Thursday, October 29, 2009


Chiz bolts the NPC. Danding remains silent as usual, living up with the role that of an eminence grise. An invisible political hand conducting matters from the top at the giant SMC offices with Ramon Ang as the human ATM.

There has always been a Cojuangco hand in government affairs since the revolution against the Spaniards at the turn of the century, and then successively in all Philippine governments from the American Period to the Japanese Occupation and the post-Liberation years, and after independence under different presidents.

However, the Cojuangcos were dissapointed when Fidel Ramos began to buck their demands and decided the family had to come together again to operate as a single efficient unit to preserve the clan and their prominence in the country's life.

Do you remember that September 21 rally in 1997 when Cardinal Jaime Sin had been quoted as saying that that rally was really the idea of the Cory Aquino clan and he (Sin) did not even have a hand in organizing it? It was only after it was finalized that he was informed about it and readily agreed to help because it gave a chance to hit two birds with one stone: continue the hatred against Ferdinand Marcos (who declared Martial Law on September 21, 1972), and stop Fidel Ramos dead on his tracks from continuing as president after his term ended.

As to the Cojuangco influence under the Ramos administration, it was said all had diminished when FVR ceased to become a marionette of the clan. Only former Senator Francisco Sumulong retained some sort of influence on Malacanang, but even he had become remote from the center of power.

No need to cry over spoiled cheese. Danding has no regrets on Escudero's departure. He still has two nephews in the presidential race - Gibo and Noynoy. Forget party loyalty. Forget family feuds. Forget past political atrasos.

Blood is thicker than - beer.


SLEEPLESS IN MY SHUTTLE. I've been contemplating on this idea for many months now - and then just recently, a breakthrough! If I had it my way, and now that Francis 'Chiz' Escudero has bolted the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), I would perhaps broker a new presidential-vice presidential tandem of Manny Pacquiao and Chiz Escudero, and then try to lure food empire Jollibee Foods Corporation to fully support their candidacies. This is hitting two birds with one stone so to speak, further promoting an already excellent and mouth-watering Jollibee burger called 'Champ with Cheese,' and since their campaign slogan would simply be: "VOTE CHAMP WITH CHIZ !" What do you think? Will it fly, or fly out the window? Of course I'm only kidding.

(Image from

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


SLEEPLESS IN MY SHUTTLE. Filipinos have become the largest Asian immigrant population. In the US alone, it is a fact that every state has at least one Pinoy family cooking adobo and pancit.

But this is not at all flattering. During the Marcos years, Pinoys fled mostly to the US as political refugees. Many came back after Aquino came to power. But soon, they started leaving again because of extreme economic difficulties and government incompetence. During the Aquino years, Pinoys swarmed to other countries to look for employment since they had no job opportunities in the Philippines. When a vengeful, inutile government comes to power, the citizens are the first ones to suffer. Such was the case during the Aquino years.

People leave their homeland when things become desperate and when they can no longer feed their families, very much like the Irish who fled Ireland in the thousands during the potato famine.

With Noynoy Aquino and his runningmate what's his name topping surveys for now, having no clear plataporma but all puro porma, this dynastic duo may have an excellent chance at greatness, that is - solving the country's over-population problem.


SLEEPLESS IN MY SHUTTLE. Some of the country's historians are engaged in a debate. It centers over a proposal to name revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio as the national hero vice Jose Rizal. Many claim Rizal was chosen by the Americans to be our national hero because he was a pacifist and fitted the American campaign to subdue us.

Rizal was known to have been against the revolt mounted by the Katipuneros led by Bonifacio against Spain. Rizal even threatened to go into exile so as not to join the "Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipuanan ng mga Anak ng Bayan" (KKK).

The pro-Bonifacio drive is expected to revive bitter memories of the revolution, especially circumstances around his death which could smear the reputation of a few well-known families.

It may also rekindle stories about where the money of the revolution went and about how its alleged disappearance led to the rise of a well-known landed aristocracy whose descendants remain popular in politics and business to this day.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The Carmen Guerrero Nakpil - Cafe Havana group lunch I regularly attend which meets every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month is a mixture of interesting people. Writers and poets, journalists and pundits, generals and putschists, artists and con-artists (pun intended). But all well-meaning and honorable in their craft.

Last October 14 was a treat for me, after receiving a copy of Chitang Nakpil's latest book Exeunt. Well, it wasn't really for me. It was, as Chitang would warmly write on the first page of her book a dedication for my father: "For Ariel, Best Friend Forever, Chitang."

It took me a few more days until I had personally delivered the book to my father, not to mention the joy of reading a few pages, part of which was a personal account of Mrs. Nakpil of the EDSA 1 revolt. I too have my own, a sort of mental account as well having witnessed many undocumented facts as I had been closely identified then with the Enrile family for many years. But that shall be for a future post. For now, let's go back to the book.

I sat right next to my father as I handed him the book, and I immediately saw a teary smile as he read portions of it, including the chapter where he was mentioned by the author.

He handed me back the book. I turned to the last page and read with much interest to him its entire passage: "And Ermita (Ah, my Ermita! My home-town with the snob appeal, the long gone citadel of urban civility) is now only the anachronistic surname of the recycled general in the Arroyo cabinet, who finagles with an inescapable Batangas accent.

I tremble at the thought of what monstrosities lurk ahead.

Now, that I'm alone most of the time, waiting for what we Catholics invoke as "the hour of our death", I have begun to understand many things, both small and huge, fripperies and profundities, like the nature of our compassionate God, the steadfast qualities of the Christian religion, the peace that sustains all believers. Also, why the millions of sweat-stained driven men on the streets of Quiapo, or the flagellants of Good Friday, maim each other to touch the hem of the Nazarene or to draw blood from their backs, and why God must love them more than He does the learned clergymen and theologians with their Bibles and their ornate vestments.

We Filipinos draw our endless patience, our good nature and our trust in God's master plan from a simple unshakeable faith. I surprise myself by quoting to a distraught son, daughter or friend, Teresa of Avila's comforting lines which I learned when I was 9, "Nada de turbe. Nada de espante." Let nothing disturb or frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Solo Dios Basta. God alone suffices.


No longer restless or fractured, rid at last of all strange gods, this very old heart withdraws into peace.

In the very end, after all is said and done, we need only God. Everything else is Vanity of Vanities. All is Vanity."

We were both speechless after.