Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fancy Photo Shoot

Now, this is what I call a fancy photo shoot! Take a look below:

How cute...all the President's men flanking her in what they term as a "solidarity walk." There's former NEDA Secretary and now-CHED Commissioner Romulo Neri at her right while Vice-president Noli de Castro wears a smug expression at Arroyo's left. What could be on the veep's mind? "Hrmph....gisingin kaya ako ng bubwit na 'to ng kay-aga-aga para lang makilakad sa kanya sa harap ng Malacañang Press Corps...buwisit!" Of course, I'm just making that up...

Honestly, who are these guys kidding? Filipinos are not as gullible as before.

Photos are supposed to tell many stories, but this one doesn't say much. People aware of the numerous controversies hounding the Arroyo administration at present will simply interpret this as an attempt to thwart rumors of several cabinet men planning to bolt out from the administration.

Photo-ops like this remind me of a very effective PR strategy former President Joseph Estrada used to employ just before he decided to run for president in 1998. At that time, he was still the vice-president under the Ramos administration. While the position of vice-president is not exactly a position of power, Estrada was already setting his sights on the highest seat of power in the land.

At the onset, the so-called Philippine literati and elite looked down on Erap for being a two-bit actor with a less-than-respectable command of the English language. (Geez, I remember all those Erap jokes circulating in schools and offices at that time! Heard the one about Erap and "violence?" Hakhakhak!) But little did these people realize that Erap had an ace up his sleeve: his relationship with the masa.

And Erap played this ace of his to the hilt in the only way he knew how -- through constant media exposure. Soon, newspapers and TV news coverages had a liberal helping of photos/news clips carrying Erap appearing in this or that function, from kissing babies in Smokey Mountain to shaking hands with foreign dignitaries in Malacañang. Sometimes, one would see Erap's face in the most unlikeliest of places -- pointing to an alleged holdupper in a police precinct or buying vegetables at the local talipapa. Talk about omnipotence...

I was still in media at that time, and I remember one of our photographers complaining about a simple photo shoot of an alleged perpetrator in a controversial rape-slay case. The said photo shoot took too long because of Erap. According to him, the media photographers were made to wait for several hours upon Erap's orders. No one understood why this was so until he finally arrived at the police precinct. He talked a little to the alleged rapist, then started instructing to the photographers to take pictures of him pointing at the poor fellow. After a few more minutes, it was all over. So in totality, waiting for Erap took about two hours; the actual picture-taking only took less than 30 minutes.

Erap's strategy somewhat conveyed to the masses that he is truly concerned about the country's situation because of his personal visits to places where all the so-called happenings were. That is primarily what catapulted him to the Chief Executive position by 1998.

When trouble started to rock the foundations of the Erap administration, he resorted once more to this PR ploy to quash the rumors. In fact, it was he who initiated this "solidarity walk" with his own men when rumors scattered pertaining to his failing health and his weakening hold on his government.

And such a cheap political trick is now being pulled off by Gloria Arroyo herself.

Thus, to borrow the immortal words of Lavinia from "Pangarap na Bituin" -- Gloria Arroyo is nothing but a second-rate trying-hard copycat.

Very revolting, actually...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Romantic Memories on a Valentine's Night

Since it's Valentine's Day and I'm without any Romeo here in Cebu, I'll probably take a risk being called a kiss-and-tell and reminisce on some romantic memories from my distant past...


I met Manny (tunay niyang pangalan, wala nga lang apelyido to protect his person, hehe) in one of my first jobs -- in The Manila Times. I was a supplement writer, he was the resident artist. He was one of those lanky boy-next-door types with that brooding kind of personality -- parang parating me problema. I never thought I'd become friends with him because he also seemed to be the office's resident crush ng bayan, but somehow a friendship was forged, especially when we found out that we were classmates in Humanities 2 in UP Diliman. Yun nga lang, he dropped out of the class and I persisted.

At that time, Manny and I were in respective relationships. However, both our relationships were undergoing rough times. Somehow we sort of found solace in each other's depression, and things started...happening.

On Valentine's Day, I left the office ahead of Manny. As I reached our office's main door, the security guard stationed there was grinning at me from ear to ear. He then handed me a package and said, "Ma'am, andaming namamatay sa inggit sa 'yo ngayon!" He then urged me to open the package. Upon taking off the wraps, I found a box of Dunkin' Donuts heart-shaped doughnuts with the words "I love you" written on them. I looked for the card that indicated where the package came from but found none. Then as if on cue, Manny sneaked up on me from behind and whispered, "Happy Valentine's Day. Nagustuhan mo?" in my ear! Geez, I think my hair grew to unbelievable lengths at that very moment...

Manny was one of the most memorable men in my life, even if I couldn't call him a real "boyfriend." (Remember: we had respective relationships.) He was the most baduy and the most unorthodox of them all. I considered that doughnut proposal baduy -- but cute-baduy. He was also unorthodox because -- well, imagine him reading love poems from the Book of Solomon to me over the phone on a Good Friday. He was an artist in every sense of the word.

Unfortunately, Manny and I eventually had to cease our relationship in favor of the ones we already had -- but we remained friends up to this very day. I remember one time when he called me up at home. I was very much pregnant with my daughter already. He then asked me this question to which I did not have any answer: "Paano kaya kung ako pala ang father ng dinadala mo ngayon?" Suddenly I was reminded of how much a good kisser he was...

Manny's presently in Singapore, working in a newspaper there. He's still very single, but he has a child from a former relationship and a girlfriend. I'm here in Cebu working in a publishing firm, and I have a daughter from a poor excuse of a husband. He's on my Friendster account, and I guess he's doing fine. I'm not sure if I can say the same for me.


There's someone else I remember this Valentine's Day, but maybe it's better that I keep memories of this person to myself lang muna. All I know is that this person is living proof that a roll or two in the hay (read: sex) is not a prerequisite to having a meaningful relationship. Hooray for men like him!


An officemate of mine asked me earlier how my ex-husband proposed marriage to me. Good Lord: I honestly forgot! I guess that was an indicator of how superficial our relationship and eventual marriage was.


Then there was this guy -- another one of my former colleagues in the media profession -- who tried his luck wooing me. (No names na lang: baka lumaki pang ulo ng lalaking yun.) He smoked hard, drank hard, wore leather jackets even in summer, prided himself in his cars and guns...he was the perfect example of machismo at its worst. He never seemed to take my ideas seriously, only that I'd make a great trophy. He's still quite a prominent figure in the media profession at present, but I definitely don't want to have anything to do with assholes like him.


Junjun was a guy I used to date way back then. He came from a well-to-do Chinese family in Tacloban. I met him in a birthday party of my cousin. You see, my cousin and his little sister were classmates. He was there as a family friend, and I was there as a visiting relative from Manila. Sparks sorta flew between us, and the next time I visited my relatives in Leyte we sought each other out.

Considering that Junjun was quite a hefty guy with a Chinese heritage (the Chinese in Leyte are quite a formidable kind), I was kinda afraid of going with him on a date all alone. Thus, whenever he took me out for a date, I had my friends with me.

At first, I was kinda kilig that this guy from a prominent Chinese family preferred me over others. However, things started to go awry when...let's just say that the winds started picking up. In Tagalog, humangin siya.

Junjun would sometimes call me long-distance from this place or that, unconsciously flaunting his family's riches. One time, he called me from his family's "hekta-hektaryang lupa" in Capoocan, Leyte using his cellular phone. (Duh! I wasn't even sure if there was any signal in Capoocan!) At another time, he said to me: "Pag ako ang pinakasalan mo, wala ka nang ibang gagawin kundi humiga sa pera." Whaaat?! After acquiring my BroadComm degree from UP and getting a job as a journalist (at that time), that was all I was going to be? No way, Jose!

Junjun's married now and (I think) is residing in Dumaguete with his wife and kids. I guess he's already found someone to place on his bed of money, hehehe...



Friday, February 8, 2008

We're on Print!

Before I show you exactly what I'm talking about, first let me tell you how this came to be. My office's HR usually hands over the conceptualization of our weekly print ad to us in Marketing. My fellow Marketing colleagues then thought of putting people from different areas apart from Cebu together in the ad with the catch phrase: "Just because they come from different places doesn't mean that they can't work together." Since I'm from both Leyte and Manila, they decided to include me as one of the "print models" in the ad.

Thus, after a few mug shots and a little tweaking by our talented graphic designer, Mark, this is the result:

Note the smug look on my face. I'm just trying to project the "terror teacher" persona I got known for in my teaching days. hehehe...

This came out in today's edition of Sun.Star. That's me on the extreme left, followed by the lovely Jade, the cute Alfalfa-like Jon (note the single tuft of hair sticking on top of his head...cute!), killer half-kangaroo Noel (Peace, yo!) and the virginal Winnie. Oops, didn't notice that I cropped out Noel's place of origin. He's actually our half-Aussie, half-Cebuano mate.

This is what HR gets when they leave the making of the job ad to us. hehehehe...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Prayers for Jun Lozada

I just have to say this: Jun Lozada once again renewed my belief in the Filipino.

After receiving numerous death threats and almost getting erased from the face of this earth by operatives of the PNP, Rodolfo Noel "Jun" Lozada is finally coming into terms
with his new moniker as "star witness" with regard to the anomalous National Broadband Network (NBN) deal.

It takes a humongous amount of guts to actually face up to the powers that be and admit that they've been receiving massive kickbacks in return for "presidential favors." With the kind of track record
the Arroyo administration has in terms of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings, I wouldn't be surprised if anyone would have the balls to squeal on corrupt practices made by some of the president's men -- including the president's own husband!

But Jun Lozada stood up to the challenge, although not exactly with open arms -- which is quite understandable.

May God protect Filipinos like Jun Lozada. He may just be the key to finally blowing out in the open all the dastardly deeds of these people in power.

Almost every concerned Filipino is now tuned in to the teleserye-like unfolding of events in the Senate, and if history is going to be a basis (remember the Estrada impeachment proceedings?), something climactic is going to happen. I'm just waiting for that "you-can't-handle-the-truth" moment, and I'm sure that Jun Lozada will be at the heart of it all.

I call on every caring Filipino to please pray for Jun Lozada. Lord knows he'll really need it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

See what I Told You?

Just as soon as I predicted Jose de Venecia's downfall from the speakership of the House of Representatives, IT HAPPENED.

And just as I expected, JDV wasn't letting go of his position without spilling the beans on the administration that first put him into power and showered him with privileges, then dropped him like a hot potato.

Privilege speeches normally last for 10 minutes at most, but JDV took the opportunity to blast everyone he felt was responsible for his downfall in his one-hour privilege speech. (Yes, read it again: one-hour privilege speech.)

JDV did not mince his words when he dropped several bombs, beginning with the tampering of results of the 2004 presidential elections that extended Gloria Arroyo's term as Chief Executive. Then he proceeded to admit what he knows about the anomalous ZTE deal that concerned none other than the First Gentleman himself, Mike Arroyo. To emphasize the gravity of this issue, he noted that he and his son, Joey (the whistle-blower of the ZTE scam) received threats to their lives after the latter's revelations, and no one from the Palace tried to do anything about it.

Unfortunately, these bombs simply fizzled out with everyone whispering: "Why reveal these things only now?"

After enumerating all the pains he had gone through in his term as Speaker of the House, JDV wonderfully capped his fiery oration with a mild threat to the incoming Speaker (Prospero "Boy" Nograles), saying: "This could happen to you."

Inspite of everything, a total of 170+ congressmen voted that the seat of the Speaker of the House be rendered vacant. That is a substantial number, considering that the number of hands needed for this is only a little above 100.

Thus, at around midnight last night, Boy Nograles was sworn in as the new Speaker of the House.

*Sigh* In the end, a trapo still lords it over the House of Representatives in the person of Nogi who, I believe, will be much worse than JDV in terms of butt-licking the President and her henchmen. With this guy's rise to power, my predictions of renewed calls for Cha-Cha grow stronger. Who knows: the 2010 presidential elections may just be cancelled. (God forbid...)

I actually pity JDV. The way I see it, his political career is so over after this. Without the powers that be protecting him, he'll just be as vulnerable as a first-time pulitiko who has to be content with grabbing leftovers from pork barrel funds.

No wonder he's now considering aligning himself with the Opposition. That's probably the only group that will take him in at this point.

Such is the rise and fall of Jose de Venecia.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Doing a Julius Caesar

After a whopping five terms of office as Speaker of the House, it looks like Jose de Venecia's world is now crumbling around him. His own colleagues in Congress are doing a Julius Caesar on him, and the main antagonist in this comedy -- er -- political upheaval is the same man he literally groomed himself to become a formidable personality in the Administration: the honorable gentleman from Davao, Prospero Nograles.

After several attempts in the past to unseat him, Joe de V managed to stand his ground. After all, there was always Malacañang to back him up. However, with his own flesh and blood bringing out into the open the controversial ZTE contract anomalies said to be perpetrated by Malacañang henchmen, JDV's grave was suddenly dug. The old man is now being made to pay for the alleged "sins" of his son toward the powers that be.

And what impeccable timing these power-hungry leeches in Congress have! Finding that Achilles' Heel in JDV's political persona that was once protected by none other than the President herself, these "honorable gentlemen of the House" -- as they call themselves -- are now preparing for a political massacre of one of the longest-standing figures in recent Philippine politics.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not exactly a JDV fan. In fact, I'm not a fan of these "honorable gentlemen" who barely get anything done, and instead waste time, taxpayers' money, and their respective pork barrels on grandstanding and other whatnots. I should know: look what happened to our former congresswoman. Well, in her defense, she never did any grandstanding. In fact, she didn't do anything at all that would prove to be beneficial for her constituents in the Leyte province.

This recent skirmish in the House of Representatives only goes to show several things: first, that when blood relatives squeal on Malacañang, one should be ready for the death of his/her political dynasty. Second, that there are no permanent allies in politics -- only permanent interests.

I believe that Nograles and his allies do have the numbers to finally topple JDV. But considering this man's trapo nature, it's just going to be a case of one set of rascals being replaced by another set of rascals. Let's just see how much of a Malacañang lapdog he's going to be.

If the issue on charter change gets revived for the nth time in the House of Representatives under Nograles' term as Speaker, then my theory is proven: that Nograles has been bestowed with the all-mighty Malacañang shield of power.

And why not? 2010 is just around the corner.

As for JDV, well...there's always golf to come back to.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Tamano is New PLM Prez!


My all-time crush, Adel Tamano, has just been installed as president of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM)!

Dang, now I wish I continued with my master's degree. Then I would be able to apply for a teaching position in PLM. hehe....

It's not just that adorable face and those killer dimples that make Adel Tamano my all-time crush. You guys should listen to him when he speaks. He is eloquence personified.

Now, Philippine politics has its share of personalities that also happen to have the faces that could actually make it in show business. However, Adel Tamano not only possesses the face that could give Piolo Pascual a run for his money: he's got the brains and principles to boot!

Tamano's ideas and stands on issues are -- to say the least -- brilliant. He knows how to post and defend arguments in any forum. He can stand strong behind his statements even when debating with more seasoned personalities in the political arena (Read: trapos). My world actually stops when I see him on ANC.

No wonder Adel Tamano was chosen as spokesman for the United Opposition.

PLM is really lucky to have Tamano as its new president. With his youth and brilliant ideas, this university is sure to prosper in the next few years.

And now, for that master's degree...


For detailed information on the installation of Adel Tamano as PLM president, just click on this link.