch

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What exactly does "extraordinary political will" mean? This is the basis of a move by "Palace allies" in Congress to back the administration of Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III in its on-going effort to bar former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from leaving the country to seek medical treatment. According to an ABS-CBN "report"...
Reps. Joseph Emilio Abaya, Lorenzo TaƱada III, Neptali Gonzales II, Irvin Alcala, Henedina Abad, Kaka Bag-ao, Walden Bello and Mel Senen Sarmiento introduced the resolution.

As of posting, some 80 have already signed the resolution, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. confirmed. He said, "it's an expression of support for the executive...for what Secretary Leila de Lima did."
These "representatives" justified their move by highlighting that it is aligned with "Aquino’s battle-cry as the 'nation’s first and most determined fighter of corruption'."

Despite present…

Justice Department Circular No. 41 and Aquinoists missing the whole point @raissawriter

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Raissa Robles wrote (in value-crushing detail) about a loophole exploited in a certain Department Circular No. 41 issued by Justice Secretary Alberto Agra in 2010 under the Government of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA). This circular is what the current Justice Secretary Leila De Lima then used to slap the travel ban on now former President and Congressman Arroyo.
Because of this, DC 41 said, these Supreme Court circulars left a gap because they were “silent with respect to cases falling within the jurisdiction of courts below the RTC as well as those pending determination by government prosecution offices.”

It is the last clause, which I posted in red, which De Lima is using to bar the Arroyo couple from traveling – because they have five complaints filed against them “pending determination by government prosecution offices.”
So check out the bunch of commentors over there at that blog exchanging high fives over what they perceive to be the irony of a GMA-era circular now …

For those planning another ocho-ocho people power thing at the airport, think again...

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Learn from the past so that you don't come out looking like chumps in the future. Check out how Edsa "revolutions" DIED in this c.2005 GRP classic (excerpt below)...
So, in effect, Filipinos would have not accepted their duly constituted institutions and duly elected officials as the official authorities on the "Truth" yet would have easily relied on a street mob in yet another Fiesta Revolution to dictate and uphold said "Truth". This is tantamount to arbitrarily voiding Congress and allowing street mobs to call the shots from hereon. That it seems is what many Filipinos want. However, Filipinos have a track record of never going the whole nine yards when it comes to "revolution" (or anything else for that matter). Thus we have nothing more than Fiesta Revolution -- so much hate and tunnel-vision, but none of the conviction and wherewithal to go for the gold. The fact is, even in the happy sport of "revolution", Filipinos exhibit …

Why we need to demand MORE of our celebrity 'tweeps' @jimparedes @gangbadoy

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The following comment was posted on Get Real Post addressed to moi:
People on twitter just point things out. They make jokes because they can and there is no reason not to. No one is trying to influence anyone or sell anything. I suppose you expect everyone to pull out Polsci textbook for their 140 characters? Yeah, that’s the right way of doing things.

And no one is debating anything, get off your high horse.

People on twitter just point things out. They make jokes because they can and there is no reason not to. No one is trying to influence anyone or sell anything. I suppose you expect everyone to pull out Polsci textbook for their 140 characters? Yeah, that's the right way of doing things.

And no one is debating anything, get off your high horse.
Here is my response in all the usual brilliance everyone has come to expect of me:
Yes I am on a high horse at the moment -- because I point things out better than most, and I do it properly applying a willingness to challenge both the po…

Just like celebrities dish out drivel and r still believed and adored... @Jimparedes

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...while the rest of us work on substance to *earn* respect. In response to the tweet...
The corrupt and powerful have a right to 'due process'. The rest have the right to suffer indignities and be philosophical.
If we expect the "corrupt and powerful" to police themselves, shouldn't we also expect the popular and influential to tidy their backyard as well?

The showbiz industry and the celebrities it coddles account for a lot of the moronic ways Filipinos think. Perhaps before our celebrities start pontificating about what our politicians ought to do with their "power", they should first look in the mirror and check out what they themselves -- as a sector in our society -- do with the influence they wield.

The real point of inviting foreign investment seems lost

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My feeling is that we've lost sight of the real point of inviting foreign capital into the country, which is to *seed* the economy with a capital base and provide *initial* stimulus to consume (presumably from those that come to be employed by the businesses that said foreign capital creates).We forget that there is a second stage to that initial one where the ground work laid by the above seed and initial stimuli become the fertile breeding grounds for *domestic* enterprise to take root.My skepticism surrounding all this rah rah over foreign investment  lies in both (1) the above second stage no longer being highlighted giving the impression that foreign capital will single-handedly sustain the economy, and (2) the iffy assumption that, given the opportunity, Filipinos will exploit the groundwork laid to engage in their part of the deal, which is to create and accumulate capital domestically.

When I Fell In Love

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This document comes with no disclaimers, apologies or motives. It is short but from the heart, and I hope you, bayani, find writing about your land a bit more comfortable, positive and oriented to what exists between elections.

I came to Pinas in 2005, uneducated about the culture and unaware of anything other than the desire for my partner at the time. While that faded rather quickly, my interest in the country never did. Fortunately I was able to grab hold of it and manifest a reality some may never truly appreciate. Fast forward to 2010, wherein I recognize that my love of Filipinas is really just a distraction from my ultimate goals. I have transplanted and redirected my desires. While I still have many pinay friends, and adore each and every one of them as the interesting creatures they are, my interest in Pinas no longer lies in my love for them.. I just love this country. I behold the natural beauty of Bohol and weep for the sturgid streets of Cavite; I gaze upon the golden sh…

Some lingering thoughts on the RHB

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It has occurred to me, upon reading some of the statements from anti-RHB factions, that traditional morals play a large role in the defeat of such proposed legislation. My question to these groups and individuals is this: If you care about the lives of the so-called unborn, why won't you support the RHB which clearly lays out plans for access to maternal care and similar services? Do you believe the individual should be forced to raise a sick child they may have no way to care for? If this is so, then you are more collectivist than the demonized Filipino progressive. You believe ethics and morality should stem from a single source and be applied to society, rather than it stem from a discussion in society and have the individual apply it their life as they see fit. Or do you?

Everybody's got a world view and their take on history is coloured by it

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Much of the history we learn from textbooks in school represents the worldview of the authors of those textbooks. And much of the way history is taught in schools represents the worldview of the teachers who deliver the lessons, and the governments that fund these schools.

Human beings are hardwired to find patterns where there is none. But history, contrary to popular belief, does not have a pattern. Those historical patterns "historians" claim to "discover" and stake their careers on are all in their heads. As we keep finding out, history always surprises us.

We may forecast out five years, ten years even. And then a single cataclysmic weather or geological disturbance -- or panicked selling frenzy in the financial markets -- makes all that "insight" on the future look idiotic.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Famous last words.

Knowledge of historical facts does not necessarily translate to meaningful insight @Xiao_Chua

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The following snippet written by "historian" Michael Charleston "Xiao" B. Chua in his seminal rebuttal of Baron Buchokoy's gone-viral video Aquino-Cojuangcos: Facts They Don’t Want You To Know is a classic...
[...] even if you say that life was no good after EDSA, I would not trade this life for a life without civil liberties and a determination to chart my own destiny, EVEN IF I AM STILL POOR. Ninoy and Cory were not saints, but they did their best.
First of all if Mr Chua hadn't noticed yet, millions of Filipinos risk life and limb trekking to some of the most appalling nations on the planet just to earn a "decent" living for their families. That says something about how high in the hierarchy of priorities of the average Filipino this much-hyped concept of "civil liberties" really is. Perhaps Mr Chua has had his nose stuck so far deep into the past for so long that he's forgotten how to stick his head up and look around to regard the…

Just out on the Inquirer.net! A report on the PinoyMonkeyPride's viral video!

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Classic Yellowtard rhetoric (the kind you'd hear from infantile Aquinoist "debaters"). This is what laces the Inquirer.net report on PinoyMonkeyPride gone-viral video Aquino-Cojuangcos: Facts They Don’t Want You To Know just out now. Check it out:

From Budget Secretary Florencio Abad:

"meant to distract attention from controversies like the departure bid of former President Arroyo"

"terrible"

"black propaganda"

From Aquino political adviser Roland Llamas:

"the work of forces who are now being threatened with numerous cases"

See the full report here!

Catastrophic population decline following prolonged population growth

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Like in the bangus fishkill in Taal Lake this year, populations don’t seem to decline gradually when placed under stress. Prior to the onset of environmental pressure, populations of most life forms seem to first multiply in ever increasing rates up to a critical mass then suddenly suffer a catastrophic drop in numbers when some sort of ecological tipping point is reached.

Maybe the signs of imminent collapse we look out for (rioting in the street and increasing hunger) are the wrong ones, and the collapse in population that might happen soon or later will come in a completely unexpected form.

The global financial collapse of 2008 for example was preceded up to the last minute by complete ignorance among the bigger community of “expert” economists. Same thing is happening with population growth. Nobody knows where it is headed and what it will do to us as a species.

[Based on a comment originally posted on Get Real Post.]

Home along da riles in Naga City

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A rustic rail side community in Naga City.



Photo submitted by Joshua Nellasca.

Our lives are as meaningful as we make them - @lmlodinow

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Acclaimed scientist Leonard Mlodinow who co-authored A Briefer History of Time with Stephen Hawking, offers a succinct and elegant rebuttal to the claims of celebrity spiritualist Deepak Chopra who argues that our universe possesses an encompassing consciousness that governs its evolution...
The human animal evolved to have the capacity for both good and evil, and it does plenty of both, but there is no hidden hand of universal purpose or consciousness behind what we do, only our own consciousness, our own purpose. Each of us chooses to love or hate; we give and we take; we leave our own imprint on our family, our friends, and society. We don't need an eternal and conscious universe to give our lives meaning. Our lives are as meaningful as we make them.
The above is an excerpt from the book War of the Worldviews where in a series of essays, Chopra and Mlodinow articulate their arguments on various topics relevant to the on-going debate between supernaturalism and science.

Filipinos have a history of starting what they can't finish

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Recently, in Basilan, Mindanao another tragic clash between the AFP and the MNLF occurred. What was decried as unexpected, unnecessary violence turned out to be the dead bodies of 19 soldiers and no reported MNLF soldiers. I want you to read that line over and over again until you find the hidden surprise. Have you found it? If not, I did not describe MNLF as insurgents, infidels, or terrorists. Why? Well, for starters that's not journalism, it's propaganda. There's enough propaganda waging the war against the MILF/MNLF as it is, I don't see a need for more. But I digress.

The point of this article is this: The ongoing struggle in Mindanao is a repetitive headline churner for one reason only. That reason is the result of a trait which many have, but Filipinos have perfected. From infrastructure to personal otangs (loans), Filipinos have been shirking personal responsibility and starting arguments which they can't finish for quite some time. Everybody wants to get t…

Anonymity and the Filipino people's obsession with credentials

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In a land where people are obsessed with credentials, I chose not to divulge a lot of information about myself because I don't want the readers to get distracted. I want the readers to concentrate solely on the message of my articles.

Michel Foucault, a well known french intellectual who died in 1984 eventually sought anonymity in his writings later in his career. He explained his reasons well:
In our societies, characters dominate our perceptions.... Why did I suggest that we use anonymity? Out of nostalgia for a time when, being quite unknown, what I said had some chance of being heard. A name makes reading too easy.

The exercise in anonymity is a way of addressing the potential reader, the only individual here who is of interest to me, more directly: Since you don't know who I am, you will be more inclined to find out why I say what you read; just allow yourself to say, quite simply, it's true, it's false. I like it or I don't like it. Period.
I started publishing …