A Christmas story

For Rex and Nina Tomen, the last days of 2008 suddenly went out of kilter.  Lent came early and took the place reserved for Christmas. While the rest of the world marked the joyous day of the Nativity in homes filled with the laughter of children, they passed the day at the dimly-lit mortuary of … Read more

Agrarian reform and social protection

To equate agrarian reform with social justice in our society is to think of land distribution as the necessary starting point of the Filipino’s quest to live in freedom.  This is correct only insofar as agriculture remains the basic source of livelihood of the masses of our people. But changes in our social landscape in … Read more

The corruption blame game

The easiest thing in the world to do is to blame corruption on those institutions perceived to be primarily responsible for the morals of a society, namely, the churches and the schools.  This attitude exaggerates the role of priests and teachers as determinants of the everyday conduct of individuals in the modern world.  Why not … Read more

Thai politics

Any attempt to view Philippine politics through the prism of Thai politics, or vice-versa, can only produce a distorted picture of the situation in both countries. There are important parallelisms. But there are also great differences – especially in historical background and cultural context. It is tempting, no doubt, to see the disgraced former prime … Read more

After Bonifacio

While often confused with National Heroes Day, November 30 is a day we set aside to remember the heroism of Andres Bonifacio, the father of the Philippine Revolution. It is his birthday, the feast day of St. Andrew, after whom he was named.  Most Filipinos do not remember when he died, or indeed, how he … Read more

Filipinos and their Constitution

Ask Filipinos if they think the basic problem of the nation today lies in the system of government or in the shameful quality of their political leaders.  Ask them what they think needs to be urgently replaced – the Constitution or the present crop of politicians?  I will bet my last peso their answer will … Read more

The barren soil of traditional politics

What was being fertilized with the P728-million fertilizer fund was not agricultural land but the barren soil of traditional politics.  And this was carried out not by a shrewd solitary operator, but with the consent and connivance of a large number of politicians and public officials.  The fund, originally set aside for agriculture, was released … Read more

Obama nation

He was, by any measure, the superior candidate:  clear and eloquent where his opponent often mumbled and stuttered, cool and eventempered even when the other would dish out sharp rebukes.  Barack Obama projected a high-mindedness that made the veteran John McCain sound petty and insular. He was charming and attentive, where the latter appeared condescending … Read more

Facing death wth poetry

As a young boy growing up in the provinces, I used to go to the cemetery at this time of the year, not to visit the dead, but to fly kites. There, on top of the blocks of tombs that housed the dead, I would set my frail paper kite against the chilly November wind.  … Read more


My brother, Bishop Pablo David (“Bishop Ambo”) became auxiliary bishop of San Fernando Pampanga two years ago. In this role, he assists Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, the head of the diocese. In the Vatican’s roster of bishops, however, Bishop Ambo carries the extra title “Vescovo Titolare di Guardialfiera.” Where is Guardialfiera? And what does it mean … Read more