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A PORTENT OF THINGS TO COME

fortune teller

Whether we like it or not, we are a matriarchal society.  We are like Lebanon.  Sweden, Norway and Denmark, the birthplace of warriors, Vikings, reckon their women as their leaders too.  The woman under a matriarchal system is not only holding the purse, she is also the gatekeeper, watcher, supervisor, administrator of her family.  In other words, she is In-charge.  The discipline of running a family is akin to running a business establishment, overseeing a neighborhood or even managing government.  She maintains everything.

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Sometime past, Filipinos had deep social link with Muslim culture.  As a matter of fact, their forefathers were high on Islamic belief.  Even the concept of neighborhood dynamics such as barangay, is patriarchal through and through like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.  But somewhere along the line, in between reckoning invading cultures, the country slowly veered away from the highly patriarchal influence into the matriarchal approach.  In the Philippines, the woman is the most revered symbol of social salvation.  This change is partly, if not largely, a consequence of its Christian orientation.  At best, the Marian spiritual component grabbed much of Filipino faith.  Hence, their predisposition for women leadership.

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The Filipino’s love affair with his woman transcends earthly politics.  They venerate the wife of their leader—the First Lady.  She is reckoned more than her partner.  Respect for her presence is enduring more than the authority of her husband.  Her intuition guides her spouse’s vision.  Disregarding her counsel at times would prove fatal.  In the Philippine setting therefore, a woman leader is more preferred in practice.

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Cory Aquino, a reluctant leader, when she was shoved into national consciousness and became President, became not only an icon of hope but also a symbol of democratic governance.  She restored a fledging country on the brink of collapse into a model from whence all countries besieged with autocratic mismanagement followed their deliverance.  The Philippines was no longer the same after her ascension.  Then came another woman leader, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  She had flaws as a consequence of her controversial husband but she steered successfully the country to accomplish certain economic merits.

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The leadership, accidental as it were, of President Noynoy Aquino could have been made possible because of the untimely death of his iconic mother, the almost saintly Cory.  He won because of the collective respect for his mother.  Forward looking, the country would be in a bind if there is no woman leader or woman inspired leader would be in sight.  Such confusion can already be felt in the forthcoming 2016 election when once again, the people will have to choose who their next leader would be.  It is either VP Binay or DOTC Secretary Roxas, assuming that the political configuration will not change.  This early however, such arrangement would change.  The election of Grace Poe as she ascends the top post would have a chilling effect on the known protagonists.  And knowing how Filipinos choose their leader, it is almost a fait accompli.

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Her Excellency, Grace Poe.  Hmmmm.  Sounds good.

ANATOMY OF “KAMALASAN”

fate

WHENEVER we encounter something, which does not squarely meet our expectations, we immediately infer that it is “malas” or bad luck.    For others, and they are numerous, “kamalasan” is absence of luck.  Filipinos subscribe to a belief where there is no luck; it is already some kind of “kamalasan” already.  Hence, failure to win in a game of chance is considered a misfortune.  The same can be ascribed in a contest or even in a competition.  In the recent electoral exercise, those who did not make it would direct the same expression.

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But is there really bad luck or “kamalasan?”  Can it be avoided?  Can it be prevented?  Is fate a part of it?  Can preparation avoid its coming?  Can it be reduced to something understandable or worth understanding?  Can it be explained by reason?

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I have a security personnel who was charged for negligence.  The prisoner under his custody escaped and this at a time when he was about to retire already.  “Malas” according to him.  He could have avoided it had he played the right cards.  Had he stayed and did not commit himself in an activity where risks are high, and he had the option actually not to get into such hazards, he could have prevented its occurrence.  In this situation, “kamalasan” can be managed according to one’s ability to determine at a distance what is unfortunate or fortunate for him.  The phrase “bear the consequence” has something to do with the unfolding of events.

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What is near the term “kamalasan” is accident.  Accidents may be positive or negative, depending on the perspective.  Accidents are positive if its effect contributes to general welfare as in accidentally founding a treatment to a difficult to treat ailment.  It is negative if it promotes a painful end like a vehicular accident.  To be cautious therefore should be carried to the extent of paranoia if only to avoid accident but while it may safely protect the person from accident in its negative form, it also deprives the person of its positive outcome too.  As the saying goes, “no pain, no glory; no thorn, no crown.”

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In every struggle, one must have to face the inevitable verdict and effect of one’s action.  There is a natural law on cause and effect.  Do this and it will yield some kind of a reaction.  Whatever it is that is produced may be seen as positive or negative.  Depending on where a person is, he may be projecting something positive or negative—for him or for those around him.  This is also defined under the principle of karmic justice.

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There is therefore the term good or bad karma but this is more comprehended when viewed in a timeline.  A good karma of course has something to do with a good name, a wholesome reputation.  What has been sent is sure to come back a hundred fold so to speak.  A good name therefore repays those behind with a favorable situation whatever it is.  On the other hand, a bad karma is Biblically described as “the sins of the father always visit the son.”

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I personally do not see “kamalasan” in the just concluded election.  For those who won or failed to win, there is nothing to measure yet.  It is after the election where the people will finally ascertain whether their votes brought them “kamalasan” or not.

MID TERM ELECTION IS OVER: WHAT NOW?

post election

Generally speaking, Filipinos vote not necessarily to be bailed out from their common economic and political predicament but as it is shown, more to be entertained and to express sympathy.  Filipinos love the underdog, the straggler.  They wanted to be entertained more than to be governed.  They relish in promises and they hungered and thirsted for amusement.  That explains why people in the field of arts or theaters are elected to public office more than their serious counterparts.

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Of course, Filipinos rely more on brand names.  They buy clothes and other items because of the brand.  They would even re-invent brands to be competitive—like Parejo for Pajero, Avenidas for Adidas, Brod Pete for Brad Pitt, etc.  In politics, brand appellation comes in the form of familiar names.  It never fails.  Look at the result of every election outcomes—-surnames are similar to those who had previously been elected except for the first name.

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Filipinos have resigned their fate.  They are wont on complaining and would rather pout than shout.  Sometime they are on top and at times down below.  Everything is relied on chance never on design.  Hence, they gamble.  Collective life is a game of chance.  Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win.  Luck is preferred than to struggle.  Those who persisted are goners, relegated to plazas as monuments.  Those who remained are the stragglers, the survivors, the fence sitters.  They predominate the landscape of society.  They would rather be entertained than distracted.

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After the prisoners have voted, they were asked what their hopes are for those they elected.  Their response almost in unison is “we have done our job, it’s their turn naman (sic).”  Are they happy that they have exercised their right of suffrage?  For them, it’s “nothing’s changed.”  Asked what their message to those who were elected, and they quipped, “they better do their job properly or spend their time here in prison as our errands!”

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Finally, the people has spoken.  It is a jubilant affair for the winners and a reflective period to those who never made it.  The point is for everyone to forget the pains or for those who were catapulted, not to bask in the limelight but to go back for work.  Leadership or conferment thereof is a serious business.

 

WHY DO WE VOTE

election day

In a democratic society, the people pick those who will lead them.  Leaders or representatives are chosen from a list of those who applied and were qualified to be elected.  Leaders therefore as a rule must, well, lead and pursue programs that would benefit the greater number of their constituencies.  Leadership means that it should be wise in representing the requirements of collective needs.  It should be fair in spreading the natural and notable resources of the community in the interest of the majority.  It should lay down the principal benefits of leadership like public safety, active economic endeavors, fair dispensation of justice, just and equitable public services—like medical, cultural and academic amenities; improved civil and infrastructure outlay and a progressive employment scheme.

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If a community is pitiable, deprived and poor, it merely points out the absence of leadership.  It indicates further that the community is exploited more than it is governed.  It harbors the view that there is a vacuum of leadership and that it invites the fulfillment of rebellion to fill up the void.

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It is a pity that leadership in this country is more concerned on how to govern more than what to fulfill.  Its mindset is more on control rather than on how to make everyone prosperous.  The end of leadership should be the leadership of the people.  It has been said that a good leader does not make a good number of followers, but train more leaders.  In our peculiar situation, leadership is producing leaders not from the ranks of the people but through their bloodlines!

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There are calls to shoot down political dynasts running for public office.  The approach is to vote for their opponents.  That is easier said than done and even more precarious.  Those at the forefront of politics in a regular town are usually the top honcho of industry if not the captain of industry himself.  If he is a benevolent employer, he wins hands down and it goes without saying for those whom he would anoint after his term is completed.  And like his business, he would never gamble it to anyone save for the ingenuity and initiative of his known personal ally, usually a member of his family.  In China, that was how wealth is preserved.  We got the same tact with Chinese merchants also not only in preserving commercial gains but also in conserving political advantages.

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Voting on election day is very critical not only to the one campaigning but also to the voter himself.  It is a holiday alright and for anyone, holiday means to rest.  Going out into the hustling is never a concept for a breather.  It is even more tiresome than working.  Just imagine, the voter goes into the polling place, amidst a thick crowd mostly partisan, he looks for his name, and once he finds it, will proceed to line up.  If lucky, the cue is arms length although this is more of an exception than the rule.  His legs would cram for standing by waiting for his turn, his stomach grinds slowly intimidating, the big intestines frightening the small intestine and the humid atmosphere is a test for his steadfastness.   Before he gets to the booth, he must control the wriggling of his malnutritioned pulse because exceeding the shade on the encircled item would render the whole exercise as kaput.

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Finally, the voter is through exercising his political right.  He goes back home, almost weakened by the jostling.  Sometime ago, Election Day was a celebration of a right, a festivity, a reunion of friends, a communal fellowship.  A day notable for social expression.  It is the most anticipated occasion, like a birthday party.  The people were hyped to see their community leap forward to progress and attain more growth.  Now, the reputation of those to be elected scattered everywhere, blood is on the street and the air is different.  As we go out to express our preference, be careful na lang!

 

 

 

ELECTORAL ANGUISH

election anguish

The prevailing schools of thought about election strategy boil down to organization.  It has been an common place racket before to organize any kind of grouping just so it could present itself to a candidate for purposes using it as block vote—a solid, one-punch vote on election day.  Hence, there were local association of senior citizens, basketball clubs, neighborhood alliance, artists and student guilds, movements of professionals and lately what would materialize as a party list.  All these are meant to carry a singular and exclusive vote in favor of a candidate or a group of candidates—either with a charm for leadership, with the goods to distribute, or with enough courage to sustain an advocacy acceptable to the groups he is courting.

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There is the so-called “Iglesia vote”, “Purple vote”, “youth vote”, “farmers vote”, labor vote” and all kinds of vote.  Hundred party list groups have emerged from their cocoon as shadow supporters of major political party and now, has been conferred by the High Court as a legitimate political party which can formally be registered and enter into the fray on the day of election.  While it may to a certain extent blur the distinction of formal and informal representation because some names of party list organization would, at first glance, indicate even a title or potential title of a movie and therefore comical.  Their entry in effect reduces the seriousness of the task of national building, lowering the standard and translating national development into a mockery, from advocacy to hilarity; from earning a niche in history to earning so much all the way to the bank.  Only a handful of candidates deserve the recognition of history but they are gobbled up by a deluge of expensive competition.

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And this is nasty, while it can be said that the people are hyped and excited to contribute their voice, there is the threat that the exercise was merely meant as a social cosmetic only.  In some hot spots, winners are known already.  Worst, votes are already prepared waiting for the formality of counting, never mind the real ballots cast by the voters on Election Day.  This is one problem which government must check.  This is one gray area which Comelec must truly determine.  Such flagrant corruption of votes is an insult to the people.  It forms a basis for insurgency not to fold up and sustain their advocacy for a genuine government.  If government cannot safeguard and protect a single vote, then there must be a force willing to defend it.  Power abhors vacuum.  So when government cannot exercise its power, it invites and encourages another to fulfill its obligation on the ground.

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Political analysts try to ascertain which approach is most effective in cornering the votes of the people.  Is it through vote-buying?  Is it through voter’s conscience?  Is it through coercion?  Is it through ballot switching?  Is it through voter education?  Ward politics is it?  Good old fashioned marketing then?  We take a leaf from the principle of product sale and exposure therefore.  Is it the rebate condition?  Is it the brand design?  Product or name recall?   Come election time, it is always, different folks, different strokes.  But of course, we have to lump the entire profile of votes into a specific persuasion.  Promises no longer bind votes.  Pledges for a while may be hold one’s attention but it is frail and pathetic.  Endorsement may be helpful but it corresponds to vote procurement knowing that the endorser is paid handsomely in most instances.

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This coming election not only are voters in a tailspin in selecting, thousands of candidates are undergoing the anguish also of wishing to get a crack at their aspired posts—to die even or probably in exchange of the devil’s blessings.  Whatever, at the rate of the country’s continued struggle for the elusive prosperity, election time is still pure grief for all.

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AT A GLANCE.  The dangers of saving data on software is that if it is folded, that is, decommissioned, like what ever happened to “multiply.com”, everything you have in your site—-blogs, pictures, quotes, everything have been melted along with your account.  Don’t rely on software and attractive web accounts.  Build your own personal data base instead with back up tools.

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ON THE MATTER OF ANTI POLITICAL DYNASTY ISSUE

dick penson

The Constitution has a provision for anti-political dynasty and it is a principle that should govern everyone.  While technically, there should still be a law that would define and qualify such constitutional provision, the essence is there already:  political dynasty is unacceptable and illegal.

 

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, five years ago, discussed it in his proposed bill on said concern.  He said that,

 

“Article 11, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution provides that “the state shall guarantee

Equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be

Defined by law. ”

 

“Political dynasties have made positions in government subject to inheritance and results

In the proliferation of small monarchies all over the country. Seeing the malevolence created by

Political dynasties, the 1987 Constitution mandated the legislature to prohibit political dynasties

In order to effectively put a stop to the monopoly of certain families to public office.

During the debates in the Constitutional Commission of 1986, Commissioner Sarmiento

Explained the rationale of this provision in the following manner:

 

“By including this provision, we widen the opportunities of competent, young, and

Promising poor candidates to occupy important positions in the government.

While it is true we have government officials who have ascended to power despite

accident of birth, they are exemptions to the general rule. The economic standing

of  these  officials  would  show  that  they  come from  powerful  clans with  vast

economic fortunes. ”

 

Senator Lacson further qualified it.  Thus,

 

“The proposed measure seeks to prohibit the spouse or persons related within the

second degree of consanguinity or affinity, whether legitimate or illegitimate, full or half blood

of an incumbent public official seeking re-election from holding or running for any elective

office in the same municipality/city, legislative district and/or province in the same election or

occupying the same office immediately after the term of office of the incumbent elective official.

Additionally, it also prohibits two or more persons who have political dynasty

relationship from  running  simultaneously for  an  elective office within  the  same municipality, legislative  district and/or province, even  if  neither is  so  related  to  the

incumbent public official.”

 

Lacson has since been subjected to harassments and various persecutions.

 

As it were, the forthcoming election seems to ignore the constitutional prohibition.  Various technical objections have rented the air to discourage discussion.  It is as if there was nothing in the Constitutional that could forbid those affected to impose their absurd beliefs.  And indeed.  Even Comelec could not make any ruling because of technical issues.  There is no law specifying the details of how it should be carried out.

 

Hence, for quite a time since the 1987 Constitutional provision has gone into print, not even a resolution has been passed on this matter.

 

Except for a crusading spirit that pushes this concern into the consciousness of the people, no one seems to care at all.

 

To date, there is only one person who intends to make it a principal issue.  And against the silence of almost everyone,  Ricardo L. Penson is trying to reach out.

 

He despises a monarchical setting for Philippine governance because it is anathema to development.  It depresses economy and divides the prosperous and the struggling majority.  In other words, it merely allows the enrichment and empowerment of a few to the disadvantage of the entire citizenry.

 

Penson is nowhere within the attentive impression of the people because he is up against a monolithic power.

 

But Penson is correct and history will teach  this lesson as it constantly reminds  why the Filipino is still poor, with token representation and unable to attain what is just, fair and proper for them.

IMPACT OF INCARCERATION ON PRISON GUARDS

prison guard and inmate

Have you heard of an experiment conducted in Stanford University best known as “Obedience Experiment” in 1971 where a psychologist (Philip Zimbardo) wanted to investigate the impact of prison work on human behavior?  Well, there was such a research made.

 

In said experiment, researchers organized a mock detention facility at the basement of Stanford University’s psychology department and organized a group composed of 24 students to play the roles as prisoners and guards.  The group was selected from a bigger list because of their clean record—no mischief background, psychologically and physically fit.

 

The experiment would be conducted in a two week period and each participant will receive $15 a day.

 

The mock prison simulated the exact environment of a detention facility—the size, the climate, the condition.  The participants were then randomly assigned into two—the prisoner group and guard group.  Those assigned as prisoners were to remain “imprisoned” for 24 hours a day while those who were designated as guards were given work assignments in three eight-hour shifts.  The guards were allowed to leave the area until their next shift.  CCTV and microphones were installed to record and observe the behavior of prisoners and guards.

 

The Stanford experiment was expected to be completed in two weeks but it was terminated in just six days.  Something went wrong which if pursued might damaged the behavior of participants irreversibly.  Those playing the roles of guards became rude and abusive; and those who assumed as prisoners showed signs of extreme stress and anxiety.

 

The experiment further revealed that “while the prisoners and guards were allowed to interact in any way they wanted, the interactions were generally hostile or even dehumanizing.  The guards began to behave in ways there were aggressive and abusive toward the prisoners, while the prisoners became passive and depressed.  Five of the prisoners began to experience such severe negative emotions, including crying and acute anxiety, that they had to be released from the study early….even the researchers themselves began to lose sight of the reality of the situation.  The research team leader—psychologist Zimbardo—who acted as the prison administrator, overlooked the abusive behavior of the prison guards and the emotional deterioration of inmates, until a graduate student (Christina Maslash) voiced objections to the conditions in the simulated prison and the morality of continuing the experiment.”

 

The study categorically demonstrated what has been a regular feature of any prison environment, that incarceration is a powerful factor in a situation that can alter human behavior.  It has been noted that “Because the guards were placed in a position of power, they began to behave in ways they would not normally act in their everyday lives or in other situations.  The prisoners, (on the other hand) placed in a situation where they had no real control, became passive and depressed.”

 

While the experiment failed to reached its final conclusion, and was even criticized for neglecting to mimic all of the environmental and situational variables of a real prison life,   it gave an initial understanding on how the situation can influence human behavior.

 

My point in sharing this piece of educational exercise is for prison workers to know what is behind our work environment, the unspeakable and  at times invisible forces that influence  manners and deeds, so that  objectivity will not be lost,  neutral disposition will remain as it is and our minds will be enriched with the thought that prison—our work place—is not a training ground for cruelty but a space to express commitment and understanding on the frailty of the incarcerated humanity.

 

As we gain confidence in strengthening the resolve to be firm and just in prison administration, in turn we are fortified with wisdom and maturity.  No other branch of government service can offer that much advantage.

RACHEL D. RUELO: A Salute to a Fellow Officer

rachel ruelo

(RACHEL DURAN RUELO reached her retirement age this day, January 19, 2015, capping the highest post in the career ladder of the Bureau of Corrections.  Considered one of the founding officers of Correctional Institute for Women in Mindanao, she also sustained the hall of fame category of the main CIW in Mandaluyong, carrying its prestige as the most well managed facility among all corrective facilities in the country.)

Rachel is a full fledged lawyer before she joined government service.  Her academic record speaks high of her audacity for legal education and immediately after the Bar, she was, as expected, one of those in the top 20.  She must have reached the pinnacle of law practice had she pursued it through private legal counseling but she would rather spend her best years in government, in the service of the people.

For this lady lawyer, returning the family favor was almost a devotion.  Her father was a prison officer and a serious practitioner of corrections.  After he retired, Rachel made it her personal pledge to follow the footsteps of her father—-in the prison service.  She was easily employed and became the legal officer of New Bilibid Prison.  She was that early a standout.  I know, I was her first supervisor.

I was then NBP Superintendent when she appeared before my office requesting for a big desk from where she can review the entire complex of the facility.  She knew that as a lawyer, every administrative facet of prison administration is anchored on case review and resolution.

She got her desk but not the room which was intended for the deputy Superintendent, my assistant.  She took the arrangement as an invitation for argument and in no time, she was eventually assigned at the agency’s legal office.  A few months after, she was the head of the Legal Office.  Had she stayed longer in my office, she would have replaced me that instance!

She was the model and iconic officer as Chief of the Legal Office.  She prosecuted less those who were administratively charged and offered a just and fair resolution to all cases brought before her office.  Her fairness achieved heroic proportion.  Easily, she was a celebrated officer, the pride of her  co-workers and the toast of her clan in Bicol.

A few significant years later, the bureau’s selection board met.  The post of Penal Superintendent IV was to be deliberated on.  There were several qualified officers and one of them was Rachel.  Every staff officer had their respective recommendees.  Mine was Rachel.  The chairman of the committee wanted to strike out Rachel because she was a woman.  I submitted a justification which carried the day for Rachel.  At that time, one of the recipients of the prestigious Ramon Magsasay Award was a woman, a woman prison officer from Pakistan.  I intoned that she might be our answer to the Pakistani honoree.  The board decided to confer to her the promotion and she was elevated to the post of Superintendent.

It was not a rosy picture for her career though.  While she was instantly designated to head the Correctional Institution for Women (in Mandaluyong), her stint attracted numerous criticisms and grumbles.   That has always been the fate of command officers.  There were too many envious personalities who also wanted a piece of the cake as if the position was teeming with perks and privileges.  In Rachel’s case, it was all sacrifices and conciliation, at times confrontation and collaboration.  Her term at the helm of CIW would witness several challenges.  One day, she was a recognized administrator, in another day, she was to be relieved.  It would be a ding-dong career movement for her.  But she held on.

During her watch, CIW became a hall of famer as far as the best and cleanest institution of the Bureau of Corrections for several years on end, until she was required to stay at the background to enjoy the laurels and allow other facilities to shine on its merits.

Rachel took the cudgels of representing the cause and welfare of the female prison community.  It was a crusade that most of the prison directors were threatened by her serious initiatives.  She was already eclipsing the profile of all prison administrators and in effect, she had violated a cardinal rule:  “never outshine your master.”  Well, it was for her,   worth violating because of her devotion to work.  As a consequence, she would suffer one career set back after another.

She has not rested on her accomplishments; she initiated a step to hasten the policy of organizing a satellite prison for women in Mindanao.    While it was a concept I pursued during my incumbency at Davao prison in 2004, it never took off because of changes in the prison leadership.  From there, Rachel took the ball from my court and went straight to the Department of Justice to dunk it.  In 2007, with her effort and close association with then Director Vicente G. Vinarao and eventually with then Secretary of Justice Agnes Devanadera, the Correctional Institution for Women in Mindanao became operational.

The lady lawyer has never mellowed despite years of confronting one challenge after another.  She still retains her feisty disposition, has maintained a spirited outlook and has constantly kept her professional bearing amidst the strain and demands of government service.

Superintendent Rachel Ruelo is somehow an enigma, a rare comet that has visited contemporary prison administration,  yet a constant illumination, a symbol of steadfastness, an image of dependability.

With her feat in the prison service, those following her will have a ready role to emulate and  eventually, correctional administration will be able to achieve a progressive status in the entire criminal justice system of the country.

“END OF THE WORLD”

end of the world

  1.  While it is true that the prediction of some Doomsday scenario followers did not come true, there is a lesson somewhere which is very basic.
  2. The cult-like prediction merely reminded everyman, the humanity as a whole, that indeed there is an end to everything.  It may come either on a predicted date or through a Mayan inspired superstition, whatever, but the proposition remains the same.  Life ends for everyone, no exemption.
  3. Life ends, time stops, the world is at a standstill.  History is concluded, current events terminated.  That is exactly what it foretells after death, after demise, after fall.  Mortality is written everywhere whether it is etched in stone (like in the ancient Mesoarmerican long-count calendar of the Mayan-Mexican tribe) or that which has been prophesied in the Bible (Daniel: 8:14 “ “Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,”).
  4. For the youth, it signals a beginning, a rebirth, a continuation of life.  For those in their twilight years, it is the coming of a finale, a closure, a definition of a hallmark, of going back to where all souls are,  a grand conference with the Creator.
  5. It has been said that the end of the world has been determined as early as 5,000 years ago by a tribe in Mexico, a community which has achieved quite an advanced procedure in estimating, using astrology, the fulfillment of an event.  Such event foretells cataclysm of a grand proportion.
  6. If at all this signifies an important phase in the life of man, it could also mean that after 5,000 years man would have been very different from how he was before.  And indeed, he was already a changed being.  He has a capacity to cure himself through sciences.  He has a capacity to communicate in seconds in every part of the earth.  He can even travel to other planets.
  7. Short of man translating into reality what could have been considered as mysterious before and probably is charting the means to transform what at present can only be understood as miracle, mankind is still processing and concluding certain stages he refers to as “end of the world.” scenarios.  It could very spell as an end, and end of the world full of ignorance on the sciences, an end of the world full of hatred, an end of the world full of sorrows, an end of the world replete with animosities.  And a new world where mortality is addressed, war declared as obsolete and love reigns.
  8. That is what “end of the world” possibly means.

JUAN PONCE ENRILE: A Memoir

A BOOK REVIEW

enrile book

I read the whole 753-page book in 30 days.  That long because I wanted to read it only during a period when I was not in a hurry to complete a task for a day.  And it was a real treat (although it cost me P1,500—but its worth and more).  Procuring the book is almost a story.  I even went to check all book stores (in Davao and Manila) for a copy and for some time, it was very frustrating not to find a copy.  On the second month of its first publication I became lucky to get the last copy, the only one left on the display shelf.

After running away with a newly printed tome, I read through seriously like a copy writer and a fledging student of history.  It was so solemnly serious that I even noticed lapses (there are two in the midpart of the book) on grammatical construction notwithstanding the technical assistance of a professional biographer in the person of Nelson A. Navarro.  But lapses do not make or unmake the true essence of a literary gem, although it saddles a fellow writer once in a while.  Senator Enrile’s life indeed captured the substance of a period which had been covered by several layers of intriguing situations.  And it supplied all the necessary impressions which in effect are reflective of a historical span which my parents undergone and which at a certain stage I have played some minor parts too.  It was like living what my parents have gone through and in a continuous fashion, reminiscing those times when I would follow through the same historical path without gaps.

Senator Enrile’s youth as pictured in the biographical work, was a very difficult act to follow.  It was very, very tough.  I would not even venture to presume that my ancestors would survive such a situation given the same challenges.  I must admit that I have to submit a respectful genuflection on the man, calling him with the title Senator even if in writing it would be enough to call him just Enrile for purposes of literary discussion.  But no.  He must be that respectful to the point of adoration.  Let us give what is due for the man.  He lived through, endured and even outlasted almost all those whom he patronized and even those considered as opponents.

After reading the first few chapters in the volume and hearing erstwhile rebel Joma Sison expressed disgust about the biography, I felt that the rebel Sison was merely being iconoclast to the core.  He never appreciated anything including what is current in history.  He would even find himself still living in a period when he regards dissension as being progressive.  He dissents and tries to live in a world outside of reality.  And he governs homegrown rebels according to same myopic view of political changes.  But that is democracy, one can raise hell and as long as it never transgresses a right, it is even encouraged.

The succeeding chapters were also engaging.  It is a personal confession.  The man reveals his inner thoughts and discipline.  It was a very instructive and inspiring monologue.  I would even mistake the lesson-filled talk as Shakespearean.

The characters in his book were not surreal creatures not even caricatures of their better selves but real protagonists in the unfolding drama of politics during the era.  He was fair in his description, although a bit sounding melancholic when it pertains to his inner concerns.  All throughout he never gave himself to partiality and preconception, ever the top notch lawyer that he is.  His legal mind, cautious and guarded, was his arsenal in dealing with every dispute he would encounter.

He knew his facts well.  And in every stage of his development he reflected and punctuated a season specific for his no non sense character.  He wanted to impress and this made him a favorite and easily a friend to all by being real, by being candid, by being truthful, honest, straightforward.  For him it is like what it really is the law.  He is a lawyer and as such he clings to all its principles and precepts.  He does not only try to live with it, he lives by it.

You may dislike the man, as he admits his engineering feat for constructing brick by brick martial law, but no one can swear that he used it for his own vanity.  He never abused.  Otherwise, then President Marcos during the period when Senator Enrile rebelled and ignited the 1986 Edsa revolt would have a lot of issues thrown at him to discredit him from the adoring mass of people standing on vigil at Camps Aguinaldo.  But Senator Enrile was a serious man, frank and faithful to his cause.  He knew that he was up against a cabal of untrustworthy allies, that he would eventually be whisked, that the good oftentimes get the short end, that evil triumphs because decent people wait for the slow wheel of justice to the detriment of time, that he must, as a matter of faith, more so as an antidote to fate, to raise the bar using violence to achieve the purpose of peace.

He outlived most of his contemporaries and unlike those who lived to repent and resent the additional years as burdensome, he continued to prove himself worthy of a man who tried to exact the truth in every minute of his lifespan.  His book even dared those who peddled lies and challenged them to live according to the true measure of one’s conscience.

The biography of Senator Enrile, as a reader’s treat, is a disclosure of a crusade along political, social and personal veracity.  His sincere dedication to uprightness made him a hero twice over and he continues, in my estimation, to lead the life of a true warrior.

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