Showing posts from 2013

“It’s a political Yolanda.”

That’s how one political analyst depicted the devastation that the recent unanimous Supreme Court (SC) decision wrought upon our political landscape.
“In a landmark decision that could spell the end of political patronage, the Supreme Court on Tuesday declared unconstitutional past and present congressional pork barrel laws as it ordered the criminal prosecution of individuals who had benefited from the schemes over the past two decades.” (Source: Inquirer News)

In a nutshell, the SC upheld the principle of separation of powers, that is, the legislative crafts laws, the executive implements those laws and the judiciary interprets the laws. With the pork barrel system, the legislative is doing the work of the executive. (I will leave the discussion of the salient points of that game changing decision to law experts such as constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J. Read his “SC decision restores normalconstitutional order”)

Indeed, the SC decision dealt a lethal blow to political pat…

Cut Him Some Slack

Who would want to be president at this moment?
One crisis after another dogged President Noynoy Aquino lately. The Zamboanga battle. The Bohol earthquake. And now, the super typhoon Yolanda in Central Philippines. 

To say that our situation is so overwhelming is an understatement.
Three days ago, it seemed that he groaned under its weight. [President Aquino] allegedly walked out on a disaster briefing in Tacloban City… [He] was frustrated by reports from the disaster risk reduction council and a comment from an unnamed businessman who urged him to declare a state of emergency amid an alleged spate of killings in the city. The businessman claimed he was held at gunpoint by a group of men. Aquino, clearly irked by the claim, was quoted saying, “But you did not die, right?” The President returned to the meeting, several minutes later, reports said. (Source: Inquirer.Net)Because of that, Filipino netizens called him a “brat” among other labels for that apparent presidential walkout. The Pala…

Taking It To The Next Level

To run in a marathon.
That’s one of the items in my “bucket list.” (A bucket list is a list of things I want to do before I “kick the bucket” or, in short, before I die.) But, like Carter Chambers (a.k.a. Morgan Freeman) in “The Bucket List” movie, I thought such a list was supposed to be philosophical, not literal.
But why make a list and not fulfill it at all?
The truth is, how could I run in a marathon when I was not really in shape? (I jokingly tell people I was actually in shape because round is a shape.) Seriously, I have hypertension and diabetes due a sedentary (read: unhealthy) lifestyle.
Yes, I have been regularly taking my maintenance meds. But that’s only a fourth of what I’m supposed to do. There has to be diet modification, lifestyle change and… exercise. The latter is something I have doing on and off. More off than on.
Then our church, Capitol City Baptist Church, had a fun run recently as part of our fund drive for our building. While promoting in a church, I told them tha…

The Virgin Birth Myth? (Part 2)

Read: The Virgin Birth Myth? (Part 1)

Why is there a need for the virgin birth? Why do Christians believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin-born?

In his Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine, Wayne Grudem gave three reasons for the virgin birth.

First, “[i]t shows that salvation ultimately must come from the Lord. … The virgin birth of Christ is an unmistakable reminder that salvation can never come through human effort, but must be the work of God himself.” Just as the physical birth of Jesus was miraculous, so also the spiritual birth of believers is nothing short of miraculous. John 1:12-13 tell us, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, the gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (ESV) 

Second, it made possible the union of two natures—undiminished deity and perfect humanity—in Christ. Grudem wrote
If we think for a moment of other possible ways in wh…

The Virgin Birth Myth? (Part 1)

More than a month from now, we will be remembering the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s not the intent of this series to discuss the date of His birthday. I already wrote about it here. I want to focus on whether it’s true that Jesus was born of a virgin or not. 

Knowing how militant (read: aggressive) critics of Christianity can be, I expect a flood of attacks questioning the facts and the circumstances regarding His birth. Yet, I believe it’s a great jump-off point for us to share the Good News.

Did the Bible really teach the virgin birth of Christ? 

In Matthew 1, we read: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” (v. 18, ESV. Emphasis added) The New Living Translation leaves no doubt as to what the clause “before they came together” means: “This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But b…

Caught In The Act

If it goes viral, no doubt a picture is worth more than a thousand words. 

It could even cost one’s job, as in the recent case of two airport staff caught on camera playing video games apparently while on duty at the Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“The employees were photographed in their workstations while a long line of people were seen nearby. The photo has gone viral and earned criticisms.” (ABS-CBN News) They may give the excuse that they were on coffee break. But they actually played games using computers—along with the Internet and the electricity—paid with the sweat-blood-and-tears money collected from the overseas Filipino workers at the airport. 

Taking responsibility for what happened, Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said that he already started disciplinary procedures. 

Though he refused to name them, “Cacdac said one of the workers is a contractual employee and may be fired while the second employee cou…

The Comfort of Confession

“If you have to tell the truth eventually, you have to tell it immediately.”

That’s what my friend, wealth and life coach, Chinkee Tan shared in one of his trademark Chink Positive quotes.

For almost 30 years, death row convict William Happ vehemently denied that he had anything to do with the rape and murder of Angela Crowley, “who was strangled and raped, and her body found in a canal” way back in 1986. (Inquirer) Despite his claim to be innocent, the investigators matched a footprint found in the crime scene to that of Happ’s. 
However, “as he lay on the table where he was ultimately executed” via lethal injection, Happ finally confessed to the crime.
For 27 years, the horrible murder of Angela Crowley has been clouded by circumstantial evidence and uncertainty. For the sake of her family, loved ones and all concerned, it is to my agonizing shame that I must confess to this terrible crime… I wish to offer my most sincere and heartfelt apologies not only to those concerned for Angela Cr…

The Boy Who Cried Pork (Part 2)

Seemingly emboldened by the apparent success of his so-called ‘peanut butter defense,’ Senator Jinggoy Estrada once again had the nerve to use his position as a bully pulpit. 

(According to Edilberto C. de Jesus, professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management, “Litigation lawyers, when confronted with damning evidence, joke that the respondent’s recourse is to hide behind the ‘Peanut Butter Defense’—spread the blame. One website condensed the thrust of this strategy thus: ‘I am a thief, but I am not the only one.’” [Inquirer. Emphasis added.])  

In his privilege speech before, he hid behind his parliamentary immunity to defend himself from the accusation that he (along with Senators Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile) sliced a chunk of his pork barrel for himself though fake non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 

Just the other day, he bullied—to no avail—Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan during the Senate budget hearing last Wednesday (October 16). 

The Best Time To Prepare Was Yesterday

The collapse of  the belfry of the Sto. Nino Church in Cebu City due to the magnitude 7.2 earthquake last Tuesday, October 15, 2013. Source: ABS-CBN News via YouTube
As of this writing, 156 people died and more than 3.2 million others affected by the massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas last Tuesday (October 15, 2013). We fear that the death toll would “rise as rescuers and relief workers reach some of the isolated towns hardest hit by the disaster.” (Rappler) Other than 10 iconic, centuries-old Catholic churches that crumbled like sand castles, “[e]stimates for the cost of damaged roads, bridges and flood control infrastructure are at P75.15 million.” (Ibid)

Panic during quake caught on CCTV. Source: YouTube
At the risk of sounding morbid, the question has to be asked: “What’s the scenario when a major earthquake with that magnitude hits Metro Manila?”

Note that I did not say “if” but “when.” Apparently, according to experts, “a Magnitude 7 or a stronger earthquake ……

Show of Force?

“Nope, there’s no typhoon.” 

So goes the first line of a Rappler report of class suspensions today. So why is there a metrowide-class suspension? “But there will be no classes from preschool to high school levels, both public and private, in all cities across Metro Manila Monday, October 14, due to an Iglesia ni Cristo [INC] medical-dental mission that is expected to attract 1.6 million participants.” (Source: Rappler) As of this writing, 63% are annoyed in Rappler’s Mood Meter. 

We welcome medical and dental missions. It is a reminder to all of us no matter what our faith is that, when we are heavenly minded, we should have earthly good as well.

I just find myself agreeing with what somebody commented, “We all know na walang [that there’s no] infrastructure to do humanitarian missions of that scale in the metro but still they allow INC doing it, and of all days on the start of the usual work week in the middle of the academic year, in areas of ridiculous foot and motor traffic.” (Ibid)