#PHVote: The fight of Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Accessed on 6 February 2016 through miriam.com.ph

I would not elaborate further on what makes a Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Everyone sure knows that she was once a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service; and once named as among The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World. Miriam, as we all know, is a widely recognized international and constitutional law expert; the senator who has the most number of principally authored bills; an award winning member of the judiciary; an accomplished cabinet secretary during the government of Corazon Aquino; an outstanding academic; a proficient writer; and a notable diplomat.

Time and again, we’re told that she is the president who [really] won in the 1992 elections. Without political machinery, enough resources, and power, she caught the attention of the voting population, more especially of the youth. She won the hearts of the Filipino people through her wit, charisma, and a clean history of public service. Since then, her platform of governance is rooted on eradicating corruption from within the system, saying that it is what perpetuates poverty in the country.

For the third time, she is gunning for the country’s top post. This time, she relies heavily on the power of social media. She will still run under her own political party but has formed a loose coalition with an independent vice presidential aspirant. Like before, she tops presidential surveys on key universities. Only this time, she lags behind in nationwide pulse reports, getting a measly 5 percent [at most] of the voters’ preference. She is the only presidential aspirant who hasn’t done any premature campaigning. She has no TV or radio ads yet. Like in 1992, she has no stable political machinery, enough resources, and power. This time, she seems to have a smaller pot money from the business community, and no visible support from any known political figures and strategists. Having stipulated such incontrovertible conditions, winning the presidency seems to be more elusive for her now than ever.

Truth be told, among all the presidential aspirants, she is the most accomplished. No one comes close. With her notable experience in all the three branches of government, she could be the most brilliant president our country could ever have. She is known for being feisty, outspoken and eccentric, and likewise for having fashioned integrity at all times. The question, however, is why in spite knowing what a Miriam presidency could bring, she remains an unpopular choice for the post?

There could be several factors. Perhaps the most resounding is her battle with cancer, and the reality behind whether she has already been cured or not. She used to have stage 4 lung cancer. But according to her, during a radio interview in early December last year, her doctors said that her cancer’s stable. She asserted on the radio show that she can hurdle all the complexities that nationwide campaigning may bring, as much as the responsibilities of a president should she get elected. Other factors may involve the lingering question on her sanity which has been an ongoing witticism on her; the reproductive health bill which she principally authored in the upper chamber of the house which has been denounced by the Catholic magistrates; and perhaps her strong stance against political dynasties, and corrupt politicians which made her truly unpopular among her peers.

The presidency is not her sole fight. She fights cancer up to this day. She’s been fighting corruption, as much as ignorance, ever since. She fights for the protection of the constitution, and the preservation of our freedom against all sorts of subjugation. She promises to have a government which people can be proud of. She hopes to bring to the Filipino youth an access to quality education.

The Filipino youth still backs Miriam’s presidency, as evidenced in the results of recent electoral surveys held in various universities. But it remains not enough for her to win the presidency, even for the third attempt. Presidency, like everything else, is destiny. She has what it takes: experience, charisma, capacity. But the stars should align with her dream, and the universe has to conspire for her, to make her desire, this presidential desire, real. As poetic as it may seem, I thought it’s what fits the puzzle.

Regardless if she wins or not, we know she would always rise. And that she would always have a place in our country’s history. She could either be a celebrity talk show host throwing pick up lines every now and then or she could be a justice secretary. After all, she has recently been invited to join Bill Gates as part of the International Advisory Council of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).

Miriam’s fight doesn’t stop on the success or defeat of her presidential aspiration. Her fight is ours. And we shall continue fighting this good fight.

 

 

#PHVote: Rody #Du30, and the hopeless majority

Accessed on 5 February 2016 through the Sun Star website

The clamour has gone stronger. Since time immemorial, we have been voicing out our want to effect change in the society we live in. More than the rallies of civil society groups staged in every available venue in Manila, and some parts of the country, the longing for change is reflected most noticeably on our concerted rants in social media.

We untiringly call for the cleansing of the bureaucracy. We dream of having a government we can unrelentingly support, and be proud of. We aspire for a leadership we could trust, a brave leadership which can improve our tax systems; create jobs that could eradicate poverty; strengthen our economic policies without sacrificing the rights and welfare of the people; put to jail corrupt officials; end political dynasty; uphold freedom of information; support fully the existing reproductive health bill; eliminate crimes; impede the perpetuation of illegal drugs; empower our police force; and ensure safety of our fatherland, among others.

And in the height of all the problems we face as a society, married with the wants we haven’t had just yet, we have become hopeless, ready to take risks, and vouch for an unconventional presidential candidate who, fairly looking in the totality of how he presents himself, is a dictator in the making. Rodrigo Duterte is a lawyer, and among the longest serving mayors in our country.

Davao City is Duterte’s Exhibit A. Through an online crowd-sourced rating platform, Davao has been voted as one of the safest cities in the world. Under the highly urbanized category, Davao City has won several times the outstanding local government unit award. Local media have presented Duterte as a feisty and outspoken mayor who lives a simple lifestyle, and someone who doesn’t shed a tear just to be in the limelight. More recently, he declined a nomination for the World Mayor Prize, and said he doesn’t need any recognition because he was just doing his job.

Not that Duterte is an unqualified candidate. But among this elections’ presidential aspirants, he seems to have a rather weak resume, in terms of combined executive, legislative and judicial experience. He has also been kicked out during his high school in Ateneo, and flunked in several core subjects during college. The rub lies, however, not on his credentials but on his certain qualities which are truly defiant of the culture and the values we have been upholding ever since.

Duterte cusses even on national TV. He used to utter the words “putang ina” along with the name of the Pope. He openly womanizes. His family is a political dynasty. He says he represents, too the leftist groups which exist in our country. His government is likewise hounded by administrative malpractices. He swore he has committed extrajudicial killing of criminals. But later on said that the killings were supported by existing laws, and that he would bring forth just and fair prosecution to law offenders.

The mayor has a clean name, and has never been tarnished by any corruption allegations. He has his share of hyperbolic statements, like zeroing in crime rates in his first six months which really seems preposterous. But his usual iron-fisted stance says that it’s possible under his stewardship. And him saying that he will resign if it doesn’t happen is like saying an old overly-used poetry to a child to get a good night sleep.

#DuterteMagic is what they say. The mayor coming from the vast nowhere, is now at the second spot, and at times top, in several electoral surveys. I don’t see magic at all. All I know is that Duterte says whatever the people want to hear. And in national elections, you have to really be yourself. You have to be as animated as possible. I thought that’s the best marketing strategy in a country like ours which is fond of comedy and drama. Most people, seriously, do not care of anyone’s platform of governance. All they ask for is hope in the midst of hopelessness. And Duterte, clearly, is giving it.

Right now, he is right on track. And the possibility of him being the next president of our dear republic is quite bright.

#PHVote: Mar Roxas, and the elusive presidency

Accessed on 3 February 2016 through the Philippine Star website

Noynoy Aquino’s “anointed one” certainly lacks appeal or the political “x-factor”. In local showbiz, you can liken him to John Arcilla, the one who portrayed Heneral Luna. Arcilla is an amazing character actor who we can all be proud of, and who, in his lifetime, has way more supporting acts than lead roles. He may have brought box office money with his flick Heneral Luna but it’s not enough, presumably never enough, for Arcilla to forge another lead role in the near future.

And the same goes for Mar, only aside from being an atypical lead starrer, he gets almost tens of thousands of social media mockery every single day. He is, unfortunately, not bankable at least according to the majority of the Filipino people based on recent electoral surveys. Prominently in social media, you would see Mar’s name along the words “tuwad na daan”. And people, in spite of all his accomplishments, see him as rubbish, a puppet to Aquino who, in no way, will be the peoples’ icon or hero.

Mar is one of the best leaders that our country has ever produced: academic, diplomatic, strategic, and perhaps pragmatic. He is one of recent history’s most reliable legislators, principally authoring bills on cheaper medicines, tax reform for minimum wage earners, and SME magna carta, among others.

Not known to many, Mar has served as a cabinet secretary to the past three administrations (including the incumbent). He has helped in improving the country’s readiness to being an IT-hub in Asia which later on proliferated jobs on business process outsourcing. Likewise, Mar helped on bringing to people the fundamental principles of economics through his “palengkenomics” initiatives.

The above-mentioned are only a portion of Mar’s successful contributions to the development of our country. These contributions, however, are seemingly not enough for him to capture the presidency come May elections. And I doubt if he can overturn all known odds into his favor, especially that the election is only a few months away.

Recent events have really been unkind to Mar, particularly the typhoon Yolanda, which has curtailed his political ambitions. His rivals have used his rather distasteful response to help out the victims, to disintegrate the very fabric of his leadership capability through commissioned media reports [here and there]. Because of this, together with the Mamasapano tragedy, MRT and traffic conundrums, his “sacrifice” when he gave way to Aquino in 2010, might just go down the drain, especially that he has nothing left to do [in the political arena] at least over the span of three years should he lose this election.

Mar Roxas would have been a brilliant president, prolly better than Aquino. But Mar is far from becoming a peoples’ president. Because in a country like ours where democracy has gone beyond what it’s supposed to stand for, a Mar Roxas is but a character actor, only enough for a supporting role.

What he needs now, maybe, is either a miracle or a tragedy in his life that may stage a Cory magic-like effect. Because as we all know, presidency is destiny. The universe always has the final say. It’ll either conspire for you or otherwise.

And Mar [with everything he’s done, noble and at times funny, with everything he’s sacrificed and willing to sacrifice further in the name of being a president like his grandfather, and much-loved politicians like his father and brother] certainly needs divine intervention, more than anything else.

Half-awake

I am not fearful of death for it is the most beautiful poetry a shattered soul could ever utter. I am not fearful of death as words spoken on thin air stay alive even in hereafter.

But I am fearful of leaving you, of not being able to touch you, of not being with you as you make your dreams real, of not being the person who you would share both the beauty and madness of this world with.

My fear is more than what you could only see in your mind’s eye. It would nonetheless be the most tragic moment for me to not let you feel my love when I depart from here, and vanish into the unknown.

It creeps the hell out of me, to imagine you weeping as you wallow into countless stories of pain, with me sharing the same sorrow from a place just a breath away yet invisible to you when I leave.

But again, I am not fearful of death because in me, you will reside forever. And even like a thorn stuck in my heart that causes unimaginable pain, you will stay as the most beautiful poetry I’ve ever uttered.

I am not fearful of death, especially when it is the only possible way for me to stop loving you. You who never saw me, not even the shadow of my anatomy when it’s only a step behind you.

You are my masterpiece, my poetry, and the reason of my withering, not flesh, but essence.

Us, endless

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There’s a reason why I can’t leave
And more than the thought of you coming back into me
I am hopeful that I’d find myself again
After having been lost in the process of wanting you
To stay in my life even if it hurts
The pain that I’ve been through each day
Has left a scar that won’t ever fade
It’s a reminder of what it is to love
That loving entails innumerable struggles
And in loving, you sacrifice and choose less of yourself
Because you’re no longer the person you thought you are
Love has made you a stranger to your own
But stronger, enough to endure all other storms
Braver, to face all the horrors that may come along.

There’s a reason why I can’t leave
And it’s because the moment I’ve chosen you
Is the same moment I’ve died
Your love may be the sweetest that I’ve ever had
But it’s all I could only have
Now that I am but a ghost of us.

Ilang beses

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Mo na sinabi na ako ay sasamahan
Kahit dilim ay bumalot
At liwanag ay sumilay
Ilang beses ko na narinig sa’yo
Ang mga katagang “mahal kita” at “mahalaga ka”
Paulit ulit mo itong sinambit
Hanggang mga salita mo ay naging lason
Sa aking isipan ay ayaw nang maalis
Daig mo pa ang droga na nakababaliw
Sapagkat ang sakit na iyong idinulot
Walang katulad sa hapdi at pait
Nagbago ang lahat ng minsan
Ngiti mo kailanman ay hindi na nasilayan
Ng ang musika ng tamis at saya
Ay napalitan na ng galit at sakit
Ilang ulit mo ako iniwan
At ilang ulit din kita na hinabol
Ilang ulit ka na nagpahabol
At ilang ulit din kita na inabot
Ngayon ay hawak ko ang kamay mo
Puso mo ay dama ko ang tibok
Ilang ulit ko na gustong madinig
Na sabihin nito na ako pa din ang mahal mo
Ngunit ilang beses din ako na bigo
Sapagkat kahit ilang ulit ko pa na gawin
Na ikaw ay pigilan na lumayo
Na ikaw ay pigilan na tumakbo papalayo
Ilang beses man ako na magpaka gago
At sabihan ng lahat ng tao na bobo
Alam ko na hindi na ito magbabago
Na ang musika sa puso mo ay iba na ang timpla
At ang alamat natin ay tapos na
Sa pagbitaw ko sa kamay mo ay uulitin ko
Na ikaw ay minahal ko
Ako ay naging iyong preso
At ngayon ay lalaya na ako.

The alpha and the omega

IMG_0436To say that I’ve been through a series of ups and downs is an understatement. And with all the fiascos I’ve had, I know deep within me lies an infallible truth that there is a living God. That there is a God who makes all things new. That there is a God who impresses in our hearts the importance of forgiveness, the essence of genuineness in giving, and the beauty behind any known sorrows and pains.

I’ve had so much in life, truly more than what I thought I deserve. I’ve been left behind, been mocked, all because of the wayward actions and some egocentric decisions I’ve made in the past. But God remains. I may always have questions about His existence and the relevance of His teachings in my life but the truth of the matter is, He is both omnipotent and omnipresent. He is the Alpha and the Omega.

There is no science behind God. There is no perfect logic that could explain His holiness or the depth of His love for everyone. There is no religion, which I thought is what has divided the world, that could ever bring forward the best interpretation of the laws of God. Because God is a human experience, like fingerprints, presumptively unique in everyone. Better things are yet to come for everyone.

Sad chapters in our lives are inevitable. But know, too that good things happen. We just overlook them because we’re too much consumed of our what-could-have-beens and what-ifs. We fail to appreciate those simple yet most resonating joys that come from the love we get from our family and few true friends, and the lessons we get from both our stories of successes and defeats.

So yes, regardless of where I am today, notwithstanding whatever struggle I have been enduring since time immemorial, I hold on to what God has revealed to me, a message so loud and clear, that “greater things are yet to come”. For He is God, and I am His child.

I may always have questions about His existence and the relevance of His teachings in my life but the truth of the matter is, He is both omnipotent and omnipresent. He is the Alpha and the Omega.