Friday, February 22, 2008
Hard to imagine that this was what Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz in Binondo used to look in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Regally beautiful and quite European.
The building on the left was called Hotel de Oriente and the one on the right was the La Insular Cigar Factory. Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz was then known as Plaza Carlos IV.
Hotel de Oriente was said to be the country's finest hotel at the time. Rizal was said to have stayed at the hotel a number of times whenever he was in Manila. It was also a favorite of the Americans. The hotel was said to be well ventilated and quite luxurious. It was 3 storeys high, had more than 80 rooms, and had a stable big enough to accomodate 20 or so of its guests' horses. It was considered a plush hotel for its time.
The La Insular Cigar Factory was a stab at private enterprise once the Spanish tobacco monopoly ended in 1880. The company was founded by Don Joaquin Santamaria along with associates Don Luis Elizalde and Don Manuel Clemente. From the photo above, the structure looked so grand and palatial from the outside that it was hard to imagine or picture it to be a cigar factory. One could easily mistake it for some rich man's opulent residence.
Unfortunately for our generation and the ones that will come after us, both buildings are no longer around to be admired. Both did not survive the Second World War. They are now but a mere memory to surviving members of our grandparents' generation. Luckily for us and the generations that will follow us, they were preserved for us to awe and admire through period photographs like the one above.
The Metrobank building now stands at the site of the old Hotel de Oriente while a commercial building stands at the site of the old La Insular Cigar Factory.
Photo credit: Photographer Unknown
Thursday, February 21, 2008
He has become the darling of the US media and the press and his recent victories showed that he has been winning votes from groups that used to be firmly in the Clinton camp, specifically white men, white women, blue collar workers, and Latino voters.
Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain have been attacking Mr. Obama for his lack of experience in political, economic, and international affairs. There is some truth to the criticism because listening to Mr. Obama's speeches, one clearly notes that the speeches lack specifics on how he plans to deal with the nation's many problems. Mrs. Clinton's campaign staff has even accused Mr. Obama lately of plagiarizing the speech of a friend, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.
Battling Mr. Obama won't be easy. It is undeniable that he has the charisma and can connect to voters on the stump. In my humble opinion, I think he is much better than Mrs. Clinton when speaking to crowds. In that environment, he appears more relaxed and thus comes across as more genuine.
Though it may seem that things are currently going Mr. Obama's way, it's still too early to tell if such luck would hold. We still have eight months until the Presidential elections in November and in politics, that is an eternity. It must also be noted that all of the votes Mr. Obama has won have come from Democratic primaries and caucuses. We still don't know how he would fare in a general election. Anything could still happen and voters could be quite a fickle lot. A promise to vote for a candidate today could all change once the voter is by his/her lonesome in the voting booth.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The following prayer was heard somewhere within the halls of Malacanang Palace:
ZTE father who art in China
Hakot be thy name
Thy kickback come
Thy wealth be done
In Wack-Wack as it is in Comelec.
Give me this day my daily bribe
And conceal all my sins
As I conceal those who sin along with me.
And if I am led into temptation,
Deliver me from criticism.
Let it be power and money for me forever and ever.
*Thanks to SR for the e-mail. :)
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
... does one right a listing ship?
... does one restore order in the face of seemingly overwhelming chaos and confusion?
... does one swim against a tide?
... does one make one's voice heard amidst all the noise in a crowd?
There are simply moments when one feels he's fighting a losing battle.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Another San Francisco street scene
These city and street scenes are some of the diplays at Legoland in Carlsbad, California, a few miles north of San Diego. All of these structures were constructed out of Lego bricks. The site also features a replica of Washington, D.C., New Orleans in Lousiana, and other prominent sites around the US. It also features a full-size Jeep Cherokee made entirely of Lego bricks! So whenever you find yourselves in the lovely city of San Diego, CA, take some time to stop by this theme park even for just a few hours.
The place also features some rides and shows that adults and kids would both enjoy. I took these photos a couple of years ago while I was in the area on a business trip. Finding some time on my hands one afternoon, I decided to take a quick tour of this park. Boy, it was sure worth it.
So just to give you a perspective on how big (or small) these displays are, check this photo out:
Original Photos by: Panaderos
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I want to write about the latest scandal rocking my country. This Lozada matter is a corruption scandal that could potentially topple the hugely unpopular and politically inept Arroyo administration. I want to read the dailies to analyze the statements from the opposing parties. Like millions of my countrymen, I have a very strong desire to learn the truth.
But for some reason, I could not muster the energy to do so.
I don't want to say that I've become apathetic for my country remains very dear to me. I remain very interested in any news that discuss the latest Philippine developments or lack thereof. I remain very proud whenever I hear of my countrymen's accomplishments in both the local and international scenes.
However, call me a pessimist if you'd like but I believe, as with the other scandals that went before it, that the whole truth will still manage to elude us here. I can no longer be excited by charades held under the guise of Senate hearings.
I sincerely apologize for the attitude but I'm tired of a government that asks so much of its citizens but gives too little. I'm resentful of a political leadership that protects the interests of a wealthy few at the expense of the long-term interests of the struggling many. I'm so sick of seeing a Congress that is supported by billions in taxpayer money but with too little to show in terms of meaningful legislation.
Thus, this whole Lozada affair should be viewed as nothing more than entertainment. It is a show that's being staged for us at our expense. Like the others that came before it, we will end up not getting our money's worth for it is another poorly scripted play. We, the viewers, will again walk away from it with no real lesson learned. Given that we already know what's in store for us, the best thing to do is to simply ignore the whole damn thing.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Ok, I'm away from my loved one on this special day. :( While millions of couples the world over are celebrating Valentine's Day over a romantic dinner and/or in some romantic getaway, I will be here at work by my lonesome. I'll be spending the evening drafting a report and reviewing the work of subordinates. What can I say except that it sucks and it sucks BIG TIME!
However, I find comfort in the thought that a week from today, I'll finally be with my very special someone, even for just a few days. We will have our own belated Valentine's Day celebration. And when we do start our celebration, I assure you all that we will have "one hell of a time". Mu..hu..hu..bwahahahahahahaha!!! (Devilish laugh/"Tawang Demonyo".)
THEREFORE, let me issue the following warnings/words of caution to all of you, especially those who reside in the Southeast Asian region, in the so called "Ring of Fire" (you still have a week from today to take the necessary precautions):
1. If you feel the ground shake while you're outdoors, please run to an open field as fast as you can, far away from the dangers of falling objects such as shattered glass from windows;
2. In case you live near the sea, prepare for a major tsunami warning. Be ready to move your family and cherished belongings to higher and safer ground;
3. Those of you who will be in offices, check the sturdiness of your desks to see if it will provide you with ample protection while you're under it in the event of a ceiling collapse. Look around you and familiarize yourself with the nearest emergency exits in case fire breaks out or your office building is facing imminent collapse; and
4. Contact the Office of Civil Defense in your area on what other steps or precautions you need to take to prepare for an earthquake emergency; and
5. Last but not least, to kids below the age of 13, ask your teachers for a perfectly wholesome explanation of what is the root cause of all the tremors around you.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The words that enthralled me,
The thoughts that wouldn't leave me;
The longing that stayed with me through the day
And followed me to my eventual sleep.
The first words that were spoken,
The first laugh that was heard;
The moments that were longed for
We now finally share.
I love you.
Happy Valentine's Day.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Ok. This is going to be short and sweet. Drumroll please. Hehehe
The 1,000th "Visitor Award" goes to someone I unfortunately do not know. Hahaha Seriously, judging from the information available to me through SiteMeter, it is a Lady/Gentleman who signs in from the Thames International Business School's servers.
Thank you very much for your support whoever you are. You've been to my site quite a number of times. I would like to thank you for taking the time to read the stuff I post. It's very much appreciated.
While I'm at it, let me also thank the others who similarly visit my site on a regular basis but so far have not posted a comment. I also would like to let you know that I appreciate your visits.
Btw, the Consolation prize goes to Ipanema. (Applause) Congratulations, buddy. The batchoy, dinner-for-two, and the hopia are on their way to your residence via the latest, high-speed, state-of-the-art, and environment-friendly pedicab.
To THE Winner, please see me so you can claim your prizes. :)
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sometime today or tomorrow, this blog will reach a milestone in its young life. With this, I'm referring to my blog registering its 1,000th visitor.
Let me just take this opportunity to let you all know that I appreciate all of you who have stopped by to read and/or comment on my musings and opinions on things of personal interest.
Since the time I started this blog, I am very happy to say that I've gained quite a number of new friends. It has been a fun and, at the same time, a rewarding learning experience for me. For those of you who blog, I've learned a lot from your blogs and I hope, in my own small way, that I've been able to return the favor. To those of you who have stopped by to simply read, thank you very much too.
Thus, as a token of my utmost appreciation and mindful of the fact that Valentines' Day is just around the corner, the 1,000th visitor to this blog will be entitled to the following:
1. A P100 gift certificate at Aling Lucring's Beauty Salon (J.P. Rizal branch) - for the sophisticated woman/metrosexual in you;
2. A romantic dinner for 2 afterwards at Good Ah (branch near NAIA);
3. A romantic riverboat cruise for 2 along that historic stretch of the Pasig River from Jones Bridge to the Ayala Bridge; and
4. To cap such a romantic night, an evening calesa ride for 2 by the Luneta and along Roxas Boulevard, escorted by 2 PNP motorcycle cops.
Thank you so much. :-P
P.S. There are moments in a person's life when there simply are requests one could not just refuse and here's one of them. I've been asked to add consolation prizes and here they are:
1. A romantic lunch for 2 at Authentic Batchoy on Escoda Street (Manila);
2. Another romantic lunch for 2 (in case hindi pa kayo nabusog sa batchoy) at Tapsihan sa Main in Sta. Ana where a great lunch could be had for P60 (per person); and
3. One month supply of Ube Flavored Hopia from Eng Bee Tin.
Ayos na ba? :D
Saturday, February 9, 2008
*SB = Senate Bill
Friday, February 8, 2008
Mari, the dearest friend I have in cyberspace, (naks!) tagged me for this meme. It is about the last movie that I had thoroughly enjoyed.
Here are the rules for this tag:
1. Link back the person who tagged you and write what was the last movie he/she or his/her family enjoyed watching recently.
2. Now your turn to tell about the movie you or your family just watched.
3. Tell something about the movie and spoilers are accepted. (hehehee)
4. Write anything that has something to do with movies: Trivia, your top choice or favorites and why, your family's story about your favorite motion pictures, the first film you watched with your spouse/partner/special someone, any traditional film the family's been keeping, etc... etc...
5. Copy and paste the rules of this meme on your blog and pass the tag on to as many friends, bloggers, and movie lovers you want. Don't forget to tell them they're tagged and to leave a comment on your blog once they're done with the task.
I am going to write about the last movie I enjoyed watching, not necessarily the last one I watched. The movie is called Letters from Iwo Jima which was directed by Clint Eastwood. I saw the movie a year ago. The movie was in Japanese with English sub-titles and had starred Ken Watanabe as General Kuribayashi (the man who actually led the Japanese forces on the island) and Kazunari Ninomiya as the fictional lead character Saigo.
I love war movies but let me emphasize I love those war movies that do not glorify war. I also love war movies that are historically accurate or that at least try to be as historically accurate as possible.
This particular movie portrayed how Japanese soldiers bravely defended an island even with the knowledge that certain defeat and death awaited them. In the case of Saigo and a few other soldiers, the movie also showed how they were torn between love of family and loyalty to their country. Though Japanese military tradition highly valued suicide as a matter of honor, Saigo longed to come home alive to a wife who was pregnant with their child. The film lamented the heavy loss of life suffered by both sides. And in the case of the Japanese, it showed the lives lost through futile banzai charges.
American marines eventually overran the Japanese defenses on the island. Out of the 22,000 Japanese defenders, only a few hundred emerged from the underground caves to surrender.
Aside from war movies, I am a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock's movies. My favorite movies of his were Rear Window, Psycho, North By Northwest, and Vertigo. He was a master of suspense. In my humble opinion, each film was a technical masterpiece. The clever use of the camera and camera angles to convey a story or a character's emotion helped enhance a story line. Through them, he also played mind games with his audience. In the movie Rear Window for example, the camera served as the voyeur in us for through it, he made us observe the various goings-on in an apartment complex; this we, his audience, willingly did until we all found that a murder had indeed taken place.
Among the current crop of American directors, M. Night Shyamalan, ("The Sixth Sense), is an avid student of Mr. Hitchcock's cinematographic techniques. It remains to be seen though if Mr. Shyamalan would end up to be as successful and iconic as Mr. Hitchcock.
Now, I pass this tag on to Fence and Abby.
February 7, 2008 marked the end of Mitt Romney's campaign to win the Republican Party's nomination for President. After spending close to $30 million of his own money with only a little over 200 delegates to show for it and way behind Mr. McCain's 689 delegates, Mr. Romney finally decided that continuing to run for the nomination was no longer a wise investment. He knew that at this point, it was already impossible for him to win the 1,191 delegates he needed to clinch the Republican nomination.
Mr. Romney is a very decent guy and a very likeable one. A year or so ago, during the time when quite a number of people had written Mr. McCain off politically for supporting a very unpopular war, I had thought that Mr. Romney had a very good, if not excellent, chance of securing the Republican nomination for President.
He had a great record when he served as Massachusetts Governor. He was socially moderate and managed the state's finances very well. However, his failed campaign for the Presidency showed the pitfalls and risks of running as someone he clearly was not. He presented himself as a Conservative when in fact, he was a moderate. It was a hard sell and a lot of the perceptive Republican voters were wise enough to see through his game. In so doing, he paid for it dearly, both politically and financially.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The flyer said, "Leave your worries at the front gate as you enter our little slice of 'Heaven'". The facility is a place where one can supposedly "enjoy the sun and recharge one's body and soul". The facility also boasts of being one of America's first and finest of such communities that cater to families and couples.
Nestled in the rolling hills of the state and situated on more than 30 acres of beautifully wooded land, this facility is said to provide ample lawn that would allow one to enjoy both sun and shade. It has a large outdoor heated pool that is open from spring to late summer. It has a sauna with a big hot tub that has the capacity to seat 15 people.
For entertainment, it has a clubhouse with a large recreation hall, an entertainment center, several pool tables, and a full-service kitchen open to all club members. The clubhouse also has an entertainment room with cable tv, a fireplace, stereo, darts, and a kids' playroom. The facility also offers free wireless internet service.
For outdoor activities, the place has has tennis courts, volleyball courts, and a children's playground. There are also organized social activities such as "Theme Nights" where night games and dances are held.
All of these amenities and activities are available for the members' enjoyment on a 24-hour basis. A true family paradise, right?
Well, it is but at the same time it isn't. The flyer's parting sales pitch says it all, "Restore the spirit and beauty of the natural you, one that is both free from clothing and from life's daily stress."
Disneyland this place is certainly not. What it is is a nudist camp and it happens to be in my neck of the woods.
Photo credit: Morguefile.com
Sexy Sadie, what have you done?
You made a fool of everyone.
You made a fool of everyone,
Sexy Sadie, oh, what have you done?
- The Beatles ("Sexy Sadie")
News came out today that the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the man who introduced the Beatles to Transcendental Meditation (TM), passed away in the Netherlands. He was in his 90s.
He was the inspiration for the John Lennon song "Sexy Sadie" (1968), written after Mr. Lennon had expressed disenchantment with the Maharishi. The disenchantment was over suspicions, later proved without basis, that the guru had made a pass on one of the women in the Beatles' entourage during a spiritual retreat.
On the Republican side:
Aside from winning in his home state of Arizona, Senator McCain won in several delegate-rich states such as California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware. Third place candidate, Governor Mike Huckabee (Arkansas) won in several Southern states in the so-called Bible Belt.
Mr. Huckabee just made it a bit difficult for Mr. Romney to catch up with Mr. McCain. However, Mr. Romney, supported by his ultra-conservative supporters in the Republican Party, has vowed to fight on.
On the Democrat side:
Senators Clinton and Obama are still locked in battle. Both candidates won in several states. Mrs. Clinton won in her home state of New York and in Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, and her former home state of Arkansas. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, won in his home state of Illinois and in Georgia, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Kansas.
Mrs. Clinton's victory in the Kennedy bailiwick of Massachusetts was remarkable given the fact that the Kennedys had gone all out in their support for Mr. Obama. This race is by no means over.
At this point, of all the candidates mentioned, I am very much hoping and praying against a Romney victory. It's not because of the person himself. It is because of the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party that he has chosen to represent. That wing thrives on polarization and non-compromise in my humble opinion. I hope that this coming election would make that wing irrelevant.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Today, people in 24 states all across the US will be going to the polls to select their choice for either the Republican or Democratic nominee for President of the United States. It has been a very close and interesting race so far. I have taken a particular interest in the race because this also marks the first time that I would get to participate in the American electoral process.
In my area, the polls close at 8 p.m. Unlike the Philippines, elections in the United States are not designated as non-working holidays. People still come to work. Polls usually open at 7 a.m. and depending on the state where one lives, the polls stay open until about 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. A lot of states also allow residents to mail in their votes. Unlike the Philippines where a "campaign ban" is put in place on the day of the election, candidates here are still allowed to campaign even on the day of the election itself.
On the Republican side, Senator John McCain (Arizona) and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are vying for the Republican nomination. In an effort to gain the vote of the Republican faithful, each man claims that he is more conservative than the other.
On the Democratic side, Senator Hillary Clinton (New York) is in a tight race with Senator Barack Obama (Illinois). Each one claims that he/she is the one who can be trusted with upholding the Democratic party's ideals and socially liberal programs.
The central issues facing the candidates of both parties are the economy, health care, immigration, and the war in Iraq. Except for Mr. Obama who is advocating for an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, the other three candidates, to varying degrees, advocate a phased withdrawal.
All candidates are in agreement that the economy is currently at the risk of a recession due to the subprime mortgage mess. In a lot of areas all across the country, property values are down and because of the steady rise in interest rates, the number of people defaulting on their mortgages are also rising. The price of oil is also a concern and all candidates fear that the combination of all these factors would force the American consumer to cut spending.
Senatory Hillary Clinton espouses a universal health care program. However, her proposal has been under criticism because to ensure its implementation and success, a huge amount of federal tax money that would be required to fund it.
Unlike the other three candidates, Mr. Romney, in an effort to gain favor with the right-wing conservative base of the Republican party, has adopted a stronger stance against illegal immigration. He supports strong border enforcement and unlike the other three candidates, has taken a stand against allowing illegals to come out of the shadows and follow a prescribed process towards obtaining US citizenship.
On matters relating to national security and the Iraq war, Mr. McCain possesses the strongest credentials. A former POW who spent five years in a Vietnamese prison, Mr. McCain has been the most consistent in terms of support for the war. The troop surge, one that he had long advocated, was finally implemented in early 2007. This surge has led to a dramatic reduction in violence and death among both Iraqis and US troops.
When I filled out my voter registration, I signed up as an Independent. I felt that this would give me the freedom to choose between candidates from both parties. It would not have been the case had I checked either the "Republican" or "Democrat" box on the form. Had I done so, the people manning the polling booth will be handing me a ballot that would only contain the names of the candidates of the party I chose to affiliate with.
At this point, I have narrowed down my choice to either Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama.
What I find appealing about Mr. McCain aside from his brilliant war record is his willingness to reach across the aisle and work with members of the other party to get laws passed in Congress. He has served in the US Congress for close to 30 years; is labelled a maverick and for good reason. He is independent-minded and his track record in Congress shows that he would not hesitate to deviate from his party's stand on issues if he believes that other alternative(s) would work out better for the country. Though his independent-mindedness may not sit well with the ultra-conservative wing in his party, it does appeal to a lot of independent voters and even to a good number of Democrats.
Mr. Obama, on the other hand, does not have the breadth of congressional experience that Mr. McCain does. He is only into his third year as a US Senator. However, what he lacks in experience he more than makes up for in charisma. For a neophyte, he's done pretty well in a number of debates he's been on. Plus, his is a fresh face, one that represents CHANGE to a lot of people. Though African-American, he has so far run a campaign that focuses on issues affecting all Americans such as health care, public education, and unemployment. He has emphasized time and again that he wants to heal and unite the wounds of a divided nation; one so polarized that the terms "red states" and "blue states" have entered the lexicon.
For all her political experience and worldwide fame, I have decided not to pick Mrs. Clinton. She is indeed a very intelligent and accomplished woman. However, she is not without her share of political controversy. The country has been polarized for close to 16 years now no small thanks to her husband and to the current President. It does not need another four or eight years of polarization that could result from another Clinton presidency.
Mr. Romney was taken out as an option too. Though his strengths are in his grasp of economic issues, he has changed his stand on political issues such as immigration and abortion quite a number of times that one is left to wonder where he really stands on those. Contrast that to Mr. McCain. One may find one's self agreeing or disagreeing with Mr. McCain on certain issues. However, the one great thing about Mr. McCain is his consistency in his views. One would always have a clear idea on where he stands.
Like millions of other people in this part of the world, I'm leaving work in about an hour to head to the polling station near my home and exercise my civic duty. The polls will then close at 8 p.m. A couple of hours after that, both parties should have a very good idea as to who their candidate would be come November.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Congratulations to the New York Giants for winning Superbowl XLII!!!
At the beginning of the season, the sports media questioned Eli Manning's heart and Coach Coughlin's coaching abilities. The criticism and doubts even became more pronounced when the team started the season with a 0-2 record.
Who's laughing now? Thanks guys for the sweet victory. Thanks for proving your critics wrong. I look forward to your parade tomorrow. A very pleased town will be cheering you. Congratulations!
Sunday, February 3, 2008
The sun is up,
The sky is blue;
And so are you.
- The Beatles ("Dear Prudence")
It's a nice Sunday here in my part of the world. We're finally getting a break from the Arctic cold that had hovered over the region the last couple of weeks. During that time, the temperature had averaged in the negative single digits. It was tough getting up in the mornings (I wake up at 5 a.m. daily to make it to the morning train that would take me to work.) and feel the Arctic cold the moment I stepped out of the house. It was also tough having to spend a good 10 to 15 minutes each morning putting on several layers of clothing to fight the bitter cold.
Well we're getting a break this weekend and according to the weathermen, the break could last well into the coming week. It's a "warm" 6 degrees Celsius outside right now. The sun is out in all its fine glory. It is making me miss the weekend walks I used to do over the summer and early fall months.
Early last year, I resolved to lose quite a bit of weight by reducing my carb intake and by doing a bit of exercise. Hopping on a treadmill doesn't work for me for the simple reason that I easily get bored by it. I just feel that if ever I need to do some walking or running, that I will be better off outside the house doing some real walking and running. And that exactly was what I set out to do.
A bike path snakes around my part of the town. It makes its way through a number of housing developments, skirts a golf course, goes through a wooded area, passes by a horse farm, and circles a park. Measured from end to end, I estimate that the bike path is about eight miles long, or roughly 11 kilometers. I follow that bike path whenever I go walking and it takes me about a couple of hours to cover the whole distance. The area is quite hilly; the path rising in certain sections and sloping downward in others. Needless to say I work off a good amount of sweat walking it especially in the summer months.
The results from my walking were immediately felt and noticed. I lost close to 20 pounds in three months. My waistline lost a good couple of inches. Old pants that had been relegated to the back of my closet were pressed back to active service. The same with old shirts.
However, with the onset of winter I was worried that I might gain back a lot of the weight I lost. I felt that the cold would force me to stay indoors and cut back on a lot of the activity I had gotten used to. I also felt that I might lose control over my diet and start overeating again.
Well, I'm happy to say that so far that hasn't happened. Though I haven't walked the last month or so, my weight has managed to hold steady. My control over my diet has held. I'm especially proud of the fact that I had managed to stay disciplined with my diet through the Christmas holidays. It's been 10 months since I started this combination of mild diet control and exercise and I must say that I feel a lot better and a lot lighter. Gone is the old bloated feeling that I had. I just hope that I would be able to maintain this control and discipline moving forward.
So folks if you won't mind, I'll just take a nice and much-needed long walk outside. Have a great day.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008
News came out today that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's (GMA) sons are now seeking the ouster of Speaker Jose De Venecia from the House leadership. According to the article, the move was in response to the attacks the Speaker's son, Jose "Joey" De Venecia III, had previously levelled against the President's husband. Joey De Venecia had accused First Gentleman Mike Arroyo of involvement in kickbacks that surrounded the controversial ZTE deal.
The attacks have become more personal lately when the President's children brought up Joey de Venecia's past drug use, basically insinuating that the Speaker's son is mentally impaired or imbalanced.
All this back and forth between the two politically powerful families reminds us of how power can truly corrupt not just one person but also his/her entire family. Gone are the days when a President's family was content to remain in the background, shying away from the political limelight. Instead of getting involved in politics, family members used to involve themselves in charitable work and special, non-political projects.
However, those days seem to be over now. These days, it has become common for members of a President's family to throw their hat in the political ring and capitalize on the fame of their family name. Never mind if they're not really qualified and skilled enough to do the job. To convince themselves that they're up to the job of Senator, Congressman, Governor, or Mayor, all they need to do is listen to the seemingly endless praises heaped on them by the lapdogs they often surround themselves with.
And now it seems to me that based on these two news articles, the Arroyo children seem to be on their way to setting a new low in terms of public behavior. To supposedly defend their family honor, the sons have used their positions in Congress to openly attack a sitting Speaker and blatantly engage in political maneuverings to unseat the latter.
They have so far employed no subtlety and have shown no political savviness or sophistication in the manner by which they are attempting to unseat the Speaker. Instead of being savvy enough to let their political aides or Congressional allies do the dirty work for them, these guys have decided to do the dirty work themselves. The Filipino word "garapal" best describes the approach they are employing.
The sons' actions are disappointing and regrettable. Their conduct unbecoming of a Congressman, let alone a sitting President's child. The next Presidential elections aren't scheduled until May 2010. It's very unfortunate for what it simply means is that we still have two years to go before we see an end to this shameful and disgraceful public spectacle.