Breaking the Fourth Wall: An Open Letter

To the Alumni Association:

It was with a heavy sense of disappointment that I read about the decision of the Ateneo’s Board of Trustees to unanimously reject Mr. Manuel Pangilinan’s resignation from the board over the plagiarized commencement speech delivered to this year’s graduating class.

In my twelve years at the Ateneo, I was taught that plagiarism, along with other acts of dishonesty, was wrong. I prided myself in attending a school with an honor code, and that took that code seriously.


I believe that rejecting Mr. Pangilinan’s offer to resign, especially in view of his numerous contributions to the University, belittles the act of plagiarism as well as his supremely Atenean act of owning up to his mistake.


I no longer wish to be counted as a member of the Ateneo Alumni Association, and am requesting that my name be removed from all mailing lists and e-mail lists.


While the Ateneo loses nothing by losing me as an alumnus, I believe that I lose more by claiming to be an alumnus of a school that taught me most of the values that I hold dear, and that I still try to live by, but sets these values aside for whatever consideration. This is not the Ateneo way.

Oh, electorate: Revilla tops SWS survey

Despite years of voters’ education and politicians’ claims about how much smarter the electorate has become, it still boils down to some 53% of respondents on a Social Weather Stations survey inclined to re-elect Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., scourge of pervy doctors and the Metro Manila Film Fest.

Senator Manuel Lapid, harbinger of doom, also got 26% of the votes of 2,100 respondents, whose main criterion for choosing senators is apparently that they do nothing. If elections were held today, Lapid could get the 10th of 12 contested Senate seats.

On the other hand, if elections were held today, there would be a failure of elections since the polling machines aren’t up yet. So, there’s that, at least.

Sen. Alan Cayetano: For Great Justice

2007 was supposed to be the revenge of the opposition, what with seven candidates in the opposition (eight if you count Sen. Francis Pangilinan), trouncing the administration candidates very soundly.

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Gramps Keeps it Gangsta

Remember that grade school retort “wala yan sa lolo ko? (roughly: my grandfather is even more badass than that)” that nobody ever really used except ironically?

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Danton Remoto sa Senado!

The Philippine zeitgeist has hardly had time to forget how the  Commission on Elections denied gay rights group Ang Ladlad party-list accreditation for basically being gay, but its president Danton Remoto is already exploring other means to get to Congress, this time as a senator.

Promising reform and a departure from traditional politics (and one could argue that he’s definitely not traditional, being gay and everything), Remoto is running on a platform of education and human rights for all.

That’s cool, right? Our first openly-gay senatorial candidate (that I know of) is advocating politics of change! Maybe being discriminated against has made him realize the need to get rid of corruption and money politics!

And then you read this actual quote from an actual interview:

“As of today, I am running as an independent.  Baka bukas iba na ang kulay ng paru-paro (The butterfly may change colors tomorrow),” Remoto said, jokingly referring to shifting political alliances.

Asked which presidential candidate or party he wants to align himself with, Remoto said: “Kung sino ang magbigay ng campaign funds (Whoever will provide campaign funds).”

So, yeah. I guess the moral of the story is gays are just like everyone else.

Campaign of Compromise

With magic man, and senator, Francis “Chiz” Escudero’s decision not to run for president (or at all) in 2010, our hopes of a perfect tandem have forever been shattered. Indolent Indio had been waiting to throw our support behind a superhero team up of Senator Richard Gordon with Escudero as his VP if for nothing else but to be able to say Dick-Chiz with a straight face.

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Too soon?

Life imitating art?

Powerful families operating above the law, and using violence to get what they want sounds like something out of an HBO TV-movie. Unless you’re in the Philippines, where the Sopranos have nothing on your friendly neighborhood political warlord.

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What fuel shortage?

Motorists who have been turned away from gas stations with no gas, and those who have been left with no choice but to stock whatever was available (suspiciously, the more expensive Shell V-Power) will be glad to know that the past few days were all just a bad dream.

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Douchebags in Flight

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

That we Filipinos see the law as something that can be bent is a given. This mentality seems to extend to other, more immutable laws, though. The law of gravity, say.

Philippine air regulations prohibit the use of mobile phones and other devices with transmitters aboard airplanes. The rationale being mobile phones could interfere with the airplane’s navigation systems and its ability to stay in the sky.

This does not seem to matter much to Filipinos, though, as demonstrated by a chorus of Nokia tones and message alert beeps that accompany Philippine flights on their final approach to any airport.

The thinking, I suppose, is that since you’re almost there anyway, a sudden burst of cellular activity won’t really matter much. No way to go but down, right?

"o, kumusta ka na? anong oras na diyan?"

"o, kumusta ka na? anong oras na diyan?"

The warning to stay buckled in until the plane comes to a complete stop is likewise treated as a friendly suggestion.  This shaves off precious seconds of deplaning time, but also increases the risk of baggage flying around.

No worries in case you get hit on the head by a suitcase, though. Medical assistance is just a call or text away.

Yes, we lost at the Philippine Blog Awards 2009.