Monday, December 31, 2007


The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) under Bayani Fernando is one heartless and mindless agency under the Office of the President. A day never passes without a motorist hurting himself and damaging his vehicle while driving at night because of the MMDA's concrete barriers that obstruct our main thoroughfares - EDSA in particular. Trouble is, these solid slabs of cement are never properly lit or to say the least, given a proper reflector for all motorists to see. I have been a victim some time ago and neither was my driver-companion drunk (DUI) or overspeeding. We were simply and carefully cruising along EDSA that night and before we knew it, a concrete barrier - almost invisible had damaged our vehicle. As expected, the MMDA was quick to blame everyone else on the scene except themselves. Short of saying that their concrete barriers were not properly reflectorized, they immediately slapped the driver with a charge of "reckless imprudence resulting to damage to property." Now, I have always identified the word "reckless" to mean with a sense of unmindful behavior, and Webster surely defines the word to mean "lacking caution." As far as i can remember, that was exactly what the driver was doing while he was driving. He was so careful but that darn concrete barrier was like a shadow of death hounding would-be victims on the highway. And we were just one of the many these monsters hurt every single day (night). It's time the MMDA does something about this quickly. How many more vehicles are to be destroyed, limbs to be lost and lives to be claimed before Chairman BF acts on this? This is definitely not his version of Metro Gwapo. This is his reckless job called Metro Gago!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Many of the Korean nationals that come to our country are an unruly lot, arriving here in the same manner a swarm of locusts come to feast on our crops. Call me a racist, but there's just something about a lot of them that's just not oh so proper! They just simply lack in fine manners. I believe most of them who come here suffer from what they call Maum Sand Hada, or being in a state of 'mental anguish,' which explains why several of them behave like Troglodytes. I just had a brief conversation with a neighbor who had just driven from Baguio City, claiming that Koreans are everywhere in that summer capital, and especially in Camp John Hay where they just love the game of golf. I wonder, a few more arrivals there and they could change the name of Camp John Hay to Kim Jong Hee. Or perhaps the historical Session Road to See-Hyun Road. The same thing is happening over at the BF Homes Subdivision in Paranaque City. Over there, Koreans have alloted for their community a huge portion of the main Aguirre Avenue with Korean restaurants, schools, churches, groceries, internet cafes and even a beauty parlor. This scenario is duplicated in many other places in the country. Perhaps Aguirre Avenue may soon have a name change as well - to Arirang Avenue?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban recently joined GMA-7 Network Inc. as one of its board directors (independent), together with former Central Bank Governor Jaime 'Jimmy' Laya. I am reminded of another GMA, the publicity-hungry President Gloria Arroyo who had appointed another former Chief Justice - Hilario Davide Jr. to the United Nations (UN) as the Philippines' Permanent Representative there. Davide's appointment drew criticisms from both students and teachers of the law. To my knowledge, his nomination is contrary to public policy which limits foreign service only to those below 65 years of age. Davide is more than 70, thus he cannot be VALIDLY nominated or appointed. Any such case to his confirmation would be invalid for the same reason. But then again, this is a case of what one may call a 'presidential prerogative,' right? Sure, but the law here is very clear and by all means should never be compromised, and the irony of it all is that it involves no less than the highest guardian and protector of the laws of the land - a former Chief Justice.
(Image from

Sunday, December 23, 2007


In a desperate effort to make things look nice and dandy this Christmas season, no less than NCRPO Chief Gen. Geary Barias, moonlighting as the PNP's chief spin-doctor, said that the crime rate in the Metropolis has dropped to 40 percent. In a statement, Gen. Barias said that "the month of December usually sees the highest number of petty crimes such as theft, snatching and robbery, and because of programs we have instituted, we were able to minimize crime incidents, making December just like any ordinary month of the year." Barias didn't give any comparative figures though. Now, which metro area was he referring to? Maybe to some far away, small town, laid-back mid-western town in the US? But to actually tell us that the crime rate in Metro-Manila has dropped to 40 percent is pushing it a bit too much. I wonder if his nose is a bit longer these days? Come to think of it, he's even a namesake of San Francisco's first mayor - John Geary, and Geary Boulevard of course. But because of this unbelievably 'hard-sell' declaration, he's better off changing his first name to "BLUFF" - for Bluff Street in St. George, Utah. Take a look around you. Do you honestly feel safe whenever you see a PNP in the vicinity? That's the image Barias and his men should first work on. We need honest cops - and that's the only time when the crime rate might just go down to 40 percent.
(Image from

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Adrian E. Cristobal - the great essayist, political satirist and writer passed on yesterday, December 22, 2007. He was a close friend and a colleague of my father during the Marcos era and thereafter. A friend to many, a loving father and a great teacher in literature and creative writing. I learned much from him especially in the field of political satire and in the fine art of sarcasm. He will always be my 'professor,' both in each stroke of a pen and in the many lessons in life. Among the many books he wrote were, 'Occasional Prose,' 'Pasquinades,' 'The Tragedy of the Revolution,' and 'The Millennium President.' Adieu, Adrian. Until we meet again.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Soon after President Gloria Arroyo granted President Joseph Estrada a pardon, Malacanang insiders were once again toying on the idea of transfering the remains of Fernando Poe Jr. to the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani. This is a desperate effort to appease FPJ's family and the millions of his fanatics. The point is, while this is a noble offer, the Palace boys are just simply leaning over backwards a little too much. The GMA regime should remember that "The Great Unwashed" who voted for FPJ cannot be appeased at this time. By the way, do you know that the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani was once desecrated (from the point of view of many) when then President Corazon Aquino allowed the burial of a dog with a 21-gun salute to boot? The K-9 was an asset to President Cory's Presidential Security Group (PSG) in Malacanang.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) website describes one of its former presidents, Felipe Monserrat as "a prominent businessman and sports lover, Felipe Monserrat assumed the Presidency of PAAF and 'NOC Philippines' with a vision of initiating drastic reforms in sports. Despite his short stint as head of Philippine sports, he managed the organization with distinction and professional management." There are some errors in the site that needs to be corrected right away, because contrary to what the POC website claims, the truth of the matter is that Monserrat was POC head for four years - 1968-1972, and not 1969-1970. He was also concurrent head of the PAAF, and headed the Philippine Olympic Delegation to the 1968 Mexico Olympics as well. He was then re-elected to the same office in 1970. However, he decided not to seek re-election after his tenure in 1972. His vision for Philippine sports then is that very same vision we now hold close to our hearts. I have been proud and honored (and will always be) to claim kinship with him, being a first cousin of my late mother on the Caballero clan, and only recently had I discovered of his tremendous and substantial contributions to Philippine sports, including football. I found out no less from him that prior to 1961, there was no Philippine Football Association (PFA). All there was was a 'football committee' forming part of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Association (PAAF). The president of the PAAF then was Mr. Antonio de las Alas, who decided, together with the PAAF Executive Committee all matters regarding football, in spite of their very limited knowledge of the sport. Monserrat was then a member of the football committee and sad to say, each time he wanted to promote or do something positive for football and bring it to a higher level, the PAAF committee would almost always turn him down because of 'lack of funds' for any project. This prompted Monserrat, out of frustration but still with that driving 'spirit of sports' in him to talk to some friends believeing that it was time for all sports associations to seek independence and autonomy, and to make decisons on their own with their respective sports. Monserrat, obviously doing this for football, got togethet with Naning Yenko, Teddy Benigno, Louie Javellana and Virgilio Pantaleon and founded the 'Association for the Advancement of Amateur Athletics' or AAAA. Deciding that this was the only way to achieve 'autonomy for all sports,' they went to Congress and the Senate to lobby with its representatives an important bill that would give autonomy to Philippine sports. It was an uphill battle, even with a powerful endorsement from no less than President Carlos P. Garcia himself. The PAAF fought them with every ammunition they could strike them with. This 'lobbying' took two years of weekly visits to both congresses, including a historic 'march of athletes' to Malacanang to show that Filipino athletes were rock solid in supporting their struggle for 'autonomy.' And then finally, 'Republic Act # 3135 was passed, giving full autonomy for all sports in the country. Gone were the days when athletes and sports officials had to beg PAAF for money - for support it so deserves. They now became autonomous and so had the free hand in organizing their respective sports. This planted the seed for the birth of the various National Sports Associations (NSAs).

So, in 1961, the Philippine Football Association (PFA) was born. Monserrat became its first president and his term would span over ten years. Among his various projects was a decision of his to import foreign coaches. And since this was expensive to do, he decided to approach Mr. Andres Soriano of San Miguel to persuade him to sponsor the importation of foreign coaches for Philippine football. It was then that Monserrat touched bases with the Spanish Football Federation to get him some Spanish coaches for Filipino football players. The Spanish federation recommended four Spaniards - among them were the great Juan Cutillas and Tomas Lozano. The importation of these foreign coaches was so relevant and successful that Monserrat persuaded further Mr. Soriano to import four more British coaches and two Irish coaches. They arrived in the Philippines and their contributions to Philippine football were outstanding. It was during this era when the Philippines was at par, sometimes even better with teams from China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. Philippine football was at its finest. But prior to this, our team would be losing miserably to these countries.

Because of Felipe Monserrat's achievements and contributions for Philippine sports (including football), the Alabama based United States Sports Academy (USSA) honored him by inclusion to its 'Hall of Fame.' Dr. Tom Rosanditch, its president, together with two other members of the USSA Executive Committe flew to the country for the awarding rites. It was a momentous occasion that was held in Malacanang with high officials from government, from the business sector, and from the diplomatic community. The PFA Executive Committe unanimously elected him as its honorary president for life.

And so, the same football blood that flows in the veins of my uncle flows in mine. As one of the founders and organizers of FUTBOL FILIPINO, it is my dream to hold the 1ST FELIPE MONSERRAT CUP. Lest we forget his achievements which paved the way for the freedom for all sports in our country, it is high time we honor this true sportsman - this gentleman who contributed so much to Philippine sports and to Philippine football.


The Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost) has recently recalled all newly-circulated PGMA stamps. In an interview, the PhilPost discovered from its field personnel and postal branches that Pinoys who were buying these all had a sudden uncontrollable urge to put SPIT on the wrong side of these stamps!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Im not even a bit surprised at all that the PNP who stormed and destroyed (and looted) the Manila Peninsula Hotel during that l'affaire Trillanes were given awards and accolades for a job well done. Well, I have always said that the police must obey the law while enforcing the law. Did they? You be the judge. I spoke to a Manila Pen waiter recently and told me of seeing policemen carting away stuff they could get their hands on (they call it 'gathering of evidence') - laptops, towels, food, linens and even a shower cap! It's that 'culture of impunity' hounding us over and over again. So, why does DILG Sec. Ronaldo 'Ronnie' Puno have to add insult to injury by rewarding these pseudo-santa-cops led by PGen. Geary Barias when they already plundered the best loot of the day? You may have pleased your lady-boss, but you certainly angered the already pissed-off citizenry. Oh, by the way Ronnie, I heard you have a new laptop? A minor coincidence only perhaps?

Monday, December 17, 2007


Pasko ng pagpapatawad sa makasalana't huwad,
pero kung ang sala'y sagad,
pababaing pakaladkad.
Bayang hindi mapalagay sa botong walang saysay,
kapag 'di pa nagkamalay,
pasko'y magiging pasaway.
Magigising ngayong pasko itong bayang inabuso,
hindi na nga paloloko sa kawatang nasa trono.

Monday, December 10, 2007


This Christmas season, no less than the PNP top cops, Police Chief Gen. Avelino 'Sonny' Razon and NCRPO Chief Gen. Geary Barias sent out a memorandum to all cops to each wear a 'Mamang Pulis/Santa Claus Headgear' for public viewing while on patrol in the metropolis during the holidays. This reminds me of two things though:

1. Santas are givers and not takers.

2. Instead of a Santa cap, shouldn't the police be wearing a handkerchief (a la bank robber) over their faces instead?

Just a thought.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


If PRO is the opposite of CON, what then is the opposite of PROgress?

Enough said.
(Image from

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Our Ship of State is the only ship in the world that leaks from the top.

Enough said.

Friday, December 07, 2007


I had a rare privilege to be part of a momentous occasion last night as we celebrated 100 years of Philippine football. A gala dinner sponsored by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), was held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel and our very special guest was no less than 'Federation de Football Internationale Association' or FIFA's Joseph 'Sepp' Blatter, together with 'Asian Football Confederation' or AFC's Mohammad bin Hammam, and my friend, newly-elected 'Philippine Football Federation' (PFF) president Jose Mari Martinez. I also met an old-timer in Philippine football - the great Coach Juan Cutillas, who at 84 still has his heart on the sport. Mr. Blatter rallied the organizers, players and the officials to focus on the development of the sport because he believes that the Philppines has what it takes to be a football giant, just like Filipino-Spaniard Paulino Alcantara, a world-renowned footballer, who to this day holds the all-time record of scoring 356 goals in 357 games played! It was a memorable night as Mr. Blatter went on in infusing new enthusiasm and lifeblood to a sport that has taken a back seat to give way to other less-exciting sports. The next day found ourselves at the Don Bosco Orphanage in Alabang again with Mr. Blatter, Mr. bin Hammam and Mr. Martinez as we witnessed a football game by the kids in attendance. My gratitude goes also to my colleagues at FUTBOL FILIPINO - Aldrick Diaz and Marilyn Diaz for the support, for Dr. Rafael 'Doc Rafa' Rodriguez for the same, and to a great athlete, Mr. Ayi Nii Aryee, a top junior footballer from the Republic of Ghana, who I now consider a Filipino by heart as well, as he is now doing excellent coaching work for kids in football, to the Union FC in particular, contrary to what some other individuals may think. I was privileged further to have presented Mr. Blatter a trophy and a #18 footbal jersey, on behalf of the Union Football Club. Why the #18? Because it is our collective hope and dream that by the year 2018, the Philippines would finally be sending a team to the 2018 World Cup! If we train our sights on that, we could very well make it a dream come true. But, it is also a reminder though, that when the One Great Scorer finally comes to write against our names, He marks - not that we won or lost - but how we played the game.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


(UNDERTOW - The Philippine Chronicle, May 19, 2007)

Biofuel technology seems to be gaining momentum here in the Philippines. Congressman Juan Miguel Zubiri (possibly senator), who fancies himself as the 'green candidate' is pushing biofuels as an environmentally friendly solution to the Philippines' perennial oil supply and price problems. Zubiri claims that biofuels are the answer to persistent energy and environmental problems, and that their development and production will lead to countryside development and decongestion of our cities and municipalities, and would eventually eliminate the need for Filipino engineers and scientists to seek employment overseas as OFWs "since they can work on biofuel plants right here in Batangas." All these because the 'Biofuels Act of 2006' provides for a mandatory blend of at least 5% Bio-Ethanol into vehicle fuel by 2008 and 10% by 2010? Well, before we start planting sugarcane in our own backyards and before we jump into the biofuels bandwagon, let's first take a little reality check here. The total land area of the Philippines is approximately 300,000 square kilometers, 19% of it being 'arable land,' or 60,000 square kilometers. In a sense, this already represents the maximum biofuels potential of the country for a specific thing like Ethanol from sugarcane. So, if one plants every square inch of land to sugarcane, one can actally calculate how much Ethanol can be produced, assuming of course we are willing to give up growing our own rice, corn and other important crops for our food. Researchers at the Polytechnic University of New York claim that "considering projected population growth in the world, the humanitarian policy is to maintain croplands for growing food, and not fuel. Everyday, more than 16,000 kids die from hunger-related causes. One child every five seconds. The situation will only get worse. Thus, it would be morally wrong to divert cropland needed for human food supply to powering automobiles instead. It would also deplete soil fertility and the long-term capability to maintain food production. We would destroy the farmlands that our children and grandchildren will need to live and survive." Well, this is another clear example of how some 'environmental ideologists' ignore simple science and bring about unforseeable consequences! The illusion that we can maintain our present levels of consumption with biofuels may very well be plain and simple hogwash. So now, we have a new snake oil being peddled by Zubiri in biofuels. You're full of biogas Migz!

Before and during election day, I sent several text messages (9 to be exact) to the Comelec hotline, as they have been advertising on TV if one needs a quick info on his/her exact precinct location. As expected, after texting 'comelectxt precinct' my full name and birthdate to 2898, I got this repeated reply: 'Comelec servers are currently updating its files. Please try again later. This is a free msg." So, if the Comelec can't even fix a small problem lke this one, what's the whole point in adverstising a free service when all it gives you is proof of its incompetence? And should they still continue to exist for the 2010 presidential elections and beyond? You be the judge.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


"Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, (1) act with justice, (2) give everyone his due, and (3) observe honesty and good faith." - (Jorge C. Bocobo, Article 19, Civil Code of the Philippines) Note: This is the golden rule of Philippine laws.


In a previous post, I had made mention of a case involving Attorney Alan Paguia and the Supreme Court wherein the former asked a set of questions to the SC which to this day have not been satisfactorily answered. Instead, a continuing indefinite suspension for Paguia was rendered and is still in effect. Both teachers and students of the law may relate well to these questions and then say that indeed the Supreme Court should have come up with a better and acceptable response. It sets a bad precedent to future queries on the matter.

A re-print of the whole letter is as follows:

By Alan F. Paguia
Professorial Lecturer
Colleges of Law
Ateneo de Manila University
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila

June 30, 2003

To: Chief Justice Hlario G. Davide Jr. and Associate Justice Artemio Panganiban
Supreme Court, Manila

Dear Sirs:

I humbly write this letter as a citizen to public officers. I understand that under the law, public officers are mandated to answer queries from the public within 15 working days. My queries are:

1. Is it true that the law strictly prohibits judges or justices from participating in partisan political activities?

2. Is it true that your honors participated in a partisan political activity during Vice-President Gloria Arroyo's oath-taking at EDSA on January 20, 2001?

3. Is it true that your honors attended and authorized the Arroyo oath-taking in your honors' official capacity as judicial officers?

4. Is it true that the basic law involved in the Estrada Vs. Arroyo controversy is Article Vll, Section 8 of the Constitution ("In case of death, permanent disability, removal from office, or resignation of the President, the Vice-President shall become the President to serve the unexpired term.")?

5. Is it true that the sole constitutional ground invoked by Vice-President Arroyo for her oath-taking as President was 'Permanent Disabilty'?

6. Is it true that your honors authorized the oath-taking by Vice-President Arroyo at EDSA on that same ground of 'Permanent Disability'?

7. Is it true that Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. administered the said oath-taking at EDSA on that same ground of 'Permanent Disability'?

8. Is it true that your honors unquestioningly accepted Vice-President Arroyo's allegation of 'Permanent Disability' on the part of President Joseph Estrada?

9. Is it true that the administrative matter of administering the oath-taking at EDSA by the Chief Justice involved the performance of an official duty which ought to be consistent with the Constitution?

10. Is it true that there was never any proof of compliance with the constitutional requirements regarding the said 'Permanent Disability'? ("Written Declaration" by the President or majority of his Cabinet members.)

11. Is it true that your honors, as well as the other justices, later rejected that ground of 'Permanent Disability' and replaced it with a 'Resignation,' even as President Estrada never wrote any resignation letter?

12. Is it true that due process of law absolutely requires the 'Cold Neutrality' of an 'Impartial Judge' both in appearance and in substance, without which the proceedings are rendered 'void' or 'without effect' from the beginning?

Most respectfully,

Alan F. Paguia

Monday, December 03, 2007


Hours after announcing his resignation on October 1, 2007, Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos returned to his office at the eight floor of the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros to say his farewells and wrap up some unfinished business. Among those pending matters was a Supreme Court resolution dated August 28, 2007 asking the Comelec if they already proclaimed any nominee of Buhay Party-List.

Also brought to Abalos' attention was the criminal case filed against Rene Velarde, son of El Shaddai leader Bro. Mariano "Mike" Velarde, as well as Carissa Coscolluela and Irwin Tieng for attending the sessions of the House of Representatives without having been proclaimed as party-list congressmen (See Art. 177 of the Revised Penal Code, Usurpation of Public Authority).

Coscolluela served as the chief of staff of Sen. Richard Gordon. Irwin is the son of businessman William Tieng who had come under fire for allegedly supplying Duty-Free Philippines with chocolates that were either expired or banned in other countries for containing cancer-causing substances. Gordon and the elder Tieng are secret business partners of Lourdes "Beng" Velarde, Deputy Director-General of Duty-Free Philippines and wife of Rene Velarde.

The three accused were in the second and illegal list of Buhay nominees that was submitted by Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Administrator Mel Robles who himself is facing graft charges against the Ombudsman. The Comelec, in a resolution dated July 19, 2007, allowed Robles to continue as chairman of the Buhay party despite the constitutional ban on civil servants from being members of political parties. This decision is presently being challenged in the Supreme Court by Christian Seneres who served as Buhay congressman for two terms and as Secretary-General of Buhay, submitted the original list of nominees on behalf of the party-list organization.

Amidst the commotion that surrounded Abalos' surprise resignation, and aware that the Supreme Court had taken notice of the Velarde group's attendance of congressional sessions, despite the pendency of the case and the non-proclamation of any Buhay nominee, Comelec Director Alioden Dalaig hastily prepared a certificate antedating the proclamation of Velarde, Coscolluela and Tieng to September 3, 2007 and routed it among the Comelec commissioners, including Abalos.

However, this contradicts Robles' arguments in the Supreme Court that the Comelec resolution allowing him to continue as Buhay chairman had the effect of proclaiming Velarde and his co-defendants. All three of Robles' nominees took their oaths of office before Chief Justice Reynato Puno on July 20, 2007 in the presence of Mike Velarde who personally assured the Chief Justice that they were already proclaimed by Comelec as of that date.

Robles' lawyer, Romulo Macalintal reiterated this claim in a comment that he submitted to the Supreme Court on September 17, 2007. In that comment, Macalintal made no mention whatsoever about any proclamation taking place on September 3, 2007. Velarde, Coscolluela and Tieng also made no references to any such proclamation in the sworn statements that they had made in the office of the Quezon City prosecutor on September 6 and September 13, 2007.

So, how could this be a valid proclamation when the individuals supposedly proclaimed were not even aware of it? Furthermore, the Supreme Court asked the Comelec on August 28, 2007 whether they already proclaimed any Buhay nominee, but instead of answering that very simple question, the Comelec asked for a 60-day extension within which to prepare a reply, and then on October 1, 2007, the Comelec informed the Supreme Court that they had "proclaimed" the Robles nominees on September 3, 2007 (five days after they were asked by the SC if there had been a proclamation).

This is a blatant act of 'kabastusan' by the Comelec and obviously shows a collusion with the Robles faction.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


"Aristocracy of the intellect is the true aristocracy and is worthy of honor and respect. It should measure success not in terms of lands, houses, automobiles and a large bank account, but by helpfulness to others, by having rendered service to the poor, by having stood for righteousness at any cost. It fights wrong and oppression in every form." - Jorge C. Bocobo (Commencement address, U.P., June 13, 1948)

(L.B. - June 13, 2007)


(On the Pres. Estrada conviction) Plunder involves enrichment from government coffers that may result in "material damage to the economy." So, how then is receiving Jueteng money and commissions from Belle Corporation related to government funds?

(L.B. - November 20, 2007)


Yesterday: "I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have not run away with the silverware." - Pres. Diosdado Macapagal

Today: "I have dined with the wealthy and the powerful, but the silverware was just too big to fit inside my tiny Prada bag!" - Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

(L.B. - December 3, 2007)
(Image from


(Still on the Manila Pen incident) The police must obey the law while enforcing the law.
Enough said.

(L.B. - December 3, 2007)

(Sing to the tune of "Santa Claus is coming to town")

"She cheats when you are sleeping, she lies when you're awake;
we know that she's been bad not good,
so be gone! for country's sake!"

(L.B. - December 10, 2006)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

October 19, 1886 - July 23, 1965

By Leslie Bocobo
October 19, 2006
Manila Bulletin

"Our faith is firm that when the sun goes down, there shall be no regretting, but we shall look back with a sense of achievement," thus spoke Dean Jorge Bocobo to the College of Law students of the University of the Philippines many years ago. Prophetic were his words, for he left us a legacy of sterling achievements.

He served his country in various capacities for no less than half a century - a clean public record probably only a few Filipinos can equal. He was a scholar, an educator, a lay preacher, a moralist, an author, an essayist, a jurist, a nationalist, and most of all, a Filipino who loved his country so deeply. The greater part of that service was rendered in the University of the Philippines.

He started his public career as a law clerk in the Executive Bureau in 1907. When the UP College of Law was founded in 1911, he was appointed to teach civil law. His appointment came even before his admission to the Philippine Bar. Among his students, four became presidents of the Philippines - Jose P. Laurel, Manuel A. Roxas, Elpidio Quirino and Ferdinand E. Marcos.

When he succeeded George Malcolm as Dean of the College in 1917, he initiated weekly, and later fortnightly assemblies where students discussed the issues of the day and heard inspirational talks by prominent men. Every week he posted on the bulletin board a one-page essay entitled 'monday mentor' which carried his nationalistic sentiments and his exhortations to his students. He promoted the tradition of excellence of the college by raising to '2.75' or better the general average for graduation. For his dedicated service to the UP College of Law, the UP Law Center - Bocobo Hall was named after him. A similar building at the Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where he finished his law course also bears his name.

The observance of National Heroes Day and the revival of Filipino folk dances began during his incumbency as acting president of the University of the Philippines from 1927 to 1928. In his crusade for good manners and right conduct among the students, he organized a courtesy committee and circulated a publication known as 'Courtesy Appeals.' He was permanent president from 1934 to 1939. Through his initiative, the 'Statue of Oblation' was erected. To him, the university must be committed to the "ideal of constructing an edifice more lasting than stone and steel, and that is, a sturdy character for men who shall uphold that righteousness which exalteth a nation, men with the powerful brawn and physical courage of Elias, the civic-mindedness of Isagani, and the learning and patriotic fervor of Ibarra." He was chairman 'ex-officio' of the UP Board of Regents when President Manuel L. Quezon appointed him in 1939 as Secretary of Public Instruction (Education). As secretary, he worked for more Filipino materials in the content of education, the use of the local dialect as auxiliary medium of instruction, and the inclusion of Philippine historical events in the curricula of the public schools in the country. In 1942, he was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. In that magistracy, he penned some of the decisions which have become miletones in Philippine jurisprudence to this day. In 1947, he was designated chairman of the Code Commission which drafted the Civil Code of the Philippines, also known as the 'Civil Code of the Brown Race' or the 'Brown Race Civil Code.'It was primarily through his efforts that certain provisions such as giving more rights to married women, implanting the principle of equity in Philippine jurisprudence, promoting the solidarity of the Filipino family, elevating Filipino customs to the category of law, and exalting the human personality were incorporated in the Civil Code.

Considered as an international legal luminary, he was a distinguished member of the international commission created to draft a common penal code for all Spanish and Portuguese-speaking peoples, the 'Instituto Hispano-Luso-Americano Derecho Internacional,' and the 'Academia de Jurisprudencia y Legislacion' - to name a few. This true Filipino who had a complete mastery of the English and Spanish languages wrote 'Radiant Symbol,' 'Streams of Life,' 'Furrows and Arrows,' and the unpublished 'Henry and Loleng' - the first Filipino novel in English, became an honorary member of the 'Academia de la Lengua Espanola,' and translated from Spanish to English Dr. Jose Rizal's letters and novels - the unexpurgated version of the 'Noli Me Tangere' and the 'El Filibusterismo.' For his broad learning, profound wisdom and long distinguished public service, Dr. Bocobo, who was one of the first government 'pensionados' to the United States where he took up law at the Indiana University, was thrice conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, 'honoris causa' by the University of Southern California (USC) in 1930, Indiana University (IU) in 1951, and the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1953.

Jorge Cleofas Bocobo was born on October 19, 1886 in Gerona, Tarlac of hardy Ilocano parents and was married to Feliza Zialcita de Castro of Orani, Bataan and Balayan, Batangas. Seven children were born of this marriage: Elvira, Florante, Celia, Ariel, Dalisay, Israel and Malaya.

When his sun went down on July 23, 1965, he knew there was no regretting, yet he must have had the desire, as he expressed it on a momentous occasion, "to see how much we have not done rather than how much we have done, so that in all humility, we may resolve to do more."

Friday, November 30, 2007

"I'M MARRIED TO THE COUNTRY." - Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Some years ago, President Arroyo made a public declaration by saying: "I'm married to the country." Well, could this be the reason why she keeps SCREWING the Filipino people?!?

(L.B. - March 17, 2006)
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(UNDERTOW - The Philippine Chronicle, May 12, 2007)

Giant telecommunications firms here in the country such as Globe and Smart have for some time now become favorite targets of the New People's Army (NPA). The numerous cell sites that cater to our number one pastime, perhaps second only to gossiping and politicking are often burned to the ground as part of the NPA's extortion of revolutionary taxes. Each time we encounter a headline like "NPA Attacks Cell Site" - most likely it is because the cellphone company has not paid its monthly dues to the insurgents. In addition to this, do you know that the NPA attacks more Globe cell sites than Smart cell sites by far, as evidenced by Google? Check it out yourself if you don't believe me and see that in an overwhelming majority of the cases over the years, Globe spends much more money in rebuildng its damaged cell sites compared to Smart. So, is it possible that Smart pays revolutionary taxes to the NPA to protect its sites? Or maybe Smart even gives free cellphones and load to the NPA, the better to coordinate their attacks on ... Globe?

After hopefully deciding which candidates to vote for, it will be that time once again for us to troop to our respective precincts and cast our votes on Monday. I must admit though that my senatorial list was quite a struggle to fill and remains almost half full - or half empty depending on how one views things. They are: Chavit Singson, Gringo Honasan, Martin Bautista, Chiz Escudero and Sonny Trillanes. That's it. Chavit because I know him well enough to make judgment that he is a good man and a true defender and advocate of the 'probinsiyanos.' I have worked with him closely in the past and his heart is not only GI or 'genuine ilocano,' but also genuinely for the common man, the oppressed and the marginalized. So, no matter what one thinks and says of Chavit, he still has my vote. Gringo, because I also know him personally as a true officer and gentleman, a man of honor and valor, and contrary to the other candidates who have chosen to be fence-sitters, Gringo on the other hand has chosen to jump fences! Martin, simply because I don't know him at all to make judgment, but I must say that I am quite impressed with his vision for our country. He seems like a real honest and well-meaning guy, packed with certain qualities one would find hard to see in most of our candidates. It's time for a new doctor in the Senate, don't you agree? Chiz, because he can talk to you with all sincerity and spunk, and with a fiery conviction for the truth without blinking an eye (that's because he doesn't make eye contact whenever he speaks), and except for the fact that he speaks in a telegram-like monotone, he too gets my vote as well. Sonny Trillanes because he definitely has guts and will do anything for the country. He has vision and 'cojones,' which many around don't have even just one. He has many fanatic followers and definitely will be Malacanang's headache. One other fellow I'm sorely missing in this senatorial race is my good friend law professor Alan Paguia. And just like Gov. Singson who I worked closely with during the 'Juetengate' scandal, I have on the other hand joined hands with Attorney Paguia during the 'Gloriagate' scandal. Alan was teaching law in the other law school - Ateneo that is, when his brilliant career (upholding and teaching the law) was cut short by an indefinite suspension slapped by the Supreme Court. It was easier for the high court to suspend him instead of just answering the questions he lodged at then SC Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. and the other justices regarding EDSA 2. Legions of Filipinos relate perfectly to Alan's questions, and the issue on his case with the SC remains a big question mark to this day. But that's another story to tell someday. As for the other candidates like Butch Pichay, well of course he's on my list too - my grocery list of vegetables I shall be buying in the market for my next week's 'kim-chi.'

A Google map showing the Pandacan Oil Depot (POD), Manila's incendiary hub which encompasses both banks of the Pasig river, serves as an eye-opener as one is shown numerous oil and gasoline storage tanks. Right to the west of the river shows the Malacanang palace grounds including the presidential quarters. On the northern side of the area, one sees the LRT-2 system, which on a daily basis transports thousands of passengers to and from their respective destinations. Boarding passengers are subjected to a security check by guards equipped with lethargic Labradors and state-of-the-art wooden chopsticks that poke the contents of their bags. And of course, all around this highly combustible situation are slums, ghettoes, business establisments and residences. An explosion of gargantuan proportion may well obliterate its immediate neighbors including, God forbid (really?) Malacanang to kingdom come. But don't blame me for reminding would-be terrorists of the idea. I'm sure they know about it already too well. This is public knowledge and has caused jitters to the populace living in the vicinity, perhaps even transforming some individuals into nervous insomniacs. Which reminds me, a few years ago, a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) station in Mexico exploded resulting in the deaths of about 600 people and injuring roughly 7,000. A similar incident in Pandacan would be a thousand times or so more disastrous, possibly causing much more deaths. Thus, I believe that the continued existence of the Pandacan Oil Depot (POD) is a mega-major disaster just waiting to happen. Quite recently, students from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) suffered extreme nausea and were continuously retching after having been exposed to a leak from a tank in the depot located near their school. An investigation pointed to a high concentration of a Benzene compound rich in carcinogenic substance. The U.S. Toxicology Institute (USTI) noted that peoplel living in Pandacan are at a high risk of contracting various types of cancers. Further, the continued presence of the oil depot simply violates the 'Clean Air Act,' and the health of around 90,000 is at a high risk. In 2001, the Manila City Council passed an ordinance that would eventually drive out the depot, giving the big three oil companies Shell, Petron and Caltex only up to April 2003. Sadly so, their transfer was botched when a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between Mayor Lito Atienza and the oil firms was signed, allowing them to stay put to this day. Perhaps MAYNILA should now be the acronym for: 'Maraming AYaw Nang Isuporta si Lito Atienza,' for one gets the impression that he simply doesn't care about their health and their safety. And in the event of such a disaster, our authorities would act a little too late again while pointing fingers at each other. What must be done to prevent such a thing from happening? The answer is obvious. Manilenos have the power to do something about this on May 14. And on a national scale, we Filipinos in general for matters concerning the quality of our lives. Remember, an election is a decisive bet on the future and not a popularity test of the past.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007


I'm so disappointed with Gen. Esperon's boorish behavior! Imagine this dim-witted general ordering his boys to ram and destroy the Manila Pen's main entrance just to park his reconditioned tank in the hotel lobby? Has his so-called brain forgotten that the hotel has a basement parking and an excellent VALET PARKING service?!

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Friday, June 08, 2007


(UNDERTOW - The Philippine Chronicle, May 5, 2007)

It has been almost six years now since I gave up driving my car, relying instead on the MRT, the bus, the jeepney and the tricycle to take me to my destination, not to mention the frequent walks I take as I head back home, and this deliberate act on my part has made my life simple, economical and less stressful. It has also taught me valuable lessons on humility. I also believe this to be my humble contribution for a better environment. In contrast, take for example the fellow who drives around with his car bearing a single-digit license plate such as the number eight. A lot of times, he's not even the authorized user of that figure. Again, this is where delicadeza is the order of the day, for gone are the days when honor, integrity or 'sin liong,' as our Chinoy brothers call it, were part and parcel of every respectable individual. Which reminds me, is it morally correct to call some of our congressmen "honorable?" For almost always, the lawmakers we put in office become the lawbreakers we see on a regular basis. Don't you just love seeing these guys, part human and part Cayman whenever they ignore a traffic light, bully their way around city streets, or park at a prohibited space like the ones reserved for the handicapped, and especially when they alight from their gas-guzzling Expeditions and Escalades, Safaris and Sequoias wearing expensive items of clothing and jewelry, knowing full well that their slavish constituents back home can't even have a decent meal each day or are unable to send their kids to school? The very people who vowed before us yesterday to be our noble representatives are today the sleazy tyrants of our society. It would be good to see them even just for a day living up to the title "honorable" just like some of their colleagues in the house, but that would be a cold day in hell. On election day, let's put in office truly honorable men and women. We know who these people are. It's high time we look way beyond popularity and family names. A candidate isn't a bit better than the other just because the office at stake was first occupied by his father or her husband. Let's vote for honor, character, morality and integrity. Vote for the candidates with 'sin liong.'

While we are grateful to Mr. Henry Sy and his children for giving us great SM malls, we must also be disappointed and peeved for their racial preference. Have you noticed how SM malls prominently display huge indoor posters of white-skinned people endorsing even local brands? With the exception of Ms. Charlene Gonzales as their official poster girl, the rest of them are Caucasians. I therefore ask SM owners and SM management this question: What's wrong with being brown, or for that matter any other color but white? Or are you simply convinced that white people are more enticing and are more believable for product endorsements? Have you no faith in a Filipino with 'kayumanggi' features when it comes to selling your wares? No wonder whitening cream is a hot-selling item these days. Not only do your posters send a misleading message to the general public, they're also quite disturbing to us who are proud of our brown heritage.

Whenever I see an ambulance speeding down the highway in an apparent emergency, I can almost always predict with accuracy that some imbecile behind the wheel is tailgating, sometimes wishing that the person needing immediate medical attention in that ambulance were the brainless tailgater himself. What drives some motorists to take advantage of an emergency situation such as this to get ahead of other cars is sheer selfishness and stupidity. On the other hand, there are ambulances that pretend to be in an emergency with the same reason of wanting to be ahead of the pack. Both situations are serious road crimes and must be stopped accordingly before a major pile-up occurs. Next time you happen to be a witness, steer clear and don't give in to the sweet temptation of tailgating yourself. Instead, inform the LTO hotline and hope they act on it promptly for a change.

The mushrooming of underbone (100cc-125cc) motorcycles on our streets have contributed greatly to the rapid increase of injuries and casualties relating to this because there are still motorcycle riders who simply refuse to wear a crash helmet. Big names in the motorcycle industry here in the Philippines such as as Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda have a social responsibility of prioritizing rider safety at all times, instead of just thinking only of pure profit at any cost. And how should they do this? Simple. Their accredited dealers nationwide could throw in acceptable factory crash helmets as a mandatory part of each sale. Never mind if the buyer says he already owns one. A spare helmet can always be used by someone else such as his passenger. It's always wise to think of safety first before hopping on that motorbike. The benefits are far greater than vanity or driving around with the helmet worn halfway on the head or simply strapped to an elbow. As a matter of fact, many motorcycle accidents occur within the vicinity of the rider's residence or place of work. So it's always best to put on that helmet even if you're just 'going around the corner.' And to the cops, please enforce the law at all times and practice leadership by example. Wear your crash helmets instead of your gold trinkets.

After reading Carmen Guerrero Nakpil's wonderful autobiography and memoirs of the old pre-war Ermita I never knew entitled "Myself, Elsewhere," I have come to embrace much more the reminder of how important impeccable manners and decorum were in those days, and how equally if not more important they are today. My very own parents, 'Ermitence' themselves, were brought up in such orderly fashion. My mother lived her life like a true citizen of Ermita, and my father continues to do so to this day. further on, the book takes you to streets like Calle Cortada, Calle San Carlos, Isaac Peral, A. Flores (where my father was born) and Salsipuedes, and fiestas such as the Bota Flores or the 'pelting of flowers,' Tres Reyes Magos and the Fiesta del Pueblo. The book also makes mention of my Protestant father's marriage to my Catholic mother, the wedding taking place at a side altar of the Ermita church, as it was decreed then for mixed-marriages. Ermita got its name from an old Spanish monk who lived his life that of a hermit, and thus the town was known as Hermita or Ermita for Hermitage. Another book worth reading is "Manila Men in the New World" written by Floro Mercene. The author writes about the Filipino migration to Mexico and the Americas from the sixteenth century onwards. The four-hundred year old Filipino diaspora may well have a direct link to our present Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs. At first, they were called Manila Men and it was only in the nineteenth century when they assumed their present identity as Filipinos.

SYERAP FILES: Manny Pacquiao and Chiz Escudero will team up as they both eye the presidency and vice-presidency respectively in 2010. Their campaign slogan: "VOTE CHAMP WITH CHIZ!"