Wishes for Julia

Her name is Julia, and she is our first grandchild.  Born on the eve of the new century, she came a full week after my mother died, almost like an angel sent from another world to comfort us. The first time I caught a glimpse of her, she looked like a mummy wrapped in nursery … Read more

The rebirth of institutions

In a series of defining moments in 1986, the electoral system and the military establishment asserted their integrity against efforts to misuse them for arbitrary and illegal interests.  Today, it is the turn of Congress, the stock market, and the banking system to do the same. Let us hope they all rise to the occasion.  … Read more

Senator-judges and public jurors

After only six days, we now know that impeachment is a very tedious exercise.  But that is how its inventors intended it. Barbara Jordan, the first Southern African-American woman to become a member of the US House of Representatives, put it well at the impeachment of Richard Nixon: “Common sense would be revolted if we … Read more

Surveys, science, and politics

Surveys are valid scientific tools for measuring public opinion.  The truth they tell, however, depends on the questions they ask and the method by which they generate data.  If the questions they ask are vague or favor a particular response, or if the manner in which they choose their respondents is not representative of the … Read more

Embracing life, befriending death

A year ago, my mother Bienvenida stared into death’s eyes, and death blinked.  She came back to life after losing her pulse and heartbeat, her glassy eyes searching for the familiar faces of her children among the crowd that circled her bed.  At once she realized she had not left, and maybe it wasn’t her … Read more

Do the poor still support Erap?

To Erap, the answer to that question will ever be an unwavering “yes.” The poor are his loyal constituency. He has a special pact with them. They made him president; they alone, he says, can tell him to resign.  As they are the majority of the Filipino people, their support is all that matters. They … Read more

Schizoids at the Senate

The everyday term for it is “split-personality.” The schizoid is a personality type troubled by a disconnection of mental functions. When attuned to the shared reality of the moment, he is a portrait of lucidity.  Most of the time, however, he is simply lost in the world of his own private language.  His mental framework … Read more

The bigger picture

When, finally, this is over, and we are asked to tell the story of what we did – why we tirelessly poured out into the streets to demand the ouster of yet another president — I hope we will remember to recount the big picture and not just the details. This is not just about … Read more

Knowing Erap

Knowing Erap — knowing where he came from, what lifestyle he led, what company he kept – do we have a right to be shocked by Chavit Singson’s revelations about the man we elected president?  Why can’t we, as Malacanang suggests, dismiss these charges as a boring replay of old gimmicks that a defeated opposition … Read more


R is for Resignation, I is for Impeachment, O is for Ouster, and S is for Snap election, or for the Status quo, as in “Stay, you’re doing well” or “Stay, but reform.” These are the scenarios being offered today as options for resolving the country’s worst political and economic crisis since the 1983 assassination … Read more