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Archive for May, 2012


It’s raining heavily outside as I write this and the time says it’s 2:14pm.  I wonder if the rainy season has officially started because it’s been raining cats and dogs almost every afternoon.  It’s a boon for my plants but it is impossible to remove those stubborn weeds when it is raining. I really need to root them out because they are now taller than my peanut grass.

Well, consider this another month-ender blog. The month of May has been a kaleidoscope of events that will not only affect the nation as a whole  but the way we see how important  political maturity is. Take that to mean that finally we are seeing the dawn of having some of our politicians set aside their self-interest and think of their constituents for a change.  And I really hope this would serve as a catharsis for us, to heal the wounds of a broken nation, sparring and tearing each other apart by barbed words freely posted everywhere. Enough said, I guess! Life no matter how we see it, will always be a constant journey of challenges and contradictions.  The way we face the journey would spell the big difference.

Yesterday, I finally received the package sent by Odette, an online friend from our Catholic site on Facebook.  We’ve known each other for less than a year but I feel as if she is the sister I never have. She made me choose what books I wanted to have and I told her, it would be by Richard Paul Evans of course. He’s been on my mailing list for several years now but his books are hard to find here. I was lucky enough to buy a copy of the first series of The Walk, then a close friend from Canada sent me Miles To Go last January as a Christmas gift. The third book came out last May 12 and I am now the proud owner of a hardbound copy of  The Road To Grace along with two more  paperback copies that I haven’t read yet.

I finished reading it last night. It was a light read, all of  234 pages and I was somewhat disappointed that  the story has to end the way it did. Or maybe, the author is saving the best for last because there are two more books in the series  that I have yet to wait for, still unwritten, as of now. I found myself  though reflecting on so many things while reading.When we are hurt, forgiveness is something so hard to do but unless and until we forgive,it would remain a tight bind that would affect our lives forever. When we forgive, we free ourselves from hate. You might say, it’s easier  said than done  but we have to do it if only to make our life normal again, the way it was, without hate and betrayal always lurking around.

I love to share with you some worthy quotes I found in Richard’s book:

  • One can never know what a new road will bring.
  • Once you have opened the book to another’s life, the cover never looks the same.
  • As we walk our individual life journeys, we pick up resentment and hurts, which attach themselves to our souls like burrs clinging to a hiker’s socks. These stowaways may seem insignificant at first, but, over time, if we do not occasionally stop and shake them free, the accumulation becomes a burden to our souls.
  • To forgive is to unlock the cage of another’s folly to set ourselves free.
  • The trapped are less concerned with rules than escapes.
  • What we feel to realize is that, grace is a destination, it is the journey itself, manifested in each breath and with each step we take. Grace surrounds us, whirls about us like the wind, falls on us like rain. Grace sustains us on our journeys, no matter how perilous they may be. We need not hope for grace, we merely need to open our eyes to its abundance.

It’s raining still and  the month of  May will be ending soon. And it was not so long ago that I was humming the tune  of First of May by the Bee Gees then Robin dies and it will never be the same again because only one brother is left.  The days end so soon and June is almost here!  If my friend were here, she would say, “happy new month”. That was our standard greeting years ago when we were still students. And here’s the last line of the book by Evans. He shared this from his wall at Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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Caught the Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile  this morning being interviewed by Karen Davila on Headstart at ANC. And I can’t resist quoting his words:

“I stretched the rules of evidence in favor of the Defense, so they would not complain of  grave abuse of discretion on our part.”

“In the beginning I was trying to give the Chief Justice the benefit of the doubt.”

“I don’t understand why the Defense called the Ombudsman and they could not even qualify if she is a hostile witness.”

“No legal or financial mind can invent the content of the AMLC document.”

“I will not accuse him of lying but they were not ready to bring the quantum of evidence needed to explain Corona’s assets.”

“There was some degree of inconsistency in the totality of Corona’s defense.”

“He was measured and I think he failed.”

“He was appointed at Chief Justice, I would presume he was fit as a lawyer to hold the position.”

“I based my decision on evidence. I studied the Corona case more than the Prosecutors and Defense.”

Oh, and I just love it when he said that he made a listing of the Senators who will vote during the judgment then he pulled out the list  from  his wallet and showed it to Karen Davila. It’s a list of the committed, the uncommitted (his name was included here) and the three names for acquittal. He was right on target, the three names appeared to be Arroyo, Marcos and Santiago.

Nice penmanship Manong.  Let me continue:

“Supreme Court cannot review our decision. The Senate Impeachment Court is outside the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.”

He said further that the president cannot appoint an outsider. They should come from the remaining fourteen members of the Supreme Court. He was asked whose speech he liked the most when the senators explained their votes and he said: “Lito Lapid”. He will support VP Binay for president in 2016 but unsure of who will be his VP, saying that either Escudero or Estrada would be okay. He loves reading and memorizing poems and watching old films on TV.  He’s 88 years old  but his mind is so sharp. Nice job Manong Johnny!

(thanks again ANC for the grabbed pic and to Phil. Inquirer for JPE’s photo)

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Would it be proper now if we just call him plain “Attorney”?

For the past five months, I’ve been so focused on  the impeachment trial  that I forgot the weeds growing in my  garden and they look so ugly interspersed with my blooming and healthy peanut grass.  Judgment has been rendered and the Filipino people are happy that democracy still works in our country.  The telenovela is over, not all are satisfied though with the ending because they are talking about the possibility of  filing a petition for review before the Supreme Court. We’ve heard before the rendering of the verdict that both Prosecution and Defense would abide by the outcome of the voting.  And one election lawyer even said that the verdict was incomplete because Senator Enrile, the  presiding officer of the IC did not read in his closing speech the penalty for an impeached chief justice.  As far as I know, “it shall not go farther than removal from public office and perpetual disqualification from public office”. He won’t be imprisoned but he could kiss public office goodbye.

Had he just resigned from office, he could have saved himself and his family the humiliation and the ordeal of leaving the Supreme Court in shame.  It could  have been a graceful exit and  he could have endeared himself more to the people who still believe that he is innocent . But he chose to stay, holding on to the last minute. In his dramatic walkout from the Impeachment Court last Tuesday, May 22 he said in arrogance, “And now the Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines wishes to be excused”. He is now excused forever. Quo vadis CJ?

Let us move on and let us move forward. If there is one positive thing that we learned from all this, at least now, transparency in a public office is a must and I’d like to thank him for initiating the signing of a waiver (unconditionally this time although a bit too late to save him) but at least it triggered something that all government employees from the highest officer of the land down to the lowest  barangay councilor must be compelled to sign a waiver too in case their personal assets would be questioned in the future. If you have nothing to hide, why be afraid?

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It’s 20-3 !

The verdict – GUILTY

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PALUSOT! That reverberated through the august halls of the Senate and through the consciousness of the masses (the Juan dela Cruz)  more than the eloquent  speech of the Defense who made their closing arguments based on technicalities. Ask the man on the street, the tricycle drivers, the sidewalk vendors, and they would tell you that they remember what palusot means more than the Foreign Currency Deposit Act and the SALN.

This is it, the culmination of  the trial of the century, the Impeachment Trial of the Chief Justice of the Philippines. I’ve watched the proceedings since day one  and blogged about it the past few months. Tomorrow, either it would be a CONVICTION or an ACQUITTAL.  Conviction means that the chief justice of the Republic of the Philippines will be excused for good and can never come back to any government office.

I deliberately didn’t blog about last Friday’s hearing because I found it so weird seeing the CJ acting as if he hasn’t been in the ICU of the Medical City since that walkout he did last Tuesday.  Credit him for apologizing to the Impeachment Court and to the Filipino people but insisting that it was not a walkout. He demanded the resignation of Ombudsman Morales but when he was asked if he will resign he said he will not. And signing that much talked-about waiver is too late in the day.  If he was really sincere in doing so, why did it take him so long to sign it or was it just another delaying tactic so the trial would go on and on wasting people’s money in the process?

Okay, let’s start with day 43….

Tatang Cuevas,  Atty.delos Santos and  Atty. Dennis Manalo made the oral arguments for the Defense while Rep. Tupas, Rep.Farinas and Speaker Sonny Belmonte argued for the Prosecution. Atty. Quicho of the Defense said in an earlier interview that “We have nothing to lose, we have everything to gain.” Don’t be too sure Attorney, because the people are watching.  There are two aspects that we could look into, the court of public opinion and the impeachment court. Is good faith in interpreting the law impeachable? Does moral fitness apply? My own take is this, since the judicial officers were not elected by the people and enjoy a longer term of office, shouldn’t they adhere to a stricter code of conduct and shouldn’t they be more morally fit to occupy the office entrusted to them? Shouldn’t they show a higher degree of integrity?  Public office is a public trust so everyone say. The higher your office, the greater your responsibilities are and the more transparent you should  be.  Public trust implies  a sense of duty and moral responsibility carry a greater weight, right?

Rep. Tupas, the chair of the Prosecution team was the first to speak. Reading from a prepared closing argument, he has these to say:

“We are called again to make a stand between right and wrong.”

“Tungkol saan po ba talaga ang Impeachment Trial na eto?”  Focus was on the SALN and he said that Corona is no longer fit to head the judiciary. He did not present documentary proofs to back his testimony as regard to his peso account amounting to P80M and a dollar account of $2.4M.

“The question is, are Corona’s assets in his SALN? No.”

Tupas said that Corona’s interpretation of the law of confidentiality is disturbing. By what standard should Corona be judged?

“A dishonest public servant has shallow excuses. Is Chief Justice Renato Corona morally fit”. Same question I posted earlier.

“Let us decide in favor of truth and greatness.”

Atty. Eduardo delos Angeles started the argument on the Defense side. He emphasized that RA 6426 provides that all foreign currency deposits are absolutely confidential. The Defense said that unless the Bank Secrecy Law is amended, absolute confidentiality  of bank deposits stays.  Non-inclusion of certain bank accounts was not tainted with malice or fault, that he cannot be made answerable and should not be removed from office for minor breach of the law, that the failure to disclose the dollar accounts should not be considered as breach of trust. Huh?

Rep. Farinas did  brilliant arguments by calling everything “palusot”. What I understand of the word is, it means alibi or excuse. 

“We tend to contradict ourselves if we do not tell the truth.”

“Let us not be swayed by Corona’s alibi and drama.”

“To keep Corona will weaken the rule of law.”

Atty. Manalo of the Defense said that they never decide cases based on doubt. The camera caught some of the senators yawning and closing their eyes while Tatang Cuevas was speaking. The latter challenged the validity of the impeachment complaint. He said there was no due process. He kept on and on about technicalities but he was tongue-tied when Sen. Enrile asked “If sovereign command, will disobedience constitute culpable violation?”  Enrile asked about risk if a public officer include deposit in his SALN. Cuevas said ” kidnapping & extortion.”  If he fears for his life because he has lots of money, he shouldn’t have accepted  the midnight appointment in the first place because it all boils down to it, the supposedly illegal way he was appointed by Arroyo a month before she left Malacanang.

Speaker Belmonte ended the oral argument by the Prosecution by saying:

“Corona wants to be exempted from the law. Shouldn’t he be the one to set an example for all of us?”

 “Isn’t it disturbing that Judiciary’s highest official is himself the very person hiding behind the laws, bending justice?”

 “Will we allow to continue in office someone who has betrayed the public trust?”

  “Let the truth be your guide. Vote according to conscience and evidence”.

Okay, tomorrow would be judgment day. I really hope and pray that the senator-judges make a thorough assessment of their votes and that they make a proper discernment before casting their votes. Acquitted or not, this trial would go down to history that once a chief justice of the land was impeached and found guilty/innocent.

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Happy Pentecost Sunday! Mom and I attended the 9am mass at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish with one of my favorite priests, Fr. Matthew Fernandez of the Marian Missionaries of the Holy Cross as the mass presider. I admire how he shares his homily, tagos sa buto at sa puso, as they say in Tagalog. You remember the words long after and you remember God’s goodness in everything.  When He teases you with little setbacks, He gives back a hundredfold of blessings.  And you learn to appreciate even the little things, you learn to appreciate life with all its sham and drudgery, because amidst all these, life is still full of beauty and loveliness. You just have to open your eyes and make your senses feel.

Yes, it is a colorful morning that I enjoyed because I took shots of some of the lovely blooms in my garden, another affirmation of God’s overflowing love.

My sturdy Ruellia. I have them in three colors now – purple, light pink and pure white. These perennial plants thrive in full sun. Though they don’t belong to the family of Petunias, they are also called Mexican Dwarf Petunia because they resemble Petunia blooms.

Rose Balsam or Garden Balsam belongs to the family of Impatiens. Locally known as Kamantigue, the seeds when dried can be used for teas. It is also used to treat skin afflictions, rheumatism and fractures, among others.

Portulaca or Vietnam Rose are sturdy ground covers that produce rose-like flowers in different colors.


How my garden looks now! That Don Manuel shrub is a beauty on its own with those orange spikes on every tip of the leaves.

Scrub Brush Anthurium or Flamingo flowers. Perhaps you are familiar with the varieties that produce those colorful blooms but this type is cultivated for its lovely, elongated foliage and that’s how the flower looks, just an ordinary green one.

Golden Candles are also known as Golden Shrimp, Yellow Shrimp plant and Lollipop plant.

I love this shot because it faces the sun and the blue sky. My Yellow Iris flower.

So why do I keep forgetting the name of this lovely plant? A friend says the blooms look better than poinsettia.

Can’t wait for this to bloom – my African Rose!

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Okay, okay, I won’t bore you with what happened to the impeachment trial. I am sure you have read and watched what happened on the Senate floor yesterday afternoon. Suffice to say, I am making a list of all the twenty-three senators since by Monday or Tuesday at the latest, they would release the verdict on CJ Corona and they would have to explain their votes so you better come prepared or are you also taking a survey whether it’s an acquittal or a conviction?  Let’s see how our good senators would use the evidences on hand and not be swayed by political affiliations. So, here’s the list of our esteemed senators who would decide on the fate of the chief  justice come Tuesday:

Edgardo J. Angara
Joker P. Arroyo
Alan Peter S. Cayetano
Pia S. Cayetano
Franklin M. Drilon
Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada

Francis Joseph G. Escudero
Teofisto L. Guingona III

Gregorio B. Honasan II
Panfilo M. Lacson
Manuel M. Lapid
Loren B. Legarda
Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
Sergio R. Osmeña III
Francis N. Pangilinan
Aquilino Pimentel III
Juan Ponce Enrile
Ralph G. Recto
Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr.
Miriam Defensor-Santiago
Vicente C. Sotto III
Antonio F. Trillanes IV
Manuel B. Villar, Jr.

It’s been a while since I actually read a book because the last few days, my time was focused on the Impeachment Trial, I am glad that it’s coming to a close.  And it’s been a while since  I read a historical and a romance novel at that. This one though was more focused on history, about Russian prince and princess, British commoners and aristocrats, it actually has all the ingredients of a nice read but I won’t make a book review here. I just found a copy, Splendor by Brenda Joyce in our shelves, probably an earlier find of my daughter.  If you could stay reading until 1am then the book is arresting don’t you think?  I did just that last night and finished the last few chapters this afternoon.  I am tempted to start another book by Rick Jordan but I haven’t finished Cell yet by Stephen King. I actually got bored in the middle of reading it.  There are books and there are books but sometimes no matter how  good an author is, it just won’t  make you sit for long and  pour your attention on every page.  This morning I received a call from my youngest brother and we talked about books and e-reader. I told him a friend asked me if I want a Nook but I said it’s not a priority at the moment.  He said that there is a new version of the Kindle, the Kindle Fire selling at $199.00. I need a little more convincing if I want to shift from a real book to a color tablet. Maybe in a year or two, when we no longer have enough space for books, I’ll entertain the idea but not…right now!

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I went back to the Philhealth office at Brickroad Cainta Branch and was delighted to see the quick and friendly way the people at the counter do their job. What a big difference from the Philhealth I knew of five years ago when I followed up my father’s claims when he underwent dialysis for six months before he died.  Back in those days, the Philhealth office somewhere along Shaw Blvd. was a typical government office where you have to ask thrice before you reach the proper person to address your requirement and mind you, some of them were not that polite. I  almost gave up hope of ever seeing a  government agency with an excellent service.

Kudos Philhealth!

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I remember taking this shot at a  casual get-together with some high school classmates at Shakey’s Espana, in front of UST where we finished high school. Those bracelets were gifts from one of our classmates who makes jewelry as  a hobby. I do remember the laughter, the camaraderie, the game I posted at Facebook if they could recognize whose hands and arms  are in the picture.  Cherished memories, lovely thoughts shared!

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