Our best city mayor

Last December, right after the Sendong floods devastated it, I decided to go to Cagayan de Oro City, my hometown. As I posted in Facebook then, when my family and I landed in Lumbia airport at twilight and with rain falling, reciting the Joseph Parry poem seemed right: “Cherish friendship in your breast, New is …

8 lessons from the Corona impeachment trial

The conviction of Renato Corona under Article II of the impeachment complaint against him should count as a victory in Philippine governance—first, by the successful completion of the impeachment process, and second, by setting the standard of accountability that should be met by our public officials. When the impeachment trial began, I wrote and Rappler …

Patriots and revolutionaries

“Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” This famous quotation by Che Guevara, leader of the Cuban Revolution, captures best the lives of two men that are this column’s subject: Horacio “Boy” Morales, development leader, who died last week and will be …

Aquino, Murad, and Levinas

The great thing about being trained in philosophy is it has equipped me with conceptual frameworks that help me quickly understand complex events, especially those that may seem naïve or foolish but are actually profoundly groundbreaking and game-changing. This was my experience last Friday when I first heard (read actually – as I saw it …

In praise of our diplomats

Criticisms are being raised about the pace and manner with which the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are evacuating Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Libya, following an escalating civil war against the Gadhafi Government. Indeed, the evacuation should be more organized and conducted urgently, but we must understand that our diplomats there—and elsewhere around the …

History, Family and Country

At this time of the year, I always remember history’s repetitions, both the good ones and the sad. It’s probably because Christmas finds us repeating many rituals and seeing old friends. Because it is the last week of the year, we also get to read all of these media summaries of the year that was. …

Never again, Martial Law!

This Tuesday, 21 September, as I try to do every year, I will bring my Constitutional Law students from the University of the Philippines (this year, it is Section I-C led by their president Mario Cerilles) to two places. First I will bring them to Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes), a place where …

Not the Yellow Republic, but the Republic of the Philippines

It’s official. By virtue of proclamation from Congress acting as the official canvassing board of the Presidential elections, Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino shall become the 14th President of the Republic of the Philippines on June 30, 2010. This is true even (and especially) for those who did not vote for him. That includes …

Our Messy Democracy

As I finish writing this column, people continue to line up at their clustered precincts to vote. Personally and through the EMOs (Election Monitoring Operatives) of the Ateneo School of Government, I have followed the reports of problems in the elections. Voters have complained of long lines, not finding their precincts or of broken PCOS …