Author: Argyll Cyrus Geducos, Aaron Recuenco, and Genalyn Kabiling
Two more mayors were killed this week – Mayor Antonio Halili of Tanauan, Batangas, and Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija. They are the fourth and fifth mayors to be killed since October last year, when Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao, was killed in a shoot-out at a police checkpoint. The next month, November, Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Abuera, Leyte, was killed right inside his prison cell at the Baybay City Subprovincial Jail in Leyte. Last July, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz City in Misamis Occidental, was killed with 11 others in a dawn raid on his home by police serving a search warrant.
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he
President Duterte said on June 14: “My directive is ‘pag mag-istambay-istambay, sabihin niyo, ‘Umuwi kayo. ‘Pag ‘di kayo umuwi, ihatid ko kayo don sa opisina ni ano don, Pasig’. Ako na ang bahala, ilagay mo lang diyan. Talian mo ‘yung kamay pati bin–ihulog mo diyan sa ano.” And then he said: “Tignan ‘nyo may maglakad pa ba na – eh ngayon, sabi ko sa pulis, ‘Pikapin mo.’”
The story of Fr. Sy has to start with his father. Mr. Simeon Reyes started as a janitor in Philippine Trust, one of the four banks at the time in Manila. My uncle was his contemporary as clerk but Simeon was a janitor and went on to become the CEO of the bank. When he separated from Sy’s mother, he went on a spree with different girlfriends. When we were in San Francisco he gave me a ball pen which was new at the time and cost a whopping $30. He bought a residence in Nob Hill. When they found out he was Oriental, they asked to buy it back. He sold it for twice the amount he paid. Mr. Simeon Reyes was a good friend of my father and when my father gave me R5 to start a savings account, Simeon Reyes received me, introduced me to all the female clerks, and opened the bank vault to show me the contents. I will never forget feeling like a big shot. On the evening of May 30, 1948, we arrived in the Jesuit Novitiate, and my father asked Simeon if he had a son who was entering the Jesuit Novitiate. He answered that Junior wanted to become a priest. I had never met Sy before but was very familiar with his father Mr. Simeon Reyes.
President Duterte has announced a P139-billion upgrade for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to improve air assets and ensure a stronger and safer country.
TODAY we remember the life and works of St. Maria Goretti, Patroness of the Youth and martyr for purity.
Born on October 16, 1890, in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, Maria Goretti was baptized the day after she was born and was consecrated to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. She was the second of the six children of Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. She was not educated due to their poor status in life. In 1896, unable to feed the growing family from the small land that they tilled, Luigi decided to bring his family to Fierriere de Conca near Nettuno in Rome, where they rented a farm in a waterlogged area infected with mosquitoes. They shared the farm with John Serenelli and his son Alexander.
Millenials and those belonging to Generation Z (born after 2000) are no different from the rest of us who are older. They have the same potentials for a virtuous life as well as for evil as all descendants of Adam and Eve. They are not inherently selfish, disrespectful to elders, unfit for productive work, sexually permissive, seekers of instant gratification, and unable to make long-term commitments. In fact, when I read studies which attach some of these labels to the youth of today, I have the same feeling that I had when economists of my generation described the typical “homo economicus” or economic man as the consummate selfish creature whose only goal in life is to maximize profit or personal pleasure. These were oversimplifications of human behavior that economists of the liberal tendencies (Milton Friedman, et al) made in order to apply mathematical tools to economic analysis. The free enterprise economists ignored the very important fact that human beings have a wide range of motivations when they act, i.e., psychological, cultural, moral, spiritual, etc., other than the maximization of profit or physical pleasure. Because of this oversimplification in assuming that the business man is motivated by purely selfish reasons, the capitalist started behaving according to the theoretical model. The theory of the purely competitive economy became self-fulfilling and we ended up with the excesses of rugged capitalism that produced the Great Recession of the last ten years.
The government’s “Build, Build, Build” program is about to begin in earnest, with 76 flagship projects already approved by the Duterte administration. The new Mactan International Airport, although began during the previous Aquino administration, was inaugurated by President Duterte last June 7, setting the tone for the coming months and years when the 76 big projects will begin all over the country.
Read: Genesis 17:15-19
Abraham . . . laughed to himself in disbelief.
“How could I become a father at the age
of 100?” (Genesis 17:17).
Already djudged by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce as the Most Business-Friendly LGU last year, the Muntinlupa City government under Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi, recently stepped up its services to its constituents.
Leveraging the latest in smart card technology, Muntinlupa distributed the other week the upgraded Muntinlupa Care Card (MCC) Plus to qualified beneficiaries.
In addition to its current uses, the upgraded card will enable beneficiaries to avail of free rides aboard Muntinlupa’s growing fleet of e-jeepneys.
Muntinlupa is among the very first LGUs to utilize the eco-friendly transport system.
Muntinlupa adopted the earlier version of the card in 2017 as a means to easily distribute cash benefits and allowances from the city government as well as use it for payments and to avail of rewards in more than 5,000 digitally enabled small businesses and merchants within Muntinlupa.
The project was launched with the cooperation and assistance of PayMaya.
“MCC Plus is currently the most advanced citizen card because it brings so many benefits to our constituents, from availing of health services to receiving their scholarship funds, and even getting free rides around the city. This partnership with PayMaya will open a whole new world of opportunities for our constituents in the growing digital economy,” Mayor Fresnedi said.
“As in the 1950s, matters of belief divide our country and the world. We find ourselves in conflict over moral standards, patriotism, family, and issues of race and
Honoring the national flag is governed by Republic Act No. 8491 or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines. But I don’t believe that either DFA protocol or
Amid the continuing anti-drug operations in the country, with police raids in Metro Manila, Laguna, Rizal, and Pangasinan, two drug rehabilitation facilities were recently completed, built with grants from the Chinese government, in Agusan del Sur in the Caraga region and in Sarangani in the Soccsksargen region of Mindanao.
Funds for the two rehabilitation centers – a total of P760 million – had been received by the Department of Health in November last year. They now form part of the department’s “Windows of Hope” project, aimed at giving new life to victims of drug addiction and providing for their restoration to their homes and communities, Secretary of Health Francisco Duque said. The two facilities each have 150 beds and a recovery service center.
For them, President Duterte was profuse in his thanks to China President Xi Jinping and Ambassador Zhao Jianhua. With these two facilities, only two of the country’s 17 regions – Region 4B and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao – are left without their own regional rehabilitation centers.
China has been supporting the overall Philippine anti-dugs campaign on so many levels. It was intelligence information from Chinese law enforcement authorities that led to the seizure of shabu worth P6.4 billion in a raid on two warehouses in Valenzuela City last May, 2017. The huge shipment had somehow eluded seizure by the Bureau of Customs in Manila so that it managed to reach the Valenzuela warehouses.
It has been noted that while shabu – metamphetamine hydrochloride – had been made in hidden laboratories in this country, big shipments of the illegal drug have also been smuggled into the country from some countries, including China. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is now engaged in information and data sharing with China’s Ministry of Public Security, along with the provision of technical equipment, exchange and training programs, and repatriation of drug criminals.
China’s assistance to the Philippines’ anti-drugs campaign has been considerable – from information sharing on the operations of drug smugglers to the establishment of rehabilitation facilities, such as the two most recent ones in Agusan del Sur and Sarangani.
We need to push this relationship to the next level of cooperation – to stop the drug supply lines at or near the point of origin. We must take this next big step in the campaign to eradicate a menace that has caused so much death and disorder here and in the rest of the world.
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. So the second married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.” Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and [the] God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.”
Read: Luke 15:11-32
When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself,
“At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare,
and here I am dying of hunger!” (Luke 15:17).
The administration is being pilloried yet again for its perceived inaction and indifference to reports of supposed incursions by China into our territorial waters.
That China is our friend and ally is not the issue. We have deep ties with China that pre-date our relations with other major powers, including the United States. The ties are not only economic, but cultural and familial as well. These are ties that will help us weather any storm in our relationship.
The issue is whether the administration’s relations with China have become overly friendly, to the point that it has encouraged these incursions. To some observers, the administration’s inaction is tantamount to abandoning our claim to these disputed areas.
When confronted in February about reports of Chinese military activity – particularly the construction of military facilities – in the South China Sea, Malacanang simply dismissed it as old news. The facilities constructed can be seen as a future bequeathal, it said, ours for the taking should we ask China to leave the area.
And lest we forget, Malacanang repeated its mantra: War is not an option.
Yet, just recently, two officials engaged in some semblance of saber-rattling.
The overbearing foreign secretary was reported as telling DFA officials and employees during their flag-raising ceremony – where he also reportedly lectured veteran diplomats on the definition and practice of diplomacy – that the President was willing to go to war with China. A similar statement was made in a breakfast forum by the national security adviser.
And just when you sense a sudden shift in policy direction, the same foreign secretary reiterates the administration’s policy of resorting to quiet diplomacy in dealing with China, in contrast, he says, to the vociferous and aggressive tact of the previous administration.
No one reminded the foreign secretary that a few days ago, he was making what can be described as belligerent statements.
The administration is pursuing a policy of appeasement towards China. Our senior officials may decline to use that word, but that is how the public and the rest of the world sees it. And historians will tell you that appeasement offers only fleeting relief. What is sacrificed are long-term interests, namely security and stability.
Senior officials describe their tact as a more “pragmatic” approach. Angering China, they insist, is pointless since it will only lead to war, something we cannot afford and cannot win.
Yet war is not the only alternative.
We are not bereft of options other than war. We have international and multilateral avenues to pursue our claims or assert our sovereignty, especially when the perception is that it is under threat.
The use of tough language when dealing with other countries is not a pre-condition to asserting our sovereignty. Government may use strong diplomatic language in conveying its position, but it must speak. Silence should never be a policy.
Acquiescing to what observers consider are provocative actions would have far-reaching effects not only on the Philippines but in our region as well. Appeasement may not even deter hegemony, but may even encourage it.
Writing for Foreign Policy, journalist Robert Ricks reminds us that “appeasement is a position of negotiating with a strong state from a position of weakness.”
Ricks wrote: “Remember here that appeasement was the ‘smart’ move because the British thought that if they went to war with Germany, no one else would pitch in (they were basically right) and that for most of the 1930s, they simply weren’t strong enough to take on Germany alone (they were basically wrong, because Germany became stronger with each bite). But, as George Orwell put it, the problem was that they were not willing to pay the price either of peace or war, and so they got both.”
Appeasement is an admission of weakness, and admitting weakness in times of conflict, according to public mediation expert Patrick Susskind, “is tantamount to colluding with the enemy.”
Perhaps it is time for our officials to pause and ask themselves if they are wrong.
No sensible person would advocate war. The Constitution expressly renounces war as a policy instrument, and adopts “the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.” What is being asked of our government is that it defend and assert what is ours, especially when our claim has been affirmed by an international tribunal.
We can be assertive without being belligerent. We can be a friend and ally, without losing our dignity as a nation.
As early as the release date of the 2017 Bar examination results on April 26, 2018, the nation already knew the overall as well as the individual law school passing/failing rates. The overall passing rate was a measly 25.5% (or in concrete figures, only 1 successful examinee out of every 4). These limited data did not satisfy at all those with keen interest in legal education who wanted data that are more specific.
They wanted the passing rates in every Bar subject, which the Supreme Court made available only last May 31, 2018. These data showed the following per subject passing rates:
Political Law – 21.22%
Labor Law – 22.00%
Civil Law – 59.70%
Taxation – 23.77%
Mercantile Law – 21.28%
Criminal Law – 17.67%
Remedial Law – 47.98%
Legal Ethics – 52.07%
Read with the individual law school’s passing/failing rates in every Bar subject, these data serve as good reckoning points for subtler conclusions relevant to legal education, the individual law schools’ performance, and the admission to the practice of law.
For example, Ateneo de Manila University (with a total of 156 Bar candidates, an overall passing rate of 85.26% for first time Bar candidates, and 83.44% for both first timers and repeaters) had a passing rate of 96.32% in Civil Law and only 53.37% in Criminal Law.
A direct comparison of these data with the national per-subject passing rates may be interpreted to mean that Ateneo Bar examinees performed very well in the Civil Law exam: their 96.32% result was 1.6l times better than the national passing rate of 53.37% in that subject.
On the other hand, Ateneo’s passing rate in Criminal Law, read in the same manner, points to its students being 3.02 times better than the general performance of Bar examinees nationwide, again pointing to a strong Ateneo performance in Criminal Law.
These direct and simple comparisons, however, are only a few of the many interpretations that a critical observer could make. Other conclusions may arise when observers examine the overall Criminal Law exam passing average nationwide (17.67%) in relation with how the various law schools performed in Criminal Law.
A first and obvious observation is that most, not only a few, law schools performed miserably in the exam. This view invites the further view that the exam could have been very difficult as only 17 out of every 100 Bar examinees nationwide (or using rounded off lower numbers, roughly 2 out of 10 examinees) secured a score of 75% or better in the subject.
On the other hand, the Civil Law exam, viewed in the same manner, could have been relatively easier to handle since roughly 6 out of 10 Bar examinees passed.
These readings hold lessons that both the law schools and the Supreme Court should not miss. For law schools, a result of less than 57% in the easier Civil Law exam situates that law school below the national per subject average. This situation may require it to reinforce its Civil Law faculty to improve its general passing average in the future.
On the other hand, the national passing average of around 17% in Criminal Law (which points more to the difficulty of the exam rather than to the deficiency of the Criminal Law teaching faculties all over the country) should prod the Supreme Court to sit up and take notice.
The Court should perhaps take a closer look at the Criminal Law exam questions or even at the way the answers were graded to ensure that this type of exam or the grading system used should be avoided in the future as a matter of fairness to Bar examinees and the law schools. The element of fairness necessarily emerges as the Bar exam grade, even in one subject, affects a Bar examinee’s overall grade and could spell the difference between his or her passing or failing the Bar exams.
I point out all these examples to stress that after every Bar exam, the Legal Education Board (LEB) should analyze the Bar exam statistics for a sound approximation of the status of general legal education and of every law school in the country.
Specifically, separately from the much publicized passing or failing rates nationwide and of individual law schools, the LEB should attempt to qualitatively find out which law schools are intrinsically weak and why, and should then determine if they should be allowed to continue to operate in light of the public interests involved.
In other words, to undertake its functions fully and responsibly, the LEB should go behind and beyond the raw Supreme Court data. It should flesh out these data to secure meaningful assessments understandable to all, particularly to the public who send their children to law schools.
The Court should do the same as a matter of concern in the admission of applicants to the practice of law. Lawyers who only squeak past the Bar exams because of the attendant laxity in the formulation of the exam questions or in the grading of Bar exam answers will always be a concern for the litigating public and for those with transactions based on the law.
Separately from these Bar-based considerations, I wish to point out, too, that the LEB cannot be wrong in giving a special focus on the capabilities of students entering law schools. I point this out in light of the resistance that I can discern against the LEB’s efforts to screen law school applicants through nationwide standardized entrance exams, a measure used with great success in other countries.
The validity of entrance exams proceeds from the truism that everyone has his or her unique individual talents and that some may not have talents suited to law studies. Those whose talents lie elsewhere should actively be discouraged from law studies and persuaded to go where their talents truly lie in order not to waste their time, efforts, and resources. In this age of specialization even in the job market, such wastage could spell the difference in the competitiveness of businesses and in the national employment rates.
This commonsensical approach needs no elaborate arguments to justify. The same goes true for those who have not undertaken the necessary preparation for law studies and are therefore unprepared for the rigor that these studies require.
From these perspectives, I believe that the LEB should not listen at all to the law schools’ objections to its national law entrance exams. If the LEB would grant exceptions at all, it should perhaps only exempt the top-tier law schools who already require their own meaningful entrance exams. These exceptions will not discriminate against lower-ranking law schools because the reasons are merits-based, founded as they are on the Bar exam performance of the top-tier law schools.