The SONA of silence


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo knows a political opportunity when she sees one. But she didn’t have Angelo de la Cruz on display last Monday. That was uncharacteristic. Mrs. Arroyo is fond of displays, and not only during State Of the Nation Addresses. She also displays suspected criminals to the public to demonstrate that she’s tough on crime, during which occasions she makes suspects look like convicted felons, contrary to the Bill of Rights’ assertion that every suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Although she didn’t have de la Cruz in tow last Monday, Mrs. Arroyo did try to capitalize anyway on de la Cruz’ release from captivity by the Iraqi resistance group that had threatened to behead him. Mrs. Arroyo began her speech by declaring that de la Cruz was home, and that “we did it”—the “we” there seemingly referring to “the Filipino people,” but inescapably suggesting her own crucial participation. Continue reading

Kerry agrees with Bush


The US Democratic Party is holding its national convention in Boston, Massachusetts to formally nominate Senator John Kerry as its candidate for President not only in the midst of unprecedented security. It’s also occurring when neither Kerry nor the Republican Party’s George W. Bush seems to have gained a clear advantage in the polls.

The news agencies describe Kerry and his vice presidential candidate John Edwards as “in a dead heat” with Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney. Bush has an approval rating below 50 percent, which should be good news for the Democrats, since the last five US presidents who were reelected had approval ratings above 50 percent four months before the elections. Continue reading

Funnyman Bush


US President George W. Bush said something the other day Jay Leno could have used for his “Tonight Show”. If he hasn’t, he’s missed an opportunity to get a laugh at the expense of someone who truly deserves global derision.

For the information of non-cable TV subscribers, comic Leno has been the subject of the ire of our instant nationalists—some of the very same people who cheered Bush when he visited last year, but who’re bristling in indignation over Leno’s remark about how quickly the Philippines got its tiny military contingent out of Iraq. Continue reading

Friends and enemies


“Please don’t confuse your enemies with your friends.”

Francis Ricciardone, Manila, July 15, 2004

Filipinos can only agree with US Ambassador to the Philippines Francis Ricciardone. You must know who your friends and enemies are. What’s equally important, you must also know who’re merely pretending to be your friends, but who’re likely to screw you at the first opportunity. Continue reading

Still faithful after all her fears


As of this writing, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is getting praises from practically the entire range of the political spectrum, except the Poe wing of the opposition.

Church dignitaries, for example, have praised her for her sensitivity to “the legitimate needs and wants of her people,” for putting the life of truck driver Angelo de la Cruz first, and for simply doing what is right. Even some groups that call themselves “leftist and progressive” have declared their delight over Mrs. Arroyo’s seeming reversal of her aggressively pro-U.S. Iraq policy. Continue reading