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Showing posts from September, 2013

Petty Crimes

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“Thud!”

Stunned, Nelson looked at his side mirror. He saw this guy rolling on the ground. He was so sure he didn’t see him anywhere near his car. So, he could not imagine how he could have hit him. He stepped on the brake. The guy ran towards his car, picked up a stone in the center island of the road and threatened to break his windshield. 

Showing his bruises, the guy angrily demanded money. He claimed that he only went out to buy medicine for his sick child. Due to the “accident,” the bottle fell to the ground and broke. He insisted that Nelson pay P850 for it. To avoid further arguments, Nelson coughed out P600. 

When his wife shared the encounter with a friend, she told her that oddly she heard that story before. Her friend then sent her a Facebook link about another driver who had the same traumatic experience. This time she secretly took a photo of the alleged “victim.” Nelson and his wife were shocked to see that it was the same guy! [Nelson told the story personally to me. His e…

The New Guest List

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When an Atlanta charity got a call from the Fowler family, inviting 200 homeless to the upscale Villa Christina restaurant for a four-course meal last Sunday, they thought it was just a practical (read: cruel) joke at first. (Source: New York Daily News)



But it wasn’t a joke. The “kind-hearted Atlanta couple made the best out of a bad situation by donating their daughter’s canceled wedding reception to the homeless.” (Ibid) According to Carol Fowler, the mother of the bride, “It was my husband’s idea. … We prayed about it. And when he woke up the next morning, [Willie] said, ‘We’re going to call Hosea Feed the Hungry and ask if we can donate it to the needy.’” (Ibid) And donate they did.

The food presentation, the gold plates and crystals reportedly overwhelmed the “guests.” According to Elisabeth Omilami, CEO of the charity, “The passed hors d’oeuvre were very interesting because the children were wondering, ‘could we take the whole tray, or do we just take one off of the tray?’ … So t…

The Boy Who Cried “Pork!” (Part 1)

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It seems that the more Senator Jinggoy Estrada opened his mouth in his privilege speech (Read the full text here), the more we smelled pork.


About two weeks ago, Estrada boasted that what he will reveal in his privilege speech would shock people. It sounded more like a mere squeal of a pig about to be slaughtered. In that hour-long rambling speech, not once did he deny the accusations hurled against him regarding the PDAF scam. It even made COA feel vindicated. 


According to COA chairperson Grace Pulido Tan, “He did not deny our findings. He did not say that we made a mistake on the PDAF, nothing. For me, that’s great. It’s a vindication for us that he himself who was identified in the PDAF audit has no complaints about the findings. His only complaint is that there’s selectivity.” (Source: “COA chair: Jinggoy’s speech vindicates us.” Rappler) 

And even when he cried against being among those allegedly singled out saying, “What makes us so special?” his speech seems to have backfired. Ta…

A shark that turned into a “dilis”?

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During the impeachment trial against (then) Chief Justice Renato Corona, like a great white shark, Senator Franklin Drilon went for the kill. Even when he was asked to inhibit as a senator-judge due to his apparent bias against Corona, he still attacked with killer calculations. He even forced a witness to cough out a key evidence on behalf of the seemingly inept prosecution. Thus, at that time, he earned the “porksecutor” label.

However, the shark seemed to have turned into a dilis (anchovy). 

Now, as the Senate President, Drilon apparently blocked the attempt of the ever-powerful Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to subpoena Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind or, at the very least, a co-conspirator in the PDAF scam. He refused to sign the subpoena for Napoles on the grounds that the Ombudsman advised him that doing so could prejudice the plunder case filed against her. He explained, “[M]y attention was called about the rule of the Ombudsman against the public disclosure of cases. … …

“Everything is your fault” (Part 3)

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“I’d catch a grenade for you / Throw my hand on a blade for you / I’d jump in front of a train for you / You know I’d do anything for you / Oh, I would go through all this pain / Take a bullet straight through my brain / Yes, I would die for you, baby / But you won’t do the same”

It appears that Jessica ‘Gigi’ Reyes won’t sing this Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” hit song for her former boss, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. 



In Part 1 of this series, we read that Atty. Enrique dela Cruz, Enrile’s lawyer, blamed her and only her for the diversion of the senator’s pork barrel to fake NGOs.

When we heard that, my Twitter friends and I wondered whether it was all scripted. If it was, it must have been a poorly-written script. (Or, as my friend Christine F. Herrera @cfherrera_mst quipped,  a “poorly-executed” one.)


But, in a dramatic twist, she posted a statement on Facebook “which ABS-CBN News has confirmed to be authentic” and published “with permission,” Gigi Reyes decried that she’s being set up to take …

"Everything is your fault" (Part 2)

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“Why are you running for this position?”

That’s the first question I fired during my interview with this newbie politician (at that time) many years ago when I was still with the media.

After trying to mumble a garbled sentence, he blurted out, “Cut! Cut! Cut!” with matching two-finger, scissor-like gesture. On cue, his staff without bothering to whisper told him, “Sir, tell them it’s the will of the people.” Roll camera. I repeated the question. He answered with a newfound confidence, “It’s the will of the people.”

Then, I fired back, “So, what are you planning to do once you win the post?” He gave me this just-saw-a-ghost look. He blurted out again, “Cut! Cut! Cut!” Same gesture. His staff gave him the answer again. Roll camera. Repeat question. He then mouthed the answer fed to him.

I shot back my follow-up question. ‘So, how are you going to accomplish that?” He quickly snapped back. “Yun ang tanong!” (“That’s the question!”) Then he again uttered, “Cut! Cut! Cut!” (Yes, he always…

"Everything is your fault." (Part 1)

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That’s the first rule of leadership.

“Everything is your fault.”

Even a grasshopper would tell that rule to embattled Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

In a not-so-surprising twist in the unraveling P10B PDAF scam drama, Enrique dela Cruz, Enrile’s lawyer and spokesperson, portrayed the senator as an unwitting victim. 
He did not sign any document directing the use of his funds to NGOs. He only signed documents to allocate funds to local government units… If his people or his employees did not follow his instruction or did something to divert the funds to NGO’s, Senator Enrile did not order it… So it’s not fair to blame Enrile for this mess… (Source: Inquirer.Net)So, who’s at fault? Dela Cruz laid the blame entirely on Enrile’s former chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes who “had allegedly authorized the release of millions of Enrile’s pork barrel funds to questionable NGOs linked to detained Janet Lim-Napoles.” (Ibid) Gigi was also one of those 38 people facing plunder, bribery, malversa…

Mission Possible: Retirement

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Yes, it is possible not just to retire per se but, much more, to retire comfortably!

That’s what Randell Tiongson, finance coach and author of “No Nonsense Personal Finance: A Step By Step Guide,” made me believe during last Saturday’s seminar.* 
Allow me to share a personal story. My father was a lowly bill collector. He was also the thriftiest guy I met in my life. (One night, his motorcycle broke down. So, he left it in a store at 10th Avenue, Caloocan City. At that time, we lived at 1st Avenue. The next day, we walked from our house to that store instead of riding a jeepney to fix his motorcycle. That’s 10 blocks away! He also taught me the value of hard work. He “volunteered” me to wash my uncle’s jeepneys. That provided for my allowance during college.) 
When he died a few years shy from his retirement, he had no debts. Other than the funeral benefits from the Social Security System and his retirement fund, we found out that he even left money in the bank for my mother. It’s not si…

“Money, Money, Money”

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“I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay / Ain’t it sad / And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me / That’s too bad”  

I believe most of us could relate to those lyrics from ABBA’s worldwide 1976 hit, “Money, Money, Money.” However, the solution is not as simple as the way the song revealed.

“In my dreams I have a plan / If I got me a wealthy man / I wouldn’t have to work at all / I’d fool around and have a ball / Money, money, money / Must be funny / In the rich man’s world”


In his no-holds barred book, “No Nonsense Personal Finance: A Step By Step Guide,”* personal finance coach Randell Tiongson declared, “There are no shortcuts to wealth.” 

He wrote, “Many times we often look for quick answers to our complex problems which are just wishful thinking. There are no shortcuts in achieving financial security, even if there are many proponents out there claiming so. We need to go through a process and go through a path which can be difficult and c…

Too Many Corners

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“To cut corners,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms, means “to do something in the easiest, quickest, or cheapest way, often harming the quality of your work.” 
Just get a square piece of paper. Cut off one corner. Instead of three corners, you now have five corners. So, when we cut corners, we actually end up with more corners. Thus, it would become the hardest, the longest and the costliest way to do one’s work.
That’s what I believe is what President Noynoy Aquino did when he personally handled the surrender of the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind (or, at the very least, the bag lady), Janet Lim-Napoles.
Critics branded the surrender as an ‘ill-designed script’ and a ‘political drama’ staged by the Aquino administration to show that the President was serious in investigating the pork barrel controversy. Napoles’ surrender, indeed, had the hallmarks of a high political drama, with no less than President Benigno Aquino III himself receiving Napoles in Malacaña…