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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What Convicted Corona

Yesterday, Chief Justice Renato Corona was declared guilty of violation of Article 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which in simple words requires all public officials to declare ALL their assets, liabilities and net-worth (SALN).
Others say that Corona acted in good faith by not declaring his foreign accounts, by provision of the FCDU law (non-disclosure of foreign accounts). They add that this was an error in judgment on his part.

Inspired by Rep. Rodolfo Fari├▒as' defintion of culpable violation of the Constitution which is the “willful and intentional violation of the Constitution", I cannot imagine how the Chief Magistrate would overlook the sovereignty of Article 2 over the FCDU law and make them appear as 2 clashing provisions or that the latter would serve as exemption of the former. It is likewise unthinkable how one under his category would be so careless in doing so.

If we succumb to the claim that he "acted in good faith", we would make him a clumsy Chief Justice - not meticulous enough to make sure he is worth his title - but perhaps an excuse to charge him not guilty.

If we agree that it was a "culpable violation" then we would make him a dishonest Chief Justice - enough to convict him. 

We all make mistakes. I for one make a lot in a day. Intentional or unintentional. For Corona's case, however, the "acting in good faith" seems unacceptable. If it were an ordinary person who did the same "error in judgment", it would have been excusable. And so we are left with only one judgment as to the refusal of declaring his foreign accounts - culpable violation. He did it on purpose. 

He violated the law plus he is not the average Juan- He is the Chief Justice. What he did, what he did not and who he was - that convicted him. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Of Course He Would Win: On American Idol 11

And so Phillipp Phillipps won American Idol, season 11. Both he and Jessica have an amazing voice. But besides Phillipp's great talent and powerful performance, he's an American and I will say - of course, he would win. Philipp won over Jessica by about 132-M votes and that should not be surprising - again he is an American.

Before putting their hopes up, people should see the reality of shows like AI. It is not like Ms. Universe that places the sole responsibility of picking winners on the judges alone. Once the power to choose the winner is given to the audience via a voting system, there are a lot of other things to think about. Nationality, race, wealth, influence, money, etc.

Winning in competitions like that is not just about what you can do, but who you are, who you know and how many you know - which is why, I don't really like competitions with voting systems. Have you tried being asked by a friend to like a Facebook photo for them to win this and that? Have you tried liking anyway despite your opinion of the photo and even if you haven't seen the other photos? That is exactly what I'm talking about!

I am not saying the Americans were being racist. They were simply being supportive. It is human nature and natural instinct to root for someone who shares the same origins with you. 

Phiilip and Jessica had a close fight, but if I were an American, I would have voted for Phillip too. Had people seen it this way, there would be no need for a season finale or there could be one but with the voting system removed. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

On Gay Marriage and Manny Pacquiao

I have just recently known that Manny Pacquiao was banned from entering a mall somewhere in Hollywood: The Grove to be specific after making a remark against gay marriage, specifically Obama's move for it. This is the link to the source. I don't mean to sound clicheish but no other way to say it. This is a free world. Just as gays and lesbians can dress the way they want to in some countries, so can and should people like Manny Pacquiao voice out their opinions freely without fear of being banned from malls or badmouthed merely for an opinion. 

If truth is relative as some people would claim then this has to apply to ALL. If there is such thing as gay rights, there is also such thing as freedom of speech. If banning a gay from a mall is violating gay rights and is outright human discrimination, then banning a heterosexual from a mall is also violating rights: freedom of speech, for this matter. 

Had Pacquiao slapped a gay simply because he's gay, then I would agree he should be banned. But he just spoke out an opinion. If we are judged by every opinion we have, nobody can enter malls anymore. 

image sources:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Third World Customer Service

I’ve been a customer service agent once. And those of you who have been one, you’ll understand the mindset I got in terms of the right kind of service customers deserve. Before this, I had been a timid customer and would shut my mouth whenever I got affected by a saleslady’s attitude problem.

The problem I noticed about Filipinos (compared with developed countries like the US, Korea, etc.) are that we are too kind. When I say that, I am not talking about Biblical humility that pleases God. I am talking about opting for complete silence to avoid trouble. We normally hate confrontation. Instead of discussing things with the concerned people, we curse them behind their backs and laugh at them with friends or badmouth about them in Facebook and Twitter.

It could be our more than 300 years of being a colony that up to now, we still have the “slave attitude”. We shut our mouth or else we’ll get into trouble. Or we simply laugh it off.

This is probably the reason why customer service is generally bad in the Philippines. Ask your foreigner friends and they could also tell you the same thing.

I will start with SMART Communications. I thought I was being kind enough by erasing the post I made on FB that expressed so much disappointment in their service; I thought it’d be much better if I emailed them and so I did. Someone (I just hope it was a person who did it, not some computer-generated system) replied, asking for my mobile number. And now I’m rolling my eyes. That was the last I heard from them. I felt neglected and unimportant. SMART is the “largest network in the Philippines”.

I went to buy some prepaid cards at Cell Depot at Island City Mall. I am sometimes paranoid so when I saw that the plastic wrapper of the card was torn at the side, I asked for a replacement (thinking it shouldn’t be much trouble). And I told her I was just following what was written on the back, “DO NOT ACCEPT THIS CARD IF THE PLASTIC WRAPPER IS TORN OR HAS BEEN TAMPERED WITH.” Did I yell at the lady for replacement? NO. Did I do anything unconstitutional? NO. I kindly asked. But she got the card, got another one and said with a frown, “Susmaryosep.” (Jesus, Mary and Joseph).

To rise from being “third world”, I think the system has to work both ways. The government develops projects while we strive for excellence in providing customer service. Think about Cebu Pacific’s shortcomings in their service and NAIA having broken CCTV’s (NAIA charges P200 for domestic terminal fee and P800 for international). The Barreto-Tulfo feud is of course another issue.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Empty-handed Love

When my sister's family decided to move out to Mindanao, my 2 year-old niece, Theara was left with no other playmate - but ME. To my delight, she would come to my room early morning, wake me up and say breakfast is ready. She would watch me put make up on my face and force me to put some on hers. She would cry if I left to go somewhere and would yell out to say goodbye, I love you and don't forget to buy Mentos! When she got hurt, she would run to me and let me wipe away her tears. She would lay in my arms and listen to me tell her stories.

After a month, my sister's family came back and so did Theara's playmates. In the morning, I would realize I woke up late because the one who used to wake me up is now playing with my nephews outside. While they're busy role-playing, imagining scenarios, producing sound effects for planes crashing; while they're running everywhere laughing, sometimes fighting, I would just stand there and watch. Theara would never approach me anymore to say how beautiful my hair is or how much she liked my dress. I don't know what happened to her but for some reason, she would not let me hug and kiss her. She doesn't care anymore if I left for work. She is busy. She has her friends now.

Today, I came home with a huge announcement to the kids asking who wants to come to the store with me later to buy candies. All of them said a loud YES. I hugged Theara asking what she wants and with twinkle in her eyes, she enumerated the candies she wanted. I felt warmth in my heart. There's this special intimate feeling that only children can give - and I felt that again with her at that time. 

It dawned on me that I sometimes have to give material things to them to show my love and intimate feelings. And then I remembered God. Many times have God blessed me with good things that I was sure He was using to draw me close to Him. My laptop, printer, Ipod, bicycle, rubber shoes and even that dinner treat that satisfied not only my stomach but my soul through the company of good friends - that money from a friend that seemed like a gift dropped straight from heaven - that listening ear of a friend or that book that changed my life. 

But sometimes, God comes empty-handed. 

Life suddenly becomes a mess and I become just flat broke or something goes wrong with my relationships or my job. Then I am left with no choice but to gaze at the giver of all things. Seeing the tears in my eyes, He would tell me He is everything I need and I've got everything I need to not only survive but live an abundant life. In fact, I am blessed by Him this way. And I feel better after crying in His presence - not because I am made richer or a miracle happened in my relationships or my job - but I feel loved by no less than the Creator of the universe and beyond.

I sure love it when Theara finally hugs and kisses me because of my candies, but I will always love it more when she does it even without them. 


"When our deepest desire is n0t the THINGS of God,or a FAVOR fr0m God,but GOD himself,we cr0ss a thresh0ld." - Max Lucado

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the  circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:11-12)