Prudence and Madness

The Estrada Pardon: A Mockery of the Philippine Justice System
October 25, 2007, 19:33
Filed under: News And Social Issues | Tags:

Since Estrada’s conviction as guilty for the charge of plunder, there have been speculations that he will be asking for executive clemency from Arroyo. Set aside all other excuses that the Estrada camp has given, it’s all apparent that the Estrada and his cohorts are doing all that they can possibly do with money and connections just to keep him out of jail (and I mean, a real jail, a prison cell behind prison bars, not some comfortable two-storey summer mansion). And after a short while of denying that he’s asking for a pardon (even vehemently saying he refuses to think of asking for it), finally his lawyers have pleaded for the clemency from the President, despite the flowery language that Estrada do not actually acknowledge the legitimacy of Arroyo’s presidency but only is asking for pardon from someone who could give it to their client (and I think only the president of the country could do that isn’t?). Arroyo, on the other hand, has always been open to the idea of negotiating granting clemency for Estrada. I mean, what a grand way of exhibiting her advantage over the enemy right?

And now, the pardon has been granted to Estrada.

He got the conviction guilty of plunder but did not suffer from it really. Has he ever languished inside a real prison cell during the years of which his case was tried? No. In fact, he has transferred residences, stayed in expensive hospitals, and even went abroad for some medical treatment.

What happened to the penalty that is the result of the conviction? Will he simply walk away without serving a portion of it? He haven’t even seen the inside of a prison cell and here comes the pardon on a silver plate, courtesy of the Malacañan. How will this reflect upon the integrity of our justice system?

I speak as an ordinary citizen with a very ordinary grasp of Philippine politics and laws. What does this issue tell me? That in the country where I live, those who have the money and the connections can buy or negotiate their way out of serving prison term?  While us, ordinary citizens are always kept on our toes to make sure we do not violate any laws, some arrogant few swagger, without care as to whom they hurt or trample along the way.  How can I believe in the justice system if the President herself can easily overrule it?

Equality under the law… it doesn’t seem to make sense anymore. It’s almost a myth.


The Desperate Housewives Episode Controversy: The Unpopular Perspective and Some Notes

Notes: I am reposting this because, first of all, somebody trashed my site and I just can’t get the idea out of my head that maybe someone just got too pissed by what I wrote and so took the kid-throwing-tantrums route and got a bit destructive. Also, I want to express my dismay at how some of the discussions (some are still ongoing) have turned ugly, with hateful and hurtful comments thrown to and fro. Yes, we do understand that a lot of people are affected emotionally by this issue and not everybody is telling everyone who felt offended that they shouldn’t be offended. But let’s remember that all of us are free to express our own opinions and these opinions will vary greatly from one another. And in the course of expressing such opinions, it is expected that one will claim one thing as right while the other is wrong. It is perfectly understandable and acceptable. But what we don’t have the right to, perhaps, is to forcibly take away that person’s right to say what he thinks is right or wrong for him or to mob that person just because he doesn’t share the view of the “majority”. So, for those who feel that they ought to sign a petition and protest, then by all means do so. But do not condemn others for not sharing your views and for saying that they don’t think it’s necessary. It’s their opinion and they have the right to say it, as you do have the right to feel offended.

Now for the original article… Continue reading

Moderation is the Key
October 15, 2007, 17:21
Filed under: News And Social Issues | Tags: , ,

Author’s note: Okay, so my blogs in my own domain are down (account suspended) but I won’t let that hinder me from participating from Blog Action Day! So here we go…

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Recently there has been a lot of commotion and discussions going on about the real status of our environment. Some may argue that we’re going about the wrong way of protecting our environment by promoting extreme environmentalism but one just have to look at our surroundings and know that we ought to do something about man’s destruction of the environment. But it is also not correct to pursue all means of protecting the environment, while neglecting human progress. It’s a delicate balance, I guess, and we haven’t found the formula for it yet.

My belief in this is that we should exercise moderation. For example, I do not say that we stop using paper altogether, but rather we only be wary of indiscriminate use of it. Nor do we forego all plastic products, but rather we should be prudent in using these materials and not produce more than we could use.

Here are some other tips I’d like to share:

  1. Buy dishwashing liquid and fabric conditioners by bulk – I think we have the bad habit of buying economy sizes of products.  While it may seem cheaper that way because we spend only a little at a time, it’s actually cheaper to buy the bigger size available for that particular product, especially if the product is non-perishable.  Plus, doing so will minimize waste.  My mom was able to find someone in the market selling dishwashing liquid and fabric conditioners at a lower price if you buy it by bulk and by refilling a bottle.  You can just bring an empty bottle of that product or any empty plastic bottle and they’ll refill it.  I think this is a better practice since we can find another use for what may seem to be another useless, empty mineral water bottle.  At the same time, we can help lessen the demand for more dishwashing liquid stored in smaller plastic bottles.
  2. Ride a bike when you can to get to places – In my area, I think it would be better if more people use bicycles to get around, especially if you’re just running errands since it’s just a small town (city).  However, the problem is that everybody here owns a scooter or a small motorbike which they use for the sole purpose of bringing the kid to school (which is only a block away) or just buying vinegar from the nearest suking tindahan.  It’s bad enough that we have such air pollution due to the PUVs and private vehicles (not to mention the emissions from the jewelry-making industries) but the smoke emissions from the scooters are substantial too due to the sheer volume of scooters out on the street at any given time.  However, people aren’t encouraged much to use bicycles for transport because first of all, there are no bicycle lanes here.  I just don’t know how we’re going to go about it.  The main road used to get from the highway to the expressway is the busiest road but it’s too narrow that it can barely accomodate a two-way traffic.
  3. Keep the extra tissue papers you get when dining at fast food restos for future use – Whenever I eat out, I usually take the extra tissue papers and put it in my bag.  They may come in handy for wiping stains from shoes or clothes when you’re on the go.  Anyway, if you leave those tissues on the table when you leave the resto, they’ll just clean it up and trash it, even if you haven’t used it.  So I think it would be better if you put it into some use before you dunk it into the trash.  Also, if you’re eating out, don’t ask for too much tissue (I think I may be guilty of this, too, whenever I’m at a coffee shop) you know you’re not going to use.
  4. Use shopping bags as much as possible.  Stop indiscriminate use of plastic bags – Note the key word “indiscriminate”.  I didn’t say we must altogether stop using plastic bags.  They’re useful with our modern life.  However, most of the time we waste plastic bags for things we buy that don’t need it.  For example, you’re going to a bookstore to buy a pen and that’s all you’re buying.  After purchasing, the guy in the counter will put it in a small plastic bag and stick your receipt on it.  And you, after receiving it, will just put the plastic bag inside your bag or your pocket.  What function did the plastic bag serve then?  Nothing.  But it’s another waste added and it’s nonbiodegradable.  So, what am I trying to say?  Just use the plastic bags when you don’t have a bag of your own (or a shopping bag) to hold your purchases or if you’re only buying something that will need adequate storage such as food or something that might spill or stain.

Want to participate in Blog Action Day?  You still have time!  Just go here.