Saturday, May 31, 2008

JOURNAL | 바보



Eight years ago, I posted this entry which in my best effort tried to express:
Today I watched the film "Babo".
My head hurts, there are many homework to do but I don't wanna do them.
Now that I listen to the music of Alanis Morisette, I feel better.
Now looking back at the way I wrote my hanggeul, I realized that it didn't really make any sense. Well, at least I tried.

***

오늘 바보 여르분 이다...

내 모리 아파... 많이 숙제 하지만 나는 안 하다...

지금 아라니스 모리새드의 음악 듣다 그르고 나는 더 좋다...


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Things To Do After Returning To The Philippines


These are the things which I have to accomplish after returning to the Philippines:

1. Find a new apartment for 2 to 3 people.

I only have one month left at Tita Dely's place so I'll use the time to find a new house. The logic for this is simple, I need to establish myself. My student BK is expressing an interest to continue studying even after I return to my country, so I need to have a proper teaching area.

Also, my sister is soon to be attending university. If she studies in Manila then I should share the house with her at least before she gets her own place.

Disadvantage:
If the place is far from UP then I would have to budget my time more conciously. Also, if I'm going to work in Standbyenglish again for a year then that would mean a travel of two hours from Makati to Commonwealth. But I have this option if staying if possible, should weigh things more.


Also I'm planning to find a part time job in Makati. Not call center fer cryin' out loud but something else. The pay is good but I don't want to suffer that much. Also, I'm looking after my health and physical appearance now. Yes, I'm vain. I will be vain if that's what it takes to be successful.


Advantages:
Having my own apartment would let me cook my own food and wash my own clothes. Calculating my expenditures on food and laundry amounts to a month's rent. I'll be able to reduce this once I can have my own pad.


Also I'm planning to travel more this year to other countries and places so it's going to be bliss if I won't have to worry about some people going inside my room messing with my things. Plus I get to buy my own appliances which I can't do if I am inside a boarding house. This means moe freedom and more responsibility.


I'm not sure if I'm going to find someone to live with me but I'm decided to have my own place now.



2. Buy a new cellphone.

At the moment, I need to buy a new cellphone which is stylish and trendy but not expensive. The reason for this is that I need to look more professional and start thinking professional because I'll be facing people who'll try to intimadate me with all their saviness. Not that I easily fall for this patheticness but an image is an image. Having a nokia 3210 won't look nice in an environment where everything is getting upgraded. Lest I look like primitive and not worth the time.



3. Finally, a new wardrobe.

Now that I've realized my naivete in fashion, I must change my wardrobe and start getting conscious about my appearance. Not that it is the most important thing in my career but I should always look smart like my Korean models (DK and Raymond). I'll try to imitate their images.


4. Oh, start finding the right people too.

This is the networking part maybe. So I'd have to go out more often. That means Saturday and Sunday won't ever be the same again. Yes, God is still the center of everything but going to movie houses and malls alone is erased from my vocabulary. I'll be more socialite (sociable I mean).



Elle le regarde


It may be a bit of a bias to say that as a student of the French Language for two years, I've learned to detest and love the compexities I've faced with it. Learning French is like having a new tongue as you learn how to soften your words, make them come out as smooth as possible except with the R which you need to draw out from your throat like you need to spit something. The point of the matter is that just tonight, I've watched A Very Long Engagement and I couldn't tell you enough how much I've admired this movie. It certainly measures up to my expectation after watching Amelie and Da Vinci Code which both starred Audrey Toutou.



The best thing about A Very Long Engagement is simply expressed in one word, that is everything- the actors, the story, the cinematography. It's difficult not to be involved within 5 minutes.



C'est vrai que le film est en francais mais l'anglais, le subtitle, est present. En tous cas, meme si le subtitle est pas present, c'est pas difficile comprendre parce que les acteurs sont tres bon.



I'd say that this movie is one of my favorites among m long list. So I recommend this to others too.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Inspiration *

* Gawad Plaridel 2007-07-05

In our everyday search for that one person who may lead us to believe that there is still hope for a brighter future, we often fail. When we finally meet one, no matter how rare the case may be, the spark comes alive again and the embers start to burn. We find ourselves looking up and striving to reach the ideals set by that person who inspired us to hope and dream once more.

Che-Che Lazaro, just like the Transformers and Bioman, has been a part of my childhood. I don’t really remember how it all began but whenever I hear Che-Che’s voice, I feel nostalgic. The world around me changes, I’m a child again. It has been twenty years since Che-Che’s Probe conquered the air and it continues to shape minds. People now see that television is not just a tube for cheap dramas showing love as the be and all of everything; not just about trivial news that makes you wonder why snakes on the loose would make it on the headlines or the Ruffa-Ylmas saga that has run like the archetypical tele/Korean/Mexican/Taiwanese/fanta/sine-serye would be given such prominence. Unconsciously, people have become aware that the boob tube does more than making someone’s life look fine when in reality it’s not (ask Willie). Now, television has become a threat to wayward government officials and even vile individuals since they can be busted in a matter of in-depth reporting and investigation. Seconds on air would be like eternity to the audience who sees the exposés and I don’t think the guilty would have this as a reason to rejoice.

This is what I have picked up from Che-Che’s talk. But more than the talk itself is the admiration for a person who embodies the ideal example of a media practitioner with a high work ethics. This is very timely when people working on the industry are more interested with the ratings game rather than educating the people. Sure, this is the hype of the time (the ratings) for no rating equals no money and no money means no job. So unfortunate. Since people have become used to this setting, we have passively accepted the situation and refused to have a say on it albeit knowledge that this may lead to the idiotization of the public (ask Willie again). The only difference now is that people are more aware and relatively refuse to be influence by canned ideas watched and heard. If there is one thing that we should thank Che-Che for, that’s the inspiration to make our simple yet overly complicated life better.

Konsepto at Imahe ng salitang 'Filipino'

Palagi na lang nababanggit ang salitang “Filipino”, “Pinoy”, “Noypi”, at marami pang iba. Madalas ginagamit na lang ang konseptong ito ng walang malalim na pagkaunawa. E kasi nga naman, bakit nga ba kelangang pag-tuunan ng pansin ang isang bagay na palasak sa ating lahat. Pero minsan, mapapaisip ka rin kung ano nga ba ang sinasabi silang “Filipino” o mas tamang itanong kung sino nga ba sila. Sa sarili ko pa lamang ay hindi ko na tiyak kung sino nga ba ako bilang Pilipino. Ang nanay ko ay Tagalog at ang tatay ko naman ay Muslim. Malamang sa malamang, dahil dito sa Luzon nagmula ang nanay ko, may dugo kaming Tsino at Espanyol. Ang tatay ko naman, dahil nagmula sa Sulu, malamang e may lahing Indonesian at Malaysian. E ano ako? Isang-kapat na tsinoy, espanyol, Indonesian at Malayo? Hay, masyado talagang magulo ang pagbibigay kahulugan sa mga pinaka-simpleng bagay.

Ngayon, habang nagtatanong ako sa kung sino nga ba ang Pinoy at nagbubuklat ako ng mga larawan at artikulo sa internet ng mga salitang “Fillipino” at “Filipino culture”, napapangiti ako kasi ang madalas kong makita ay pawing ukol sa ating mga tradisyon. Andyan ang tungkol sa pagkain, sayaw, mga pasyalan, at iba pa. Pero madalang ang nakawan, holdapan, lokohan, tsismisan, inggitan na makita sa mga “sites” ng internet. Kung minsan rin natatawa na lang ako kasi bakit nga ba ganito ang mga Pilipino, natural ba ang mga ugaling ito o maaring impluwensiya lang din sa atin.

Kung susundan ang linya ng pag-iisip ni Charles Darwin sa kanyang teorya ng ebolusyon, maaring napasa ang mga ugaling sa kasalukuyan ay ginagawa natin mula sa ating mga ninuno. Isa sa mga halimbawa nito ay ang pagka-giliw natin sa mga banyaga. Tinatawag natin itong “xenocentrism”. Kung lilimiim, bakit nga ba naging madali para kay Magellan na dumaong sa dalampasigan ng Limasawa noong dumating siya? Kasi mahilig sa puti ang mga ninuno natin. Kung sa bansang Hapon siguro sila dumaong, tiyak putol ang ulo nila. Kaso, dahil nga giliw tayo sa banyaga, tinanggap natin sila ng buong puso. At ngayon, alam na alam natin na isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit tayo naghihirap ay dahil sa pagtangkilik natin sa mga dayuhan sa halip na sa sarili nating bansa at mga kababayan. Syempre, hindi ko naman sinasabing totoo lahat ito. Ang sinasabi ko lang, maaring isa ito sa mga dahilan.

Rizal/ Bayaning Third World


It is Valentines Day, a perfect time to think about loving and loving and loving still. And to discuss about Rizal’s heroism at this time seems not so appropriate. I’d say, leave it to the historians. Let us give justice to our day of hearts. After all, Valentines doesn’t come everyday. Now, as a human being Rizal had his share of Valentines Days too. As I see it, he is more romantic than we are today. With the flowery words, geniality towards women, and his smooth moves, Rizal is definitely the perfect mushy-machine (although a coin would always have its other face). Needless to say, Rizal had a lot of flings and serious relationships. I don’t think I am bound to enumerate all of these women but since we are dwelling about Bayaning Third World, then the sole woman I opted to discuss is the Irish Jospehine Bracken and some of the controversial things connected to her.


Josephine, born of Irish parents, James Brown and Elizabeth MacBride, Josephine Leopoldine or Josefina as she was affectionately called by Filipinos, was born in Victoria City, Hong Kong on August 9, 1876. She took the family name Bracken from her adopted father, a Mr. Bracken.[1]


Some of the controversies connected to Josephine were that she was a Spanish spy and was sent by the friars to persuade Rizal to recant hostility towards the Church. In my own take, this line of thinking is a perfect plot for a modern telenovela and I’m sure the Filipino viewers would delight to see such kind of story. Rizal was influential indeed during his time and his family was rich, but I don’t think the Spanish Church would bother to plot anything against Rizal. If we look at it closely, the friars do not have a clue about what was going to happen in the future (unless they are relatives of Nostradamus) so they would not waste effort sending a woman who’ll coax an ilustrado detained in a far away place who they (friars) believe cannot do anything against continued poisoning of the Indios mind regarding religion –imposing tributes and indulgences. Well, I do not side by Josephine but as Rizal would put it, “I cannot take anything that is beyond reason.”


And another controversy that I just discovered from reading about Josephine was that after Rizal died, Josephine married a Filipino man named Vicente Abad, a businessman Josephine met at HongKong. They had a daughter named Pichay. Now historians say that this child could be Rizal’s but the couple decided to make it appear that it was Vicente’s since during this time, Rizal was still considered a filibuster. This is really startling for me. Much as I want for Rizal to have full descendants, unfortunately his son with Jospehine, Francisco, died. And if indeed this Pichay is Rizal’s blood then that would be wonderful. But we can never be sure now. There are just some things that we can’t change and history has become history not because we wanted it to be but because we had no control of the circumstances. Thinking of Ricky Davao’s line to Rizal – “Can you imagine if you were not shot in Bagumbayan?” What are the chances that Rizal won’t be a hero?


Anyway, these are some of the thoughts that made me reconsider my ideological position on Rizal’s life after watching the movie. Truly, the movie is a spirited deconstruction of the reputation of Jose Rizal[2] and made me smile despite its heavy statements.


[1] Isagani R. Medina, Ph.D. Women in Philippine history: Josephine (Josefina) Bracken (1876-1902). http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/senate/4982/bracken.htm

[2] Time Out Film Guide 13. 3rd World Hero. http://www.timeout.com/film/79257.html

MOVIE REVIEW | A Comparison of the Mise-en-Scene of Amores Perros and Requiem for A Dream


First frame. Silence. After some second –wham, a car hits another and the narrative of Amores Perros started to unveil showing how humanity could destroy itself from its wrecked nature. Shift to another film. Funky heavy metal music enters. Then two characters appear, having some sort of argumentation having a single door separating them apart. 


THE DISEMBODIED LADY: Realizing the importance of our bodily functions

Most of the time, we take important things for granted. The small things that we do everyday have been so routinely that we tend to take them as they are without placing any effort to ask how and why they are there. The usual answer that I get when I ask how I am able to perceive the world the way I do is that, “I do not know, I just do!” And so I do not bother myself looking for the exact explanation, I just take them at face-value. Nothing wrong with accepting what has been there all along right? But after reading the “Disembodied Lady,” I realized that this should not be the case. I have come to terms that it is important to know the reason why things are there and how they play a vital role in our existence.

Taking Christina, as the anecdote would describe her, a “strapping young woman of twenty-seven, given to hockey and riding, self-assured, robust, in body and mind, has two children, works as a computer programmer at home, intelligent and cultivated, fond of the ballet and of the Lakeland poets,” as an example we can see that she exudes the common human being that does not trouble herself finding out the importance of her bodily functions. Then one day, an abdominal pain startles her which would start the twist and turn of her once blissful life. The be-and-all of this is that Christina suffered from neuritis, a general term referring to the inflammation of a nerve or part of the nervous system.[1] The unusual thing in Christina’s case however was that there was a proprioceptive deficit, going from the tips of her toes to her head. She has no muscle or tendon or joint sense whatever. The proprioceptive deficit according to the article was caused by a sensory neuritis, affecting the sensory roots of spinal and cranial nerves throughout the neuraxis.

I am not an expert to talk about proprioceptive deficit or anything about neuritis. The doctor in the article nevertheless mentioned that the sense of the sense of the body is given by three things: vision, balance organs (the vestibular system), and proprioception. These worked together and if one failed, the others could compensate or substitute to a degree. In Christina’s words, proprioception is like the eyes of the body, the way the body sees itself. If it is gone, it is like the body is blind.

According to this article of Shannon Lee, a student of Biology at the Bryn Mawr College, there are five common senses that are discussed and learned from an early age: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. The I-function, the conscious part of the brain, is very aware of these senses. It voluntarily checks information obtained by these senses in order to experience the environment, and also when a strong enough stimuli has signaled attention to these specific receptors. There are other equally important sensory systems set up that are essential for normal body functioning, but these are not so easily recognized by the I-function because the nervous system keeps the input unconscious.

One overlooked sense, known as proprioception, is as important, if not more important as the other senses, for normal functioning. Proprioception is "the process by which the body can vary muscle contraction in immediate response to incoming information regarding external forces," by utilizing stretch receptors in the muscles to keep track of the joint position in the body.
Proprioception and kinesthesia, the sensation of joint motion and acceleration, are the sensory feedback mechanisms for motor control and posture. Theses mechanisms along with the vestibular system, a fluid filled network within the inner ear that can feel the pull of gravity and helps the body keep oriented and balanced, are unconsciously utilized by the brain to provide a constant influx of sensory information. The brain can then send out immediate and unconscious adjustments to the muscles and joints in order to achieve movement and balance.

Proprioception, also often referred to as the sixth sense, was developed by the nervous system as a means to keep track of and control the different parts of the body. A normal person is able to move a finger, knowing where and what the finger is doing, with little effort. The normal person could just volunteer the finger to move back and forth and proprioception would make this an easy task. Without proprioception, the brain cannot feel what the finger is doing, and the process must be carried out in more conscious and calculated steps. The person must use vision to compensate for the lost feedback on the progress of the finger. Then the I-function must voluntarily and consciously tell the finger what to do while watching the feedback.

The eyes have to also be trained to judge weights and lengths of objects. As a person attempts to lift objects there is no feedback on how hard to flex the muscles except from what clues vision gives. Studies support that through feedback from proprioception the brain is able to calculate angles of movement and command the limb to move exact distances. If vision is taken away, the lights are cut out, then that person will fall in a heap on the floor, with no ability to make successful voluntary movements. Without this sense humans would be forced to spend a great amount of their conscious energy moving around or would not be mobile at all.[2]
It appears that proprioception is a very important sense for humans to survive. I cannot imagine a world where people always watch out their actions. That is like switching an appliance on and off everytime you want to use it. Worst, if you do not watch after that appliance, it might result in a disaster for it might go wrong one way or another.

Apart from the proprioceptive deficit that the article tackled, I was intrigued by this philosopher named Wittgenstein. Who exactly is Wittgenstein? According to this site, he is considered the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century. He questioned the nature of philosophy making things complicated out of their simplicity. He argued that philosophy was still something that was basically superfluously troubled with unnecessary concerns over imaginary issues. Language was no longer something to represent a world of facts but a self-contained activity that determines itself. Languages, Wittgenstein famously decided, are "games"; and playing the particular language game is to engage in a certain "form of life." The rules of the language game are not determined by the nature of the world, but by the training provided by the corrections and example of other speakers. One cannot simply determine the truth for oneself, because it is not external reality, but the interaction with others that determines the correct statements. The role of this interaction rules out either a "private language" or an absolute truth independent of the standards of a linguistic community. Meaning, indeed, is just usage, and there are no independent senses which are to be matched up with reality to determine truth or falsehood. The theory of language is just a kind of human "natural history," describing one form of human behavior.[3]

In a way, Wittgenstein is an empiricist that questioned the validity of the reality produced by the senses. And it is this doubt that the article integrated Wittgenstein to the proprioceptive deficit in Christina’s case. All in all, I am quite enlightened to know that our senses is not just the usual sense that we know. There’s the vision and vestibular senses and our sixth sense that makes up our humanity and enable us to perceive the world clearly. It is terrifying to think that there might come a time that we could lost these senses. But I thank God that I still have mine. I now know the importance of my bodily functions.One setback that the article has is that it was not able to detail how Christina’s gallstone removal affected the neuritis that came up with the sickness. I still am wondering if there is a connection. And given that the setting still happened during the period of 1977-1980, there might be more discoveries that would explain further proprioceptive deficiency.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuritis
[2] http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro02/web2/slee.html
[3] http://www.friesian.com/wittgen.htm

MOVIE REVIEW | Tulad ng Dati (2008)


Filipino films nowadays as a product of popular culture continues to entertain the mass on the surface level. At face value, it seems innocent but as an instrument with covert motives, film themes serve as oppressors of many who patronize them.

These themes instill ideologies regarding power dynamics in society – who should be at top and who should remain in the dirt, and more often than not, they (themes) are always for the benefit of those who are rich and powerful.

Cinemalaya as an independent Film Festival encourages cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity[1], providing audiences with a different perspective on movie appreciation and show that films should not always be an agent of oppression. Like the two films I’m about to review, Tulad ng Dati and Batad, offers a paradigm shift that we can be thankful for.

JOURNAL | Inspirations and Realizations: Jose Rizal's Childhood

Wherever education is implanted there will go up a youth invigorated and strong, firmly eradicating error and broadening itself on the strength of noble ideas.
-Jose Rizal, Por La Educación Recibe Lustre La Patria
(Through Education the Fatherland Acquires Glory)


Jose’s childhood was as colorful as when he reached his more grown up years. In fact this childhood proved valuable in forming his consciousness about his country and his role that he needed to play. There are so many things to discuss about Rizal’s childhood but I decided pick some interesting points that I can relate to.

First, Paciano Mercado’s strong relationship with Jose had a significant impact with the latter’s childhood. They both share similar ideologies. Paciano being the older son was dangerously outspoken about public affairs that had anything to do with injustices. This trait of Paciano influenced Jose greatly. Gleaning through Paciano’s psyche shows that such was caused by two significant events that took place in his life – one, the execution of Padre Burgos, his mentor and friend and the imprisonment of their mother Teodora Alonso for two years. 

However, Paciano’s critical attitude often leads to predicaments that even prevented him from acquiring his baccalaureate. With this in mind, Paciano advised Jose to change his name from Mercado to Rizal fearing that the friars might associate Jose with him and give Jose a hard time. Funny though because according to later writings of Jose, particularly that with Blumentritt, he felt illegitimate when he changed his surname. Jose’s real name was Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda.

All throughout Jose’s life, Paciano played not only as a brother but a father too. While Jose was studying, Paciano took charge of their family especially their aging parents. Paciano was there to accompany him to Ateneo, found Jose’s lodging, sent money, etc. Between Jose and Paciano were myriads of correspondences too. I would surmise that most of their topics were about politics and I would not be surprised if Jose was able to imbibe the philosophies of his brother. With all these things, I admire their relationship especially Paciano’s generosity for letting Jose finish his education while he was left at Calamba.

On the other hand, I was surprised to know that Jose and Paciano had a secret pact. No evidence would prove about this verbal pact apart from Narcissa’s account to her grand-daughter Asuncion. Narcissa’s brothers, Jose and Paciano were already dead when she brought this matter into light as a sign of respect for the pact. It was said that the two brothers talked about whom between them will marry and who will stay single. Staying single is vital to pursue their aspirations to do something great for their land. Well, it was not clear between Jose and Paciano who would play the part, but what is apparent is that the two both assumed that the other should marry. This pact somehow explains Jose’s fleeting relationships with women. He never got married despite several idylls. Of course there’s the gay issue but that is a different story.

Paciano, thinking Jose should be celibate to move their cause also had second thoughts about it. Paciano realized that Jose needs someone that would assure that he would not leave his cause while abroad. This could be the reason why Paciano was keen enough to link Jose with their young cousin Leonor Rivera. But until Jose’s death, he was never married unless we consider the affair with Josephine Bracken in Dapitan. I am just curious though, did Jose’s with Josephine survived? Or was there ever a child?[1]

Jose’s education was another point I want to reflect on. I am very much aware that he was not the “bona kid, batang may laban” type. In fact, he was so fragile he himself thought he will not live long enough to reach his later goals. This is the reason why he was motivated to maximize his potentials. Not only was he health conscious, but he has issues with confidence too because he was not “attractive”. He tried to do sports like gymnastics but that was in vain. He also did fencing, this time, he was in love with the sport he practiced it until adulthood.

Jose’s academic excellence was a product of his discipline and determination plus his amazing memory. This was his recipe for success. Even his Spanish was not excellent at first. It was a fruit of reading volumes of Spanish literature at Ateneo and tutelage under Jesuit Francisco de Paula Sanchez, the twenty-six, dark, gloomy, bat-like person, given to pessimistic observations, but whom young Jose described as a model of uprightness, earnestness, and love of the advancement of his pupils. It was this friar who helped Jose with Spanish and eventually inspired Jose with literature.

All in all, Jose’s education was exceptional but if there’s one thing worth mentioning was Jose’s realization of this – he must dedicate his life to the service of his people, above all the improvement of their lot under the Spaniards.

I bet many aspire to become like Jose too and I am not ashamed to admit that I am one of them minus the Bagumbayan hullabaloo. But seriously, I still find thousand of reasons to follow Jose’s footsteps, with all the evils of despotic rule. What I lack are the discipline, determination, and most of all courage Jose exhibited. To leave my family behind and think about “cruel preeminence” as Jose once said before he left Ateneo is simply disheartening.
I love this country much as Jose does. I am even humbled by his words,
“I have always loved my poor country and I’m sure I shall love her until my last moment, should men prove unjust to me I shall die happy. Satisfied with the thought that all I have suffered, my life, my loves, my joys, my everything, I have sacrificed for the love of her.”[2]
But with all that are happening to this land, I do not know how or where to start patching the wound. If only Jose could live again! If only!


_________________________________________________________________
[1] Something that I need to look up in the coming days.
[2] Fort Santiago graffiti.



Epistolaries of Rizal

Jose Rizal’s letters tell so much about him and how he spent his life. Looking at the correspondences of Rizal is like reading his diaries as he communicates with another person. 

By doing so, we are given access to his psyche and after reading some, I must say that I was not just amazed but inspired at the same time. I can just imagine all the troubles Rizal had to face to write those letters. Only a patient man could do that and we lack such kinds of men nowadays. 

Now, tasked to analyze four letters of Rizal from four different perspectives including correspondences with family, fellow reformists, Blumentritt and miscellaneous writings under the pretext of our month of birth (mine is February), I found the following letters: 

First, Rizal (1964, p. 422) in Dapitan writing to his sister Lucia on Feb. 12, 1896. In this letter, Rizal mentioned about about the arrival of Teodosio Herbosa and brother Estanislao Herbosa, sons of Lucia and the late Mariano Herbosa. Rizal points out that we must follow what we think will make us most productive. This is in connection with Estanislao’s inclination to books and Teodosio’s soil. 

Second, Rizal (1963, pp.126-135) writing to Vicente Barrantes on Feb. 1890. This letter is a response to Barrantes’ criticism of Noli Me Tangere. According to the footnote of this letter, Vicente Barrantes is a member of the Real Academis de la Lengua and other learned societies, held high positions in the Philippine government. In Spain he was regarded as a learned man, but in the Philippines his name was execrated, for his writings were pronouncedly anti-Filipinos, biased and superficial (p.126). In summary, the letter points out the inconsistencies of Barrantes’ arguments against Rizal as author of Noli Me Tangere. 

Third, Rizal (1992, pp.272-275) in London writing to Marcelo H. del Pilar on Feb. 4, 1889. Rizal mentions in this letter regarding the publication of La Solidaridad and the excessive Ilocanism of Isabelo de los Reyes apropos the question of Diego Silang. According to this letter, Marcelo, together with other Filipino scholars, should be critical towards writing history and one example of it is the chronicles about Diego Silang. 

Fourth, Rizal (1961, pp. 327-328) in Brussels writing to Blumentritt on Feb. 2, 1890. This letter talks about the Jesuitical contrasts about dealing with people and about Father Sanchez praising Noli. In addition, the letter mentions too how Rizal sees his way of writing in awakening Filipinos from lethargy.

Recurrent from Rizal’s epistolaries is the issue of Noli Me Tangere. This novel elicited two reactions- one negative, the other positive. 

In Rizal’s letter to Barrantes (which was published in La Solidaridad), we see that Barrantes was not pleased with the work. It appears that Barrantes was trying to accuse Rizal of not considering the latter’s compatriots men because there was a certain scene in the Noli where the captain general talked first to the protagonist (Ibarra) and from this Barrantes deducted his assumption. 

Also, Rizal was accused of reducing artists of Paete to mere carpenters. These are some of the inconsistencies which Rizal refuted. Rizal’s reply was quite complicated but the be and all of it was that Barrantes’ premises were all illogical. On the other hand, Rizal mentions in his letter to Blumetritt that Father Sanchez, a Jesuit praised Noli.

Another case in point is the issue of Rizal with the friars. We know for a fact that Rizal had a grudge with religious corporations especially when it comes to writing Philippine history. Evident from Rizal-Del Pilar correspondence mention Rizal mentions,
“Despite the ardent desire of the Augustinians – like all the friars – to exaggerate always, and to put themselves in the forefront of all Philippine questions…(p.274)”

This repugnance towards friars was again observed in Noli Me Tangere.
Considering how Rizal portrayed the Augustinians in the character if Padre Damaso. However, the repugnance was not quite so much when it comes to the Jesuits from Rizal (1961)-Blumentritt correspondence, Rizal gives Jesuits a more gentle description,

“Concerning Father Faura, I believe that he did not have evil intentions when he assured Dr. Pardo de Tavera that I had to die. In my way of thinking it was Jesuitical astuteness. The Jesuits have to show in public feelings that they may not perhaps feel. (p. 327)”

These are but some of the things that we can learn about the epistolaries of Rizal
and I am sure that there is more to discover, more to divulge and until that time that I can unearth all motivations and line of thinking of Rizal then I will always be on the prowl, waiting.

Works Cited:

Rizal, J. (1961). The Rizal-Blumentritt correspondence. (E. Alzona, Trans.). Manila: Jose
Rizal National Centennial Commission, 327-328. DS 675.8 R5 A45 1961a E5 pt.2, DMLF

Rizal, J. (1963). Miscellaneous correspondence. (E. Alzona, Trans.) Manila: National
Heroes Commission, 126-135. DS 675.8 R5 A45 1961e E5, DMLF

Rizal, J. (1964). Letter between Rizal and family members. Manila: National Heroes
Commission, 422-423. DS 675.8 R5 A45 1961 E5

Rizal, J. (1992). Rizal’s correspondence with fellow reformists. (E. Alzona, Trans.).
Manila: National Historical Institute, 272-275. DS 675.8 R5 A45 1992a E5, DMLF

Looking back at mom’s lessons

Nowadays, I usually wake up late in the morning because I have to finish bulk of essays and review piles of articles the previous evening for upcoming deadlines and examinations. Then I look at my clock only to find out that I only have half an hour before my first class starts. And so I rush to take my bath, change clothes, and put in my bag the things that I know are to be used for the day. Unable to fix my beddings and clean up my mess, I run and if only I could fly, I swear I could have flown to the nearest jeepney station. When I finally get to ride the jeep, I often discover that I have forgotten something. To make the matter worse, my stomach would growl because I have not eaten anything due to time constraint. Amidst all these bedlams come times when memories of childhood would suddenly visit and I would compare how my simple life then has become so complex now. This simple life I owe all to my mother.
It is so easy to take for granted the kindness that mothers do to our lives. More often than not, we take them for granted believing that there is nothing special with the way they care for us. When I was a kid, I could not see the importance of my mother’s sacrifice. I remember that she was still in college when I was born. The task of raising a child while struggling her way through college was one feat I did not appreciate until later. She could have easily given up on her duties as a mother since there was my grandmother and grandfather back then. But no, she really lived up to her role as a mother and I could not repay her for that.

We are not rich and so raising a family was not a bed rose for my parents. Mother did not work immediately after receiving her diploma since my father has a job then. She was at home most of the time attending to our needs, cooking our meals, maintaining the house, and all the things that usual mothers do. I remember that every afternoon, after going to a daycare center, she would make me take my afternoon nap in the living room floor with only a mat as my bedding while she watches “Eat Bulaga” from our 16-inch black and white television that has a manual switch. That was how simple our life was back then. I was contented with what little possessions we have.

Then there were times when I get sick. I vividly remember how my mother would feed me "lugaw" (porridge) and lead me to sleep. During the wee hours of the morning, she would check me up and see how my fever’s going and make me drink a glass of milk. Also, she would put "Vicks", a menthol cream, on my chest and back to make me feel better and I feel better indeed.
In the morning, if I have class at my daycare school, she would prepare a peanut butter sandwich for me and remind me to take care when going to school. And in the afternoon also, when I go home, she will ask me how things have been at school and we will talk about childish stuff like angels and heaven for I was ever curious about my guardian angel.

When I entered my elementary and high school, mother was still there for me. She still prepares my breakfast and wakes me up saying that I am going to be late if I do not get out of bed. Before going to school, she would ask me if my school materials are already in my bag or are there things which I have forgotten.

I must admit I grew tired of my mother’s meddling. At one point, I just wanted her to leave me alone and let me be. I just wanted to be free from her rules and instructions not realizing that all that she did for me was for my own good and with that I felt sorry for myself for to lose the concern of my mother is like losing the goodness of this world.

All mothers would only want the best for their children. Sometimes, there are instances that mothers would go overboard and invade the privacy that children learns to develop when they enter into adulthood and this I cannot blame on the part of our mothers because how can we take away something like caring for a valued child from a devoted mother. It is by nature that mother’s seek the welfare of their children for even the hens who lead their chicks in finding food scattered on the ground would fight like a terrible cock if somebody gets near them. Now we are talking about humans and human nature tells mothers to love and care for their children for if they do not, who will? And for that I will always be thankful to God because He had given me a wonderful mother who taught me to be a better person and to see the beauty of a simple life.

The wind of my busy morning in that jeep touched my face and even if I have forgotten something in my boarding house, I realized that nothing can bring me down for I am blessed with a loving mother. This disarray is nothing but an aftermath of college’s complexities and would be solved once I go back to the values of my childhood mother has etched in me and that is the importance of simplicity.

EDSA's Legacy

It was the time to commemorate the infamous People Power Revolution when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced Presidential Decree (PD) 1017: a declaration of a state of “national emergency” on February 24.

Many were terrified with the thought that the proclamation is but another name for a martial rule after immediate action from the armed forces took place. All permits to rally were cancelled, and peaceful gatherings were dispersed. Certain media outfits were also raided including The Daily Tribune and reports circulated that ABS-CBN was in a tight watch.

Suspension of classes was announced in the most unexpected time and people began to feel suspicious with what is really happening in the country. Arrests of high-ranking military officers including Gen. Danilo Lim, commanding General of the Army’s elite Scout Rangers and Police Director Marcelino Franco, chief of the elite Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police, indicated a trouble in the armed services.

With all these events happening in a time when we as Filipinos should celebrate the potency of collective action, we are left with the question – what has happened to the legacy of People Power at EDSA?

EDSA 1, People Power Revolution is seen as the fruit of discontent when former President Ferdinand E.Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972. Marcos and his supporters under the rubric of “emergency rule clamped down on all dissent by imprisoning thousands of political dissenters, imposing rigid controls on the mass media, and restructuring the political system in accordance with a grand design to create a “New Society” wherein “political emancipation” would just be a first step towards national “liberation.”

It is this political phenomenon that united all factions in our country whether they be rich or poor, literate or illiterate, religious or agnostic, etc. towards one goal and that is to regain the democracy that Marcos had stolen from the Filipinos. This four-day protest of people who literally made the streets of EDSA a ground of hope mixed with divine providence, saw that no tanks or threat of terrorism could disperse the diplomacy of patriotism.

But today, as we experience it, our administration is bent on cracking the slightest possibility of uniting the people against them for the administration knows that it doesn’t stand a chance. President Arroyo even said in one of her speeches that EDSA 1 and 2 should be commended but there will never be a need for a People Power again as long as she’s the president.

It is exactly twenty years after the genuine spirit EDSA 1 had washed the terror in the hearts of the Filipinos who had lived to tell the tale of the grim of the dictator. It is sad however that time had changed. The situation is totally different. Before, the people who heed the call of Jaime Cardinal Sin to protect the soldiers from the wrath of Marcos administration, came because they felt that they have the responsibility to aid the worsening condition of the country. But now, we are not sure whether those people who shout for democracy are nothing but paid demonstrators out to push certain people’s interest.

Aside from that, the difference of EDSA 1 with futile attempts to stage another version of the peaceful revolution is the lack of rallying leader able to replace the president if ever she will be toppled. The problem with our leaders who denounce the president saying all the political crimes an official can commit is that they all want to replace her. In hindsight, they are nothing but opportunists ready to throw themselves to the people only if they are sure that they will be safe.

If there is one lesson that EDSA 1 had taught us, that would be this – only a genuine concern for the reformation of this country can truly bring about change that everybody is looking for.

We still know what’s best for us:A Reaction to Separation of Powers in Constitution-Making

I remember when I was a kid, my parents would bring me to the hospital whenever I get sick or feel ill. However, these rendezvous with doctors did not make me jump for joy. I’m not really crazy about the idea of seeing doctors smiling at their patients examining them with their stethoscope ordering to inhale and exhale. Afterwards, they’ll be interrogating with questions that during my age that time seemed senseless. I especially hate it when the doctors ask me about certain dates which I can’t remember. I just don’t keep track of how many glasses of water I drink a day, or when I ate this and that. Ends up, I just make up stories. Trust me when I tell that I’m a good story teller. After assessing my stories, the doctors then tell my parents that I’m sick with that and I have these symptoms, that I need to drink these medicines. What I’m driving at is that not all doctors’ diagnoses are right. They can be misleading, often relying on their inaccurate findings. In my case, it is my body and I should know better. Nevertheless, doctors are there to alleviate ailments and even if not exactly what their patients need, at least there are efforts to find cures.

My childhood experience is like the situation we have today. While I find it absurd that an outsider would suggest this and that about our constitution, it helps to understand how others see the system and governance in this country.

In Dr. John S. Baker Jr.’s lecture about separation of powers in constitution-making, I wasn’t surprised to discover the corruption of our officials and the dangers of changing from a presidential form of government to parliamentary.

Dr. Baker is a law professor at Louisiana State University. Logically, his background is founded on legalistic matters. I don’t exactly know the jargons of political science and more so of laws and legalities but what I do know is that a person’s background largely influence on how he thinks and deals with his affairs.

I noticed though that Dr. Baker didn’t dwell much about the separation of powers but he was able to impress the idea that in an effective government, there has to be a separation of power for check and balance to exist. It also enables to prevent the president in a presidential system from being a dictator while preventing the congress from abusing their legislative powers as well. According to Dr. Baker, the principle of separation of power is that each of the three branches has to be strong and is therefore watching and competing with the two other branches even while not being able to invade the other branches.

Moreover, what distracted me most during the lecture was Dr. Baker’s covert (or should I say overt) attempt to make the United States the epitome of every nation’s constitution. In his words,

“The whole idea of the rule of law is Western, it’s not Eastern. It’s a product of the ancient Greece passed on by Rome to the Medieval period and carried through England to the United States.”

To an ordinary audience, this overstatement would appear a fact and not only that, it tends to instill that normalizing feeling that since the rule of law is Western and Greece passed it to the U.S., they are in a way privileged to be looked upon and be models to everybody else. But Dr. Baker is quipped in saying that,

“It (constitution-making) had not penetrated the Eastern mind, which is not to say that ours is superior in the West and the Eastern is inferior, not at all. They’re different…”

To insinuate somebody’s superiority over somebody else is one thing. It’s another to tell us that it is not what it meant. To tell an audience something, that the clear conjecture is not correct is an insult to our intellect. Who’s Dr. Baker kidding?

I can’t blame Dr. Baker for the air of ethnocentricity in his lecture. Most developed countries think like they are the best and nobody else. Especially Americans, I don’t know if it’s just me but they seem to think that the world rotates around them. If there’s one aspect in American culture that I want to applaud, it’s their skill in manipulating people.

Many of Dr. Baker’s assumptions were cited from classic sources. He mentioned Aristotle’s classification of constitution, forms of government, and the good and bad points of democracy.

“When the U.S. Constitution came along, democracy was considered the worst possible form of government because every democracy had failed. It failed because many stole the property of the few. And so there has always been this class conflict.”

Again, Dr. Baker seems to have this false notion that the U.S. Constitution sparked all good constitution. Nevertheless, he also mentioned about Francis Fukiyama, a famous development writer saying that we need strong states, not weak states.

He also went over about the Federal Papers. The Federalist Papers is the collective title for 85 essays signed “Publius” and published (1787-88) in various New York newspapers to convince New York voters to support ratification of the new constitution of the U.S. The Essays failed in their immediate purpose for New York voted against ratification. They endured, however, as the classic analysis of the constitution and an influential treatise on federalism.

Finally according to Dr. Baker, even if he doesn’t like Hobbes as a political theorist, he admire the man because he understood power. Hobbes said that the ideology of politics is power –personal power, political power, and economic power.

“…if you want to win power for the middle class of this country, we have to align political power in such a way that it meets economic resources of this country… (which can be) spread among its people.”

Historical sources may be helpful in examining a present constitution, but I think, since
Experiences of people varies, not all political thoughts from these sources apply in today’s setting. I admit my ignorance regarding the contents of the papers of Dr. Baker’s sources, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that time is dynamic and events change.

Before I end this paper, let me tell you that if there’s one thing that I agree about Dr. Baker’s lecture, it’s his conception of the human nature as the beast.

“It is the nature of the beast. The beast is not only democracy, the beast is human nature.”

Theology says that man is by nature good, he is only corrupted by his environment that is why he becomes evil. In political science, that assumption is the reverse. Man is evil by nature. If you give man their liberty, they will abuse it. They will become greedy and corrupt the weak. All the corruption, self-interest, showmanship, etc. in our government are products of man’s nature to provide for himself and not for the state, not for the public good. And to think that our lawmakers want to centralize power to them, what do they think of us, morons? So long as we take care of our democracy and safeguard it against possible manipulation, we can save our future against the clench of power-hungry officials. Aside from that, we as one people should not close our doors from outside observations but we should keep in mind that the final verdict still rests in our hands. After all, we know what’s best for us, for our country.

Separation of Power by John S. Baker, Ph. D

Separation of Power in Constitution-Making
February 17, 2006 CSSP-AVR

The subject that I’ll be discussing is not only of interest to Charter Change but actually it’s probably more interesting to me in academic sense. For you it’s a matter of political life and death. For me, as an observer, I get to watch and learn not only about the Philippines but actually I understand the US Constitution better now having observed the Philippines. For instance, I never thought the idea of electing senators at large and now I understand what they do(es). They create a mess.

The term democracy today really means what the US government has. Unfortunately, some other countries northwardly in Latin Americas and I think, there are many similarities between the Philippines and Latin Americas. The Spanish colonial civil laws system, which can be a great source of great difficulty. I know because I live in the state that has the only civil law system in the US. And all our lawyers are required not only to study American, Anglo-American common law but they also get a degree in civil law. So many of those who want to go to law school in the Philippines. You just enroll in the right law school and come back here and do the same thing. Now it appears that you have the same problems that we have –too many lawyers. But the one thing you do have, you have a lot of nurses.

The world does not need anymore lawyers. The world needs a lot more nurses. But I want to focus on what the problem of our position is. Dr. Torres focuses on institution and institutions are extremely important in government and unfortunately constitution-makers often do not focus particularly enough on the constitution and I put forward the notion that a state that doesn’t have strong institution, in other words, a weak state or soft state like what the Philippines have which quite much alike the Americas have, are weak states we will never get any kind of good public order in a weak state. It may have been through 500 years ago, but today not only are you completely without of state you’re competing with other non-state organization. Now kind of, if you want to know you best worldwide which you in the Philippines you have your issue with the Moros in the South and your communist groups within the country. In Latin America they deal with drug case, they use gun-running and other smuggling operations. In the battle for weak states you think these are the organizations especially the drug ones are more powerful states than they are. Meaning a state is a form of organization and a cartel is a form of organization and if the state doesn’t have enough money because it doesn’t collect taxes but the drug kingpins are collecting all kinds of cash and they have all kinds of people on their payroll, they can dominate the state. So in looking at a state we have to distinguish two kinds of states. There are states that are strong institutionally, that’s one issue but there’s a second issue and that is the scope of state authority. There is a famous development writer called Francis Fukiyama and he has a recent book called State Building and the thrust of the book is that contrary to what many in the academic and policy world are saying not in the United Sates too much but mostly in Europe that the state is basic, that we’re into regional organization sovereignty has got to go his argument. You know, I agree with him, no we need strong state not weak states. The problem is that many of the states in Latin America and your state are weakened institution but have broad scope of authority. In other words, your president for instance, has great responsibility on paper in the constitution but very little ability to actually execute these responsibilities. And when you give an institution responsibility without the means to carry out the responsibility, you guarantee dissatisfaction. It doesn’t matter who’s the president. It is not just a question of personality. I hear in the Philippines a great deal about we need better leaders but wait a minute, very few countries have great leaders and when they get great leaders, it’s infrequent. And great leaders arise sometimes but not always in a time of crisis. The key is to get the proper institution that one, would run when you have mediocre leaders and two, will attract better leaders than what you’re getting. The US has gone 200 years and we have had very few great presidents. Mostly we have had mediocre but they look very powerful not because they’re great leaders but because they stand on top of great institutions and so a country can get along quite well with mediocre people coz they have great institutions. But what about the impact of political institutions on the rest of the country? Fukiyama’s state building book focuses on the question of economic development which of course is a great deal here in the Philippines. I’m talking to other professors, I have learned that from being first in Asia economically some 40 years ago you’re now last in Asia. While there’s some obvious things wrong in your constitution but there are many more things that may not be so obvious and I’m saying this not be critical. I’m saying, hopefully to offer some kind of suggestions about how you should think about it. I don’t have a solution for you because even if I did have a solution it should be your solution. The constitution comes from people. They don’t come from outsiders. You can look for the outside to learn and indeed the US looked to the outside to learn. But ultimately a constitution has to be the way of the people. That’s what a constitution is, its way. And so each constitution has to fit for particular people. On the other hand, there are certain things that we can learn about constitution that will tell you that if you choose A, B will follow and if you choose A and you want to get C, don’t choose A. There are consequences that follow and unfortunately both in political science and in law, very few people pay attention to what I would call “nuts and balls” of a constitution. The title in this, of today’s talk is separation of powers and constitution-making.

Until the US Constitution, constitutions were not made. Constitutions develop in a kind of accidental way or in a forced way in they were, constitutions were the way of a particular people and they might vary among various areas within an ethnic group. So if we go back to the ancients, Aristotle classified the constitution in three ways then doubled it in terms of a good point and a good point, and I think at some point you get some kind of overview in terms of political thought. Aristotle is very important to understand political thought in the west. You in the Philippines are part Western and part Eastern and you have to understand both worlds. And they could be good as a bridge, it can be good as a source of dynamism and also a source of confusion if you don’t understand the different roots from which you are going in any event, you have to begin with the proposition that much of what we’re talking about is Western. It had not penetrated the Eastern mind, which is not to say that ours is superior in the West and the Eastern mind is inferior, not at all. They’re different. Western philosophy has not penetrated China. Unfortunately, American businessmen don’t understand that their business operations and their assumptions based on Western philosophy. The whole idea of the rule of law is Western, it’s not Eastern. It’s product of the ancient Greece passed on by Rome to the medieval period and carried through England to the United States. If you don’t understand that, then you can’t create a constitution if that’s what you want to do. So when we talk about institutions and constitution-making, we move from a period in which constitutions reflected the Aristotelian principle ultimately of the mixed government as I said there were the three forms of government –monarchy, aristocracy, and mixed government or mixed polity was a form of democracy. These were the good points. Bad points were tyranny, oligarchy and democracy. When the US Constitution came along, democracy was considered the worst possible form of government because every democracy had failed. It failed because many stole the property of the few. And so there has always been this class conflict what Aristotle understood was that if you’re going to build a stable society you need a strong middle class. That is somehow you have to figure out how to spread the wealth without stealing the wealth. So in the medieval period, the ideal form of government was the idea of mixed government. So England in the 18th century was considered by many in Europe the ideal government. It was the Aristotelian medieval form of mixed polity, the one with the monarch. The feud was the house of lords and the many was the house of commons. It mixed the classes not together but it mixed them in the government and it allocated the resources. Here’s the problem for democracy and the US had to face it. When you give people their liberty, what do they do with it? Abuse it. Today people think, you give democracy to a country and everything will be good. It doesn’t work that way. Those who created the US Constitution said, when you give people their liberty they will abuse them. Now that is why for years people in Europe resisted the idea of giving them many of their liberty because they fear they will abuse it and take their property and power. I suggest to you that that opinion is shared by many of our oligarchs. There’s a fear of what democracy will do and all you have to do is look at your senate to see that fear justified. You have as we do in our country, unfortunately, you have showman. That is not what a democratic system stabilize needs to do. So what do they do? The problem when you give people their liberty is that they will abuse it. By the way, most of what I’m talking about can be found in a good study of what you called “The Federalist Papers” and everybody in political science and law should read it. This is not just an American doctrine, it is one of the greatest tracks of political theory of all time. The people who wrote the federal papers were the ones who drafted the US Constitution and they made a government that last. And they understood, it was no easy feat. So when it comes to constitution-making, understand that it is a difficult, complex exercise and if you don’t do it properly, it will run a mock. This morning’s paper I read an article saying that those who are advocating charter change are saying that members of the senate ought to listen to the clamor of the people in the rural areas. Well my first reaction is, if people are clamoring for something, you better slow it down because no good decisions are made in a context of clamoring. Good decisions are made with reflection. It has to be reasoned analysis. I don’t mean academic reasoned analysis, I mean negotiated reasoned analysis where the different interest of society get together in part to protect their own interest yes, but also what the greater good in mind. And unless you get that kind of set-up it’s very difficult to create a constitution in a good sense. Now if we in the United States today, were to attempt to create a constitution, we would be in chaos. We have such deep political divisions in the US that we could not be able to agree on anything. The only thing that keeps us together politically is the strength of our political institutions that keep the whole thing from blowing apart. Just the idea of a constitutional convention in the US was proposed about a year ago sends shivers to the people. Why? In the US, we had the fortune, good fortune, providential fortune, whatever, of having a brilliant group of men in a time where they could meet in secret and deliberate. You cannot meet in secret anymore as a result of transparency and democratic notion. So what did you get instead? You have gotten an attempt in congress to create what you call amendments. But you have to distinguish two things. If you have a fundamental constitution and you’re going to think your way to something that’s an amendment. If you’re gonna open the whole thing, that’s not an amendment, that is making a new constitution. What is being proposed right now in Charter Change is a new constitution. It is not an amendment. Do you need a new constitution? Absolutely. Do you need it now? You need to have a reflection. You got a very bad constitution in terms of producing what you would like to have, peace and prosperity. Let’s go back to the idea that in democracy, what you get is the abuse of liberty. If you don’t understand how that can be solved, there will be the tendency to go for the authoritarian government. In the last week, I’ve heard the rumors about the coup and threats quite frequent in many parts of the world certainly in Latin America. If the people get upset with their system, with their constitution and they’re saying it’s not working, they want order, and to get order they turn too often or accede to the military. Well people will always prefer order from chaos because you can’t carry on life when you’re faced with anarchy. But you have to resort either through people power or the military coup. It means your institutions are in bad shape. Now the US institution were in very bad shape and yet we changed it overnight. So it is possible but it is difficult. And in doing it, you have to keep in mind what kind of country you want. Now I tell people that when I talk about the US Constitution I’m not saying that you should favor our constitution. Indeed if you wanted to, you could. We created deliberately, the large commercial public and there was a reason for it. The reason is historical. It’s peculiar to the United States. It doesn’t apply in the Philippines. We have Anglo-American position. In the 18th century we focused on the ancient republic of Greece and Rome. How many people in the Philippines are talking about the ancient republics of ancient Rome and Greece? Nobody! In the 18th century of the United States everybody who was educated looked to those places as model of government. Why? They were reacting against monarchy and they wanted a republic as opposed to a monarchy. A republic means the public thing whereas monarchs in the medieval period, they own the country. So the public has the notion that the country was owned by the public, not the monarchs. That’s the essence of republicans. But within the republicanism, there are whole range of possibilities. In the US there was a debate, should we be agrarian republic or should we be a commercial republic? Now that debate actually continues today both in the United States but more importantly to you in the world afar where it does not happen. If you look at the fight over globalization, what you will see is that it is a fight between those who want a commercial world and those who want to maintain an agrarian access towards their own country. And this is difficult to do in the Philippines. You’ve been basically agrarians except for Manila and few other places and agrarianism produces a certain type of people. I’m not saying that it is this type or that type but there is a common character for the people.

They said if people abuse their liberty what are we going to do about it? How can we make a stable government? Well they said there are basically two ways to deal with it. You can either change people or you can control the effects & bad effects of liberty and they decreed they wouldn’t change people as the government. You remember the soviet union who’s gonna change people, who’s gonna make the new soviet man and what they created were soviet golems, those who wouldn’t perform. The point is, it is not up to the government to change people, it is up to churches, religious groups, individuals to change people. Governments are there to deal with something more limited. Well the other way to deal with it and this is important. I think to the This is because it is different from what we did. There are a number of governments around the world which reflect more or less homogeneous people and if what you want is to maintain a homogeneity then you gonna do one. China government or at least you gonna differentiate it from other kinds of government. What do I mean? Germany is more or less homogeneous of course when they took it to the extreme, in the 1930’s to 40’s they attribute the ideology of Aryanism as the superior race and we know where that lead Japan was also used to live as a homogeneous country. Both today have parliamentary governments . those government’s maybe appropriate in 2 kinds of homogeneous people. But you have to understand that there are various types of parliamentary governments. And depending on how one builds it, you will get different results. The next one I wanna make is a take off on that. Labels are not sufficient. You have to look in detail at specific provision and given a rather long instruction, I wanna make a couple of points here so you’ll know where I’m going. The first point is that the separation of powers has been a large constitutional structure and in last part which I believe to be applicable to any government in the world. The second half which are all… in federalism which is not applicable to every government in the world. There are diff. separation of powers and there are diff. forms of federalism and I’ll get back on that now. My second point I’m gonna go over to some provisions in your constitutions and tell you why they can’t work. And then finally I wanna come back with a more detailed discussion about separation of power. Okay. I described to you the power of liberty and a problem of liberty them come to a solution. If it is not that, you’re going change to human nature, what are you gonna do? What you have to do is to use government components fast. Therefore government has to be structured in such a way that to limit the possibilities of abuses. Now in the US the key to doing this was two-fold. One was societal along w/ governmental. In the societal part does not appear in the constitution. It appears in the discussion of federal papers…. But without understanding this doctrine, you won’t understand the rest of the US system. They decided to use wealth not for the sake of wealth. They decided to create wealth for the sake of peace and strength. It is different. In Europe, they created the European Union unfortunately without much design. The driving principle has been the notion that if we create in Europe a larger and bigger than the united states, we will be able to be a counter-weight to the united states. Well, that’s one thing as a large group but they mend faster and created a political union and they’re having difficulty, for this political union, in the election last spring when France and Netherlands defeated the constitutional creed. And why did they defeat the constitutional creed? We can interweave different reasons why they did so. But essentially they were not prepared politically through what will be the implication of what had come before. They did, they want a great or economic wealth but they really didn’t want the consequence because economic development and political development are tied together one way or another. In the US we tied it together in a way that nobody had ever done before and that is the effort… if you don’t want to change human nature what you have to do is to control the effect of their pursued self-interest. And how do you that? Well, you avoid what appears in many countries. In many countries, you have a ruling group, whether it’s small or big group. And they are what we call faction. And so it’s their group and everybody else. And the ruling group will not know those who want to make rule. It’s a majority group maybe and a minority group or maybe it’s a minority group calling the majority group. Either situation is bad because you have a class conflict. In effect the society will not develop economically because of your unwillingness to share resources. So what we said in our country, well, the factions is the problem, then we have to make factions the solution. In.. you know what to get a virus, the way to stop the virus is by using a little bit of the virus as a vaccine. The virus counter-acts the virus, that’s what they aid. The reviewed statutes to counter-act statutes. It is also a kind of divide and confuses strategy. When there are only two factions, they’re gonna be like this. When there are many factions and none of them are strong enough, they to ally with one another. The within in the US, has always been is to create as many minorities as possible, not ethnic and religious minorities, not to create them but to allow them to exist. You welcome them and then you would break them up not on racial, religious ethnic grounds. You would break them up on commercial grounds so that you have more and more commercial interests so you get people out of politics into work and in work, they not only produce wealth they produce political peace because they try to run a business and make money. It’s hard to argue with the other person if you wanna sell him something and they don’t agree with it. In other words, they make the site to a kind of commercial common ground. So that’s the theory, you create a lot of factions, you create a lot of wealth. From that you get the taxes and the taxes will drive the institution. But it’s enough to just have any kind of constitution. As these groups exist and get more powerful unless the institution control it, a series of groups will get together and they’ll band to create an oligarchy and we have some of that in the Philippines. So what do you do? First of all you have to embrace what our founders did, principle of suffrage and power, anybody know where that principle come from? Never heard of the French man Montesquieu? We didn’t follow the French system but we did follow the French man Montesquieu. Unfortunately the French didn’t follow him, if they had, they have heard of the principle. They have something they call they teach in France, and they tell me, they have a separation of power too. And I say what type of system you have, parliamentary system, I understand the separation of power, is not a separation of power system. Montesquieu has one understanding of separation of power because he based on the British model. The British model is not a separation of power system. It was actually the mixed government system that I mentioned. The French has a separation of power system but it’s not the US separation power system. You have a separation of power system and you may think it’s an American style, presidential system, its not. That’s a myth. People are saying we wanna get rid of the American style, presidential system. Ok. You do anything you want but don’t think you have an American presidential system. First of all we don’t have a presidential system. We have a president and it’s not making a presidential system. We have fundamentally a separation of power system. Why do most people in the world believe we have a presidential system? Because the first you see on TV is the president. The US president looks very strong outside US if you get inside he looks very weak. The congress is the strength… you don’t know any US congressmen? I thought maybe you would have read some of the Philippine Constitution that you get but let me just through some of the things… It is natural for people in your own country to have a misimpression of what their government would do. Most Americans have no idea how US government works. Most Americans believe that the Bill of Rights is all we have and that’s the most important thing and they’re absolutely wrong about that. The Bill of Rights is the icing on the cake. The Bill of Rights would be nothing without separation of power. I used to believe when before I went to Washington that the president is the strongest and he’s not… and I learned that. The problem is the last 30 years in the US, we’ve done a number of things to weaken the US presidency and we’ve violated separation of power in a number of ways and some of our provisions both domestically and international are due to changes in US practice. Let me come back to the Philippines which is my second point. I daresay that your president is very powerful. Well, I would say yes and no. Have I talked about powerful institutions in broad scope. Institutionally, the president… scope wise your president has too much authority to possible be able to render it. For instance in your constitution the president has general powers of supervision over all the government. US president has no such power. For a sense, your president is very powerful in theory. Now this is, let me just give you a good reason… you saw some of Hurricane Katrina to hit my state and unfortunately it did not affect that mush of Baton Rouge but it destroyed New Orleans. And people in Europe are sickly would not understand how President Bush would not take care of things in his own when he can send troops all over the world. Even the Americans couldn’t understand this. There are federal slips. President Bush met on Air Force One the governor of Louisiana, a very nice, honest, but incompetent. I have nothing against Daisy. Not because she’s a woman but probably I must say, I know how many females are around here and one of the things that always struck is that how powerful Filipino women are. This woman however… we used to have corruption so we went from corruption to honesty, but we got to get to competence. What people cannot believe that the president of the US had asked the governor of Louisiana permission to land the troops in. And her answer was, “Give me 24 hours to think.” A number of people died in that twenty-four hours, and when she came back after twenty four hours she said, “No.” She had under the constitution every constitutional right to do it. Why? She had to be politically accountable for her stupidity. Point is, we have to be clear of who has the responsibility. Do they have the means to carry out their responsibility? And if they fail on it, then you need to punish the politically, and if you don’t do that it will not work effective because the principle of separation of power is that each of the branches have to be strong and is therefore checking and competing with the other two branches even while not being able to invade the other branches. So what do you have in the Philippines? Your senate. Your senators are elected at large. Every senator in the Philippines, just like in the US, believes that he or she could do a better job as president than the current president. It doesn’t matter who the president is. They all believe that but there’s a fundamental difference between being in a legislature and being in an executive. The legislature debates the policy but once the policy is settled, the executive has to implement it. In a legislature, you want many votes. You can’t deliberations you want carefulness. You want slowness. In executive, you want just the opposite of that. You want oneness. You want quickness, and therefore they are at odds. But every legislature would want to tell the president what to do. It is the nature of the beast. The beast is not only democracy, the beast is human nature. So you can neither create a system that takes into account the good parts and bad parts of human nature and design it like you were tailoring a set of clothes to fit, that human nature is this particular cultural historical context. Make it fit well, not big and baggy, not to tight. Then depress so in your system you give all of this authority to the president but not to be and then you give competition to the senate. A president in a democracy is going to be weaker from the legislation. Therefore the president if you have the separation of power system had to spread. Now I understand that after the Marcos, because he had a dictator the tendency is to weakening effect. They did this in Europe, you have to understand it’s not the problem of power per se, it’s how you structure and strengthen power. But weakness of power more dangerous in some cases. So the US, after we got rid a king, people wanted to have a weak president fortunately those who drafted our constitution said no, we need a strong president. But wait a minute, if you’re gonna have a strong president he would be… ah, separation of powers, they have to look at the other two branches. The Supreme Court from what I can tell, your system is in better shape than we like our consensus such that a vis-à-vis foreigner will have a better reputation. I’m not aware of charges of corruption regarding your courts here but it’s endemic in Latin America your court is too much of power. Your constitution has folded powers in ways unbelievable. I read in a daily this morning, that the senate is authorized in censor of oil to argue before the Supreme Court on the issue of the directive of the president. There’s your big political issues and your separation of powers, they have to be called out between the two branches and it is the court to argue with congress you’re gonna get tyranny because you wont have separation of power. You have the joinder of two of them. The principle of separation of power is next that when you get two or more branches joined together you lose liberties one way or another.

At some point somebody needs to read your constitution. Point by point, what’s wrong and what’s not. First of all, I can tell you this is not the constitution as I understand the constitution. This is a statute and that’s why you can easily amend it. That’s the problem… a constitution is supposed to be fundamental, it doesn’t change. Now we have the same problem, we change over the course of about 12 yrs. And your experience with constitutionalism really started with 1987 before that 1935 so you are still in the experimental phase and you have to go through that. But when you create the next constitution, if it’s not right, you’re gonna guarantee instability. When you guarantee instability you gonna have a number of people power or you gonna have a coup. If this next one doesn’t work, if the charter change goes forward as it is going forward now, what’s the commonal problem? It is it’s the congress doing, the congress is doing it. I don’t care what country you’re in, what congress, what party, if you give the congress power to change the constitution, don’t be surprised if what they do is to give themselves more power. The only way to guarantee against it is to have a body that only exist to create a constitution and then so that it can’t empower itself. not because they’re great human beings but because they do not want to give up their powers. As simple as that. If we look at the last 2 presidents, Bush and Clinton, they both had both majorities in both houses of congress coz when we created out congress we set out to weaken it. And weakened it by having two houses. You’re talking about a unicameral government. Yours would be the only one in the world. You have to understand that a unicameral government centralizes and collapses power. Things go through to processes. A parliamentary system works faster than a separation of polity. If you take a parliamentary system and you make a single house –boom! Everything goes too fast. It means that controlling factions will have their way very quickly and there will be no effective opposition. We know effective opposition. If there is no effective opposition, there will be no representation generally of the people for their economic interest. Whoever controls the unicameral house will run the country. There’s talk that you will work towards federalism. It will never happen. The congress will never give up its power to the states. It won’t happen. It’s naïve. We’re talking here not about platitudes. We’re talking about laws power. That’s what you have to understand. I don’t like Hobbs as a political theorist but he understood power. Ideology of politics is about power –personal power, political power and economic power. And if you want o win power for the middle class for this country, we have to align political power in such a way that it meets economic resources of this country which are great; can be fully realized and spread among its people. So the presidency has judicially fully thought of, you have to consider whether you want a unicameral house, and you need to pull back on your courts. Within that context if you understand, those are the basic in supporting then you can air out consistent and with a well design system that can lead your people. There is no reason why you can’t then fill the infrastructure.

The one thing in charter change, there are many things in the constitution that inhibits foreign investments. Those days are over. You will send yourself more and more poverty unless you could remove that. The reason why the Philippines is taller, you know I’ve seen this for years. You distinctly followed the Latin American model of protection. It had not done any good. The only thing that’s saving you is your high population. If you didn’t have a good reproduction… Look at Europe. They’re not replacing the population. What they’re getting? They’re Moslems. And now they’re giving conflict. Your population is part of your strength. Don’t be misled it is not. You can afford to lose a million people a year and they send back their remittances and that works in a short term but if it’s long term economic development that is a good way to develop your economy. You got to bring in the investments and you can take for instance the country like Ireland. Ireland in some ways is like the Philippines. They got the infusion of investments and then not only the Irish came back but people from all over the world. You got polish towns in Ireland. They speak polish, they eat polish fruits not Irish. It’s Poland in the middle of Ireland. We’re used to that in the United States but the Irish were not used to that and this is why I come back to the last point. Ultimately, you have to be aware of whatever choices you make even with a good constitution are going to have social consequences and you have to be aware of this and think about them. As dean of the Kennedy Law School, in Dublin, we used to think if only we have a little more money, all of our problems will be solved. They got more money and they got big problems that they never thought about. The problem was that the constitution was designed for an agrarian, homogeneous in terms of ethnic and religious backgrounds. If you create a constitution, if you have to take into account so much religious differences in the Philippines… I know ethnics are very predominant groups but you have the world problems. It has to be addressed. You can’t mold them and when you deal with federalism, if you take the great danger of federalism is that most federal states break apart. And if you have Mindanao breaking apart in its own going off to some other kind of Islamic state. So I end on this note and hopefully you’ll engage in questions. My point is simply an educational point –we in the United States have worked with Europe to look at their experience and their political thought and they brought it in but we adapted it in our own experience and our circumstances. I suggest that you find all these answers in the Philippines. You have not had the constitutional provisions. In looking abroad however I’m not saying that copy anyone’s constitutions, you should not. You should take it and fit it to yourself. It is a great task. It is a difficult task but you’re in a situation like the United States 200 years ago. Whatever you do, even if it’s nothing will have consequences and if you were to bring about the kind of peace and prosperity that is possible for Filipinos, political scientists and lawyers need to pay attention to it. And as I like to say in the US, I wish that every lawyers had studied political science and I wish that every political scientists had studied some law. Thank you very much.

The Guys' Rules: 101 on men's nature

Rereading my past mail messages, I've come across this one sent by my friend Ian Laureles, and though I'm not the hard ass man you would want your boyfriend to be, this still has some truth to it and I would love the girls to read it, the man to see it, the gays to have a look at it, and lesbians to learn from it.

The Guys' Rules


We always hear "the rules" From the female side.

Now here are the rules from the male side.

These are our rules!

Please note... these are all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!


1. Men ARE NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it downWe need it up, you need it down You don't hear uscomplaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one:Subtle hints do not work!Strong hints do not work!Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly Acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only If you want help solving it. That's what we do.Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.

1. If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls,don't Expect us to act like soap opera guys.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and oneof the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

1. You can either ask us to do something Or tell us how you want it done.
Not both.If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit.
We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will Be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing,"
We will act like nothing's wrong.We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1 . If you ask a question you don't want an answer to,
Expect an answer you don't want to hear.1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear Is fine...Really

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or golf.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

1. Thank you for reading this.Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

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