Category: Politics


Anti Planking Bill of 2011

Never really been a fan of planking. Once my own 2-year-old daughter did something similar to planking and I found it funny and amusing.

I did not teach her to do it but it was something she probably saw on TV. If she decides that she likes doing it, just for the heck of it, I will not stop her, just as long as it is not done with stupidity in such a way that she will expose herself to harm.

Yesterday there was a transport strike in the Philippines and some members of the militant groups who participated used planking in their protests. They used it as a means to redress their grievances. They planked on the roads thereby causing obstructions to motorists.

In response to this, Rep. Winnie Costelo of Quezon City proposed Anti Planking Bill of 2011. This immediately caught the ire of netizens and it was even a trending topic worldwide.

For someone who studied the laws of the Philippines, I am aware that we have many inutile laws in the country. And here comes another one…

I find the bill preposterous not because I feel its trivial. I just think that there are far more important matters that merit the attention of our Honorable Congressman.

The bill does not provide clear criminal and/or administrative penalties. It calls for the corollary drafting of implementing rules from the DepEd and CHED. That in itself for me is absurd. It again seeks material time of these two offices in order to curb planking.

While I understand the sentiments of Rep. Costelo that there are dangers attributable to planking during rallies, it doesnt necessarily call for a specific law that would penalize it. We already have existing penal laws that can address this in case the planking is deemed alarming to others. And if these activists bring harm to themselves by planking, its their call and they subjected themselves to it. But I do not think it is that serious a matter for a lawmaker to instantly address.

The country needs more concrete laws that will address serious problems. I cannot even begin to enumerate our problems (it requires one post per problem ). And honestly, planking is the least concern of any Filipino.

The RH Bill, though certified urgent by PNoy has not been passed into law yet. Some also pushes for Freedom of Information Bill, the Divorce Bill and the review of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act. These matters surely weigh more than planking, don’t they?

Having lived outside the Philippines for almost a year now, I have seen that there are major flaws in our laws and in their implementation.

So please Rep. Costelo, focus on these first. We hope that you can focus your time and attention (and the country’s resources!) to more important matters than planking.

I’ve had it for stand-up comedians abroad who lash out on Filipinos and then apologize thereafter.

As a Filipino, I watch the bouts of Manny Pacquiao and cheer with all the Filipinos with his every victory. That’s because I am a Filipino and because Pacquiao, admit it or not, is the best fighter this generation has seen.

But my admiration for him stops there. I do not live my life breathing day and night because he is great boxing champion. After his every fight, my life goes on. My admiration for him starts and stops at boxing.

Conversely though, I do not malign him for his lack of education or for his seeming stubbornness to seek for a congressional seat. I do not laugh at his dreams of becoming a politician. That’s his dream. It is up to the people of Saranggani to make it come true. If he pursues his dream further by seeking a senatorial post, or any post which will require my vote, then thats another story, and he can surely count me out.

But to make a sweeping statement that we, Filipinos, do not have lives outside Pacquiao is outright rude. To say that we will die of desperation if Pacquiao loses is much more demeaning.

Oh well, who is this Adam Carolla anyways?

To give him due credit, I surfed the  net to check on him. I do not want to say anything about a person I don’t have a clue about. Turns out that he is not so famous after all. I did not see anything spectacular about him or his career. Up to this day, he is struggling to make himself known. He even got booted out after his 4th dance in Dancing with the Stars. In fact, I didn’t even see a very famous TV show in which he was a part of. He is nowhere near Conan O’Brien or Jay Leno.

This is the reason why he is riding the bullet. He wants a piece of attention. Now he got it — only with so much bad taste.

We may be struggling as a country and we may be embedded with so many problems but we get by just fine. It is true we honor Pacquiao, but that doesn’t make us a bad country — which has nothing else better to do. We just happen to appreciate the prestige he gives us. Come on, who would have thought this man from a faraway province can rub elbows with Hollywood stars? It is really kind of surreal. But he worked hard for wherever he is now. He just doesn’t hit hard. He has the discipline none of us will ever have, and that’s what made him a champion in its true sense.

I have seen many foreign nationals fall in love with our country and with our people. I know that many foreigners have seen the richness of our heritage and culture. I also know how other countries admire Pacquiao and his boxing skills. One man’s unpleasant opinions on us will not and cannot change that.

Pulse Asia Survey in 2007

I was in law school when I first heard about the Party List System. Even then, I did not fully understand the intricacies of the said innovation in our electoral system. I do not particularly recall anymore when this was actually implemented. If I am not mistaken, it is just of recent times that this system is being applied (or misapplied?).

The first controversial issue I recall about party list is that about Richard Gomez and his supposed Party List Group MAD (Mamamayang Ayaw sa Droga). The Supreme Court disqualified the said group in its party list bid for being a government funded group. The Highest Court said it defeats the purpose for which the Party List System was created. Recently, however, more serious issues about the Party List System are swiftly coming out.

For someone who knows a bit about the law, I have been surprised with the unbelievable popularity that the system has acquired such that many accredited party list groups are being represented by quite controversial nominees. There are words that some nominees are even millionaires, wives of you-know-who or worse, incumbent government officials whose terms have ended, but still want to maintain an electoral post.

I really cannot say anything about this kind of set up. The law, as it stands now, is hardly stringent on its requirements before a nominee can represent a certain party list group. It is almost the same for a regular congressional seat, except for the requirement of bonafide membership in the group it seeks to represent. I just personally feel that for a country like ours, maybe we need stricter requirements.

I don’t know. Filipinos are so intelligent and they have an exceptional way of bending rules, or of abusing laws through their loopholes. Now maybe there is nothing wrong with that. But for a country which has budget deficit like ours and which ranks high among the most corrupt ones in the world, maybe we should come up with laws which have no room for interpretation or bending. Aside from the problem of proper implementation, the laws that we have are just as flawed as the ones who made them. Even if the intentions behind the law seem so noble, the way the law is framed and the way it is implemented blur out this noble intention.

Of course, if I have the millions and I want a congressional seat, I can just form a group which represents a “marginalized” sector and fund the group until it gets wide media mileage enough for the public to write it down in their ballots. After all, half the voting public probably isn’t even sure which party list to vote on the day of election itself. The law’s loopholes made it confusing enough that voting responsibly has become difficult.

Harapan: A Presidential Debate

It was taped earlier than its airing date last Sunday, December 6, 2009 so I somehow caught a glimpse of how the debate went about. According to the news, after the debate, members of the audience at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) where the debate was held were surveyed as to who they will vote for in the coming elections. The top choice turned out to be Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro, with Sen. Richard Gordon coming second.

Personally, I was not surprised with the results. In fact, I felt vindicated in thoughts. Even after loving Kris Aquino all my adult life, admiring her in various ways (even buying her magazines and a CD of hers and Baby James’) and even after growing up knowing my Mom admired so much Ninoy and Cory, I have the strongest reluctance on liking Noynoy.

I do not categorically state that Noynoy is not intelligent. I doubt that a product of Ninoy and Cory can be stupid. However, there are times that I feel he is just dumbfounded at things thrown at him. Not once did I hear an interview of him that made me instantly admire him. It is very much different with how I feel when I hear Kris talk. Maybe he doesn’t have the charisma or maybe he is not just really a very impressive person.

When I accidentally watched the Isang Tanong Presidential Debate in GMA-7, I already had inklings of what kind of candidate Noynoy is. But all was sealed when I watched Harapan. To say the least, I was not impressed with his answers as much as I was not impressed with other candidates.

There were questions which he could have strikingly answered but he failed. He had a problem with responsiveness. He even has a problem with drawing enough attention just by being himself, not being linked to his parents, to Kris, or to his supposed girlfriend. Nowhere in that debate made me think that he will be a notable President of the Philippines.

As to Gibo, aside from the fact that he is closely identified with the current president, I think he has no other problems. His intelligence cannot be questioned. However, his notoriety for being the administration candidate may work for and against his advantage, but who knows? He answered the questions propounded to him pretty well. His being a lawyer worked greatly to his advantage (the same as it did to Gordon). Both of them were able to face the questions head on and they were able to address the issues clearly.

I liked what Gibo said that it is hypocrisy to say that you do not pay, coz you do. In essence, what he meant was that it is how you pay that matters. He differentiated encompassing interest versus narrow interest. And to me, there was no distaste to his answers. Party affiliations aside, Gibo would have this race like how Pacquiao won over Hatton.

When Gordon ran for the Senate, I voted for him as my top senator. I wanted to vote for him alone, as I felt that he deserved that senatorial seat than anyone else. I recall saying that even if he runs for the presidency, I would vote for him, hands down. I always admired his leadership skills. I liked how he converted Intramuros to a tourist spot with the Wow Philippines project. I did not even know then that he was a lawyer. As I recently researched on him, I was surprised to know that he worked with famous firm, ACCRA. I still admire him now and I like his answers during debates. But I cannot categorically give him the presidential vote now, as easily I gave him my senatorial vote.

I recently activated my voting rights. Having failed to vote in the last two elections, I was deactivated from the list. So I transferred to Mandaluyong now and I will vote there. Although the local elections here are pretty much over from the day candidates filed their certificates, the coming national elections will be indeed interesting.

As to who I will vote, I haven’t really made a concrete decision yet. I know that whoever I choose may not directly affect my life or my daughter’s. I just know that even if you have the best president God has meant to be, if you are a bum and have a bad outlook in life, you will still go nowhere. I believe we should carry our own stables and help whoever is elected by becoming the best citizen we can be. Example? Do not throw garbages on the streets. Do not waste electricity or water. Study and work. It is as easy as that.

But still, I hope that the next president will serve the encompassing interests of the majority of the Filipinos, if not all. I hope that the next president will not be subservient to the narrow interests of some. I fervently pray that the next president will be better than the present one. And that all of us will help the next president do better by becoming the best people for the country. For me, that is more important than showing up on the streets with signs, burning images and flags, and hurling invectives at others. For me, the debates and the elections itself are just prelude to what we should do as individuals, regardless if we are rooting for Noynoy, Gibo, or worse, Erap.