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Monthly Archives: November 2009

Desecrating the Philippine flag

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The Fourth Estate got too elated over Pacman’s systematic decimation of Miguel Cotto last November 15 that it failed to notice that a law was already being violated.

Many didn’t notice this, but the Philippine Daily Inquirer published a photo last November 17 showing a man unwittingly desecrating the Philippine flag at the expense of his admiration for Manny Pacquiáo(see below):

This action grossly violated the provisions of the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8491):

Section 34 of the Prohibited Acts;
f. To add any word, figure, mark, picture, design, drawings, advertisements or imprints of any nature on the flag;

But what if that guy holding the flag is a Filipino who’s already a US citizen — would he still be exempted from Republic Act 8491? Besides, the crime was done overseas — would it still matter?

Right now, what matters most is that our local leaders, particularly Senators Richard “The Dick” Gordon, “Candid” Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Francis “El Queso” Escudero, have proposed to “legally desecrate” the flag that has been known to us –and to our patriots who first hoisted it– as a symbol of our nationhood for more than a century already. The details of this “legal desecration” can be found in the provisions of Senate Bill 3307 which proposes to amend Republic Act 8491.

The bill seeks to add a ninth ray to our flag’s sun. With tons of national problems continuously disturbing our lives every day, why do our solons want to do such a thing?

In a statement, Gordon, who’s the most vocal on this latest move to make a graffiti out of our country’s beloved symbol, has this to say: “We are a country that has had a conflict with our Muslim brothers for the last so many decades. I think this is a big step toward reuniting our country, recognizing the contributions of our fellow countrymen, the Filipino Muslims. We should recognize their deeds in our country.”

He did not say, however, what those contributions were, if there were any at all. We’re speaking here in the context of Philippine historiography, something that the good senator is trying to imply especially when he mentioned that our country has been in conflict with Mindanáo Muslims for decades.

Well, not exactly decades, but for centuries. Or perhaps since the Fall of the Byzantine Empire. Or perhaps since their “prophet” Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh wrote these hate-filled passages in the Qur’an:

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (S IX 29)

“O ye who believe! Fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you; and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.” (S IX 123)

“O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (For friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guided not a people unjust.” (S V 54)

(The People of the Book are the Christians; jizya, on the other hand, is the tribute.)

As you can see, lasting peace between Muslims and non-Muslims is nothing but a pie in the sky.

Here in the Philippines, the government has tried everything it can to break the dividing wall between Muslim Filipinos and non-Muslims, particularly Christians. But it is the Muslims who keep on distancing themselves. And with much bravado. We long for peace, but they take pride in war. Why? Just refer to their Qur’an.

And now they have the nerve to claim Mindanáo for themselves. This should not be a surprise anymore because Filipinos today do not know much about Philippine history…

Renowned US historian John Leddy Phelan’s monumental work, The Hispanization of the Philippines (University of Wisconsin Press, Menasha, WI, 1959), recounts the story of one of the processes of how our nation was built:

In various provinces of the Philippines native chieftains and freeman were assembled during the year 1599 in order to “elect” the Castilian king as their natural lord and sovereign. These election ceremonies were organized upon the urging of a royal cedula from Spain. The Filipinos based their voluntary submission on the contractual promise that the king and his new subjects would render each other certain services.

To reiterate, the Filipino identity is the product of the Filipino State that began to exist in Spanish on 24 June 1571. The Filipino State was founded together with Manila on that same date, with the government having Spanish as its official language.

As stated in Phelan’s book, the previously existing native ethnic states went into the Filipino State as co-founding members in 1599. They incorporated themselves with the Filipino State when they elected the Spanish King (Rey Felipe II) as their natural sovereign. This election was verified during a synod-plebiscite held also that year.

From that time on, and after forming part of the 1571 Filipino State, our pre-Hispanic ancestors also accepted Spanish as their official and national language with their respective native languages as auxiliary official languages. Thus, the previously autonomous Ethnic States that existed before 1599 were respectively the ones that belonged to the Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Pampangueños, Bicolanos, Visayans, Mindanáo Lumads, etc. including the Moro Sultanates of Joló and Maguindanáo.

Yes, even Mindanáo’s Muslim leaders had a deal with the Spanish monarchy.

Thus, before we go off topic here, adding a ninth ray to the sun will not be a solution that there will be everlasting peace between Christian Filipinos and Muslim Filipinos. This is not to say that we should continue hating the Muslims. No, of course not. It’s useless. Jesus Christ didn’t teach us to hate. But the tenets of Islam teach Muslims to hate: “O ye who believe! Fight the unbelievers who gird you about…

Sadly, their fundamentalism can never be denied.

Now, let us discuss what the symbols of the flag stand for. The white triangle stands for equality and fraternity. The blue field is for peace, truth, and justice. The red field for patriotism, and valor, and bravery. The stars are for Luzón, Visayas, and Mindanáo. And the eight rays of the sun represent the first eight provinces which declared themselves in a state of rebellion against Spain: Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Écija, Bataán, Laguna, and Batangas (these provinces were then placed under martial law by the Spanish government).

Adding a ninth ray to the sun tarnishes the significance of the meaning of the other eight rays. What province does the ninth ray represent? And what if other groups ask to be represented in the flag as well? Besides, the Moros fought the Spaniards in order not for them to be assimilated to the Philippine government. Is that what you call a fight for freedom? Yes, it is. But they fought only for themselves, not for the whole country.

To put it more bluntly, they fought against the Philippine government during the Spanish times, like what they’re still doing to this very day. And then our politicians want to reward them something that they never did?

In another angle, Emmanuel Libre Osorio postulated in a column of his in Business Mirror (25 June 2009) that “until the ninth ray is added to the Philippine flag, the Philippines cannot be a truly national community. It is that simple and yet its truth has eluded many.” (Business Mirror).

Simple? Unbeknownst to Mr. Osorio, the Philippines has been a national community since 24 June 1571. And that was when Manila was founded and declared as the capital city of the Philippine Islands during the reign of the first Spanish Governor-General, El Adelantado Miguel López de Legazpi.

The Filipino State, therefore, was simultaneously founded with the founding of the City of Manila. Logically speaking, why should there be a capital city, seat of a central government with its laws, without a corresponding state to govern?

We should thus celebrate June 24 each year as the birthdate of our country, and not merely as Araw ng Maynilà.

In the same article, Mr. Osorio also implied that this clamor for a ninth ray has much weight in it because it has been raised numerous times in the past by people of influence and political significance: former Cagayán de Oro City, Misamis Oriental Mayor (and now Senator) Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.; two-time Speaker of the House of Representatives José B. Laurel, Jr., and; Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil, ex-chairperson of the National Historical Institute. But that is beside the point. Mr. Osorio is already using appeal to authority here. Even if, say, José Rizal were alive today and he’d also opt for a ninth ray, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their argument would be correct already. Einstein may have been a genius, but that didn’t make him infallible.

Mr. Osorio then asks: is the addition of the ninth ray a constitutional heresy?

What does the Constitution say?

Article XVI, Section 1 of the Constitution states: “The flag of the Philippines shall be red, white and blue, with a sun and three stars, as consecrated and honored by the people and recognized by law.”

The Constitution is silent on the number of rays.

But that silence doesn’t mean that we should allow creativity –or should I say POLITICAL WHIMSICALITY– to meddle with what Marcela Marino de Agoncillo, together with her daughter Lorenza and Rizal’s niece Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, toiled for in Hong Kong way back in 1897. The constitution is also silent with the color of the sun and even on the shape of the flag. It can be “silent” about so many other things regarding the attributes of our flag; all one needs is an imaginative mind. I’m sure Mr. Osorio doesn’t want to encourage “creativity” such as what that boxing fan did when he hoisted the Philippine flag last Sunday with a “PACQUIAO FOR PRESIDENT” lettering, does he? But if Mr. Osorio is cool with that, then God save the Philippine flag and all other things which symbolize our national identity.

“The revolution, which is a commitment to freedom, is being recognized, symbolized by the rays. In the search for national unity, a common bond is sought and found. The common bond is the commitment to freedom. A commitment to freedom different from staging a revolution may also be symbolized by a ray or rays. It is all very simple.”

No, it is not all very simple. We are speaking of concepts here, beautiful concepts that exist only in the mind, in a distant future, a fevered dream, utopia. The “ninth ray advocates” may have a good intention: peace and harmony in Mindanáo. But no, adding a ninth ray to finally hault the neverending insurrection in the south is not a simple thing to do. Frankly speaking, it’s a waste of time, money, energy, effort, not to mention a crime against history. It is 100% guaranteed that the Muslim insurectos in Mindanáo and elsewhere will never give a monkey’s @$$ whether we add a ninth ray, or perhaps a tenth ray for Sultan Kudarat, or an eleventh for Shariff Kabunsuan, or a twelfth ray for Christmas, etc. The Muslims never asked for a ninth ray. The hungry and jobless Filipino masses do not need a ninth ray for their flag; what the masses are asking for are for food, stable jobs, and a trustworthy government. That is what the people are clamoring — THAT IS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD GIVE. The Mindanáo Muslims (led by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other self-styled Islamic patriots) on the other hand, are asking for the whole island of Mindanáo, or at least the areas covered by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanáo. That is what the government should focus, on how to make them understand that it is not possible because it’s tantamount to destroying Filipino patrimony which Spain bequeathed to us.

This futile effort of adding a ninth ray to the sun’s flag in order to achieve peace can be compared with those peace talks the government conducts with local communists under the leadership of José Mª Sison. Malacañang Palace should realize that the communists will not stop until they have set-up a dictatorship of the proletariat, something that is vague and strange under republican and big-business politicians that we have today.

Sad but true.

The government’s efforts to find a solution to end these hostilities are laudable. But please, not at the expense of our flag. It has been an unwavering symbol of our national identity.

To repeat Arnaldo Arnáiz, LEAVE THE FLAG ALONE.

The Arroyo Empire starts to crumble!

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Now for some good news from –surprisingly!– Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri:

Arroyo party sapped by mass defection
About 40% may have left, Zubiri estimates

As much as 30-40 percent of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD may have decamped, and the ranks of the Liberal Party (LP) and Nacionalista Party (NP) are swelling at the administration party’s expense.

That candid assessment was made Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, the ruling party’s vice president for Mindanáo, who explained the defections of erstwhile Palace allies to the LP and NP as “betting on the winning horse” in the May 2010 polls.

“Probably 30-40 percent of the party … has already left,” Zubiri said. “Well, you know, as we say in politics, for everyone that leaves there’s always an open door for somebody to come in.”


Zubiri’s raving. Who in his sane and righteous mind would want to come in to a dirt-filled house of horrors?

Everybody’s leaving; what keeps “Candid Zubiri” remaining? In the long run, his honest remark regarding the status of the much-hated Arroyo Empire might put him in trouble…

Fill in the balloon, Miggy Boy! Tell us some more!

The ban on the 1948 Marian apparition in Lipâ City has been lifted!

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When I was in elementary (Escuela de San Lorenzo Ruiz in Parañaque City), at the height of the infamous Agoó Apparition in La Unión province, we had an elderly teacher who relayed to us another Marian apparition which happened decades before. It was in Lipâ, Batangas. She told us that a shower of rose petals fell from the sky, and that she was one of those who were fortunate to grab hold of a petal that has up to that day never withered.

A couple of days later, she brought the miraculous petal to school and showed it to us. True, it hasn’t withered yet! But I couldn’t make anything out of the supposedly faint image of the Virgin Mary etched in that petal (she didn’t allow us to touch it).

I have to admit that the abovementioned recollection is a very faint one. I could hardly remember the exact details of that episode in my youth. Strangely, it may or may not have even happened! Anyway, I still remember how we call that elderly teacher of ours: Teacher Ludy. She was already a grandmother at that time. And I’m not even sure if she’s still alive or not. If she still is, I hope that she still remembers me so that I’d be able to talk to her about it.

I was just reminded of the above recollection when the below newstory captured my attention:

Lipa bishop lifts ban on ‘Our Lady’

Lipâ Archbishop Ramón Argüelles confirmed that he had lifted the 1951 ban on the public veneration of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace.

In a phone interview Tuesday night, Argüelles said he lifted the ban on Nov. 12 as “there was nothing wrong in praising apparitions” as he was well-aware of “the love of the people for the Blessed Mother.”

“The Blessed Mother has [protected] the country from calamities,” he said.

In 1948, the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared 19 times to Teresita Castillo, a novice in the Carmelite Order in Lipâ City. Rose petals with holy images reportedly fell from the sky. In her last apparition to Castillo, the Blessed Virgin identified herself: “I am the Mediatrix of All Grace.”

Although the veneration of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace was permitted by then Bishop Alfred Verzosa, the Philippine church hierarchy declared in 1951 that “there was no supernatural intervention in the reported extraordinary happenings including the shower of rose petals in Lipa,” according to the website

Image displayed again

In 1992, Archbishop Mariano Gaviola granted permission to once again display the image of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace. In 1993, he declared his personal conviction that the Lipa apparitions were worthy of belief, according to

As the years went by, the ban seemed to have been disregarded as new proofs of the apparitions’ authenticity were presented and accounts about the bishops’ high-handed suppressiveness in 1948 were brought to light.

A repeat of the shower of rose petals is said to have occurred some years ago but the Carmelite nuns kept a low profile. Some people have petals in their possession.

In 2005, Arguelles resurrected the veneration for Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace with “increased activity and devotion” and plans to place statues representing the Virgin of Lipâ, in every diocese, according to

Suddenly, my mind shrank into a vortex of reminiscences and ended up on that almost faded scence from my youth.

I’m positive I’ve seen one of those petals.

Now for the queries regarding the newstory:

Why lift the ban just now? Why were the witnesses of this Marian apparition silenced? And worse, those who silenced them were Church authorities! Why did they do such a thing?!

If the issue here is to ward off intrigues and accusations of “false claims” or “wild invented stories” from anti-Catholics, then why destroy the evidence?

Are those Carmelite nuns, particularly Sister Teresita Castillo, still alive? If yes, where are they? And where are the other people who have in their possession those miraculous petals?

The local Catholic Church should provide the answers to those who are interested in this Marian controversy.

A faint image of the Virgin Mary can be seen in this rose petal that has never withered! I was lucky enough to have seen one when I was in sixth grade.

A Short History of the Apparition at Lipa of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace
Lipa, Philippines (1948) Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace

There’ll be a meteor shower tonight!

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Get those binoculars and telescopes off your dusty closets. And just wish it won’t rain tonight.

Things are looking… up! And brightly!

A “prolific” meteor shower is expected to light up the skies of Asia and Europe for two days – tomorrow night (Nov. 17) and Wednesday (Nov. 18), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

Here in the Philippines, Pagasa administrator Prisco Nilo said Filipinos will get a glimpse of the meteorological phenomenon, known as the “Leonids” meteor shower, between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. of the following day.

“We have a very good chance that we’ll see meteor showers,” Nilo said.

According to scientists, tonight’s meteor shower might produce more or less 500 meteors an hour!

Below is a sample video of what Leonids are (thanks to YouTube):

Anytime soon, Mayón Volcano might demonstrate an incredible display of power!

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Picture perfect. Awe-inspiring. Enchanting. But looks can be deceiving.

The world’s perfect cone is coming back in the limelight.

Mt. Mayón, the Philippines’ most active volcano, has caused at least eight tremors for the past 24 hours. Already, nearly a thousand families have been evacuated from some of Daragá’s barrios that are very near the volcano.

Daragá, a municipality in Albay province, is the nearest town to Mt. Mayón. The town was founded by Franciscan missionaries in the late 16th century. It was first called Cagsaua. Soon it became a visita to the parish of nearby Camalig town. On 1 February 1814, the volcano’s massive eruption literally buried the whole town in a deadly flow of lava, ash, and volcanic fire. Today, only the church tower of the Iglesia de Cagsaua remains (later on becoming a spectacular tourist attraction); the rest of the church and the town are already several feet under the ground.


Later on, when the town was rebuilt on top of the old one, its name was changed to Daragá. Since then, the volcano has had other strong explosions. But the town no longer experienced the death and destruction that it faced on that deadly 1st day of February.


As early as June of this year, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has been monitoring Mt. Mayón due to its increased volcanic activity. After spewing a significant amount of ash this past Wednesday, the volcano emitted a crater glow that grew more intense the other night; it was even visible as far as 15 kilometers away!

PHIVOLCS has this to say:

The status of Mayon Volcano remains at Alert Level 2. This means a state of unrest which could lead to more ash explosion or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruption. Thus PHIVOLCS strongly recommends that the 6-km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeast flank of the volcano are off-limits due to the threat from sudden explosions and rockfalls from the upper slope. Active river channels and those areas perennially identified as lahar prone in the southeast sector should also be avoided especially during bad weather condition or when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall. (PHIVOLCS, 10/11/09)

To make the above statement more simple, it means “you guys living within seven kilometers around the volcano, get the hell out of there as fast as you can!”

Pacquiáo has made history!

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Pacman has defeated the proud Puerto Rican in 12 rounds!

Manny Pacquiáo destroyed Miguel Cotto, dominating him for most of the match, and bagging the World Boxing Organization welterweight title in the process.

He is the first boxer in history to have ever captured world championship titles in seven different weight categories! Without a shadow of a doubt, he is the undisputed pound-for-pound king, arguably the BEST BOXER OF ALL TIME!

¡Maligayang bati sa ating PAMBANSÁNG CAMAÓ! ¡Y gracias al Señor Dios por la victoria de nuestra patria!


¡El orgullo de Filipinas!

Floyd Mayweather, Jr.: YOU’RE NEXT!!!

Manny Pacquiáo vs Miguel Cotto

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The battle lines have been drawn!

In just a few moments, the world will finally see whether pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiáo (49-3-2 with 37 KOs) will become the first boxer in the world to win seven world championships in different weight categories.

No other boxer has ever achieved such a feat, so far.

Puerto Rican left hooker Miguel Cotto (37-1, 27 KOs), on the other hand, will try to become the first boxer to finally stop the relentless Filipino behemoth known as Pacman.

If Pacman wins, history again will be made. If Cotto gets lucky, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will have a big smile on his face, saying “See? I told you! I’m the only pound-for-pound king in the world!”

Pacman should never let that happen.

Let us all pray for victory for our pambansáng camaó, orgullo de Filipinas.

Gregorio del Pilar: a victim of Tirad Pass?

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Today, the Philippines, particularly the people of Bulacán, Bulacán, commemorate the birth anniversary of the boy general of who died at Tirad Pass…


If the ancient Greeks had their valiant King Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae, Filipinos have their General Gregorio del Pilar and the Battle of Tirad Pass.

General del Pilar, youngest officer of Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary army, met his gallant death defending Tirad Pass on December 2, 1899. With only 60 men under him, del Pilar held the pass against pursuing American troops until an enemy bullet felled him, ending a brief but brilliant military career, but giving Aguinaldo much precious time to escape.

A nephew of the illustrious Marcelo H. del Pilar, Gregorio was born on November 14, 1875, in Bulacán, Bulacán, the fifth son of Fernando del Pilar and Felipa Sempio. He was a student at the Ateneo de Manila when the revolution broke out.

His exceptional feats of valor in the battles of Malíbug and Kakaróng de Sili earned him his generalship. He was only 23 when he was struck down by a sniper’s bullet at Tirad Pass. –Jesús C. Guzon (Eminent Filipinos, National Historical Commission, 1965)–


One of his men saw him killed instantly by a sniper's bullet -- but that was due to his carelessness!

Some fastidious students of Philippine History, however, treat his heroism with some doubt and a lot of questions. And with regard to Guzon’s comparison of King Leonidas to del Pilar, National Artist for Literature and historian extraordinaire Nick Joaquín has this to say:

“The wrong thing to do about Tirad Pass is invoke Leonidas and Thermopylae, because we would be invoking to our hurt another people fatally flawed with the inability to unite and organize. Besides, the parallel with Leonidas, king of the Spartans, is neither exact nor flattering: it was not Aguinaldo who fell at Tirad. Moreover, the annals of war show that in mountain warfare, especially in actions on a mountain pass, the advantage is with the defender, not the invader, and victory must be expected from the defender.” (A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquín, Filipinas Foundation, Inc., 1977)

Joaquín went on by citing several other mountain battles which happened in other parts of the globe. And he showed that in all those mountain battles, it was the defenders who always won. And there was this particular case that happened in World War II when the British took two years to dislodge the Japanese army from the mountains of Burma.

“But Tirad Pass was taken in six hours.

“There were, you will say, only 60 men to defend it. Precisely. And that was the stupidity. Our improvidence always forces us in the end to improvise, when it’s too late even to improvise. We will not plan ahead, we will just muddle through, and then at the last hour we send men to die for our blunders, our lack of foresight. If there were any justice, it’s Aguinaldo, it’s Mabini, who should have perished on Tirad. But so that Aguinaldo can flee in futile flight, 60 men are sent to pay with their lives for the monstrous botch he has made of the Revolution. And now we read Tirad as a symbol of heroism, not stupidity.

“A few more Tirads and we’ll be the most heroic people in extinction.”


Tirad Pass: Thermopylae it is not.

And according to the diary of Telésforo Carrasco y Pérez, a Spaniard enlisted in Aguinaldo/del Pilar’s army, the boy general, who in stories was said to have died heroically and fighting to the last bullet, died due to his own carelessness:

“At dawn we saw the enemy climbing the slope and moments later the firing began in the first entrenchment, which was under Lieutenant Braulio. At around nine in the morning two Igorots climbed to the peak and told the general that the Americans had suffered losses at the first entrenchment and could not advance. Heartened by the news, the general decided that we were to descend in his company and take part in the combat.

“This we did and an hour later found ourselves where nine soldiers were defending the left flank of the mountain in the second entrenchment. Hardly had we got there when we saw the Americans climbing up, only fifteen meters away, whereupon the soldiers started firing again.

“The general could not see the enemy because of the cogon grass and he ordered a halt to the firing. At that moment I was handling him a carbine and warning him that the Americans were directing their fire at him and that he should crouch down because his life was in danger — and that moment he was hit by a bullet in the neck that caused instant death.”

But this “stupidity” is just the tip of the villainous iceberg.

In the classrooms, it is not taught that Goyo del Pilar was actually one of Aguinaldo’s high-ranking hatchetmen. The blood of assassinated general Antonio Luna’s friends is upon del Pilar’s hands. Murdered under the boy general’s helm were Luna’s allies such as Manuel and José Bernal. And some of Luna’s staff were harassed, tortured, and ordered arrested.

I wonder most of the time what the word heroism really mean in this country. Marami tayong mga bayani na hindí namán dapat tinítiñgalà. What should be the attributes of a true national hero?

As an ardent observer of Philippine History, there is one shocking fact that I’ve learned: countless villains in this country are regarded as heroes; and the integrity of the true heroes of the nation are perpetually besmirched. This will not stop until we have freed ourselves from the fetters of neocolonialism and the blind hispanophobic rage that we have against our glorious past.

That is why if only I have registered for the 2010 Philippine National Elections, I would vote for the lesser evil whom the current administration have unjustly incarcerated for six years.

The race for VP: Game !

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Actor and popular TV game show host Edu Manzano has joined the race for VP!

Erap Estrada and his VP mate, Macati Mayor Jejomar Bínay has welcomed Manzano to the 2010 Philippine National Elections. As if they have a choice.

It seems history will repeat itself. In 2001, Manzano, who was then the Vice Mayor of Macati, ran for mayor of that city. But he lost to incumbent mayor Bínay. Next year, Manzano will again have to face his former nemesis. But the battleground will no longer be local but national.

Will Manzano redeem himself the next time around?


Next year, Edu will no longer be a game show host. He will be a contestant himself, but in a different game!

Game !

Irish missionary Fr. Michael Sinnott is free at last!

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More good news!

Finally, Fr. Michael Sinnott has been redeemed from evil after a grueling 32-day captivity:

Irish priest Sinnott freed

Irish missionary Michael Sinnott has been freed by his kidnappers on Thursday morning, according to officials from the military, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Irish government.

Lieutenant General Ben Dolorfino, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) chief, said Moro Islamic Liberation Front members, who were tasked to help free Sinnot, turned over the priest to Ambassador Rafael Seguis, chairman of the government peace panel, and Major General Reynaldo Sealana, head of the government’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities.

“We got Fr. Sinnott!” Wesmincom spokesman Major Ramon David Hontiveros said in a text message.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen said he was relieved to learn Sinnott had been freed, adding “all our prayers have been answered.”

“We are all relieved and thankful that Father Michael’s difficult ordeal has been brought to an end and that all our prayers have been answered,” he said.

“On behalf of the government, I want to commend the government of the Philippines and our Ambassador Richard O’Brien, and our officials who have all worked with great commitment and resolve to bring about Father Michael’s release,” he said in a statement.

The report of Sinnott’s release was also relayed by Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin late Wednesday in Belfast.

“He has been handed over to a clinic where he is being looked after and medically checked,” said Martin, who was in Belfast for meetings.

“He is as well as can be expected,” he added.


Fr. Sinnott relating his ordeal to the press at the Villamor Air Base in Pásay City earlier today. He was freed this morning from a month-long captivity.

Both the government and the MILF denied that no ransom was paid, but it’s not fully clear how the Irish priest from the Missionary Society of St. Columban was released. And why, if there was no money involved. MILF’s chief negotiator, Mohagner Iqbal, simply said that the ailing priest was turned over to them by the kidnappers without any ransom at all.

I don’t buy it.

But let’s just move on. Anyway, we all know where the Irish priest’s captors –including all those who collaborated with them– are headed (click here to check out their final destination — lest they repent).

This is great news not only for both the Philippine and Irish governments. This is good news for the whole country as well. No blood was shed. The scandal ended in triumph. And the crime was exceptionally shorter compared to other kidnap-for-ransom cases in the past. I should laud the Philippine government, but there’s something in this government that I just couldn’t trust…

Now, the next good news the Filipino nation is expecting should come this Sunday: Manny Pacquiáo should deliver the goodies!


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