Politicians are like spiders


Spider fighting is a favorite game for kids particularly during the season of vacation or school break. Spiders are agitated with each other and thus they fight. Politicians are like spiders, they get agitated with one another and media loves to agitate them. "Politician fighting" is a favorite game of the people during election season.


Bad traffic: "this is NOT fun"


Cecille, you probably could relate to Mayor Duterte's frustration, disappointment and "anger" when he experienced a 5-hour traffic in Metro Manila during the Pope's visit.

I too onced experienced bad traffic, but it was in Cebu. Nabiyaan jud entawn mi sa amo untang giapas masakyan nga fast craft because it took us more than 3 hours to reach the pier from Mactan airport! Mactan to pier was supposed to take only less than 30 minutes to travel few years ago in the past.

You mentioned that while you were walking, sweating & panting, you overheard some upset foreigners, some with kids, saying "this is NOT fun"; "we don't enjoy Manila or Philippines"; "we won't come back here", some OFWs said this made them think if they will settle for good & retire in the Philippines, etc... This is a big blow to our country's image! If this continues, our tourism industry and economy will surely suffer. This is one of the top major challenges that the next president and the next set of leaders of our country should be tackling first and foremost.

Even more not getting better during peak seasons, bad traffic situations/condition is getting to be one of the serious problems a ["fast growing"] emerging economy like the Philippines has to find real effective solutions if the country is ever to cope with the impact of the administration-boasted development trend -- otherwise our "fast growing" economy could crash (like the Mitsubishi Montero Sport) because of this trending purported economic SUA (Sudden "Unintended" Acceleration).

When it comes to public perception, nothing quickly erodes people's trust and confidence in government administration than an unpleasant traffic experience. Traffic problem in the major cities of the Philippines is getting worse which overwhelms the current administration's competence that seriously threatens to deplete its political capitlal dry and seemingly grinding the gears of its political will to a less-than-acceptable level.


Lost in translation


Another classic instance of Duterte's message that got "lost in translation."

Kung tan-awon jud nato og maayo ang full segment sa video regarding sa giingon nila'g pag "curse" ni Duterte sa Pope, IMHO (In My Humble Opinion), I think the intention of Duterte was supposed to be an anecdotal joke. His hand gesture (touching the back of his head) and his facial expression and the tone of his voice and the way he was speaking it, all of those, IMHO, would indicate that Duterte was not really intending to "curse" or had any ill-intent towards the Pope. And considering that that portion of Duterte's speech was within a context contaning a series of joke statements. If you notice in the video, the audience were already laughing once in a while before he said the line that got controversial.

I'd consider that incident as another of Duterte's many tagalog miscommunication. Like many bisayan-speaking pinoys in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, sometimes (or even perhaps most of the times) the intended thoughts or ideas of Durtete's tagalog messages get lost in translation.

Here is Duterte's supposed to be annecdotal joke tagalog line which was misunderstood as a slur against the Pope: "...gusto ko'ng tawagan na: Pope, putang ina ka umuwi ka na... wag ka nang magbisita dito..." (And don't forget that it was told in a joking mode)

Kay sa tuno man nga kumedya ang context sa pagsulti ni Duterte, therefore kung sa atoa pa nga binisaya, labi na sa sinultihan sa kultura sa mga pure bisaya, pupareha'g ingon ani ang interpretasyon sa gisulti ni Duterte: "...gusto ko ahuang taw-gan [, ahoang ing-non]: simong ina ka Pope, uli na laman, ajaw na lama'g bisita dinhi."

The thought implied is this: that because of the Pope's visit, the daily activities of the filipino people were affected, including the traffic. In a sense, it was an appreciation of the Pope's enormous influence to the filipino community which is pre-dominantly a Roman Catholic country. If people would only be not dirty-minded [politically] about it, then ang laman ng message ni Duterte could be translated as simply: "Kung hindi dahil sa Pope, hindi sana magka traffic." which was delivered (or poorly communicated) in an anecdotal joking manner but got lost in translation.

In bisaya, "simong ina" (the abbreviated form of the phrase "bilat sa imong ina") is the equivalent of the tagalog "putang ina [mo]". Sa kultura natong mga bisaya, in our native conversation, we often use the supposedly curse phrase "simong ina" as rather a form of appreciation. Pananglit, kung naay atong paryente o higala nga mouli gikan sa abroad unya asenso na kaayo ang iyang kahimtang unya surpresa nga mobisita nato, inig kakita nato niya, ang atong sagad nga expression nga atong mabungat for example is: "Kumusta! Simong ina, asenso naman ka jamo tan-awon!" or "Simong ina! Gadaot ka ba diay'ng nia ka man?!" But all expressed in the mood of joy and excitement rather than a curse or insult.

This is why a bishop of Davao himself did not consider Duterte's statement as intended to curse the Pope because the bishop understood the binisayang tagalog ni Duterte despite the idea of the message being lost in translation.


Regional "Cooperation and friendship"?

Behind the audience's [seemingly pretensious] applause and beneath Xi Jinping's well-crafted speech, it is quite perceivable from the looks of the faces of many of the leaders of the APEC-member countries that, at the back of their heads, there is something more serious than what meets their eyes and pierces their ears while China's leader was delivering his message.

There is something seriously doubtful about Xi Jinping's message of "cooperation and friendship" which is the kind of ["polished"] image that China is trying so hard to project to the global community. But actions speak louder than words. What China is doing in the disputed islands in the ASEAN region speaks volumes of messages which are contrary to Xi Jinping's message in his speech.

Perhaps, as a "big brother" to smaller and emerging economies, if China would be the first to initiate a real and sincere effort towards what it called "cooperation and friendship" among all claimant countries so as to deescalate the tension in the region, then and only then would Xi Jinping's message have true meaning.

But until then, Xi Jinping's message of "ccoperation" could only be interpreted as "you claimant countries, cooperate wiih China's interest." and his message of "friendship" could only be intepreted as "you claimant countries, be friends with China if you don't want to be our enemies."


Kaloy's Game Plan

Did you know that Carlos P. Garcia, Bohol's most illustrious son who became Philippine president, was a good and avid chess player? It's his 119th birthday today.

Like the other nationalist leaders of our country, Carlos "Kaloy" Garcia too dreamed of a modern industrialized Philippines that is protected against foreign domination. In his presidency, he pushed for the "Filipino First" policy. The policy purportedly earned the displeasure of Uncle Sam and his minions which led to the rumored conspiracy aimed at undermining Garcia's presidency and his plan for the country.

"The American Chamber of Commerce joined Chinese and other foreign sectors in condemning Filipino First policy. They called it an insane policy, a fascist slogan. "Why should Filipinos threaten the hard-earned wealth of foreigners just because they are Filipinos?" they asked. They [foreigners] were so used to controlling our government and economy that they reacted with anger when President Carlos Garcia began to assert our right to formulate policies favoring our own citizens.

"The Americans began to pressure Garcia to abandon his Filipino First policy. The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) started funding Garcia's opponents and a sinister plot against Garcia's presidency was discovered. The Americans did not want Garcia to be re-elected because as a re-elected president who could no longer run for a third-term, he could afford to be more independent. They wanted the Filipino First policy dismantled. They wanted the import and exchange controls abolished. They supported Diosdado Macapagal {Gloria Arroyo's dad] because Macapagal agreed to lift import and exchange controls, abolish Filipino First and open wide the doors to foreign investments. Macapagal won."

Source of excerpt: The Filipino Mind

As in the game of chess, one must be willing to make a deeply calculated sacrificial move to gain an advantage. Kaloy calculated the risks of his plan and was not afraid and he did the sacrificial move.


On Indonesia's forest fire

It would take a typhoon to carry away the smoke and haze out of the region. And it would take a very heavy amount of rainfall to put out the wild fires in Indonesia's forest and wash away the enormous amount of toxic materials being produced by this wild fires.

If only "Lando" had taken a different route and had passed through Indonesia instead, that would have been a win-win solution for Indonesia and the Philippines. :-)

Oh the curses and blessings of typhoons. We can only pray that if there yet be other typhoons to come, may some of them go to where they are needed most and spare the lands where they are not neccessary any more.

Help put it right-side up; not upside down

Struggling through tears and blood, our country is already slowly turning right-side up; let's not put it back upside down!

We had been through dictatorship in the past. Let's try not to go back to where our country was once before.

Criminality is global. In the Philippines, our country's crime statistics show that the level of criminality is still within the borders of what is manageable and common to most countries around the globe. Thus the need for a Duterte-style of dictatorship backed by the police and the military (martial law, if you like) may not yet be neccessary. A Duterte-style approach to criminality is indeed the scepter of dictatorship and it artificially creates a semblance of temporary peace and order because it brings terror and forced submission among its subjects -- not citizen's respect and cooperation.

But in recorded Bible history, there are instances when at different times and places, God had placed iron-fisted leaders in rulership for the purpose of chastening a country or to conquer other country's wicked king.

If in His wisdom, God would put in highest authority a ruler like Rody Duterte in our country in a time He appointed, then who are we to even perhaps object?

[Daniel 2:21] God changes the times and the seasons; he removes kings, and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who have understanding.

[Proverbs 21:2] Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.

[Proverbs 21:1] The king's heart in the Lord's hand is like the watercourses. He turns it wherever he desires.

I'm NOT commenting about how Rody Duterte handled Davao city. The way he handled Davao city is not the way he will be handling the Philippines as according to or based on his public statements.

I'm commenting on the kind of dictatorship he supposedly is projecting if ever he is given the chance to be president of our country. Try researching all his public statements concerning the style of leadership he boldly said he would be adopting if he becomes president. (Though I don't believe all that he had publicly said. IMHO, it is probably his way of scaring people so they would perhaps stop insisting on pushing him to become president because he seems not truly inclined for the presidency in spite "everything".)

Fighting corruption through fund vigilance

Lacson: Character more important than campaign appearances
By: Maila Ager
11:54 AM October 28th, 2015

Character is more important than campaign appearances, former Senator Panfilo Lacson said on Wednesday.

Lacson then urged voters to “look beyond the surface and learn more about the character of those running in next year’s elections.”

“Character should be the more important thing to look for in a candidate. We can elect better leaders by looking at qualifications, advocacies and track records,” he said in a statement.

“I am not comfortable with the sense of exclusivity, that certain guest candidates do not belong just because they don’t appear in a certain manner,” he added.

Although he said it is true that uniform color and party slogan may show unity among the candidates, Lacson said, “they should not also be used to project a ‘holier-than-thou’ and overbearing attitude of candidates.

“Nobody has the monopoly of integrity, competence and character,” said the former senator.

He issued the statement a day after he disclosed that he was dropped from the senatorial ticket of Senator Grace Poe in favor of another candidate, Edu Manzano.

An independent senatorial bet, Lacson was included as a guest candidate in the slates of both the Liberal Party and the United Nationalist Alliance.

Because of his philosophy and principle concerning public funds, he was firm and consistent in his refusal to make use of his PDAF allocation. And concerning our country's yearly national budget, he is diligent in sifting and scrutinizing every item in it to prevent any possibility of hidden lump sum allocations.

With his attitude towards public funds, who else can best watch and manage our country's public funds than Senator Panfilo Lacson? Surely the Filipino people would love to see him manage our public funds one of these days.


No second thoughts for candidates such as "Toots"

Glad to know she is finally running again for senator. A true hard working advocate of the welfare of our OFWs. She has the tenacious heart and soul of her father, the late former Senator Blas Ople. Her excellent track record in serving the interests of OFWs show high competency and a very dedicated selfless public servant. Suportahan natin si Susan "Toots" Ople dahil siya ay isa sa magdadala at makapagbibigay ng malakas at mapwersang boses sa senado para sa ating mga OFWs. God be with you, Susan "Toots" Ople.

I have no second thoughts when it comes to candidates like Susan "Toots" Ople. Their untiring strong advocacy of their respective causes and their years of dedication in serving the public in their private capacity and initiative, all of these more than vouch for their competence and dedication for public service. By their excellent track records and the good fruits of their works and efforts, their time-tested character can be affirmed. The public service efforts they do unselfishly speaks a lot about their leadership qualities and the intensity and dedication they put into their advocacies affirms the genuineness of their platforms and priorities.


Our country badly needs electoral reforms

Often, people are disappointed with the leader they voted into office when sooner or later they come to realize that what they had been sold out to vote for during the election was merely their own "false" perception or concept of their preferred candidate as a leader, and not the candidate's true leadership capacity.

We may like it or not, but this is perhaps due to the nature of this political exercise so-called election which is done traditionally in our country. Philippine election mostly focuses on traditional methods of campaigning which forces the candidates to employ all sorts of propaganda on all forms of media outlets that, in various unintended ways, effectively turn them into some kind of demagogues in varying degrees.

But what if the people would strongly advocate for change in the electoral system starting with empowering the electorate to be able to really wisely choose for the right candidates by making the campaign period for this coming 2016 election put more of the emphasis and focus on sound practical development plans & platforms and proposals of solutions to pressing problems and issues of our country -- instead of the usual flooding of political propaganda on media outlets (papogi points)?

For our old traditional electoral system that often puts the wrong people into office, this advocacy if pushed seriously could be a real game changer that could put into office the right deserving leaders (even neophytes who are non-TradPols but deserving and truly qualified).


Another one has just answered the Roll Call

Ex-senator Joker Arroyo passes away
Posted at 10/07/2015

Former senator and human rights lawyer Joker Arroyo has died in the United States, an Arroyo family member told ABS-CBN News. He was 88 years old.

Born January 5, 1927 in Naga, Camarines Sur, Arroyo finished his primary and secondary education in Naga before getting a scholarship in the University of the Philippines.

A graduate of the UP College of Law and the Ateneo de Manila, Arroyo was thrust into national consciousness when he challenged before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of Proclamation No. 1081 imposing martial law.

According to his Senate profile, Arroyo handled more human rights cases than any other lawyer from 1972-1986. He defended various political detainees including Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr, Eugenio Lopez, Jr., Serge Osmeña III, Jose Ma. Sison, Jovito Salonga, Nene Pimentel, Eva Kalaw, Renato Tañada, Eduardo Olaguer and many others.

He also co-founded the MABINI and FLAG with other human rights lawyers.

During the snap elections in 1986, he served as counsel of Mrs. Corazon Aquino.

After EDSA I, he held various posts in government first as Executive Secretary in the Aquino Cabinet, then as Chairman of the Philippine National Bank and as Executive Director for the Philippines in the Asian Development Bank from 1986 to 1990.

He was elected congressman of Makati 1st District from 1992 to 1998 and was a lead prosecutor during the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada in December 2000.

He was elected senator in 2001 and was re-elected in 2007. He retired from public service in 2013.

Senator Joker Arroyo, thank you for sharing to the world the talent and abilities God had given you, especially your untiring dedication and service to your people and country. People may mourn your departure, but heavenly hosts are rejoicing your arrival.

Another public servant has just been called to the highest ultimate purpose. Flourishing even more he shall be in the place the Lord had long prepared for him.

Heaven's call is like an intruder in the night. Therefore we all must be like diligent sentinels of our lives so that when heaven calls our name, without fear or reservation, we are eagerly ready to answer any time.


How about creating PinoyKasaysayanSeryes?

Link: Aquino dismayed over student's lack of knowledge in PH history

Perhaps leading TV organizations could help fill the gap by creating adaptations of Philippine history books and making them into teleseryes on prime time TV. If there is KalyeSerye, why not also PinoyKasaysayanSerye?

This PinoyKasaysayanSerye idea can be a [very] good Corporate Social Responsibility endeavor which our local TV entertainment industry can initiate with the noble objective of helping our kababayans, especially the young & younger generations, get interested and get educated about their own country's history in a very effective and highly entertaining way - which the Philippine educational system is poorly effective at doing (tinanggal pa na nga nila ang nag-iisang Philippine history subject sa college na "Jose Rizal").

The movie "Heneral Luna" is an excellent example of a history book adaptation that greatly helps enrich the pinoy public's sense of own culture and history. I think even a teleserye adaptation of "Heneral Luna" would still be able to accomplish the same thing to even a much more wider audience and it would be a sure prime time TV blockbuster in our country.

A side thought: Perhaps this PinoyKasaysayanSerye idea may in a certain way, address Lea Salonga's tweet (which I presume was referring to a particular KalyeSerye) which said: “Okay lang sa akin ang kababawan, pero hanggang doon na lamang ba tayo?” IMHO, Lea's statement was rather more of a challenge than plainly considering it as an insult. I see it as a sort of an "eye opener" blow
(pangtanggal puwing) for the TV companies and their kilig-captive audiences. It was somewhat a kind of a "reality check" which is at the same level as PNoy's dismay over so many of our kababayan's lack of knowledge in our own country's history and other things of national importance.


Try different fishing grounds

How about rowing a distance away from your usual fishing ground and try casting the net on the other side of the boat?

Who knows there could perhaps be somebody else -- from the academe (or maybe from the business sector, the NGO/Civil Society community) -- that the Lord has annointed and whose heart He has touched and is willing to do a sacrifice for the country to answer a call of carrying on the task of the office of the vice presidency. Perhaps somebody from a field relevant to public governance is just what might the country needs to effectively do the job.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you -- the way Samuel was guided by the Lord in finding David. May God give guidance to those who truly are seeking for His wisdom and assistance.


Comelec-sponsored public fora instead of political ads

Link: Gordon urges ban on political ads

Instead of the very expensive paid individual political ads appearing on media outlets (which are mostly loaded with mere "papogi" points which only contribute to the dumbing of the electorates' capacity to wisely choose for the right leaders), media outlets should be covering and broadcasting live scheduled Comelec-sponsored public fora on political platforms, and proposals of solutions to the country's pressing problems & issues.

This is an old excellent idea whose need for real advocacy is long overdue. Attempts at advocating this concept is greatly hampered by opposing interests from wealthy politicians and the media organizations because its result would adversely diminish the undue advantage of rich candidates and would completely take away the extra windfall income of leading media organizations during election seasons.

This idea could be another right step in the right direction along "Daang Matuwid". If Dick Gordon would be willing to muster full guts and lead a strong real advocacy on this cause, then [perhaps] our country's electoral system could be redirected some degrees to the right direction.

Character, Experience, & Inner Circle

Popularity, more particularly in the realm of politics, is like rainfall. When it rains, it pours. But it is only good for a period of time and it only lasts till its last drop. But what really will sustain good leadership is the time-tested quality of character of a prospected leader. And the indispensable amount of relevant quality experience is what really makes possible for a new leadership to be able to hit the ground running.

In 2010, when PNoy reluctantly was forced to answer the people's call to run for president, he may not have had enough experience for the task, but at least he had considerable relevant experience -- he was a two-termer congressman and a senator. And when PNoy won and started office, he hit the ground off balance. In the first few years of PNoy's administration, it didn't took long for analysts and pundits to recognize PNoy's struggle in navigating through the learning curve. But perhaps had it not been for his relevant experience, which though nevertheless proved not adequate, PNoy would have had hit the ground tumbling and crashing.

In Cory's case, when she started office, her total lack of experience was compensated by the collective "wisdom" of a "highly-experienced" group of people who formed as her trusted inner circle of aides and advisers. But later in her administration, some analysts and pundits short of branded Cory as a political figurehead who shepherds an inner circle of wolves in sheep's clothing.


Carefully scrutinize the candidates

PNoy warns against electing next president who seeks term extension
By Louis Bacani (philstar.com)
Updated September 11, 2015 - 11:02am

President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday warned against electing a next president who wishes to prolong his stay in power.

During the Liberal Party's "gathering of friends" in Davao City, Aquino maintained that he is not in favor of extending the president's term, saying this could lead to another dictatorship.

"Sa palagay ko parang mali  ata 'yan. Iaasa natin sa isang tao," Aquino said in his speech.

"Tapos bibigyan pa natin ng tulay o pagkakataon 'yung iba na tulad na noong 1972, di ba? Natapos na ‘yung dalawang terminong puwede niyang takbuhan, nagkaroon ng Martial Law," he added.

Aquino was referring to the late President Ferdinand Marcos who ruled for 20 years.

He said a president should perform his best in just one term and let his successor continue or complete the work.

"Parang may tatakbo diyan, naghahanda na ng hahalinhin sa kanya. Maganda na yata one term," Aquino said.

"Gawin mo 'yung dapat mong magawa at 'yung kaya mong magawa, tapos ipasa mo 'yung renda para mapakita naman na kaya ng sambayanang Pilipinong magpatuloy sa tamang direksiyon," he added.

Aquino made the remarks as he rallied support for the administration's presidential candidate, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.

Roxas will be facing his old rival, Vice President Jejomar Binay, in the 2016 race.

Binay had said that he would seek an unlimited term if he will get elected as president next year.

However, his camp later clarified that what Binay wanted was a return to a four-year presidential term with reelection.

Yes, people should not vote for a presidential candidate who seeks term extension. And people should neither vote for a presidential candidate who is a make-believe advocate and who after all is not really pushing for the passage of a real FOI (Freedom Of Information) law.

People should not also vote for candidates aspiring for whatever position in public office who prefer or are part of a political dynasty. Public service is not a family business and never should be a political clan monopoly, kaya dapat isang politiko lang ang manunungkolan sa gobyerno sa bawat angkan. Dynastycism is a fertile breeding ground of corruption -- collaborating for corruption is much more quick and easier and widespread among politicians in government who are part of a political dynasty. So if we really hate corruption, then let us start cleaning our political system by really doing away with political dynasties.

And also, the spirit operating in political dynastycism is not far from the spirit
(and almost the same spirit) that operates in the "Palakasan Systems" such as the "Padrino", "Bata-bata", "Mista", "Ninong-Ninang-Inaanak", "Fraternity-Sorority", "KKK (Kaibigan, Kapartido, Ka-whatever [you name it])", etc. All these systems when practiced and tolerated in public service are fertile breeding grounds of various forms of anomalies and corrruptions.

Few years ago, I was amazed to discover this mushroom growing on the cushion material of a wrecked chair in our junk pile.

If in government institutions where political dynasties are left to flourish unchecked and tolerated by the constituents, it would just be a matter of time before the virus of ["innocent"] corruption begins to grow like mushroom, and no ["good"] dynastic reputation can ever be fully effective to immunize itself against the disease.


Her heart's true calling


“My ultimate goal is that no Filipino should give up a child out of economic hardships. Who knows that might have been my story too?” --Senator Grace Poe

Rephrasing Senator Grace Poe's word into a general statement:
"No mother should give up her child out of hardships."

This is the very reason why she must be ushered into the position that the Lord has prepared for her, but one level at a time and in the right time appointed by the Lord for her. Her calling is so precious that's why she should not be prematurely forced into the highest position when it is not yet her time, lest things would align against her just as what's been happening lately.

She is Moses of our land. And like Moses, the Lord had protected her from death while she was yet an infant by placing her in the hands of a "royal" couple who loved her with all their hearts as their own child. She has a heart as Moses' and she also carries in her heart God's tenderness and grace. And just as Moses was forced to wait for his time to come (and the Lord trained him in a separate place and he learned the intricacies of servanthood and leadership by working as a shepherd for the meantime, because things aligned against him in Egypt for it was not yet his appointed time), so shall she be.


On the INC-DOJ conflict

Law, politics and the INC
Philippine Daily Inquirer
By: Randy David, August 30th, 2015 01:01 AM

Sen. Francis Escudero was on broadcaster Anthony Taberna’s radio program last Thursday evening, echoing the Iglesia ni Cristo’s demand that it be left alone to solve its own problems. “Away pamilya ito (This is a family spat),” he said, breezily advising Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to back off from the illegal detention complaint filed by former INC minister Isaias Samson Jr. against the church’s governing advisory council.

Taberna asked Escudero what he thought Secretary De Lima stood to gain from doing what was supposed to be part of her work. I don’t know, Escudero giggled, adding that the secretary should instead attend to the Mamasapano cases.

What would De Lima gain? Nothing but the scorn of the Iglesia, and definitely nothing beneficial to her political career. But that’s exactly how we expect people in the justice system to behave. I’m sure it would have gladdened the hearts of the block-voting Iglesia had De Lima simply allowed Samson’s complaint to die unattended at the Department of Justice. They would have owed her big, and made sure she is remembered as a reliable friend on Election Day. But, perhaps she is not fully aware of what’s at stake here for the Iglesia.

I don’t know if it was just a coincidence, but, the other day, a gunman sprayed bullets on Taberna’s newly opened coffee shop in Quezon City. I learned later that the radio host, himself a member of the Iglesia, is a nephew of Samson’s.

Did some people think he was being biased? I didn’t think so, but maybe some INC members weren’t pleased with the neutral stance he seemed to be taking on the issue.

As I write this, hundreds of INC members are reported to be congregating along busy Edsa, which has been the site of past people power protests. They are there, they say, not to topple the government, but to demand that the authorities respect the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. They want the justice department to dismiss the Samson complaint outright, and to let the church hierarchy deal with its recalcitrant members.

I find their interpretation of religious freedom and church-state separation disturbing. I can’t blame them for believing that their church is under threat. Maybe it is, but certainly not from the state. I am aghast that lawyers like Senator Escudero, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Ferdinand Topacio view this matter as an issue of religious freedom. To say so, I think, is to pander to people’s emotions.

I am not a lawyer, and therefore my understanding of the Constitution could be limited. But, to me, religious freedom simply means the right to profess—or not to profess—a religious faith. It does not mean that actions taken in the name of one’s faith, or within the precincts of one’s church, are exempted from legal scrutiny or liability. Religious clerics who abuse their parishioners, particularly children, are answerable not only to the church but to the nation’s courts as well.

Church officials who are charged by their own members with committing crimes cannot expect the state to back off while they deal with these charges within their organization.

Church-state separation only means that the state is prohibited from establishing an official church or a state religion. Nothing in this doctrine says that these two domains—the church and the state—cannot peer into each other’s affairs.

Churches do it all the time, criticizing state policies, telling governments to shape up, and condemning public officials for corruption and oppression. So, why can’t the state investigate and prosecute erring church officials, especially when the complaints are coming from the members themselves?

Senator Escudero argues that the INC controversy, which first broke out in July, is away pamilya. Perhaps it is, and, I agree, to the extent possible, the family should be given every chance to solve its own problems its own way. But there are limits to what the head of a family can do. You can’t detain the other members against their wish. You are not allowed to use violence against a spouse, or any family member, particularly the children. When family squabbles get out of hand, the state cannot stand by and merely watch as individual rights are violated.

When the widow of the highly revered executive minister Eraño “Ka Erdy” Manalo, “Ka Tenny,” and her son Angel, posted a video last July claiming their lives were in danger and pleading for help from other INC members, what was the government supposed to do? I think if this were just another family, the police would not have hesitated to barge into their compound to investigate. Or if this were just another religious sect, and not the politically influential INC, someone would have called for a congressional inquiry in aid of legislation. Nothing like that has happened.

People in government were careful not to step on powerful toes in the Iglesia hierarchy. Events took a different turn only when Isaias Samson Jr. surfaced and spoke to media, telling a horrifying story of how he and his family had been detained on orders of the Iglesia’s advisory council. He said he was suspected of being the principal source of derogatory information about corruption in the Iglesia hierarchy, a charge he denies.

When Secretary De Lima gave Samson’s formal complaint due course, the Iglesia hierarchy took this action as an act of hostility. A thousand INC members trooped to De Lima’s office, blocking the road fronting the Department of Justice building on Padre Faura. She could have been lynched if she had tried to talk to them, as Sen. Grace Poe naively suggested.

Nothing is more explosive than the mixture of religion and politics.

On the escalating conflict between the INC and the DOJ, what clearer explanation can there be than what professor Randy David has said in his column in the Inquirer?

If many times the Catholic church of the Philippines had been the subject of legal investigations by our government's justice system for various allegations of law breaking, then what makes other religious denominations such as the INC exempted from any legal investigation by the DOJ for some allegations of law breaking? What the DOJ is doing in this case, which allegedly involves some members of the INC hierarchy, is well within the bounds of the DOJ's legal mandate and authority. Therefore instead, the DOJ must be fully supported by the government and more so by the people in general.

At sa dahil kilala ang INC sa kanilang bloc voting tradition, e ayon naki epal tuloy ang mga politiko para makuha nila ang simpatiya ng mga taga INC... at syempre ano pa... pati ang mga boto nila sa darating na eleksyon. Hanip naman mga politiko natin ah!

This INC-DOJ "conflict" situation seems to be a blessing in disguise in the sense that it somehow, in a way, serves to highlight what "principled stuff" the politicians are really made of. This situation made the public see whether their supposed favored candidate has already leveled up into a principled leader or is a promising politician but yet succumbing to opportunistic epal ways. Many voting citizens now have their eyes opened by this situation.

If the electorate is really serious about good governance based on right principles or "matuwid na daan", then this situation has strengthened the reason as to why particular politician(s) aspiring for the highest position still and should need to have more actual experiences on how to take stands based on right principles and shun opportunism.

Kababayans, let this situation be one of our guides in choosing for our next leaders.


Carrying on the challenge


In his way, he did it in his generation. Like the Good Master, he gave his life for the sake of others. Now it's our turn to carry on the challenge! We may not do it exactly the way he did, but in our collective ["little"] ways and with the means that our generation has provided, there is something significant we can do to carry on the challenge. We need each one of us to answer the call. So rise up kababayans and let's do our part!


Pray for discernment, answer, & humility of heart


If Mar Roxas really believed that Grace Poe is the right person he could fully trust to be in his side as the next vice president of the country, then he should simply ask her freely in person without promises or conditions and without any other persons around. Let it be a heart to heart talk between two leaders answering a call to serve the Lord by means of serving His people.

Let the Holy Spirit be their only witness. Let them openly speak their hearts out to each other in peace and humility as according to the leading of the Holy Spirit. And before the end of their private meeting, for one last time, let Mar ask Grace if she is willing to sacrifice and let go of her intention to run as president and instead help him move the nation forward by running as vice president. If she will ask that she be given ample time before she will give her final answer, then give her the time. To both Mar and Grace: As according to your hearts, when you say yes, let your yes be yes, and when you say no, let your no be no -- for other than from your hearts, it's from the devil.

If Grace Poe will find it in her heart to trust Mar and is willing to entrust the nation to his leadership and without condition she is freely willing to help Mar by running as his vice president, then let them commit their ways and their camps together to the Lord as one.

But on the other hand, if after Grace Poe's thorough consideration she still finds it in her heart to rather run for president, instead of doing a sacrifice by running as vice president, then Mar Roxas should just let things be. Let them shake the political dusts off their political sandals and let them part political ways in peace.


"Daang Matuwid" should be a way of life, not just a mere political reform agenda

Daang matuwid needs 20 years

The Philippine Star |

Malacañang yesterday stressed that the ruling Liberal Party (LP) would need to be in power for 18 years or even two decades before the good governance reforms of President Aquino bear substantial fruit.

“You can be assured that it will get better if we follow daang matuwid (straight path). That is the reason why the President has been very firm in pushing for continuation,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told journalists.

By the 18th year the good governance reforms “should have taken root,” Lacierda, a close friend and ally of LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas, said.

He insinuated that the groundwork for good governance has been laid down.

“We are putting out here good governance and it’s up to the people to choose every six years. This 2016 is the first referendum, the first re-election of daang matuwid,” Lacierda added.

The Palace is endorsing Roxas for president and is hoping that neophyte Sen. Grace Poe would give in to their request to be LP’s vice presidential candidate, because both are committed to good governance as well.

He also took a jab at Vice President Jejomar Binay, who he accused of campaigning in his recent provincial sorties instead of working for the country’s good.

“What has he done for the past five years? I would just like to remind him,” the spokesman said.

Statesman vs politician

Malacañang said Aquino should not be compared to Marcos when they talk of the 20-year period that the LP has to rule in order to solidify the changes made under the good governance agenda.

Aquino’s statesmanship, according to Lacierda, has become the distinguishing mark between him and Binay, titular head of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.

“A statesman thinks of the next generation. The politician thinks of the next election. President Aquino is that statesman who thinks of this generation and the next,” he said.

“That’s why you’ve got six years of governance under President Aquino that will end in 2016. If we have Secretary Roxas as our president from 2016 to 2022, that’s more than 10 years. Then, you extend it (and) you have practically 20 years,” Lacierda added.

He urged Binay to stop comparing Aquino with the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who controlled all three branches of government.

Binay said he had earlier cautioned Aquino from having former Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona impeached.

Corona was appointed as chief justice by ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in March 2010 – an act described by many as a midnight appointment. Although it was upheld by the high court twice, Aquino refused to honor it and called on his congressional allies for the impeachment.

“It’s kind of ludicrous for Binay to compare Aquino to Marcos. The (Aquino) family suffered greatly under the Marcos regime – the father being a victim of martial law,” Lacierda said.

"...the ruling Liberal Party (LP) would need to be in power for 18 years or even two decades before the good governance reforms of President Aquino bear substantial fruit." --Malacañang

The true spirit of "Daang Matuwid" is never and should never be about political party rulership. It is and should be about the nation and its people coming to their real senses and finally having the resolve to emancipate themselves from the long years of slavery and poverty brought about by various forms of corruption in our country -- in the government, in the church, and in private institutions.

The Liberal Party may be the one who coined the words "Daang Matuwid", but it would be arrogantly prideful for the Liberal Party to claim sole authority or authorship of the true spirit and essence of the nation's fight against corruption.

No good governance is a monopoly of a politcal party. PNoy (who simply happens to belong to the Liberal Party), like many other past and present leaders from different political groups, also have responded to the call to help our nation in its continuing struggle for true reform. But what the nation really needs is for everyone of us to do our part, because truly, it will take generations of honest, dedicated, and ever vigilant successors and people to sustain and maintain generations of a corruption-free society -- because fighting evil is a perpetual war.

"Daang Matuwid" should become our way of living, and not just a mere political reform agenda.

"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:14)


President, Vice-President, Executive Secretary


Clean record, unquestionable integrity, and competent young leaders. They are the most worthy to carry on the task of leading our nation forward.

With the integrity and the long and varied experience in public service that DILG Secretary Mar Roxas has and his being a cabinet member of the present administration, he has far better first hand knowledge concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the current administration's development programs thus giving him the better capacity to carry on the task of leading our nation forward and sustain and increase the growth gained from the past administrations.

With the integrity and competence that Senator Grace Poe has, and with the tenderness of a godly woman, she is very much needed to answer the calling to serve as the lead conscience of the country's executive leadership so that the Holy Spirit through her can guide the nation as it continues to tread the straight and narrow path.

With the experience, integrity, and youthful wisdom of Senator Chiz Escudero, the country needs him to be the first alter ego of the next president. The Lord has groomed him for such a calling as this, this is why without question, he is best qualified for this task.

These three has been prepared by the Lord, and their time has come. In their respective appointed time, each of them shall answer the call to carry on the task of leading the nation along the right path for future administrations to come.

Thanky you Lord Father God for renewing and blessing the Phillippines.


Bayan, pumailanglang ka!


Ang isang kasarinlan ay tunay na makabuluhan lamang kung ang bayan ay may tunay na kalayaan na pumailanglang, at gamit ang bigay-sa-Dios niyang kakayahan, ay walang pagaalinlangang piliin at walang takot na gawin ang kung ano ang mga dapat at tama.

Isang mapagnilay-nilay na pagdiriwang ng araw ng iyong kasarinlan, bayang Pilipinas.


Will South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) Dispute Cause a World War?


Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, in this file still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft and provided by the United States Navy on May 21, 2015. China says it “owns” this land but the U.S., Vietnam, the Philippines and others say China’s claim is not valid.— Photo by Reuters

Will South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) Dispute Cause a World War?
By Steve Herman and Shen Hua

American experts and investors are closely watching political, military and economic developments in the South China Sea. Some observers are worried that China’s territorial claims and activities in the area could lead to a war. But other people disagree.

This week, China and the United States exchanged strong words about Chinese efforts to build and develop islands in the South China Sea. Chinese crews have been creating airfields on what was, until recently, underwater land.

A week ago, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter criticized China’s actions. He accused Chinese officials of being “out of step” with international values.

“There should be an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by all claimants. We also oppose any further militarization of disputed features. We all know there‘s no military solution to the South China Sea disputes.”

He also made it clear that the U.S. would not recognize any Chinese attempt to declare a 22-kilometer territorial sea limit around disputed islands or coral reefs.

At a conference in Singapore, a top Chinese military official defended his country’s efforts to develop the South China Sea. He called the work, “justified, legitimate and reasonable.”

Another official, Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo criticized Secretary Carter’s comments about new sea limits as “groundless.”

“The freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is not at all an issue because the freedom has never been affected.”

Expert and investor warn of larger conflict

Gordon Chang wrote a book called “The Coming Collapse of China.” He says the South China Sea could become what he calls the next “Great War Zone.”

Mr. Chang spoke recently at a meeting of the U.S. Air Force Association, a private group. He said the United States will soon answer China’s actions in the South China Sea.

In his words, “the U.S. Navy is clearly going to test China’s claims of exclusion of the South China Sea.” He said the United States has to do so. He noted that for the past 200 years, U.S. officials have defended the right of ships to sail freely in international waters. He said China is now testing that policy.

Read full story at: Will South China Sea Dispute Cause a World War?

With China's aggressive move of establishing a military base in the disputed islands, it may have thought it is a strategic move on its part. But in the end, when the time comes, China would bitterly regret its action because it shall cause so many things to come together like never before and go against China. If China pursues its intention to the end, it shall turn out to be another of China's costliest military blunder.

China maybe lacking genuine allies, but with its remarkably increasing economic and military powers, China's stubborn determination has been boosted. And by establishing a combined naval and air base in that particular island, China's military planners and strategists may have thought they are as if building a very formidable and largest unsinkable aircraft carrier. It may be true, but what they are building could also become the largest stationary sitting duck target that is so difficult and so costly for China to maintain and defend.

Before it would be too late, perhaps it would be wise for China to reconsider the ways it is taking in the pursuit of its [hidden] interest in the said islands. This group of small islands are supposed to be blessings to all concerned. That particular group of islands should not supposed to be a casue for dispute and severing of ties and ruining of good relations between nations. We must believe that there must be a way to settle this misunderstanding peacefully. Let the nations openly find common interests and let them willingly cooperate among themselves to jointly achieve their goals as a team -- instead of "squabbling to death" against one another.

We call on people of good will to pray and to please help settle this pressing international issue.

King of peace we lift up to you our pleas. Grant, in the hearts and minds of the nations' leaders, genuine humility, wisdom, and understanding. Provide them Your Holy Spirit's guidance as they search for the right way to settle this pressing international concern. Let this issue, instead of creating barriers of misunderstanding, build bridges of cooperation among nations. Let this challenge be a great opportunity for nations to reestablish and strengthen good relations. Let no nation take unfair advantage against its co-nations, but rather let the nations compete in doing good to one another. And at the end of all this challenge, let the spirit of peace that brings cooperation, good relations, and inclusive prosperity among nations be the more important thing the nations shall gain, greater than what their common and individual interests can give.

To our fellow Asian nations: China is a big brother. We must find the way into his heart so that he becomes not a big bully but a caring big brother. We want to support a big brother China become a world power and a force for good, not a world power that is stepping on every small country. A big brother who not only looks after his own prosperity but will also help us grow and prosper together as brother nations.