Defenders of the faith

Today it is the opinion writers being blamed by the Aquino administration.

On Thursday, the gentlemen of the Presidential Communications Group put the slow collapse of the yellow juggernaut squarely on the shoulders of the nation’s opinion writers.

“We don’t have any problem with the Malacañang Press Corps,” says spokesman Edwin Lacierda. “There’s no problem with the news itself but perhaps with the columnists who are always criticizing him.”
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May 21, 2011 under Opinions | no comment

Method To Madness 2011

The reporter was bored. Her heels were high, her mouth was wide and the cheap green medical mask slung over her neck hung lopsided as she lit her ninth Marlboro in an hour. The reporter had never been a chain smoker, but on the eve of the New Year a little more than 20 centuries after a Jewish storyteller sucked his last gulp of sour wine out of a sponge, the reporter decided that sucking smoke out of a stick while tapping her foot outside an empty emergency room was a slightly better deal than just tapping her foot outside an empty emergency room. Her cameraman agreed.
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Jan 2, 2011 under General, Opinions | 1 comment

The Joker

“Seldom,” says his biography, “do we have a Filipino leader who has so much ardor and commitment both as a human rights lawyer and freedom fighter.”

They called him a dragon. They said he was fearless. They said he was “a man beholden to no one except his country.” He is said to have handled more human rights cases than any other lawyer in the years between the declaration of martial law and the revolution in Edsa. He opposed the ratification of the Marcos-dictated 1973 Constitution. He condemned the power of military tribunals to try civilians. He stood for journalists, activists and statesmen, defending Ninoy Aquino and Jovito Salonga, Eugenio Lopez Jr. and Jose Ma. Sison. He was incarcerated in stockades, gassed at rallies, injured, hospitalized and threatened with death. In 2001 he became the hero of a new generation, when he thundered that we cannot have a nation run by a thief.
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Sep 18, 2010 under People | no comment


Never take up with a writer, I tell you they notice everything, including the hole at the bottom of your argyle sock, the inconsistency in your choice of cheeseburger, and that confession you made one drunken dawn in 2006. They will stay awake at three in the morning, and insist on walking down stretches of street in the July rain. They are useless at parties, and either stare blankly into space or ramble about prepositional use. They will correct your every sentence, forget vital pieces of underwear, and will not hesitate to record your conversation on a scrap of damp McDonald’s tissue paper. They are afraid the sky is falling, and more afraid when it doesn’t. They conveniently forget birthdays and unpaid phone bills, will hiss at good friends who make the mistake of breathing while they pound away at what they mistakenly believe is the Great Filipino Novel, and have fits of moaning in dark corners when the voices in their heads refuse to go away. And there are voices, I tell you.
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Jul 12, 2009 under General | 4 comments

The warrant for Cheche Lazaro

Branch 47 of the Pasay City Metropolitan Trial Court is on the second floor of the Hall of Justice, a short walk from the Municipal Office. Outside its door is a torn paper sign, gone brittle with age, the branch number printed with graying ink. Inside, at half-past noon on a Friday, there is an air of expectation. The floors are white and spotless; untidy piles of paper are being marshaled into order, and a little girl in purple is having her hair brushed by a doting mama. Is she here, they ask, is she coming?
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May 10, 2009 under General | no comment

The Failon incident

I do not know Ted Failon. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a producer for the ABS-CBN News Channel, although I have never personally met the “TV Patrol” anchor.

I write this as someone who was riding home in a taxicab listening to reporters talk about evidence and paraffin tests and an investigation of “the incident” at Ted Failon’s house, not knowing what the incident was.
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Apr 18, 2009 under General | 1 comment


On March 27, 2009, former BBC broadcaster and Chinese columnist Chip Tsao wrote a column titled “The war at home” for a Hong Kong magazine. Tsao called it a satire, and said that the Filipinos had no chance of claiming a stake on the Spratly Islands for as long as the Chinese people – himself included – could hold hostage the thousands of Filipina domestic workers working overseas. “There are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working at $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.”
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Apr 11, 2009 under General | no comment