Monday, July 24, 2006


Kagabi nagsabong na naman ang kunsensiya.

Nagreklamo ang una, "Tangna, ngayon ko na lang ulit narinig na sambitin 'yun na parang sakit," sabi niya.

"Ha?" tanong ko.

"Nagsisigaw ba naman: "*******! *******! *******" nanggagalaiti pa rin siya.

"Me nag-react ba naman?" tanong ko.

"Wala. Para siyang asong ulol 'dun na nagsisisigaw!" kwento niya.

"Mabuti na 'yun ganun ka ..." sabi ko sa kanya.

Tumitig siya akin, parang hind niya alam kung kakampi ba n'ya ako.

"Kesa naman SINUNGALING!," ismid ko sa kanya.

"Oo nga," sabi niya sabay sindi ng yosi.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


From the Philippine Collegian editorial, "Into the Battlefront": This regime's deadliest weapon is twisted logic. Its concept of peace is total silence. Justice, conversely, is butchering people into submission. Read more.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I almost touched faith today.

At the Court of Appeals, during the hearing of B/Gen. Danilo Lim's wife petition for habeas corpus, there were relatives who witnessed the proceeding. One lady caught my attention: she was holding a rosary and was praying incessantly but silently.

Let's see if her prayers would work, I thought to myself: testing, admittedly, my own faith and challenging hers.

I don't know if it was just me but if you juxtapose the repartee between Associate Justice Eleazar de los Santos and Asst. Solicitor General Amparo Tang, you could surmise that perhaps there was some miracle somewhere.

Justice de los Santos was hostile from the beginning, challenging the position of the government that a charge sheet in the military context constituted a formal filing of charges in the context of civilian courts.

"We want the truth!" de los Santos demanded from Tang after a rather unclear explanation as to whether a charge has been filed or was prepared. Tang explained that there already was a charge sheet finding probable cause that B/Gen. Lim violated the Articles of War.

"But has it been filed?" de los Santos wanted to know.

The OSG countered, in essence, that there was no concept of "filing" in the military court, the way civilian courts have it. Meaning, a soldier can be detained based on that charge sheet.

I glanced at the lady with the rosary. Her eyes were closed, holding, more tightly now her beaded rosary.

"So you were fast in detaining Gen. Lim," de los Santos continued.

The justice asked since when has the charge been pending before the office of Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

"Since March of this year," Tang said.

"For how long will you be detaining Gen. Lim. For two years? For five years?" an apparently irked de los Santos asked.

"Until the investigation on Marine Col. Ariel Querubin is finished. Then the pre-trial investigation can commence," Tang answered.

The lady continued with her prayers, sensing, I surmise the leaning of the justice.

At one point, de los Santos said: "Perhaps, the reason why the charge sheet has been pending is still pending, is that the Chief of Staff is not convinced that Gen. Lim committed any crime."

The lady with the rosary, nearly rose in her seat. She closed her eyes and summoned the heavens.

It was as if, with every bead of prayer, the answers slowly came.

"If you will be returned to your quarters," de los Santos turned to Lim, "you will not have any complaints?"

"That'll be better," the general asked.

The lady with the rosary opened her eyes excitedly, as though the news she was awaiting had come.

But instead the court did not release Lim. Not yet anyway. It asked both parties to submit their respective memoranda in three days, after which the petition is deemed submitted for resolution.

The court may not have released or returned Lim to his quarters but I know a miracle took place in that courtroom this morning.

Friday, July 14, 2006


"I'm definitely at a crosscroads," I told R., and J., over our second round of beers last night.

The two-week suspension, as correctly foreseen, gave birth to several epiphanies. There were un-relationships severed or modified based on certain realities. The one with M. couldn't go beyond what it actually was. Status quo is the mode to go. The one with G., on the other hand is a different matter. Roles were defined according to circumstance and I simply thought it unacceptable.

At one point during that two-week hiatus, I realised that all these things that I'm doing can be done again, like a recurring theme, or wishes that can be made possible in a whim. But there are certain things that, if neglected or ignored, have no chance of returning. Being a son for example.

A while ago, an officemate asked me to sketch for us in a lecture by a pastor. Here's the storyline: A king accidentally drops his ring in a dry well. But the well has a small opening only a child can go in and pick up the ring. The king finally finds a child who agreed to go into the well and the king offers his strongest knight to hold the rope that will help the child descend into the well. But the child declines and instead insists that his father, an old and weary man, hold the rope for him.

"The point of the story," my officemate texts me, "is that we should hold on to and trust God as we would our fathers."

God has way of reaching out.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


For something I thought I had wanted so badly, I am suddenly uncertain.

"On Saturday, I will be with you na," he texts me today.

"With me" -- as though in a homecoming. I like the idea but I'm not quite sure if I want it.

All the old issues that surfaced in my past relationship with P. which I thought have been buried are in full view again. They have not been conquered. And now whatever I do with this opportunity will dictate how I will be in the future.

I will take it in stride. Cross my fingers. And hope that the constellations above smile upon us with favor.

Monday, July 10, 2006


I heard a rumor today.

"He might be, you know," M. said when I chanced upon her unexpectedly in the office.

"Really?" I asked in disbelief. But I'm a bit excited. Though, if I have to be pragmatic about it, nothing will come out of the newly-discovered "fact."

Then I saw him. Increasingly, as if fate had finally given in, I have been seeing him. And within earshot, I finally heard him speak.

The man finally has a voice: soft, with a hint of strength, in staccato, fast, as though the mouth couldn't keep up with the mind.

It is music. As all fantasies have some sort of theme to them.


I'm still waiting for G.'s text. He was supposed to arrive in Manila today, stay in my house for a month until he finishes his training.

But I guess he's too proud to ask. And I'm as proud not to give what is not asked.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Proud Dead Man Walking

It's the kind of smug-face only the defeated can wear. After all, he can't afford to wear his loss on his sleeve. That would have been twice the defeat.

But inside his head, the monsters are alive and could not be silenced: "How could you have done it?" "Do you still have a face to show?" "You let us down."

He will try not to listen, however glaring the mistake is.

"I am protected. I am safe. They will take the cudgels for me" he tells himself, thinking of his friends.

He walks on. But there is no shadow.

Dead men don't have them.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Weakest Link

Sun Tzu comes forward with full wisdom with this: "You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended."

The enemy has so far identified the weakest point. And it's hitting hard. Three times so far.

Where's Grandma?

Grandma apologizes. She meant no harm.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Mom's Advice

After my two-week hiatus, my mom gives her two cents worth: "Maging mabait ka na."

The rebel in me automatically retorted, "I won't. And I can't. What they see is what they get."

But somehow my mother knew I was built that way.

Well, the only other option is to be "plastic" about the whole situation. Smile and hack them at the back (which is the strategy of choice, I realised).

But I'd rather that I give them the chance of fighting back.

(Watching Cherie Gil on CinemeOne's "Profiles" and the "Simple Life" didn't do me good eh? hehehe)


It's like going to college all over again.

My two-week vacation has come to a close and I'm psyching myself up to return to Manila tomorrow. Apparently, I'm unsuccessful. I texted my boss if she could allow me to absent from work on Monday and report instead on Tuesday. No replies so far but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

"Don't you miss the tension?," someone has asked. Well, to be honest? No. Not that I don't love my work. Of course, I love it, make no mistake about it. Otherwise, I would've gotten out of it already especially when confronted with certain realities about office life. But I'm digressing.

I remember that first time when I had to go to Manila (Quezon City actually, but for us promdis, the term "Manila" encompasses everything. More than another location, it represented another life, a new life, if one wants to call it such). I didn't want to go but I had to because I was about to start my first year in the university.

That's the reason why I didn't want to stay long here in Lucena. I would be reminded of how much fun it is just to be here. Been watching TV most of the times (if I wasn't drinking or malling wehehehe. Or "beaching" as in spending time in the beach. The alternative meaning, that one thing it sounds like is also acceptable) and I've taken to liking AXN, the travel and living channel, CNN, BBC, discovery channel, FTV, and a lot more. I'd wake up a little before 12 nn to eat my overdue breakfast, TV the whole day, and then sleep some more, and then out every possible night.

But beneath this, I've reconnected to my long-term passions such as drawing. I made a vow to myself to pursue it whenever I can. It is a gift that I wouldn't want to go to waste.

In "Oprah" the other day, Elie Weisel, author of the book "Night" about the stories of the survivors of the Holocaust was featured. Weisel said that he decided to write this book so that people would remember that dark age. Otherwise, the Holocaust would just be a tiny footnote in the world's history. But more than that, he wanted to give voice to the voiceless.

And I am reminded of my reason for going into journalism.

During the lecture last week, I asked the students the reasons why some people go into journalism and what role it plays in the society.

"To be famous," someone answered.

I couldn't contain myself and told him flat out that no, that's not what you're here for. As a student journalist, I told him, you should remember that this is not a job for the selfish. If you want to be famous, then be a movie star.

Admittedly, still, and I conceded, that some people do go into this craft for the fame factor. Met some of them. Despise most of them.

But for as long as you could, I advised, remember that this journalism is about giving voice to the voiceless. It's shedding light into the tiny crevices of social ills. I for one, have been thinking of channeling this calling into helping children: victims of physical abuse and emotional abuse, the minority, children in war-torn areas.

And this what keeps me in line.

I told a colleague once that maybe this job was given for her (and for me) for some reason. True, life may not always be fair. GOD, IT'S NOT! But maybe, I advised her, try to look the other way. For as long as they're not taking anything away from you, carry on.

It's the same advise I'm giving myself.