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The latest victim of the so-called gay controversy claimed the caricature strip space of satirist cum cartoonist Pol Medina in the Daily Inquirer.  In said strip, Pol sarcastically portrayed an exclusive religious school as breeding ground for lesbianism.  It could have been one of those regular lampoons that parodies daily inconsequential lives but there was a twist.  The religious school wanted to file a case against the artist and the newspaper where the strip appeared.  The newspaper chastised its illustrator, the latter resigned, the strip, a well-followed one, evaporated.  All’s well, it ended.


Except that a controversy, following the incident, began to surface.  Artists were slighted.  Liberal thinkers and media practitioners were offended.  While there is relative democracy preserved, there is some obstacles when it comes to art.  Truth according to them was sacrificed in favor of business.  A columnist wisely opined that the school was not bothered at the insinuation but rather was alarmed that enrollment might dwindle.  Not so much because the artwork disturbed the faith but because it might affect the flow of revenue because of it.  For these religious schools, their principles are more sustained by income more than their beliefs.


The issue of lesbianism has been the talk of the town with the declaration of Charice Pempenco as “tibo.”  Aiza Seguera, tinseltown’s celebrated child actress never eluded the charge.  Most of those in the entertainment industry would even brag about their skeleton in their closets.  Remove them from the industry and the whole TV industry would collapse.  The same is true in arts.  Dismiss the genius of  Leonardo Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Lino Brocka, Ellen de Generes, Elton John, etc. and we are back to stone age.  But that is begging for understanding and not discussing the real issues.


There are of course abuses from the ranks of (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgendered)  LBGTs.  We have heard how a certain gay entertainer bashed his own kind in a concert tastelessly.  We have heard how a gay broadcaster lambasted a fellow entertainer.  They were always at the forefront of controversy, sometimes as critics, writers, journalists.  They would surely waste time to clean dirty linens in public.  There are no inhibitions on the way they would pursue their thoughts whether it makes them good or bad.  They are even more courageous than their “normal” counterpart.  And they are not even afraid to be castigated.  Time has changed.


In women’s prisons, they are more subdued and quite gentle.  They are more circumspect and they act with maturity.  They easily become leaders and front-runners.  They may only be a few but it is their masculinity that carries the day.  While there are stories, reports even, that there are molestations and abuses; they serve more as countervailing force rather than purveyors of exploitations.  They stabilize prisons more than upset the communal setting.  They maintain a certain degree of balance in a world where relationship is a forced homogenous one.


Whatever.  LBGTs in our midst have come a long way; from a secretly conveyed orientation to an open one.  There were unisex fashion before and to date, the merging even of orientation.  Time will come when there will be no difference at all.  After all, everyone is within the universe called humanity.



good bad news

A mountaineer fell off the cliff in Batangas.  What baffled the investigators is the loss of his belongings.  It has been said that the mountain climber fell from a 300 feet height and all his things may have scattered due to the impact.  I remember a taxi cab that was swept in Blumentritt, Manila a few years ago.  The cab driver was thrown out from his car due to the impact when the on rushing train trampled his vehicle.  As soon as he landed unconscious, a lot of people milled in the area.  Result:  when the police and rescue team arrived he was already a picture of nudity.  Everything in his body was frisked and taken away, even his vehicle was almost drained of its spare parts.  The same is true on cases of accidents and the one who fell off the mountain must have undergone the same frisking routine by passersby.  I remember an adage:  Birds when alive eat ants.  In return, ants eat birds when dead.


A lot of candidates barnstorming communities to court votes are already reaching the final limits of their comfort zones.  Almost all candidates are complaining that their complexion is already affected.  They must wave at the crowd during the convoy.  They must also gate crash any place where people are milling.  Some would even knock at doors like those selling “special offers.”  This is on the belief that for every hand that they have shaken, for every leaflet distributed, for every tarp installed for every onlooker who saw them would be translated into votes.


Candidates everywhere must have to struggle and overcome a lot of obstacles.  They must scrimp and spend a fortune.  They must haggle and wear a smile all throughout.  They should never be seen as snub or high profile, they must be perceived as one of the masses.  They should even look like one of the great unwashed.  Their lives are on the line and the threat is more real than imagined.  The danger is not only political, not only feudal, not only social but also ideological.  This is all because they wanted to serve?  But service means that one should not traverse a road on harm’s way.  Why lay down so much sacrifice?  What is the real score here?


This is good news for retiring government personnel.  Under Budget circular 2013-1 dated April 12, 2013, government retirees will receive their retirement perks, gratuities and other benefits within 30 days from their actual date of retirement, provided all necessary requirements are submitted 90 days prior to that date.  It is therefore prudent for those who are about to retire, to seek assistance from their office three months before they retire to work on the paper works for submission to immediately facilitate the release and issuance of the benefits pursuant to the budget circular.


The good news is that the country is moving higher and improving economically says World Bank.   The bad news is that economic growth over the past six years hardly made a dent in poverty incidence.  This can be gleaned on the percentage of Filipinos living below the poverty line remained practically the same between 2006 and 2012 official statistics showed.


While it is not a sin or a crime to be poor, because poverty actually is a choice, much like a simple life, poor governance and a corrupt regime leads to a sinful state or a period ripe for criminality.  Brazil was very similar to the Philippines years ago.  Poverty is almost a vocation.  But Brazil’s president, Luis Ignacio da Silva, better known in his country as Lula, changed how it should be.  It has been said that Brazil is “one country that leaped out of the emergency room, turning from terminal to robust, eradicating poverty by half in less than a decade”, considering the fact that it is fifth the largest country in the world next to the United States.  Lula’s way of applying governance made it happened.  There is hope therefore and this is largely on the manner we choose our leaders.


The good news is that on May 13, we will choose our leaders.  We must know who will save us from destitution.  There should be a “Lula” somewhere campaigning out there.  The bad news is:  If none could measure up to a standard, then better do something productive on election day than waste your time.





vjt and romy

Dear Tata Romy,

You are probably in heaven already after months in the purgatory.  It has been a year since you passed away.  Your sins may have been laundered and you wished, as you prayed before and tried to be good,  to gain entrance in the Pearly Gates one day.  You never intended to leave the rest of the mortals but it was an accident waiting for you.  You never bothered to tell me that you have a faulty eyesight.  I knew it before but I was expecting you to come forward to complain.  You never did.  Worst, everytime you take the wheel and drive for me, you had difficulty in negotiating anything on the left side.  But knowing you, such deficiency was of no import.

Besides, you believed, as you always maintained, that with me around, there was no difficulties to confront and that everything is surmountable.

I am not telling you this by way of scolding.  You were smart enough to die early so that you won’t hear anything negative from me.  You never wanted to hear anything unsavory from me in the first place.  You would rather join me in accosting others, scolding and chastising them.  You felt that your association, close association with me had conferred on you enough authority.  Well, I am amused everythime you display such attitude.  As a matter of fact, I was even prodding you to read every book I have completed so that the snippets of wisdom, the wits and ideas derived from the exercise would dawn on you.  And I tell you my friend that I am impressed with your audacity.

I wrote you because while rummaging through my personal things I saw this compact disc which contained the recording of our radio broadcast sometime last year.  I took you in as my co-pilot in that radio broadcast because you have the proper voice timber.  By exposing you to the medium, you probably would be able to get the timing, the resources, the materials which I am also using and in the process, in the long run rather, I may be able to bequeath to you the slot and you would be on your own as an anchor man.

Our radio slot was an enjoyable experience.  We had fun.  We poke on each other, joking and exchanging thoughts, amusing ones.  The two hours alloted for us would merely fade out without us even expecting that we have consumed the time already.  I intentionally left radio broadcasting so that it would dawn upon you to continue with the craft.  But you left also as soon I took my leave.

You never wanted to be alone.  You always wanted to be at my side.  You always expected some funny story, a gag or a yarn from me to begin your day.  And I would never let you down.  As a matter of fact, I also rejoiced at those tales I would share to you because your laughter was my barometer in delivering the same to others.

Together we enjoyed the bounties of wisdom.  We even explored the possibility of leading an immortal life.  We knew that science was closing in on such possibilities.  You were prepared to become a centenarian and so was I.  We were passing notes on the merits of herbal and some incantations so that we will not be affected by limitations of mortality.  I knew that those doctrines I shared with you would not be wasted by trivial considerations.

But on that day, you chose to be on your own.  Although I know that it would just be an instance but that space, that limited period could have meant so much.  You had a freak, an unnecessary accident, for which it cost you so much—your safety and eventually your life.

It’s a pity that you are the only friend I had who stuck with me for close to two decades, without complaining, no grumbling, not even to whine nor submit any protest.  You are an ideal buddy, a great partner.  One who worship friendship and almost treat it as something sacred.

And yes, I thought of writing you also not only by way of reminding me of your loyalty but also because on this month, the universe claimed you as its part.  My parents and recently my sister had gone also and I just hope that you will meet them all on your way to paradise.

Take care my friend and please don’t use my doctrine in getting privileges up there!

Your constant counsel,


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