Emmanuel Dooc

216 posts

Alex Eala: A princess is born

After the Queen died, a new princess was born. She did not come to rule a royal court but the tennis court. She is Princess Alexandra I but more popularly known as Princess Alex. Alex is the first tennis royalty from the Philippines who ruled the recent US Junior Open after defeating Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic in two straight sets, 6-2 and 6-4. Alex was the first Filipino to win a Grand Slam singles title in tennis. And she did it at the US Open, one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world. In clinching the title, she had won over highly rated players on her way to the championship. She bested 8th seeded player, Taylah Preston from Australia, 14th seed Mirra Andreva of Russia in the quarterfinals, and 9th seed Victoria Mokpo of Canada in the semis. Havlickova was the 2nd top ranked player in the tournament and she is currently the World No. 3 in the junior ranking. 

Women power in the Senate

Time is gone when the Philippine Senate was the exclusive bastion of powerful male politicians. This was particularly true before the Second World War when no woman was ever elected to the Senate even after the Filipino women were granted the right of suffrage through a plebiscite conducted on April 30, 1937. This was a historic moment, which allowed our women to vote and be voted upon into public office. In the local elections in 1938, two women were elected to public office—Carmen Planas as a councilor of the Municipal Board of Manila and Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay, daughter of General Emilio Aguinaldo, as a member of the Provincial Board of Cavite.

Senator Migz Zubiri: The Comeback Kid

ON August 3, 2011, Senator Migz Zubiri ignominiously delivered a privilege speech on the floor of the Senate, which was covered by national TV, where he tendered his resignation from the Senate amidst the growing publicity about the alleged fraud and cheating committed in the 2007 senatorial election. Senatorial contender Koko Pimentel who lost by less than 20,000 votes lodged an electoral protest before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) alleging that election operators manipulated the election results favoring Senator Migz who copped the 12th and last winning berth. 

The morning after

It’s all over but the shouting and soon we’ll have a new president of our Republic. It’s been a long and tedious campaign, which has shown the best and the worst in our people. Some political demagogues who were hell-bent on winning at all costs pulled out all the stops to capture their target elective posts.

We need to return competence and respectability in the Senate

Wanted: qualified men and women with competence, courage and integrity who are willing to serve the Philippine Senate to their level best. There is no question that the Senate, one of our venerable institutions, is damaged and is very much in need of urgent repair. What we need are senatorial candidates who are willing to stake their political careers to expose venalities and corruption in the government.

Happy birthday, Secretary Jose T. Pardo

Few in business and government can equal the achievements of former Secretary Jose T. Pardo who has been an outstanding leader in both sectors. He has had the best of both worlds in an illustrious career spanning a lifetime. He had held two cabinet portfolios as the Secretary of Finance and Secretary of Trade and Industry, two of the most sensitive positions in our government where only the best and the brightest are appointed.

We need a president who will fight a bully

The invasion of Ukraine demonstrates that there are rogue states like Russia, which create tensions in the world. These rogue states are considered threats to world peace and regarded as very dangerous to many nations. Under this definition, such countries may include North Korea, Iran, Syria, Iraq and lately, Russia. In Southeast Asia and in the East, judging from its behavior in the South China Sea (SCS) or West Philippine Sea, we may regard China as a rogue country. China, indisputably the military and economic power in the Asia-Pacific region, has been acting like a bully to its small and powerless neighbors. It’s been throwing its weight and size around to impose its devious intentions. 

Jose Wright Diokno: A paladin of justice

Tomorrow, February 26, is the centennial birth anniversary of Jose W. Diokno, a foremost nationalist, statesman and a lawyer nonpareil. His peers and legions of admirers fondly called him Ka Pepe. He is the only Filipino who topped both the Bar and the CPA examinations. Ka Pepe tied with another brilliant Filipino, Jovito Salonga, for first place in the Philippine Bar Examination of 1944 with a rating of 95.3 percent, the highest rating obtained at that time. And Ka Pepe did it without completing his law degree. He was given a special dispensation by the Supreme Court to take the bar examination after he demonstrated his preparedness to take the lawyers’ examination.

The travails of a columnist

This is the 298th opinion I have published in my column, which I officially started in March 2019, about a week after I left my last government post. I wanted to write three times a week but a friend cautiously advised me that I might find it hard to find suitable materials to write about, aside from the pressure of meeting the deadline. Another former co-worker whose counsel I had sought warned me that my interest in writing might wane once I get exposed to the rigors of the work and get unfavorable feedback from the public. And he sympathetically consoled me that he would perfectly understand if my column “Telltales” gets aborted after six months. 

Odette brought Christmas gifts

Christmas is the season for giving, but the calamity named Odette provides us a cogent reason to give not only material things but also a part of ourselves to others. No one had the slightest clue that a gorgeously named typhoon would hit a major portion of Visayas and Mindanao with such fury, causing destruction, bringing untold sorrows and sufferings to our hapless countrymen. 

The Lame Duck Presidency

TO be called a lame duck president is the unkindest description ever given to a sitting president. He remains in power but his days in office are numbered since he will be replaced by a successor who has been elected or soon to be elected. Becoming a lame duck is the common destiny of all presidents during their dwindling days in office while waiting for their duly elected successor to be inaugurated and assume power.

Are decent young people shunning politics?

Why is there a scarcity of young and decent people joining politics at present? Survey the field of the present crop of interested parties in both local and national levels who have expressed their desire to run for public office and you will be surprised by the paucity of honest and competent people who want to serve in government elective positions.

The pressing issue of climate change

AS the various political parties draw up their final tickets and prepare to file the COCs of their slates a week from now, every political group vying for elective positions should also formulate their platform of government. On top of the current issues that are close to the heart of every presidentiable are the pandemic, economy, illegal drugs, and the alleged overpriced purchases of the health paraphernalia associated with the pandemic.

Golden year in women’s sports

The Philippines achieved its best Olympic performance at the recently concluded 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Our total haul of four medals consisting of one gold, two silvers and one bronze was our biggest since our country joined the event 97 years ago in Paris.

Election potpourri

WE cannot overemphasize the significance of next year’s elections in the life of every Filipino. Elections allow the people to choose their leaders and hold them accountable for their conduct in office. Through the constitutional processes of recall and impeachment, incumbent officials may be removed from office before they can serve out their terms. Otherwise, which is often the case, if these officials underperformed or failed their constituents, they could be voted out of office in the next election.

I remember Jovy Salonga

Today marks the 101st Birthday Anniversary of one of our country’s most noble statesmen—former Sen. Jovito Reyes Salonga. Salonga was born on June 22, 1920 in Pulo, Pasig, Rizal (now Metro Manila) to a Presbyterian Minister, Esteban Salonga, and Bernardita Reyes, a market vendor. He lived in poverty during childhood and was the youngest of five brothers. He attended public schools for his education, graduating in Pasig Elementary School and Rizal High School at the top of his classes.

A looming battle royale

AN ominous clash between two women with sharply contrasting styles in politics and public service is threatening to erupt in the not too distant future. I may be wrong but Vice President Leni Robredo and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte appear to be crossing their swords this early, more than three months before the official filing of the certificates of candidacies in October. It may be recalled that Mayor Sara lashed out at VP Leni over the surge of Covid-19 cases in her home city.

The years of lawyering dangerously

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers has claimed that there has been a steady increase in work-related attacks on lawyers since the advent of the current administration. The NUPL has reported to the Supreme Court “that there have been 176 work-related attacks on lawyers, including 73 killings, in the past 10 years.” This number has alarmingly surged under the Duterte regime. According to the NUPL, “the highest number was documented in 2019, with at least 39 prima facie professions or work-related attacks. A steady increase in the number of such attacks has been observed since 2016.” Fifty-four reported killings of lawyers, including some judges and prosecutors, have taken place during the last five years coinciding with the Duterte presidency. Approximately, one lawyer was killed every month and many of them have been unsolved up to now.

500th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan

AS a nation, Filipinos love to celebrate defeats and tragedies. Our historical calendar is replete with grievous events that are marked red in our history such as the Fall of Bataan, the Battle of Tirad Pass, the execution of Jose P. Rizal and the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. Truly, they are significant and it would be ignoble to relegate them to the dustbin of history since they depict the true meaning and measure of their greatness. However, we should draw greater inspiration from triumphs and accomplishments that bring pride to our race. For instance, there is pure honor and joy when we observe the Philippine Independence Day, the Battle of Leyte and the Edsa Revolution. Victories uplift our spirits and ennoble our nationhood.

Who’s afraid of Ana Patricia Non?

There is an epidemic spreading across the country but it is the type that we should propagate. The virus is so contagious that it has now popped up not only in Metro Manila where it originated but also all over the place. The setting up of community pantries is not an original idea of Ana Patricia Non, and she does not claim it to be. Many others, either individually or in groups, have done similar things in the past.

Claudio Teehankee: A Justice for all Seasons

IT only took four years since its law school was established in 1936 for Ateneo to produce its first bar topnotcher. And it happened closely at the heels of the most sensational bar examinations in Philippine history when Ferdinand E. Marcos topped the same examination a year earlier and soon after the Supreme Court had acquitted Marcos on October 22, 1940 of the murder charge for the alleged killing of Julio Nalundasan.

Hallelujah!  I got vaccinated

To God be the glory!  Finally, I received my first jab of Sinovac after a long, anxious wait. I was waiting for the AstraZeneca vaccine until the DOH and the DFA had cleared Sinovac for senior citizens last Wednesday. I jumped at the opportunity and asked our LGU through its Vaccination Operation Center in Cainta, Rizal to include me in the Sinovac list as I’m a senior citizen many times over with various comorbidities.

More Covid-19 blues

WE only have four living ex-presidents—Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph “Erap” Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno C. Aquino III. Regardless of our political orientation and belief, each of them occupies a special place in our history, not exactly on Mt. Rushmore, but in a hallowed spot nevertheless reserved only to former residents of Malacañang. Undeniably, they still command a sizable following that continue to revere them, rejoice with their good fortune and grieve with their pain. 

Beware of the Greeks when they come bearing gifts

Now that we have the coronavirus vaccine, our authorities should ensure that we implement its successful rollout. We have witnessed a series of simulation exercises in key places of our country while waiting for the delivery of the vaccines. Indeed, if practice makes perfect, then there should be no hitch in its distribution. In fact, some wisecracks have observed that our preparation is complete; the only thing lacking is the vaccine. This is now the time where the rubber meets the road. Our government should be able to demonstrate that we are successfully taking the first step down the road to normalcy. Definitely, the first 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine will hardly make a dent in our efforts to achieve herd immunity. It is less than half a percent of our target of 140 million doses we need to immunize 70 percent of our population.

Mayor Vico: Anti-corruption champion

Countries around the world are ranked annually by Transparency International based on their perceived levels of public sector corruption known as the Corruption Perception Index (CPI). This is based on expert assessments and surveys conducted by the Berlin-based organization involving 180 countries and territories in 2020. On a scale of zero to 100, where zero means highly corrupt, the Philippines placed 115th with a score of 34. This means that our country continues to fail to address the issue of corruption, which has bogged down the Philippines since the birth of our nation.

Edsa: The unfinished revolution

One score and 10 years ago, Filipinos were on cloud 9 following the heady days of the Edsa Revolution. The sustained peaceful demonstrations and civil disobedience that started on February 22 and culminated on February 25, 1986 had placed the Philippines on the world map and made the Filipinos the pride of the human race. We have proven to all and sundry that peaceful protests and civil disobedience could topple a dictator who had been entrenched in power and shielded by a politicized military for over two decades. Our unique People Power has become a source of hope and inspiration to all freedom-loving people around the world. Some two decades later, massive people’s discontent fomented protests and uprising against despotic rulers in the Middle East. It spread like wildfire across the region, which saw the powerful ruler of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled his country with an iron fist ousted from power on February 11, 2011. Other authoritarian regimes in the region had suffered the same fate.

The mad scramble for Covid-19 vaccine

IT is totally repulsive when a country makes a bungled response to the pandemic, particularly in acquiring and distributing the Covid vaccine. Timely and effective response spells the success or failure in dealing with any catastrophe. For instance, we have read unfortunate accounts where the Trump administration had mishandled government efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus and its apathy to enforce health protocols. These are man-made disasters that exacerbate the virulence of the pandemic. 

The making of history

History was made on Wednesday, January 20, when Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first woman and the first colored American to serve as the 49th Vice President of the US. All the 48 American Vice Presidents who preceded her were all male. It took exactly one century for a female to get elected as Vice President of the US after the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution granting women the right of suffrage was approved on August 18, 1920. Harris’ swearing-in was made more momentous when she took her oath of office before Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina American to occupy a seat in the US Supreme Court. Watching two children of immigrant parents occupy two very powerful positions in the US government proves once more that the US is truly the land of promise and opportunity. The distinct honor denied to Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin, the only other women who ran for Vice President of the US under a major political party, was given to Harris by the American people.

A scourge to mankind, a bane to the entire world

Normally we celebrate milestones—golden wedding anniversary, centennial foundation of an institution, 20,000-career points in basketball, and other outstanding achievements—but not this time. Two million deaths worldwide on Friday, caused by the dreaded coronavirus, is a tragedy of catastrophic proportions. The US has recorded the most number of deaths, which has now reached 400,000, followed by Brazil (210,000) and India (160,000). It took more than nine months since the virus appeared in Wuhan, China for the entire world to reach 1 million deaths, but it took just 3.5 months for the virus to claim another 1 million lives.

The stolen presidential election in the US

Nazi Chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels has found ardent acolytes in President Donald J. Trump and his minions who depravedly embraced his dictum that “a lie repeatedly told becomes the truth.” Five days into Biden’s inauguration as the President of the US, Trump still peddles the lies that he won by a landslide over President-elect Joe Biden and that the last election was stolen from him through fraud and deceit. Trump and his partisans, including the conservative media, have stoked to his conservative base this preposterous claim without offering a scintilla of evidence.

Stop the music and cancel the dance

Less than 18 months into the end of the Duterte presidency, the president’s allies in both Houses of Congress have revived the ticklish issue of Charter change (Cha-cha). Pushing for the amendment of our fundamental law at a time when our country and the current leadership is preoccupied with the most serious health and economic crises gripping our nation unduly taxes our incredulity. We have not even officially secured a single dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and here we are girding to grapple with another monstrous issue, which may distract us from our efforts to overcome the pandemic.

The death of democracy in the US

All the telltale signs were unmistakably there and democracy watchers should not have been surprised by the current turn of events in the US. President Donald J. Trump’s political machinations are unequaled, resulting in irregularities and scandals. His indiscriminate and unceremonious firing of cabinet and other top government officials because of alleged disloyalty or failure to do his biddings reflect his devious leadership.

Presidential hopefuls in 2022

The smoke and the acrid smell of the fireworks had not yet settled when we were greeted by the results of the Pulse Asia survey of the possible presidential and vice-presidential bets in 2022 as we woke up on New Year’s Day. We have yet to see a single arm officially inoculated in our country to defeat the coronavirus and we are already threatened by the worst kind of pandemic—the election virus. The pandemic is still very much with us with the numbers expected to surge after the holidays. The presidential election, to us Filipinos, is like opium—it gives us a hallucinogenic effect, which makes us forget our problems and sufferings. Soon, the political carnival is here again. After June this year, there will be frenetic political activities in preparation for the filing of certificates of candidacies for the 2022 elections, both local and national offices. Election isn’t our national pastime where rival candidates vie for political power, pelt, popularity and prestige. Let’s hope that life is back to normal by then.

The US presidential transition

The US presidential election does not end at the close of polls nor at the time when a clear winner is called by credible media organizations based on the results of the voting. In fact in the recent election, President Donald J. Trump has not conceded to Joe Biden even after the presidential electoral college has duly voted for Biden as the duly President-Elect of the US. Not even the rejection by the US Supreme Court of Trump’s and his lawyers’ allegation that the election was stolen has stopped Trump from his harebrained and quixotic quest of overturning Biden’s victory at the polls. Thus, we have not seen a peaceful presidential transition less than 30 days before the inauguration of Biden, the 46th President of the US. Trump continues to defy overwhelming evidence that he lost the last election fair and square. It’s a good thing that the extended lame-duck period for the outgoing president was cut short from March 4 to January 20 at noon by an amendment to the US Constitution on January 23, 1933. Can you imagine what Trump can, or not, do, if he stays in office until March 4? He’s a lame duck who still wants to call the shot.

Is Santa coming to town?

The promise of a Covid-19 vaccine is enough reason to give us hope this Christmas. There may be less food, the Christmas tree may be bare of the usual gifts around it and there may be an empty chair as we gather around the dining table. The saddest part of Christmas is celebrating the traditional noche buena and media noche this holiday season with a missing family member. Nothing has prepared us for the loss of a son, daughter, parent or grandparent due to the coronavirus. Despite this, there is no stopping Christmas. With or without an RFID sticker, Santa’s sleigh full of gifts will breeze through Nlex and Slex. Christendom will celebrate the birth of the Child Jesus with the collective wish that the scourge will soon be over with the coming new year. 

FPJ–Da King

The Philippine political landscape would have been entirely different had the people’s will respected in the presidential elections of 2004. If FPJ did not meet his untimely death on December 14, 2004 and his election protest against PGMA had succeeded, we would have different occupants in Malacañang after FPJ. Most likely, his bosom friend Erap would have captured the presidency in the 2010 presidential derby with the full backing of FPJ. As it was, former President Erap Estrada still clinched the second spot next only to the eventual winner, President Noynoy Aquino. The “Hello Garci” was the most infamous call that was never answered. The die-hard supporters of FPJ still believe to this day that he was the duly elected president of the country in 2004 and they remember FPJ in prayers as his 16th death anniversary next Monday approaches. He failed to occupy Malacañang but he permanently occupies a place in the hearts of his adoring countrymen.

The immortal Sammy and Frank

Two immortal performers who were best of friends in real
life celebrated their birthdays four days apart. Sammy Davis Jr., born on December 8, 1925, and Frank Sinatra, born on December 12, 1915, were two of the greatest entertainers whose successful careers saw few equals in the music world. It was said that when the two jointly celebrated their birthdays with the notorious Brat Pack, the entire Hollywood got drunk. And Dean Martin remained inebriated for days that he slurred and burped as he sang. 

The term of the Chief Justice

The reported early retirement plan of Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta created a ripple of disbelief not only in the judicial circles but also in the public at large. This follows the early retirement of Associate Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla last month due to her reported physical disability. She was appointed to the highest court in July this year but Justice Baltazar-Padilla had reportedly gone on leave by the end of August 2020. This calls for a more rigorous scrutiny of the health of the applicant to the SC by our Judicial and Bar Council. If a rigid physical examination is required of every applicant to any civil service position, candidates to the SC should undergo thorough medical examination by a government hospital. 

The Pinay cricket divas

With very little professional coaching and training time, the SSC Divas won the championship in the HK Development League two times in a row and has remained unbeaten in the ongoing main division tournament this year.

The enduring legacies of Insular Life, Ayala Corporation and Aboitiz Equity Ventures

What happens when the chairpersons of three corporate giants with a combined history of 396 years are interviewed together about the secrets of their longevity and success? The leaders of the century-old Filipino institutions, Insular Life, Ayala Corporation and Aboitiz Equity Ventures, widely recognized as 3 of the best-managed companies in the country, guested in a forum last week dubbed “Enduring Legacies: The Power of Purpose” hosted by David Celdran. The webinar was part of the series of high-powered activities sponsored by InLife, which is celebrating its 110th Founding Anniversary this year. The accomplished panelists not only demonstrated that they have learned from their historic past but they can also hold their own against the present crisis.

George Clooney: More than a face

IT must be great to be a friend of actor George Clooney. In a recent interview with GQ, Clooney confirmed the generous gifts that his friend Rande Gerber leaked to the press in 2017. At that time, Clooney received a windfall when his movie Gravity, which he co-starred with Sandra Bullock, became a hit in 2013.

What can tame the furious wrath of Ulysses?

No one has put it more aptly than Charles Dickens who once wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the…. epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Georgia on my mind

Who would have thought that the deep-red state in America, Georgia, would help deliver the presidency to Joe Biden? Georgia has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton won it in 1992. That’s 28 years ago, and Bill Clinton led George H.W. Bush by a measly .59 percent of votes. Bush lost because a third-party candidate, Ross Perot, got 13.34 percent of the votes, which changed the equation. Prior to Clinton’s win, the last time Georgia voted Democratic was in 1980 when it voted for Jimmy Carter, a former Georgia governor and favorite native son, for president.

The name is Bond. James Bond

No introduction of a name, real or fictional, has captured the world’s imagination than James Bond’s. Since the name was first introduced in the movie “Dr. No” in 1962, James Bond has become one of the most recognizable names in the world. Unfortunately, the actor who first portrayed the role of James Bond and starred in the first 7 Bond films between 1962 and 1983, Sean Connery, died on October 31.

The time to heal America

Never give up your dream. This is an advice that should be taken to heart by anyone who is truly determined to serve his people. Joe Biden has just demonstrated to us that it pays to be resolute; that dogged determination bears fruit in the end. Biden won the presidency, the greatest gift that the American people can bestow on a deserving citizen, after three serious attempts to capture it—in 1988, 2008 and 2020. After long and arduous years, he finally achieved his lifelong ambition by becoming the 46th president of the United States.

Carlos P. Garcia: The architect of economic nationalism

I scanned the papers the other day but there was no mention at all about the 124th birthday anniversary of the 4th President of the Republic of the Philippines, Carlos P. Garcia. Garcia was born on November 4, 1896 in Talibon, Bohol. He was a poet, teacher, orator, and guerilla leader during the war. He started his law studies in Silliman University but he transferred to the Philippine Law School where he earned his law degree.

The next US president

The quest will soon be over. American voters will troop to the voting polls today to elect their 46th president. This election may be viewed as a referendum on the Trump presidency.

What happened in 2016?

Despite what all the polls were saying, Hillary Rodham Clinton lost to Donald J. Trump in the presidential election of 2016. Every pollster in town was saying that Hillary would clobber Trump with a wide margin. An overwhelming number never thought that the reality TV star could win the US presidency, but they were all proven wrong. In fact, Hillary got 2.87 million more votes than Trump did but Hillary lost in the Electoral College. It was the fifth time in US history in which the winning president lost the popular vote. Trump got 304 electoral votes while Hillary received 227. A winner needs at least 270 electoral votes to win.  

The debt burden

Recent reports show that our national debt will grow to a whooping P10.16 trillion by the end of 2020. This reflects a hefty increase over our P7.73 trillion outstanding debt recorded in 2019. Our gross domestic borrowings consist mainly of sale of government securities such as treasury bills and bonds. The Bureau of Treasury also plans to avail itself of a P500 billion short term borrowing from the BSP through the repo facility and advances. This will place our country’s debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio above 50 percent for the first time since 2010.

Ike–The president who had not lied

In exactly two weeks, American voters will troop to the polling places to elect their next president. In 1952, the most famous American soldier who commanded the mightiest and largest military force in the history of warfare, General Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, was elected to the same position. Ike was born on October 14, 1890 to spouses David Eisenhower and Ida Stover. He was the third child in a brood of six sons. When Ike returned from the war after successfully leading the allied forces in recapturing Europe, a neighbor asked Ida:  “You must be proud of your son,” and she replied, “Which one?”

The first Philippine Assembly

The first Philippine Assembly, the precursor of the present House of Representatives, was inaugurated on October 16, 1907, or exactly 113 years ago today. The historic event was held at the Grand Opera House in Manila, which still stands to this day. The convening of the Philippine Assembly was a landmark moment in our political development. This legislative body was composed entirely of Filipinos who were chosen by their compatriots in an election held on July 30, 1907. Having a Filipino lawmaking body to enact laws for themselves had rekindled our people’s dreams for self-rule and aspirations for complete and genuine autonomy. It marked the beginning of Filipino participation in self-governance, which eventually led to Philippine independence from the American colonizers.

A reckless and deadly president

Something must be really wrong when a highly respected medical journal in the US, the New England Journal of Medicine, weighs in on American politics and calls on its high-browed readers to vote Trump out of office. It’s the first time in its 208th-year history since the magazine was first published in 1812 that the prestigious journal has become political and urged Americans to deny the incumbent president his reelection.

Civility in politics

Under the Donald J. Trump administration, Americans live under a poisoned political climate. Partisanship has reached its nadir and every political move taken by one is subjected to a political litmus test by the other side. Every action becomes suspect and any promising leader from the other side of the political fence is marked for political assassination. Every conversation is characterized by insults, prevarications and demagoguery displacing decency, facts and fairness from the public discourse. This sad state was in full display during the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden last week. However, in the long and recent past, we can cite exceptional cases in government and politics where civility and friendship between politicians coming from opposing parties and government officials advocating conflicting ideologies and philosophies had triumphed despite their adversities.

‘Morir antes demitir’

“Death before resignation.” That’s roughly the English translation of the title of this column. People find it difficult to leave their positions once they have enjoyed the perks of their office. This is particularly true to those who occupy a public office, whether elective or appointive. They cling to their posts since it means power and privilege.

The first US presidential debate

Since the first televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, the US presidential debate is the most awaited event in every election to select the next US president. Last Tuesday in Cleveland, Ohio, President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off for their first debate in 2020. The debate took place amid the background of a ravaging pandemic, which has infected over 7.2 million Americans and caused a total of 210,000 deaths. It was watched by the majority of its population reeling from the severe economic downturn and crippled by monumental job losses. Across the US, its streets and cities are bursting with militant protesters and counter demonstrators, which highlight the growing racial divide.

The proxy of the prexy

I voluntarily left the government service after working under two presidents of our Republic and I don’t envy the role of Atty. Harry Roque. Being the spokesman of President Duterte is a high wire act that requires the ultimate balancing skills particularly when the official line conflicts with one’s own personal conviction. For instance, such a disconcerting position came to fore when Atty. Roque was explaining the absolute pardon granted by his principal to US Lance Corporal Marine Scott Pemberton who killed transgender Jennifer Laude inside a hotel in Olongapo City after he realized that Laude was a man. As a former human-rights lawyer who even acted as counsel for the victim, I can only share Atty. Roque’s discomfiture as he appeared on TV salvaging a bad situation from the worst.

The Game of the Generals

The “Game of the Generals” played upon the concerned public since the current administration took the helm of government was again recently highlighted by the grim reminder of Martial Law. In a webinar last weekend to observe the 48th Anniversary of the promulgation of Martial Law in our country, Dr. Temario C. Rivera, the former chairman of the Political Science Department of the University of the Philippines, sounded the alarm of appointing former military and police officials in the government.

The feminism and judicial activism of Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A legal icon

Two weeks ago, wearing the mandatory mask and a face shield, I bought the latest book on US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) at the Fully Booked shop in BGC. A national best seller, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life,” written by acclaimed historian Jane Sherron de Hart, is an account of RBG’s extraordinary life and her passion for justice marked by her meticulous legal scholarship to promote gender equality and minority rights. RBG was born to a Jewish couple in Brooklyn, New York at the height of the great depression on March 15, 1933. She was of humble origin and her family suffered financial hardship following the severe downturn of the US economy.

Amal Clooney: The world’s Most Fascinating Person

I was intrigued when I received my invitation to join the 18th MAP International CEO Web Conference 2020 the other week. The theme of the conference sounded interesting enough, “A Whole New World: Reigniting the Stalled Global Economy,” but I was more allured by the name of one of the featured speakers in the top-caliber forum. Her name: Amal Alamuddin Clooney, who was chosen by top anchorperson, Barbara Walters, some years back as the “Most Fascinating Person.” Aside from being the wife of famous movieland’s heartthrob, George Clooney, Amal is a barrister par excellence and an uncompromising human-rights advocate and staunched media freedom activist.

When power lies to people

President Donald J. Trump’s present imbroglio that he finds himself in, exactly seven weeks before American voters troop to the polling places to elect their next president, was precipitated by a purely human frailty—lying. It seems that American presidents never learned their lessons well. President Richard Nixon not only lied but also tried to cover it up, and that resulted in his unceremonious departure from the White House. President George H. W. Bush has been infamously quoted: “Read my lips: No new taxes.” But when he could not negotiate with the Democratic-controlled Senate the budget he needed to meet his pledge, he imposed new taxes. President Bill Clinton as usual, in his smart-alecky way, had said: “I smoked but I did not inhale.” And now Trump was caught in his own words several times when his personal interviews with Washington Post investigative reporter Bob Woodmark were heard by the whole world.

‘Perdon O Dios Mio!’

The title of this column refers to a traditional religious hymn of petitioning pardon to our Lord for our sins committed against our fellowmen. This hymn is sung in honor of the Divino Rostro, which is celebrated every 4th to 6th day of the Novena of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City that falls on the first week of September. It’s a weird coincidence that on the same period, President Duterte granted absolute pardon to US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton who was found guilty of killing a Filipino transgender, Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in 2014. 

The Grand Old Man of Cebu

The name “Osmeña” used to be a magic name in government and politics. For over a century, the Osmeña name dominated Philippine politics and the powerful clan had lorded over Cebu politics for many decades. Four members of the family, Sergio Sr., Sergio Jr. (Serging), Sergio III (Serge) and John Henry (Sonny) served the Senate with distinction. All four ran for vice president of our country, plus cousin Emilio (Lito), a former governor of Cebu, at different times and under different presidential bearers (Manuel L. Quezon, Fidel V. Ramos, Danding Cojuangco and Alfredo Lim). Serging even sought the VP post as an independent in 1961 and bested the official NP bet, Gil P. Puyat Sr., but lost to Emmanuel Pelaez.

The heavy cross of Archbishop Oscar Cruz

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz was born on November 17, 1934 in Balanga, Bataan. On August 26, he died from multiple organ failure caused by Covid-19 infection at age 85. He was the first Filipino Rector of San Carlos Seminary. He served as Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, Archbishop of San Fernando and later as Archbishop Emeritus of Lingayen-Dagupan. He completed his seminary studies at the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary and earned his Theology at the Lateran University. He was also a canon lawyer. Cruz authored several books on religious subjects, which are well read by both the clergy and the lay people. He was an outspoken man of cloth who was an uncompromising nemesis of gambling, corruption and other social ills of the country. After his retirement in 2009 at the age of 75, he acted as the judicial vicar of the National Appellate Tribunal of Appeals in the Philippines.

The law and order President

“Law and order” is a recurring theme in US politics particularly among the Republican presidential candidates. In recent past, its leading exponents were former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, both Californians. “Law and order” is a powerful message, which resonates effectively well with the electorates. It will always be a relevant issue in any political conversation whenever there is a perception of breakdown of law and order in the country. 

‘Bravo, Supreme Court’

‘Bravo, Supreme Court!” It’s been a long while since we heard the highest judicial body of our land lauded by a prince of the church, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Caloocan, for upholding the rights of a drug suspect to due process. The accused was arrested without a warrant following an illegal search and seizure based solely on an unverified and anonymous tip.

Joe Biden: The vaccine that America needs

Finally, after several heartbreaking attempts, Joe Biden got the long-sought prize in his life-long political odyssey. His previous presidential runs in 1987 and 2007 dismally ended without even winning a single primary contest. On his first attempt, he was accused of plagiarizing a part of his campaign speech, inflating his academic performance and exaggerating youth activism. On his second attempt, Obama and Clinton largely dominated the field and he withdrew from the race after getting less than 1 percent of the votes in the Iowa caucuses. He admitted doing some dumb things in his unsuccessful presidential bids and obviously he learned his lessons well. This year, as a frontrunner, he was more disciplined—no longer the gut politician who is partial to ad-libbing and swaggering just to entertain the crowd. After initial setbacks this year, his political fortune turned around in North Carolina when he won his first primary election largely with the support of the black majority voters. And there was no turning back. He won a string of decisive primary contests leaving no chance for his closest opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, to catch up and he clinched his party’s nomination as its official standard bearer for the 2020 presidential election.   

An insurance premium is not a debt obligation

AS I was writing this column, there had been mounting opposition from the financial sectors against the one-year debt moratorium for borrowers earlier proposed in the Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan II) bill currently under consideration. Even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Insurance Commission had joined hands to assail the proposal.    

Kamala Harris: The lotus girl

The 2020 Democratic National Convention, which will officially proclaim the party’s presidential and vice presidential standard bearers begins today in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For the first time in history, this year’s convention will be virtual, minus all the excitement and the rapturous crowd, but is still expected to send the Democrats across the nation to frenzy and solidarity. The convention shall create a further surge in Biden’s favor, which will widen the lead of the challenger over the incumbent president. Most pollsters placed Biden ahead by at least 10 percent. It’s no wonder that President Donald J. Trump has even suggested postponing the November 3 election and has rejected the release of funds to the US Postal Services to derail the implementation of the mail-in ballots that many Democrats adopt.

He made our day

AS a tough law enforcer, he was popularly known as “Dirty Harry,” but as a no-nonsense public servant, he was “Mr. Clean Government.” In his more than 60 years of public service, his name remained unsullied by any scandal and his conduct in office which spanned a lifetime had been nothing but exemplary. He may not be the greatest mayor Manila ever had, but his love for the city would be unsurpassed. Who among our government officials would give up the second half of his Senate seat and run to reclaim his old mayoralty post in his fair and beloved city? Only General Alfredo Lim, whose heart beats in unison with the residents of Manila. Lim was a Manilan through and through.

RIP: Recession, inflation and pandemic

Recession is a dreaded term in politics. No leader of his country can have a sound sleep if the economy has gone south. Our economy took a nosedive when it plunged into a recession after the gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by a whooping16.5 percent in the second quarter. This is the steepest economic decline our country has seen in the past four decades, even surpassing the worst scenario the economists had forecasted. Our worst nightmare is now upon us and we are now facing its dire consequences. On top of this, we continue to struggle against the devastation of Covid-19 and there appears to be no end in sight to this global health problem.

PM of Spain assassinated to avenge Rizal

Little is known about the murder of the Spanish Prime Minister by an Italian anarchist to avenge the death of Dr. Jose P. Rizal some eight months after our national hero’s execution by the Spanish authorities. On August 8, 1897, one Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister Senor Canovas del Castillo of Spain was shot to death in front of his wife by an Italian national named Michele Angine Golli. Del Castillo was lounging at the public bath of San Agueda in Barcelona when Golli approached him and fired at the top government official. Upon his arrest, Golli readily admitted that he shot the Prime Minister to retaliate against the execution of his fellow Barcelona anarchist, Rizal, on December 30, 1896.

If it ain’t a mere humbug, we should support reform

President Duterte has recently fulminated against oligarchs, which for centuries have dominated the economic and political life of our poor nation. This is not something new and unheard of. Every politician in this country makes war against the filthy rich and resorts to mouthing anti-oligarchs rhetoric. It appeals to the masses and identifies himself with the poor, a surefire formula to get their support. This approach to win votes will never go out of style. But once elected into office, he becomes a coddler of the oligarchs and serves the interests of the business elites. Or worse, he creates his own oligarchs who will be beholden to him. For those who supported his political adversary, he will make sure that their business would suffer under his term. All the government machineries and resources, particularly the regulators, will be deployed against them.  

We need the shelter of the law to shield our freedom

A headline reads: “President calls protesters who disagree with him terrorists. That puts him in the company of the world’s autocrats’.” No, that news item does not refer to President Duterte nor does it concern the implementation of the dreaded “Anti-Terror Act” that President Duterte signed into law not too long ago. That news story dealt with the recent handling by heavily-armed paramilitary officers belonging to the US Department of Homeland Security wearing camouflage uniform arresting protesters in Portland, Oregon and hauling them off in unmarked cars acting under the orders of President Donald J. Trump who had repeatedly accused anti-racism demonstrators across the US as “terrorists.” The violent crackdown and employment of ruthless tactics against peaceful protesters by the US Homeland security officers, established after 9/11 to deal with terrorism, have no place in a country that flaunts its adherence to democratic principles. It is reminiscent of the repressive regimes when despots and tyrants ruled.

The First Lady of the world

Before Princess Diana, there was Jackie Bouvier Kennedy, the People’s Princess. She would be celebrating her 91st birthday anniversary today if she’s still alive.  She was born on July 28, 1929 in Long Island, New York. Her parents were John “Black Jack” Bouvier III and Janet Lee Bouvier. Her parents divorced and she was raised by her mother and her stepfather, Hugh Auchincloss, a rich lawyer and stockbroker. Jackie was a precocious child and she loved horses. Before she attended kindergarten, she was a regular competitor in horse shows where she won many prizes.

President Duterte’s last bid for greatness

Once more, the country is preparing for the annual ritual more popularly known for its abbreviation, State of the Nation Address, which is the President’s yearly address delivered to the joint session of Congress. The Constitution mandates the President to give this speech at the Plenary Hall of the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City every 4th Monday of July each year. While critics of the government may not accord the Sona the significance that it deserves, this political exercise is critical as it is a vehicle for the head of state to report his accomplishments in office during the preceding year and present his plans and programs of government for the coming year and his remaining years in Malacañang.

The conscience of the nation, not of the US Congress

Practically, the news coverage of CNN last weekend was entirely devoted to an 80-year-old US congressman from Georgia named John Lewis who died from pancreatic cancer. Who was John Lewis? He was one of the 10 children of Alabama sharecroppers who once dreamed of becoming a minister after listening on the radio to a young preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. To train himself up, he delivered sermons to the chickens in their coops. He preached to them everyday, marrying the roosters and hens and even solemnizing the dead poultry.

Dismantling the oligarchs

The Philippines may finally be competitive in future international basketball tournaments such as the Fiba World Cup, Jones Cup and the Olympics where height is unquestionably might. In a game where stratospheric players dominate the game, we have not just one but four Filipino players with potential heft and height who can carry our national colors in world competition. And except for June Mar Fajardo, our reliable tower of strength at 6’10,” also in the future roster will be three youngters all under age 20—7-foot-2 Kai Sotto, 6-foot-10 AJ Edu, and 7-foot Sage Tolentino.  Sotto is now a member of an NBA G League to prepare for a possible NBA stint. Edu is currently playing with an NCAA team in the US, while Tolentino is a member of two-time state champion high school team, the powerful Maryknoll High in Honolulu, Hawaii.  This is definitely a welcome development for the basketball-crazy Pinoys.

The conscienceless vote

It’s hard to accept that the members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Legislative Franchises and its Technical Working Group have voted according to their conscience after serious and objective consideration of the testimonies and evidence adduced at the hearing of the ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal application.

‘Our own Mt. Rushmore Memorial’

The US of A had a grand birthday celebration on the 4th of July, which placed Mt. Rushmore National Memorial very much in the news. Holding the 244th anniversary of America’s independence at the majestic mountain beneath the colossal monument of four of the US’s greatest presidents was President Donald J. Trump’s way of extolling himself before his sycophantic supporters. It was another political exercise to “make America great again,” Trump’s campaign slogan that carried him to his successful presidential bid in 2016.

‘The American president who defeated a pandemic’

One of the most underrated presidents of the US is General Dwight Eisenhower, despite the fact that Ike gave his country eight long years of peace and security. He commanded the largest army ever assembled in the history of warfare and orchestrated the invasion of Europe, which resulted in the victory of the Allied forces against the Axis powers. He was a decent and highly principled man who inspired his men to support and fight for his cause—both in war and peace. He was a simple man not given to grandiloquent speeches like General Douglas McArthur, nor flamboyant and egotistical like General George Patton. As mentioned in his memoir, “Eisenhower: In War and Peace,” “he valued understatement.” Eisenhower, just like the army of his day, “did not decorate themselves like Christmas trees.” He was molded in the fine tradition of Generals George Washington and Ulysses Grant who were greatly respected by the soldiers they led and the citizens they protected.

A government of lawlessness and disorder

The list of officials dismissed or axed by Trump in office is long and laden with controversy. As of May 25, 2020, a total of 415 officials from Cabinet members down to junior level officers have left or been dismissed. This has no equal in the annals of American governance.

‘Resist injustice’

Once in a while, we inhale a breath of fresh air that gives hope to our dreary existence. That’s what Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s speech at the new lawyers’ online oath taking on June 25, 2020 has brought us. As one media organization has reported, the speech “roused an online audience that seemed hungry for a glimmer of hope.” His keynote address to our newly minted lawyers who successfully hurdled the 2019 Bar Examinations was the only glow amid the pandemic of bleak news around us. It rekindled our faith in our judicial system, which has reached its nadir a few days ago with a lower court’s decision on the Rappler case.

‘Present in the room where it happened’

John Bolton is the ultimate insider man. For 18 months, he was present in The Room Where It Happened (the title of his controversial book) as the National Security Adviser of the most powerful man in the world, President Donald J. Trump. Even before he got appointed to his post, Bolton had been regularly consulted and summoned by the White House.

‘Our democracy will die without press freedom’

Recent court decisions seem to debunk the generally held view that the judiciary is the bulwark of individual liberty. Gone was the time when the courts served as the most independent institution to protect the rights of the individual. Once considered as the bastion of freedom, the courts were seen by our people as the safe harbor that secure them from any assault of their liberties.

The First Filipino

Today is the 159th birth anniversary of the greatest Filipino—Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Rizal did not bear arms and engage in arm struggle against the foreign tyrant. By the power of his pen, he opened the eyes of his countrymen to the abuses of the Spaniards and inspired them to aspire for freedom.

‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’

There are sacrosanct provisions in our Constitution and they are enshrined in the Bill Of Rights (Article III, The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines). It’s a set of rules that guarantees civil and human rights and liberties to individuals who live in a democratic society. It is the centerpiece of the fundamental law of the land, which is cherished by its freedom-loving citizens. The first two sections of the Bill of Rights pertain to: firstly, the requirement of due process before anyone can be deprived of life, liberty or property and, secondly, the inviolability of the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches. Furthermore, Section 2 guarantees that “no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce…”.

Pacman for president

The first campaign salvo for the Presidential contest in 2022 was fired, of all people, by international boxing trainer Freddie Roach. In an interview last week, the Hall of Famer Roach had proposed that his favorite former ward, Senator Manny Pacquiao, should instead fight IBF world middleweight undisputed champion Gennady Golovkin, instead of defending his WBA super world welterweight crown against any challenger in his weight division.

Hair: The non-Rock musical

One of the hardest things to do during this period of pandemic is getting a haircut. Before the health crisis, a trip to the barbershop was the least of our worries. With the enhanced community quarantine, barbershops and salons were closed and customers that need a haircut were left to their own devices. One could try to trim his own hair, but this is hard to do unless you have a third eye at the back of your head. Many would ask a housemate for help but only few would dare accept the challenge unless he is prepared to create a lifetime enemy. So, most people I know would just let the hair and the beard grow and convince themselves that they look great with their new looks.

The second Camelot

The lockdown has introduced me to an inseparable company—the Netflix. Last week I watched the documentary film titled Bobby Kennedy for President. It featured Robert Francis Kennedy, better known as “Bobby” and his quest for the US presidency. Before I watched the film, I didn’t have a favorable impression of the guy. To me, Bobby was the ruthless member of the politically minded Kennedy siblings and a political opportunist who joined the 1968 Democratic primary elections after Sen. Eugene McCarthy had pierced the supposedly invincible armor of President Lyndon Johnson who everyone believed then was running for reelection. John F. Kennedy was definitely my King Arthur while Sen. Ted Kennedy was my Lancelot. Bobby’s image was not definitely helped by his earlier role as legal counsel of the Senate Committee headed by Sen. Joseph McCarthy, which investigated alleged communists in the government during the early1950s.

Black lives matter

Another pandemic is gripping across the US. It’s not a lethal disease but a racial tension, which is destroying the social and moral fabric of America, marked by massive protests across the country. It is caused by inequality, discrimination and disenfranchisement of its black population. The recent death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black American, at the hands of four police officers that arrested him, has triggered the current conflagration.

Two cowboys

Two cowboys, one deceased and the other still very much active, have refused to ride into the sunset with their memorable cinematic achievements. Both were the top box office stars during their heyday and their devoted fans celebrate their birthday anniversaries five days apart. They enjoyed parallel careers in the movies and became famous in western genre films. Both were actors, directors, filmmakers and winners of the Academy Awards. They were the most popular actors of their generation and topped the movie charts for decades in the 20th century. They both became active in politics. One actively campaigned for his friend, Ronald Reagan, when he ran for Governor of California and later as President of the US. The other actually served as Mayor of Carmel, California. They were respected by their peers, and enjoyed the adoration of their legions of fans around the world. Aside from movie awards, they were accorded distinctive honors outside the film industry. They have remained movie icons up to now and they belonged to Hollywood’s ranks of immortals.

A salute to the Filipino nurse

Nurses in this country are treated as second-class citizens. After laboring hard to earn their diploma and passing the board exam, many of them accept indecent wages just to earn a living from their chosen profession. Many work despite the meager pay and working conditions to varnish their credentials and gain the work experience required for them to work abroad. They are lucky if they find jobs in government hospitals where the compensation is a little better.

Are we ready to adopt the Zimbabwe model?

“You can run, but you can’t hide,” declared the former world heavyweight champion, Joe Louis. You can, but not forever. The long arm of the law will eventually catch up with you. Such has been the fate of many notorious war criminals and rogue characters that have blazed the pages of history. This was the common destiny of Adolf Eichmann, one of the major organizers of Holocaust who was captured in Argentina by the Mossad in 1960; Dr. Joseph Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death, who did macabre death experiments among the prisoners at the Auschwitz camp and drowned off the Brazilian coast while eluding arrest; and Radovan Karadzic, former president of the self-declared autonomous Bosnian Serb Republic, who was found guilty of ethnic cleansing by killing tens of thousands of Bosniaks and Croats during the Bosnian war. Now the latest is Rwandan genocide suspect, Felicien Kabuga, who was arrested last weekend outside Paris.

Karol Josef Wojtyla, the first non-Italian Pope

Karol Josef Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920—exactly a century ago yesterday. He is better known as Pope John Paul II, the first non-Italian Pope in over 400 years. He was the Prince of the Catholic Church from 1978 and his Papacy ended upon his death on April 2, 2005. He was born in Wadowice, outside the city of Krakow, the former capital of Poland. His life was attended by heartbreaking deaths of all his immediate family members before he attained full adulthood.

Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program promotes inclusive development

It’s not exactly a new idea but the Duterte administration has given it a fresh look in the light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, which is engendered by severe congestion in Metro Manila. How can the authorities enforce a quarantine in slum areas when there is hardly a room for a family of eight to stay inside a 4-meter by 4-meter abode? How can one practice social distancing when the entire village resides in a vacant lot as big as three basketball courts? The influx of migrants from the provinces to Metro Manila to seek greener pastures has blighted the conditions of our inner cities. Absent any employment and resettlement program, the upsurge in population has created colonies of informal settlers, which has spawned a host of social problems.

The demise of an institution is the worst kind of death

During my childhood in our quaint little town, the first movie house, Illusion Theater, opened in the early 1950s. Its facade was brightened by neon lights, the first ever in our place. On opening night, people from all over the province trooped to our town to watch the lights show and the inaugural movie, Siete Infantes de Lara, directed by Manuel Conde. We had three families cramped in our living room and kitchen floor that stayed with us that weekend to watch the dancing lights and the showing of the first commercial movie in our town.

The president who won the war and triumphed in peace

Today is the 136th birthday anniversary of Harry S. Truman, the 33rd US president who used to be the most underrated chief executive of the US. American students of politics and government now rank him as among the top presidents of that country, mainly for his plain honesty, integrity and uncanny ability
to make great decisions. In his nearly eight years’ reign, he was credited for major achievements like the implementation of the Marshall Plan, the establishment of Nato and the promulgation of the Truman Doctrine.

Let’s hope the lockdown will force our leaders to rethink our VFA position

He’s not a decorated war hero whose exploits during the last world war are celebrated in a book or film. His service in the British army earned him the rank of a captain. Now he is the most renowned fundraiser around the globe, personally raising the equivalent of $40 million after he started during the Holy Week and ended on his 100th birthday anniversary on April 30. At the beginning of April, his birthday month, he vowed to raise funds by walking around his garden 100 times before his 100th birthday.


AS we commemorate Labor Day, we remember the name Augusto Sanchez, more popularly known during his time as “Bobbit.” Together with Jovito Salonga, Renato Saguisag and Avelino “Ave” Cruz of ACCRA, they formed the best legal minds, political reformers and illustrious sons of Pasig, Rizal. Except for Salonga, they are products of the San Beda College of Law. All are bar topnotchers, with Salonga and Cruz even copping the first place in their respective bar examinations. After passing the bar, Bobbit joined the law office of Sen. Jovito Salonga. He later set up his own law office, which specialized in labor law practice. He was the foremost defender of ordinary workers and an active advocate of labor rights. He also published and edited a weekly paper in his native town of Pasig called the “Weekly Post,” which was eventually branded by his tormented adversaries as the “Weekly Pest.”