Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In the Line of Duty

The circumstances of Leticia Ramos' and Nellie Banaag's deaths struck me personally. Nellie Banaag, public school teacher, and Leticia Ramos, pollwatcher, where burned to death when Pinagbayaran Elementary School was burned at dawn of the day after the elections. They died while doing their respective duties.

Their death struck me because of my mother. She is a public school teacher. It may sound melodramatic, not to mention morbid, but it really could have been her. She is now the principal of her assigned school thereby not tasked to count the votes but before that, tallying the votes was her job during elections. Had one circumstance be different, that is my mom and Banaag switching places, then what happened to Bannaag could have happened to my mom. Such accounts of senseless election violence, specially when such innocents were caught in the crossfire of mindless political wars. This is the reason for my anxiety every election day until the counting and the delivery of the election returns to the municipal canvassers. It does not matter that our place, God forbid, have yet to experience election violence of this kind. (Our place is notorious for indiscriminate gun fire and dangerous weapons related violence and death on regular days but not election period.)

That is why my mind would not allow itself to understand or comprehend why some people will result to anything, even senseless killing, just to place themselves in power. Some will resort to this just to prolong or prevent others from winning even though they themselves would not. It is indeed a shame that these things happen. The thing is, I am not the one who should feel ashamed. Sadly those who should don't.


The commission of the crime resulted in many other injuries. One victim,Victim Guillermo Malaluan, 44, died 7 days later while being treated at a hospital in Manila. He was thus the third fatality in the dawn burning of the Pinagbayanan Elementary School a day after Election Day.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

An Appeal to Senators

It is now 7 days after the midterm elections. At this time, those candidates for senators who are at the top half of the canvass results are almost sure of winning. However, as early as the campaign period those on top of surveys, and now are on top of the count, are not looking forward at occupying or re-occupying a senate seat but actually are eyeing the highest position in the land. There were rumors that some were not actually campaigning for the senate as they were sure of winning but were campaigning for the presidency instead.

This is not new in Philippine politics. Since the Fair Elections Act took effect in 2001, quite a number of elected Senators ran for elective positions in the elections coinciding with the third year of their six-year term. Before, if an incumbent official ran for an elective post other than his or her incumbent position, such official is deemed resigned. This provision has been repealed by the said law. Because of the repeal, we have the situation now wherein a senator in the third year of his or her term may be a candidate for any elective position (save Senator for such would not make sense) without being deemed resigned. If such senator wins, he or she will necessarily vacate his Senate seat and occupy the position where he won in. In the event he or she loses, the Senate seat is still there waiting. Thus, such a candidate is in no position of losing. (It is not surprising that the new law works primarily for the benefit of senators. They are the only ones with a six-year term whose term intersects with a Presidential election.)

Here now is my appeal. Admittedly this is made by one who pretends to be naive to the situtation. You campaigned for the Senate seat. You promised to serve as a Senator of the Republic. A Senator has a six-year not a three-year term. When you campaigned and promised to serve, this means that you campaigned for and promised to serve for a six-year term. I voted senatorial candidates for a six-year not a three-year term. I hold this as our agreement. Running for an elective post during the midterm elections is a breach of this agreement. No one wants to be the receiving end of a breach. I think this includes you.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

100 Years

This is about the song by Five for Fighting. I have heard this song many times and liked it mostly for its melody. It was not until I have seen the lyrics flashed on the monitor of a videoke machine did its simple profundity and reality struck me. The song goes:

I'm 15 for a moment
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are

I'm 22 for a moment
She feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

I'm 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way
A family on my mind

I'm 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy, Time to lose yourself
Within a morning star

15 I'm all right with you
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

Half time goes by
Suddenly you’re wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...

I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are

15 there's still time for you
22 I feel her too
33 you’re on your way
Every day's a new day...

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

The deliberate pace by which videoke machine flashed the lyrics of the song made me reflect on my life's past stages. I do not remember with particularity what I did when I was fifteen but I think daydreaming was a big part of it. I may not have experienced what the songwriter said about 22 but I think the scenario was true for many people. I imagine by that time, a person is earning his own money, assuming that one has graduated from college, found a job, and not dependent on one's parents for allowance. This could be the age of new found freedom. I was this when I was 22, minus the woman.

I'm now 31, close enough to the song's 33. And yes, there's a kid on the way and a family on my mind. (The song of course did not foresee me minus and income while reviewing for the bar, but as I think the song was meant to be generic.) Given today's projected lifespan of a male Pilipino, I do not have a good probability of reaching 100. (I think that the song used "100 years to live" because it's easier to use as a lyric; imagine if its "64 years to live.) So by today's standard, I am halfway on my mark and it made me think of what I have accomplished so far and what I want to do before I reached "dying for a moment". And that where it really struck me. This is a classic mid-life scenario. Given the scheme of things, I do not have really that much time. Fact is, when one reaches that stage in life when he thinks about these things, he does not have much time either. Positive thing about that is now I know and am doing something about it .


September's bar is just 120 days to go. "I only have 120 days to review."