In My Own Words - Ron Centeno

a collection of thoughts and sentiments...in my own words

Your Ad Here
8/06/2009

"Remember the Aquinos"

Written by Ron Centeno

History would tell us that Texas was previously part of Mexico. With its huge size and a handful of inhabitants, the Mexican authorities invited the Americans to settle the area. Led by Stephen Austin, by 1830, more than 20,000 white Americans had been drawn to the fertile, cotton-growing plains, bringing with them some 2,000 slaves. In no time, they outnumbered the Mexicans in the territory, and in 1834, Austin asked the authorities in Mexico City to allow Texas to separate from Mexico as a prelude to statehood. In turn, Austin was arrested and jailed. By 1836, President Santa Anna of Mexico announced a unified constitution for all Mexican territories, including Texas.

Undeterred, the Americans in Texas decided to secede. With an army of 6,000, Santa Anna marched against what he viewed as the treasonous Texans. With a force of 3,000, Santa Anna reached San Antonio, held by 187 men under the command of Colonel W. B. Travis. The defenders took a defensive stand behind the walls of a mission called the Alamo. For ten days, this small band of Texans fought their way out to their very last breaths until overrun by the overwhelming forces of Santa Anna. The American defenders who survived the final onslaught were then executed. Their corpses were soaked in oil and then set on fire. Only three Americans came out of the Alamo alive; a soldier’s wife named Susanna Dickenson, her fifteenth-month-old baby, and Travis’s slave named Joe. They were freed by Santa Anna on foot to deliver the warning to Sam Houston, commander of the Texas army, that, they, too, would suffer the same fate if they continued to resist.

As if the massacre in Alamo were not enough, the forces of Santa Anna were all the more emboldened and duplicated their previous slaughter in the town of Goliad by setting hundreds of Texans ablaze.

En route to their third exploit against the defending Texans, Santa Anna and his forces found themselves in San Jacinto in April 1836. The overbearing and now self-assured Santa Anna, granted his troops a siesta. With “Remember the Alamo” as their rallying cry, the vastly outnumbered Texans swept into the lines and killed hundreds of Mexicans and led to the subsequent capture of Santa Anna. The battle was over in eighteen minutes.

Soon, the Texans ratified their constitution and Houston was made president of the republic. They then petitioned for annexation into the United States. On December 29,1845, the U. S. Congress approved the petition and President James K. Polk signed the “Joint Resolution for the Admission of the State of Texas into the Union.” Texas became the 28th state.

This brief history of “Remember the Alamo” must be a lesson learned not unique to the Americans but equally apt in the context of us Filipinos.

For over a hundred years now, Rizal, Bonifacio, Aguinaldo, to name a few, stood to their ground to confront the barrel of the guns so that their people that would come after them would experience liberty from the abusive conquestadores.

Fastforward, while the conquestadores have long been gone, our hard-earned liberty was taken into custody by no less than our very own, however, dictatorial Marcos regime. Benigno Aquino, like Rizal, he was fearless to serve time in jail, much less to suffer the same fate of dying from a bullet. Ninoy’s death became the spring board for democracy, however, when his wife thrown herself into the ring of politics where Marcos was the obvious heavyweight. But Marcos was nothing less than Santa Anna of Mexico who became self-assured and declared a snap election in 1986 to warrant his delusion of being a leader to his subservient people. When Marcos’s miscalculation became apparent, his last remaining option was to use the barrel of the guns. Met by the beads of rosary, however, his guns gone shy. Three years after her husband Ninoy Aquino kissed the ground in blood, Cory Aquino sealed her victory and restored liberty for all of us to enjoy.

Now that the two Aquinos are no longer with us, but in spirit, the question is what if liberty would again be denied to us? Who would stand to his or her ground when the barrel of a gun is aimed among us? When, God forbid, this has to come, “Remember the Aquinos”, to be our rallying cry as next to none.

8/03/2009

The Day I Shook Cory's Hand

Written by Ron Centeno

During the early years of her presidency, I met Cory Aquino at Malacanang Palace through Fr. Catalino Arevalo, S. J. , the president’s spiritual adviser and a personal friend of mine. Yes, the same Fr. Arevalo as earlier mentioned by Kris Aquino during her Sunday’s one-on-one interview with Boy Abunda, as the Jesuit priest summoned by the Aquino family to say the Mass immediately after Cory passed away at 3:18 a.m. on Saturday.

Fr. Arevalo, asked me to do a charcoal portrait of the Shroud of Turin that would be displayed at the Malacanang chapel during one of those Holy Weeks when Mrs. Aquino was then the sitting president. “Are you sure you want me to do it?”, I asked him inquisitively. “I’ve seen some of your works and I’m sure you can very well do the same thing with this”, he said, as he showed me a small picture frame of the shroud atop his desk. Portraiting (if there is such a word) has never been my profession. I have never attended an art school, only a raw talent that must have been handed to me by my father, who analogously, never went to art school nor a professional artist, but equally equipped with a mere raw talent. (If you want to see a sample of my raw work on Barack Obama’s, pls. go to my Facebook account. Unfortunately, my charcoal portrait of the Shroud of Turin has been missing for years now). At any rate, I heeded Fr. Arevalo’s request with contrasting alacrity and jittery.

The painting was the size of the whole cartolina done in a charcoal board paper. For weeks, I labored on the portrait in the hope that it would befit its intended purpose during the holy celebration.

A week after, I went to see Fr. Arevalo at the Loyola House of Studies and brought him the charcoal painting framed with aluminum panel with matching glass cover. He was quite delighted. The next day, I received a call from Fr. Arevalo asking me to come with him to Malacanang on that Holy Friday for the Mass he was tasked to celebrate. I said yes even before he would have finished telling me. “Very well, then”, he said. “Please be here at 7:00 o’clock in the morning. The Mass starts at 9:00”, he added. “I sure will, father”, I said.

I had never been to Malacanang before and the thought of going inside the palace was an absolute dream I have long wished for. With Cory Aquino as the residing president is all the more preposterous, to say the least.

Fr. Arevalo and I reached Malacanang on time. As soon as we were ushered into the chapel, I was struck by the conspicuous location of the charcoal painting I did for that purpose. It was mounted on an easel in front of the altar directly facing Mrs. Aquino and her cabinet members along with their families. I was dumbfounded. It was then that I truly appreciated my God-given raw talent that would require no less than the devout president to make that possible.

After the Mass, Fr. Arevalo wasted no time in figuring out how he would introduce me to Mrs. Aquino who was graciously attending to all those present on that very Holy Friday. When the moment finally came, I was literally shaking when Mrs. Aquino offered her hand to shake mine. “I’m glad you’d able to come. You did a good job with the Shroud”, she said. I was tongue-tied. At that instance, her official photographer motioned me to stand next to the president with the Shroud being the backdrop. At the count of three, he snapped his camera for posterity.

7/30/2009

State of Political Paranoia

Written by Ron Centeno


In the United States, when George W. Bush’s second term was drawing to a close, the American people never doubted that they would soon be electing a new set of leaders as provided for by the U. S. Constitution. Bush and his allies in Congress, including his predecessors, never entertained the idea of staying in office longer than what is allowed by law. Based upon this democratic transfer of power, the leading contenders, such as then presidential aspirants Barack Obama and John McCain, would have ample time to let their platform transcend into the consciousness of every American voter. In turn, the American public shall have the opportune time to weigh in their options and opinions as to which candidate is deserving of their sacred vote.

From the time of George Washington in 1789 to this date, American presidents could only serve a maximum of two terms, except, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was elected to office four times from the onset of the economic Depression in the early 1930s to the waning period of World War II in 1945. No matter how exceptional a U. S. president’s performance in office would be, the limit to his term in office is non-negotiable. No ifs, no buts.

In the Philippines, whose 1987 constitution is almost verbatim to that of the U. S. Constitution, Arroyo and her allies, deem for its change for obvious reason. We know that the difference between the two charters points to the fact that the American provides a maximum of two presidential terms with four years in each term, while the Philippines provides only one term of six years. Arroyo, despite being in office for nine years now, simply does not want to let go. Given her limit to stay in office as set forth by the charter, Arroyo’s last arsenal to extend her grip to power is to delimit it by changing it, hence, the Cha-cha.

When the U. S. Constitution was ratified in the late 1780s, despite its now 27 amendments, never in its lifetime was there any thought of changing it. The sanctity of this American document has been kept to this date based upon the notion that it is the foundation and source of the legal authority underlying the existence of the United States of America and the Federal Government. Interestingly, a fledgling democratic country such as the Philippines, has laid out numerous charters as far back as the presidency of Emilio Aguinaldo through the 1899 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines to the 1935 Commonwealth Constitution under Manuel Quezon to Marcos’s 1973 Martial Law Constitution, and to the current democratic one under Corazon Aquino.

Similar to the U.S. Constitution, the current Philippine constitution is far from being perfect. The American founding fathers were acutely aware of its flaws, hence, the compromise was made in the form of amendments or the Bill of Rights that was vehemently sought for by no less than Thomas Jefferson. In the same manner, the Filipino delegates to the Constitutional Commission or Con-com who framed the 1987 Constitution hotly debated several issues leading to Lino Brocka’s walk-out of the Commission before its completion and two other delegates who would dissent from the final draft. Without doubt, blood, sweat, and tears, were poured out into such document that was hoped to finally sustain democratic governance for our future generation. So it seemed.

Such hope is now in peril, however. Given the predilection to power, those who are bent on changing the charter have one thing in mind, to extend the term of their very own “patron”, including theirs. It is no accident that such constitutional ambivalence and maneuvering in the Philippines has left its people into a constant state of political paranoia.

7/24/2009

Not Just Yet, Mrs. Aquino

Written by Ron Centeno

The outpouring of well-wishes to Cory Aquino’s immediate recovery, albeit, continuously agonizing and consuming, is a clear manifestation of love and respect to a leader whose moral and political contribution to our country is immense.

History would tell us that her intransigent stance against the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos indubitably captured the imagination of those who value liberty to the fullest. Marcos, armed to his teeth and wrapped with all the imperious chutzpah, threw in his hat into the political ring against the unassuming housewife of the slain fiery oppositionist Ninoy Aquino. The fight was biblical in proportion. It was David against Goliath. In similar passion with that of the Old Testament’s tale, Cory, as David, emerged as a winner. However, defeat was never an option for Marcos, as Goliath. Massive cheating ensued to justify his hoax victory.

The unintended consequence, however, was telling. People sent themselves to streets in protest against the dictatorship. “Cory! Cory! became their deafening cry. In response, Marcos pulled his last trick. He sent his military troops to counter the defiant sea of humanity along EDSA. Unperturbed, people from all walks of life stood to their hallowed ground until the military defected to Cory’s side, ending the yellow revolution. The rest is history.

The Aquino administration was without hitches and critics. Early on, ‘kudetas’ came in succession. Some power-grabbers would often rise up to test Cory’s resilience and the will to govern. In one instance, she was accused of hiding under her bed in one of those uprising spates. Nevertheless, armed with, perhaps, beads of rosary, she was able to restore democracy into our fledgling republic.

In the hindsight, the Aquino administration was no more than a transitional government. Its monumental achievement, however, was to lay down the blueprint of a democratic rule for our future generation. Far from being abusive to power, she relinquished her presidency upon completion of her term as provided for by the constitution. Extension was never contemplated despite her enormous popularity and public clamor.

She was not an adroit politician that would rival Margaret Thatcher nor Indira Ghandi, but her revulsion to a limitless stay in power equates that of George Washington. Not surprisingly, when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s allies, with her tacit approval, of course, proposed a constitutional amendment to accommodate their benefactor for an extended term, Cory, despite her slowly deteriorating condition, vehemently shows her opposition to the same. Her resounding call to wage war against the preoccupation of Arroyo’s accomplices in Congress is impossible to ignore.

Long live Cory Aquino!

Long live the Constitution!

4/26/2009

The Truth Hurts

Written by Ron Centeno

I condemn in the strongest possible tone the impending arrest of Jun Lozada in connection with the 16 charges incredulously filed against him. The biggest irony in the Arroyo administration lies in the fact that those who have committed the most gruesome crimes in the past, (Do I need to mention their names?) are now freely basking under the sun, some of them have even surreptitiously begun campaigning for the incoming elections, while a decent man whose only fault, as far as in the eyes of those who want to obliterate his previous Senate testimony against them, is to tell the truth.

If in eventuality Lozada is put behind bar for cases, (which I assume have been deliberately put in place to warrant its potency), ranging from dishonesty, perjury to theft, then clearly the intent is short of piercing the cork into the mouth of those who bear the pieces of bad information against the keepers of power.

Needles to say, as a consolation to his endearing act of refusing to bend over the wishes of those whom he accuses of corruption in the NBN – ZTE scandal, Lozada’s arrest would equate the same fate in similar construct with those of Ninoy Aquino, Mandela, or Ghandi. Seemingly emboldened by the constant harassment in his person and those of his family, his concession to his forthcoming arrest is more of a sign of a war declaration in the court of law when he said, “I’ve reached the point where I’m preparing myself psychologically how to face them. I’ll ask them to bring me to trial. I’m challenging them to prove the charges against me, and I’ll stand by what I said.”

We can only hope, however, that the angels from heaven shall descend into Lozada’s camp when the court proceedings take place, because, even before the circus gets underway, a foregone conclusion has already been decided against his favor. It’s only a matter of time.

Until then, let us collectively muster our efforts to rally behind the cause of this man who had the chance to silence himself in exchange for comfort but opted not. It’s been a year now since Jun Lozada captured our hearts and minds while he was in tears before the illustrious men and women of the Senate during his testimony in that infamous deal where no less than the First Gentleman and the former Comelec Chairman Ben Abalos were linked to the scandal. Without question, his guts were truly epic. Instantly, a star was born.

But that was then. A year later, Lozada’s beaming star has long faded away, thanks to our short-term memory. And while the trumpets in heaven are no longer resounding for Lozada, the Arroyo’s “galamay” are now in the offensive to take matter into their tentacles. When this viciousness happens, we can only ignominiously watch from the sidelines while the man who risked every inch of himself is being devoured almost to his lonesome.

Echoing ex-President Cory Aquino’s prayer, we, too, should pray harder for Lozada. But prayer alone would be an empty weapon without “mobilizing people”, as Sr. Mary John Mananzan, co-chair of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), would like to happen. I have never prayed harder until today.

May God bless Jun Lozada and the entire Filipino people.

4/15/2009

Ang Pagbabalik ni Erap

Written by Ron Centeno

What if Erap becomes president again, is one gripping question that should not be ignored. God forbid, he dares not.

Time and again, Estrada keeps repeating he would run for president if the opposition cannot unite around one candidate. His logic, however shallow, nevertheless makes sense at least to himself because numerous opposition wannabes, according to the ousted leader who was once convicted of plunder, will pave the way to the preemptive victory of Arroyo’s anointed one.

To prevent that from happening, Erap will field himself as the viable candidate based on his personal calculation to have earned 30 to 40 percent of the expected votes in his favor. In such case, he concluded to have secured advantage over all the others. Other surveys, however, say otherwise.

Predictably, Erap was quick to refute the surveys saying, “That’s according to the surveys. But the surveys have been wrong in the past. In the last presidential elections, the exit polls said GMA (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) would win in the whole of Metro Manila but she lost in all the cities and municipalities of Metro Manila except Las Piñas.”

Moreover, Erap brags the very warm reception of his provincial sorties attended by the masa who were frenzied over his visits. Further, he gives limitless credit to his upcoming tandem with funny Ai Ai de las Alas in a movie called, ‘Ang Tanging Ama N’yo’, a sequel to Ai Ai success movie, ‘Ang Tanging Ina N’yo.”

He’s also set to make a commercial for an arthritis medicine with a tagline ‘Pwede pa ba kayong tumakbo?’ This is, of course, in reference to his legal qualification to run again for the highest office in the land. Aptly as it may seem, Erap’s response, “Kung gusto mo karera pa tayo.” With that, Erap is shown in the ads leaving his opponent behind; courtesy of the arthritis drug.

He validly observed, “Thus, while my rivals would be spending millions for their commercials and advertisements, I would be earning from my movie and commercials. And I would have my mug and name plastered in billboards advertising the movie and the arthritis drug, all for free. Binabayaran pa ko. And after the movie has made the rounds of all the movie houses, I can show it for free in the town plazas to attract the crowds before my rallies, with the commercial thrown in. How can I lose?”

How can I lose, is another one hell of a question I dare God almighty not to grant. But in case God becomes fallible, let us brace ourselves as a people because, without question, our country would be doomed to certainty.

Wala na ba talagang mapag-pipilihan?!

4/11/2009

Looting For A Living

Written by Ron Centeno

Kidnap- for- ransom has now become the order of the day in all corners of the world, in general, and in southern Philippines, in particular. Be it from the jungle of Sulu, to Mexico’s Tijuana, or to the coast of Somalia along the Indian Ocean, this senseless act of looting is a loathsomely lucrative business.

Recently and similarly in the past, the Abu Sayyaf Group, now led by Albader Parad, has been in the business of seizing innocent civilians in exchange for a huge payoff. Some of the group’s earlier victims include a Filipino TV evangelist Wilde Almeda, an American Muslim convert Jeffrey Schilling, former Manila Times owner Reghis Romero, and ABS-CBN journalist Ces Drilon, to name a few. Overall, the undisclosed amount paid for ransom has been very difficult to determine. It is figured in millions of pesos.

Recall that the earlier group’s ideological reason for existence was to promote an independent Islamic state. That was then. Now, it is completely reduced to nothingness and is apparently turned into an abhorrent thievery.

What brought Parad, his cohorts, and those other militant-Islamist-turned-kidnappers that have long been dead, to this fate is an open-ended debate.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the culprit to the sorry-state of our Muslim brothers in the region is the absence of economic opportunity to which they have long been denied for decades now. Absent of such opportunity, the likelihood of putting matters into their own hands via extorting money the wrong way comes without surprise.

This is not, however, to suggest that I condone their horrific way of earning a living; because no matter how neglectful our government to our brothers’ plight in the South, kidnapping must be deterred at all cost.

On the other hand, one would argue that given the Islamist preoccupation to sowing terror, creating business in the region is a risk no one dares to take. Imagine erecting a Megamall complex in Patikul; luring Dell Corporation to move its chips production in Sipadan; or building a presidential vacation villa in Pandanan.

Such propositions are quite unconscionable, if not outrageous to begin with. Without doubt, the likes of Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, or Andres Soriano, for example, would be under no illusion to forge a business opportunity where risk to their investments is astronomical given the presence Islamic rebels.

In such case, if the trend continues as it is, then peace and prosperity in that southern part of the country shall forever be hallucinatory.

4/10/2009

Thank You David Funk!

Written by Ron Centeno

Another award from the David Funk of Basic Blogonomics. David is the CEO of BWE(Blog Wrestling Entertainment) where bloggers are written into fictional storylines. :-)

In one of his BWE updates David wrote this:

"Funk: "Welcome back to BWE Blog Center! Without question, one of the biggest signings in BWE Promotions history has taken place today. We have learned that Ron Centeno has signed one of the richest contracts in BWE history after serious negotiations. The Filipino blogging star was eager to get a deal done after it appeared contract talks would break down. But today, he signed a lucrative contract with the promotion and is ready to make an impact. He's currently unavailable because of a busy schedule at the moment, but an announcement from him should be coming soon. The brand in which he will represent is not known as of now.

My opinion: I think for EBW's sake, Paul might regret wanting to put him on that brand of extreme entertainment should he want to do so. Why? "In his own words", there will be a "Fall of a Dictator" on that brand if that happens."

So here's my answer to that post:

The BWE contract is very tempting and has a lot of potential. The only problem is that, I have an exclusive contract with CEI (Ces Entertainment, Inc.).

After conferring with Ces (my CEO), we were able to reach a compromise that was amenable for both sides. She granted me an open contract with CEI.

Now that I am an open agent, I'm very excited and can't wait to make a deal with BWE. I feel that I can have a very promising future with them. That is if the offer is still open since it took a long time for me to make a decision due to my hectic schedule with CEI.

The other thing is, how can I refuse the offer when CEO,'D Funk keeps giving me these awards. It gets me to think if this a plot to get me to finalize that contract with BWE, sooner. The thing is, he did not need to shower me with all these,although I have to admit I love the attention.

Thank you boss 'D! I hope to drop by your office soon to talk about that contract. In the meantime let me share one of the awards you passed on.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

I would like to pass this award to:

1) Czel of "Vanity’s Child"
2) Goddy of "A Friend Named Goddy"
3) Sherwin of "Mokong (Anu’ng Nasa Isip Ko)"
4) Mac Allister of "Living the Expectations"
5) Gilbert of "Gillboard"
6) NJ of "Desert Aquaforce"
7) Pchi of "Opinion Pinoy"
8) The Pope of "Palipasan"
9) Ck_leik of "Beyond Crypticness"
10)austenfan of "Quintessential Babble"
11)Cecile of "Small and Simple Things"
12)Lisa of "Lisgold"
13)"Buhay Bayot"
14)Half Crazy of "An Ardent Cosmic Journey"
15)Ratty of "Everyday Adventurer"
16)Denzmeister of "Denzmeister"
17)Shei of "Pretty Eyes"
18)Dinah of "Okay Ukay"
19)edSie of It's My Turn"
21)Maxi of "Ovah Coffee"
22)John BM of "Ultraelectromagneticblog"
23)XP of "Xprosaic's World"
24) Irish of "Irish on Bizz"
25) Shydub of "Simple Happy Life"
26)Gagay of "Walking Newspaper"
27)To all of you who takes time to visit please feel free to grab this award. Blogging would be no fun without you! :-) Happy Blogging!

4/03/2009

The Oldest Profession

Written by Ron Centeno

When batches of young girls are pimped nightly to the visiting American forces in Bicol, such illicit act draws no surprises. I mean that without degradation to our women. More than ever, the blame should be directed to whom it is due. And for good reason, these girls, given their very own plight of desperate living condition, prostituting themselves is a no-brainer, hence; accusing fingers should not be pointed against them.

Recall how many of our women were drawn into this so-called oldest profession in the world when the neon lights were still brightly illuminated at the Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Base. Back then, whorehouses around the bases were commonplace. Literally, the streets were littered with pimps and their cohorts whose bodies were meant to be sold. And because it required no academic degree to provide a rapid and successive pleasure to the salivating Yankee sailors who were eager to pay, hooking was, by all means, a necessary evil. It was easy money. Indeed, for decades and long after the bases were padlocked by our Congress, whoring has become a way of life for our women whose commodity for trade was their very own soul.

While the truth is demeaning to admit, the fact remains that, like a broken record, the word poverty has been abused to become the intransigent rationality of why some of our women are driven to pimping to this date.

During my visit to Manila a year ago, prostitution has been well in-place. I’ve seen first-hand, for example, how young women strategically position themselves inside and outside a Brazilian bar and café in Greenbelt, Makati, in hopes for libidinous ‘expats’ or other foreign nationals seeking an overnight gratification. That bar and café, unfortunately, was just one of the many venues where flesh trading happens indiscriminately.

If it is any consolation to our Filipino women in the same business, prostitution, of course, knows no boundaries. I’ve been to some places across the globe including the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong, China, Mexico, and here in the U. S., and for good reason, prostitution in these countries is embedded in their culture with the trimmings of legalities. Amsterdam’s red district and Las Vegas being a ‘sin city’ are only two of these classic examples where prostitution is protected by no less than the state authorities.

Pointing out the validity of prostitution in these advanced countries, however, is not meant to provide an urging to some of our Filipino women to follow suit. The intent is to reaffirm our time immemorial supposition that, indeed, prostitution is our known oldest profession. Even Mary Magdalene will amen to that.

In the eyes of Senator Pangilinan, however, prostitution is non-negotiable. It must be stopped once and for all. And in reference to the girls catered to the American forces who are in the country to provide humanitarian aid for the depressed areas, the lawmaker said, “This needs to be investigated and exposed. This is condemnable. We worked so hard to get rid of prostitution and clean up our reputation when the US military bases finally left our shores. The Philippines is not a whorehouse for US soldiers.”

Without question, the task the Senator wants to put forward the issue on prostitution is gargantuan in the highest order. No matter how we want Sen. Pangilinan to succeed in his crusade to fight such menace, the rate of its success is virtually nil.

And while economic disease in the country has found no cure as of yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if more batches of young girls would find their way into the laps of visiting American forces who are set to pound their ‘tools’.

3/28/2009

Tama Na, Sobra Na!

Written by Ron Centeno

Whether or not the 2010 elections should push through is an issue that refuses to die down. No matter how unconscionable the idea of a charter change that is bent on adopting the parliamentary system to effectively extend Ms Arroyo’s term, some lawmakers allied to the president have now tightened their grip by drafting a resolution to convene a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution.

No less than Speaker Nograles has filed the resolution which contains 175 signatures and is 20 votes shy of the required number of 197. “The resolution of Villafuerte is now in my hands, he turned it over to me. So I have decided to file it”, Nograles said, whose signature is also attached to it.

With just over a year before Arroyo’s term expires and the campaign period starts soon, both aspiring candidates and electorates are somewhat stumped.

Despite the President’s son, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, who said “that the resolution does not call for a postponement of the 2010 balloting or extension of sitting elective officials” the buzz is incessantly annoying and disturbing. Press Secretary Cerge Remonde was likewise quick to turn the table around against those who link Ms Arroyo to Cha-cha as a mere “black propaganda.”

It is equally troubling that in today’s economic difficulties where unemployment rate is up and poverty continues to swell, our lawmakers are preoccupied with changing our hallowed constitution only to suit their needs.

It is totally preposterous to find faults in a charter to deserve a change when many of our elective officials who are supposed to uphold it are not worthy to walk the august hall of Congress.

At any rate, we can only hope that the life-support of the issue on charter change would soon be unclad in order to expel doubts about the forthcoming elections. Otherwise, we should be emboldened to exercise our collective indignation in the “parliament of the streets” against those who abuse their power by tinkering with the charter.

“TAMA NA, SOBRA NA”!

3/27/2009

"Uber Amazing Award"

Written by Ron Centeno


I would like to thank my very good blogger friend David Funk of Basic Blogonomics., who's constantly there to support and encourage. A very talented and creative writer. I could not ask for more from a very friendly and thoughtful friend. Thank you is not enough to express my gratitude.

Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:

a)inspires you
b) makes you smile and laugh
c)or maybe gives amazing information
d)a great read
e)has an amazing design
f)and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing

I would like to pass this award to 5 "Uber Amazing" blogs.

1) SHERWIN of "Mokong (Anu’ng Nasa Isip Ko)"
2) Gilbert of "Gillboard"
3) GODDY of "A Friend Named Goddy"
4) Shei of "Pretty Eyes"
5) Ratty of "Everyday Adventurer"

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

3/24/2009

"The Pacman"

Written by Ron Centeno

Whenever Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao ascends to the ring, we Filipinos across the globe simultaneously drop everything only to root for the Pinoy boxing icon as he unleashes his knockout punch against his hapless opponent. While our eyes are glued to our television screens, our collective sighs would turn into deafening roars. Some privileged “bigshots” (Filipino actors and actor-turned politicians), moreover, who thirst for a moment of photo ops and “pogi points” would come in handy to Las Vegas to share the limelight with the “pound-for-pound” mega champ atop the ring.

Time and again, the “Pambansang Kamao” has never failed us. He, as the aphorism goes, single-handedly “killed” all his Mexican counterparts until Mexico has run out of “burritos” that led to his moniker as “The Mexi-cutioner”. His latest casualty was the rusty Oscar “Golden Boy” dela Hoya. Previous “fatalities” include Marquez, Morales, Larios, Solis, and Barrera.

On 2 May 2009, Pacman will soar to the ring again at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino for his anticipated fight against the British fighter known in the league as “The Hitman” or the “Pride of Hyde.” No less than Floyd Mayweather, Jr. commented on Hatton as, “probably one of toughest competitors I’ve faced. I hit him with some big ones but he kept coming and I can see why they call him the “Hitman”.

The bout is guaranteed to be explosive. It is aptly titled “The Battle of East and West”. Presumably, their massive fans from Europe to Asia to America, will soon be sitting on the edge of their seats as spectators to this forthcoming several-million-dollar match.

Behind all the spectacle and glitz of the ensuing match, however, Manny found himself into a different kind of fray – “one that has placed him right in the middle of a fierce rivalry between the country’s two biggest television networks.”

“The Kapamilya” (ABS-CBN), not to be outdone, wanted to have a piece of the cake by “tampering of a live contract” as the former Philippine Basketball Association commissioner and respected lawyer-sportsman Rudy Salud would like to put it. Note that Solar Sports, with ties to GMA 7, has been airing Pacman’s previous fights.

According to a report found in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “Pacquiao denied he had severed ties with Solar Sports and said the video on his planned transfer to ABS-CBN was prematurely shown by the Lopez-family controlled network.

He said he had an agreement with ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. that the statement on his transfer would not be aired until he had threshed out certain issues regarding his contract with Solar Sports.

The video of his statement on the transfer was aired on the ABS-CBN news show “TV Patrol” last week.”

Without question, the battle between the two networks has always been for the record. The habitual clash between Wowowee and Eat Bulaga is a testament to such rivalry. Putting Pacman on the crossroads, however, only to reign supreme in viewership stats will not do favor for the Filipino champ.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which network has the right to broadcast the anticipated match between our very own Pacman and UK’s Hitman. What matters is, at least for once, our collective howl will resonate across the globe and momentarily set aside our differences as a people.

Pilipinas, umasenso ka! Mabuhay ka Pacman!

3/23/2009

The Hand Behind the Letters

Written by Ron Centeno

I have been tagged by my good friends, Maxi of Health n Beyond and NJ of Desert Aquaforce.

They call this tag “ The Handwriting Tag.”

As I was doing a little research, I bumped into this link.What Does Your Handwriting Say About You? This is not part of the tag but I thought it would be interesting to find out what our handwriting meant. This is what it said about my penmanship:

"Your handwriting says you are not traditional. You are a fairly energetic person. You know how do pace yourself, and you deal well with stress.

You are very extroverted and outgoing. You are loving, friendly, and supportive. However, you are also manipulative and controlling at times.

I would like to victimize and see the handwriting of these following great bloggers, namely:

1) SHERWIN of "Mokong (Anu’ng Nasa Isip Ko)"
2) CZEL of "Vanity’s Child"
3) CK_LEIK of "Beyond Crypticness"
4) GODDY of "A Friend Named Goddy"
5) RHON B of "PIN(K)OY"

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

3/20/2009

The Recantation

Written by Ron Centeno

In the evening of November 1, 2005, a girl named “Nicole” was having a blast at the Neptune Club in Subic. She bottomed up the alcoholic drinks vodka sprite, B52, Singporean sling, B53, long island ice tea, and bullfrog. Alongside, she found herself kissing passionately a U. S. marine named Daniel Smith while sitting on his lap. One thing led to the other and the next thing she knew, she was inside a van with Smith and his two other companions en route to the seawall of Alaba Pier. It was inside the van where the alleged rape was committed based on her testimony three years ago. Because the court sided with her version of the story, Smith was convicted.

From then, “Nicole” became the rallying cry for the modern-day “Gabrielas” and a symbol in her image was drawn to remind the perverted foreigners to show some sense of respect to our Filipino women. A large size of the Filipino people had thrown their fists into the air to celebrate their legal victory over the so-called white supremacy. Others, however, were not totally convinced. And out of the many conflicting opinions, the purported rape would not be put to rest since then.

On 12 March 2009, however, an act that was hoped to put closure to this brouhaha, “Nicole” wrote a dumbfounding affidavit recanting her own story that would essentially set Smith free.

Found in that affidavit, “Nicole” sworn, “My conscience continues to bother me realizing that I may have in fact been so friendly and intimate with Daniel Smith at the Neptune Club that he was led to believe that I was amenable to having sex or that we simply just got carried away. I would rather risk public outrage than do nothing to help the court in ensuring that justice is served.”

Recall her earlier testimony that the rape was committed inside the van. That was then. Her affidavit now completely disproves that.

Her current version is “I told the court that Daniel Smith kissed my lips and neck and held my breast inside the van. Recalling my testimony, I ask myself now how could I have remembered this if witnesses told the court that I passed out and looked unconscious when I was brought to the van by Daniel Smith. How could I have resisted his advances given this condition? Daniel Smith and I were alone on the third row of the van which had limited space and I do not recall anyone inside the van who held my hand or any part of my body. What I can recall is that there was very loud music and shouting inside the van.”

In effect, if her latest side of the story is in fact true, then the court has no authority to put Smith behind bar because of “LOUD MUSIC AND SHOUTING INSIDE THE VAN.”

At any rate, if her overall intent is to put all else to end, so be it. I doubt, however, that her intent be granted knowing that our preoccupation as a people is to bask on someone else’s missteps. All the more, her recantation opens the door to a more vigorous debate.

3/16/2009

Divine Right

Written by Ron Centeno

It’s mind-boggling how many “Juan dela Cruz” would want to run for the incoming 2010 presidential elections despite the huge problems he is surely to inherit from the Arroyo administration. On the other, it’s a no-brainer because, aside from the power entailed, his future loot is immense.

Recall how Sen. Villar’s claim that to run for president, a candidate should have at least one billion pesos to win. And with the president receiving a measly monthly salary of P63,525, doing mathematics to interpret such figure, spells incredulity.

One can only imagine how the would-be elected Philippine president is able to recoup his campaign expenses. If his sole purpose is to serve the public without having to plunder the government coffer, there is simply no way would he be able to recover them.

Knowing Juan dela Cruz, however, he would recover them, and he would recover them with utmost impunity. Recall how Marcos siphoned millions of dollars into his Swiss account early on; Erap’s plundering act that cost him his term; and of course, this president and her first gentleman who, not once or twice, but on numerous occasions, has she been accused of corruption.

If such electoral trend would remain unabated where capital investment becomes the measure for earning a seat in Malacanang, then public service, which is the impetus in running for the office, would retire into oblivion.

In such case, only those who are in possession of countless wealth have the right to dream big. The “have nots”, despite the best of their intentions and qualifications, can only watch in disgust from the sideline as the “haves” jockey for the highest position.

Indeed, our country’s democratic process has been reduced to meaningless and the return to feudal rule is now taking place where the entitlement of the “divine right” is allotted only to the privileged few.

Consider 2010 elections as our payback time. If only we could muster our collective strength to deny access to power for those who arrogantly bent on gaining it through the size of their bank accounts, then and only then, our political involvement will have its meaning.

I remember Bubuy, (the singing sensation finalist) who claimed, “Kahit sino pwedeng mangarap.” Well, in a way, he could be right. In so many ways, in Philippine politics, in particular, his claim does not apply.


Photo Source: http://ingamereporter.com

3/12/2009

Serendipity

Written by Ron Centeno

Last Sunday, the weather was damp and sent me feeling lethargic. It took me awhile to get up from bed trying to ponder what I would do next after downing a sizable cup of green tea.

At any rate, I managed to grab the L.A. Times, browsed it, and tossed it away after. But like most of the previous headlines about how bad the economy is, the news articles would only exacerbate my snoozy Sunday.

So I boiled more water for my second serving of green tea, plus, five pieces of “hopiang pandan” to counter the brazen weather. The hot tea perked me up a bit now and I needed to do something stimulating to while away my time. Throwing my fingers into the keyboard to write about anything, however, was not one of them. I just wanted to sit back and relax. I was all alone.

I had to amuse myself for whatever means possible. Hence, I dug into my DVD rack and loaded a comedy movie starring Steve Martin. After a couple of hours, I loaded another comedy film called Harold & Kumar – Escape from Guantanamo Bay, starring John Cho and Kal Penn. Two hours later, I loaded the third one, this time it’s a movie that has been sitting in the rack for years now. A movie that has earned praises from mostly girls or women in love.

For some reason, I have more funny, musical, horror, and action movies sitting in that rack, nonetheless, gave a thought on this movie described by Gene Shalit on The Today Show as, “A matchless romantic comedy.” The New York Observer calls it, “Uplifting and Delightful.” Fox TV says, “A perfect blend of comedy and romance.” The movie I’m talking about that was released in 2001 is simply called Serendipity, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. (Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely).

“Jonathan (Cusack) and Sara (Beckinsale) meet unexpectedly…then part without expectation when she decides they must let fate determine if they are meant to be together. Years later, they are both engaged to others but cannot give up the dream that-despite time, distance and the obstacles that conspire to keep them apart-they will one day meet again!”

The movie was, indeed, funny and romantic. More importantly, however, it made me nostalgic about Manhattan. Now that I call Los Angeles my current address, having been to the exact location to most of the scenes in that movie was rather amusing to me. It was in Manhattan where Ces and I have first dated.

Thanks to Serendipity! My Sunday weekend has never been the same after watching it.

3/09/2009

The "Right Now" Tag

Written by Ron Centeno



So, just when thought I could go back to reading “The Marcos Dynasty” by Sterling Seagrave, I found out that I have been tagged by my new found friend David Funk of Basic Blogonomics! I'm sorry Sterling but you have to wait. :-)

The basic premise is this – answers should all be “at the current moment.”

Let's do this. PLS. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

I would like to pass this tag to 5 of my favorite bloggers, namely:

1) Sherwin Calalang of "Mokong (Anu’ng Nasa Isip Ko)"

2) Gilbert of “"Gillboard"

3) Ck_leik of"Beyond Crypticness"

4) Czel of "Vanity’s Child"

5) Goddy Ramirez of"A Friend Named Goddy"

3/08/2009

Jueteng: Why it's so appealing

Written by Ron Centeno

In the U.S., baseball is the country’s long-time favorite pastime that dates back in the 1860’s. In the ensuing years following The Great Depression of the 1930’s, many financially grief-stricken Americans found themselves at the ball parks to find solace in playing or watching the ball game. Since its inception, the likes of the legendary hitters such as Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson became iconic by raising the popularity of the game. Relative to this increased popularity, game attendance followed by radio and television viewership later in years, have dramatically surged, enriching the league’s players.

In recent years, baseball’s great sluggers including Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds, all accused of steroid-abuse scandal of the mid-2000’s, have pushed the limit for the very fat salary offered by the team franchises. In turn, they have been put under pressure to break previous home run records and ultimately break the law in the process. Notwithstanding, baseball is America’s game, because for the most part, it is about tradition that connects the old and future generations at a time when different adversities divide them.

Elsewhere, the game of soccer is South and Central Americas’ all-time favorite. There is nothing more evident than the so-called Football War of 1969 between El Salvador and Honduras to prove such point. El Salvador is a small country with high population growth and a severely limited amount of available land. In contrast, Honduras is a larger country with a smaller population and a less-developed economy. By 1969, about 300,000 El Salvadorans had crossed over the border and squatted in the sparsely populated Honduras. The illegal incursion of the El Salvadorans had become a nationalistic sore point for Honduras.

To make up for his tarnished reputation, Honduran President Oswaldo Lopez Arellano (1963 – 71) revived a dormant agrarian reform law as a pretext to expel the El Salvadoran squatters from the country. The tale of the displaced refugees painted an ugly picture in El Salvador’s dailies and airwaves. In retaliation, when a soccer match was held in El Salvador, the Honduran team members were vilified and harassed by the Salvadoran fans. The ensuing event brought unintended or otherwise consequence called the Football War and as many as 2,000 people, mainly civilians, were killed in the action.

In the Philippines, their pastime is a uniquely different kind of game called jueteng. The game is an illegal numbers betting played by rich and poor alike. The mechanics of the game is to select a combination of two numbers between 1 and 37. Despite the high odds or 1/666 to be exact, the lucrative payout is nowhere difficult to resist which raises its mass appeal in all corners of the country. The game depends largely on the large number of wagers and there is no limit to the amount of the bets.

While the legion of wagers is bountiful, those who run the game have become extremely rich by sucking the hard-earned income from the poor. On the average, a mayor of one municipality who benefits from the game, earns a whopping P50,000 each draw. If my elementary mathematics serves me right, a mayor’s take home is about P150,000 given the three draws each day. One would wonder how much the country’s president gets a single day.

The exact amount is hard to determine. One thing is sure, however. In 2001, Erap Estrada was removed from office when Governor Chavit Singson, a known gambling lord in northern Luzon, blew his whistle and accused the former president of jueteng payoffs. Following their testimonies in the Senate, Estrada’s cobrador who turned state-witnesses, graphically described how they would unload sacks of money into Erap’s presence. In 2005,Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s relatives were likewise alleged to have received payoffs from jueteng operators.

What makes this game appealing to the very grassroots of the Philippine society?

Interestingly enough, the game of jueteng evokes the folkloric notions of good and bad luck. Wagers associate their dreams to the numbers from a combination of symbolic premonitions. For instance, if a bettor dreamed of his bald neighbor to have been shot dead with 45 caliber, and bald being represented by number 70 and 45 caliber being 45, the combination of 70 and 45 would be his notional winning numbers. The ability or inability to interpret such supernatural powers is perceived to influence forces of nature. Or so it seemed.

It is no coincidence that out of the three draws, morning, noon, and evening, the morning draw commands the most number of bets. The evening draw comes in second after the bettor took his siesta at noon.

The other reason for its apparent appeal is that the cobrador literally knocks at bettor’s door to solicit bets. This saves the bettor the time to travel to retail stores compared to say, lotto or other form of legalized gambling. A one peso bet translates into a prize-money of around four hundred to one thousand pesos. Winnings are then delivered straight to the bettor by the same cobrador.

The game’s rule of engagement evokes simplicity. Bettors do not have to sign any written contracts. The transaction between the bettor and the cobrador is done through informal negotiations. Despite the lack of any formalities, a relationship that is built on trust, provides security for the bettors.

Given the mass appeal of jueteng, it is no surprise that Filipinos from all walks of life, either tricycle drivers or parish priests, tambays or school teachers, mayors or the presidents of the country, have become part and parcel of what is now a cultural menace that would surely survive all the generations to come.

3/05/2009

How Low Can You Go?

Written by Ron Centeno

Nothing can be more of a detailed description how economic downturn in the U. S. is best exemplified by the story published on 28 February 2009 by the New York Times. The title of the article is aptly called, “After Being Laid Off, an Unexpected Career Change.”

According to the article, nine months ago, Mark Cooper lost his job as the security manager for the western United States for a Fortune 500 company that oversaw a budget of $1.2 million and earning about $70,000 a year. That was then. Now, Mr. Cooper makes $12 an hour as a janitor.

The likes of Mr. Cooper, however, is not unique. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that “about 1.7 million people were working part-time in January because they could not find full-time work.” The article added that “architects, former sales managers and executives who have taken on lower-paying, stop-gap jobs to help make ends meet, found that they were working for places like U.P.S., a Verizon Wireless call center and a liquor store.”

The article gave more stunning accounts of laid-off executives whose once lucrative income vanished into thin air when the companies they have been working suffered economic setbacks since the onset of recession in 2007.

In the case of Mr. Cooper and his wife who own a comfortable four-bedroom home in Glendale, Arizona, the $240 a week unemployment benefit would not be enough to cover their monthly mortgage.

Left without a choice, “Mr. Cooper rises every day at 4 a.m. and, after a time of prayer, devotes two hours to his job hunt on the computer.” He makes phone contacts during breaks from his pickup truck which he calls his “office.”

Indeed, life has gone from bad to worse in most cases. As another former executive who used to earn $165,000 a year and now gets $10 - $15 an hour as a data entry mournfully admits “It has been the hardest thing in my life. It has been harder than my divorce from my husband. It has really been even worse than the death of my mother.”

I’m sure many of us are profoundly affected by the recession and hope that it would end in the soonest possible time. For all of us who may or may not share the same personal crisis as Mr. Cooper, his heartbreaking courage to “vigorously shake out a rug at a back entrance and pushing a dust mop down a long hallway” should humble us to boldly face what life there is at times like this.

May God help us all!

3/03/2009

The Passing of Time

Written by Ron Centeno

Albert Einstein points out that time seems so quick to pass by when things matter most and the opposite is true when things are insignificant. Einstein must be referring to his theory of relativity in relation to time and space. I do not attempt to discuss such theory here but I can’t seem to help but relate Einstein’s observation of the passing of the time to my personal experience.

On August 11, 2006, I met Ces in Queens, New York. I was alone in my apartment on a Friday night after wrapping up an assigned thesis that I needed to submit Monday morning. I was in my second semester then at the Graduate School of Business at the Universityof Maryland. Pretty boring I thought and time seemed to have gotten stuck. I needed a way out to amuse myself. I raised myself up from a chair before the computer table. Moments later, I decided to hit the door to grab a bite of kalderatang kambing along Roosevelt Avenuewhere a number of Pinoy bands perform every weekend at the Perlas ng Silangan bar and restaurant. The bar is few blocks away and I had to drag my feet to while away time. Indeed, there seemed to be nothing significant along the line.

I spoke too soon. As soon as I was ushered in, I found my eyes transfixed to a woman sitting two tables away. Immediately, my sense of time was racing like the speed of light. Four hours turned into four minutes. And after the whirling four hours, the band was managing its last song and the lights were fading in. It was time to get up and I seemed to barely notice it. For the last four hours, I had been contemplating on how to approach the lovely woman. I simply couldn’t muster enough courage. But I must have to find a way no matter what. Otherwise, time would run out.

Just right outside the door, armed with determination, I finally met Ces . We shook hands, exchanged quick pleasantries and took off to Café Lalo with the nudging from her two friends. They had some chocolate cakes and cups of coffee. I had two shots of tequila. I thought there was something to celebrate and the tequila was a quick fix for a very short time. After an hour, we had to hit the road. It was already past three in the morning.

Ces and I were sitting next to each other at the rear passenger seats. One of her friends, Rey, was behind the wheel. The other is Nilds, his wife. The streets were seemingly empty. Driving along Queens Blvdwas exceedingly easy. Traffic lights were uncooperatively green. If only I had the ability to stop the hands of time or paint those lights red. In minutes, Rey pulled the car over. I had to get off. It was then that I realized the genius of Albert Einstein.

2/28/2009

Too Good to be True?

Written by Ron Centeno

Imagine you are an owner of a coffee shop without hiring a cashier to ring the bills of your customers. In other words, when a coffee drinker gets inside your coffee shop, he makes his own coffee, leaves his payment in a box near the thermos, and steps out when done. Too good to be true? Absolutely not!

In the article, “Café with No Cashier, No Bill for Real”, by Fe Zamora, (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08 February 2009), the author describes a coffee shop, which is aptly called Honesty Coffee Shop, that run the course of its business without a barista to accept payment or give change.

The author notes that “on the wall is a price list of items for sale-including coffee-and beside it a box and a sign, “Please pay here.” Also found in that coffee shop is a fridge with bottled drinks and souvenir items such as T-shirts.

Where else, however, such coffee shop be found but in Ivana, Batanes.
Geographically, Batanes lies at the northernmost tip of the Philippines, where the Pacific Ocean merges with the South China Sea. It is composed of three islands: Batan which contains the capital town of Basco, Sabtang and Itbayat.

As opposed to anywhere else in the Philippines, and perhaps to the most parts of the world, the municipality of Ivana, “locked doors are not part of our tradition. If they don’t pay, it’s not done purposely”, said, Elena Gabilo, a 73-year old retired school teacher and owner of Honesty Coffee Shop.

Understandably, with only a total population of 16,467 (2002 census) distributed within the entire province, and in the case of Ivana, with 1,300 residents (current census), one can imagine that everyone knows everyone.

The town boasts six policemen to secure peace and order. If my mathematics serves me right, for each policeman, he would be assigned to watch-over more than two hundred residents while on duty. Under such circumstance, Mayor Ramon Elizondo claims of a zero crime rate, except, “drunkenness and unruly behavior under the influence of gin.” When caught, the “burachos” are detained for six hours or until sober. “That’s the only time the jail gets used”, added the mayor.

Ironically, it is safe to assume that most of these residents do not hold academic degrees given the nature of the town as a fishing village as opposed to Ayala Alabang Village (ever heard of the Alabang Boys?), to say the least.

Imagine again that the entire world is Ivana, Batanes. I’m sure Starbucks and Coffee Beans will have every reason to stay in business.

2/28/2009

Bridge of Life

Written by Ron Centeno

There is nothing more heartwarming and newsworthy article than the “Villagers Spend Own Money to Fix Bridges”, by Ben Moses Ebreo, (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 05 Feb. 2009).

By and large, Obreo claims that “Ilocanos are known to be tight wads” (matipid or literally, kuripot), but for good reason.

Raised as a ‘Pangalatok’ in Central Pangasinan, I certainly concur to Obreo’s claim as I was in close contact with many Ilocanos while I was growing up as a kid, when l left the country in 1997, and to this date while living in the States.

According to the article, Obreo describes how residents of Sitio Dumaliguia, an agricultural village in the province of Nueva Vizcaya have started “contributing P5 monthly to the community’s treasury to pool funds for the repair of their hanging bridges under the project “Rangtay Pagbiagan” (Bridge of Life). Since September of last year, 114 families in that village have raised more than P2,000.

What prompted the Ilocanos to put matter into their hands, apparently, is the lack of help the villagers get from the government. Note that these two hanging bridges are linked to their very subsistence that include transporting their crops, sending their children to school, and bringing residents to health centers.

Considering the raised amount of over two thousand pesos to be rather measly and absolutely pale in comparison to most of the failed government projects that are oftentimes sources for corruption, such display of a collective effort by these Ilocanos is truly awe-inspiring.

I am totally struck by the sheer cohesiveness of these villagers who, in times of adversity, their spirit to survive defy our conventional wisdom for individual pursuit of happiness and wealth.

This incredible story of pooling together is one for the book. It convinces me and you that the spirit of “bayanihan” continues to flicker despite its fading.

Mabuhay ang mga Filipino, in general, at mga Ilocano, in particular!

2/26/2009

Answers to Hollywood Trivia

Written by Ron Centeno

Hey, Folks! The following are the answers for our Hollywood Trivia. Thanks again for taking time out filling up our trivia questions. More trivia coming up.

1. Sean Connery
2. Mel Gibson
3. Will Smith
4. Al Pacino
5. Gwyneth Paltrow
6. Rock Hudson
7. Jaws
8. Jurassic Park
9. Saving Private Ryan
10. Munich
11. Chris Farley
12. Bruce Lee
13. Moe, Larry, and Curly
14. John Wayne
15. “I’m shot”

2/23/2009

Let's Do Hollywood!

Written by Ron Centeno

In lieu of the just concluded Oscar Awards that was dominated by the movie Slumdog Millionaire, I prepared some HOLLYWOOD trivia for you.

Ok. Are you ready to play?

Goodluck!

1. Which James Bond actor turned down the 007 role in Live and Let Die (1973), that brought stunning success for his replacement, Roger Moore?

2. Which actor turned down the lead role in The Terminator (1984), which went to Arnold Schwrzenegger?

3. Which actor turned down the lead role in The Matrix (1999) that went to Keanu Reeves?

4. Which actor turned down the role Han Solo in Star Wars (1977), that started the career of Harrison Ford?

5. This actress must be a little picky when it comes to taking a role. She’s turned down Rollergirl in Boogie Nights (1997), which went to Heather Graham; Emma Peel in The Avengers (1998), which went to Uma Thurman; and Rachel in The Ring (2002), which went to Naomi Watts. Who is she?

6. This handsome favorite leading man of the 1950s and 1960s, was signed up to play the lead in Ben Hur (1959), but when contract negotiations broke down, it was Charlton Heston who took the part. Who is he?

7. This horror film released just in time for beach season was directed by Steven Spielberg based on the story of Peter Benchley novel. The villain was a carnivorous and very homicidal white shark that attacked people in a quiet coastal town. What movie this one is?

8. This movie sets in a remote island where a wealthy businessman has secretly created a theme park featuring live dinosaurs cloned from prehistoric DNA found encased in amber. It was written by Michael Crichton. Name this movie that held the box office record gross of $357,067,947 before it was beaten by Titanic in 1997.

9. This World War II movie, starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon, earned five Oscars, including Best Director (Steven Spielberg) and Best Cinematography. Name this movie that is based on a true story.

10. This movie , directed by Steven Spielberg, is based on a true story of 11 Israeli athletes who were murdered during the 1972 Olympics by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September. Name the title of this movie.

11. This funnyman who broke into Hollywood via Saturday Night Live, had battled drug and alcohol addiction and chronic obesity for years. In 1997, he died of a cocaine and heroin overdose at age 33. Name this comedian who, as a child, idolized John Belushi.

12. This legendary martial arts expert was born in San Francisco, moved back to Hong Kong, then at eighteen, his mother shipped him back to the States and found a job teaching the Wing Chun style of martial arts in Seattle. His birth name was Li Jun Fan, what was his screen name?

13. Name the three lead characters in the hit television comedy show called The Three Stooges.

14. This famous cowboy on screen was on a football scholarship at the University of Southern California. His real name is Marion Morrison. Who is this Western movie actor wherein one airport in Southern California bears his name?

15. What were the last words of John Lennon when Mark David Chapman fired the four fatal shots on him?

2/23/2009

Answers to Last Week's Trivia

Written by Ron Centeno

To those of you who took time out to respond to our previous trivia, the answers are the ff:

1. “Let there be light” – Genesis 1:3
2. Martin Van Buren,
3. William Harrison
4. Washington Irving
5. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
6. Louis Cartier in 1904 for Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Brazilian aeronaut.
7. Fabrica Italiana di Automobili Torino.
8. General Purpose
9. Charles Perrault
10. Beowulf
11. Lady Godiva
12. Yes, twice: in Matthew 6:9-11 and, in a shorter form, in Luke 11:2-4
13. Cain, after slaying his brother Abel. The land of Nod may be found “on the east of Eden” – Genesis 4:16 (Jonathan Swift, in a Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation, makes one of his characters say that he was “going to the land of Nod” – that is, to sleep – a meaning the phrase has retained ever since.)
14. Brazil
15. The Bay Psalm Book
16. William I, “The Conqueror”
17. Thomas Edison
18. Albert Einstein.
19. James Dean.
20. Christopher Reeve
21. Marilyn Monroe
22. John Wilkes Booth
23. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
24. James Chadwick
25. Enola Gay
26. 1959
27. Martin Luther King
28. $15 million
29. Billie Jean King
30. Mark Spitz

CONGRATULATIONS!

2/20/2009

Let's Play Trivia!

Written by Ron Centeno

Are you ready to play? If you are, take a quick look and respond to the following 30 trivial questions I prepared for you. Answers will follow.

1. What was God’s first command?

2. Who was the first President born in the United States?

3. Which President gave the longest inaugural address and as a result served the shortest term in office of any President?

4. Who was the first American to earn his living by his pen?

5. Which great literary figure called architecture “frozen music”?

6. Who designed the first wristwatch and for whom?

7. FIAT is an acronym for what?

8. Give the derivation of the word “jeep.”

9. Who wrote the famous fairy story, “The Sleeping Beauty”?

10. Which legendary hero successfully fought the water-monster Grendel?

11. Whose face and body were so beautiful that she hid them with her hair to persuade her husband to do what?

12. Is the Lord’s prayer found in the Bible?

13. Who “went out of the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod”? Where is the land of Nod?

14. Name the largest Roman Catholic country in the world.

15. What was the first book to be printed in what is now the United States?

16. Which English king, who was born and died in France, could speak only a form of French?

17. Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park”, this American inventor is credited with more than 1,000 patents in his name. Who is he?

18. This Noble Prize-winning physicist is famous for his theory of relativity and contributions to quantum theory and statistical mechanics. He took the entrance exam to the prestigious Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, but failed. Who is he?

19. This Hollywood actor, who starred in three movies namely, East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant, was killed in a car accident in 1955 at age 24. Who is he?

20. This Hollywood actor is best remembered as Superman, portraying the role Clark Kent, in 1978. He was paralyzed during a horse-riding accident in 1995. Who is he?

21. This Hollywood screen siren began her career as a model and led to a film contract in 1946. Her performance in a movie Some Like It Hot won her Golden Globe Award. She died in 1962. Who is she?

22. Who fired his pistol just once at Abraham Lincoln’s head while attending a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.?

23. Who is the only U. S. President who made history by serving not only two terms but three after pulling the nation out of its economic depths through his leadership?

24. In 1932, this British scientist discovered an atomic particle, the neutron, which could penetrate the nucleus of an atom and cause it to separate. Who is he?

25. On August 6, 1945, what American B-29 bomber ferried the bomb to Hiroshima, the Japanese city chosen for the drop.

26. What year Alaska and Hawaii were admitted as the forty-ninth and fiftieth states, respectively?

27. This American black leader organized the bus boycotts during Rosa Park’s struggle in the 1950s. His famous speech “I have a Dream” won him a Noble Peach Prize in 1964. Who is he?

28. In 1803, Thomas Jefferson purchased a vast expanse of land from France known as The Lousiana Purchase despite the legal impediment under the U. S. Constitution. How much did Jefferson pay for the sell of land from Lousiana to the present-day Montana?

29. In what was dubbed the “Battle of the Sexes,” which female tennis star defeated her male opponent Bobby Riggs in three straight sets?

30. Which American swimmer won seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany?

POST YOUR ANSWERS UNDER 'COMMENT'. HAVE FUN!

2/19/2009

Slumdog - Oscar Favorite (Repost)

Written by Ron Centeno

When we talk about great movies, we oftentimes refer to those that are hugely budgeted with elaborate sets, high-tech production, and ridiculously high-paid Hollywood actors. In the movie Slumdog Millionaire, this is not the case.

The movie was filmed in India with barely known Bollywood actors in the lead. One example is Dev Patel who played the lead role, Jamal Malik. Patel earned the part out of his unassuming looks. His cinematic features pale in comparison to the generally hunky and hero-like Bollywood stars. Nevertheless, Patel is a cast member of a British television ensemble drama Skin prior to this movie. The other is Freida Pinto who played the role of Latika, Jamal’s love interest. Pinto had not starred in a feature film before. She is a commercial model by profession.

One can only guess that while the movie’s projected cost was $15 million, an award-winning movie with a small budget such as this defies the conventional wisdom in the movie industry. To its credit, the film pulled down four coveted 2009 Golden Globe Awards including Best Motion Picture – Drama; Best Director – Motion Picture – Danny Boyle; Best Screenplay – Simon Beaufoy; and Best Original Score – A. R. Rahman.

Slumdog Millionaire is based on a novel Q and A by Vikas Swarup and is put into a script by Simon Beaufoy. The backdrop used for the scenes is nothing but redolently panoramic landscape that captures the real-thing-slum in the heart of Mumbai. The filthiness inside this shanty town is enough to turn the viewers’ stomach upside down. The grossness surrounding the squatter commune creates an impression of a third-world India prior to country’s ascent to one of the world’s fastest rising economies next to China.

The movie’s plot is typical to countries where minorities, in this case the Muslims in a predominantly Hindus, are treated heavy-handedly. Children of Islamic descent who hail from the shanties bear the brunt of India’s discriminating authorities.
Jamal Malik, a former street child from Mumbai had the displeasure of being a contestant in Kaun Banega Crorepati, an Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Armed without education, he stunned the show’s million avid viewers by making it to the final question worth twenty million ruppies. As such, Prem Kumar, the host of the show suspected Jamal of cheating which resulted in a police interrogation. Under custody, Jamal detailed an explanation of how he knew the answers that walked us through to the chronological events of his sorry-life in the slum areas.

The ensuing scenes from beginning to end of the movie were masterfully directed by Danny Boyle. The film is simply riveting which hoisted Simon Beaufoy to earn the coveted award in scriptwriting. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film four stars, stating that it is, “a breathless, exciting story, heartbreaking and exhilarating”. Todd McCarthy of Variety, praises the script as “intricate and cleverly structured”. Finally, Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times describes the film as a “Hollywood-style romantic melodrama that delivers major studio satisfactions in an ultra-modern way”.

Indeed, Slumdog Millionaire is a movie that might bring the executives of the giant film outfits into the drawing board to focus more on the script rather than the big budget to earn critical acclaim.

2/16/2009

Can I See Your ID?

Written by Ron Centeno

Over three hundred years of iron-willed rule in the Philippines, the Spaniards, after its defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898, finally ceded the country to the U.S. government for a measly tag of $20 million. In the next fifty years, the Philippines was equally looted with its worthy resources by the Yankees, interrupted only by the Japanese during World War II. And whether the victorious McArthur is deserving of his title as the country’s liberator, depends entirely on the history book you are reading.

In the hindsight, we Filipinos, our endearing love for anything America was completely ingrained since then. For instance, the English language would dominate our schools’ medium of instruction. Today, of course, its practicability is underlined by the sprouting of call centers.

Hollywood movies and TV programs would inundate our entertainment theatres and the comfort or discomfort of our living rooms, if we have any. Levi’s jeans, Abercrombie and Fitch muscle shirts, Guess watches, Nike shoes, and the list goes on, have commercialized our collective fond for anything America.

I must admit, however, that I am no exemption to the rule. I just so love America, hence, twelve years earlier, I packed my bag and headed to the land of promise. Applying the finishing touches of that affection to the same, I gave up my Philippine passport, and swapped it with the ‘blue’ one. It was a no-brainer, I thought.

While in America, I eat cereal for breakfast instead of ‘tapsilog’, drink white wine instead of ‘lambanog’, sip taster’s choice instead of ‘café barako’, and switch to superbowl from basketball.

Behind my coated American lifestyle, however, I am innately Filipino. Constantly, I would long to see childhood friends in Barrio Polong (Malasiqui, Pangasinan) to where I was born. I would crave for ‘sinampalokang manok’ my nanay would painstakingly cook by mashing the tamarind fruits fresh from the tree for the mix. And of course, I ache to ride our country’s symbol of engineering ingenuity, the ubiquitous ‘jeepneys’.

Eleven years later, (2008) I packed my bag again, this time, to head home to the Philippines for a brief visit. Suddenly, there was a blast of anticipation. I was ecstatic, tossing and turning the whole trip. When the aircraft finally rolled to stop and the door swung open, my feet finally touched the ground. I was euphoric.
On the night of my arrival, I was up and about and raring to hit the neon-lit cafes across the condotel I was booked in. The Galleria area in Makati was no different from the Old Town, Pasadena, where I came from, except the huge flock of people that populate it.

There were competing American, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Persian, Korean, and Cuban, cafes and restaurants at every corner. I opted for the Cuban where ‘mambos’ and ‘salsa’ music were played by a group of Filipino band. Because the inside of the Café itself is quite narrow and suffocating, folding tables and chairs were set up outside of it to accommodate more patrons – 85%t of them ‘expats’, in tow were their Filipino-girls escorts. This makeshift set up is prized to those who frequent the spot for its open-air ambiance.

Unless perhaps one has a sizable wallet such as the likes of a Congressman, a Senator, or a Cabinet member, chances are, for ordinary Filipinos the Cuban experience can be an illusive one. Its menu lists exorbitant prices - an implicit indication to segregate the ‘expats’ from the natives.

At any rate, I approached the server if he could find me that sought-after spot outside the Cafe. He settled me inside and ended up seated in the bar. Outside, however, attendants were quick to fix tables and chairs every time ‘expats’ would arrive.

Dismayed, I asked for the check halfway my San Miguel beer. Then, I dug in my wallet and fingered out my Bank of America card. When asked for my ID, I showed my California driver's license. Immediately, the server approached the manager who was running around socializing with his valued ‘expats’. When the same server got back with me, he said, “Sir, your table outside is now ready.”

“Yeah, right”!, I said in my fake American accent.

2/16/2009

Thanks for the award, Goddy!

Written by Ron Centeno

The very first award for “In My Own Words”, what an honor!

I would like to thank “A Friend named Goddy” and its maverick and outspoken author Mr. Goddy Ramirez for giving “In My Own Words” this distinction.

This ‘HONEST SCRAP AWARD’ is totally unexpected. All I wanted to do is to put words into some readable lines. I didn’t realize other bloggers deemed those words to be ‘brilliant’ as part of the requirement to earn such an auspicious accolade. I cannot overemphasize the fact that the works of the other bloggers are equally deserving of the same. I am humbled by the honor bestowed upon me. It is truly encouraging. PLS. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE!

2/14/2009

Happy Valentines!

Written by Ron Centeno

Here's a big heart from me to you! Thank you for all the love you've shown! I am deeply inpired by all your comments and encouragements!


Photographed by Ron

2/13/2009

Sorry, I Can't Come

Written by Ron Centeno

Prior to his anticipated non-appearance before a Senate inquiry, citing medical problem, on the purported rigged biddings for World Bank funded-projects, the First Gentlemen has already been publicly condemned. And it’s rightly so. The problem with public condemnation, no matter how strong, it does not have the weight required to send the guilty party to jail.

No doubt, for instance, from the barber shops to cafes across the country, people are abuzz with a formed opinion that there is truth to FG’s alleged role in the alleged collusion between the government and the bidders.

The First Gentleman, however, was without the opportune time to disprove this mindset the people hold - thus, the Senate invitation.

In his opening statement published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer dated 13 February 2009, however, the First Gentleman has this to say - “I respectfully respond in your Invitation and Notice dated 9 February 2009. I regret that my doctors have again prohibited me from attending, owing to the stressful atmosphere my presence might create.”

This was, of course, confirmed by his ‘expert doctor’ that “his patient’s medical condition required him to avoid mentally stressful situation.” Adding, “it would be dangerous to his patient’s health.”

Hence, in the next three hours of Senate inquiry, the committee delved for one hour on FG’s health than the pressing issues at hand.
Interestingly, FG’s spokesperson remarked previously that it is yes to golf but no to Senate inquiry. Such remark is an outright tacky, deserving all the more of our collective damnation.

While there is no body or agency to refute the medical opinion and left us simply to amen to their expert pronouncement, Mike Arroyo, in the meantime, is perhaps perfecting his swing in a golf course, that again, the doctor found relaxing for him to do than appearing before the Senate inquiry.

More on his statement found in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the First Gentleman concluded, “I am a citizen of the Republic. I maintain that our Constitution continues to protect many inalienable rights. Among these are the right to confront witnesses against me face-to-face who are not like shadows hiding behind an incomplete, unofficial “Report;” the right to be presumed innocent; and the right to be left alone absent evidence of wrongdoing.”

The part “face-to-face” in that statement is a complete baloney. Time and again, Mike Arroyo has refused to appear before any proceedings that require his presence.
The fact of the matter is that, having to grapple with distorted words before any investigating panel is a fate requiring a Herculean strength. In contrast to being truthful, facing the same panel will require no sweat. It should be a walk in the park.

In the case of Mike Arroyo, the park he would walk upon, in case he would finally do so, would be a minefield, a complete contrast with the manicured lawn of a golf course.

2/11/2009

The Compromise Stimulus Package

Written by Ron Centeno

It was quick but a decisive move on both Houses to reach an agreement on stimulus plan worth $789 billion. Apparently, the whopping size of the package was eclipsed by the speed of its passing. For those in the know, getting into an agreement between the House and the Senate would take days. It took hours, instead.

The willingness of the Democrats in both houses to reduce the original tag from $820 billion (House) and $838 billion (Senate) to the compromise amount accelerated the agreement. Thanks to the three moderate Republican senators namely, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Arlene Specter, who threw in their support to speed up the process. While the Democrats control 58 seats in the 100-seat Senate, they need some Republican support to reach 60 votes and overcome any possible procedural hurdles.

Not all Republicans, however, gave their nods. They wanted more tax cuts instead of merely expanding big government spending. About 36% of the package is geared toward tax cuts, with the rest in spending. Moreover, the Republicans thought the stimulus legislation was poorly crafted and could end up a taxpayer burden. Others complained they have been left out of the final negotiations.

The bill is made up of four categories: tax breaks for individuals and businesses; investments in health care and alternative energy; funding for “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects; and aid to state and local governments, including expanded benefits for individuals who are unemployed and lack health insurance.

Exactly what Obama had promised during his presidential campaign, the stimulus package is “a plan that will provide immediate relief to families and businesses, while investing in priorities like health care, education, energy, and infrastructure that will grow our economy once more.” Further, Obama quipped that without a stimulus bill, the country faces a possible economic “catastrophe” considering the 3.6 million jobs lost since recession began in December 2007.

Obama reiterated his previous pronouncement to “save or create 3.5 million jobs and get our economy back on track.” In particular, Obama cited heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. to rehire some of its 20,000 laid-off workers if the stimulus package is passed. News of the compromise agreement sent U. S. stock markets higher -clearly, a positive tangible result.

I find the urgent passing of the bill crucial. The bottom line is, the U. S., as well as the global economy are in dire straits. Nothing is more precious than what time is. If those men and women in both Houses and the White House fail to get things done in the soonest possible time, then global deflation would be the order of the day, followed by irreversible pain of years to come.

A stimulus package now is meant to convince people that the government is finally working and that help is on the way. One caveat, however, must be put into consideration. The payoff that would be generated from the spending will not take place today or tomorrow. To the economic pundits, their crystal ball indicates 12 to 18 months before we can begin to harvest the fruits of this compromise deal.

Until then, let us hope that those people we sent to Congress would be able to find a way to ameliorate our collective woes that have sunk our confidence to its lowest level.

2/10/2009

History Repeats Itself

Written by Ron Centeno

Kung bakit paurong ang pamumuhay ni Juan dela Cruz, ito’y dapat nating usisahin.

Kaya ko nasabing paurong, dahil bago pa man sumalakay ang mga Hapon noong pangalawang pandaigdigang digmaan, ay sadya namang namamayagpag ang ating bayan. Kaliwa’t kanan ang natatanggap nating papuri mula sa ating mga karatig na bansa. Demokratiko daw tayo ‘di tulad nila. Sa katunayan, lamang lang ng konti ang mga “Sakang” noon sa atin. Sa ibang salita, pangalawa tayo sa Asia na kung saan ang mga Japon ang number one.

Ang halaga ng peso noong araw laban sa dolyar ay dalawa laban sa isa. Ngayon, 47 laban sa isa. Kung baga sa basketbol, tambak tayo.

Walang binatbat ang South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, at Vietnam sa atin noong mga panahon na yon. Lalong walang-wala ang Singapore at Taiwan dahil di pa sila nalilikha bilang mga bansa. Kung baga, sila’y mga palaisdaan pa lamang. 1965 naitatag ang Singapore; 1949 naman ang Taiwan nang patalsikin ni Mao si Chiang. Sobra kasing “corrupt” ‘tong si Chiang dala ng kanyang pagka-kapit sa Imperyalistang Kano. Yon, nasipa siya tuloy mula China papuntang ewan, I mean, Taiwan.

Ang dalawang panig ng Korea naman mula 1950 – 1953 ay walang puknat sa kanilang away militarismo. “Unification’ ang nais ng bawat panig. Nais ng mga taga South sila ang mamuno. Ganon din ang nais ng mga taga North. Dahil parehong ayaw pumayag, nauwi tuloy sa digmaan. Natapos ang giyera ng dalawa ngunit tabla ang kinalabasan nito. “Armistice” daw sabi ng United Nation. Kaya hanggang ngayon, ang “South” at “North” nagiisnaban pa rin sa isat-isa.

Mula ng maging Kumunista ang Norteng Korea, dalawa pa lang ang naging lider nito. Ang mag-amang Kim. Una si Kim Il-sung at ang kasalukuyang anak nitong tila may tama sa pag-iisip na si Kim Jong-Il. Alam niyo bang takot sumakay ng eroplano tong is Kim Jong-Il. Kaya nong pumunta ng Russia, train ang sinakyan niya.

Wagi si McArthur at nailigtas ang mga Koreanong dikit sa mga Kano laban sa mga Koreanong dikit sa Russo. Siyanga pala, para sa inyong kaalaman, si Ninoy na asawa ni Cory, na tatay ni Kris Aquino, at si Ninoy pa rin na pinaslang ng alam niyo na kung sino, ay nakilala bilang “correspondent” noong pumutok ang Korean War sa edad labingwalo. Kayo, nasan kayo sa murang edad na dice ocho? Ako sa may kanto, pabanjing-banjing lang.

Of course, ‘di na natin kailangang talakayin kung anong nangyari sa Vietnam dahil alam na alam niyo na ang buong detalye ng mga pangyayari. Sa dami ba naman ng pelikulang may temang Vietnam War, marahil memoryado niyo na ang kasaysayan nito. Anyway, sampung taon silang nagpatayan doon mula 1965 – 1975.

Huwag kayong magtaka kong bakit tiklop ang mga G. I. Joes sa Vietnam. ‘Di umubra ang bangis ni Rambo taliwas sa mga eksenang napanood niyo sa mga pelikula nito.
Teka, ano na ang nangyari sa ating bidang si Juan dela Cruz? Sori! Naparami ang kuwento.

Tumbukin na natin kung bakit ‘tong si Juan sikmura’y walang laman. Kung inabot niyo si Marcos, (ako bata pa ako non, hehehe…) marahil isipin niyong isa siya sa pangunahing dahilan kung bakit naghihingalo si Juan. Idagdag mo pa si Erap na sa loob lamang ng 30 buwan na panunungkulan, bulsa niya’y nagkalaman. Isama no rin si Gloria na di na rin mabilang ang nakamkam na pera sa kaban ng ating naghihingalong bayan.

Pagusapan natin ng konti si Marcos. Sa mga nakasubaybay ng kanyang mapangahas na regimen, nanggagalaiti nating balikan ang kanyang panunungkulan.

Ayon sa saligang batas ng 1935, dalawang beses lang ang termino ng pangulo. Dahil dito, nais sanang palitan ni Marcos ang konstitusiyon, Charter Change, ‘ika nga, upang magpatuloy siya sa puwesto. From presidential to parliamentary daw. Sa ganon puwede siyang tumakbo sa Ilocos at gawing Prime Minister. “Sound familiar”? Dahil ‘di pumayag ang mga mambabatas sa kagustuhan ni Marcos at dahil tuta siya ng mga Kano, mapangahas niyang diniklara ang batas militar noong Setyembre 21, 1972, under proclamation number 1081.

Katuwiran pa ni Marcos ay sa dahilang laganap kuno ang panggugulo ng mga maka-kaliwa o CPP-NPA. Terrorista raw ang mga ito at nagkalat ang mga dinamita na sumasabog sa mga establisamento sa Metro Manila. Totoong maraming pinapapasabog na dinamita. Ang hindi maintindihan ng mga iba ay kung bakit madaling araw sila sumasabog at wala man lang naiulat na namamatay maliban sa Plaza Miranda, kung saan walo sa mga kanditatong Senador na laban sa kanya ay malubhang nasugatan. Meron ding mga namatay na supporters nila. Dahil late si Ninoy na dumating, hindi siya natamaan. Mabilis namang ginawang dahilan ng kampo ni Marcos na si Ninoy ang pasimuno ng pagpapasabog sa Plaza Miranda.

Ngunit ang maliwanag na dahilan ay ang ‘orchestrated’ na plano ni Marcos, Fabian Ver, at ang dating Secretary of Defense at kasalukuyang Pangulo ng Senado ngayon na si Juan Ponce Enrile. Yes, si Enrile ang “architect” ng Martial Law nong panahon ni Marcos.

Of course, ang Martial Law ay di pangkaraniwang batas. Maliwanag kay Marcos yan. Kaya, kinakailangan ang masusing suporta ng militar para labanan ang marahas na reaksiyon ng mamayan. Kinailangan din ni Marcos ang pagsangayon ng pamahalaang Washington. Mapangahas na “OO” ang sagot ni Nixon at Kissinger sa hiling ni Marcos na pumayag ang mga ito kung sakaling ipairal niya ang batas militar. Hindi siya nagpatumpik-tumpik at sa mga sumunod na taon, ang Pilipinas ay nakabalot sa mabagsik na kamay ng diktadorang Marcos.

Una sa listahan ni Marcos ay ang pangalang Ninoy Aquino. Kumunista raw ito at kailangang dakipin. Sa kasawiang palad, mahaba ang listahan niya, kaya marami ang nadakip, nakulong, at napaslang. Ang masama ay ang walang katotohanan na ang mga ito ay maka-kaliwa at lalong hindi sila terrorista.

Dahil lahat ng kontra kay Marcos ay pawang patay na o ‘di man nakakulong na, walang pakundangan niya at mga galamay niya na gahasahin ang kaban ng bayan.
Mahigit dalawampung-taon ang lumipas mula nang maluklok si Marcos sa kapangyarihan nang sabay-sabay na magalit ang mga katulad ni Juan dela Cruz na lugmok sa kahirapan. “Tama na, sobra na”, ang nagkaisang sigaw nila. Sa EDSA, kung saan sila nagipon-ipon, walang takot na hinarang ang sibat. Nanaig ang galit ng mga Filipino at sa wakas, bumagsak ang mapang-aping rehimen ni Marcos.

Ilang taon mula nang mapatalsik si Marcos, ilang mga pangulo at politico na rin ang naupo, at heto na naman tayo. Ika nga ni Garry Valenciano, “Di na natuto.” Para silang recycle na tabo, pabalik-balik lang.

Hindi ko na kailangang isalaysay sa inyo ang mga masasamang pangyayari sa liderato ni Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Alam ko namang kabisado niyo na rin ang kalakalan ng kanyang pamumuno.

Mula sa isyung “Hello Garci”, “Fertilizer Scam”, “ZTE Scam” at ang kasalukuyang “Illegal Bidding Scam”, at kung ano-ano pang scam, alam kong sariwa pa lahat ang mga yan sa inyong mga isipan.

Ang mahalaga, naitawid ko sa inyo ang maiksing kuwento ng rehimeng Marcos. Kaya ko nasabing mahalaga, dahil sa mga nakikita kong galaw ni Gloria, para siyang reincarnation ng Marcos era. Remember, “History repeats itself”.

SANA MALI AKO…