Sunday, February 29, 2004

Hitler as a cheating vegetarian
Slate has a review essay on Hitler's vegetarian diet and his occasional cheating on it:

The generally accepted idea about Hitler's nutritional regime seems to be that he at least tried to be a vegetarian. Sometime in the early 1930s, after the mysterious death of his niece and confidant, Geli, Hitler swore off meat. Some say seeing her corpse turned his stomach away from flesh. Others say his doctors put the despot on a vegetable-only diet to relieve excessive flatulence and sweating.

Berry asserts that propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels furthered the notion of Hitler as a strict vegetarian to make the ruthless dictator seem like an ascetic without vices who neither drank, nor smoked, nor ate meat, and was devoted above all to his people. Most lies told by the Third Reich were exposed in the postwar years, but not this one, according to Berry. "It's too good a story for [historians] to spoil it with the truth," he says. "They relish the paradox that a genocidal tyrant might have observed a Gandhian diet."
Is a college degree necessary for a president?
Debate with Pareng Oca and Mareng Winnie was talking about the above topic two nights ago. One person from the FPJ camp defending the dispensability of a bachelor's degree pointed out that Bill Gates and Nelson Mandela were college dropouts.

I was shocked by the claim. Nobody in the other panel corrected the inaccuracy. Bill Gates was a dropout, but Mandela definitely was not ! He was practicing as a lawyer before he was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to the notorious maximum-security Robben Island Prison.

In his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela was a little defensive about his academic achievements, pointing out in numerous instances that there were too many classmates who were far brighter than he was.

Mandela may have had some academic rough-sailing in his time, but he never dropped out of college. True, he was kicked out in one university, but it was for his political activities. He persevered in his education, even enrolling in a correspondence course.

A college degree is not necessary to be meaningfully qualified to be president. I just wish people defending this position would not go around blaspheming Nelson Mandela all for the sake of propping up FPJ's candidacy.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Invitation to a lecture
Reconstituting Americans in the Philippines "Within the Revenue Clause" and Valmonte v. INS (1998)

by Dr. Allan Isaac
on March 5, 2004 Friday
430-600 pm
Dean's Conference Room
H. Dela Costa Bldg G/F
Ateneo de Manila University

Throughout the first decades of the twentieth century, debates around the "Philippine Question" and the status of the U.S. colonies in relation to the (American) Constitution were crucial to the definition of American citizenship and American-ness. The possibility of a "citizen" outside the U.S. terrestrial compass prompted the Supreme Court to define the political relationship between the United States proper and U.S. property. The nature of these territories and their relationship to the U.S. polity came under debate in the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress from 1898 through the 1930s, in a series of court cases collectively known as the Insular Cases. The court arguments and congressional debates held that the "Constitution did not follow the flag" in the territories. That is, constitutional rights and citizenship did not automatically extend to the territories upon their acquisition. Much like the 1896 ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, the problem before Congress and the Supreme Court was how to legalize and constitute "separate" (but not equal) national entities in relation to the American polity. Economic, juridical and political interests worked together to create the "doctrine of territorial incorporation" as a legal reality. Debates about tariff and territory shaped this doctrine to shore up American boundaries.

Subsequently, the controversy over commerce and citizenship constituted two types of Americans subjects for the new century: the imperial citizen and its uncanny "unincorporated" double, the colonial national.

This paper will explore the issues and implications of the Valmonte v INS case for Filipinos and American "nationals" past and present. Decided by the Second Circuit in 1998, Valmonte v INS involves a Filipino plaintiff, born during the Philippine Commonwealth era, who claimed automatic U.S. citizenship based on the equal protection and citizenship clauses of the 14th amendment extending to the territory. The Constitutional tensions inherent in the creation of the "unincorporated territory" at the turn of the century are revisited domestically in this immigration case. In this and other immigration cases involving native Filipinos born during the territorial period, the Courts have always deferred to Congressional plenary powers on questions of immigration and citizenship. The Philippines and other US territories may be found right in the beginning of the Constitution in Article I, Section 4, after a semicolon "within the revenue clause": "but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States." In truth, the Philippines exists in the erasure and disappearance of this clause in decisions involving Filipinos born during the US Territorial period claiming their right to citizenship. Court decisions have relied on this clause and its displacement to effectively suspend and cast the Filipino's citizenship status at bay-- outside the American family. Recent legal scholarship on citizenship and U.S. resident subject's rights has begun to explore limits the Constitution places on these powers and definitions of alien, citizenship and national. The courts have tended to appeal to Downes v Bidwell, one of the Insular Cases, involving a revenue clause to interpret the 14th Amendment citizenship clause. The judicial branch has not performed its duty to review Congressional action on citizenship for nationals, and neither has it addressed the meaning of the citizenship clause of the Amendment "in these United States" to include "the United States of America, Philippine Islands" during the colonial period.

Allan Isaac is Assistant Professor of English at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He teaches courses in American Studies, Law, Race and Literature, Asian American and Postcolonial Studies. He is currently a Fulbright U.S. Scholar in Manila and a Visiting Professor at De La Salle University. His forthcoming book is entitled American Tropics: U.S. Imperial Grammar and the American Postcolonial Imagination (University of Minnesota Press).

Friday, February 27, 2004

President's Hour with National Artist for Dance Leonor Goquingco
Everyone is invited to attend the President's Hour with National Artist for Dance Leonor Goquingco on March 2, 2004 at the Elevated Courtyard, Quezon Hall, UP Diliman. The program will start at 4:30 PM. The affair is sponsored by the University of the Philiipines Office of the President and the President's Committee on Culture and the Arts.
When an academic loses the faculty of judgment
Benjamin Espiritu, chairman of the Business and Governance Department at the De La Salle University, wrote to the Inquirer:

There is no question that effective governance cannot be crammed into a few brief lessons. Precisely, Poe's expertise in corporate governance has spanned several decades. From his experience, he has developed very clear and sound views on prudent fiscal management, cost efficiency, product competitiveness and a level playing field, among other things.

The business community will be very comfortable in having a president who has actual business experience, knows what a favorable business environment is, and (from the point of view of a businessman) what government should do to create it.

From which parallel universe Prof. Espiritu is coming from ? Exactly what corporate governance he is referring to? Did FPJ manage corporations ? I thought his film outfit was single proprietorship.

Prof. Espiritu is correct in saying FPJ has business experience, but I seriously doubt the business community's coziness with FPJ. Besides, was FPJ really an outstanding businessman ? And on FPJ's supposed business experience which purportedly qualifies him for the presidency, why, my own father "has developed very clear and sound views on prudent fiscal management, cost efficiency, product competitiveness and a level playing field." Should my father ipso facto run for the presidency ?
The war of the pollsters
Pulse Asia's latest survey says FPJ's star is fading, but the SWS latest survey says FPJ is consistently in the lead. Sen. Lacson has denounced the Pulse Asia result as kataka-taka while other sectors have even raised hints of corruption in the polling firm of Felipe Miranda. Some people are also doubting SWS Director Mahar Mangahas's impartiality since Mangahas is cousin to FPJ.

The question in everybody's mind is: Which polling firm is more credible?

The question is inappropriate and premature. A fact commonly overlooked in the news reports is that that the two surveys of seemingly contradicting results are actually compatible with each other. SWS's survey, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6, was done on Jan. 28 to Feb. 6; Pulse Asia's, with a margin of error plus or minus 2 percent, covered the period February 16-20.

The two surveys covered two different periods; their contradicting results therefore are but to be expected. The survey closer to reality though is Pulse Asia's, simply by virtue of its being the more recent of the two.

The viable conclusion therefore is that yes, indeed, FPJ's star is starting to fade. The citizenship controversy and FPJ's failure to sound coherent have taken their quick toll on the actor's popularity.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

The anxiety of a canonical harassment
Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth and feminist, has accused Harold Bloom, the most eminent literary critic of our time, of sexually harassing her during her undergraduate days at Yale two decades ago. According to Wolf (see her accusatory essay which appeared in the gossipy New York Metro), Bloom put his hand on her thigh when she was consulting him with her poetry manuscript.

Bloom is mum about the matter (he probably has more books waiting to be read in his private reading list of Western canon), but Camille Paglia has taken up the cudgels for him and attacked Wolf:

"It really grates on me that Naomi Wolf for her entire life has been batting her eyes and bobbing her boobs in the face of men and made a profession out of courting male attention."

I never knew literary criticism could be this, er, exciting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Teach English in a Burmese Refugee Camp in Thailand!
2 Positions: English Teacher
Length of contract: 11 months
School: English Immersion Program (EIP)
Location: Umphium Mai Refugee Camp, Tak Province, Thailand (4 days a week), Mae Sot, Tak Province, Thailand (1 day a week)

Teach intermediate-advanced English to 20 adult Burmese refugees 18-24 hours per week.
Actively involve students in the learning process
Update and improve the curriculum provided
Attend monthly education meetings with Karen refugee camp leaders
Give final exams and write report cards each trimester
Live in the student dorm (inside the refugee camp) 3 nights a week.
Help manage after school activities at school such as activity nights, cleaning duty, coking duty etc.
Help recruit a new English Teacher for the following school year

EIP is looking for 2 native English speakers who: Have a university degree and at least 1-year teaching experience, have good essay writing skills, are culturally sensitive and discreet, are motivated, flexible and have international experience

Stipend and Benefits:
8,000 bhat per month (about $200 US)
Free accommodation in Mae Sot (w/air con.) and bicycle
Free visa renewals and weekly transportation to and from the refugee camp.
Breakfast and dinner provided at school.
Valuable on-site international development experience
Gain experience living and working with refugee communities from Burma
Opportunity to learn Burmese and Karen culture and language

If you are interested in teaching at EIP please send a cover letter and resume to

Brooke Treadwell, EIP Coordinator

Monday, February 23, 2004

The sins of the intellectualy gifted
Manuel Quezon III in his column today writes:

And the disappointments since Edsa are as much the fault of a public willing to leave things in the hands of the politicians....

The people have grown so cynical about the country's government that no one, except dynastic heirs and showbiz stars, wants to have anything to do with it. Many people are appalled at the gall of FPJ in thinking he is remotely qualified to be president, but those who are supposed to be intellectually qualified are all too ready to give way to Da King.

Faced with FPJ's seeming command of the polls, Sen Angara, for example, has swallowed his own pride and ambition, and has conveniently given way to someone he decidedly knows is his inferior. Heroic self-sacrifice ? No, far from it. Nothing but malodorous pusillanimity.

FPJ has also began announcing in public the names of his stellar advisers from the academe. Some of those names mentioned deny any concrete formal association with FPJ, but some have announced they are not only advising but are ACTUALLY voting for FPJ.

These academics are committing all over again the same mistake they did when a good number of them campaigned for Estrada. They are being taken in for a ride for a second time, and they are either too politically naive to notice it or are too timid to stand in the way of the FPJ juggernaut. Well, one cannot really blame them. I guess some people's brains have simply become too well developed that they sucked up all the blood that should have gone to the balls.

People from the academe and some people from the political left who are attracted to the pro-poor rhetoric of the Estrada and the FPJ campaigns invariably justify their positions as one of wanting to correct the historical elite bias against the poor.

FPJ though is certainly no poor. Nobody, I think, will be voting against FPJ on the grounds that he is poor or that his supporters are. The only elite bias I see is an elite bias for intellectual excellence. And what is wrong with that? What is so anti-poor about intellectual excellence? When professors graduate their students from an outstanding 1 to a failing 5, they are exhibiting an elite bias for academic excellence. If that bias is desired in the classroom, why should it discarded in the polis?

Paraphrasing Manuel Quezon, the disappointments since Edsa are as much the fault of the Philippine intellectual class willing to leave things in the hands of the politicians.

Our intellectuals, save from Joma of the Netherlands, have all ignored Plato's exhortation to power. They have all chosen to live semi-bourgeois lives in the private sector, observing from the balcony as it were the corruption and demise of our republic. It is a sad political reality, but the practice of politics and government in this country has been left to dynastic heirs, pulchritudinous celebrities and enterprising frat men. It could not be any other way. No one now is simply interested in going through the humiliation of offering oneself to public service.
On googling
Newsweek has a funny essay on the hobby of googling oneself, which the author sees as a new kind of 21st-century personal hygiene. An even funnier essay on the phenomenon of googling people can be found in Peyups.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Here is the transcript of a conversation between the political scientist Samuel Huntington and the sociologist Anthony Giddens on the transatlantic divide.
The saga continues...
Limpbwizit's continuing coverage of the SC arguments:

after a recess, the oral arguments on the disqualification case against fernando poe jr. resumed.

counsel for petitioners, known in the legal profeesion as mega-lawyer atty. sharon cuneta, presents her argument...

Chief Justice: Counsel, you cannot argue before this court in that red and black gown, you should wear your robe.

Atty. Cuneta-Pangilinan: With all due respect your honor, this gown was made by rajo laurel especially for this occasion (waves at the video camera and smiles)...HI RAJO!

Chief Justice: This court is not a ramp, robe yourself or you will be cited for contempt!

Atty. Cuneta-Pangilinan: With all due respect Honorable Chief justice, if you insist that i robe myself, i will transfer to the other court!

Chief Justice: Which court?

Atty. Cuneta-Pangilinan: The Cuneta Astrodome!

Justice Artemio Panganiban (whispers to the Chief Justcie): let her argue in that off-shoulder gown, or else we will be mobbed by sharonians.

Chief Justice: the Court allows the counsel to speak before this court wearing a rajo laurel gown, but let it be on record that this should not take precedence.

Atty. Cuneta: Thank you very much honorable justices. The third contention of the petitioners is that, according to my husband kiko, Tito Ron is not a natural-born filipino citizen...i'm sorry talaga tita susan,tito ron,tita helen at tito sen i just have to do this because kiko is with the administration kasi e...i'm sorry your honors but i can not proceed in arguing this case.

Chief Justice: This court understands why you cannot. We take judicial notice of the fact of the megastar's close association with the king and queen of philippine movies and also with the campaign manager of the respondent. you may take your seat. who will present the third argument of the petitioners?

Atty. Jolina Magdangal : I will your honor.

Chief Justice: But not in that orange blouse and purple pants and all those dangling accessories.

Atty. Magdangal: Your Honors, with all due respect, it would be travesty of justice to allow my colleague atty. cuneta to argue in a rajo laurel and not allowing me to argue in my own creation, these items being original filipino creations that are on display in my burloloy shops.

Chief Justice (whispers to Justice Panganiban): how many fans does this lady have?

Justice Panganiban: she used to have many but her career is on a free fall.

Chief Justice: Counsel, this court allowed atty. cuneta to speak in a rajo laurel because what she was wearing was a gown.

Atty. Magdangal: But your honors, these are the same clothes that i wear when i host the TV program The Working President, and in that program, i am face-to-face with the president of the philippines.

Chief Justice: Ok, to preserve the sanctity of the principle of co-equality between the three branches of government, we will allow to descend to the level of the executive and let counsel argue in clothes that she usually wears when facing the president. proceed with your arguments.

Atty. Magdangal: Thank you your honors. it is just timely that we are discussing about clothing and fashion here because the third contention of the petitioners is that respondent fernando poe jr. is naturally an american citizen because he wears a jacket over long-sleeved shirts all the time, as in grabe, all the time talaga, even on summer. with all the chuva-chu-choo about jus sanguinis and jus soli and res ipsa chu-chu-bels, the answer to the question on whether respondent fernando poe jr. is a natural-born filipino is borne by fernando poe jr. himself.

Justice Antonio Carpio: Counsel, do you mean to say that because counsel for the respondent atty. german moreno wears colorful coats all the time, and in your own words, as in all the time talaga, he is not a filipino?

Atty. Magdangal: Thank you for bringing that up mister justice, the case of counsel german moreno is different because he could not, in any case, be a filipino because he is a filipina

Mme. Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales: Corny! I've already heard that having been said about ernie maceda!

Atty. Magdangal: your honors, the philippines is a tropical country and it's so unnatural for a filipino, and someone of respondent fernando poe's stature, to be donning jackets, leather or otherwise, over a long-sleeved shirt all the time even in his fight scenes in the movie panday, which was supposed to be in a desert and also when he has fight scenes in rivers or other bodies of water, like his movie with counsel sharon cuneta. these, your honors, clearly show that the respondent is not a filipino but an american.

it is to be noted that the masculine national costume of the philippines is the barong tagalog and if you are truly proud of your cultural heritage, you are not supposed to wear a leather jacket on top of your barong.

Justice Renato Corona: I have seen this movie where he was a police officer, but i can't exactly remember if he wore short-sleeved poilce uniform in that movie. Can u enlighten us on that counsel?

Atty. Magdangal: you are talking about batas ko ang hahatol your honor but even in that movie, he wore a black leather jacket over of his police uniform. he, the respondent, is making a huge insult to the filipino culture and the integrity of the colors of our police by either not wearing the filipino costume or covering it with a jacket. if this honorable court could recall, in fernando poe's san miguel ad six years ago, he was supposed to be katipunero in that ad, but instead of wearing red pants with one of the manggas rolled up and white camisa and salakot and was supposed to be carrying a spear made of bamboo, he wore an elegantly-designed long-sleeved silk uniform with some insignias that i couldn't understand and carried a silver sword just like the spaniards. and it was supposed to be an ad made specially for the centennial, but he looked like a spaniard. it was the centennial celebrati8on of philippine independence and he was like, hello? wearing a spanish general's costume? hello?

take these facts together, your honors, and you will realize that we wasted so much time in arguing whether respondent fernando poe jr. is filipino or not.

Chief Justice: Are you the final speaker for the petitioner?

Atty. Magdangal: Secret!

counsel for respondent, atty. anabel rama-gutierrez, is so furious but at the same time nervous because of the brilliance of the argument of counsel jolina magdangal. she approached the stand and saw a crying atty. sharon cuneta secretly waving at her from the other side. amicus curiae kris aquino was also making a secret wave under her robe. atty. rama-gutierrez snobbed both of them.

Atty. Rama-Gutierrez: Maayong buntag dong! (referring to the cebuano Chief Justice)

Before i proceed with the respondent's third contention, i would like to manifest to this honorable court that counsel for petitioners, atty. magdangal, is malandi. why i say that she's malandi, because she wants to see the body of fernando poe jr., that's why she's complaining that fernando poe jr. is always wearing long-sleeves. naku day! halata naman masyado na sobrang landi mo. tingnan mo naman 'yan, pati si ronnie na ang tanda-tanda na ay pinapantsaya mo pa. tama nga siguro ang narinig ko na balita na may syota ka na DOM na pulitiko.

Chief Justice: proceed with your arguments!

Atty. Rama-Gutierrez: Mr. Chief Justice, i'm just getting warmed up. Ronnie is a natural-born filipino citizen because i know!

filipino gyud sya, i will not say how i knew about it because my husband eddie might kill me. pero hibaw-an ko gyud kung pinoy o dili kay katilaw man ko ug foreigner pero iba lagi sila sa pinoy. Guisulti man sa ako ni ruffa, kay daghan man sya natilawan, pareho lagi among hi-baw-an parte sa mga pinoy.

Mme. Justice Ynares-Santiago: what do you mean?

Chief Justice: The counsel is saying that she's sure fernando poe jr. is a filipino because she has tried foreigners and she knows the distinctions. Her daughter ruffa also shared to her everything and they both agree on the distinctiveness of the filipino.

Amicus Curiae Kris Aquino: Tita Annabel, i know that, you're so naughty talaga! don't tell me pati si Yilmaz...

Atty. Rama-Gutierrez: ang landi mo talaga kris, pati ba naman si Yilmaz. hindi naman ako gaga no, hindi ako pumapatol sa may asawa!!! at lalong di sa asawa ng anak ko! That's all your honors!
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FPJ's crash course on economics
Despite his earlier antiglobalization postures, FPJ would, it turns out, be having neoliberal economics for his presidency. This was announced by the economist Bernardo Villegas, who advised FPJ and provided him with reading materials on economics. The report says:

Asked to assess if Poe were able to absorb the lectures well, Villegas merely quipped that it’s hard to judge a person’s capability but noted that “Poe is intelligent, talkative and humane.” This is contrary, Villegas said, to Poe’s “laconic image” in public.

“Besides, the brain’s capacity to absorb knowledge is infinite,” he said, stressing that people “should just have to be patient with his education.”

Not true. The brain's capacity to absorb knowledge is not infinite. Perhaps a toddler's brain has infinite capacity to learn, but FPJ is no spring chicken. FPJ, like normal people who deteriorate through time, has fewer brain cells now than when he was younger. (This deterioration must have been further aggravated by FPJ's beer drinking.) An older person's memory is simply not as retentive as a younger person's. It is seriously doubtful if Villegas's Economics 101 really made an impact on FPJ. Two hours of advising and lectures are not enough; the academics are simply too overwhelmed by the sight of potential political power that they lose their proper judgment on this matter.

FPJ is getting too many briefings these days from academics who, for all their bright and shining Ph.D's, are not especially known--we must admit--for their communicative skills with high school dropouts. The academics advising FPJ are actually overestimating two things: 1) their own pedagogic skills and 2) FPJ's capacity to learn on the fly.

Everybody though is happy with this arrangement. FPJ's campaign gets a semblance of coherence, the academics' egos get a boost, and the reporters get stories to write.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Oral arguments at the Supreme Court on FPJ's citizenship
Limpbwizit blogs on the SC arguments:

Atty. Moreno: Thank you for raising that Madame Justice, it is of public knowledge your honors that fernando poe jr. is dubbed as the king of philippine movies. he would not be called such if he is not a natural-born filipino actor because making around 500 movies in 50 years would not be easy if you are not a natural-born, hence, under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, the career of fernando poe jr. speaks for itself - that he is a natural-born filipino actor. and in my experience with that's entertainment, your honors, i can spot whether an aspiring actor is a natural-born or not and with all honesty, your honors, and i think the whole country would agree, that fernando poe jr. is a natural-born filipino actor. furthermore, the father of fernando poe jr. is fernando poe sr., as suggested by his name, and his father was a known filipino actor of his time, thus, following the well-settled doctrine that the fruit of the poisonous tree is also poisonous, there is an overwhelming evidence that fernando poe jr. is a natural-born filipino actor. it is thus submitted your honors that by the facts of public knowledge that was just presented, mr. fernando poe jr. is a natural-born filipino. before i end my argument your honros, i would like to distribute to you these newly-released CDs from vicor records, these are the albums of my former babies in that's entertainment, and some gift packs from the sponsors of my show. sha-la-la will distribute them to you your honors.
Amicus Curiae Kris Aquino: How about the argument under the doctrine of poisonous tree? Kasi, like my Josh, he's so like his daddy Ipe, and my brother noynoy, he's a carbon-copy talaga of my dad, that's why i'm super kumbinsi that because tito ron's dad was a great filipino actor, tito ron is a natural-born filipino actor.

Solicitor General: Thank you raising that, madame amicus curiae. It is disputable whether the father necessarily sires a son of equal or greater character than he is. It is also of public knowledge that the respondent's best friend erap was a handsome man during his youth, but questions arose - how about jinggoy? Furthermore, erap estrada is known to have so many women in his life so it is also proper to ask - how about jude?How about Dolphy Quizon and Eric Quizon? it is thus submitted, your honors, that the poisonous tree doctrine finds no application in this case.

Atty. Armida Siguion-Reyna: Your Honors, I shall be direct-to-the-point with our second argument. It is our contention that fernando poe jr. is, aside from being a natural-born filipino actor, also a natural-born filipino boxer, as earlier raised by the counsel for the petitioner. it is of public knowledge your honors that filipinos are natural boxers as demonstrated by great filipino boxing champions like flash elorde, luisito espinosa jr., manny pacquiao, onyok velasco, and bong navarette, not to mention the obvious popularity of the sport in the country.

Mme. Justice Chico-Nazario : did the respondent win any boxing championship?

Atty. Armida Siguion-Reyna: none that i know of Madame Justice but noteworthy is his fist-fighting ability that he knocks down all of his opponents with his trademark rapid punches punctuated by his another trademark "cymballing" of the bad guy through the latter's ears. these, on top of being natural abilities that could not be acquired by training by those who were not natural-born boxers, your honors, are uniquely filipino boxing routines born and existing only in the philippine scene. being a unique filipino boxing routine, it follows that it's creator is a natural-born filipino for we can not, by any means, claim as uniquely ours something not created by a natural-born filipino.

Justice Reynato Puno: counsel, it was already said earlier that one single occurrence should not be taken to prove a general fact.

Atty. Siguion-Reyna: I took note of that your honors and as a matter of fact, i have other examples to cite to prove my point. Mr. Poe is also a filipino legend as proven by his movie alamat ng lawin. by simple translation, the legend of the hawk. according to bouvier's law dictionary, a legend is a story of how things came into being and mr. poe could not be a legend if he is not a natural-born because legends are born and not made. thus, he is not just a natural-born filipino actor and boxer, he is also a natural-born filipino legend. your honors, the facts pointing to fernado poe's being a natural-born is overwhelming, it is therefore submitted that he should not be disqualified from running as president of this country.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Nelson Mandela is coming to town on March 23!
Teddy Benigno in his column today quotes Luis Taruc announcing this. No mention of the occasion and other details though.
Booty capitalist
Raul Rodrigo writes today about the happy life of Danding Cojuangco as a rentseeker:

By dint of astute, sharp-elbowed maneuvering, Danding built one monopoly after another: coconuts, soft drinks, beer, and so on. When Marcos fell, he was on the verge of building a new sugar monopoly. The Boss’s modus operandi remained the same, whether in Marcos’s time or Erap’s: use other people’s money to create monopolies, leverage these monopolies into wangling even more power and influence, and all the while keep enough resources flowing to the powers-that-be to keep them looking the other way.
"All this public display of love is vulgar and pure foreign nonsense."
---D. Khandelwal, a local leader of the Indian hard-line group Vishwa Hindu Parishad, threatening to blacken the faces of young lovers with soot if they celebrated Valentine's Day

Monday, February 16, 2004

The president is reading komiks
Because of her embarrassing gaffes in speaking the national language, President GMA is reading komiks to hone her Filipino linguistic skills. The Inquirer reports that the president is in the habit of directly translating English phrases into Filipino: drawing the line turns into paggguhit ng linya and turning around the economy, the President disastrously translated as pagpapaikot-ikot ng ekonomiya.

I wonder what komiks GMA reads. And where does she get them? I see some on display at the National Bookstore, but I don't see some of the titles I enjoyed in the past (must be defunct now): Pinoy Klasiks, Pinoy Komiks, Kwento, Funny Komiks.

While the president is at it, she should also try listening to AM radio soaps on air luchtime. And one more thing: stay away from Randy David. The Filipino language as used in the academe can be just as off-putting to the masa as pagpapaikot-ikot ng ekonomiya.
Rumors of a disqualification
With vicious rumors circulating left and right about the alleged Malacanang predetermination of FPJ's citizenship, the Supreme Court should be hurling contempt of court charges to just about everybody--starting with Atty. Estelito Mendoza, who warned on primetime TV that an adverse decision would unleash chaos. (Atty. Leonard de Vera did exactly the same thing when he said that an SC decision declaring the Anti-Plunder Law unconstitutional would unleash chaos and People Power, and he was cited for indirect contempt by the Supreme Court and fined P20,000.)

What is especially galling is that these rumors currently circulating are being given credence by people who are presumed to be in the know. Their credence betrays their distrust and low opinion of the Supreme Court. Is our Supreme Court really this week and pliable that lawyers who have invested their lifetimes in the practice of law are all to ready to believe that our Supreme Court takes orders?

If the Supreme Court were a totally honorable institution, rumors of this type would have been nipped in the bud. That these rumors bubble up to become the stuff of front-page headlines only shows that despite our paeans to the rule of law we as a people do not really buy that justice-for-all claptrap.

Exactly what are the indications that the SC will decide against FPJ's citizenship? None but alleged insider rumors. The choice of amici curiae though can be more revealing. At least one of them, Dean Joaquin Bernas of the Ateneo, would be sharing the opinion that FPJ is qualified. And there seems to be no clear indications that the other three friends of the court--Justice Mendoza, Prof Balane, Dean Magallona--would be tendering diametrically opposite opinions. The purpose of all these rumors seems to be nothing more than to put on hold the money contributions flooding FPJ's coffers.

What happens though if, in any event, the SC disqualifies FPJ? Rumors of chaos and People Power scenarios are highly exaggerated. The combined FPJ and Erap crowds are simply not enough to overturn the present political dispensation--the unpopularity of GMA considered (read Conrado de Quiros's column which raises some doubts on this). As UP Prof Alex Magno is wont to point out, in People Power, it is not only the quantity but the quality of the crowd that counts. It is sad but the FPJ crowd of politically dispossessed may have the numbers but it doesn't have the quality to stage a successful People Power.

Incidentally, Raul Roco seems to be buoyed up by the prospect of FPJ's disqualification. He is confident that the electorate would choose him over the president in a mano a mano fight.
The World Social Forum: challenging empires
A critical anthology of essays on the theory and practice of the World Social Forum, with essays by wo/men from many parts of the world, is available here. The essays include two written by Filipinos: Walden Bello and Irene Santiago.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Desperately waiting for the UPCAT results
I have heard UPCAT results are quite late this year. All the other universities have released their rosters of accepted applicants, but UP's website has been eerily silent. High school seniors all over the country can hardly wait.
Peace fatigue
Today's main editorial talks about the "peace fatigue" everybody is feeling with regard to the peace talks between the NDF and the GRP:

Few Filipinos, however, are under the delusion that the talks would pave the way for the cessation of hostilities, permanent or otherwise, in the immediate future. In fact, there is so little public interest in the talks that the media would have completely ignored them had the Malacañang press office not been issuing a flurry of press releases on the Oslo talks and, in some cases, calling in favors from reporters and editors. Nobody really cares.

Joaquin Bernas, exasperated by the futility of the talks, even unholy compares Saint Monica and GMA:

The patience of Gloria, not yet a saint, is being tested by the Netherlands exiles. They will not negotiate unless first delisted from the Roll of Terrorists authored by President Bush and the Europeans. Gloria may have to wait as long as Monica.

Nobody free from Pollyana delusions can seriously think that peace can be had in this time, or in the near future. Joma deplores GMA; the rebels call the present dispensation clerico-fascist. How can they possibly be expected to agree on anything? The two camps totally proceed from mutually exclusive positions.

Peace talks are done not so much to seek peace as to humor the reporters. Neither the government nor the NDF wants peace; they want peace talks. The NDF buys time while the government gets something to talk and write about.

And the people are the ultimate losers. Just how much does the goverment spend for hotel accomodations, staff functions, plane fares? Does Norway contribute?

If the money spent on fruitless peace talks were doled out to invidual rebels instead, we would probably be closer to peace. Probably disastrous for public accounting, but undeniably more efficient than our peace talks today.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Web prowl
Time magazine reports about Filipino soldiers doing humanitarian work in Iraq and how they are unfazed by the situation there. Read JM Coetzee's absolutely delightful short story "As A Woman Grows Older" (funny thing is I imagine Nadine Gordimer as the woman protagonist while reading the story). A first-year medical student writes about dissecting a corpse here.
FPJ and the economy
Tony Lopez had a conversation with FPJ and asked him about the economy. FPJ's reply was:

I’ll try to bring back people’s trust in the government. They (my political opponents) seem to forget that particular word—trust. We should bring back trust. If you don’t have trust in a person, then the relationship is finished. It’s like swimming. If there is a lifeguard and you trust him, you go swimming, if there are no lifeguards then you don’t feel confident swimming.

The pivotal question though is: Do the country's businessmen trust FPJ as a lifeguard? This is important because the D and E class may trust FPJ all they want, but they barely constitute a national economy by themselves. Economy means businessmen which constitute a sizable proprtion of the country's elites who, rightly or not, are contemptous of FPJ's gall to run for president. A recent survey commissioned by Makati Business Club among its members yielded zero--not one, not two-- but a resounding zero vote for FPJ. And there is no sign in the horizon that the negative perception of the country's elites will change any time soon.

The only reason why the country's elites and managerial classes are barely tolerating FPJ's candidacy is that they are not quite intellectually rigorous enough (plus perhaps the natural conservative inertia of people doing well in the status quo) to reject majoritarian rule altogether.

FPJ is cruisin' for a major bruisin'. He does not know it yet, but he will know soon enough. It is only the Americans that we fully trust. FPJ insists he is a Filipino. He may be right.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

What's the real score?
It seems Senator Biazon can not quite decide which side he is on. After dramatically joining Roco in his quest for the Philippine Camelot and saying paeans about Roco's being the best candidate in promoting the public good, Sen Biazon has now bolted Roco's alliance in favor of GMA's K-4.

What happened ? Did Sen. Biazon see the the hitherto unknown dark side of Roco? Or has there been a sudden and precipitate reconfiguration of the public good overnight?

Roco himself has a simpler explanation, the Inquirer reports. Biazon, according to Roco, was bought off by 30M pesos to join GMA's camp. Thirty million pesos is quite a good amount for anybody's retirement, but Biazon, of course, denies he was proselytized by cash and cites personality differences between him and Roco, differences which Biazon says he is at pains not to divulge.

The first time I read about these supposed personality differences, I thought Biazon and Roco were having an annulment of marriage. "Personality differences" is the cliche reason given by people breaking up previously amorous relationships. The reason he gave is meaningless crap and the public deserves better than that. Even if the 30 M grease money were true, Biazon should have given a better reason than personality differences--something perhaps like he could no longer abide Roco's gumamela shirts. The public should understand this, with Biazon's being of the older generation and a former military man and all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Job openings
GMA NETWORK INC. is urgently looking for graduates who can fill the following positions:

· graduate of either library science/mass communications/journalism
· willing to work either of the following schedules: 7am-3pm/3pm-11pm/11pm-7am
· familiar with government personalities
· excellent in written communication
· writes legibly
· likes to watch television
· can start as soon as possible

· graduate of library science
· excellent grades in indexing
· writes legibly
· willing to start immediately

· graduate of any course
· willing to work either of the following schedules: 7am-3pm/3pm-11pm/11pm-7am
· typing speed of 40wpm
· computer literate
· can start immediately

***For interested parties, please email your curriculum vitae and transcript or true copy of grades to

***For inquiries and exam schedules, please contact 09206091701(Ms April).
In an interview with the Council on Foreign Relations, John Lewis Gaddis, a noted historian of U.S. foreign policy, says the Bush administration's pre-emption doctrine is "the most dramatic and most significant shift" in Washington's international strategy since the outbreak of the Cold War following World War II. Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of East Timor, spoke with The Irrawaddy in Bangkok on East Timor's solidarity with the democracy movement in Burma and its leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Bush's Wow Mali
The transcript of the NBC interview last Feb 8 with US President Bush can be read here. Bush admitted a deficiency in the intel work for the Iraq invasion, but pleaded that in any case, the American people should understand the context in which he made the decision to invade.

In the interview, Bush also denied that he was a deserter during the Vietnam War. And, no, he never knew Kerry at Yale, contrary to Kerry's claims.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Counting democracy
If I were Benjamin Abalos I would require this to be posted on the main entrance to the COMELEC building in Intramuros:

It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting.
--British dramatist Tom Stoppard, Jumpers

Something to perk up the employees in these trying times.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Free access to SAGE academic journals
SAGE will provide free complete access to its academic journals until March 31.
Bush v. the intellectuals
Wall Street Journal had an op-ed on the disdain felt by the intellectuals for US President Bush. The first paragraph:

Many people look back on their college years and regret how much they missed of the great intellectual resources of the university. Not me. My regrets are about failing to meet more of the remarkable people who were my fellow undergraduates at Harvard and nearby MIT. I thought of such socializing as mere fun, which came after coursework. As a result, there were a lot of interesting students I never got to meet, from Benjamin Netanyahu to Benazir Bhutto, from Bill Gates to Scott McNealy, even though some of these people knew friends of mine. But my regrets are more wistful than realistic, since no one knew everyone in college.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

PDE National Lecture Series
(Sponsored by: National Economic and Development Authority, National Statistics Office, Tariff Commission, Development Bank of the Philippines and the UPSE Program in Development Economics)

Title : Philippine Economic Development:

Guest Speakers : Prof. Gerardo Sicat
Prof. Solita Monsod
Prof. Cielito Habito
Sec. Romulo Neri
Date : February 20, 2004 (Friday)
Time : 1:00 PM
Venue : Development Bank of the Philippines Penthouse Makati City

Entrance Fee is P 150.00 (inclusive of snacks).
For inquiries or confirmation, please get in touch with the following:
Ms. Rose San Pascual of UPSE at 920-5481 or
Mr. Benjie Turiano of NEDA at 631-3757 or
Mr. Jojo Cajita of NSO at 716-0734
Ms. Luming Burgos of Tariff Commission at 924-3123
All Da King's Men
Newsbreak has a story on the people running FPJ's campaign.

Friday, February 06, 2004

BusinessWorld needs Special Features Writer
BusinessWorld is one of the respected publications distibuted all over Asia (visit to get more background info). They are in need of FULL TIME SPECIAL FEATURES WRITER. This is an urgent job opening. Those with writing experience are preferred. Please call Ms. Dang at 535.9936 for more information.
The exquisite embarrassment of being FPJ
Minda News banners the story on how Davao scribes were disappointed over FPJ's ignorance on the Mindanao peace issue. Minda News reports that:

Poe, who is known to dislike nosy reporters, could not elaborate on the subject and lamely answered, “ Hopefully we can solve peace and order. Hopefully we can give peace sa inyong lahat.”

The answer sent a chill among reporters who wanted Poe to elaborate more about attaining peace, Mindanao’s main issue.

Of course, Loren Legarda, the ever-reliable sidekick who has recently replaced Berting Labra, was quick to the rescue and said " Peace in Mindanao at all costs," which is pretty much as nebulous as what FPJ lamely said.

If FPJ's answers to queries made by reporters are to be an indication of his coming administration, then for the next six years we are perhaps going to be in limbo, groping our way in the dark. FPJ's pronouncements on policy issues are just about as helpful as beauty contestants' elucidating the ways on attaining world peace.

FPJ is simply at a loss. And it is horrifying that the people around him, rather that honestly doing something about his perceived inadequacies by perhaps coaching him, are trying to hide the obvious by shielding him from reporters.

Jessica Soho's interview of FPJ amounted to more or less seven minutes and FPJ only consented to elaborate on his siring an illegitimate child. I know that illegitimate children may throw some light on a person's sense of responsibility, but sexual indiscretions in the past are hardly an issue of national importance.

I saw the footage on TV where GMA's Sandra Aguinaldo had an ambush interview with FPJ (with Legarda closely beside him shoulder-to-shoulder). Aguinaldo would throw a question, FPJ would say a one-liner, Legarda would explain. There was a pretty tense embarrassing moment though when this oh-so-subtly cruel and nasty Sandra Aguinaldo asked FPJ if he felt alluded to by GMA's recent pronouncements about choosing a leader of brains and experience. Aguinaldo asked--audibly-- the question twice : Sir, do you feel alluded to?

Apparently, FPJ did not understand what being alluded to meant so Aguinaldo translated it: Palagay nyo po ba pinaparinggan kayo? FPJ then curtly answered negative and Legarda tried to brush aside the awkardness of the encounter with a guffaw.

GMA reporters are really nosy and I think have a tacit understanding to embarrass all the presidential candidates--except Roco. Vicky Morales did the same thing to Presidentiable Eddie Gil, when she badgered the latter with the question about his net worth. Eddie Gil did not understand the meaning of the phrase "net worth" so he gave oblique answers thrice. Morales kept on pushing with net worth that Gil, visibly exasperated, asked Morales what net worth meant.

It is such a sad spectacle to see presidential candidates display their ignorance. The Davao reporters had a taste of it recently in the case of FPJ. We will probably have more and more and more of it in the coming days.
A London Review of Books review essay writes about Sappho, the controversial poet from Lesbos.
What kids think of classic rock music
The Guardian has an article on this. Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit was a hit, while Bob Dyalan in Like A Rolling Stone "sounds like he's just smelled something really bad, like cat poo."

Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

What the grown-ups say: "... reflects Kurt Cobain's skilful mingling of Stooges'-style brute yobbism (grinding guitars and yelping vocals), American punk and late 1970s art rock." (NME)

What the kids say:

Ben This is amazing. The bass is amazing. It's brilliant.

Holly I like him singing, "Hello, hello, hello" - that's funny.

Sophie It's making me think about doing bad things like putting snowballs down my sister's back.

Benjamin This would definitely win Pop Idol.

Holly Good, goodbye, goodbye.

Benjamin 12 out of 10. Actually 3000 out of 3000.

Attention span: Whole song.

Better than Busted? "Yes."

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Job opening
Adarna House, the leading publisher of storybooks for Filipino children, is looking for a writer for an upcoming project.

Writer applicants must...
- have highly developed writing skills
- have good command of Filipino and English
- be proficient with MS Word
- be creative
- have excellent interpersonal skills
- be a team player
- like children (or at least he/she should know how kids' brains work)

Please submit copies of your résumé and two writing samples, preferably essays, to Adarna House, Inc., Room 102 JGS Building, 30 Scout Tuason St., Quezon City 1103. You may also e-mail them to

For inquiries, please call 372-3548 local 108. Look for Luwi Infante.
Human error in capital punishment
The only way to prevent the execution of innocent people is not to execute anyone, says this Findlaw column. Scott Turow basically says the same thing in his new book Ultimate Punishment. Read Observer's review of the book:

There will always be cases that cry out for ultimate punishment, but that is not the true issue. The pivotal question is whether a system of justice can be constructed that reaches only the rare, right cases without also occasionally condemning the innocent or underserving. Let Gacy live to save the Hernandezes and Thomases. Let justice be roughly done to save our politicians from posturing, pusillanimity and vote-grabbing. Let there be no more death by state decree.

I wonder how our politicians can countenance the death penalty and trumpet its deterrent effect when all studies conclude that such deterrent effect is a chimera. On a related note, does approving executions amount to a personal sin on the part of the president, a sin that needs to be confessed ? GMA in hell is simply too disturbing. I must remember to ask a priest.
Fallout from Janet Jackson's breast
At first everybody was denying it was planned, but now MTV and Janet Jackson admit that the breast exposure during the Super Bowl halftime show was indeed part of the choreography masterminded by Jackson herself as a publicity stunt to promote her coming single (Click here for the pictures.)

The breast exposure has one-upped Madonna's kiss with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. The question on everybody's mind now is who will take the challenge and, in turn, trump Jackson. There is a need though to detemine first if the American First Amendment protects such "indecency. "Michael Dorf of Findlaw addresses that question.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Because of the decision of the Supreme Court declaring as unconstitutional some of the provisions of Republic Act (R.A.)7942, more popularly known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, 23 mining permits in the Cordillera have been scrapped, the Manila Times reports. Business World also reports on how the SC decision throws a dark cloud on the Malampaya project.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The University of the Philippines conferred upon Dr. Onofre Corpuz the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa on January 27. You can read his address during the conferment here.
The Third U.P. Public Lectures on the Philippine Presidency and Administration
(Organized by the UP School of Economics Program in Development Economics in coordination with the Center for Leadership, Citizenship and Democracy of the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance)

Title : The Arroyo Presidency and Administration (2001-2004): A self-assessment of the socioeconomic planning sector
Speaker : Hon. Romulo L. Neri
(Director General, National Economic and Development Authority and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary)
Date : February 5, 2004 (Thursday)
Time : 2:00 PM
Venue : Diosdado Macapagal Hall (SE Auditorium)
Everyone is invited. Admission is FREE.
The miseducation of the Filipinos
Felipe Miranda of the Philippine Star and Manuel Quezon of the Inquirer both write about the miserable state of education in the Philippines.

Quezon is writing off the entire miseducated generation of EDSA I babies. He hopes that the new and more stringent grading system will yield a better educated generation. Writing off a generation as forever lost is pretty dour, but Miranda is even more despondent: "If a political development of the first order were to take place within the year, there will be a properly educated Filipino public by the 2080s."

Belonging to the generation Quezon is writing off, I cannot help but feel a little defensive. Is our generation's condition really that bad? Or was there ever, honestly, an educated generation in the Philippines?

I was tutoring a high school student--a relative--last December, and my aunt was so incensed at his educational inadequacies that she started rattling off an almost exhaustive list of my cousin's faults. My cousin retorted back sharply, cutting my aunt in the middle of her litany: "If you were so good, why don't you answer the math questions in the textbook?"

My aunt was taken aback and was at a loss for words. I could not help but smile then because I know my aunt--who has an education degree although she never taught--does not know the answers. Hell, my aunt couldn't tell a quadratic from a linear equation, much more look for coordinates even if her life depended on it.

I think the point of the above anecdote is this: We are a mess because the generations that preceeded as were no better. And come May 2004 members of the generations preceeding ours will crowd the polls to vote for the star of their generations: FPJ "Da King."

Jose Rizal was complaining about the state of Philippine education during the fin de siecle. As far as I know Crisostomo Ibarra's physics class was well and alive before just as it is well and alive now. The scourge of miseducation is shared by all generations.

Our public school system will never be better. Why? Because our ministers of lofty portfolios simply do not have personal stakes in the system. Their children go to exclusive private schools of prohibitive matriculation. The public education can go to hell tomorrow and their own children would be spared. The resuscitation of our public school system is possible, but, sans the personal stakes, our public officials simply do not feel its immediacy.

I myself attended public schools all my life--and I am not talking of some fancy science schools, but the down and dirty public schools of a second-class municipality. It was terrible.

To give one an idea of how miseducated I am (I am almost tempted to say was): My English teacher in high school announced in the class that Shakespeare invented Cleopatra, and when I and one of my classmates accosted and told her that Cleopatra was, in fact, a figure in world history, she would hear none of it, and so it was that Cleopatra never existed in my English class.

Another teacher also announced rather pompously that Darwin's theory of evolution has been debunked, but she never told us by whom. Another science teacher, who prided herself for being the most learned among the science teachers in that school, was erroneously pronouncing cation as keyshon. She will probably be bringing her unique rendering of the word to her grave without realizing her mistake.

And I was luckier than most kids in my town. I lived in the poblacion so I supposedly had the "best teachers." Just imagine what the public school teachers are teaching in the smaller barangay schools. When we graduated, half of my high school section did not bother with university applications because high school was the furthest level of education they could afford.

Personally, I think of my public school education as a red badge of courage. I've been through hell and I emerged probably intellectually wanting but still--one has to grant--I am not exactly out of the race yet. I remember how I hated family reunions when my uncle would brag about his children getting their education in La Salle and the Ateneo and how brilliant they were. He was so condescending. I was too polite then to point out his children and I were simply incommensurate. My parents were paying more or less 100 pesos for my education while he was paying thousands. If my cousins had a thousand times my IQ, it was but just and proper.

The discrimination I experienced before during those reunions make me only too aware of the massive gap between the education of the elite children and the education of the rest of us.

Public schools do not have the resources, the books, the teachers. Potentially bright minds are going down the drain simply because parents could not afford private schools. Students from public high schools, especially those from the provinces, are lagging behind in academic performance so much so that the University of the Philippines has found it necessary to engage in some form of affirmative action program.

The public school system is falling. Why should the elites care when they can afford private schools? Simple. Miseducation of the Filipino people makes it possible for FPJ to be president, for Bong Revilla to be elected to the Senate. Give the people good public liberal education and there would be no need for People Power. And besides whatever happened to good old noblesse oblige?
Free workshop
Scriptwriting for radio workshop sponsored by Creative Collective Center, Incorporated will be held at University Hostel, UP Diliman. (near Balay Kalinaw) on 4 February 2004 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mr. Rene O. Villanueva, the multi-awarded writer, Dra. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio, respected psychologist and
professor from UP Diliman and Dra. Junice Melgar, director of Linangan ng mga Kababaihan, are the lecturers.

For details, please call 925-8066.
The end of postmodern literary theory
The Christian Science Monitor brings us the pleasant news that postmodern literary theory is growing passe--and as a corollary, non-lit majors unschooled in Derrida and company, can once again participate in the discussion of literature.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Berlusconi the metrosexual
"I look in the mirror and I like what I see. And I think I am more pleasing to others, too."
--Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi,on his new look after having cosmetic surgery around his eyes and going on a diet. He added, "I am not finished yet, as you can see."
Jose Sison of the Philippine Star summarizes the arguments of the pro and contra side regarding FPJ's natural-born Filipino citizenship.
Democracy versus the free market
Amy Chua, a Fil-Am law professor teaching at Yale (who, if internet rumor is to be trusted, wears leather trousers during lectures), has this thesis that is increasingly becoming popular among academic circles, which she expounded in a number of essays (like this one appearing in the Wilson Quarterly).

Globalization, according to Chua, is simultaneously inundating the developing world with free-market capitalism and democracy. Those two, however, make different sets of people powerful. The ascendancy of the free market means more power to the minorities who dominate national economies (like the Chinese in Southeast Asia, the Lebanese in Westy Africa); the promotion of democracy though gives political power to the majorities. Chua says that when these two groups of people collide you get explosions of ethnic violence.

Market-dominant minorities are the Achilles’ heel of free-market democracy. In societies with such a minority, markets and democracy favor not just different people or different classes but different ethnic groups. Markets concentrate wealth, often spectacular wealth, in the hands of the market-dominant minority, while democracy increases the political power of the impoverished majority. In these circumstances, the pursuit of free-market democracy becomes an engine of potentially catastrophic ethnonationalism, pitting a frustrated “indigenous” majority, easily aroused by opportunistic, vote-seeking politicians, against a resented, wealthy ethnic minority.

Chua offers a new way of looking at what is happening in the Third World. The American audience though is interested because Chua says that the Americans are a market-dominating minority in the global stage, and the resentment being generated by American success is comparable to the resentment being directed against, for example, the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia.

Chua's sexy thesis rings true. The poor and the wealthy are naturally predisposed to collide (didn't Marx say this before?). Two-pronged globalization (free market and democracy) is making those potential collisions deadlier by empowering both the poor and the wealthy.

Chua extrapolated her thesis from the murder of her wealthy Chinese aunt (who gifted her with a gold bar during graduation!) by the Filipino family driver. I wonder though if she is correct in saying that the Filipinos resent the welath of the ethnic Chinese in the Philippines. My opinion is that Filipinos, like Americans, do not resent great wealth; otherwise, with the feudalism and inequality of the Philippines, the communists should have made significant inroads and should be close to a revolution by now.

The above thesis has been developed by Chua into a book: World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability. The book has been hailed by the editors of the Economist as one of last year's best books on current affairs.