Two elections

US President Obama voting (White House Photo)
Standard

AS ANNOUNCED by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the official election season began last January 10 and will end on June 8 this year. It includes a campaign period starting February and ending in May; election day itself on May 9; the counting of the ballots; and the official proclamation of the winning presidential and vice presidential candidates and their inauguration.

Some cynical souls lament that the results of the triennial exercise—the election of the same scoundrels, incompetents, crooks and clowns and/or their clones—do not justify the 150 days allocated for it. But the unofficial period for campaigning for office is actually far longer, in many cases consisting of the entire three years between congressional and local government elections, and, for the presidential election, the six years during which the previously elected president sits in Malacañang.

Continue reading

Masters and servants

Standard

IN 1633, the Inquisition declared Galileo guilty of writing a heretical book in which he supposedly favored the Copernican theory that the Sun rather than the Earth was at the center of the (then known) universe. The Catholic Church eventually admitted that he might have been right, it is the Earth that revolves around the Sun rather than the other way around — but it did so only in 1983, or 350 years after Galileo was sentenced to house arrest for life.

Considering how much Miriam Defensor-Santiago thinks the world of herself, it might take her that long to discover that she’s neither the Sun nor the center of the universe. Relentlessly aware of her being a lawyer and a former professor of law, of having been a judge, and now a “senator-judge” who’s on her way to the World Court, Defensor-Santiago only rarely fails to remind everyone of her titles and alleged
accomplishments.

Continue reading

Palliatives

Standard

AN appeal based on liberation theology is among the least likely to convince the mostly conservative bishops of the Catholic Church to end their campaign against the Reproductive Health bills now pending in Congress. (The Senate version is SB 2865, “An act providing for a national policy on reproductive health and population and development.” Currently being debated is the House of Representatives version, HB 4244.)

In Part 1 (is there a Part 2?) of her sponsorship speech for SB 2865, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago initially described reproductive health as “a non-issue” in the context of the more urgent problems the Philippines has. But she later argued that a reproductive health law is needed to liberate the poor from social injustice. In her effort to convince the bishops that rather than opposing the RH bills they should instead support it, Santiago described the passage of SB 2865 as in conformity with liberation theology. “The RH bill,” said Santiago, “is an enterprise in social justice and in love for the poor.”

Continue reading