“Mr. and Mrs. Smith”

Privately, a woman’s touch is often needed in the White House, whether it’s a steadying hand on the shoulder or a judo chop to the back of the neck. Publicly, nearly every First Lady has flourished an identifying issue (Lady Bird Johnson, highway beautification; Nancy Reagan, “Just Say No” to drugs; Michelle Obama, physical activity and healthy eating). Melania Trump’s was to be cyberbullying, a ludicrously unself-aware, doomed-from-the-start crusade, given her husband’s stubby-fingered prowess as chief Twitter Troll. As any number of people have observed, if Melania really wanted to curb cyberbullying, the first, best thing she could do would be to confiscate her husband’s Android phone and flush it down the toilet. Good luck with that. Given his nocturnal addiction to Twitter, he won’t surrender his phone until it’s pried out of his cold dead hand.

The First Lady’s degree of sway rests on her hubby president’s being cognitively supple and emotionally receptive to persuasion, and on his trusting, respecting, and being willing to listen to his wife (or, here, darling daughter), to take her seriously as a person and perception.

Can Melania Trump Ever Be A Great First Lady?, James Wolcott, May 2017, Vanity Fair

This is the rare time that being up to date with the news is chicken soup for the soul. We have already abandoned the Ozamiz City weekend happening and hot on the trail on the real-life Mr. and Mrs. Smith show. Or, the next big thing between the Commission on Elections Chair Bautista and his estranged wife. I guess this is what we can call a “first lady’s” judo chop. Although, now that it’s out there if I were the wife I’d be scared to go back to the “conjugal” house. Ah, but this might finally lead to the truth in the rumors that simply won’t die about Smartmatic having made fools of Filipino voters. Let’s see.


“Ask what you can do for your country”

With the theme “Elections 2016: Count Me In” these forums aim to take a critical minded, solutions-oriented and proactive approach to youth participation in elections through issues-based discussions, idea generation for youth and government collaboration projects, and discussions on the kind of leadership we want for the next administration and how we can develop that in the youth.

Forums will take on issues in fields such as Education, Employment, Health, Environment, Business and Economics, and Peace. These will be discussed by an array of speakers in a program wherein the youth can also participate in the discussion by offering solutions that target issues in these specific fields.

The event will also discuss the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, enabling delegates to come up with a ten-point agenda they believe the Philippines should tackle in 2016-2022. All youth opinion outputs will be consolidated and forwarded to the event partners.



Date: January 19, 2016

Venue:  University of Baguio Gymnasium, Baguio City

Deadline of Registration: January 12, 2016

Leadership qualities for 2016 national elections

Before Christmas last year, Pope Francis delivered a message to the leaders of the Roman Curia. The message brings to mind qualities in public officials that this nation, preparing for the 2016 national elections, is praying for.

The following is an excerpt from the Pope’s address

I read once that priests are like planes: they only make news when they crash, even though so many of them are in the air. Many people criticize, and few pray for them. It is a very touching, but also very true saying, because it points to the importance and the frailty of our priestly service, and how much evil a single priest who “crashes” can do to the whole body of the Church.

The Curia… like any body, like any human body, it is also exposed to diseases, malfunctioning, infirmity. Here I would like to mention some of these probable diseases, “curial diseases”.

  1. The disease of poor coordination. Once its members lose communion among themselves, the body loses its harmonious functioning and its equilibrium; it then becomes an orchestra which produces noise: its members do not work together and lose the spirit of fellowship and teamwork. When the foot says to the arm: “I don’t need you ”, or the hand says to the head, “I’m in charge”, they create discomfort and scandal.
  2. The disease of rivalry and vainglory.  When appearances, the colour of our clothes and our titles of honour become the primary object in life, we forget the words of Saint Paul: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:3-4). This is a disease which leads us to be men and woman of deceit, and to live a false “mysticism” and a false “quietism”. Saint Paul himself defines such persons as “enemies of the cross of Christ” because “they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Phil 3:19).
  3. The disease of indifference to others. This is where each individual thinks only of himself and loses sincerity and warmth of human relationships. When the most knowledgeable person does not put that knowledge at the service of his less knowledgeable colleagues. When we learn something and then keep it to ourselves rather than sharing it in a helpful way with others. When out of jealousy or deceit we take joy in seeing others fall instead of helping them up and encouraging them.

Read the complete address here.


Wanted: ideal national leaders

Felipe Kast of Chile is an example of a national leader and politician that the Philippines is badly and urgently in need of.  Somebody in Congress who’s articulate in evaluation and RCTs and able to think beyond ideologies in order to seek practical and best-fit solutions? That will be the day!

Faith of a simple people and the 2016 elections

He’s like a political candidate! I was amused at this comment made on the turn up of Filipinos beginning Day One of the Pope’s visit. Indeed because after the Pope, it’s the country’s popular electoral candidates who have the ability to attract massive crowds and following.

Crowd at the Sunday Mass in Luneta Park on 18 January

Taken by the fervor of crowds that greeted him everywhere, Pope Francis told Cardinal Tagle, I cannot fathom the faith of simple people.

And that’s the catch.

In the hands of this Pope, people of simple faith  are challenged and raised up for what they’re truly worth. But the same in the hands of politicians especially those who have no heart at all for these people?

National elections are just around the corner and I hope that the people – especially the voting poor – would have ingested the Pope’s words by then: think well, feel well, and do well. Then again that goes both ways. One could not really expect the ignorant to be transformed in less than twelve months without others who think well, feel well, and do well for them, meaning, civil society going in to educate them about their voting rights, the electoral process, and facilitate discussions about the future they want as an alternative means by which to choose leaders.